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

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Bridges in Seoul, Part XV: Wonhyo Bridge - A Bridge which is commemorated to the Most Venerable Monk during Silla Period

Wonhyo Bridge (Hanja: 元曉大橋) is a bridge crosses Han river, connecting from Wonhyoro 4-ga Precinct, Seoul Yongsan-gu to Yeouido Island in Seoul Yeongdeungpo-gu. The bridge with main span of 1.12km (0.7 miles) is bestowed from the Most Venerable Buddhist Monk Wonhyo (617-686), a monk who spreading Buddhism teachings throughout Korean Peninsula during Post-Sillan Unification Period. The principal avenue for this bridge is Cheongpa Avenue (청파로/Cheongpa-ro). It was the 13th bridge to be built on the Han River.

The bridge is constructed in July 1978 and completed in October 27th 1981. A German Construction Firm, DYWIDAG-Systems International (formerly known as Dyckerhoff und Widmann Aktien Gesellschaft) with its local partner, Donga Construction delivered this extraordinary project through a concession contract including design and construction of the bridge. It is made of pre-stressed concrete components.

A film which is known as The Host (괴물) is taken in this bridge where Park Gang-du (acted by Song Kang-ho) is delivering food to some customers, he sees a crowd along the Han River. They witness a huge creature hanging from the Wonhyo Bridge, which then jumps into the water. At first, it seems as though the creature has swum away, encouraging the public to bait it back with food. 

Moments later, the creature rises out of the river and runs amok. After the creature causes chaos and kills a number of people, Gang-du and an American man attempt to kill the creature with a metal pole. They succeed only in angering it; the American is seriously injured, and the creature starts pursuing Gang-du. Gang-du grabs the hand of a girl whom he believes to be Park Hyun-seo (Go Ah-sung) and starts to flee. When he realizes he isn't holding Hyun-seo, he turns to see the creature running towards her. The creature then snatches Hyun-seo and dives back into the river.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Bridges in Seoul, Part XIV: Dongho Bridge, KORAIL-Seoul Metro Line 3 in the middle of the bridge

Dongho Bridge (Hanja: 東湖大橋) is a cantilever bridge over the Han River; connecting from Oksu-dong, Seoul Seongdong-gu to Apgujeong-dong, Seoul Gangnam-gu. The principal avenue of this bridge is Dongho Avenue (Dongho-ro/동호로/東湖路). KORAIL-Seoul Metro Line 3 lies at the center of the bridge under the cantilever truss; connects from Station 335: Oksu (Interchange to KORAIL Gyeongui-JungAng Line - Station K113) to Station 336: Apgujeong.

It is the 15th bridge to be built on Han River. The construction of the bridge commenced in June 1980 and opened for traffic in February 2nd 1985. The bridge with the span of 1.1km (0.68 miles) reserved 11m width for railway tracks and 10.5m width each for double carriageway road tracks.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Inside Gyeongbokgung, Part X: Gonnyeonghap Chamber - Eulmi Incident, Take Two (extract from Donga Ilbo)

On Oct. 8, 1895, unidentified assailants jumped over the wall of Seoul’s Gyeongbok Palace at 5:30 a.m. and opened the gate Gwanghwamun. This allowed dozens of additional assailants to enter. They rushed to Geoncheonggung Residence at the palace’s northern end; the residence of the First Emperor of the Korean Empire Emperor Gojong-Gwangmu, and Gonnyeonghap Chamber (곤녕합/坤寧閤), the residence of Empress Myeongseong where the assailants wanted to assassinate the empress. 

The king and court ladies were at a loss as the assailants loudly announced Prince Regent Heungseon Daewon-gun’s appearance at the palace. By taking advantage of the confusion, the assailants intruded into Gonnyeonghap. King Gojong blocked them from reaching the floor of his residence, but they pushed him down.

At that moment, the queen and court ladies appeared at the corridor linked to Jangandang. When they reached the floor through a narrow corridor, one of the assailants grabbed the queen by the back of her neck. He took her to the backyard and killed her with a sword.

The man who wielded the sword was identified as Taketaro Miyamoto, a second lieutenant of the Japanese Army. This means the Japanese military, which took orders from its emperor, ordered the assassination of the empress. Her murder is also known as the Eulmi Incident. The assailants moved the empress' body to Okhoru at Gonnyeonghap to confirm her identity with her picture and cremate the body at Noksan near Gonnyeonghap.

Korean-Japanese historian Kim Moon-ja wrote in her book “The Murder of the Joseon Queen and the Japanese People” that Daebonyeong, the Japanese army headquarters in Korea, ordered her murder according to Japanese military documents. Though eight Japanese army officers took the lead in the assassination, the Japanese government called her murder an act committed by merchants or wanderers.

Japanese aggression toward Korea dates back to 1875, the year of the Unyo-ho (Unyo-maru) Incident, or an armed encounter between the Joseon Dynasty and Japan in the vicinity of Ganghwa Island, Incheon Metropole. After setting up Meiji as the emperor, Japanese reformers established a navy and started an armed conflict by sending the naval vessel Unyo into Korean waters following a similar incident in Taiwan in 1874.

In 2002, the initial report by the ship’s captain, which had been buried deep in a document library at Japan’s Defense Agency, was made public both in Seoul and Tokyo at the same time through a thesis. The report said what has been known so far about the incident is a lie.

In contrast to what Japan argued, the ship did not fly the Japanese flag. So the report saying the Joseon artillery corps fired at the ship was legitimate. Then Japan’s Foreign Ministry called in the captain and had him manipulate the report in preparation for scrutiny of the incident by western diplomats in Tokyo. The fake report said the ship entered Korean waters with its national flag flying to secure water on its way to Liaoning, China.

For its war with China, Japan reformed its draft system in 1889 and drastically expanded its number of soldiers from 30,000 to 360,000. In the name of suppressing a peasant’s uprising in Korea in the summer of 1894, Japan dispatched its troops there. Some 8,000 Japanese soldiers, however, headed toward Seoul, not Jeonju, Northern Jeolla Province, where the uprising (Donghak Peasant Revolution) took place. This was to urge the Korean government to reform as a fundamental solution to the uprising.

The Korean government refused, however. Japan repeatedly lobbied Emperor Gojong, but when no progress was made, Japanese soldiers surrounded Gyeongbok Palace at midnight. Dozens of them forced their way into the palace and nearly captured the emperor.

When Japan dispatched its troops on June 5, 1894, it set up Daebonyeong to prepare for war with China. In April 1895, Japan won the Sino-Japanese War but did not withdraw its troops from Korea after the conflict ended. Certain Japanese military leaders wanted to leave a military force in Korea to maintain electrical lines, but Emperor Gojong and the empress demanded an outright withdrawal. 

To this, Daebonyeong appointed Lt. Gen. Goro Miura as the Japanese minister to Joseon and ordered him to murder the empress. A series of events before and after the assassination was clearly perpetrated by the Japanese military. The weakening of imperial power in Korea led to the country’s oppressive colonization by Japan for 35 years (1910-1945).

