Monthly Archives: February 2012

Television in South Korea

InSouth Korea, there are a number of nationaltelevision networks, the three largest of which are KBS, MBC, and SBS. Most of the major television studios are located on Yeouido. South Korea became the third adopter in Asia when television broadcasting began on 12 May 1956 with the opening of HLKZ-TV, a commercially operated television station. HLKZ-TV was established by the RCA Distribution Company (KORCAD) in Seoul with 186-192 MHz, 100-watt output, and 525 scanning lines.

Important genres of television shows include serial dramas (soap operas), historical dramas, variety shows, game shows, news programs , and documentaries. All three networks have produced increasingly lavish historical dramas in recent years. Some South Korean television programs are available on satelite and multicultural channels in North America. Korean television dramas have become widely popular in other East Asian and Southest Asian countries, with whole sets of videotapes or DVDs of series available, complete with different language subtitles. Shopping channels have become quite popular in recent years as well, and the models sometimes put on entertaining acts during product pitches.South Korea


Since the beginning of 1950s, television was introduced to Korea by RCA to sell second-hand black &white TV sets as a marketing scheme. Some TV sets were strategically set up at Pagoda Park, others at the Seoul Station and Gwanghwamun during this time.However it was not until 1956 when South Korea began its own television broadcasting station, the HLKZ-TV, part of the KORCAD (RCA Distribution Company). The first ever Korean television drama, 천국의 문 (The Gates of Heaven) in 1956, planning director Choi Chang-Bong spent two and a half months continuously fixing the script, preparing sets and even the first instance of special effects, all for a drama that lasted no longer than fifteen minutes.

The early 1960s saw a phenomenal growth in television broadcasting. On 31 December 1961 the first full-scale television station, HLKA-TV (Now known as KBS 1TV), was established and began operation under the Ministry of Culture and Public Information.

Following KBS was Tongyang Broadcasting Corporation’s TBC-TV which was launched in 1964. It was the first private television network in South Korea.

The second commercial television system, MBC-TV, made its debut in 1969. The advent of MBC-TV brought significant development to the television industry in Korea and after 1969 the television industry was characterized by furious competition among the three networks.

The 1970s were highlighted by government intervention into the media system in Korea. In 1972, President Park Chung Hee government imposed censorship upon media through the Martial Law Decree. The government revised the Broadcasting Law under the pretext of improving the quality of television programming. After the revision of the law, the government expanded its control of media content by requiring all television and radio stations to review programming before and after transmission. Although the government argued that its action was taken as a result of growing public criticism of broadcasting media practices, many accused the government of wanting to establish a monopoly over television broadcasting.

The 1980s were the golden years for Korea’s television industry. Growth was phenomenal in every dimension: the number of programming hours per week rose from 56 in 1979 to nearly 88.5 in 1989; the number of television stations increased from 12 in 1979 to 78 by 1989; and the number of television sets grew from 4 million in 1979 to nearly 6 million in the same period. 1981 also saw another technological breakthrough, the introduction of color television. Color broadcasting, however, occasioned a renewal of strong competition among the networks. Korean TV industry suffered huge blows in this decade. During Chun Doo-Hwan’s term, several newspapers, broadcasters and publications were forcibly closed, or were merged into a single organization. One of which is TBC-TV which was awarded to KBS. TBC-TV was then replaced by KBS 2TV.

At the beginning of the 1990s with the introduction of cable television. In 1990, the government initiated an experimental multi-channel and multi-purpose cable television service. In addition, Korea launched its first broadcasting/communication satellite, Mugungwha, to 36,000 km above the equator in 1995. The development of an integrated broadband network is expected to take the form of B-ISDN immediately after the turn of the century. This decade is a period of great technological change in the Korean broadcasting industry, which will make broadcasting media even more important than in the past. In this decade the Korean broadcasting industry will maximize the service with new technological developments such as DBS, satellites, and interactive cable systems, all of which will allow Korea to participate fully in the information society.

National networks

In South Korea, there are four nationwide television networks, three general networks and one educational network as follows:


Ganggangsullae circle dance traditional dace of Korea

Korea and the rest of East Asia, engaged in rice farming for several millennia, have formed a rice culture that can be compared to the wheat culture of Europe. Ganggangsullae is one of the most representative seasonal rituals of Korea’s rice farming culture, which permeates nearly every aspect of life among Koreans.

Ganggangsullae gives hints about the origins of recreational music and dance emblematic of the Korean peninsula, as it used to be widely performed in the southwestern coastal region of the peninsula and is closely linked to inland circle dances accompanying music, including Notdari Bapgi (Walking Over a Human Bridge) and Wolwoli Cheongcheong (Moon, Moon, Radiant Moon).

A combination of various recreational elements based on the basic form of holding hands to form a circle while singing and dancing, Ganggangsullae has been named as such since the refrain “ganggangsullae,” whose exact meaning is unknown, is repeated with every bar.

It was originally performed by unmarried youngsters aged between 15 and 20, and sometimes allowing the participation of recently married youngsters. But, when it was designated as a state cultural heritage the community members, largely women in their 40s or 50s, rendered the performance. Since then, Ganggangsullae has been handed down by middle-aged female members of the community, displaying proficient skills, rather than the creative vividness and dynamics of youngsters when they perform it.

Traditionally, Ganggangsullae was performed on Korea’s representative seasonal occasions, includingSeol (the lunar New Year), Daeboreum (the first full moon day of the year), Dano (the fifth day of the fifth lunar month), Baekjung (the fifteenth day of the seventh lunar month), Chuseok (the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month), and Junggu (the ninth day of the ninth lunar month), with the one on Chuseok being the largest.

As such, Ganggangsullae has been developed into a performance most commonly conducted onChuseok (Korea’s Thanksgiving). Under the bright full moon, dozens of young village women hold hands to form a circle and sing and dance. While the sun symbolizes men, and the moon, women, and women’s physical features are represented by a round shape, Ganggangsullae assumes the characteristics of the law of imitation, one of the laws of magic, reflecting primitive aesthetics. Because the dancing is strenuous, only young women are allowed to perform, but it is also their privilege as women of child-bearing age.

