Monthly Archives: March 2016

Public Diplomacy Efforts with the Chinese for Korean Unification

300 years ago, a man from Joseon named Hong Dae-yong traveled to Qing China and met a Chinese scholar in Beijing. It took 56 days on foot to reach his destination. The Chinese scholar’s name was Um Sung and eventually the 2 scholars became good friends. They communicated by exchanging letters which usually took 1 to 2 years to send and receive a single letter.

Today, China and Korea still maintain a strong relationship through tourism, trade, and even for education. China currently is Korea’s top trading partner, accounting for 26% of Korea’s exports. Also, the largest group of international students that go to China are Koreans and vice-versa. Thus, this China-Korea relationship is an important relationship for both countries.

However, with the recent nuclear threats in North Korea, this relationship has gotten weaker. To defend itself from missile attacks from North Korea, South Korea is planning on deploying a missile defense system. However, this defense system does not go well with China and they have threatened to end their good ties with Korea if they persisted on deploying the system.

These issues prove that reunification is key to help establish peace and prosperity within that region. Reunification is also key to help lay out the foundation towards a peaceful Asia.You too can play a part in helping to reach this goal. Help VANK in their goals to reaching reunification and peace!

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Jikji, the Standard for World Heritage

What does it take to be considered a World Heritage?

In China, they proudly boast about their Great Wall which has been recognized as one of the 7 Wonders of the World and also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.

In Egypt, the tomb of a pharaoh has also been recognized a a world heritage site. The Giza pyramid in Egypt was the world’s tallest construction done by the largest number of people in ancient history. This pyramid has also been recognized as one of the 7 Wonders of the World.

In Korea, Jikji has also been recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage. But compared to these other places that are grand in size and construction, Jikji is just a small book. So why has it been recognized by UNESCO?

Jikji, was the first book to be printed using movable metal  type technology (78 years earlier than Gutenberg’s Bible). This technology has been recognized to be a prime factor in bringing a revolutionary change to how books were printed. Because of this, it has been given the recognition of a world heritage not because of the sheer size of the object, but because of the huge impact it has had on how books are printed not just in Korea, but even in other places around the world.

As of 2015, Korea has 11 world heritages, with Jikji being one of them.

Learn more about these kinds of world heritages through VANK and help promote this information to others!

Stories about Koreans Who Promote the East Sea

During the Japanese occupation in Korea from 1910-1945, Koreans had to surrender a lot of things to the Japanese. Some things included their country, rights, and their freedom. Another thing that occurred during the Japanese occupation was the name change of the East Sea to the Sea of Japan. With the surrender of Japan in 1945 and the end of World War II, Koreans were able to once again gain their independence and country back. However, the Sea of Japan name did not change.

To this day, many people around the world are misinformed about the naming of this sea. Most textbooks, maps, etc. still label this sea as the Sea of Japan instead of the East Sea. However, VANK has started a mission to try to change this by aggressively writing emails to famous publishers and websites about their misleading information and how it impacts Korean people. Thanks to their accomplishments, more publishers, educational institutions, and even museums have begun to use the name East Sea by itself or alongside the name Sea of Japan. In 1990, the usage of the name East Sea was just 3%. 10 years later, that statistic has risen to almost 30%! VANK has also started to distribute world maps to these facilities and to classrooms that uses the correct naming for the East Sea.

Please help VANK in helping bring about a change and help promote Korean history!

70 Years After Independence, the Path for Koreans

Korea today has one of the top economies in the world. With an 11th ranked economy in terms of GDP and a ranking of 29th for GDP per capita ( the amount of money a person makes), Korea has blossomed into a sophisticated society with a good standard of living. However, the country wasn’t always well off like today.

After the end of World War II with Japan’s surrender, Korea was able to regain its freedom and independence after years of suffering under Japan’s regime. However, their freedom was short-lived with the Korean War in the 1950s. After this war, Korea was divided along the 38th parallel. The country’s GDP per capita then was just $50, making it one of the poorest countries in the world.

Despite these odds, Korea has overcome many obstacles to become the prospering country it is today. However, it has not yet been able to regain full independence yet. Many historical facts about Korea are missing or distorted in texts and Korea still remains divided.

With your help, we can help to create a difference and bring Korea closer to gaining their full independence back! Support VANK and let’s change history together!

Korean Culture Postcards (B)

A set of 10 postcards that talk about the diverse and rich culture and history of Korea. There are postcards of famous martial arts like taekwondo and also postcards on cultural objects that are not as well known like the annals of the Joseon Dynasty, which has been registered as a UNESCO Memory of the World.

Learn about diverse cultural facts of Korea and experience the rich culture yourself through these postcards. These postcards are also available for download here: http://data.prkorea.com/?p=4865

King Sejong the Great korea2-09-716x1024.jpg

One of the most respected historical figues in Korea, King Sejong helped to evolve Korea dramatically in a positive direction. He is most well known for creating Hangeul, which is a Korean alphabet that has become the standard for the Korean language. He also contributed in many other inventions like a water clock (Jagyeongnu) and a sundial (Angbuilgu) to tell the time of day.

 

 
Traditional Music of Korea: Samulnorikorea2-08-716x1024.jpg

Samulnori is a Korean percussion ensemble that originated from Nongak or farmers’ folk music. Nongak was developed to raise morale or excitement during group work or for traditional holidays. Samulnori uses only four major percussion instruments, including Kkwaenggwari, Jing, Janggu, and Buk.Since its premier in 1978, Samulnori has gained widespread acclaim and popularity both in Korea and around the world.

Unified Korea World Map (통일한국 세계지도)

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The possibilities of a reunified Korea are endless. Not only will there be peace within east Asia, economic development between countries will also proper. The once isolated Korea will have opportunities to create trade with nearby regions and also develop their industrialization. Also, instead of using its military to protect and fight itself, a reunified Korea will be able to distribute their military power towards peace in other countries with disputes still going on. These endless possibilities show that reunification is a feasible option for Korea because of the numerous benefits that Korea could gain through reunification. These possibilities are shown on the map like a feasible railroad that could connect Korea, China, Russia, and even Europe.

However, change will not happen without any effort or determination. We must do our best to overcome this division and achieve our dream of positive change and prosperity for Korea and the world.

Help us in the effort of reunifying Korea and accomplishing this dream!

Download this map here: http://data.prkorea.com/?p=4853

 

 

Astronomical History of Korea and the World (천상열차분야지도)

How much do y천상열차분야세계지도_m-679x1024-min (1)ou know about astronomy? There were many great developments, inventions, and astronomers who have helped us to learn more about the stars and skies. One famous example is the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus who helped to formulate the heliocentric model of the universe. In other words, Copernicus was the first person to create a model that proposed that the Sun, and not the Earth, was the center of the Solar System.

Did you know that Koreans also had many scientific developments in the field of astronomy? It all started during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) . During this period, remarkable scientific developments were achieved and many astronomical instruments were created. Later on, an astronomical calendar system called Chilijeongsan was also created in 1444.King Sejong was also able to create the Korean native alphabet, Hangeul, and the native time system during this time.

This was all made possible because of the remarkable scientists who supported King Sejong’s vision. These scientists, like Jeong Inji, Jeong Cho, Yi Cheon, and more were actually named after a few asteroids  by the International Astronomical Union in 2004 which were discovered by modern Korean scientists.

King Sejong and these scientists were able to make remarkable contributions towards history.

Just like these historical figures, you too can help bring a change in history!

Download the map here at : http://data.prkorea.com/?p=5155