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Skull, HaHa and Kantai Collection Collaboration - Busan Vacance: Conclusion - picture lyrics with a video and some romanization!

Korean Romanization:
Oneulbam-en Bunmyeonghi unmyeongjeog-in mannam-i sijak doel geot gat-eunde
Jamsiman eoje gomin da jeob-eo no-go byeor-eul boreo tteonayo
Baby- Eojetbam ur-eonnayo?? Du nun bu-eo-innayo
Nae son jab-ayo. Hanbeonman... ttak hanbeonman. Oh~ Nareul mid-eoyo.

Hwajang-eun anhaedo dwae ssaeng-eollo. Menteu-neun dalkomhaedo ssen-geollo
Ni yeojachin-gudeuldo nae namjachin-gudeuldo don geokjeonghaji malgo da bulleo
Ippeo neon Reggae, Drum jeoldae huhoe eomneun geol
Geudaega wonhaneun geos-imyeon mwodeunji haejulge oneulbam RAH-

Let’s Go~
Everybody come to Haeundae (Oh, Oh)
Everybody come to Gwangalli (Oh, Oh)
Everybody come to Dongbaek-seom (Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh)
Busan Vacance

Everybody come to Nampo-dong (Oh, Oh)
Everybody come to Jagalchi Sijang (Oh, Oh)
Oh, We rocking with the Agassi
Oh, we rock Oh, we rock rock
Busan Vacance

Gir-eul ir-eo hemael ttae, byeor-i boiji an-eul ttae haejul geos-eun eopjiman.
Ajikdo kkeungkkeungdaemyeo geokjeonghaneun geudae. I norae bulleoyo.

Sseulde-eomneun saenggakdeur-eun hajima. Urineun seoro-ege majimak.
Gakkeumssik dareun yeoja nungir-i gado nae ma-eum-eun hangsang neonikka.

Ippeo neon Reggae, Drum jeoldae huhoe eomneun geol
Geudaega wonhaneun geos-imyeon mwodeunji haejulge oneulbam RAH-

Let’s Go~
Everybody come to Haeundae (Oh, Oh)
Everybody come to Gwangalli (Oh, Oh)
Everybody come to Dongbaek-seom (Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh)
Busan Vacance

Everybody come to Nampo-dong (Oh, Oh)
Everybody come to Jagalchi Sijang (Oh, Oh)
Oh, We rocking with the Agassi
Oh, we rock Oh, we rock rock
Busan Vacance

Say~ Lalalala lalala~ Lalalala lalala~ Lalalala lalala~
Oh, we rock Oh, we rock rock
Busan Vacance

[Intermission: Dance from Lee Kwang-soo]

Let’s Go~
Everybody come to Haeundae (Oh, Oh)
Everybody come to Gwangalli (Oh, Oh)
Everybody come to Dongbaek-seom (Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh)
Busan Vacance

Say~ Lalalala lalala~ Lalalala lalala~ Lalalala lalala~
Oh, we rock Oh, we rock rock
Busan Vacance

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Take Fivers: Burning Love (화애/火愛) by Jo Kwan-woo, tribute to Euphemia li Britannia

불꽃이 인다 내 맘 안에/Bulkkoch-i inda nae mam an-e
너를 태워보낸다/Neoreul taewobonaenda
바람이 분다 내 맘 안으로/Baram-i bunda nae mam an-euro
너를 또 데려온다/Neoreul tto deryeo-onda

잊으려 하면 너는 되살아나/Ij-euryeohamyeon neoneun doesar-ana
기억에 나만 갇혀산다/Gieog-e naman gathyeosanda
너의 흔적 나를 붙잡는다/Neo-ui heunjeok nareul butjamneunda
애타게 애원하지만/Aetage aewonhajiman

가니 가니 나를 버리고서/Gani gani nareul beorigoseo
내가 없는 곳에 너는 멀리 가려 하니/Naega eomneun gos-e neoneun meolli garyeo hani
아니 아니 부디 내 곁으로/Ani ani budi nae gyeot-euro
내가 바람되어 널 보내줄게/Naega baramdoe-eo neol bonaejulge

눈물이 툭 떨어진다/Nunmur-i tuk tteor-eojinda
애써 참아내려 해봐도/Aesseo cham-anaeryeo haebwado

니가 없단 게 믿기지가 않아/Niga eopdan ge midgijiga an-a
밤마다 너를 찾는 꿈결/Bammada neoreul channeun kkumgyeol
신기루처럼 너는 사라지고/Singirucheoreom neoneun sarajigo
나만 또 혼자 남는다/Naman tto honja namneunda

가니 가니 나를 버리고서/Gani gani nareul beorigoseo
내가 없는 곳에 너는 멀리 가려 하니/Naega eomneun gos-e neoneun meolli garyeo hani
아니 아니 부디 내 곁으로/Ani ani budi nae gyeot-euro
이 세상이 아니라도 난 괜찮으니/I sesang-i anirado nan gwaenchan-euni

오늘밤 너를 잊을까/Oneulbam neoreul ij-eulkka?
정말 그럴까 난 두려워/Jeongmal geureolkka nan duryeowo
너를 잊는다는 게 내게 /Nareul inneundaneun ge naege
죽음과 같은 일 일테니까/Jug-eumgwa gat-eun ir-iltenikka?

가니 가니 나를 버리고서/Gani gani nareul beorigoseo
내가 없는 곳에 너는 멀리 가려 하니/Naega eomneun gos-e neoneun meolli garyeo hani
아니 아니 부디 내 곁으로/Ani ani budi nae gyeot-euro
이 세상이 아니라도 난 괜찮으니까/I sesang-i anirado nan gwaenchan-eunikka


Koihime Musou Girls and Famous Koreans, Part XXXIV: Zhuge Liang and Jegal Sung-ryeol - Former Korean Speed Skater turned Announcer for SBS

Jegal Sung-ryeol (Hangul/Hanja: 제갈성렬/諸葛成烈; Born: March 24th 1970 in Uijeongbu City, Gyeonggi Province) is a former speed skater from South Korea. Majority of Koreans bear with a single-syllable surname but in such case as Sung-ryeol; he holds two-syllable name: Jegal or Zhuge in Chinese. Sung-ryeol is a member of Namyang Jegal Clan (남양 제갈씨/南陽諸葛氏), originated at the Administrative Precinct of Namyang-dong, Hwaseong City, Gyeonggi Province.

Sung-ryeol is an alma mater of Uijeongbu High School and Dankook University. He began his speed skating career during 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France where he finished 12th place in the 500m sprint. He collected three medals so far in his career: Gold (1996 Asian Winter Games in Harbin, China), Silver (1999 Asian Winter Games in Gangwon Province) and Bronze (1996 World Speed Skating Championships in Hamar, Norway).