Ganggangsullae is a ballad dance unique to Korea.
The songs are poems written by ordinary people and a lead singer set the pace. Fellow performers follow the lead with the next lines in a song. Besides folklore and folk dance, folk music is also incorporated in the performance as traditional Korean music instruments such as a drum and an hourglass shaped drum accompany the dance, adding to the entertainment.

Ganggangsullae is so exciting and dynamic that participants often lose themselves and end up performing from the early evening when the moon rises until the moon sets. Depending on the tempo set by the lead singer, the music is categorized into gin (slow) Ganggangsullae, jung (middle) Ganggangsullae, and jajeun (quick) Ganggangsullae. The tempo of the dancers’ movement also varies according to the music.

During interludes, games reflecting life in farm or fishing village are played. They include imitating the Korean terrapin (one person goes into the circle to dance and the next comes in and imitates her), gathering brackens, tying herrings, treading on roof tiles, rolling and unrolling straw mats, catching a mouse (picking the tail), playing gatekeepers, riding palanquins, and looking for a handkerchief.

The archetype of Ganggangsullae is found from agricultural folk customs of Mahan, a Korean state that existed 2,000 years ago, according to ancient Chinese historical texts. In the history of man, it is not common to see an intangible cultural heritage handed down for such a long time. This long transmission of Ganggangsullae implies that expectations for the role of women both in the society and in the family have continued for such a long time as well.

Traditional Korean society was male centered, and young women were not allowed to sing aloud or go out at night. On Chuseok, however, women could freely sing and enjoy outdoor amusements under the full moon, venting their long-suppressed emotions through Ganggangsullae. The festival guaranteed women a chance to break away from usual restrictions and enjoy the festive mood.

Throughout its history, Ganggangsullae also had other functions. It is said that in 1592, Admiral Lee Sun-sin had women perform Ganggangsullae at night around a fire. The flickering shadows fooled the invading Japanese into overestimating the size of Lee’s forces, who ultimately prevailed. Also, listening carefully to the song verses, one can notice that there are many lines criticizing the society. In particular, the words written under the Japanese colonial rule reflect the Koreans’ resistance to the occupation forces.

Ganggangsullae is rarely performed in today’s rural villages since most young women have left for cities. But thanks to its national designation as an Important Intangible Cultural Heritage and state-level cultural and educational policies, Ganggangsullae has spread outside its traditional base in the southwestern region of the Korean peninsula. Today, Ganggangsullae is part of the music curriculum of elementary schools and is performed at many secondary schools and universities as well as public festivals across the country.

In recent years, research has been conducted regarding the application of Ganggangsullae in the field of art therapy. Ganggangsullae is expected to help those suffering from psychological problems such as depression. Also, new possibilities are being explored as an alternative therapy to help obese women lose their weight and as a means to enhance the well-being of lonely senior citizens.



K-pop (an abbreviation of Korean pop or Korean popular music) is a musical genre consisting of pop, dance, electropop, hip hop, rock, R&B and electronic music originating in South Korea. In addition to music, K-pop has grown into a popular subculture among teenagers and young adults around the world, resulting in widespread interest in the fashion and style of Korean idol groups and singers. Through the presence of Facebook fan pages, availability on iTunes, Twitter profiles, and music videos on YouTube, the ability of K-pop to reach a previously inaccessible audience via the Internet is driving a paradigm shift in the exposure and popularity of the genre South Korean popular culture is today serving as a major driver of youth culture all across the Pacific Rim, with special reference to China, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam. The genre is currently moving towards a position in the region, similar to that of American music in Europe during the 1980s and 1990s.


1920s-1950s: Birth of Trot and Introduction of Western Music

In the mid-1920s, Masao Gouga, a Korean-Japanese composer, mixed traditional Korean music with Gospel music that American Evangelists brought with and have taught since the 1870s. This type of music became known as Enka in Japan, and later in Korea as Trot. In 1932, a controversial plagarism was caught and condemned by an article in the Japanese magazine “New Young Adult”, Gouga’s “Sakewa Namitaka Tameikika” was blamed for copying off the work of Korean composer Su-Lin Jeon, which his version was named “The Calm Jang-Ahn”. This event triggered a wave of Korean musicians to flourish with talented composers such as Nan-Pa Hong, Gyo-Sung Kim, Yong-Hwan Kim, Joon-Young Kim, Ho-Wol Moon, Mok-In Son, Shi-Choon Park , and Jae Ho Lee becoming the very foundation of Trot music in its early stage. Trot has been transformed over the years using a variety of instruments and mixing different styles of music to become the dominant genre in the Korean music scene until the late 80’s. To this day, Trot music still remains as a popular genre for many; mostly with its very sad melody and heart-touching lyrics. As Korea was liberated from Japanese annexation in 1945, Western culture was introduced to a small crowd with the few Western style bars and clubs playing Western Music. After the Korean War, which started on June 25, 1950 and lasted for 3 years, the country was separated into two nations; North Korea and South Korea. U.S. troops remained in South Korea for protection. With the staying of U.S. troops, American culture and the cultures of the world began to flush in. During this time, Western music became more accepted to a wider crowd of young adults.

1990s: Diversification

The debut of Seo Tai-ji & Boys in 1992 was a turning point for popular music in South Korea, incorporating elements of rap rock and techno. Hip hop duos such as Deux were also popular in the early 1990s. The founding of South Korea’s largest talent agency, S.M. Entertainment, in 1995, by Korean entrepreneur Lee Soo Man led to the first K-pop girl groups and boy bands. By the late 1990s, YG Entertainment, DSP Entertainment, and JYP Entertainment had burst onto the scene and were producing talent as quickly as the public could consume it. Groups such as, S.E.S, Fin.K.L, H.O.T, Sechs Kies, G.o.d, Fly to the Sky and Shinhwa had huge success in the 1990s, not only in South Korea, but also outside of the country as well. Especially, artists such as H.O.T, Kim Wan-Sun, Clon, Baby V.O.X, NRG saw a huge success in China and Taiwan in the mid-90s. Also during this period was the emergence of hip hop and R&B music in Korea, leading to the success of artists including Drunken Tiger.

