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

Friday, 31 January 2014

HanGung-mal, i-ssibal saekki-ya! Mal hae?, Part II: Jeolla Dialect

People that do not know how speak Jeolla dialect often imitate Jeolla dialect. They think it is funny.
The Jeolla Dialect of Korean (Hangul: 전라도 방언/사투리; Hanja: 全羅道方言), or Southwestern Korean, are spoken in the Jeolla (Honam) region of South Korea, including the city of Gwangju and the provinces of Northern and Southern Jeolla.

Along with Chungcheong dialects, they are considered non-standard. Perhaps the most obvious difference comes from common verb endings. In place of the usual -seumnida (습니다) or -sehyo (세요) endings, a southern Jeolla person will use -rau (라우) or -jirau (지라우) appended to the verb. For a causative verb ending, expressed in standard language with a -nikka (니까) ending, Jeolla people use -neungkkei (능게), so the past tense of the verb "did" ("because someone did it"), haesseunikka (했으니까), becomes haesseungkke (했승게). A similar sound is used for the quotative ending, "somebody said...". The usual verb endings are -dago (다고) and -rago (라고). Jeolla dialect prefers -dangkke (당게).

Regarding pronunciation differences, there is often a tendency to pronounce only the second vowel in a diphthong. For example, the verb ending that indicates "since", -neundae, becomes -neundi (는디). The name of the large city Gwangju (광주) becomes Gangju (강주), and the verb 'to not have, to be absent', eopda 없다, becomes very close to upda (웂다). There are some words that are unique to the dialect as well: utjeseo (웆제서) for "why", sibang (시방) for "now", and dwitgan (뒷간) for "outhouse". Jeolla dialect speakers have a tendency to end their sentences with -ing, (잉) especially when asking a favor. This can be compared to the word "eh," as used by some Canadians.

Korea's NSFW, Part IV: Korean surnames in English-Translated Hentai Manga!? ARE YOU SERIOUS???

A Korean name consists of a family name followed by a given name, as used by the Korean people in both North Korea and South Korea. In the Korean language, 'ireum/이름' or 'seong-myeong/姓名' usually refers to the family name (seong) and given name (ireum in a narrow sense) together. There are only about 250 Korean family names currently in use, and the three most common (Kim, Lee, and Park) account for nearly half of the population.

Traditional Korean names typically consist of only one syllable. There is no middle name in the Western sense. Many Koreans have their given names made of a generational name syllable and an individually distinct syllable, while this practice is declining in the younger generations. The generational name syllable is shared by siblings in North Korea, and by all members of the same generation of an extended family in South Korea. Married men and women usually keep their full personal names, and children inherit the father's family name.

The family names are subdivided into bon-gwan (clans), i.e. extended families which originate in the lineage system used in previous historical periods. Each clan is identified by a specific place, and traces its origin to a common patrilineal ancestor.

Early names based on the Korean language were recorded in the Three Kingdoms period (57 BCE – 668 CE), but with the growing adoption of the Chinese writing system, these were gradually replaced by names based on Chinese characters. During periods of Mongol influence, the ruling class supplemented their Korean names with Mongolian names. In addition, during the later period of Japanese rule in the early 20th century, Koreans were forced to adopt Japanese names.

Because of the many changes in Korean romanization practices over the years, modern Koreans, when using European languages, romanize their names in various ways, most often approximating the pronunciation in English orthography. Some keep the original order of names, while others reverse the names to match the usual Western pattern.

There are approximately 250 family names in use today. Each family name is divided into one or more clans (bon-gwan), identifying the clan's city of origin. For example, the most populous clan is Gimhae Kim; that is, the Kim clan from the city of Gimhae. Clans are further subdivided into various pa, or branches stemming from a more recent common ancestor, so that a full identification of a person's family name would be clan-surname-branch. For example, "Gyeongju Yi-ssi" (Gyeongju Lee Clan, or Lee Clan of Gyeongju) and "Yeonan-Yissi" (Lee Clan of Yeonan) are, technically speaking, completely different surnames, even though both are, in most places, simply referred to as "Yi" or "Lee". This also means that people from the same clan are considered to be of same blood, such that marriage of a man and a woman of same surname and "bon-gwan" is considered a strong taboo, regardless of how distant the actual lineages may be, even to the present day.

Traditionally, Korean women keep their family names after their marriage, but their children take the father's surname. In the pre-modern, patriarchal Korean society people were extremely conscious of familial values and their own family identities. Korean women keep their surnames after marriage based on traditional reasoning that it is what they inherited from their parents and ancestors, and cannot be changed. According to traditions, each clan publishes a comprehensive genealogy (jokbo) every 30 years.

There are around a dozen two-syllable surnames, all of which rank after the 100 most common surnames. The five most common family names, which together make up over half of the Korean population, are used by over 20 million people in South Korea.

It seems that Shingo Uryuu f-ed Airi Sena and produced lewd sounds which contain three notable Korean Surnames.

In this fourth part of Korea's NSFW, we will talk about on three surnames that included in English-translated Hentai Manga. OH, AHN and HAN or HAHN - three surnames that can be victimized, available in any lewd byeontae-manhwas (Hentai Manga in Korean). Let's take a look on the outline of these three notable surnames.

Oh (오/吳)
Wu is the Pinyin transliteration of the Chinese surname 吳 (Traditional Chinese), 吴 (Simplified Chinese), which is the tenth most common surname in Mainland China. Several other, less common Chinese surnames with different pronunciations are also transliterated into English as "Wu": 武, 伍, 仵, 烏, 鄔 and 巫. The Cantonese and Hakka transliteration of 吳 is Ng, a syllable made entirely of a nasal consonant while the Min Nan transliteration of 吳 is Goh or Ngoh, depending on the regional variations in Min Nan pronunciation. In Vietnamese, many of those are read differently, for example Võ or Vũ for 武, Ngô for 吳, Ô for 烏.

Wu (or Woo or Wou) is also the Cantonese transliteration of the different Chinese surname 胡 (see Hu), used in Hong Kong, and by overseas Chinese of Cantonese speaking areas of Guangdong, or Hong Kong origin.

吳 is also one of the most common surnames in Korea. It is spelled 오 in Hangul and romanized O by the three major romanization systems, but more commonly spelled Oh in South Korea. The Oh Clan was originated during the reign of King Jijeung-Maripgan, the 22nd King of Silla Kingdom. It is also related far back in Chinese history with the name "Zhou".

"Wu" (吴) can be translated into English as "god-like" or "the highest", as shown by some translations from ancient texts.

The few famous people with the family name of "Wu" in China were emperors or warriors. However, there is a good number of more contemporary well-known people with this surname.