In 2001, Sung-ryeol received the Order of Sport Merit, Geosang Medal (3rd Class) due to his distinguished achievements on speed skating for Korea. After his retirement from speed skating, he became assistant coach of South Korean Winter Olympic Squad along with head coach Lee Kyu-seok for 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, USA and 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

In 2010, he became announcer for Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games at Vancouver, Canada. 

Paris Baguette: Attack on Baguette in Korea

Paris Baguette Dongseongno Maldives Branch at the Birthplace of President Park Geun-hye
Address: 25 Dongseong Avenue 5th Street/Dongseongno 5-gil, Samdeok-dong 1-ga 5-2 beonji, Daegu Jung-gu
Paris Baguette is a South Korean franchise bakery that utilizes authentic French baking, a subsidiary of Paris Croissant. In 1988, Paris Croissant launched Paris Baguette, which grew into a top bakery café franchise brand in Korea due to the opening of the first store in Gwanghwamun Square, Seoul Jongno-gu. Paris Croissant and Paris Baguette are the brands that specialized on French Bakery, under the helm of SPC Group; leaded by its chairman, Hur Young-in (허영인).

With the expansion into the Chinese market in 2004, the company began going global and now has local subsidiaries in the US, Vietnam, and Singapore. Other F&B brands include Paris Croissant Café (premium bakery café), Pascucci (Italian espresso café), LINA’s and Tamati (sandwich), Passion5 (upscale dessert gallery), L’atelier (café restaurant), and Jamba Juice (smoothie). The company is also rapidly gaining traction in the restaurant industry with brands such as Queens Park (organic), LaGrilla (Italian), The World Vine (wine), Parlour (European casual cuisine) and Vera Napoli.

In the United States, Paris Baguette is named as Paris Baguette Café. Most of Paris Baguette Café's chains are located near the Los Angeles metropolitan area and is substantially increasing ever since 2008. It has stores in California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania where these areas are the place where Korean-American Residents reside.

In 2014, Paris Baguette has finally opened a storefront in its namesake city. According to the Korea Herald, it is located in Central Paris near the Pont Neuf Bridge and is called Paris Baguette Chatelet. The 200-square-meter, 46-seat store is "expected to serve as the company's global flagship store." Paris Baguette will "hire French bakers and focus its menu on French breads, pastries, and sandwiches" in an effort to appeal to local consumers. The menu will also feature "exclusive" items like fresh cream chiffon cakes and special "stuffed" breads.

Hur Young-in, the chairman of SPC Group — the parent company of Paris Baguette — tells the paper that the company regards "France as the spiritual home of our bakery products" and that the company hopes to reach out to the "global market by leveraging our experience in France." In addition to the store in Paris, Paris Baguette has over 3,000 stores in South Korea, 125 in China, 37 in America, 11 in Vietnam and six in Singapore.

In 2015, Paris Baguette will open in Malaysia resulting from the collaboration of Naza Corp Holdings and SPC Group via mutual of understanding (MoU) signed by these companies. In five years, SPC Group will open 30 outlets throughout Malaysia with its initial plan to open five outlets in Klang Valley. 

Paris Baguette Seorae Village Branch at HaHa's Hometown
Address: 47 Seorae Avenue/Seorae-ro, Banpo 4-dong 94-5 beonji, Seoul Seocho-gu

Korean Republic's Presidential X-Files, Part X: Lee Myung-bak - A President who born outside Korean Peninsula and initiator of Bloody MB Doctrine

Lee Myung-bak (Hangul/Hanja/Romanization: 이명박/李明博/Yi Myeong-bak; Born: December 19th 1941) was the 10th President of South Korea from February 25th 2008, to February 25th 2013. Before his election as president, he was the CEO of Hyundai Engineering and Construction, as well as the mayor of Seoul from July 1, 2002, to June 30, 2006. He is married to Kim Yoon-ok and has three daughters and one son. His older brother, Lee Sang-deuk, is an ex-assemblyman of Pohang Nam-gu and Ulleung County (1996-2012). He attends the Somang Presbyterian Church. Lee is a graduate of Korea University and received an honorary degree from Paris Diderot University on May 13th 2011.

Lee altered the Japanese-South Korean government's approach to North Korea, preferring a more hardline strategy in the wake of increased provocation from the North, though he was supportive of regional dialogue with Russia, China and Japan. Under Lee, South Korea increased its visibility and influence in the global scene, resulting in the hosting of the 2010 G-20 Seoul summit. However, significant controversy remains in Korea regarding high-profile government initiatives which have caused some factions to engage in civil opposition and protest against the incumbent government and President Lee's Saenuri Party (formerly the Grand National Party). The reformist faction within the Saenuri Party is at odds against Lee. He ended his five-year term on February 25, 2013, and was succeeded by Park Geun-hye.

Lee Myung-bak was born December 19, 1941, in Osaka Hirano-ku, Japan. His parents had emigrated to Japan in 1929, nineteen years after the Japanese annexation of Korea. Lee's father, Lee Chung-woo (이충우/李忠雨), was employed as a farmhand on a cattle ranch in Japan, and his mother, Chae Tae-won (채태원/蔡太元), was a housewife. He was the fifth of his parents' four sons and three daughters. He adopted the Japanese name of Tsukiyama Akihiro (月山 明博) where Akihiro is a Japanized name for his given name - Myung-bak. Apart of having his Japanese Name, he is a member of Gyeongju Lee Clan (경주 이씨/慶州李氏) - a clan which is originated from Gyeongju City, the royal capital of Silla Dynasty in Northern Gyeongsang Province

In 1945, after the end of World War II, his family returned to his father's hometown of Pohang, Northern Gyeongsang Province in the American-occupied portion of the Korean Peninsula. Lee's sister, Lee Ki-sun, believed that they smuggled themselves into the country in order to avoid having the officials confiscate the property they acquired in Japan. However, their ship was wrecked off the coast of Tsushima Island. They lost all their belongings and barely survived.

Lee attended night school at Dongji Commercial High School in Pohang and received a scholarship. A year after graduation, Lee gained admission to Korea University. In 1964, during his third year in college, Lee was elected president of the student council. That year, Lee participated in student demonstrations against President Park Chung-hee's Seoul-Tokyo Talks, taking issue with Japanese restitution for the colonization of the Korean Peninsula. He was charged with plotting insurrection and was sentenced to five years' probation and three years' imprisonment by the Supreme Court of South Korea. He served a little under three months of his sentence at the Seodaemun Prison in Seoul.

In 1992, Lee made the transition from business to politics. He joined the Democratic Liberal Party instead of the Unification National Party, founded by Chung Ju-yung. He was elected as a member of the 14th Korean National Assembly (for Proportional representation). Upon his election, he stated that he ran for the office because "after watching Mikhail Gorbachev change the world climate, I wanted to see if there was anything I could do." In 1995, he ran for the city of Seoul's mayoral election, but lost to former prime minister Chung Won-sik during the primary of the Democratic Liberal Party.