2000s: Popularity in Asia & Globalization

By 2011, K-Pop has become the mainstream genre in most East and South East Asia, including Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, China, Vietnam. Through the internet, recently, K-pop started to expand to the rest of the world as well, but it yet has not become well known enough to be mainstream in those countries.


Many of K-pop’s biggest idol groups and solo acts, including TVXQ, JYJ, BoA, Rain, Super Junior, SS01, BIGBANG, Girls’s Generation, KARA, 2PM, SHINee, BEAST, After School, Brown Eyed Girls, Se7en, U-KISS, T-ara, 4minute, Secret, MBLAQ and 2NE1 began targeting the Japanese market. The group members conduct interviews and sing in Japanese. K-pop is steadily gaining influence in foreign markets outside of Asia, however, most notably in the United States, Canada, and Australia. In 2001, Bumsoo Kim became the first Korean singer to place on the U.S. chart with his single, “Hello Goodbye Hello”. In 2009, Wonder Girls, one of Asia’s most successful music artists who sold millions of singles including the international #1 songs “Tell Me”, “So Hot” and “Noboby”, debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. In a push to further globalize the genre, K-pop artists are increasingly working with talent outside of Korea. In the United States, Korean artists are touring with groups such as the Jonas Brothers  and collaborating with well-known producers including Kanye West, Teddy Riley, Diplo, Rodney Jerkins, Ludacris, and will I am. In 2011, Billboard implemented the K-Pop Hot 100 Chart.


Today, apprenticeship is the universal strategy for nurturing girl groups, boy bands, and solo artists in the K-pop industry. To guarantee the high probability of success of new talent, talent agencies fully subsidize and oversee the professional lives and careers of trainees, often spending in excess of $400,000 to train and launch a new artist. Through this practice of apprenticeship, which often lasts two years or more, trainees hone their voices, learn professional choreography, sculpt and shape their bodies through exercise, and study multiple languages all the while attending school.

K-pop artists

Main articles:List of K-pop artists and List of South Korean idol groups

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 11, 2012 in K-pop, Korean Music


Ssireum traditional sport of Korea

Welcome Message

Even though ssireum has over 5,000years of history, we are always working to reach out to new generations. Our mission is to imorove the lives of ssireum players and to continuously popularize our traditional sport. For those who are interested in ssireum, you have reached the right place! But to truly experience ssireum you should see it firsthand by coming to one of our exciting matches. Your presence will encourage our players and in turn help to support our traditional sport. The future of ssireum is ahead of us and we should work together to help invigorate this important part of our culture. Your interest and support are invaluable. We appreciate your help in advancing the future of ssireum.

Many thanks!

Mr. Te-Jung Choi



  • Contemporary Ssireum

The following information was recorded through verbal communication with Mr. Gyuhang Lee . The initial televised ssireum broadcast was conducted by Mr. Lee in 1972 on Korean Broadcasting Service (KBS) and Mr. Lee would go on to MC for the sport over the next 30 years. Mr. Lee felt that ssireum would be a hit with Korean audiences and conferred with leading ssireum expert Mr. Taeseong Kim  to help convince KBS producer Mr. Jaegil Kim to make ssireum broadcasts part of the televised sports lineup. An arrangement was struck and over the next nine years ssireum was irregularly broadcast on KBS as no formal playing season had yet been established. During this time the ensuing desire to regularly manage and promote competitions gave birth to the first professional ssireum association in Korea founded in 1981 by Mr. Haesu Kim, Mr. Kim Taeseong, and Mr. Jaegil Kim, and Mr. Kim Dongsu with the backing of KBS. n April, 1982 the Folk Ssireum Committee began to organize. In March, 1983 they launched their first formal event. Then on April 14th, 1983 they sponsored the first Universal Championship which was held at Jangchung Gymnasium in Seoul. The event drew an enormous crowd of spectators and was reported to be the most widely viewed sporting event ever in Korea though the television ratings data have been lost to time. After this event the nation was abuzz with talk about ssireum and the popularity of the sport rose considerably.


  • Ssireum-jang

Korean Ssireum Association The ground on which the wrestlers compete is sand. The arena is on a stage which has a height of more than 70 cm. This enables a spectators to see the competition. The diameter of the circle is 7 m. For the prevention of the players injury, there is a 2 meter zone which surrounds the sand. The sand (in bounds) is approximately 10 to 20 cm deep but is filled so that the in-bounds is level with the out of bounds zone. See Figure below.

  • Satba

The garment is placed around the right leg(Figure 1)and tied with a knot, forming a ring around the thigh(Figure 2). The garment is ourposely tied so that one end can be looped around the wrestler like a belt, going behind his right side and returning to the front from his left side(Fugure 3). The end of the garment is then tied to the thigh ring(Figures 4-5). The garment, in the shape of figure five, appears like a belt and garter on the wrestler.

  • Bokjang(uniform)

Player’s uniform Korean Ssireum association has selected one company to manufacture the uniform, a pair of shorts, for competition. These certified uniforms are only acceptable clothing for competition. The mark of the ream (school, company, or province) adorns the shorts along the outer right leg seam.


Insa (Saluting)

The wrestlers stand two meters apart facing each other with arms at their sides and feet together. While watching the opponent’s eyes the wrestlers bend at the waist, moving the upper half of body to a 30 degree angle from the ground. The salutation begins and ends all Syrum(Ssireum) competition, be it practice sessions or formal competition.

Baro Japki (The starting position)

Participants kneel facing each other and each participant grasps his opponent’s sash. The right hand grips the belt at the opponent’s waist. The left hand runs through the belt at the outside of the leg. Both hand grips are such that the thumb is inside the belt with fingers wrapping the outside with palms down. as if gripping a bar.Both participant bend at the waist keeping the back straight. The head will rest at opponents right side. The right foot is forward between opponent’s leg with slight bend at knee and supports ¨÷ of the body weight. Feet are shoulder width apart.