Based on the Population Census in Korea, 2000 - which was provided by Statistics Korea (통계청), there are 706,908 people who bear the surname of Oh. There are 14 designated clans (Bongwan/본관/本館) which is related to Oh lineage (e.g: Gochang, Haeju, Dongbok, Boseong, Ulsan, Gunwi, Naju, Nagan, Yeosan, Jangheung, Pyeonghae, Hamyang, Hampyeong and Hwasun).

Notable Oh clansmen are Oh Ji-ho (actor), Sandra Oh Mi-joo (Korean-Canadian Actress) and Oh Se-hoon (Former Mayor of Seoul).

Han/Hahn (한/韓)
Han (韓) is the common English spelling of 한, a common Korean family name. According to the 2000 census, 한 (韓) is the 7th most common surname in the Republic of Korea. In Sino-Korean, it literally means "country" or "leader."

As with all Korean family names, the holders of the Han surname are divided into different patrilineal clans, or lineages, known in Korean as bon-gwan, based on their ancestral seat. Most such clans trace their lineage back to a specific founder. This system was at its height under the yangban aristocracy of the Joseon Dynasty, but it remains in use today. There are approximately 241 such clans claimed by South Koreans.

Cheongju Han (韓) clan is considered one of the noble clans of Korea, with the Gyeongju Kim, Gimhae Kim, Miryang Park, Gyeongju Seok, Pyeongyang Ko, and Jeonju Lee clans. In the Silla Dynasty, all of the Cheongju Hans were considered seonggeol, or "sacred bone", the highest rank. In the Joseon Dynasty, the Cheongju Han clan produced 6 queens and were considered the highest of the yangban class next to the Jeonju Lee. Considered one of the most royal clans since Gija Joseon and Gojoseon, the noble clan of Han received the most generals of the prominent Joseon Dynasty, and Han Myeong-Hui, who was Joseon's greatest general, was part of Cheongju Han. The Han are descendants of the hero Gija, who was a Shang Dynasty king, and rode his white horse and set a nation in "The Farthest East". The nobles with the surname Han were greatly praised, and not to be bothered with.

There are two Korean surnames which are believed to be related and share common ancestry and origin with the Cheongju Han clan. The Taewon Seonwoo clan and the Hangju Gi clan are believed to have originated from the same root as the Cheongju Han clan. According to the genealogical records the last King of Gojoseon, Gijun of Gojoseon is believed to have had three sons, U-Pyeong (우평), U-Seong (우성) and U-Ryang (우량). During Korea's Three Kingdoms period, U-Pyeong is said to have settled in Goguryeo and his descendants later established the Taewon Seonwoo Clan, U-Seong is said to have settled in Baekje and his descendants later established the Hangju Gi Clan and finally U-Ryang is said to have settled in Silla and his descendants later established the Cheongju Han Clan establishing its bon-gwan in Cheongju.

Many Korean historians believe that Gijun of Gojoseon was actually "Hanjun"(한준) of Gojoseon and had the surname Han (韓) not Gi and that all of the Kings of Gija Joseon were of the surname Han (韓). Gija Joseon, which was believed to be of surname Gi, was in reality Han (韓).

There is a controversy on where Gija is from, which is believed to be from the Chinese Shang Dynasty, Gija as a paternal uncle (or brother) of the last emperor of the Chinese Shang Dynasty, King Zhou, however it is likely that Gija is a Dongyi, a native people in the East of China. Gija's and his descendants were also believed to have the surname Han (韓) as King Jun of Gojoseon the last King of Gojoseon and descendant of Gija claimed himself as the King of Han (한왕; 韓王) with the foundation of Mahan part of the Samhan after fleeing from Wiman. With this it shows that the surname Han may have existed since the time of Gija Joseon or Gojoseon and establishes the Han (韓) clan as the oldest surname in Korea dating back to around 5000 years ago, and to have founded and ruled Gojoseon and Mahan.

With this Surname Han (韓) is considered one of the Great surnames of Korea which have once been royalties consisting of Han (Gija Joseon) Go (Goguryeo), Buyeo (Baekje), Kim, Bak/Park, Seok (Silla), Dae (Balhae), Wang (Goryeo), Yi/Lee (Joseon).

However there are also many Korean historians which deny any existence of Gija and Gija Joseon, accepting it as a legend. The notable Han clansmen are Han Myeong-sook, Han Duck-soo and Han Seung-soo (former Prime Ministers of Korean Republic) plus with three queen consorts during Joseon Dynasty: Queen Gonghye, Queen Jangsun and Queen Dowager In-soo. Joseph 'Joe' Hahn of Linkin Park belongs to this clan too.

Ahn (안/安)
Ahn, also romanized An, is a Korean family name. It literally means "tranquility." In 2000, there were 637,786 people bearing this surname in South Korea, making it the 20th most common family name in the country, with roughly 2% of the country's population. North Korea does not release figures for surnames, but the percentage is expected to be similar. The surname is also used in China.

In the traditional Korean clan system, which is still the basis of family registry in South Korea, each clan is distinguished by its bon-gwan, the notional ancestral seat of the clan. Typically each clan claims a different person as its founder, although there are exceptions. 109 Ahn clans are extant today. However, most of these are very small. The majority of Ahn's claim membership in the Sunheung Ahn clan (the highest and most noble clan of Ahn's). The Kwangju and Juksan clans are also quite large and are associated with "blue-blood" status; in addition to these, the Tamjin, Gongsan, Chungju, Dongju, Jeongwon, Ansan, Jecheon, Angang, and Jucheon clans are significant.

The 2000 South Korean census counted 468,827 members of the "Sunheung" Ahn clan (순흥안씨, 順興安氏). Their ancestral seat is in modern-day Sunheung-myeon, in Yeongju, Northern Gyeongsang Province, South Korea. They have enjoyed "blue-blood" status as nobility (Yangban) since their earliest history in the Goryeo Dynasty and throughout the Chosun Dynasty (July 1392 - August 1910). The founder of the Sunheung Ahn was a famously petty and meticulous official of Koryeo named Ahn Ja-mi. The Neo-Confucian philosopher Ahn Hyang, who introduced the Confucian social and government system to Korea, was his great-grandson, and is generally numbered among the clan's most illustrious members. During Colonial Japan and during the founding of the democratic government of Korea, the most influential and respected figures are Dosan Ahn Chang-ho and Thomas Ahn Jung-geunIn the modern day ROK, AhnLab CEO, Charles Ahn Cheol-soo competed in 18th Presidential Election against Juliana Park Geun-hye (Saenuri; Current President of Korean Republic) and Timothy Moon Jae-in (DemUtd) but later withdrew from the election. Another Ahn clansman is a speed skater sensation, Viktor Ahn Hyun-soo who is represented Korean Republic in speed skating before he switched allegiance to Russia during 2014 Sochi Winterlympics. 