In 1996, Lee was reelected as a member of the Korean National Assembly, representing Jongno-gu in Seoul. At the election, one of his opponents was another future president, Roh Moo-hyun, who was ranked third place.

After he became a second-term lawmaker, his former secretary Kim Yoo-chan disclosed that Lee had spent excessively in his election campaign. After receiving USD$18,000 from Lee, Kim wrote a letter reversing his disclosure and fled the country. Lee resigned in 1998 before being fined USD$6.5 million for breaking election law and forcing Kim to flee. In the by-election held after his resignation, Roh Moo-hyun was elected as his successor.

In 2002, Lee ran for mayor of Seoul and won. As Mayor of Seoul, Lee's most noteworthy projects included the restoration of the Cheonggyecheon stream, the creation of Seoul Forest, the opening of Seoul Forest Park, the construction of a grassy field in front of Seoul City Hall, and the addition of rapid transit buses to the city's transportation system. Lee worked to transform the area around Seoul City Hall from a concrete traffic circle to a lawn where people could gather. The 2002 FIFA World Cup showed how the area could be used as a cultural space, which came to be known as Seoul Plaza. In May 2004, the tape was cut to open a newly built park in the area, a grassy field where Seoul residents could come to relax and take in cultural performances. A major accomplishment during his term as mayor of Seoul was the restoration of Cheonggyecheon, which now flows through the heart of Seoul and functions as a modern public recreation space.

On May 10, 2007, Lee officially declared his intention to seek the nomination of the Grand National Party (GNP) as its presidential candidate. On August 20, 2007, he defeated Park Geun-hye in the GNP's primary to become the party's nominee for the 2007 Presidential election. During the primary, Lee was accused of profiting from illegal speculation on land owned in Dogok-dong, an expensive neighborhood in Seoul. However, in August 2007, the prosecutors said in the interim announcement, "We do suspect Lee's brother's claim over the land in Dogok-dong, but have failed to verify the real owner of the asset." On September 28, 2007, the prosecutory authority officially dropped the suspicion that the Dogok land was under a borrowed name, announcing, "We have done all necessary investigations, including tracing the proceeds from the sale of the land and call history, and now got to the bottom of this case." In December 2007, a few days before the presidential election, Lee announced that he would donate all of his assets to society.

Lee's stated goals were expressed in the "747 Plan" and included: 7% annual growth in gross domestic product (GDP), US$40,000 per capita, and transforming Korea into the world's seventh largest economy. An important part of his platform was the Grand Korean Waterway (한반도 대운하) project from Busan to Seoul, which he believed would lead to an economic revival. His political opponents criticized the project, saying it was unrealistic and too costly to be realized. Others were concerned about possible negative environmental impact.

Signaling a departure from his previous views on North Korea, Lee announced a plan to "engage" North Korea through investment. He promised to form a consultative body with the North to discuss furthering economic ties. The body would have subcommittees on the economy, education, finance, infrastructure and welfare, and a cooperation fund of $40 billion. He promised to seek a Korean Economic Community agreement to establish the legal and systemic framework for any projects emerging from the negotiations, and called for the formation of an aid office in North Korea as a way of decoupling humanitarian aid from nuclear talks. His foreign policy initiative was called MB Doctrine, which advocates "engaging" North Korea and strengthening the US-Korean alliance.

During the 2007 presidential election, questions about his relationship with a company called BBK were raised. In 1999, Lee was alleged to have met Kim Kyung-joon and established the LKE Bank with him. However, this enterprise went bankrupt less than a year later, and 5,500 investors lost substantial amounts of money. BBK co-founder Kim was investigated for large-scale embezzlement and stock price-fixing schemes. Kim had initially stated that Lee was not involved with the company, and Lee himself denied being associated with BBK. Kim and his wife attempted to implicate Lee in criminal involvement, which was not supported by evidence. Eventually, Kim publicly took sole responsibility, and admitted making false and misleading statements in an attempt to implicate Lee. However, controversy remained as fellow GNP lawmaker Won Hee-ryong recommended a reinvestigation of the BBK scandal following the arrest of Jung Bong-ju.

In spite of the lowest voter turnout ever for a presidential election in South Korea, Lee won the presidential election in December 2007 with 48.7% of the vote which was considered a landslide. He took the oath of office on February 25, 2008, vowing to revitalize the economy, strengthen relations with the United States and "deal with" North Korea. Specifically, Lee declared that he would pursue a campaign of “global diplomacy” and seek further cooperative exchanges with regional neighbors Japan, China, and Russia. He further pledged to strengthen South Korea–United States relations and implement a tougher policy with regard to North Korea, ideas that are promoted as the MB Doctrine. Lee stated that he wanted to restore better relations with the United States through a greater emphasis on free market solutions.

Two months after his inauguration, Lee's approval ratings stood at 28%, and by June 2008 they had reached 17%.[39] U.S. President George W. Bush and Lee also discussed the ratification of the South Korea–United States Free Trade Agreement or KORUS FTA, which faced opposition from legislators in both countries. While Lee's agreement during the summit to partially lift the ban on US beef imports was expected to remove the obstacles in approving the KORUS FTA in the US, many Koreans protested the resumption of U.S. beef imports.

As protests escalated, the Korean government issued a statement warning that violent protesters would be punished, and measures would be taken to stop clashes between police and protesters. The protests continued for more than two months, and the original purpose of the candlelight vigils against U.S. beef imports was replaced by others, such as opposition to the privatization of public companies, education policy, and construction of the canal. The damages caused by protesters to the businesses around the demonstration and the social cost reached approximately 3,751,300,000,000 South Korean won. According to The Wall Street Journal, Lee's plan to privatize public companies was a modest but "perhaps important step" toward reform.

As the government gained more stability, the approval rating of Lee's administration rose to 32.8%. Since the resumption of U.S. beef imports, more people are buying U.S. beef and now it has the second largest market share in Korea, after Australian beef.

Lee's approval ratings reflected public perception of Korea's economic situation in the wake of the global economic meltdown. Signs of a strengthening economy and a landmark $40 billion deal won by a Korean consortium to build nuclear power plants in the United Arab Emirates boosted Lee's popularity. His approval rating in January 2010 stood at 51.6%. However, his popularity fell sharply through the last year of his presidency, with his approval rating at approximately 20% in May 2012.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Korean Republic's Presidential X-Files, Part IX: Roh Moo-hyun and the Participatory Government

Roh Moo-hyun (Hangul/Hanja/Romanization: 노무현/盧武鉉/Noh Mu-hyeon; Born: 1 September 1946 – Committed Suicide: 23 May 2009) was the Ninth President of the Republic of Korea (2003–2008). Roh's pre-presidential political career was focused on human rights advocacy for student activists in South Korea. His electoral career later expanded to a focus on overcoming regionalism in South Korean politics, culminating in his election to the presidency. He achieved a large following among younger internet users, particularly at the website OhMyNews, which aided his success in the presidential election.