Type of Competition

Syrum(Ssireum) participants compete as either professionals or as amateur wrestlers. At the amateur level competition occurs at the city. province and national level. The amateur level emphasizes team competition but does have individual advancement and grand champion competition. Professional competition is held at the national level only. This level emphasizes the individual advancement and the grand championship. The professionals are typically post-college age and previously competed at the amateur level. During tournament competition individual champions are determined for each weight class. The competitor who advances by winning each match through the final match is the champion for his weight division. Two or three times wrestlers regardless of weight. This is to determine the champion of the champions. The grand champion is recognized as a true hero of Korea.

Weight Classes

Individual Competition and Team competition are conducted according to weight classifications. The weight classes allow wrestlers, regardless of their size, to participate against opponents who are approximately the same weight. The weigh-in is conducted the morning of competition by the Syrum(Ssireum) officials. At the amateur level for individual competition there are seven weight categories. For the professionals there are two weight classes: Baekdu weight(over 100.1 kg) and Hanra weight(below 100 kg).Syrum( Ssireum) participants are allowed to compete at one weight class above the weight at which they weighted-in.

Illegal Wrestling Maneuvers

Syrum(Ssireum) competition is a fierce contact sport but does not allow certain moves to be used. For the safety of the wrestler, maneuvers which deliberately cause injury are prohibited. Such illegal activities include the following :

  1. Choking or twisting the neck of the opponent.
  2. Twisting or bending appendages against normal range of motion.
  3. Butting the opponent with the head.
  4. Kicking
  5. Slapping or hitting the opponent.
  6. Blocking opponent’s view or poking his eyes.
  7. Bending the fingers against the joints.
  8. Stalling and avoiding contact with the opponent.
  9. Deliberately moving outside the contest area or intentionally pushing the opponent out of bounds.
  10. Purposely untying the Satba in order to get a rest.
  11. Marking meaningless cries, remarks or gestures that are derogatory to the opponent.

Officiating Staff

For a Syrum(Ssireum) match, the officiating staff is composed of two persons, the referee-in-chief and three assistant referees. Referee-in-chief is located in the contest area and has the opportunity to move about during the match. His main responsibility is to determine the winner. The assistant referees, located in chairs at the side of the contest area, assists the referee-in-chief by providing information from a different vantage.

As the match begins the referee-in-chief holds the attention at the center of the contact area under the spotlights. In professional competition, the referee wears a costume similar to a type worn by ancient Koreans during the time of the three kingdoms, 400 AD. The referee-in-chief has the sole responsibility for the conduct of the bout. He signals the beginning of matches, points out fouls, and proclaims the winner. Referee-in-chief moves about in a crouched position, attempting to detect any body part other than the feet, touching the ground(i.e. “fail”.) The Referee-in-chief is responsible for stopping the wrestling when the situation may cause on injury to a wrestler. The assistant referees may signal that the situation is dangerous or illegal but only the referee can stop the match.

The referee is also responsible for determining which wrestler should be initiated and awarded the victory when both wrestlers fall to the ground. If the referee can not determine a winner, the assistant referees and the referee-in-chief meet in the center of the contest area to discuss and decide the winner of the fall. In the event of a split decision among the three officials, the referee-in-chief makes the final decision. The referee-in-charge signals the victor of a fall by raising an arm in the direction of the winner’s color.

Cirtera for Winning and Regulation

The objective of Syrum(Ssireum) is for one wrestler to make the opponent fall to the ground. A fall is defined as the event in which any body part other than the feet touch the ground. Typically the wrestler who secures two out of three falls is declared the winner and advances to the next round of the tournament. For the championship of each weight division and for the grand championship, three out of five falls are used as the criterion for determining the winners.

Syrum(Ssireum) participants compete for the falls during a three minute match(regulation time). If neither wrestler has scored a fall at the end of regulation time, wrestler are given a one minute rest. This is followed by a three minute overtime period of wrestling.

At the start of overtime both wrestlers are assumed to have one fall each. The winner is the next one to execute the fall. In the event where no overtime fall occurs, the wrestlers are weighed and victory is awarded to the lightest wrestler. The area for competition is a sand-filled circle. For competitors to be awarded a fall, at least one foot must be bounds. If a wrestler initiates a fall with both feet out of bounds, the fall is not awarded. Competitors are encouraged by the official to compete in the center of the contest area. The clock is stopped when wrestlers go out of bounds and the match time resumes when both contestants have returned to the starting position at the center. Scoring that occurs before the referee can restart the match is not awarded.


It may be said that are two type of Syrum-one(Ssireum-one) when the wrestlers start by griping each other’s Satba and the other when they do not. The average time required for a match is about 10seconds very few go on for over three minutes. When they do, the customer roar and ask for more, but that’s what really takes it out of a wrestler.

The following description includes some of the throws most commonly seen. but there are countless variations, depending on exactly how a man is thrown, pulled, pushed, slapped, kicked, and so on, either down or out. To describe them all would require a volume in itself. Syrum(Ssireum) techniques involve lifting, throwing, twisting, tackling, and tripping. In some respects, wrestling is a science, for most maneuvers employ the principle of leverage.

There are hundreds of holds and maneuvers but the wrestler should not try to master every one. He should rather learn and perfect those that suit his body the best. It is better to be an expert at a few holds than mediocre at a great many. You should study all the available techniques for your maneuvers so that you can be certain you are employing the best available methods.

Great strength is an asset but not a prerequisite in wrestling. Knowledge of leverage points, quickness, and physical conditioning are far more essential to success.


South Korean footballer, Park Ji-Sung


A national icon and Korea’s answer to David Beckham, Park has enjoyed every bit as prestigious an international career as his Manchester United predecessor. He has now retired from international football, but it was with the national team at the 2002 World Cup that Park was launched on the way to superstardom as South Korea reached the semi-finals under Guus Hiddink. The unassuming midfielder has been a favourite ever since.