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Confucian Confusions in Korea, Part XIV: Dosan Seowon, Andong, Northern Gyeongsang

Dosan Seowon (Hanja: 陶山書院) was established in 1574 in what is present day 154 Dosan Seowon Lane/DosanSeowon-gil, Toegye-ri 680-beonji, Dosan-myeon, Andong, Northern Gyeongsang Province, South Korea, in memory of and four years after the death of Korean Confucian scholar Toegye Yi Hwang (1501-1570) by some of his disciples and other Korean Confucian authorities. Yi Hwang had retired to the location in 1549 and begun construction on the facility, a private Korean Confucian academy offering instruction in the classics and honouring the sages with regular memorial rites. This ancient academy was royally chartered in 1575 by King Seonjo.

The Old 1000 won: Toegye Yi Hwang with his KISSABLE LIPS! No doubt about it!
Like other Korean Confucian academies, Dosan Seowon serves two purposes: education and commemoration. The site was well known in Korea as one of the leading academies and was home to the Toegye School of Thought for over 400 years. Although the educational function of the facility has long since ceased, the commemorative ceremonies have been and are still held twice a year.

The Dosan Seowon complex consists of "Dosan Seodang" (lecture hall), which Toegye built and where he taught his students and where a tablet reading "Dosan Seowon", that was a gift from King Seonjo, still hangs, "Nongun Jeongsa," (dormitory for the students), and "Jeongyodang," (square lotus pond).

Dosan Seodang is composed of three parts; an exposed floor, a large room, and a kitchen. As Toegye was not wealthy, it took him four years to complete the construction of this building. A small signboard reading "Dosan Seowon", whose calligraphy Toegye he himself wrote, still hangings on one of the pillars at the end of Dosan Seodang.

Looking carefully at the Dosan Seodang floor, you will see an extension made of wooden planks. One of Toegye’s students, Jeonggu, recommended that Toegye extend the building's floor to accommodate more students. But although Toegye turned down Jeonggu's recommendation, Jeonggu and his fellow students hastily attached wooden planks to the floor while Toegye was out. Consequently, this part of the floor is not very elegant in construction and appearance.

The garden is small but Toegye dug a small square pond called "Jeongudang" in the eastern part of the compound where he raised lotus flowers, and planted apricot trees in the western part. Toegye used to call apricots, bamboos, chrysanthemums, and pine trees his "friends", but he loved apricot trees most.

Toegye Yi Hwang is represented on 1000 won note (Series 2006), the lowest domination in Korean Republic Won. On the observe view shows Toegye Yi Hwang with Seonggyungwan in the Present-day Sungkyunkwan University Seoul Campus while the reverse view of this note shows the painting entitled 'Yi Hwang at Dosan Seowon' by Korean Painter, Jeong Seon (1676–1759).

Confucian Confusions in Korea, Part XIII: Ojukheon Villa, Gangneung, Gangwon Province

Ojukheon Villa (Hanja: 烏竹軒) in 24 Yulgok Avenue 3139th Street/Yulgok-ro 3139beon-gil, Jukheon-dong 201-beonji, Gangneung City, Gangwon Province is an important house which shows the lifestyle of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). It is one of the oldest preserved Korean houses. In Mongryongsil room (목룡실) of Ojukheon, one of Korea's great men, Yulgok Yi I (1536-1584) was born. It is told that his mother Shin Saimdang (1504-1551), also a heroine in Korean history, had dream of a dragon before she gave birth to Yulgok. 

In remembrance of his birth, the Yulgok Festival is held annually at Ojukheon. There are many traditional materials and regional remains which are displayed in the private museum. You can find the painting of Yulgok in Munseongsa (the ancestral shrine of Yulgok). 

The Ojukheon House gets its name from the many black bamboo trees that surround it. It was here where Shin Saimdang  lived and where his son Yulgok (scholar and politician of the Joseon Period) was born. It was built during the time of the 11th King of Joseon, King Jungjong (1506~1544), and remains one of the oldest wooden residential buildings in Korea. It was designated as Korean Republic National Treasure No. 165 in 1963 and has been maintained by the descendants throughout the generations.

Inside Ojukheon there's the Yulgok Memorial Hall, Mongryongsil, where Yulgok was born, the household shrine called Munseongsa (문성사), and the entrances called Jagyeongmun (자경문), Sajumun (사주문) etc. There is also Eojaegak (어재각), which was built to preserve the inkstone and Gyeokmongyogyeol (격몽요결; a book written by Yulgok in 1577 for those beginning their studies), mementos of Yulgok. 

In the Yulgok Memorial Hall you can see the artwork of the talented Yulgok family. In addition, various Buddhist artwork, ceramics, pictures and common living appliances are on display in the Folk Tradition Hall, History Culture Hall, and the outdoor exhibition area. Near the Ojukheon Municipal Museum is Gyeongpo Beach and Seongyojang/선교장, the house of a high-class family of the Joseon Dynasty. At Gyeongpo Beach, you can relax sitting by the sea and the pine tree forest. You can also stop by the Chamsori Museum where about 1,600 phonographs from Edison's inventions to up-to-date audios are kept.

Beside Ojukheon, there is the Gangneung Municipal Museum where you can see relics from the prehistoric age and other various historical materials from different time periods.

Shin Saimdang is represented on the highest domination in Korean Republic Won - 50000 won. On the observe view shows Shin Saimdang with her painting entitled Chochungdo while the reverse view of this note shows the Pungjukdo another painting from Yulgok's wise mother. First woman to appear on this banknote and valued 10 times greater to her son, Yulgok Yi I. 

Yulgok Yi I is represented on 5000 won note (Series 2006). On the observe view shows Yulgok Yi I with his birthplace, Ojukheon while the reverse view of this note shows the Chochungdo which was made by Shin Saimdang.

Inside Gyeongbokgung, Part I: Gyeonghoeru Pavilion

Gyeonghoeru (Hanja: 慶會樓), also known as Gyeonghoeru Pavilion, is a hall used to hold important and special state banquets during the Joseon Dynasty. Located inside Gyeongbok Palace (Gyeongbokgung), it is registered as Korea's National Treasure No. 224 on January 8, 1985.

The first Gyeonghoeru was constructed in 1412, the 12th year of the reign of King Taejong Yi Bang-won, but was burned down during the Japanese Imjin Invasion in 1592. The present building was constructed in 1867 (the 4th year of the reign of Emperor Gojong-Gwangmu) on an island of an artificial, rectangular lake that is 128 m wide and 113 m across.

Constructed mainly of wood and stone, Gyeonghoeru has a form where the wooden structure of the building sits on top of 48 massive stone pillars, with wooden stairs connecting the second floor to the first floor. The outer perimeters of Gyeonghoeru are supported by square pillars while the inner columns are cylindrical; they were placed thus to represent the idea of Yin & Yang.

