This blog may contain not-so-strong languages and slightly strong ecchi pictures. Please proceed with caution.

Monday, 29 April 2013

We don't have names. We don't have existence. We don't have any meaning to live. This is Silmido - 42 years of breath-taking evidence will be unveiled!

Silmido (Hanja: 實尾島) is an uninhabited island in the Yellow Sea, off the west coast of South Korea. It has an area of about 0.25 km². It lies within the borders of Incheon Metropole, and is about 5 kilometres southwest of Incheon International Airport. Silmido lies just offshore of the larger, inhabited island of Muuido (Administrative region: Muui-dong, Incheon Jung-gu), which is connected to the mainland by ferry.

Silmido became historically significant when it was used as the training ground (January 21 1968 to August 23 1971) for Unit 684, a South Korean group meant to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Il-sung in revenge for The Blue House Raid assassination attempt against Park Chung-hee. Traces of the training facilities can still be seen. Under circumstances which remain unclear, the members of the group mutinied and went to Seoul in 1971, where they were killed or committed suicide.

Silmido, measuring 1.05 kilometres (0.65 mi) long and 806 metres (0.501 mi) wide. Silmido is well-known today as the principal setting of the 2003 film of the same name, which is based on the true story of Unit 684. Thanks to the films success, the island has become a fairly popular tourist destination.

The Film (Silmido)
Silmido is a 2003 South Korean film, directed by Kang Woo-suk. It is based on the true story of Unit 684, though parts of the film are extrapolations as the actual details of events are unknown. The film was both critically well received and a financial success, and was the first film in South Korea to attract a box office audience of over 10 million viewers. Filming took place mainly in South Korea, but underwater and winter training scenes were filmed in Malta and New Zealand, respectively.

On 21 January 1968, 31 North Korean commandos of Unit 124 are shown to have infiltrated South Korea in a failed mission to assassinate President Park Chung-hee.

As a means of retaliation, the South Korean military assembled a team of 31 social outcasts including criminals on death row and life imprisonment, in a plot to kill Kim Il-sung. The team is designated 'Unit 684'. The recruits are taken to the island of Silmido for training. The mission is offered to the recruits as the only way to redeem themselves and show their loyalty to their country. If they succeed, they will win their freedom and a new life. With this goal in mind, they endure their training. The training is shown over several months, with the recruits enduring various forms of extremely vigorous training and regular physical punishment, including being branded. One recruit is killed after he falls from a ropes course.

At the end of their training, they are dispatched on their mission to North Korea, but are recalled not long after their departure. It is revealed that the project has been called off, as the government attempts a peaceful reunification with the North. The recruits return to Silmido discouraged and frustrated. Shortly afterwards two of the Unit 684 members escape from their barracks and rape a female doctor. They are quickly discovered, and believing that they will be executed, decide to commit suicide. One kills the other at his request but is apprehended before he is able to kill himself. The apprehended soldier is then returned to the camp, tied up, and made to watch his fellow Unit 684 members being beaten by the guards for the two men's betrayal. Enraged, one of the Unit 684 members being beaten is able to take his guard's bat and kills the tied up soldier for bringing disgrace to the unit.

To keep the plot to kill Kim Il-sung unknown to the outside world, the South Korean intelligence agency decide to kill all the members of Unit 684. The unit's commander protests, but is told that if his troops failed to follow this order, they too would be killed alongside Unit 684. Torn between his duty to follow orders and his personal honor, the commander intentionally leaks this information to one of the Unit 684 members. Unit 684, realizing they are going to be killed that same night, make plans to mutiny. They attack and kill the majority of their guards, and find out from one of the guards that they legally no longer exist, and never would have received recognition for their mission if it succeeded, nor even be allowed to return to society. Unit 684 decide to escape from the island and make their story known. The 20 remaining members of Unit 684 capture a bus containing civilians and head to Seoul. An official pronouncement is heard over the radio that 20 "armed communist agents" have infiltrated the country, and a state of emergency is declared. After charging through one army roadblock and winning a firefight they are eventually stopped and surrounded by soldiers. A firefight ensures, with the South Korean army showing no regard for the welfare of the civilians on board the bus. All of the Unit 684 members are either killed or wounded, and many South Korean soldiers are also killed. The surviving Unit 684 members release the civilians who have not been killed by the South Korean army, before committing suicide using their own hand grenades. An investigation into the incident is shown to have been carried out; however the report is not read and is seen to be filed away in storage.