Displaying from an early age the commitment and work ethic that would serve him so well in his later career, Park overcame concerns about his size to join Japanese side Kyoto Purple Sanga at the age of 18. Following his starring role at the 2002 World Cup, Park followed the Dutchman to PSV Eindhoven. After a period of adjustment to the demands of European football, Park became a key figure at PSV, winning a league and cup double in 2005. His performances on the European stage helped convince Sir Alex Ferguson of his worth and, that summer, he cemented his position as a Korean national hero by joining the wildly-popular Manchester United. Although he was a shock omission from the squad for the Champions League final against Chelsea in 2008, Park is a cult figure at Old Trafford and has won three successive Premier League titles as well as starting the 2009 and 2011 Champions League final defeats to Barcelona.

Strengths: An intelligent runner off the ball with his excellent movement, Park boasts bottomless energy and his stamina and work-rate have earned him the nickname ‘Three Lungs’. His approach to the game is that of a model professional.

Weaknesses: Park is far from prolific and his finishing is fairly poor. A lack of a final product has always dogged the midfielder and his shy demeanour can see him marginalised by bigger egos. Career high: Scoring the 70th-minute winner against Portugal at the 2002 World Cup which secured South Korea’s place in the knockout stages.

Career low: Being left out of the United squad that won the 2008 Champions League final against Chelsea despite playing every minute of the quarter-final and semi-final. Ferguson described the decision as the hardest of his career.

Style: Dynamic, energetic, fearless, a committed professional.

Quotes: “He’s a real players’ player. Up there with best in world for movement and so intelligent and direct with runs off the ball. His work-rate is unreal; he adds a dimension no other player brings to the team. He’s underrated a real top player.” Rio Ferdinand, March 2009.

Trivia: Park was a small child and his father encouraged him to consume boiled frog extract in a bid to accelerate his growth.


Park Ji-sung, Korea’s leading light in Europe

Park lifts the Champions League cup for Manchester United in 2008


Thе South Korean figure skater, Kim Yuna 김연아

Personal life

Kim was born in 1990 in Bucheon, Gyeonggi and moved to Gunpo when she was six years old. She trained initially in South Korea before spending four years training in Toronto, Canada. She currently trains in Los Angeles, California. In 2008, Kim was baptized as a Catholic alongside her mother, taking the saint’s name Stella. In 2009, Kim enrolled at Korea University as a Physical Education major. The correct transliteration of her name from Korean would be ‘Kim Yeona’. However, when she applied for her passport, she intended to write her name as ‘Yun-a’, but the official mis-wrote her name as ‘Yu-na’. In Hangnaul, ‘Yun-a’ would properly be spelled “연아” and not “유나.” From the 2010-2011 season, her name was registered as ‘Yuna Kim’ at ISU profile.


Kim Yuna is thе South Korean figure skater іѕ the undeniable favorite fοr gold іn 2010. Hеr signature triple-triple exhibits аn intense athleticism coupled wіth a grace thаt brings audiences tο thеіr feet. At Skate America іnLake Placid,NYѕhе brοkе thе scoring record fοr short program, earning a 76.28. Whіlе thе Olympics brings out thе patriot іn mοѕt οf υѕ, sometimes уου јυѕt need tο sit back аnd appreciate poetry іn motion. Shе іѕ thе 2010 Olympic champion іn Ladies’ Singles, thе 2009 World champion, thе 2009 Four Continents champion, a three-time (2006–2007, 2007–2008, 2009–2010) Grand Prix Final champion, thе 2006 World Junior champion, thе 2005–2006 Junior Grand Prix Final champion, аnd a four-time (2002–2005) South Korean national champion. Kim іѕ thе first South Korean figure skater tο win a medal аt аn ISU Junior οr Senior Grand Prix event, ISU Championship, аnd thе Olympic Games. Shе іѕ thе first female skater tο win thе Olympic Games, thе World Championships, thе Four Continents Championships аnd thе Grand Prix Final. Shе іѕ one οf thе mοѕt highly recognized athletes аnd media figures іn South Korea.

In February 2010, Kim competed іn thе ladies event аt thе 2010 Winter Olympic Games, held іn Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Shе entered thе Games аѕ a strong favorite tο win thе gold.

In thе short program οn February 23, ѕhе executed a triple lutz-triple toe loop combination, a triple flip аnd a double axel. Hеr spirals аnd hеr spins wеrе graded a level four. Hеr technical score οf 44.70 points wаѕ thе highest οf thе event. Shе аlѕο received superior scores іn thе program components, whеrе ѕhе received 33.80 due tο hеr interpretative artistic skills. Aѕ a result Kim scored 78.50 points, taking thе lead bу 4.72 over Mao Asada οf Japan аnd achieving hеr best score іn thе short program. Shе set a nеw world record.

On February 25 ѕhе won thе free skate wіth a score οf 150.06 points, 18.34 ahead οf Asada, whο аlѕο came іn second рlасе іn thаt segment οf thе competition. Kim landed a triple lutz-triple toe loop combination, a triple flip, a double axel-double toe loop-double loop combination, a double axel-triple toe loop combination, a triple salchow, a triple lutz аnd a double axel аѕ well аѕ receiving level fours fοr hеr spins аnd hеr spiral sequence. Combined wіth hеr grace аnd musical expression, both hеr technical score οf 78.30 аnd hеr presentation οf 71.76 wеrе thе highest οf thе night. Shе wаѕ thе οnlу competitor tο earn nines іn hеr program components scores.[30] Shе set a nеw world record fοr thе free skate under thе ISU Judging System.Overall, Kim totaled 228.56 points, shattering hеr personal best аnd οwn οld world record bу a margin οf 18 points.Shе won thе gold medal, becoming thе first South Korean skater tο medal іn аnу discipline οf figure skating аt thе Olympic Games. Kim’s gold medal wаѕ South Korea’s first medal аt thе Winter Olympics іn a sport οthеr thаn speed skating οr short track. Due tο hеr dominance fοr thе past few years, ѕhе hаѕ bееn nicknamed “Queen Yuna”.

