Author Archives: vankstory

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!

Unified Korea (통일한국 한반도지도)

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!

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.

King Sejong the Great 
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: Samulnori
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.

Soul of Asia, Seoul

Discover Historical sites in Seoul

The South Korean capital, Seoul has a long history that dates back to ancient times. Seoul was the capital of the Baekje Kingdom and the Joseon Dynasty for around 500 years. Currently, many relics and ruins still remain throughout the city. This map of Seoul was specifically designed to introduce major historical sites in Seoul. Where the past and present exist side by side let’s begin a journey to discover Seoul’s hidden charms.

Seoul Museum of History
The Seoul Museum of History is a city museum of Seoul which opened up on 2002. This museum shows the history and culture of Seoul and the lifestyle changes of people in Seoul.

 

Changdeokgung Palace
Changdeokgung Palace is the only royal palace from the Joseon Dynasty that was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built without harming nature, and is widely commended as being in perfect harmony and balance with its surrounding environment. Its rear garden shows the characteristic of Joseon’s palace architecture and garden culture that emphasized the harmonious coexistence of humans and nature.

War Memorial of Korea
The War Memorial of Korea is a war history museum, located in Yongsan-gu, Seoul. It exhibits many historical documents and other records of wars that occurred in Korea. The purpose of the museum is to prevent another war and to promote the peaceful unification of Korea by teaching people about war. Over 9,000 historical pieces are displayed at indoor and outdoor exhibition areas.

Korean Culture Postcard (A)

This postcard includes two of the most important islands in Korea, traditional Korean clothing (Hanbok), Korean food, Korean holidays, the Korean alphabet, and lastly traditional Korean paper.

Through this postcard you can learn about Korean history, food, and people all in one place. You can also download this postcard and share with your friends the diversity and depth of the Korean culture!

Together let’s share our countries uniqueness through this cultural postcard!

Dokdo, Korea’s Eastern Island
Dokdo is Korea’s easternmost volcanic island that consists of two main islands. In 1905, Dokdo became the first Korean territory to be affected by Japan’s imperialism. Today, Dokdo strengthens our will to protect peace and freedom by reminding us of Korea’s history. This postcard also has some of unique animals found on Dokdo’s and other unique traits on the island.

Korean Traditional Dress – Women’s Hanbok
Hanbok is Korea’s traditional dress. When the Hanbok is worn, the multiple folds of fabric create an elegant volume which is comfortable for all body types. Because of its loose fit Hanbok is suitable for traditional Korean lifestyle, which is sitting on the floor. Women’s Hanbok consists of a long-sleeve top and a voluminous skirt with a underskirt and trousers underneath. Depending on a person’s social status and occasions, Hanbok was adorned with various accessories, such as a hairpin, a coronet, and a pendant.

Korea’s Food – Bibimbap
Bibimbap is one of Korea’s most popular dishes, and has begun to be recognized globally. Bibimbap is made by mixing rice with an egg, red pepper paste, and assorted vegetables. Depending on the region and the ingredients, there is a wide variety of Bibimbap in Korea. In this food postcard you can see some of the ingredients that go into making Bibimbap.

Hanguel
Hanguel is the native Korean alphabet invented by King Sejong (1397-1450) in 1443 during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). During the time King Sejong invented Hanguel, it was called “Humminjeongeum” which means proper sounds to instruct the people. Hundreds of years later the purpose and principles of invention are still explicitly known to us since the Hunminjeongeum manuscript was published with a commentary. The manuscript is even listed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register. King Sejong created Hanguel for the common people who could not afford to learn the difficult Chinese characters used by the nobles. Now, Korea has the lowest illiteracy rate in the world due to simplicity of Hanguel.

Taegeukgi (the National flag of Korea) Sticker Set

VANK’S Taegeukgi Stickers! 

Experience the different colors of Korea through this Taegeukgi sticker set. The stickers come in different sizes which is perfect to decorate anywhere.

1. Taegeukgi 

Taegeukgi is Korea’s national flag. It has a white background with a red and blue Taegeuk circle in the center and trigrams in all four corners. The Taegeuk circle represents harmony between yin (blue) and yang (red), reflecting the Korean people’s traditional belief that the creation and evolution of all things in the universe resulted from the interaction between yin and yang. The four trigrams stand for heaven, earth, water and fire.

2. Mugunghwa 

Mugunghwa is Korea’s national flower. It has been grown on the Korean peninsula for thousands of years. The Korean people have developed a special attachment to this flower, and Mugunghwa was naturally chosen to represent Korea. Mugung means eternity, which symbolizes the people’s patience and tenacity that enabled the nation to survive and prosper for 5000 years. Mugunghwa blossoms in various shades, such as white and pink, usually from July to October.