Roh Moo-hyun was born into a poor farming family with ancestral roots from Zhejiang Province, China which settled down in Korea many years ago. He is a member of Gwangju Roh Clan (광주 노씨/光州盧氏), a clan which is originated from Gwangju Metropole. He was born on 1 September 1946, at Bongha Village (122-15 Bongha Avenue/Bongha-ro, Bonsan-ri 8-279 beonji, JinYeong-eup, Gimhae, Southern Gyeongsang Province). His parents had three boys and two girls, and Roh was the youngest of his family. In 1953, he entered Daechang Elementary School. He received high grades, but was quite often absent from school to assist his parents. While in sixth grade, with the encouragement of his school teacher, he became the president of the school. As he entered Jin-yeong Middle School, a writing contest was held to commemorate Syngman Rhee's birthday. Roh tried to start a student movement against it, but was caught and suspended from the school.

Roh Moo-hyun decided to become a lawyer due to the influence of his elder brother who had studied law but had died in a car accident. Roh studied on his own to pass the bar exam in 1975 (South Korea does not currently require bar examinees to have graduated from college, university, or law school). In 1977, he became a regional judge in Daejeon, but quit in 1978, and became a lawyer.

In 1981, he defended students who had been tortured for suspicion of possession of contraband literature. Following this he decided to become a human rights lawyer. In early 2003, he was quoted as saying, "After that defense, my life was totally changed. At first, even I couldn't believe that they had been tortured that harshly. However, when I saw their horrified eyes and their missing toenails, my comfortable life as a lawyer came to an end. I became a man that wanted to make a difference in the world." With fellow human rights lawyers, he pointed out that this case was forged, then claimed that the National Security Act (South Korea) itself should be judged.

In 1985 he started to participate in civic movements by assuming permanent power of attorney on behalf of the Busan council of citizen democracy. He opposed the autocratic regime in place at the time in South Korea, and participated in the pro-democracy June Democracy Movement in 1987 against Chun Doo-hwan. The same year he was jailed while investigating the cause of death of the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering factory worker Lee Seok-Kyu, who had been killed by a stray police tear gas bullet while on strike. Roh was accused of 'unapproved interference in the case' and 'hindering the funeral'. Although he was released in twenty days because of public opinion against the arrest, his lawyer's license was revoked after the incident in political retribution.

Roh entered politics in 1988 when he was invited by Kim Young-sam to join the Democratic Reunification Party (Korean: 통일민주당). That same year, he was elected as a member of the National Assembly, representing Dong-gu, Busan. He came to wider public attention with his cross-examination of the government over political corruption allegations in a parliamentary hearing.

In 1990, Kim Young-sam merged his party with the Democratic Justice Party to form the Democratic Liberal Party, a forerunner of the Grand National Party. Roh did not participate in the party and he criticized it as "betrayal against the democracy movement". In 1991, before the election of the national assembly, the Weekly Chosun posted an article that alleging that Roh was a politician with hidden wealth. Roh sued the company for defamation and won, but lost the election for his seat.

Roh founded the new party with Lee Bu-Yeong, Lee Chul, Kim Won-Gi, and Kim Jeong-Gil, but before the presidential election, after the Democratic Liberal Party merged with the Unified Democratic Party, he decided to reconcile with Kim Dae-jung to 'bring the military government and their political heir into justice'.

Subsequently, Roh reconciled with Kim when he endorsed his candidacy in the 1997 Presidential election. At the meeting, Kim Dae-jung welcomed Roh and his party saying "Today is a very pleasant day. That pleasure is not only because we now work together, but also because I could relieve a burden in my mind that I have been carrying (since we separated)." Roh returned to office in 1998, when Lee Myung-bak resigned his seat because of a violation of election law, winning a seat in the ensuing by-election.

In 2000, Roh ran for the National Assembly representing Buk-gu and Gangseo-gu in Busan as part of a campaign to overcome regionalism in Korean politics, but was defeated. His defeat in the election, however, proved fortuitous when his supporters formed Nosamo, the first political fan club in Korea. His supporters were inspired by his commitment to overcoming regionalism. In 2000, Roh was appointed Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries under Kim Dae-jung, and this position would constitute his major government experience prior to the presidency.

Roh got public attention when he participated in candidate election of his party. The candidate election itself also got high public attention because it allowed the vote not only from the party members, but also the local citizens. At first, his approval rate was 10%, allowing much gap with leading candidate Lee In-Jae, but Roh constantly earned much supporters by his notable speeches, especially in Ulsan, and the result of poll that Roh's approval rate was 41.7%, 1.1% higher than the Lee Hoi-chang, candidate of the opponent party, convinced the voters of his party.

Roh won the presidency on 19 December 2002, by defeating Lee Hoi-chang with a narrow 2% margin of victory. At 2003, right before his inauguration, he described his plan as "I will root the method of discussion inside the government.", and added, "discussion should be familiarized until we are called 'Republic of discussion'."

Roh's election was notable for the arrival in power of a new generation of Korean politicians, the so-called 386 Generation, (i.e. people in their thirties when the term was coined, who had attended university in the 1980s, and who were born in the 1960s). This generation had been veterans of student protests against authoritarian rule, and advocated a conciliatory approach towards North Korea, even at the expense of good relations with the USA.

Despite high initial hopes, his presidency encountered strong opposition from the conservative Grand National Party and media. They constantly accused him of incompetence, and insulting criticism was frequently published in the media. As a result, many of Roh's policies, including a plan to move the capital, and a plan to form a coalition with the opposition, were also attacked and made no progress.

Roh dubbed his administration the "Participatory Government," and entered office intent on introducing an ambitious new agenda. Policy goals for the Roh administration included the continuance of the existing Sunshine Policy of engagement towards North Korea, the establishment of Korea as a business hub in Northeast Asia, the expansion of social welfare, the pursuit of "balanced national development" to help underdeveloped areas, the eradication of corruption, reform of education and tax systems, reform of labor-management relations, reform of mass media, and a recasting of the relationship with the United States and Japan.

As his policy for eradicating corruption inside the government had included many administrative reforms, he had to face high oppositions. During the reformation of the prosecution, to resolve the opposition, he suggested a TV forum. The prosecutors insisted that Roh appointed the major positions of the prosecutor's office without consulting the personnel committee, and the Roh answered that "The current members of the personnel committee themselves represents the old prosecution which has to be changed, if we do not change now, it would sustain the old prosecution at least few months." Three months into his presidency, He commented about the opposition problem, stating "I'm worrying the opposition that maybe I cannot continue the presidency while I get that much of it." That comment was quoted partly by conservative media, ('I cannot continue the presidency') and Roh was bolstered skepticism about his ability and experience. Roh set the tone of his administration with a number of adventurous policies, and measures to uncover and reveal the names of the descendants of Japanese collaborators. The investigations, criticized by opposition parties as a covert means of attacking them, and coming too late to provide substantive redress, mostly resulted in damage to his own party members.