Kim’s short program, long program аnd combined total scores іn thе 2010 Winter Olympics іn Vancouver wеrе thе highest scores еνеr ѕіnсе thе ISU Judging System wаѕ сrеаtеd, аnd wеrе automatically registered іn thе Guinness World Records.Aftеr thе 2010 Winter Olympics, Hillary Clinton praised Kim’s performance. Kim thanked hеr іn a letter.

Yuna Kim 2010 Vancouver Olympics FS George Gershwin Piano Concerto major

Hot dance – Kim Yuna

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 9, 2012 in Kim Yu-Na 김연아, Korean Sport


World Students in Korea

1.Korean Ancient House

When you visit to foreign countries of old history, you will be amazed at old castles they have. At first, we are surprised at the beautiful castle which looks just cut-and pasted from a fairy tale, and amazed again by the fact that it has been coming down for over the hundreds of years. Tourists will continue to visit there, appreciating that how this beautiful castle still remains.

However, Korea also has many traditional buildings coming down through a few hundred. The best one is a Korean-style old house. Although it is not as high as other foreign castles, the whole structure and the view of the house is a piece of the artwork. It is a harmony of Korean style building placement and the composition of natural garden. It is said to be admirable even to the modern architects. From now on, let’s go to see the grandeur and beautiful ancient houses representing Korea.

Sunkyeojang in Gangneung

An ancient house Sunkyeojang, located at Gangneung, was originally built by the 11th descendants of Prince Hyo-nyeong, the older brother of King Sejong, and has come down to the present going through the work of enlargement for 10 generations. This is a typical house for the gentry which comprises 99 units of area, and has higher value on its prototype which was preserved almost perfectly for a long period of 300 years. In 2000, the Korea Broadcasting Cooperation chose Sunkyojang as the best traditional house of Korea of 20 century. This place has been drawing people’s attention as a film location for various dramas and movies including “Man of the Princess” which recently drew a large popularity. In addition, this place is often shown as a background in many programs on TV, and also became a visiting place for the ministers of tourism of Korea, China and Japan.

<The scenery of Sunkyeojang in winter> (Photo: Korea Tourism Organization)

At this point, there is something which should be clarified. Koreans are familiar with the term, ‘a tile-roofed house with 99 units’. Then, why didn’t they build 100 units, adding one more unit? This was associated with the taboos of the past. Due to the fact that only the palace for a king’s residence was allowed to be built more than 100 units of area, so the civilian house was restricted to 99 units utmost since no one could not live in a larger house than King’s, as thought to be a general truth of the reason. This is proved by the story that Leem Sang-ok, a wealthy merchant of the latter period of Joseon Dynasty, got all sorts of sufferings from the accusation of building more than 100 units. Reaching to the end of the former Korea, with the regulation becoming disturbed, the cases of building over 100 units of houses gradually increased. However, on the whole, the limit of 99 units has been well kept. By the way the ‘unit’ means the land size not a room.

Sunkyeojang is located in front of the Maewalldang memorial place where you can see after the Gyeongpo intersection and turning left on the Unjung intersection. It opens for public from 9 am to 6 pm in summer, from 9 am and to 5 pm moved up by one hour in winter, and admission fee is 3000 won for an adult. If you come earlier,, you can enjoy the place more comfortably with introduction by commentator. Smoking is prohibited all over the area as the whole buildings were made of wood.

A lodging experience is a representative and practical use of this place. With a large site and many buildings, 9 choices for lodging, from a tile-roofed house for the group to a thatched house for the elegant residence, are prepared without missing anything. Although cooking is not allowed for safety of the building, lower prices and cozy facility is attractive enough.

<Yulwhadang library beloved by all visitors> (Photo: Yonhap News)

Besides, the cultural experience is also very plentiful. Traditional food, folk play, courtesy, and a public performance experience are made ready basically, and a finishing school and calligraphy school are opened on not-permanent standing. And in 2009, a library, holding above 2000 copies, will be made in Yulwhadang, a gusting room in Sunkyeojang, which will introduce visitors to the joy of reading. Moreover, surroundings are full of famous attractions such as Gyungpodae, Jungdongjin, Ojukheon, Odae Mountain., Seorak Mountain, etc. The number of tourists visiting Gangneung continuously increases.

130 Years of History, Songso Ancient House

Before looking into the history of Songso ancient house, we need to look over the history of the Shims of Cheongsong area.
The Shims, started by the originator Shim Hong-bu during the reign of King Choong-yul of Goryeo dynasty, settled in Cheongsong area which became a place of their origin. Their power reached the highest during the reign of King Gong-min and a King Yu. The two prominent figures from the Shims then were brothers, Shim Duk-bu and Shim Uen-bu. The older brother, Shim Duk- bu had served the ministry as a meritorious retainer for the foundation of a country, and the daughter of his fifth son Shim On became an Empress Sohyeon, a wife of the King Sejong in Joseon Dynasty.

On the other hand, the younger brother Shim Uen-bu, unlike his older brother, opposed to the dynasty revolution and went into the Dumundong confining himself at home, and the rest of his descendents also stepped down from the government and came back to their hometown, Cheongsong, following the will of an ancestor. They worked together in cooperation and brought the wealth enough to be one of two richest families with the Choi’s of Gyeongju, the southeast region of Korea. The myth of a person who owns fields yielding as much as 10,000 seok of rice over 9 generations, were born from them. Among them, Songso Shim Ho-teak, a 7th generation descendant, built the Songso ancient house in 1880, naming it under his pseudonym.

Songso ancient house has a typical upper-class house configuration of 7 sections and 99 units of area, and with being recognized of the almost perfectly preserved value, was designated as an Nationally Important Folk Material No.250. Having been neglected for 20 years since the descendants left, it was reborn as a hands-on experiencing place of Korean-style house after repaired in July 2010. The change proved to be successful by receiving the best award called, the Star of Korea Tourism, in lodging.

