Tourism

Looking back at some of my travel photos, I can’t help but notice the prominence of turtles in the south of the peninsula. The symbolism of the turtle is explained briefly in the Life in Korea website as follows: While the dragon was considered the ruler of all animals, the turtle ruled over the insects. […]

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Mun Ik-jeom: dutiful son and smuggler of cotton seeds

by Philip Gowman 18 July 2014
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Mun Ik jeom (문익점, 文益漸) was a rare individual who was honoured by the kings of two royal dynasties, first by King U of Goryeo and second by the great Joseon King Sejong. The honour received from Sejong was posthumous, and was in recognition of what started, in modern day terms, as industrial espionage. And […]

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Namhansanseong joins Suwon fortress on UNESCO World Heritage list

by Philip Gowman 30 June 2014
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South Korea’s eleventh listing on the UNESCO World Heritage list is Namhansanseong. It was added to the list at the end of a 10 day meeting of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee at Doha on 25 June. According to the summary on the UNESCO website: Namhansanseong was designed as an emergency capital for the Joson dynasty […]

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Interview with the new KTO President in Korea Herald

by Philip Gowman 19 June 2014
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Hmmm. Gone is the 기, 흥 and 정 of Lee Charm. Instead, are we to get an emphasis on K-pop at the expense of the more traditional things? Two quotes from an interview with Byun Choo-suk, the new KTO president, in the Korea Herald: “The royal guard changing ceremony at palaces in Seoul, traditional mask […]

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Looking back at 2013: Culture, tourism and branding stories

by Philip Gowman 2 February 2014
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In the second of five articles looking back over 2013, we recall some of the tourism and heritage stories that made the news. And we also take a look at some of the stories about Korean food, given the increasing popularity of Korean cuisine of Korea. Arts and Heritage Sungnyemun, the great Namdaemun gate, reopened […]

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Travelling the length of Korea by motorbike

by Philip Gowman 29 December 2013
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For those who haven’t come across this yet: a project by some bold Kiwis to travel the length of the Korean peninsula, from Baekdusan to Hallsan, by motorbike. The journey took place this summer. Here’s a quick (12 minute) podcast they produced just after they crossed the DMZ into South Korea. and a video documentary […]

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Expo visit: Crystallise and other media art at KBEE

by Philip Gowman 9 November 2013
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It was a shame that there were only two days to enjoy the product of the huge amount of investment – both financial and in terms of time and effort – that went into the creation of KBEE 2013 and its associated events. The basement of Billingsate is a perfect venue for video art: huge […]

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Expo visit: Korean design and cultural contents at KBEE

by Philip Gowman 9 November 2013
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The Korea Brand and Entertainment Expo which coincided with President Park’s State Visit showcased contemporary Korean media art, K-pop, Korea’s premier garden designer and more. Also featured were key Korean designers: Kim Young-se (김영세) of Innodesign, whose designs reference the sleek black parallel lines of the trigrams in South Korea’s national flag, or the elegant […]

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Expo visit: YG v CJ, and PSY everywhere, at Billingsate

by Philip Gowman 6 November 2013
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Day 1 of the Korea Branding and Entertainment Expo, coinciding with President Park’s State Visit, was very much business-focused, with fashion and contents buyers browsing the many stalls. Day 2 was given over to the visual arts and musical entertainments. Downstairs, in the spectacular vaulted basement, was a huge exhibition of video art, celebrating the […]

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More details on Crystallize – at KBEE London

by Philip Gowman 29 October 2013
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ISKAI Contemporary Art has released more information about the exhibition at Old Billingsgate, as part of the Korea Brand and Entertainment Expo: Culture and technology unite Korean and UK artists at world’s largest Hallyu Expo • 4 – 6 November 2013 • Old Billingsgate Building, London, EC3R 6DX • Korean and UK artists collaborate through […]

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The Guardian hikes the Baekdu-daegan

by Philip Gowman 27 October 2013
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There’s a nice piece in The Guardian this week about hiking the Baekdu-daegan. The author starts at Cheonwangbong peak, Jirisan, in Sancheong County (Gyeongsangnam-do) and walks north, ending his hike in the Deogyusan national park in Muju County, Jeollabuk-do. Koreans have long believed that a current of life-energy, or gi, runs between [Jirisan in the […]

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2013 Korea Brand & Entertainment Expo celebrates the best of contemporary Korea

by Philip Gowman 12 October 2013
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I’m struggling to keep up with the things which are being packed in to the three-day extravaganza at Old Billingsgate in the City, which accompanies the State Visit of President Park Geun-hye. KOTRA and KOCCA, with support from KIDP and ARKO, are working around the clock to bring a kaleidoscopic expo featuring some of the […]

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A quick thank you to the many who once again made my Korea trip so special

by Philip Gowman 28 September 2013
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While this year’s trip to Korea is still fresh in my mind, here are a few thank-yous to the many people who made the trip special. Write-ups will follow over the coming weeks, not necessarily in chronological order. Thanks… To former LKL contributor Shin Eunjung and Tim Anderson for the splendid Gwangyang Bulgogi in, er, […]

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MMLG5: The official duties

by Philip Gowman 6 September 2013
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Donguibogam Village, Sancheong-gun, Friday 6 September, 2pm. After lunch, I realise that I now have to perform my ambassadorial duties. My sense of gloom is at odds with the enthusiastic spiel that I have to present to the camera. We proceed to the Donguibogam Museum where we meet up with a few people in an […]

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MMLG4: Honouring the spirits, feeling the gi

by Philip Gowman 6 September 2013
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Donguibogam Village, Sancheong-gun, Friday 6 September, 9am. In the daylight, I am beginning to get my bearings. The Sancheong World Traditional Medicine Expo is set in a 109 hectare (269 acre) site dominated by the dramatic peaks of Pilbongsan (pencil-peak mountain) and Wangsan (the King’s mountain). The natural slopes of these mountains establish the geography […]

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MMLG3: Preparing for the Expo

by Philip Gowman 6 September 2013
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Donguibogam Village, Sancheong-gun, Friday 6 September, 7am. Four hundred years ago, a ground-breaking medical encyclopaedia was published. The Donguibogam, literally the Principles and Practice of Eastern Medicine, was compiled and edited by Heo Jun, a Korean royal doctor, with the support of a team of medical scholars and academics. The work had been commissioned by […]

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MMLG2: Arrival in Sancheong

by Philip Gowman 5 September 2013
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Incheon, Thursday 5 September, 2pm. As I leave the plane at Incheon, one of the hostesses says: “I hope it’s alright. We tried to get most of the tomato juice off…” Ah, so that’s what my neighbour had been apologising about in the first place, before he added to the offence by tipping water on […]

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