When Gyeonghoeru was originally built in 1412, these stone pillars were decorated with sculptures depicting dragons rising to the sky, but these details were not reproduced when the building was rebuilt in the 19th century. Three stone bridges connect the building to the palace grounds, and corners of the balustrades around the island are decorated with sculptures depicting twelve Zodiac animals.

Gyeonghoeru used to be represented on the 10000 won Korean banknotes a.k.a King Sejong's bill (1983-2002 Series).

Monday, 27 January 2014

Hallelujah Korea, Part V: Dapdong Cathedral, Incheon Jung-gu - Home of Diocese of Incheon

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Incheon (Hangul/Hanja/Latin: 천주교 인천교구/天主敎仁川敎區/Dioecesis Inchonensis) is a diocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic church in South Korea. Erected as an Apostolic Vicariate in 1961 the diocese became a diocese the next year. 

The seat of the diocese is Dapdong Cathedral of Saint Paul (답동성당/沓洞聖堂); which is located at 2 Woohyeon Avenue 50th Street/Woohyeonno 50beon-gil, Dapdong 3-1 beonji, Incheon Jung-gu. The diocese is suffragan to the Archdiocese of Seoul and covers mainland Incheon Metropole and its archipelago (Ganghwa and Ongjin Counties). The current Bishop for this diocese is Boniface Choi Ki-san.

The missionary activity of Roman Catholicism was started from 1889 in Jemulpo (old name for Incheon Metropole), when The Father William first arrived here from Paris Foreign Missionary of France. Dapdong Catholic Church built on the Dapdong hill is one of the oldest western modern building among the Korean catholic churches built in 1890. The cornerstone was first laid in July of 1890, and the first construction started from 1894 then completed in 1897. The church is in gothic style with flat floor. The external was redecorated in 1933 with a Romanesque style. The main steeple and other two steeples are making up beautiful and again exquisite look.

After the Korea-France treaty was ratified in 1887 (the 24th year of Emperor Gojong-Gwangmu), Father William, who belonged to the Societe des Missions Etrangeres de Paris. was appointed to the first father of Incheon parish on July 1, 1889. He devoted himself to constructing the building since he arranged a land on the hillside at Dapdong, Incheon and placed foundation stones in July, 1890. In 1895, Father Le veil, the successor of father William, completed the cathedral.

The Dapdong Cathedral has been on the place since Eugene Deneux, the 4th father of the cathedral, reconstructed the outside of the building by laying bricks. It has the style that placed a large tower in the middle of the building connecting slanting roofs at each side, and finally decorated small tower on the edge of roofs.

Hallelujah Korea, Part IV: Imdong Cathedral, Gwangju Buk-gu - Home of Archdiocese of Gwangju

The Catholic Archdiocese of Gwangju Metropole (Hangul/Hanja/Latin: 천주교 광주대교구/天主敎光州大敎區/Archidioecesis Kvangiuensis) is a particular church of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, one of the three Metropolitan sees of the Catholic Church in Korea. It was first created in 1937 as an Apostolic Vicariate to be administered by a Monsignor, and was raised to the Archdiocese in 1962. The first Korean was appointed to the see in 1954. The Archdiocese covers Gwangju Metropole and entire Southern Jeolla Province.

The Principal Cathedral for the Catholic Archdiocese of Gwangju Metropole is Imdong Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Hanja: 林洞聖堂); which is located at 23 Taebong Avenue/Taebongno, Imdong 5-11 beonji, Gwangju Buk-gu

In July 2009, Auxiliary Bishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong was named Coadjutor Archbishop by Pope Benedict XVI to succeed Archbishop Andrew Choi Chang-moo when Archbishop Choi resigns or dies. Archbishop Choi's resignation was accepted by Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday, March 25, 2010. He is succeeded immediately as Archbishop of Kwangju by Coadjutor Archbishop Joong.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Silla Superiority Complex, Part I: Poseokjeong Pavilion, Gyeongju, Northern Gyeongsang - Calling for the Last Supper, Silla Style

The Poseokjeong (Hanja: 鮑石亭; Pavilion of Stone Abalone) site near Mount Namsan in Baedong 454-3 beonji, Gyeongju City, Northern Gyeongsang Province, South Korea, was built in the Unified Silla period (668~935; from King Munmu the Great to King Gyeongsun). The site once featured a royal pavilion–said to have been the most beautiful royal villa of the time—, but the only remains today is a granite water feature. This abalone-shaped watercourse highlights the importance of water in traditional Korean gardens. The "Poseokjeong" consists of several hand-carved stone pieces. These pieces create very geometric shape and it sloped slightly for the smooth water flow. At that time, people gathered around the Poseokjeong. They floated their cups (for alcohol) and when the cup stops at a person, he should drink and recite a poem.

During banquets in the last days of the Unified Silla kingdom, the king's official and noble guests would sit along the watercourse, chatting and reciting poetry, engaged in drinking games. One of the guests would start by enunciating a line of poetry, challenge one of the other guests to compose an appropriate second line while floating of cup wine in the water. Due to the variety of curves in the channel, the speed the wine cups transversed the course was influenced by the shape of the cup, rate of the water flow and the level of the wine in the cup. Should the cup of wine reach the guest before he could submit a suitable subsequent line he must consume that entire cup of wine and try again, and again, until the task was accomplished.

The site has an area of 7,432 m²/4.6 mi². There are no records of when Poseokjeong was built, but the stone channel is known to have been created in the time of Unified Silla. It was designated as historic site No.1 in 1963. Poseokjeong is named after the abalone-shaped water feature. The feature itself is about 10.3 m/11.2 yd in length and 5 m/5.4 yd in width, and consists of 63 blocks of granite. These blocks are on average 26 cm/10.2 in deep and 35 cm/13.8 in wide. Zelkova, pine and bamboo trees preserve a calm atmosphere at Poseokjeong today, but the garden was tended differently at the time. Some of the trees are several hundred years old.

When still in use, the watercourse is thought to have used water from the nearby stream in the Namsan valley. The water of the Namsan valley was appreciated by the Silla people for its purity and cleanliness. A stone turtle once spewed the water, but this feature does not remain today.

A legend is linked with Poseokjeong. According to this legend, the spirit of Namsan attended a party of 49th Monarch of Silla Kingdom, King Heongang. The king danced after the god, which according to the legend started a Silla dance known as eomu sansinmu/어무산신무 (King Dances, God Dances).

