By Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung sik and VCs Jang Chang-yong, Joy Cho, Choi Nam-suk
The Friday, August 11th this year, was a special day for the Cheonan City of the Chungcheongnam-do province, some 56 miles south of Seoul.
The topic in point is the '2023 Cheonan K-Culture Fair' on that day, which was attended by many Korean and international celebrities.
From the Seoul Diplomatic Corps, ambassadors and other senior diplomats attended the opening ceremony, some with their spouses and children. There also were some senior members of the United States Forces stationed in Pyeongtaek on the central western region of Korea.
The distinguished participants included Ambassadors Paul Duclos of Peru and Carolos Penafiel Soto of Mexico in addition to nine other senior members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps, including a few of their children.
Other international participants in the gala cultural event were some senior members of the United States Forces in Pyeongtaek, who included Garrison Commander Col. Ryan K. Workman of the United States Army Garrison Command in Camp Humphreys and Area III in Pyeongtaek, and Public Affairs Officer Col. Jeff M. Nagan.
From the Korean community came many distinguished personalities, who included Presidential Secretary (Civil Society Chief) Kang Seung-kyu (attending the event on behalf of President Yoon Suk-yeol); National Assembly Members Moon Jin-seok and Lee Jeong-moon; Chungcheongnam-do Provincial Governor Kim Cheonan City Council Chairman Jeong Do-hee, Independence Hall Director Han Si-jun, Chungnam Provincial Assembly Member Hong Seong-hyun, and a number of members of the Cheonan City Council. There also were representatives from the business community, who included CEO Mi-Kyung Kim of Sumir Co., Ltd.
Speaking to the meeting in an opening address, Mayor Park said: “There are various programs such as exhibitions, performances, and hands-on experience events and I hope that distinguished visitors from overseas as well as from within Korea, will have their fill of the newly established world of K-culture in Cheonan this evening and in the following four days of the Festival.”
On the opening evening on August 11, there were many interesting events, including songs and performances by K-Pop stars.
Among them was one, a striking high light at the Opening Ceremony, the ‘Flying Angel’ soaring in the night sky hanging on a ‘star’ which was actually controlled by a large crane which was hardly seen from the audiences due to the darkness of the night. The ‘Angel’ flew over the audience hanging on the ‘star’ using an ‘invisible’ rope.
The Festival, which was organized by Mayor Park Sang-don and the Chonan City to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the city's promotion to the status of city and to position Cheonan as Culture Center, was a great success with a large annual attendance.
In the preceding week, the Korean people were warned that Typhoon No. 6 would pass through the Korean Peninsula and there were even worries that the fair would be canceled, but fortunately, the rain stopped on that very day with negligible light fog-like, little rain drops that came from time to day only added to the joy and pleasure of the opening day, and the opening ceremony was able to proceed normally as planned.
In the midst of an unusually long rainy season that exceeded expectations, the typhoon kept many people awake at night worrying about canceling the fair, but the rain and wind stopped on that very day, and the opening ceremony went smoothly.
The opening ceremony began at 5 p.m. with an opening speech by Mayor Park on the historical significance and background of Cheonan's hosting of the gala event followed by a commemorative speech by the head of the Independence Hall, and greetings from the heads of related organizations, including one from President Yoon Suk-yeol (which was delivered by Chief Civil Society Advisor to the Office of the President).
The main event, which was held from 7:00 p.m., was attended by over a thousand visitors, and the echoing shouts from the audience when the music of the singers resounded and further heated up the atmosphere at the venue.
The occasional light raindrops only added to the coolness of the evening in the middle of summer in Korea.
However, the mindful host has already prepared a plenty of light rain coats for the visitors and the even the cool, light rain drops were actually no problem for the visitors.
The Taekwondo martial art performances presented by the lady and man performers in the kick-off ceremony were given a wide acclaim from the audience.
The stabbing, punching, and kicking forms of Taekwondo were more a cultural art than a martial art.
The reason why the Taekwondo martial art has a Taoist name is that unlike boxing and other forms of physical contest, is that it is not a martial art where you attack your opponent, but one where you first defend and protect yourself from the other side’s attacks, and then, if you still feel that you are in danger, then you finish him/her up with one single, final strike.
Therefore, Taekwondo has been considered as a form of martial art where the humanistic ideas of our ancestors are sublimated.
Therefore, taekwondo was passed down as the spirit and martial art of Korea’s traditional Hwarang Youth Spirit of Silla, Buddhism, and the patriotic self-defense of monks. Taekwondo has thus become the basic martial art for the Korean soldiers to defeat the Japanese army during the Imjin War (Hideyoshi Invasion of Korea) in way in the past.
It is here that the spirit of taekwondo should be passed down as a way to protect the country and to lead the world.