Roh and his supporters left the Millennium Democratic Party in 2003 to form a new party, the Uri Party (열린우리당, lit. "Our Open Party"). Directly ahead of the National Assembly elections, Roh voiced support for the Uri Party, which constituted a technical violation of Constitutional provisions mandating presidential impartiality. When Roh refused demands to apologize, opposition lawmakers saw their chance, and on 12 March 2004, the South Korean National Assembly voted to impeach him on charges of illegal electioneering. The vote was 193–2 (Uri Party members abstained from the vote). Roh's supporters physically blocked the motion for three days in open combat, and had to be hauled out by security guards. Roh's executive power was suspended pending a final decision by the Constitutional Court, and Prime Minister Goh Kun ran the country as the Acting President.

The National Assembly's attempt to impeach Roh was largely opposed by the public. From 12 March 2004, to 27 March, protest against the impeachment motion was led by 'citizen's movement for eradicating corruption'. According to the police, 50,000 people gathered to protest in 13 March alone.

Although Roh's popularity had hovered around 30%, the impeachment was taken as a power struggle against the political reform and the choice of the citizen, and Roh's popularity went up soon after the assembly's vote to impeach Roh. The results of the April 2004 parliamentary election showed public support for him, with the Uri Party winning a majority of seats.

On 14 May 2004, the Constitutional Court overturned the impeachment decision, restoring Roh as President. After the incident, Roh joined the Uri party as a member, officially making the Uri party as the ruling party.

As a part of his balanced national development campaign to reverse the concentration of wealth in Seoul, Roh also pursued a plan to relocate the capital 100 miles away to Chungcheong, ostensibly to relieve congestion. Roh had made this promise during his campaign, and pursued its fulfillment, despite convincing few voters outside the Chungcheong region of the benefits of the move. After much controversy, the Constitutional Court obviated Roh's plans by ruling that the relocation of the capital was unconstitutional because it 'opposes the custom that has to be considered as the constitution', thus inflicting a huge blow to Roh's political standing. Roh's plan was then amended to the creation of an "administrative capital," though this plan has also not yet seen completion. The issue of the proposed "administrative capital" remains controversial as of 2010 in plans for Sejong City, the exact nature of which continues to be a politically divisive issue even within the ruling Grand National Party.

With the controversies concerning the capital, perceptions of neglect and mismanagement of the economy had grown. Although exports performed at record levels and the economy grew, growth still lagged behind both the previous administration and the rest of the world, while the domestic economy stagnated. At the same time regulations proliferated, investment capital exited the country, unemployment (especially among the young) increased, wealthy students flocked overseas as the education system stagnated, and housing prices in Seoul soared far beyond the reach of the average citizen. Roh responded by dismissing criticism as "shameless mudslinging," and touted the achievements of his government in increasing national competitiveness, strengthening the economy. This somewhat cavalier attitude led to his Uri Party suffering consecutive defeats in the Assembly, before eventually collapsing. Roh's unpopularity had become a liability for his party, and a new party was needed to disassociate from him. The Uri Party would thus be revamped and renamed as the Democratic Party, and is currently the main opposition party in the National Assembly.

Roh's ambitious initial promises to establish Korea as an international business hub in Asia faded soon after his election. Instead, Korea under Roh suffered negative publicity in the foreign business community due to prosecutorial investigations on the purchase and sale of Korea Exchange Bank by the Lone Star Fund, spurring foreign investors to join their domestic counterparts in leaving the country. When housing prices soared, To prevent speculative bubble like Japanese asset price bubble crisis, Roh introduced additional 1~3% of property tax on real estate exceeding 600 million won (about US$600,000). This efficiently slowed down the bubble, but this policy met high opposition by the riches who had to pay higher tax. At the same time, Roh also increased welfare spending by 18% a year, and drastically increased spending by increasing the size of the civil service by more than 95,700 new hires, or approximately 60 people a day. Criticism of lax discipline among the civil service and police force was high during his government.

The remainder of Roh's term was characterized by a number of campaigns pursued to varying degrees of success and completion. One of the more successful campaigns (at least during his term) was Roh's pursuit of an FTA with the United States, concluded in April 2007 after many months of negotiations by Kim Hyun-jong, the deputy minister for trade. Roh successfully pushed for the FTA in spite of domestic opposition from his traditional leftist constituency (who denounced it as "neoliberal") and various groups (particularly farmers) opposed to market opening.

After leaving office, Roh returned to his hometown of Bongha Maeul. The constantly growing numbers of visits by his political supporters were seen as a threat to the Grand National Party. Fourteen months later, Roh was suspected of bribery by prosecutors, and the subsequent investigation attracted public attention. This scandal, the collapse of the "Pro-Roh faction" of politicians, the collapse of the Uri Party and the defeat of its successor the Democratic Party in the National Assembly, and the defeat of Roh's designated successor in the presidential elections, marked a decline in the political fortunes of the 386 Generation that had brought Roh to power.

Roh Moo-Hyun died on the morning of 23 May 2009 after apparently jumping from a 45-meter (150 ft) cliff known as Bueong-i Bawi (부엉이 바위/lit. Owl's Rock) behind his rural home in his home village of Bongha. He sustained serious head injuries and was sent by car (not by ambulance) to Seyoung hospital nearby at 7:20 am and moved to Busan University Hospital at around 8:15 am (and pronounced dead at around 9:30 am (00:30 GMT). His suicide was confirmed by police. According to police, Roh left a suicide note on his computer apologizing for making "too many people suffer" and requested that his body be cremated.

"I am in debt to so many people. I have caused too great a burden to be placed upon them. I can't begin to fathom the countless agonies down the road. The rest of my life would only be a burden for others. I am unable to do anything because of poor health. I can't read, I can't write. Do not be too sad. Isn't life and death all a part of nature? Do not be sorry. Do not feel resentment toward anyone. It is fate. 
Cremate me. And leave only a small tombstone near home. I've thought on this for a long time. "

10th president Lee Myung-bak stated that "the news was truly unbelievable and deeply sad." Justice Minister Kim Kyung-han said the corruption case against him would be formally closed. However, he did not say whether the former president's family would continue to be investigated.

Roh's suicide followed the suicide of a number of high profile figures under corruption investigations in Korea in recent years, including the former secretary of Prime Minister Kim Young-chul, former Busan mayor Ahn Sang-Young (who committed suicide while in prison), Park Tae-young, former governor of Jeolla province, and Chung Mong-hun, a former Hyundai executive. Roh himself had been sued by the widow of former Daewoo E&C head Nam Sang-Guk for allegedly making defamatory comments that drove her husband to throw himself off of a bridge. Roh's suicide was followed later in the year by the suicide of another politician, the Mayor of Yangsan, who was being subject to a corruption investigation.