Silmido was well received by audiences in South Korea, where it was viewed by over 6 million people in its first 26 days, taking in over US$30 million in South Korea during this time alone. Silmido would also gross US$4,540,528 in Japan, as well as US$298,347 from its limited release in the United States.

Silmido would go on to become the first film to have a box office audience of over 10 million in South Korea, and held the record for the most viewed film in theatres until the release of Taegukgi: Brotherhood of War in 2004, which received 11.74 million viewings. Derek Elley from Variety gave the film a positive review, praising both its production and casting.

Historical Accuracy?
The release of this film brought public attention to Unit 684, and in 2006 the South Korean government released an official report on the unit and the uprising, officially acknowledging its existence for the first time. Brigadier general Nam Dae-yeon said that the 31 Silmido recruits who made up Unit 684 were part of an air force squadron. Seven died in training and 20 were killed in the uprising. The four who survived were executed after a military trial in 1972. Nam stated that documents describing Unit 684's mission no longer exist, but the government has not denied that its mission was to kill Kim Il-sung. 

What actually caused the uprising on August 23rd 1971, is unclear. The film shows the government deciding that the recruits had to be killed because they knew too much. The recruits find out and revolt. Jonathan Kim, the film's producer, acknowledges that history is unclear at this point.

Six guards survived the Silmido uprising. One of the guards, Yang Dong-soo, confirmed that the unit's mission had been to infiltrate North Korea and kill Kim Il-sung. Yang stated that though the film portrays the 31 recruits as death-row inmates, most were petty criminals. Yang stated that "They were the kind who would get into street fights a lot". Yang also gives his version of why the uprising occurred.

Yang Dong-soo added that Unit 684 members revolted because they felt that they were never going to get the chance to go to North Korea and that they would never be allowed to leave the island. They were in despair.

On May 19th 2010, the Seoul Central District Court ordered that the government pay 273 million won in compensation to the families of 21 members of Unit 684. The court found that "the Silmido agents were not informed of the level of danger involved with their training, and the harshness of the training violated their basic human rights" and also acknowledged the emotional pain the government caused by not officially disclosing the agents’ deaths to family members until 2006.

All about Abstracts: Whanki Museum

The Whanki Museum (Hanja: 煥基美術館) is a private art museum located in Jongno-gu, in central Seoul, South Korea. It was established by the Whanki Foundation mainly to exhibit and commemorate the art world of Kim Whanki, a representative abstract painter in Korean art history. The museum was first planned in 1988 in Buam-dong, located close to Seongbuk-dong, Seongbuk-gu, which Kim Whanki had many attachments to. The atmosphere and environment of the two places have much in common. The current museum building was designed by architect Woo Kyu-seung. It opened in November 1992 after the construction started in 1990.

Kim Whanki or Kim Hwan-ki (Hangul/Hanja: 김환기/金煥基; Born:  February 27th 1913 – Died: July 25th 1974) was a pioneering abstract artist of South Korea. He was born in Eupdong-ri, Anjwa-myeon, Sinan County, Southern Jeolla Province, South Korea and passed away in New York, USA.

Kim belongs to the first generation of Korean Abstract artists, mixing oriental concepts and ideals with abstractionism. With refined and moderated formative expression based on Korean Lyricism, he created his characteristic art world and was respected domestically and abroad—cities including Tokyo, Paris and New York City. His artworks largely dealt with diverse patterns of hues and patterns. Kim's early works were semi-abstract paintings which allowed beholders to see certain forms, but his later works were more deeply absorbed abstract paintings, filled with lines and spaces.

Hyochang Park, the place where the Korean Patriots laid rest

Hyochang Park (Hanja: 孝昌公園) is a park in the vicinity of precincts Hyochang-dong and Cheongpa-dong 2-ga, Seoul Yongsan-gu, South Korea. It was originally the cemetery of royal noble consort Ui of the Seong clan (hangul: 의빈 성씨), her only son (and King Jeongjo's first son) Crown Prince Munhyo (hangul: 문효세자), and of the Sugeui Park clan (hangul: 숙의 박씨), and was known at that time as Hyochangwon. The Japanese Empire developed Hyochangwon into a park in 1924 and the Japanese Governor-General assigned Hyochangwon park status in 1940. At the end of the era of the Japanese colonization of Korea, as the grave of the Crown Prince Munhyo was forced to be moved to the royal tomb of Sepsam, Hyochangwon became Hyochang Park. The statue of the Venerable Monk Wonhyo is located in this park.