<An awe-inspiring tall gate proving the dignified appearance of the 99 units of area> (Photo: Yonhap News)

The look of a tall front gate made of 7 units, standing in the entrance, overwhelms the visitors. Entering the gate, there appears a garden where maple trees and pine trees were planted. Sarangche, men’s space appears on the right side of it. Looking at the view from high above, you will learn that entire place is divided each into spaces for living, working, and welcoming guests. Besides, each building has its own independent yard, so the total is 9.

In Songso ancient house, you can find many interesting details everywhere.
First of all, entering into the tall gate, ‘ㄱ’ shaped-wall, called heotdam, separating wall. It was used to prevent children and women of inside from encountering the male guests visiting sarangche. In addition, when you take a closer look at the Kkotdam, a flower wall, you can find the hole in line with eye-level, which is said to be a hole used for the children and women inside of the house to see the outside. Who knows it could be used vice-versa?

<Beautiful looks of the flower wall> (Photo: Yonhap News)

Also, when you see the roof, a little bit scary picture is painted at the edge. This is said to be the purpose to expel the evil spirit. If you see the upper part, you can see the two holes which were made for the birds to build a nest easily, and recognize the warm heart of ancestors.

Lastly, we will take a look at the byeolche, women’s space, sticking out of the side of Songso ancient house. This place was a space for the unmarried women in Songso ancient house, and the girls over seven years old should move to byeolche and live locked in the place until she gets married. This place was indeed a space for raising the women of a boudoir who hadn’t experienced the outside. However, at present, this place turns to be the most expensive accommodation because of its uniqueness and a harmony with surrounding landscape. How about staying one night here and feeling the mood of the lady who dreamt of a dear future husband?

The Scar Left by Japanese Imperialism, Imcheonggak

Imcheonggak is a unusual Korean-style house in a sense that the present appearance is quite different from the one in the past. In the early days, Imcheonggak stood with a proud of its dignified appearance of 99 units of area. However, since it was found that 9 pro-independence fighters were born in this house, Japanese demolished almost half of the house by putting down the central railroad in the front of the house. In addition, as the descendants refused to add themselves to Japanese family register, Japanese confiscate their house and sold to others. Since then, the descendants had to wander around orphanages.

<Imcheonggak passed through by the railroad> (Photo: Yonhap News)

Imcheonggak is one of the oldest ancient houses, and used to be outstanding in its scale until 19 century. Built in 1519, its scale has become huge by continuous expansion. It has the board written by Lee Hyun-bo and Lee Hang-bok, the prominent civil ministers in the mid Joseon Dynasty, so we can imagine their high social reputation was.

<Imcheonggak returning to original appearance little by little> (Photo: Korea Tourism Organization)

The full figure of Imcheonggak has a flat formation which looks like a Chinese letter, ‘用 (lyong)’’. It tells that it separated each place by gender and social status. Also, Gunjajeong, located at the center of Imcheonggak and later designated as National Treasure, is for welcoming guests, which looks like a letter, ‘丁(jeong)’. This is the best spot to take a view of Nakdong River flowing over the front and the Yeunnam Mountain surrounding the building.

Ancient houses were not built with 99 units of area from the beginning. They got bigger and bigger for a long period of time. It was for practical use rather than ostentation. When the house was crowded with peoples, it needed a lot of rooms for many literary guests and travelers from all over the country as well as for the family, relatives, and the servants to take their own space. Distinguished family always emphasized to welcome their guests. With this, we can see the fact that what they concerned about is a human being rather than property.

The biggest lesson, which the ancient house is giving to us, seems that we should live together,  harmonized with others.


2.Unique Cafe over the Han River

Han River, which passes through Seoul is considered the most significant river among Koreans.  You can enjoy the view from riverside or neighboring parks. However, there are also other places to recommend. If you want to see the river comfortably inside, regardless of weather, go to the Han River observation cafes. You might feel different from the other cafes as all of these observation cafes were built on the Han River Bridge. It will be a fun to find out the uniqueness of each cafe.

Han River has total of 10 observation cafes over seven Bridges. Among these, we chose six cafes thought to be more interesting and unique than the rest.
Let’s find out the unusual and attractive cafes to enjoy the Han River at a glance. The cold wind always comes with the river, so don’t forget to wear the warmest outfit.

Cloud Cafe & Red Sky Cafe on Dongjak Bridge

Cloud Cafe and Red Sky Cafe are located each at upstream and downstream of Dongjak Bridge. Both cafes occupy three floors of the building from 3rd to 5th, and outdoor observation deck is on 6th floor. The operating hour is from 10 am to 2 am from March to October during the high-demand season, and from 10 am to midnight from November to February during the low-demand season.

For those of you who want to go to either one of cafes mentioned above, we recommend you to take a bus no.502 or a subway to Dongjak station (line no.4). It takes only three minutes’ walk from where you get off. To Cloud café, go to exit no.1, and to Red Sky café go to exit no.2. For drivers, there is a parking lot over a Dongjak Bridge, which charges 300 won per 10 minutes. If you park at other parking lot in Banpo Hangang Park, it costs 1000 won per 30 minutes, from Monday through Saturday, and 200 won per extra 10 minutes. For whole day, it costs 10,000 won. On Sunday and national holidays, it is free of charge.

<The stylish interior of Cloud cafe> (Photo: Yonhap News)

Cloud cafe and Red Sky cafe draw attention as a comfortable resting place with lights from the ceiling and scents of aroma. In addition, both of these places have been recognized as the most appropriate places to see the fountain show around Banpo Bridge, floating Island, and 63 Building, and also beautiful scenery of the Han River with sunset. Of course, they serve the wonderful cuisine.

If you ever used a water-taxi, you’ll get 20% discount in all menus of Red Sky cafe. Red Sky cafe is the only one in alliance with Han River water-taxi, so do not miss the chance!