By 27 May, Roh's bodyguard revealed that he was not with the former president when he committed suicide. Roh's public funerary ceremony involved both Buddhist and Catholic rites. Hundreds of thousands of supporters turned out to pay their respects in memorial shrines erected around the country, as did President Lee Myung-bak and numerous other prominent politicians. Sporadic violent demonstrations in Seoul immediately after the funeral resulted in the detention of 72 people.

Roh's suicide resulted in a sudden positive shift in domestic perception towards the late President, leading one critical professor to comment, "How could he become an instant saint upon his suicide?" Perceptions of an excessive investigation on Roh's alleged improprieties boosted support for the opposition Party (itself formed when Roh's then unpopularity made it a liability to be associated with him), giving them enough leverage to demand that President Lee Myung-bak apologize for the "politically motivated" investigation they claimed caused Roh's death, and discipline those responsible. Support for the opposition party increased to 28.3%, outpolling the ruling GNP at 23.5%. The Democratic Party also decided to block the scheduled opening of the National Assembly until the Lee Myung-bak government accepted responsibility for Roh's suicide. The chief prosecutor in Roh's bribery case also resigned. A year after Roh died, his autobiography was published by his personal and political fellows. Based on Roh's previous books, unpublished draft, notes, letters and interviews, it follows Roh's life from birth to death. He died about 3 months before 8th President Kim Dae-jung died on 18 August 2009 of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome.

Royal Tomb of King Gojong of Goryeo Dynasty, Ganghwa County, Incheon Metropole: Joseon Dynasty has Emperor Gojong Yi Myeong-bok. In the other hand, Goryeo Dynasty has King Gojong Wang Cheol.

King Gojong of Goryeo (Born: February 3rd 1192 - Died: July 21st 1259), whose born as Wang Cheol (왕철/王皞), was the twenty-third ruler of Goryeo in the present-day Korea, reigned from 1213 to 1259. Gojong was married to Empress Anhye, daughter of Huijong, the twenty-first king of Goryeo.

Gojong's reign was marked by prolonged conflict with the Mongol Empire, which sought to conquer Goryeo, ending only to settle peace in 1259. During his reign actual power rested with the Ubong Choi lineage of military dictators. General Choi Chung-heon exercised his power controlling over the king and his regime.

Although ascending to the throne in 1213, Gojong did not wield much power until powerful advisors were killed off. In 1216, the Khitan invaded but was defeated. In August 1232, Gojong moved the capital of Goryeo from Songdo (Kaesong) to the island of Ganghwa and started the construction of significant defenses there, in order to better defend from the Mongol threat. 

The period of his reign is a sensible bit of the declination of Goryeo Dynasty. Internationally, strong foreign countries like the Georan (a tribe in Manchuria) and the Mongolia (this called the Yuan Dynasty later) invaded the Goryeo Dynasty from the time of his reign 18th year (1231). Their continuous aggressions turned the national territory of the Goryeo Dynasty reduced to ashes with damage to human lives and loss to cultural properties. 

In a crisis of the country, King Gojong gave orders that the complete collection of Buddhist Sutras, Laws and Treatises called Daejanggyeong (Tripitaka Koreana) in Korean should be made at once in order to overcome the matters of fear in his country through the help of Buddha. A collection of Buddhist scriptures recorded on some 81,000 wooden blocks was completed in 1251.

One of his achievements is the manufacture of the collection of all the sacred writings of Buddhism. This has been taken charge of in the Haeinsa Temple located in Hapcheon County, Southern Gyeongsang Province and this is called Goryeodaejanggyeong which means the complete collection of Buddhist Sutras, Laws and Treated made in the Goryeo Dynasty. 

The work was perhaps motivated by Gojong's hopes to change fortunes through the act of religious devotion; however the originals were later destroyed by the Mongols — the existing Tripitaka is a replica of Gojong's original, and was commissioned around one hundred years after the originals were lost.

Gojong resisted the Mongol invasion for nearly thirty years before the kingdom was forced to make peace with the Mongols in 1259; Gojong died soon after. King Gojong was buried at the Goryeo Royal Tomb of Hongneung in Gukhwa-ri san 180-beonji, Ganghwa-eup, Ganghwa County, Incheon Metropole. He was posthumously known as King Anhyo the Great (안효대왕/安孝大王).

Originally, this normal sized tomb of Goryeo-Hongneung consisted of a terrace piled up to three floors having a pavilion on the first floor, a sculpture shaped a man on the second and main tomb on the third, parts of stones for using a porch around the grave were remained and stones carved into animals were arranged in ones on every four corners in the tomb but at the present day, two engravings shaped a man among the four are remained. Lately the balcony was repaired and stone barricade was constructed in the bottom of the territory of this temple. But the original form of this royal tomb cannot be seen due to the works for repair.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Kunsthalle Gwangju, Gwangju Dong-gu: Space Culture at the Site of Old Southern Jeolla Provincial Office

Kunsthalle, named after the German sub-cultural movement based in Berlin, Germany. Kunsthalle or 'Art Hall' in German Language is a space designed for active engagement in cultural programs. Kunsthalle Gwangju at the site of Old Southern Jeolla Provincal Office in 38 Culture Complex Avenue/MunhwaJeondang-ro, Gwangsan-dong 13-beonji, Gwangju Dong-gu was opened for business on August 31st 2010. 

Built with 29 shipping containers, it is divided into several different sections - performance halls, exhibition halls, and subsidiary facilities such as a library and a bar. A wide range of events featuring artists from home and abroad are regularly held at this innovative cultural center.

Platoon, a rather mysterious creative consulting agency based out of Berlin and Seoul, conceived the Gwangju Metropole center as an industrial, wide open space with plenty of room to display art. The use of shipping containers arranged in a rectangle allowed them to achieve that cavernous area in the middle of the center, which opens up onto both the first and second floors giving it an even more grand feeling.

“Kunsthalle Gwangju is an art project itself,” says Platoon of the space. “The concept and program involves artists, visitors and the team to interact with each other. This creates new questions, interesting tensions and inspiring moments. As a social sculpture the art is created by the existence of this venue and its interaction with the people. It is not a white cube to display finished art pieces of international artists for mere consumption. Cultural development will be experienced by new art strategies which pose questions of contemporary life and a global society. Kunsthalle Gwangju will invite Korean, Asian and global artists to perform interaction art and develop new local aspects according to the city and citizens of Gwangju Metropole.”

This modern art hall is accessible by using Gwangju Metro Line 1 to Station 104: Culture Complex Station (Old Southern Jeolla Provincial Office)/문화전당역 [구도청]/文化殿堂驛 [舊道廳]/Munhwa Jeondang-yeok [GuDocheong]).