The remains of three presidents of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea are interred at Hyochang Park: Lee Bong-Chang(이봉창; 李奉昌), Yoon Bong-Gil (윤봉길; 尹奉吉) and Baek Jeong-Gi (백정기, 白貞基), whose graves are known as the Graves of the Three Martyrs (삼의사묘, 三義士墓). There is a temporary burial mound for Thomas Ahn Jung-geun (1946), and Kim Gu was also buried at Hyochang Park after his death in 1949. Since then, the area has contained the graves of several independence activists.

A memorial ceremony is held every year on 13 April, the anniversary of the establishment of the provisional government. The park was designated as a historical landmark in 1989. In addition to the graves of patriotic martyrs, the park contains such amenities as a children's playground, sports facilities, the Kim Gu Museum and a senior citizens' association.

Hyochang Park is accessible by using SMRT Line 6 (Hyochang Park Station/Hyochang Gongwon-ap) and KORAIL-Gyeongui Line (Hyochang Station - will be opened in 2014).

Meet the Embroidery Artisan: Han Sang-soo

Toshiko: Witches, err... I'll introduce you the famous Korean Embroidery Artisan, Madam Han Sang-soo.
The Han Sang-soo Embroidery Museum (Hanja: 韓尙洙刺繡博物館) is an art museum specializing in Korean embroidery located in 29-1 Bukchon Avenue 12th Street (Bukchonno 12-gil) Gahoe-dong 11-32 beonji, Seoul Jongno-gu, South Korea. It is located in the heart of Bukchon Hanok Village. The museum was established by Han Sang-soo (한상수/韓尙洙, born circa 1934) who holds a title as a jasujang (자수장/刺繡匠, embroidery artisan) of the 80th Important Intangible Cultural Property designated by the Cultural Heritage Administration of Korean Republic. The museum was established to promote Korean embroidery artwork, preserve traditional techniques, and encourage new creations.

Visitors can view the permanent exhibition and the special exhibitions, and take part in regular hands-on embroidery programs for a fee of 3,000 won. The program operates from 10am to 5pm and does not require a reservation. The one-hour program starts with a demonstration by an instructor, after which participants embroider a handkerchief according to instructions. The handkerchief is to take home after the program is finished. Instructions are given only in Korean, so foreigners are advised to come with a local guide.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Inside Changdeokgung, Part I: Gyujanggak - The Royal Library of Joseon Dynasty

Gyujanggak Royal Library at Changdeokgung Palace Grounds, Seoul Jongno-gu.
The Kyujanggak (Hanja: 奎章閣), was the royal library of the Joseon Dynasty. It was founded in 1776 by order of King Jeongjo the Great of Joseon, at which time it was located on the grounds of Changdeok Palace.

Today known as Kyujanggak Royal Library or Kyujanggak Archives are maintained by Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies at the Seoul National University, located in Daehak-dong, Seoul Gwanak-gu. It functions as a key repository of Korean historical records and a centre for research and publication of an annual journal titled Kyujanggak.

Gyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies (KIKS), Seoul National University Gwanak Main Campus, Seoul Gwanak-gu.
Another starting kick for Korean Studies GEEKS.
It is named after imperial calligraphic works stored there, the kyujang (奎章), which literally means "writings of Kyu", a scholar-deity, but has come to refer to divinely inspired writings, in particularly, the emperor's. In 1782, the Outer Kyujanggak library (known as Oegyujanggak) was built in the ancient royal palace on Ganghwa Island, Incheon Metropole to accommodate an overflow of books from the main Kyujanggak library at Changdeok Palace in Seoul, where the royal viewing copies were kept, and most of the viewing copies were transferred there.

The library's role underwent various changes after the Gabo Reforms of 1894. In 1922, it was moved under the jurisdiction of Keijo Imperial University, which later gave rise to the Seoul National University. The library moved to its present location in 1990 and became independent of the Seoul National University Central Library in 1992.