King Gyeong-ae, the 55th Monarch of Silla (924-927) was killed at Poseokjeong, while indulging in his pleasures here, by Gyeon Hwon of HuBaekje (Later Baekje). For that reason, Poseokjeong stands symbolically for the demise of the Silla kingdom during the reign of King Gyeongsun.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Hallelujah Korea, Part III: Myeongdong Cathedral, Seoul Jung-gu - The Second Oldest Catholic Church in Seoul

The Cathedral Church of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception also known as Myeongdong Cathedral (Hanja: 明洞聖堂), is a prominent Latin-rite Roman Catholic church, located at 74 Myeongdong Drive/Myeongdong-gil, Myeongdong 2-ga 1-1 beonji, Seoul Jung-gu, South Korea. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Seoul (천주교 서울대교구/天主敎서울大敎區/Archidioecesis Seulum), Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, the highest Catholic prelate in the country.

The church was originally called the Jonghyeon Cathedral (종현성당, 鐘峴聖堂), and later as simply The Catholic Church (천주교회 天主敎會) during the Japanese occupation. After the Gwangbokjeol, the name was later changed to the Cathedral Church of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception and was colloquially referred to by its congregants as the Myeongdong Cathedral - which is bestowed from the Financial Precinct of Myeongdong.

Dedicated in honor of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, the principal patroness of Korea and the Korean people, the cathedral is a community landmark and a notable symbol of Catholicism in Korea. The cathedral church is one of the earliest and most notable examples of Gothic Revival architecture in Korea.

The original church was constructed with twenty types of locally fired red and gray bricks. The main building rises to 23m high, while the steeple, which contains a clock, rises to 45m. It was designated korean Republic National Historic Site #258 on November 22nd, 1977.

The interior of the church is ornately decorated with religious artwork. Stained glass windows depict the Nativity of Jesus and Adoration of the Magi, Jesus with the Twelve Apostles, and the Fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary. The windows were restored to their original condition in 1982 by artist Lee Nam-gyu.

The crypt of the cathedral lies directly beneath the main altar. The crypt contains the relics of nine Korean Church martyrs. Two of the martyrs' identities are unknown. The remaining five are Bishop Laurent-Joseph-Marius Imbert (the second Bishop of the Church in Korea), Father Maubant, Father Chastan Anthony Kim Sung-woo, and Francis Choi Gunghwan. A special pilgrimage Holy Mass takes place every weekday morning in the Crypt Chapel.

On the 50th anniversary of the consecration of the church in 1948, a French statue of Our Lady of Lourdes bearing the title “the Immaculate Conception” was erected behind the church property. On August 27, 1960, Archbishop Paul Roh Ki-nam consecrated the grotto and dedicated it towards Korean national peace.

Christianity was heavily persecuted in Joseon-era Korea. Still, interest in it grew as an academic novelty, notably among members of the Silhak (실학; "practical learning") school, attracted to what they saw as its egalitarian values. Catholicism gained ground as a belief in the 19th century through the work of French missionaries, the persecutions of whom led to an 1866 French expedition.

After the Joseon dynasty concluded a commercial treaty with United States in 1882, Jean M. Blanc, Bishop of Korea, sought land to build a mission. Under the name Kim Gamilo, he acquired a vacant lot on Jonghyeon, meaning "Bell Hill"; due to its proximity to a temple, Koreans had declined to build there. An education center was constructed, and plans to build a church placed under the supervision of French priest Eugene Coste at the conclusion of a commercial treaty between Korea and France in 1887.

Emperor Gojong-Gwangmu held the ceremony of laying the first stone on August 5, 1892. Construction cost around US$60,000, supported by the Paris Foreign Missions Society. Because of the First Sino-Japanese War, however, and the subsequent death of Fr. Coste, the inauguration of the cathedral was postponed for several years. On May 29, 1898, it was finally dedicated and consecrated to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. At its construction, it was the largest building in Seoul.

In 1900, the relics of the Korean Martyrs who died in the 1866 persecution were moved to its crypt from the seminary in Saenamteo Cathedral, Seoul Yongsan-gu.

The Roman Catholic clergy were among the leading critics of South Korea's military rule in the 1970s and 1980s, and Myeongdong Cathedral became a center of Minjung political and labor protest as well as a sanctuary for the protesters; indeed, it was nicknamed the "Mecca" of pro-democracy activists. Catholic and future President Kim Dae-jung held a rally at the cathedral in 1976 to demand the resignation of President Park Chung Hee, and some 600 student-led protesters staged a hunger strike inside in 1987 after the torture and death of university student Park Jong-chol.

The cathedral remains a popular spot for protesters, due to the government's previous disinclination to arrest protesters inside church property. In 2000, the cathedral attempted to officially ban protesters who did not have prior approval after a protest of telecommunications labor unions beat female churchgoers and vandalized church property.

Amidst Korean suspicion and persecution of Christianity at the time, Pope Gregory XVI established the first Apostolic Vicariate in Seoul, Korea in 1831. The community initially survived without the help of foreign Catholic priests, who were unable to come due to anti-Catholic persecutions earlier that year. According to Cardinal Nicolas Cheong Jin-suk, in 1841, Pope Gregory XVI solemnly dedicated the Catholic Church in Korea to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title Immaculate Virgin. Pope Gregory XVI officially declared the Immaculate Conception as the Patroness of Korea and the Korean people in 1864. The church became a planned structural building from this patronage invoked by the pontiff thirty years later in 1894.

On May 6, 1984, Pope John Paul II reaffirmed the Blessed Virgin as the patroness of the Cathedral and the Republic of Korea. In his 1984 Apostolic Letter, Pope John Paul II noted that Bishop Imbert (Embert) Bum first consecrated Korea to the Immaculate Conception in 1837, followed by Bishop Jean Joseph Ferréol in 1846 along with Saint Joseph as its co-patron. According to the papal brief, a similar re-dedication of patronage to the Immaculate Conception was invoked on by the French Bishop Gustave Charles Mutel (1854–1933) on May 29, 1898.

This cathedral is accessible by using KORAIL-Seoul Metro Line 4 to Station 424: Myeongdong Station, KORAIL-Seoul Metro Line 3 to Station 330: Euljiro 3-ga Station or Seoul Metro Line 2 by stopping either Station 202: Euljiro 1-ga Station (Euljiroipgu-yeok/을지로입구역/乙支路入口驛 - Entrance to Eulji Avenue) or Station 203: Euljiro 3-ga Station (Transit to KORAIL-Seoul Metro Line 3).

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Seoul-Hanyang Fortress: Covering the Ancient Capital Hanseong from any threats.

Ageha during her old days: Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga Ore de ver. (Font used: SeoulNamsan)
The Seoul-Hanyang Fortress wall (Hanja/Romanization: 漢陽都城 or 서울城郭/Hanyang Doseong or Seoul Seonggwak) was built in 1397 as protection from invaders and show the boundaries of the city, surrounding Hanyang (한양/漢陽; the old name for Seoul) in the Joseon Dynasty. At that time, it was called Hanseong (한성/漢城). The fortress wall surrounds along three districts in Seoul: Seoul Jung-gu, Seongbuk-gu and Jongno-gu.

