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Sunday, 30 June 2013

The Korea House, the site of Park Paeng-nyeon's Villa

Succubi in the Minister's House!

The Korea House which is located in the core of Namsan-gol Hanok Village (10 Toegye Avenue 36th Street/Toegyero 36-gil, Pildong 2-ga, Seoul Jung-gu) was previously used as the Residence of Park Paeng-nyeon (Hangul/Hanja: 박팽년/朴彭年; Born: 1417 - Died: 1456), a member in the Hall of Worthies during the reign of King Sejong the Great and one of the Six Martyred Ministers/Sayukshin during the reign of Young King Danjong and King Sejo.

This Cultural House was opened in 1981. It is a traditional Korean building that introduces the culture and lifestyle of Koreans, where you can experience traditional architecture and a classical atmosphere. The building was built in the style of the Joseon Dynasty's Jagyeong-jeon building at the Gyeongbok Palace. It is the only building built in the traditional architectural style. You will feel its antiquity as you enter the building. 

It is divided into the Haerin-gwan (a space for people to get acquainted with each other), the Traditional Theater, and three annex buildings (Munhyangnu, Nokeum-jeong and Cheongwu-jeong). At Haerin-gwan, you can enjoy traditional music at Garak-dang and try traditional food at Sohwa-dang. In the square of Garak-dang you can view a traditional wedding (on the weekends) or people playing folk games. Also, at the Traditional Theater, about 156 seats are available, and in the afternoons Human Cultural Assets or members of the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts and the National Corps members present traditional music and dances. Sinayui, Salpuri, Pansori, the Drum Dance and the Bongsan Mask Dance are the most popular programs for foreigners. The programs are all explained in English and Japanese. 

In the Cultural Gift Shop you can view various crafts made by traditional craftsmen. It is always open and the crafts are for sale as well. There are pottery, ceramics, golden crafts, knots and embroidery etc; approximately 500 pieces of artwork made by craftsmen from 20 different fields. Next to the House of Korea is the Namsan-gol Hanok Village where visitors can explore traditional houses.

A Glimpse about Park Paeng-nyeon
Park Paeng-nyeon (1417–1456) was a scholar-official of the early Joseon Dynasty, and is known as one of the six martyred ministers. He was born to a yangban family of the Suncheon Park Clan, and was the son of high minister Park Jeong-rim. He passed the lower national service examination/Gwageo at a royal visitation in 1434, and was later appointed to the Hall of Worthies by King Sejong the Great. In the 1440s, he participated with other members of the Hall of Worthies in the creation of the Hunminjeongeum and the creation of the Hangul alphabet. He passed the higher literary examination in 1447, and rose to vice-minister of justice under Young King Danjong in 1454.

In 1455, Danjong was overthrown by Sejo - who was previously known as Grand Prince Suyang, arising the ire of Park and many other officials. Park continued to serve in high office; he was appointed as governor of Chungcheong in 1455, and again as vice-minister of justice in 1456. He joined in a plot to overthrow Sejo and restore Danjong in 1456, but the plot was uncovered through the betrayal of fellow plotter Kim Jil. Sejo admired Park's abilities and offered to pardon him if he were to deny his involvement and acknowledge Sejo as his king. When he refused to repent from his deeds, Sejo argued that it was useless to deny his authority 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 purposefully misspelled words "royal servant" in all of his reports (He wrote word meaning "huge"(巨) instead of "royal servant", 臣) and never used royal grains but instead stored them unused in a storage. Park died in prison from torture. All the males in his family were executed and females were enslaved.

A shrine to Park is located in Sinni-myeon, Chungju City, Northern Chungcheong Province. It was established in the 18th century, when Park and his fellows had come to be viewed as model subjects. Another memorial dating to 1688 stands in Jayang-dong, Daejeon Dong-gu, at the former site of his official residence. A few of Park's sijo poems have survived.