Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Colorful Island, Jeju Island

Location, southwest of the Korean peninsula Jeju island is Korea’s largest island but smallest province.

The sea, volcanoes, waterfalls, caves, forests, and warm weather, Jejudo is a beautiful island with well-preserved natural environments.

Sad history of Jeju Island

In 1941-1945, Japan waged the Pacific War.

During the war Japan used Jejudo as a base for military supplies. Japan exploited the oreums, unique volcanic landforms on Jejudo and underground bases and bunkers were carved out of the oreums. Jeju residents were even forcibly mobilized to construct Japanese army air bases. Throughout Jejudo, historical wounds still remain from the Japanese occupation.

However, after a time of trouble and sadness Jeju Island healed into the beautiful island that it is today. Now, there are hundreds of people who visit Jeju Island from all over the world.

8 colors of Jejudo are attracting visitors!



Red tinted

In the fall, a vibrant color of autumn leaves cover Halla Mountain. Halla Mountain is in the middle of Jejudo, and it is the tallest dormant volcano in South Korea.





Orange colored skyline

The place to observe the most beautiful sunrise in the world is ‘Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak’. Warm orange covers the night sky of Jejudo ‘Jeju Fire Festival’. On the first full moon of the lunar calendar, people gather to pray for ‘peace and a good harvest’.




Yellow-covered Landscape

The Blooming spring flowers are rape flowers in Jejudo. The first place to see blooming flowers in Korea is Jejudo. The yellow wave of rape flowers signals the beginning of spring!





Everlasting Green Landscape

Unlike other parts of Korea, Jejudo is full of green all year round. Rich green color never fades away at ‘Gotjawal Forest’. It is the only forest in the world where both tropical and arctic vegetation’s coexist. Gotjawal Forest, is full of bright green, and is the lung of Jejudo.






Mysteriously Blue Seas

Fabulous islands surround by the blue seas. The largest island among all the islands and islets around Jejudo is Udo and it got its name because it looks like a cow lying on the ground. There is another popular island that is surrounded by sparkling blue water is ‘Subjicoji’, ‘Subji’ means a land that produces many talented people. ‘Coji’ means a land that sticks out into the water like a nose. There is also a tall rock called Seondol that connects the blue sky and the water.




Light Purple Fields

Soft aromas of cherry blossoms fill Jeju Island. Jejudo is the home of cherry blossoms. It is the first place to see cherry blossoms bloom in Korea and in the spring, Jejudo is filled with the aroma of these purple flowers.






Gray Volcanic Rocks

Jejudo has marvelous rock formations. Jejudo has many natural caves that were created by lava from Halla Mountain. Gray volcanic rocks in Jejudo are fabulous works of nature.







Invisible color, warmth

Warmth is the ‘kind generosity’ of Jeju people. Warm-hearted Jeju people welcome all visitors at any time, 365 days a year. Three things that don’t exist in Jejudo are thieves, beggars, and gates. People in Jejudo have always treated neighbors like family. Whether poor or rich, Jeju people serve guests with their full capacity.







Come and walk along the Jeju Olle Trail

Jeju island attracts many visitors all year round!

“Olle” is a Jeju dialect word that means an alley that extends from the street to a house.

Jeju Olle is a trail that leads visitors to scenic points on Jejudo Island. The Jeju Olle trail is designed to help visitors discover Jejudo’s secret attractions. The Jeju Olle trail gave new life to once-forgotten parts of the island.

The Jeju Olle trail consists of around 20 routes along the Jejudo coastline and each route is about 20 km long. When you walk along the Jeju Olle Trail, you will see the ocean on one side and on the other side; you will see mountains and forests.

Along way you can see,

source: Mt. Halla


Mt. Halla, the highest dormant volcano in Korea.



Bijarim Forest, nicknamed as the forest of the millennium. Bijarim earned the nickname because there are 2,800 nutmeg trees that are 500 to 800 years old. It is the world’s largest nutmeg tree forest.



Oreums, which are small volcanic cones with craters. Among 368 Oreums, Darangshi Oreum is known as the most spectacular.

Come and take a walk at the Jeju Olle trail, where you can find comfort and peace of mind!

A Story about Dokdo Sea Lions

Dokdo, Korea’s most eastern island is surrounded by a beautiful ocean with many species of fish. On the warm rocks of Dokdo there used to live 30 to 50 thousand sea lions.

In 1910, Japan officially took over Korea and then in 1905, Japan forcibly incorporated Dokdo. Nakai Yozaburo, a Japanese fisherman made a fortune hunting sea lions. Driven by greed, he wanted to ensure a monopoly over fishing rights around Dokdo. Nakai petitioned the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs to incorporate Dokdo into Japan. However, his petition was rejected because of a Japanese document that claimed Dokdo belonged to Korea.

“Ulleungdo and its affiliated island have no relation to Japan.” from a Daijokan (Grand Council of State directive, 1877)

However, Japan suddenly changed its position during the Russo-Japanese War. Even though Japan knew that Dokdo belonged to Korea, since Japan needed a strategic military outpost to defeat the Russian fleet they took control of Dokdo.