Cafe Ariddaum(pretty) Yangwha & Cafe Ariddaum(pretty) Sunneu on Yangwha Bridge

Ariddaum Yangwha is located at upstream direction of Yangwha Bridge, and Ariddaum Sunneu is located at downstream direction separately. They stand facing each other with Yangwha Bridge between them. They have oriental and occidental themes. Ariddaum Yangwha adopted the oriental lattice interior, and Ariddaum Sunneu adopted the occidental tables and chairs, separately.

<Interior of Cafe Ariddaum Yangwha and Cafe Ariddaum Sunneu> (Photo: Yonhap News)

Unlike the other observation cafes, these two are located on a pedestrian passage. So, in order to reach from the waterside of the Han River, you have to use a rather unique elevator moving on a slant line. In terms of transportation, you can take a walk for about 15 minutes from the exit no.3 in Sunneudo subway station (line no.9), or use the bus either no.604, 5712, 6712 or 6716.

The operating hour is from 10 am to midnight in high-demand season (Mar.-Oct.), and from 10 am to 11 pm in low-demand season (Nov.-Feb.). Comparing to the previous Cloud and Red Sky Cafe, you can tell the difference from their operating hour. However, the same parking charge applies to all the Han Liver Cafes.

Both of these cafes sit in back-to-back position in direction, so each opposite side of the wall is toward a different view. The Cafe Ariddaum Yangwha avails the views of the Han River, Dangsan Railroad Bridge, Yeouido, etc., and the Cafe Ariddaum Seoneu avails the views of Seoneudo Park, Seongsan Bridge and World Cup Fountain.

In addition, they sell the coffee from East Timor through fair trade, and all menus are free of sugar, trans fat and chemical additives at all. They sell not only coffee but also they prepare alcohol liquors such as wine, makgeoli (rice wine), cocktail, etc. and also various drinks like herbal tea and juice, which satisfies the various tastes of people at the same time.

Marushimteo on Jamsil Bridge

On July 2011, 12 major facilities on Han River were renamed. Now, they all have new names after pure Korean words. Marushimteo is also one of the, which changed its name, which used to be ‘River View Spring’.

<Clean view seen from Marushimteo> (Photo: Yonhap News)

The operating hour is from 10 am to 11 pm. Walk toward Jamsil Bridge for about 10 minutes from exit no.7 in Jamsil subway station (line no.2), or by bus no.302, 303, 320, 8361, 2412, 2415, 3215, and 3216 to get to the café..

This place has been managed by the Seoul Foundation of Women & Family, and used as a place for women. Recently a female owned flower shop named ‘travelling painter’ moved into the place. You can buy some various flowers and flowerpots as well. Marushimteo also provides useful information on employment for women and promoting programs. It sells coffee, fruit juice, jujube tea, sweet pumpkin, makgeoli (rice wine) , etc. The price is lower than elsewhere. Computers are set up for visitors’ convenience. Besides, after 8 o’clock in the evening, the observation deck on 3rd floor turns off the whole internal lights to provide the vivid night view. It will be more romantic, if you come with your lover.

Well, there is one more place you shouldn’t miss. It is “Jamsil Under-water Reservoir Fish Road” which is a pathway to make fish easily move up to the uperstream of the river. A little fish also can pass through the artificial valley as it is only 10cms high. Every Saturday from April to October, from 11:00am to 12:30pm, an interesting and educational program named ’The Han River Fish Ecology Classroom opens for public. The target audiences are from kindergarten kids to junior high school students, including their family. Unfortunately, the program doesn’t open in winter.

Semal Cafe on Hannam Bridge

Hannam Semal cafe built on the southern end of Hannam Bridge is the first Han River Observation café among others. From here, you can see the Namsan Mountain, Banpo Bridge, moonlight rainbow, Jamwon Han River Park at a glance.

<Citizens enjoying the view from Semal café> (Photo: Yonhap News)

The operating hour is from 10 am to midnight in high-demand season, and from 10 am to 11 pm in low-demand season. You can come here by a transfer bus from exit no.4 in Sinsa subway station (line no.3) or exit no.6 or 7 in Nonhyeon subway station (line no.3). You can also come by bus either one of no.140, 142, 144, 241, 402, 408, 420, 421, 470, 471, or 472.

The most attractive thing of Semal Cafe is to be specialized for bike users. To prevent losing the bikes, it operates a unique place called “housing bike keeping place” and keep developing the set menu for bike users. In addition, in winter time, this place provides a free experience of herbal teas event for bike users. Moreover, this place has been the most distinguished by bike manias for its convenience.

The most popular menu of this place is a three color makgeoli cocktail. This unique menu is a magical cocktail which has three colors and three tastes. Along with this, you can taste various oriental teas such as Yeosu stone-mountain organic-farming citron tea, south sea organic-farming plum tea, etc. Such as Yangwha Bridge, the coffee brought from the East Timor in fare trade, is very popular.

Another consideration of Semal Cafe is mat-rental. It is available with 3000won in deposit. So you can enjoy the moment sitting on the picnic mat in the Han River Park from the spring to the autumn. As such, the Semal cafe sets a good example as a first-born brother, to think about a minor but essential and short-cut policy to make the Han River cafes be the friends of the citizens.

Just as the winter sea, compared to the summer, winter river gets relatively few visitors. Meanwhile, this cold season could be the best opportunity to monopolize the whole view ofHnaRiveron your own. Why don’t you refresh yourself with the warmest tea over the river?


Main Events 

– Period : 1 Feb (Wed) ~ 5 Feb (Sun), 2012 / 5 days
– Place : The National Folk of Museum, Jongro, Seoul 

2. Hands-on Experience in Korean Folk Village 

– Period : 10 Dec (Sat) 2011 ~ 29 Feb (Wed) 2012 / 81 days
– Place : Korean Folk Village, Yong-in, Gyeonggi 

WSK Activities

ㆍ Sattorova Parvina (Uzbekistan, 5th WSK) attended Blue House, on behalf of WSK members, for PCNB business report on 23rd Feb, 2012.
ㆍ New year celebration ceremony for 6th WSK is scheduled to be held. Further information will be noticed ahead.

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 7, 2012 in World Students in Korea