Category Archives: Pr materials/resources

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!

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!

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!

Northeast Asia’s Paradox / Peace Boat

Recently, the Northeast Asian countries (Korea, China, and Japan) have had controversial issues between one another. On one point, they have begun to increase their economic interdependence on one another and have helped each other’s economies to strengthen and grow. Consequently, political issues between these three countries have been gradually intensifying, making it harder for complete peace and cooperation to be created between these three Asian powerhouse countries. One example is the struggle of ownership of Dokdo. Currently, Japan is still claiming sovereignty over Dokdo, when historically the island had belonged to Korea up till World War II.

Because of all the distortions in history written in some textbooks, a group of Japanese students began to travel by boat to other countries to gain a better understanding of other Asian countries to first person perspectives and also to help promote peace. Their boat was known as the “Peace Boat” and ever since 1983, they have been operating and voyaging around the world to learn more about other countries.

VANK, the world’s largest non-governmental organization for public diplomacy has also taken action to promote peace around the world. One of their goals to help peace is the promoion of unification of North and South Korea. They are helping to promote this by distributing maps that they produced which talks about the effects that Korean unification can have. With the unification of Korea, Asia will be able to achieve co-prosperity, peace, and also be the foundation to solving other issues. Since 2005, VANK has been distributing these maps and in 2013, more than 100 thousand maps have been distributed worldwide.

Join VANK and others in helping promoting peace and prosperity for future of the world!

[Modern Korea] Korea Tourism Introduction_city and festival

Ranked the 3rd highest in “The 31 places to go in 2010” by The New York Times, Seoul, Korea Seoul is a city bustling with people and places and an infinite amount of things to do. Seoul, which is divided by the Han River, is filled with culture and history in Northern areas and known for its business districts in its southern areas. With over 12 million tourists in 2014, Korea has become a go to place for many tourists to explore and have fun.

With many places to shop, tons of places to eat, and with the help of the hallyu wave and the infamous night culture that Korea has been known for, Korea has become a growing tourism “hot spot” internationally with over 10 million tourists coming to visit Korea annually.

One of the many things that Korea is known for is their plentiful festivals that they hold throughout the year. One of the bigger festivals that they hold is the Boryeong Mud Festival. This festival was given numerous awards and is also heavily covered by the media every year, and many people, children and adults partake in this mud festival. The mud is also known to be rich in minerals and thus healthy for your skin as well.

Every year, mud is colllected from the Boryeong mud flats and transported to the Deacheon beach where a variety of events take place involving mud. Mud games, mud wrestling, mud massages, and a mud parade are just a few of the events that take place during this festival.

Come and visit Korea for yourself!

And dive into the numerous activities that Korea has to offer!

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,

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!