In 1866, during the Byeong-in French Invasion against Korea, the troops attacked Ganghwa Island and seized a vast amount of silverware, royal artifacts, and 297 volumes of royal Uigwe from the Outer Kyujanggak library and burned down the building. The Korean Government tried to retrieve the royal documents through a permanent lease, since French law prohibits national assets to be transferred abroad. In 2010, a Seoul-based civic group spearhead the return but the request to exclude illegally-obtained property from its list of national assets was rejected by a Paris court. An agreement was made by President Lee Myung-bak and President Nicolas Sarkozy at the 2010 G-20 Seoul summit to return the royal documents on a five-year renewable loan basis. From April to June 2011, 297 volumes with 191 different Uigwes, were shipped back in four separate installments and subsequently kept at the National Museum of Korea, Ichon-dong, Seoul Yongsan-gu.

The collection has over 260,000 items, with many of them digitized and available online. Notability the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty (Korean: Joseon Wangjo Sillok/조선왕조실록/朝鮮王朝實錄), Daily Records of the Royal Secretariat (Korean: Seungjeongwon Ilgi/승정원일기/承政院日記) and Uigwe or "Royal Protocols" of the Joseon Dynasty, that were not looted and remained in Korea. They are among the National treasures of South Korea and are inscripted in UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme. 

In addition, it has royal, government, private documents, such as land transactions and power of attorney and maps on natural geography and the state of society of Joseon Dynasty. The antique maps include a provincial map of 1872, a plotting-paper map stamped by Bibyeonsa/비변사/備邊司, a Joseon map, and an eight-province map. It also has a database of Government records with 110 volumes in ten kinds kept by each provincial and gun office, 99 collections of compiled official documents, foreign diplomacy documents kept by each province, 149 volumes of foreign trade-related materials, 180 volumes of court proceeding records. The materials depicts how the nation took modernization policies and coped with aggressions of Western powers. The court proceeding records, from 1894 to 1910, provide information on life style of people from various walks of life, their way of thinking, and acts of the State. It also includes book titles plates and Naegak illyeok/내각일력/內閣日曆, at 1,249 volumes, a daily record of affairs kept by the Gyujanggak Royal Library from 1779 to 1883. Its' contents not found in other chronological documents covering the same period.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Mount Odu Unification Observatory, the nearest Observatory within Korean DMZ

The Mount Odu Unification Observatory (Hanja: 烏頭山統一展望臺) is located in Mt. Odu (367 Seongdong-ri, Tanhyeon-myeon, Paju, Gyeonggi Province) with superb scenic beauty, where Han River meets Imjin River (Northern Dialect: Rimjin River). This observatory is a stone building where has five floors above ground and one underground. It opened to the public 8 Sep. 1992. It is the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)  with the shortest width among 155 miles of the ceasefire line and is 460m from North Korea. 

From this Observation Platform, Songaksan Diamond Mountains in the city of Kaesong and 63 Building in Seoul are visible. Various photos and computerized screens showing the stark reality of North Korea are displayed on first and second floor. Products from North Korea can also be purchased here. 

P/S: Is there any PyongSu Cetamols sold in this observatory? I have headache....

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Six Jiphyeonjeon Buddies died during Sayuksin Incident.

Definitely, Meia... except for one of them: Ryu Seong-won.
By now you’ve probably noticed that this show is often equal parts travel and history. I guess that’s inevitable when you’re profiling a city as ancient as Seoul. Case in point is Sayuksin Park a.k.a. Six Martyred Ministers Park (Hanja: 死六臣公園) at Noryangjin-dong, Seoul Dongjak-gu, a patch of green that’s located about 400 meters east of the Noryangjin Wholesale Fisheries Market on the southern bank of the Han River.

Walking along the busy Noryangjin Avenue, the park is hard to miss because of the beautiful stone and tile wall that’s covered in traditional geometric patterns. It’s obvious that the park represents something important. In fact, it’s the burial site for six government ministers who were martyred in the mid-15th century.

Known as the “Sayuksin Incident,” the name refers to a particularly bloody power struggle during the Joseon Dynasty’s early years. When an ailing King Munjong died after just two years in office, his 12-year-old son became King Danjong. Sensing the boy-king’s weakness, court officials and two of his uncles all jostled for control of the kingdom. Ultimately, one of them – Grand Prince Suyang – staged a coup, and in 1455 pronounced himself Sejo, Joseon’s seventh king.

