Cultural Heritage and Artistic Flair, Korea
The Korean peninsula sretches southward from the center of the Northeastern coast of Asia, encompassing a land area of approximately 220,000 Km2 with some 3,400 islands dotting its coastline.
Korea is currently the only nation in the world that is still divided into two different political entities.
South Korea has a population of 50 million, of which about 10 million live in the capital, Seoul. Over their 5,000-year history, Koreans have achieved an indigenous culture, and their unique cultural properties can be found throughout the peninsula.
Koreans have put a high value on learning, and have earned a reputation for diligence and dedication.
Hangeul, the Best Korean Invention of All Time
Hangeul, the Korean alphabet, refers to the series of letters that form syllables with which the Korean language is written.
The most unique aspect of Hangeul is that it was intentionally created by the government as a written means of expressing the Korean language.
History states that King Sejong, who was the 4th king of the Joseon Dynasty, sponsored and helped in the scientific creation of the alphabet with the help of a team of scholars, making it the most significant invention in Korean history.
Hansik, Foundation in Fermentation
Korean food is referred to in Korean as Hansik.
While many other Asian ethnic foods such as Chinese or Japanese cuisine have become popular throughout the world, Korean food has yet to reach its peak.
The Korean government is crusading for the globalization of Hansik in cooperation with companies, civic groups and the mass media.
As the people of the world gain a better understanding of Korean food its flavors, and its roots, Korean food will undoubtedly become a global commodity like the foods of Korea's neighbors.
Hanbok, the Traditional Costume of the Korean People
Hanbok is the traditional outfit of the Korean people.
Koreans nowadays wear this outfit only on festive days or special anniversaries; however, it was worn daily until just 100 years ago.
It is a kind of traditional formal dress, and most Koreans keep a Hanbok for these special times.
Children wear Hanbok on their first birthday, and adults wear it for their wedding ceremony and on their 60th birthday.
The Hanbok is also worn for funerals or religious services, and is still used as casual wear in villages or districts where the traditional ways of life are maintained such as Chunghak-dong on Mount Jiri.
Hanok, the Breathing House
Hanok is the traditional architecture style of Korea.
The word Hanok embraces all types of traditional architecture including thatched-roof, shingle-roofed and tile-roofed houses.
However, these days, the term Hanok is generally understood to mean only the tile-roofed house.
While the thatched-roof houses made of straw or shingle-roofed houses have nearly disappeared, the tile-roofed hanok can still be found throughout the country.
There are many tile-roofed houses that are being maintained as cultural heritages, but many are also still private residences.
Hanji, Korean Paper that Stands the Test of Time
Hanji literally means "the paper of Korea."
The main material is the fibrous skin of the mulberry.
Hanji is not simply paper - it is used in a variety of ways, and has a different name according to its use.
If it is glued on a door, it is called a window paper; it is copy paper if it is used for a family registry book, the Buddhist sutra or old books, while it becomes drawing paper if four gracious plants or birds are drawn upon it.
Hanguk Eumak, the Emotion of Korean Music
The burning of the heart is implicit in the sound of the voice.
This is the first step of being able to understand traditional Korean music.
Within traditional Korean music, listeners can find the history of the Koreans, a history memorable for its sorrow and pain.
Much of the music that has been passed down from previous generations deals with the feeling of separation.
Traditional Korean music is significantly different from that of other places.
In Western music, for instance, one note equals one beat.
In the meter of Korean music, however, is that one phrase gets one breath.
Basically, the unit of time for rhythm is different between Korea and other countries.
More interestingly, there is no conductor for Korean music.
The individual musicians of a group must play their instrument in tune with their own breath and with the breath of their colleagues.
The breath of Korean musical rhythm unites with movement.
Traditional Korean music is always accompanied by dance and song.
For a greater depth of view in Korean music, focus must be given to the breath of the musicians.
The Korean expression 'tuning the breath' originates from the concept of rhythm in Korean music.
Korean IT Culture and Industry
Korea has built its position as a powerhouse in terms of information technology (IT), backed by its vast IT-related production and exports, development of world-leading technology, and also the wide use of the Internet and mobile telecommunication devices within the country.
IT industry-related products, including computer chips and mobile phones, account for more than 30 percent of Korea's total exports, and nearly every Korean over the age of 12 owns at least one mobile phone.
Almost every other household has broadband Internet.
After experiencing the incredibly high level of technological advancements in Korea, it is not uncommon to feel rather stifled when abroad.
The Internet is often much slower and sometimes even inaccessible abroad. Korea's cellular phone providers cater to more than 45.6 million cellular phone users, the highest penetration rate in the world when compared to the population.
Coupled with that is the 94.4% household Internet service rate which is the highest among OECD nations.
Just living in Korea implies that people will benefit from the digital culture inspired by the top-notch information technology (IT) industry.
The IT of Korea does not refer to the features of technology alone. The advanced IT in Korea has contributed significantly to the digitized lifestyle of Koreans.
The phrase "IT means CT (culture technology)" is not an empty catch phrase in Korea.
"Life's Good," "Digital Exciting," "Creating New Lifestyles for the World!" Do they sound familiar to you?
These are the slogans Korea's leading electronics makers LG and Samsung which make products that are sold to millions of customers worldwide each year.