The wall stretches 18.2km but most of it has been destroyed over the years during the Japanese Imjin Invasion (1592~1598) and Korean War (1950~1953). The Korean Republic Government under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST/문화체육관광부/文化體育觀光部/Munhwa Cheyuk GwanGwang-bu) is currently trying to restore most of the wall.

In 1395, just five years after King Taejo Yi Seong-gye founded the Joseon Dynasty, he established a government office which is called Doseong Chukjo Dogam (도성축조도감/都城築造都監) to build a castle to defend Seoul, and he ordered Jeong Do-jeon to search for and measure a site.

On January 1, 1396 (by the lunar calendar), King Taejo Yi Seong-gye held the groundbreaking ceremony. 197,400 young men were placed under requisition over 2 years and completed building the castle 98 days after the war along the mountains Bugaksan, Naksan, Namsan, and Inwangsan. The wall contained eight gates, all of which were originally constructed between 1396 and 1398.

The original walls, built in the late 14th century were constructed of medium-sized round stones held together by mud. The next major expansion, which took place during King Sejong the Great’s reign in the mid 15th century, are marked by rectangular stones closely fit together. Another major restoration in 1704 was when King Sukjong (19th Monarch of Joseon Dynasty) rebuilt sections of the wall using large, uniform stone slabs joined so tightly that even a sheet of paper can’t fit in-between.

Present-day Ageha: Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai ver. (Font used: SeoulHangang)
Extract from the Korea Times: Seoul to restore old Joseon fortress by 2015, written by Kim Rahn (May 7th 2012, 1922 KST [+9])
Seoul will restore all the walls surrounding the old capital of the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910) by 2015 under a plan to make the 600-year-old fortress a worldwide-recognized cultural heritage.

To make the restorations as close to the original form as possible, the city government will try to open or move private properties or military facilities currently situated on the original site, including the mayor’s official residence.

Mayor Park Won-soon announced the scheme to link severed sections of the 18.6-kilometer walls named “Hanyang Castle a.k.a Hanyang Doseong” where Hanyang is the old name of the Joseon capital. 

“We’ll connect all the sections by 2015. For parts where the wall cannot be set up because of roads or buildings, we’ll put a mark indicating the fortress. We’ll make the walls the most charming walking course for citizens and tourist course for foreign visitors,” Park said.

The city is also hoping to have the walls listed as a UNESCO Cultural Heritage by 2015. The fortress was put on the tentative list as a world heritage on April 20.

Many parts of the fortress were destroyed when roads and buildings were built during Japanese colonial rule and following the modernization of the city. Of the total sections, 12.3 kilometers have been restored since 1975.

The city will build fortress-shaped overpasses for sections where streets are covering the original site, while putting specific paving blocks for sections where the land is privately owned or buildings stand.

It will also seek cooperation from private and military facilities in mountainous areas which cut the walls stretching along the ridges, so that the facilities will open their property to people or move. “I’ll talk about the issue with the U.S. Embassy as well because some U.S. military facilities are blocking the fortress site,” Park said.

Included in the plan is the mayor’s residence, located on the hillside in Hyehwa-dong. Parts of the residence are covering about an 86-meter section of the fortress, and the city plans to demolish them.

“I plan to move by next March, maybe to one of the city-owned buildings. We may be able to use the remaining parts of the residence as a fortress-related museum or an information center for visitors,” Park said.

The city will spend some 32.7 billion won by 2015 on the project.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Thanks for 20K Hits!

Hayate's Gratitude speech in Gyeongsang Dialect. King Sejong may be pleased with this girl.
First of all, I would like to thank you for supporting this blog for the recent two years. My sacrifice on making this blog finally comes to fruition. I also would like to thank you to 1900+ native Korean viewers who frequently visited my blog in order to sharpen their English skills, even though I speak broken English (MangLish - Malaysian English, of course....). 

I hope that you can support my blog anytime, anywhere you want. 

I-man beonjjae Blog Bangmun-eul kamsa deurimnida.  

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Tomb of Grand Prince Gwangpyeong, Seoul Gangnam-gu: We visit the tomb of King Sejong's fifth son after blackmailing(?) Kiriha.

Aha. This is the person behind the previous blog entry. We have blackmailed her at the first place. Muahahahahaha!!!
Oh hush, cut it.  
Out of the remaining royal tombs in and around Seoul, Tomb of Grand Prince Gwangpyeong (Hanja: 廣平大君墓域) in 20 Gwangpyeong Avenue 31st Street/Gwangpyeongno 31-gil, Suseo-dong san 10-1 beonji, Seoul Gangnam-gu was originally the most well maintained making it valuable in understanding the framework of a royal tomb and the culture of the Joseon Dynasty. It’s scale is rather bigger than that of a prince because it is a royal cemetery where Grand Prince Gwangpyeong and his wife, Grand Princess Yeongga of Pyeongsan Shin Clan, around 700 tombs of his family, and the ancient house of the head families are well maintained.

Grand Prince Gwangpyeong Yi Yeo (Hangul/Hanja: 광평대군 이여/廣平大君李璵) was the fifth prince of King Sejong the Great - the forefather of Hangul and Queen Soheon of Cheongsong Shim Clan. He was educated, and talented in calligraphy and Korean polo. He was known to be a man of wonderful disposition and countenance. There are many theories regarding the prince's sudden death, either he spontaneously died from a skin disease (i.e: psoriasis, leprosy or skin cancer) or that he choked to death on a fish scale are two of the most well-known opinions.

Grand Prince Gwangpyeong was just 20 years old when he died, but fortunately he was survived by his five month old son, Prince Yeongsun. However, he also passed away when he was 26 years old. Prince Yeongsun himself had three sons, and they produce many prosperous offspring, and the most descendants out of the entire royal family.

Many people think that Gangnam-gu is a cutting edge district in Seoul thoroughly entrenched in modern culture and Gangnam Style. Nevertheless, they are surprised when they see the Tomb of Grand Prince Gwangpyeong.

When approaching the tombs, one will see traditional Korean houses like the ones often seen in movies. These were the domiciles of the descendants of Grand Prince Gwangpyeong, named ‘Pilgyeongjae/필경재’. They are more than 500 years old, and one can see both the past and present of Gangnam.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Korea's NSFW, Part III: Censorship in Korea!

This part is the most sensitive issue that covers Korean Peninsula which is the CENSORSHIP. Censorship in Korea may biased on both countries under one roof but different ideologies. Oh yeah, I include the erotic picture of Kiriha Kuze f-ed with Kouhei Hasekura. Unfortunately, I censored the boobies by using Adobe Photoshop CS6 and p-y by using my wallet as a convenient censor. This picture I have taken in my mate's house - by using my classmate's lappie. Well... I have violated someone's laptop. Don't report to the Google Blogger, please.... I beg you, viewers.