As the atmosphere grew, the venue became even more heated, especially when singer noted Korean singers took the stage and called Mayor Park Sang-don and the head of the Independence Memorial Hall to the stage and took the microphone in a mixed duet, and the crowed sang along, making it look like a thousand spectators became one body.
The 'Cheonan K-Culture Festival 2023' is expected to introduce new Hallyu culture with K-POP concerts, exhibitions, and experiences covering the history and future of the Korean culture.
The 'Culture City Fantasia,' which showcases exhibitions and event programs using media arts, and the 'K-University Cultural Hanmadang,' which features promotional booths for each of the 12 universities in Cheonan, will be open at all times.
Meanwhile, detailed schedules, shuttle bus routes, and boarding locations for the '2023 Cheonan K-Culture Fair' can be found on the Cheonan K-Culture Fair website.
The concept of the K-Culture Expo was 'K-SPRIT'. K-Culture, which combined the spirit and culture of Korea, aiming to showcase the past and present at a glance to increase pride in the Korean culture and expand it to all parts of the world.
The K-Culture Expo which Cheonan City has started hosting is expected to be a differentiated Expo that introduces the Korean Wave Hallyu Culture, which is imbued with the ethnic cultural spirit, K Soul, rather than the existing K-POP-oriented performances and festivals.
Mayor Park took office in April 2020, and began excavating Cheonan's unique history and traditions under the motto of "Cheonan, a High-quality Cultural City.”
Cheonan is also home to the Korea Independence leaders such as ‘Virgin’ Ryu Kwan-soon and Noted Personality Lee Dong-Nyeong, and the Independence Hall, the Holy Site of Korea, wherefore there are ample conditions for establishing a national cultural identity and developing Korea's unique charm, diverse cultural heritage, and historical and cultural contents.
The Cheonan City and the Independence Hall signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Sept. 1, 2022, in order to form a consensus with the Independence Hall rather than a unilateral idea of Cheonan City alone.
The two organizations interact as partners for the success of the K-Culture Expo, actively cooperate to promote the K-Culture Expo, and continue practical discussions such as the formation and operation of the K-Culture Expo Steering Committee.
On the theme of “Beyond Korea to the World 2023” the Cheonan K-Culture Expo is expected to encompass the history and future of the K-Culture at the Independence Hall, which symbolizes Korea's national spirit and culture.
The Cheonan Expo showcases the popular K-pop and dance, K-movie and drama, K-webtoon, K-lifestyle (fashion, beauty, and goods), and K-food in connection with the development of the K-contents industry, which are being selected as a national task by the government.
Cheonan City also plans to promote a world Expo in 2026 that will encompass a wide variety of K-cultures classified by the Korea International Cultural Exchange Agency (Hallyu White Paper) and the Special Classification System of the Content Industry Statistics Survey, including K-games, K-sports, and K-healing and tourism.
In addition, the Expo organizers are also planning programs to showcase Korea's technology as an IT powerhouse through the K-Culture Theme Pavilion and to communicate about the future prospects and challenges of K-Culture through industry for K-Culture.
Tour of the Interpure business company on the way to the Cheonan City
On the way to the Cheonam K Culture Festival, the visiting ambassadors and their spouses together with some other members of the Diplomatic Corps visited an interesting eco-friendly business company with a wonderful pine-tree landscape on the company site.
It was Interpure Co., Ltd., located in the Dongan-gu District of Cheonan City. The company site, itself, was a large garden filled with delicately and elaborately groomed pine trees complete with ponds with fish. The host had prepared a number of welcome placards literally covering the entire compound of the company.
CEO Lee Jung-bok said, “Not only in Korea but many other countries of the world, especially China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Germany, have expressed interest in Interpure's environmental projects and are consulting to import them.”
The business scope of Interpure is wide beyond imagination, including the production of livestock odor reduction devices, water pollution prevention, eco-friendly mineral farm additives, organic materials, mortality reduction through enhanced livestock immunity, rust removal, water pollution prevention, and alkalization of acidic soils.
Members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps attending the opening ceremony:
Peru: H.E. Ambassador Paul Duclos and Mrs. Jeanette somocurcio
Mexico: H.E. Carlos Peñafiel Soto and Mrs. Regina Flores Chuzeville
ECCK: President Wolfgang Slawinski with Mrs. Mi-Kyung Kim
Zambia: Counsellor, Investment Mr. Thomas Bockarie Lansana
Mr. Zondi Chilembo
Sierra Leone: Mrs. Musu Martha Sarah Langley Second Secretary
Nigeria: Counselor, investment
Uzbekistan: First Secretary Sadikova Malohat, Mr. Sayid-Olimhon Sadikova