Japan also granted exclusive fishing rights to Nakai Yozaburo. Using Ulleungdo and Dokdo, Japan managed to defeat the Baltic Fleet and Nakai Yozaburo was allowed to catch sea lions at he’s own will.

Dokdo was the first Korean territory to have suffered from Japanese imperialism. Japanese fishermen used baby sea lions as bait to catch mother sea lions. When the mother sea lions tried to save their babies, the fishermen captured them. They sold the skins of mother sea lions to bag manufacturers and baby sea lions were sold to circuses.

Japanese fishermen captured 14 thousand sea lions over 8 years beginning in 1905.

In less than a half century, Dokdo sea lions became extinct. The extinction of the Dokdo sea lions foreshadowed the looming fate of the Korean people. Soon, Japan annexed Korea and took the lives of many innocent people. To threaten Korean freedom fighters, Japan used their families. They took the families hostage and killed them, just like they killed the sea lions.



Can you remember these sea lions? We must protect Dokdo to protect peace in Korea and the world. The tragedy of Dokdo started with the greed of a Japanese fisherman and an imperialistic ambition of a country that took away numerous innocent lives, land, and history.

We must take action to stop the imperialistic activities of Japan. Japan is again making a move on Dokdo and pursing its old imperialistic ambitions. We must reveal the truth behind their false claims. We must let them know that the international community is no longer controlled by force. Let’s build a fair and peaceful world together. Please help us eliminate this lingering imperialism, the tragedy of humanity.


Comfort Women

It was during the time Korea was suffering from colonial exploitation and oppression that over 200,000 Asian women were becoming comfort women. Young girls who had dreams of becoming someone’s wife and leading an ordinary life had their dreams taken away. Some were told they could make money by working in factories, and some were kidnapped by Japanese soldiers.

Japan is denying this issue and has said that it was prostitution, however the truth is it was a system of forced military prostitution by the Japanese government. Japan is now denying any involvement and has tried to cover up the tragic stories of the innocent girls.

There have been numerous attempts to get international attention and appeal for the victims, but have failed due to the lobbying of the Japanese government. However, the Korean victims did not give up. The victims have stepped up to testify about their experiences. Finally, together with the efforts of Korean Americans overseas and persistent NGO’s in 2007, the U.S. House of Representative Foreign Affairs Committee passed a resolution on the comfort women issue.

The world’s longest protest is held every Wednesday in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul, Korea. The comfort women victims may forgive but they will never forget. They only want a sincere apology from Japan so they can move on.


The Vision of Asia (동북아 평화지도)

There is a phrase “The world is a flower” and it means the world is one inseparable entity. Korea represents Mugunghwa, China the plum blossom and the peony, and Japan represents cherry blossoms. These three flowers are different kinds of flowers with different colors, scents, and distinctions.  However, if they were to be arranged in harmony, these three different flowers can become one beautiful flower garden. VANK’s dream is to create one peaceful flower garden that represents these three Northeast Asian countries. As one Asian continent we can bring more peace to the world.

It is said that the 21st century is the Asian Century. However, there are still conflict and tensions rising due to historical and territorial issues. There is also economic disparities among Asian countries. In this situation, Korean unification will put us in the best place to solve this conflict and poverty. Unifying Korea will also bring peace and share prosperity to Asia.

Together, we can realize the vision to make the world into one flower garden. Let’s build one peaceful world!


Download this map HERE

Young Koreans Create the Future of a Unified Korea

A dream is something you can realize through your occupation. However, your occupation does not need to defy your dream. And in the upcoming future a unified Korea exists. Korean unification is a dream of many people both in North Korea and South Korea. This dream can be realized with young Koreans, politicians, and even ordinary people like you and me.

Seoul National University’s Institute for Peace and Unification Studies conducted a survey in 2013. The survey was conducted of Korean youth ages 19-23. Only 40% replied “yes” to Korean unification. The main reason for the low interests in unification was because of the burden of the cost, and some replied that unification had to “relevance to my career”.

We can take Germany’s unification as an example. Unification was possible by people working together for the same dream. In the case of Korea’s unification it could provide wide ranges of opportunities for people.

Let’s work together to achieve Korea’s dream of unification!

Students flying paper planes with dreams written on them

Students flying paper planes with dreams written on them




Unified Korea (통일한국 한반도지도)

레이아웃 1

Korea’s image in the world is not always seen in a positive light because of separation and ongoing tension. However, Korea has been divided only for 70 years of its 5,000 years of history. Our ancestors’ spirits as well as their cultural heritages built with hopes of positive change and prosperity are within Korea. Now, succeeding the spirits of the ancestors, we are doing our best to overcome the division of the country and to achieve our dream of positive changes and prosperity of the 21st century world. Reunification is not only about simply rejoining the Baekdudaegan (a mountain range that runs through the Korean peninsula) and reconnecting the railroads. It is also about reopening the Korean peninsula’s blocked energy flow. Freely spreading the dream and passion of Koreans, and this achieving the peace and prosperity of the world.

Each drawing on the map represents a project or program that can be accomplished with unification.

Join us in dreaming of the reunified Korea!