"Oh yeah! That feelsh sho goooood!" Kiriha moans erotically.

Daehan Minguk's Censorship!
Censorship in South Korea a.k.a Republic of Korea is limited by laws that provide for freedom of speech and the press which the government generally respects in practice. Under the National Security Law, the government may limit the expression of ideas that praise or incite the activities of antistate individuals or groups. South Korea ranked 44th out of 179 on the 2011-2012 Press Freedom Index from Reporters Without Borders (a lower ranking number indicates more press freedom).

South Korea has one of the freest media environments in Asia; however, since the inauguration of President Lee Myung-bak in 2008, South Korea has experienced a noticeable decline in freedom of expression for both journalists and the general public. South Korea's status in the 2011 Freedom of the Press report from Freedom House declined from "Free" to "Partly Free" reflecting an increase in official censorship and government attempts to influence news and information content.

There is an active independent media that expresses a wide variety of views, generally without restriction. Under the National Security Law, the government may limit the expression of ideas that praise or incite the activities of antistate individuals or groups. The law forbids citizens from reading books published in North Korea.

On March 21, the UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression issued a report on his May 2010 visit to South Korea. While laudatory of progress made, the report also expressed concern about increased restrictions on freedom of expression and specifically cited as concerns laws broadly making defamation a crime (which the rapporteur labeled as “…inherently harsh and [having a] disproportionate chilling effect…”) and providing the potential for controlling the dissemination of election or candidate information and banning books.

The Constitutional Court of Korea upheld the Ministry of National Defense's order to allow the banning of certain books such as Chang Ha-Joon's Bad Samaritans and Hans-Peter Martin's The Global Trap from soldiers' hands on October 2010, despite a petition made by a group of military judicial officers protesting against the order in 2008. The South Korean military cracked down on soldiers who have "critical apps" installed in their smartphones; allegedly marking the famous South Korean podcast, Naneun Ggomsuda, as anti-government content.

The nation of South Korea is a world leader in Internet and broadband penetration, but its citizens do not have access to free and unfiltered Internet. South Korea’s government maintains a broad-ranging approach toward the regulation of specific online content and imposes a substantial level of censorship on election-related discourse and on a large number of websites that the government deems subversive or socially harmful. Such policies are particularly pronounced with regard to anonymity on the Internet.

In 2011 the OpenNet Initiative classified Internet censorship in South Korea as pervasive in the conflict/security area, as selective in the social area, and found no evidence of filtering in the political or Internet tools areas. In 2011 South Korea was included on Reporters Without Borders list of countries Under Surveillance. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has criticized the Korea Communications Standards Commission for proposing censorship of the blog of an internet free speech activist.

In September 2004, North Korea launched the Kim Il-sung Open University website. Also, South Korea has banned at least 31 sites considered sympathetic to North Korea through the use of IP blocking. A man who praised North Korea on Twitter was arrested.

In 2007, numerous bloggers were censored, arrested, and their posts deleted by police for expressing criticism of, or even support for, certain presidential candidates. Subsequently in 2008, just before a new presidential election, new legislation that required all major internet portal sites to require identity verification of their users was put into effect.

"Indecent" websites, such as those offering unrated games, any kind of pornography (not only child pornography), and gambling, are also blocked. Attempts to access these sites are automatically redirected to the warning page showing "This site is legally blocked by the government regulations." Search engines are required to verify age for some keywords deemed "inappropriate" for minors.

In November 2010, a woman was sentenced to two years in prison for the possession of MP3s of instrumental music, on the grounds that the titles constituted praise of North Korea, notwithstanding the actual music's lack of lyrics. Songs that "stimulates sex desire or [are] sexually explicit to youth", "urges violence or crime to youth", or "glamorizes violence such as rape, and drugs" are classified as a "medium offensive to youth" by the Government Youth Commission.

The Korea Communications Commission is a government agency that regulates TV, radio, and the Internet within South Korea. The National Security Law forbids citizens from listening to North Korean radio programs in their homes if the government determines that the action endangers national security or the basic order of democracy. These prohibitions are rarely enforced and viewing North Korean satellite telecasts in private homes is legal.

The Lee Myung-bak government has been accused of extending its influence over the broadcast media by appointing former presidential aides and advisers to key positions at major media companies over the objections of journalists who sought to maintain those broadcasters’ editorial independence. Under the Lee administration, approximately 160 journalists have been penalized for writing critical reports about government policies.

Protests among workers in Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation, Korean Broadcasting System, and YTN in early 2012 have raised concerns about the biased pro-Lee Myung-bak government media practices, such as the on-going usage of censorship, to the South Korean public.

Censorship of Japanese media in South Korea has been relaxed significantly since the 1990s, but as of 2012 the terrestrial broadcast of Japanese television or music remains illegal.

Film censorship in South Korea can be split into two major periods, the period of dictatorships and the period of heavy surveillance by the new military regime. According to the Internet Movie Database, there are no currently-banned films in South Korea.

In recent years, sexual scenes have been a major issue that pits filmmakers against the Korea Media Rating Board. Pubic hair and male or female genitalia are disallowed on the screen, unless they are digitally blurred. In rare cases extreme violence, obscene language, or certain portrayals of drug use may also be an issue. Korea has a five level rating systems; G (all), PG-12 (12-year+), PG-15 (15-year+), PG-18 (teenager restricted), and Restricted.

Joseon Inmin Gonghwaguk's Censorship!
North Korea (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea) has a high degree of censorship and no de facto freedom of the press. Censorship in North Korea is very pervasive and strictly enforced by the government. It is routinely at the bottom of the World Press Freedom Index Rankings published annually by Reporters Without Borders. From 2007 to 2013 North Korea has been listed second last of the 177 countries (Eritrea is last), and from 2002 through 2006 it was listed the worst in the world. All media outlets are strictly owned and controlled by the North Korean government. As such, all media in North Korea gets its news from the Korean Central News Agency. The media dedicates a large portion of its resources toward political propaganda and promoting the personality cult of Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-il, and Kim Jong-un.

Radio or television sets, which can be bought in North Korea, are preset to receive only the government frequencies and sealed with a label to prevent tampering with the equipment. It is a serious criminal offence to manipulate the sets and receive radio or television broadcasts from outside North Korea. In a party campaign in 2003, the head of each party cell in neighborhoods and villages received instructions to verify the seals on all radio sets.