Mountains and Peaks in Seoul, Part I: Mount Surak

Mount Surak (Hanja: 水落山) is a mountain in South Korea, extends across the precinct of Sanggye 3.4-dong, Seoul Nowon-gu, commune of Byeollae-myeon, Namyangju and JangAm-dong, Uijeongbu in Gyeonggi Province. It has an elevation of 637.7 m (2,092 ft). Mount Buram is located to the south of Mount Surak and Mount Dobong rises up to the west. Mount Surak is easily accessible via public transportation and is a popular daytrip for residents of Seoul.

Along with the other great mountains near Seoul, Mount Surak has its own unique beauty throughout the year. Its cluster of small peaks is reminiscent of Mount Seorak in Sokcho, Gangwon Province or Mount Wolchul in Yeongam County, Southern Jeolla Province and among its valleys and peaks, a number of treasures unfold. As you explore the mountain and the surrounding area, you’ll discover Geunnyu, Eunnyu, and Ongnyu waterfalls, Heungguksa Temple (Silla Kingdom), Seongnimsa Temple (Joseon Dynasty), and Gwaesanjeong Pavilion. 

One of the most popular hiking courses on Mount Surak is the one that starts from Station 409: Danggogae Station (Northern Terminus of KORAIL-Seoul Metro Line 4) and passes Hangnimsa Temple and Yongguram Hermitage. In the springtime, the ridge between Mount Surak and Mount Buram is covered with gorgeous royal azalea blossoms. 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Bijarim Forest, Jeju City, Jeju Province: Here stand the oldest and largest nutmeg trees in Korea.

Bijarim Forest (Hanja: As seen on the picture) is located 5.5km south of Pyeongdae Elementary School (평대초등학교/Pyeongdae Chodeunghakgyo) in 62 Bija Forest Street/Bijasup-gil, Pyeongdae-ri 3164-1 beonji, Gujwa-eup, Jeju City, Jeju Province. There are more than 2,800 nutmeg trees which are 500~800 years old, the largest such forest in the world. There are two routes to enjoy the forest, a short course taking about 40 minutes and a 90-minute course. Strollers and wheelchairs are available for the short course.

Designated as the Korean Republic Natural Monument No. 374, ‘Bijarim Forest’ has a group of about 2,800 nutmeg trees between 500 and 800 years old. They are 7-14m in height and 50-110cm in diameter. This is the largest nutmeg tree forest in the world. In the middle of the forest is an 800-year-old, called ‘Ancestor tree of the Bija trees’. The tree is the oldest tree on Jeju-do Island with height of 25 meters and girth of whopping 6 meters. 

The evergreen trees emit a lot of Phytoncide, which is said to strengthen immune system and natural healing ability of human body. Actually, nutmeg tree blossoms and the oil are said to be used as insecticides in the past. There are also rare orchids and plants growing in the forest and walkway in the forest renovated for visitors to enjoy forest walks through the wonderful forest.

Silla Superiority Complex, Part XXXVIII: Royal Tomb of King Heondeok, Gyeongju, Northern Gyeongsang

King Heondeok of Silla (Hanja: 憲德王; died 826; Reigned: 809–826) whose born as Kim Eon-seung (김언승/金彦昇) was the 41st ruler of Silla Dynasty. He was the younger brother of King Soseong, son of Crown Prince Hyechung Kim In-gyeom (혜충태자 김인겸/惠忠太子 金仁謙) and served as regent during the reign of Aejang.

In 790, Heondeok traveled to Tang China where he distinguished himself and received a high position. He returned to Silla, becoming regent after the death of his brother. In 809, he slew the now-adult Aejang and took the throne for himself.

In 810, Heondeok repaired the country's irrigation facilities. He also sent his son Kim Heon-jang to Tang with gold and silver Buddhist images to pray for the emperor's eternal peace. Heondeok's later reign saw the rebellion of Kim Heon-chang in 822, and that of Kim's son (Kim Beom-mun) in the following year. Both were suppressed. In 824, troubled by threats from the north, the king ordered a 300-ri-long wall built near the Taedong River, which was then the country's northern border.

The Royal Tomb of King Heondeok in Dongcheon-dong 80-beonji, Gyeongju City, Northern Gyeongsang Province is the typical royal tomb of the unified Silla, equipped with surrounding stone statues carved as literary men, soldiers, lions and the 12 oriental zodiac images like those in the Gwaereung Tomb (Royal Tomb of King Wonseong) or the royal tomb of King Heungdeok, but some of the features of the tombs were missing due to a flood caused by the nearby Bukcheon River. Only five of the 12 zodiac images remain today.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Take Fivers: If I Leave (나 가거든) by Jo Kwan-woo, Tribute to Kisaragi

쓸쓸한 달빛 아래/Sseulsseulhan dalbit arae
내 그림자 하나 생기거든/Nae geurimja hana saenggigeodeun
그땐 말해 볼까요 이 마음 /Geuttaen malhae bolkkayo i ma-eum
들어나 주라고/Deur-eona jurago

문득 새벽을 알리는/Mundeuk saebyeog-eul allineun
그 바람 하나가 지나거든 /Geu baram hanaga jinageodeun
그저 한숨 쉬듯 물어 볼까요?/Geujeo hansum shwideut mur-eo bolkkayo?
난 왜 살고 있는지?/Nan wae salgo inneunji?

나 슬퍼도 살아야 하네/Na seulpeodo saraya hane
나 슬퍼서 살아야 하네/Na seulpeoseo saraya hane

이 삶이 다하고나야 알텐데/I salm-i dahagonaya altende
내가 이 세상을 다녀간 그 이유/Naega i sesang-eul danyeogan geu iyu
나 가고 기억하는 이/Na gago gieokhaneun i
나 슬픔까지도 사랑했다 말해주길/Na seulpeumkkajido saranghaetda malhaejugil

흩어진 노을처럼/Heut-eojin noeulcheoreom
내 아픈 기억도 바래지면/Nae apeun gieokdo baraejimyeon
그땐 웃어질까요 이 마음 /Geuttaen us-eojilkkayo i ma-eum
그리운 옛일로/Geuri-un yen-illo

저기 홀로 선 별 하나/Jeogi hollo seon byeol hana
나의 외로움을 아는 건지/Na-ui oeroum-eul aneun geonji
차마 날 두고는 떠나지 못해/Chama nal dugoneun tteonaji mothae
밤새 그 자리에만/Bamsae geu jarieman

나 슬퍼도 살아야 하네/Na seulpeodo saraya hane
나 슬퍼서 살아야 하네/Na seulpeoseo saraya hane

이 삶이 다하고나야 알텐데/I salm-i dahagonaya altende
내가 이 세상을 다녀간 그 이유/Naega i sesang-eul danyeogan geu iyu
나 가고 기억하는 이/Na gago gieokhaneun i
내 슬픔까지도 사랑하길/Nae seulpeumkkajido saranghagil

부디 먼훗날/Budi meonhunnal
나 가고 슬퍼 하는 이/Na gago seulpeo haneun i
나 슬픔속에도 행복했다/Na seulpeumsog-edo haengbokhaetda