Sejo’s usurpation didn’t go unchallenged. Young Danjong was seen as the rightful king by many members of the Hall of Worthies, an influential institute set-up by his grandfather, King Sejong the Great. The ministers sought to reclaim the throne for Danjong. But one of them foiled the plot by revealing it to his father, who in turn told King Sejo. Once in custody, torture, pledges of clemency and even poetry were employed to get the ministers to repent and acknowledge Sejo’s legitimacy. However, they all refused, and were subsequently executed, along with scores of their family members.

Although Sejo went on to complete what most regard as a successful reign, it was the relentless loyalty of the six martyred ministers that has inspired Koreans for centuries. In 1681, King Sukjong ordered a Confucian school to be built near the burial site. King Jeongjo had a stele erected in their memory in 1782, and in 1955, the newly established Republic of Korea built a monument in the park in their honor.

Today, the park’s focal point is the Uijeolsa Memorial Hall. Upon entering through the Bulimun Gate, you’ll come upon a wide paved walkway lined with trimmed boxwood. The hall isn’t large – just six pillars support its front beam, but it’s a solemn and beautiful monument to the loyal ministers.

Behind the shrine is a small grove of Korean pine, which partly conceal two sets of tombs. In traditional fashion they’re tall, grass-covered mounds with a stone stele and slab for offerings. Curiously, there are a total of seven tumuli for the six martyrs. As it turns out, an additional tomb was constructed in 1977 after some scholars insisted that one of the ministers had been misidentified.

In any case, last year, a complex was constructed inside the park. The two-story, 813-square-meter building also includes a cinema room and exhibition hall – all designed to tell the ministers’ story. Best of all, admission is free. The park grounds also include a traditional 8-sided pavilion, an outdoor stage and there’s a sizeable wildflower garden on the park’s far western end.

Sayuksin Park isn’t just any park. Then again, with six hundred years of history as Korea’s capital, it can feel as if every square meter of Seoul could tell a fascinating story.

What is Sayuksin?
The six martyred ministers or Sayuksin were six ministers of the Joseon Dynasty who were executed by King Sejo in 1456 for plotting to assassinate him and restore the former king Danjong to the throne.

The Six were Seong Sam-mun, Park Paeng-nyeon, Ha Wiji, Yi Gae, Yoo Eung-boo and Ryu Seong-won. Most were members of the Hall of Worthies, a royal research institute, who had been appointed by King Sejong the Great. Both King Sejong and King Munjong had charged them with looking after King Danjong (grandson and son respectively), and they reacted with outrage to Sejo's usurpation of the throne in 1455. Together with Kim Jil, they plotted a coup to coincide with the visit of a Ming Dynasty envoy. When the banquet and subsequently the assassination plot were postponed, Kim Jil lost his heart and betrayed the plot to his father-in-law, who reported to Sejo. The Six except Ryu Seong-won, who committed suicide with his wife, were seized and tortured.

Sejo felt deeply betrayed for he had valued the six scholar-officials very highly and promoted them to high positions in favor of his own supporters who helped him take the throne. He tried to force them to repent their deeds and acknowledge his legitimacy with combination of torture, offers of pardon, and even poetry. He sent Kim Jil to their cells to recite a poem that King Taejong of Joseon had used to test great Goryeo scholar Jeong Mongju's loyalty to Goryeo dynasty. Seong Sam-mun, Park Paeng-nyeon, and Yi Gae all answered with poems that reaffirmed their loyalty to Danjong. (These famous death poems cemented their reputation in Korean history.)

When Park continued to refuse to address Sejo with royal title, Sejo argued that it was meaningless to deny his legitimacy now since Park had already called himself a "royal servant" and received royal grains from him. Park, however, denied this and it was indeed discovered that Park had purposefully misspelled words "royal servant" (He wrote word meaning "huge"(巨) instead of "royal servant", 臣) in all of his reports and never used royal grains but instead put them unused in a storage. Park died from torture in prison, and the rest were executed.

Although the Six were the most famous, more than 70 were put to death for their suspected involvement in the plot or sympathy with Danjong. As was common with treason cases, the penalties were not limited to the individual but extended to the entire family. The men of the family were put to death and the women were made slaves.

There were also many officials who were not involved in the plot but had retreated to rural provinces in protest to Sejo's usurpation. Six most famous men - Kim Si-seup, Seong Dam-soo, Won Ho, Yi Maeng-jeon, Jo Ryeo and Nam Hyo-on were called "Six living ministers" (생육신).