"A Quiet Opening: North Koreans in a Changing Media Environment" a study commissioned by the U.S. State Department and conducted by InterMedia and released May 10, 2012 shows that despite extremely strict regulations and draconian penalties North Koreans, particularly elite elements, have increasing access to news and other media outside the state-controlled media authorized by the government. While access to the internet is tightly controlled, radio and DVDs are common media accessed, and in border areas, television.

In 2006, Reporters Without Borders (Julien Pain, head of the Internet desk at Reporters Without Borders) described North Korea as the world’s worst Internet black hole in its list of the top 13 Internet enemies. Internet access is illegal in North Korea. Only a very few government officials have access to the internet through a secret rented North Korean-Chinese connection. The rest of the citizens have access to the country's own internet, called Kwangmyong.

Dark Memoirs of Gwangju Massacre, Part IV: 5.18 Memorial Park, Gwangju Seo-gu

Just as the government made a 330,000 sq m park for the people in Sang-Mu New Downtown Area Development District with the transference of Sangmudae in 1995, a 208,000 sq m May 18 Memorial Park was made to repair reputation and to develop a valuable place for learning. It is located at 61 Sangmu Democratic Avenue/SangmuMinju-ro, Ssangchon 1-dong (Sangmu 1-dong) 1268-beonji, Gwangju Seo-gu.

In the May 18 Memorial Park, resting places and park facilities related to May 18th, such as memorial cultural hall, the memorial space for the dead, Owol-ru (May Pavilion), and so on, have an important role as a place of development in preparation of the 21st century. 

Owol-ru Pavilion (Hanja: 五月樓) inside 5.18 Memorial Park

May 18 Memorial Cultural Hall in particular is a center for human rights, and has the function of educating about human rights to inherit and develop a noble mind in the people. In the park there is Mugaksa temple, founded in Sangmudae in 1972, and Dangunjeon Hall, which has the spirit of the humanitarianism. 

This park is accessible by using Gwangju Metro Line 1 to Station 112: Uncheon Station (Entrance to Honam University)/운천역 (호남대입구)/雲泉驛 (湖南大入口).

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Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Allah Kore Cumhuriyeti'yi Korusun, Part VIII: Korean Halal Gastrology 101 - THINK BEFORE YOU EAT.

As a Muslim, I have a responsibility to share with Muslims who desire to go to Korea for their vacation. Okay my fellow Muslim explorers, let's roll.

Many Korean dishes are made with pork, and it is customary in Korea to drink liquor during or after a meal. This may be offensive to Muslims, who do not eat pork and abstain from drinking liquor. In the past, some Muslims brought canned or packaged instants food with them on their trips to Korea. To make their stay in Korea more comfortable, below is a list of restaurants serving Middle Eastern food. Masjids in Korea (e.g: Seoul, Anyang, Ansan, Gwangju-Gyeonggi, Daegu, Busan, Jeonju and Jeju) are also provided for worship services.

In Islam, the blood of dead animals, pork, meat of carnivorous animals, and meat not properly slaughtered or slaughtered in any name other than Allah are prohibited. Even among herbivorous animals and birds, only halal meat (slaughtered properly in the Islamic way) is allowed. Therefore, Muslims may experience difficulties finding proper food when visiting Korea.

Feel free to surf Halal Korea for some information about Halal foods and beverages by some Gastronomical Chaebols.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Confucian Confusions in Korea + Namo Palbeon Daebosal, Part XII: Pyochungsa-Pyochung Seowon, Miryang, Southern Gyeongsang

Pyochungsa (Hanja: 表忠寺), originally Jungnimsa (죽림사/竹林寺), is a Korean Buddhist temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. It stands on the slopes of Mount Jaeyak near Mount Cheonhwang in the Yeongnam Alps in Gucheon-ri, Danjang-myeon, Miryang, Southern Gyeongsang Province, South Korea.

Pyochungsa was first established by Wonhyo in 654 under the name "Jungnimsa." It was rebuilt at its present location by Hwangmyeon in 857, in the reign of the Silla king Heungdeok. In the Goryeo period, the National Preceptor Iryeon gathered more than a thousand monks there.

After Hideyoshi's invasions of Korea in the late 16th century (1592 Imjin Invasion), the temple was renamed "Pyochungsa" (temple of fidelity displayed) in honor of Songun Yu Jeong, the monk who led various righteous armies against the Japanese. The Pyochung Seowon (表忠書院), the only seowon located within the grounds of a Buddhist temple, was also constructed there in Songun's memory.

Due to its rich history and location in the Yeongnam Alps, Pyochungsa is a leading tourist attraction of Miryang. The temple is home to an incense burner which is designated National treasure of South Korea no. 75. In addition, the entire temple has been designated as Southern Gyeongsang Provincial Monument no. 17.

Namo Palbeon Daebosal, Part XI: Bongeunsa, Seoul Gangnam-gu

Bongeunsa (Hanja: 奉恩寺) is a Buddhist temple located in Samseong-dong, Seoul Gangnam-gu, South Korea. It was founded in 794 during the reign of King Wonseong of Silla by the monk Yeonhee (Hangul: 연희), then the highest ranking monk of Silla, and originally named Gyeonseongsa (Hangul: 견성사; hanja: 見性寺). It is located on the slope of Mount Sudo, across the street from the COEX Mall.

During the Joseon Dynasty, Buddhism in Korea was severely repressed. However, Bongeunsa was reconstructed in 1498 under the patronage of a Joseon Queen. With the support of Queen Munjeong, who revived Buddhism in Korea for a short time in the mid-16th century, it became the main temple of the Korean Seon (Zen) sect of Buddhism from 1551 through 1936. Monk Bo-wu was appointed head of the temple in 1548 by Queen Munjeong but was killed soon afterwards as the anti-Buddhist factions regained dominance in Korea towards the end of Queen Munjeong's rule. From 1552-1564 it was the center of the Buddhist National Exam.

A fire in 1939 destroyed most of the buildings, and other parts of the temple were destroyed during the Korean War. Fortunately, one of the very few halls which escaped destruction during the Korean War continues to hold the woodblock carvings of the Flower Garland Sutra, completed in 1855 by monk Young-ki The temple has undergone many repairs and renovations, and is now once again a large, thriving complex. The reconstruction efforts are being waged even today.

Bongeunsa was made one of Korea's 14 major temples in 1902. During the Japanese occupation the temple became the headquarters of 80 smaller Buddhist temples around Seoul. In 1922 and 1929, the head monk Cheong-ho saved over 700 people from drowning in the Han river, an act that inspired a monument of recognition. After colonial rule Bongeunsa became subordinate to the Jogye order, the largest Buddhist sect in Korea.

The temple is a notable tourist destination, offering "Temple Stay Program" in which visitors can lead the life of a monk for a few hours. The area on the main street from the Temple to Park Hyatt Hotel, has a large concentration of vegetarian and other upscale restaurants that serve Korean cuisine with a modern twist.