3. Hanok 

Korea’s traditional Hanok housing emphasizes harmony with nature. Hanok buildings were built of natural materials, such as wood, soil, and stone, with careful consideration not to damage the surrounding natural landscape.

Hangeul Stickers

VANK’s Hanguel stickers!

As Hangeul (the Korean alphabet) is increasing becoming popular around the world VANK designed these stickers to help make the learning experience more fun and easier.

These stickers not only help you learn the basic structure of Hanguel by using consonant and vowel stickers, they also include phrases and expressions in Korean to gain more knowledge of the culture. Interested in Hangeul? Use these stickers to introduce Korea to your friends!

A Young Man’s 5000 Year-Old Dream

Korea has a rich history of over 5000 years. In those 5000 years, many great historical figures of Korea made huge contributions to helping Korea become the country it is today.

King Gwanggaeto was one of those great figures. During his reign, he made Goguryeo (Korea) the center of Northeast Asia and lived by the founding principles of the 1st Korean kingdom of Gojoseon: Hongik Ingan (Promote the welfare of all humanity) and Jaese Ihwa (Rule the people under the order of the heavens).

Another great figure was General Seo Hui, who helped to bring peace in Northeast Asia. Through diplomacy rather than violence, he was able to avoid war for his country and even expand its territory, obtaining six garrison settlements east of the Amnokgang River.

One of the greatest figures in Korean history was King Sejong of the Joseon dynasty. To distinguish Joseon from the China-centered world during that period King Sejong created many unique traditions and culture. This includes the creation of Hangeul (Hunminjeongeum) and even the creations of calendars and clocks to help people adjust to their own country rather than following China’s adaptions.

Just like these historical figures that changed Korean history, we must persevere in trying to change Korea today. A unified Korea will help to change the history of Korea and help bring peace in Northeast Asia. It will also get rid of the nuclear threat in North Korea and a new civilization will be formed. Help VANK in bringing and change to the world together!

Admiral Yi Sun-shin of the 21st Century

Do you know about the great war hero and one of the most respected historical figures in Korea, Yi Sun-sin? In the late 16th century, Korea faces a series of Japanese invasions, known as the Imjin War. This was the biggest war in East Asia in that time period and Japan had an edge over Korea with their advanced weaponry. However, they failed miserably in naval battles against Korea, losing 23 of 23 battles, even though Joseon (Korea) had an absolute disadvantage in numbers and supplies. Despite these odds Admiral Yi courageously led his troops to victory in every single battle that he fought. He was also the inventor of the revolutionary Geobukseon (turtle ship) which helped to become the turning point in the war against the Japanese army.

Using the spirit and morale of Yi Sun-sin, young Koreans around the world have been trying to regain the dignity of Korea that was stolen by Japan. One example is the name Sea of Japan. Originally called the East Sea, the Japanese changed the name to their liking during the occupation of 1910-1945 when Korea was under Japan’s regime. Now that Korea has regained their independence, they are working hard to regain their dignity and pride by renaming the Sea of Japan to East Sea and even reclaiming their land Dokdo, which Japan is trying claim as theirs and has even named it as Takeshima. One of these hardworking groups is VANK. Currently, VANK has over 130,000 members and is continuously growing. Join VANK in their efforts of restoring Korea’s dignity and pride and help to recover Dokdo and the East Sea!

Public Diplomacy for Unification with Americans

In 1963, one man delivered a speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial. This man’s name was Martin Luther King Jr. and he was a human rights activist, fighting for freedom and equality for all humans, which in this case, were black people. Even though the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was announced in 1948, black people were still denied their rights and were segregated often. However, with the perseverance of activists like Martin Luther King Jr. and the segregated people, they were able to gain their freedom and rights.

However, today, black people are still facing segregation and falling victim to police violence. One of the biggest tragedies of police violence happened in 2012 when a 17 year old African American male student named Trayvon Martin was shot to death by a neighborhood watch captain named George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was released with no charges, causing huge debates about segregation and equality between black and white people. Also, with police violence incidents like this increasing, a new movement known as #BlackLivesMatter has started to help recognize equality for all black people, and has become a statement and a movement to help fight against White supremacy and anti-Black racism.

Even in the Korean peninsula, many people are denied their human rights and forced to live in a restrained and harsh environment. In North Korea, many rights are restricted like freedom of speech. Women are also restricted from many things which include riding bicycles or something as simple as wearing jeans or pants. Also, there are no laws that protect women from sexual abuse or domestic violence. In South Korea, people have achieved democracy and are able to enjoy all their human rights. Just like the people in the South, we hope that the North can also one day be able to enjoy these rights.

We must work towards democracy and human equality for everyone. Not just for African Americans and Koreans, but for everyone around the world who are being discriminated against and are unable to exert their human rights. For this to be achieved, tolerance is key. Together, we can bring peace to Korea, Northeast Asia, and the world!