After Sarim faction came to dominate Joseon politics, national opinion came to revere the Six martyred ministers as model subjects, and numerous shrines and seowon were erected in their memory. This attitude continued in the 20th century, with philosopher Ham Seok-heon praising their conduct and saying that "The shame of the five centuries of Yi Korea were more than offset by this event." The story of the Six has been also often dramatized in literature and TV series, the latest being a historical drama produced in North Korea. This show, which was the first North Korean drama to be aired in the South, was broadcast in South Korea in August 2006.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Suwon Hwaseong Fortress, Part I: Paldalmun, The Trademark of Suwon Paldal-gu

The time collides each other during a festivity in the Heart of Gyeonggi Province.
Paldalmun (Hanja: 八達門) is the southern gate of Hwaseong Fortress, designated Korean Republic National Treasure No. 402. It is located at 780 Jeongjo Avenue (Paldalmun Rotary), Paldallo 2-ga 132-5 beonji, Suwon Paldal-gu, Gyeonggi Province. This gate is a trademark for Suwon Paldal-gu.

A crescent shaped 'ongseong' (defensive secondary wall to prevent the main gate from being broken down with logs) is built on the outside of the door. On the right wall of the gate is a nameplate which contains the names of the people involved in the construction of the gate. The Paldalmun is unique in that it is separated from the rest of the gates, and located in the middle of Paldalmun Rotary. The reason for this is because commerce took roots around the gates before its reconstruction, making it impossible to build in that area.

Koreans: Ahem. Do you have Another Versions for Hayate Yagami at Paldalmun?
HK and B: Aye. We have 'em.

Paralyzed and Wheel-chaired Hayate at Paldalmun during night. She was 9 years old (0065 - following the Nanoha Calendar)  

Able body and Adult Hayate at Paldalmun during day. (Present-day: 0081 - Nanoha Calendar)

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Waiting for Sungnyemun refurbishments, let's go to Namdaemun Market.

Do you have any spare parts for this sick angeloid?
Namdaemun Market (Hanja: 南大門市場) is a large traditional market at 21 NamdaemunSijang 4-gil (Namdaemun Market 4th Street), Namchang-dong, Seoul Jung-gu, South Korea. The market is located next to Namdaemun a.k.a Sungnyemun, the Great South Gate, one of Eight Cardinal Gates of Seoul-Hanyang Fortress which was the main southern gate to the old city.

Namdaemun market dates back to 1414, during the reign of King Taejong Yi Bang-won - third monarch of Joseon Dynasty, as a government managed marketplace. In 1608, King Seonjo set up the office of seonhyecheong (hangul: 선혜청, hanja: 宣惠廳, "tribute bureau") in the district to manage the tributes of rice, cloth and money. A trading marketplace took its form around that time and commercial activities flourished as traders set up various shops. Trade was active in grains, fish, fruit, and miscellaneous goods.

The management of the market went over to the Japanese in 1922, but after Gwangbokjeol, the merchants established the Namdaemun Merchant Organization and took over management. The market, however, turned to ruins during the Korean War and succumbed to fire in 1953. The Seoul Namdaemun Market Co. Ltd. was found in 1954 to rebuild the market, but efforts fell short due to financial troubles. Endeavors for reconstruction continued in the following years, but fires swept the market again in 1968 and 1975.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced plans to renovate the market in 2007, and reconstruction and renovations are being continued in 2010.

Namdaemun Market is one of the oldest continually running markets in South Korea, and one of the largest retail markets in Seoul. The streets in which the market is located were built in a time when cars were not prevalent, so the market itself is not accessible by car. The main methods of transporting goods into and out of the market are by motorcycle and hand-drawn carts. It occupies many city blocks, which are blocked off from most car traffic due to the prevalence of parking congestion in the area. The market can be accessed by subway or bus; the location is within a 10 minute walk from Seoul Station and is even closer to the subway Hoehyeon Station, KORAIL-Seoul Metro Line 4.

Much of the market is outside, but there are also many stores which line the streets. Many retailers buy their items, particularly clothing, at wholesale prices at Namdaemun, to resell in their own stores in other cities. Namdaemun is a popular tourist attraction. The Market is on the Seoul list of Asia's 10 greatest street food cities for the hotteok.