Thursday, 26 February 2009

The Japan Society Pub Quiz

Date: Thursday, 26th February 2008, 7.00pm for 7.30pm start
Venue: The Prince of Wales, Drury Lane, Covent Garden, London, WC2B 5PF
Fee: £1 per head (payable at the door)

The pub quiz is a popular feature of British pub culture. Seriously keen players may take part in one every week, meeting with the same team of friends to pit their wits against their pub’s quiz master -and of course enjoy a drink or two along the way.
This, the third Japan Society Pub Quiz, is your chance to show everyone just how much you know, or simply to come and have fun with like-minded people. If you have never participated in a pub quiz, it’s time you found out what they are all about. If you are a past master, this is another chance to form a winning team.All team members will be asked to pay £1 on the night. The collected takings will form the prize, which will be awarded to the winning team. The more teams and more participants, the bigger the bounty!
Teams should have at least six members or thereabouts and will need to include at least one Japanese speaker. Just to make things more interesting and keep everyone on their toes, some questions will be in English and some in Japanese.

If you would like to take part, gather together a team, name it and register your team with the Japan Society on tel: 020 7828 6330 or email:
If you are interested, but haven’t got a full team, please let us know. We can match you with other people to make up a six. Be warned: pub quizzes can be addictive!

LG Bridges the Gap between Ideas and Reality

LG Electronics, a worldwide technology and design leader in mobile communications, introduces its latest innovations, newest handsets and strategic direction for this year at the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2009 in Barcelona, Spain.
Topping LG’s achievements is its direct, intuitive and dynamic 3D S-Class User Interface (UI), which will debut on the ARENA handset (LG-KM900).
Other highlights include several world firsts like the sensational 3G Touch Watch Phone (LG-GD910) and an LTE-based handset modem chip.
“The products and technologies we will unveil at Mobile World Congress were thought impossible not long ago, but now we’re proving just how possible they are,” said Dr. Skott Ahn, President & CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “We have based our products on insight from consumers, turning their ideas into reality.”

LG’s new S-Class UI, which will become standard on the company’s high-end handsets, is a totally new interface designed specifically to leverage the advantages of touchscreens. Based around a 3D cube layout with four customizable home screens, S-Class UI eliminates nested menus wherever possible and provides direct access to applications and features.
This dynamic interface, with rich graphics changes instantly to fit the task at hand and is the result of LG thinking “what if?” when trying to create the most intuitive interface in the mobile industry. Moreover, a powerful AMD processor ensures that it always runs at top speed.

Monday, 23 February 2009

‘Japan’s Investment in the Auto Industry’

Date: Tuesday, 24th February 2008, 5.00pm to 7.30pm
Venue: Daiwa Foundation, Japan House, 13/14 Cornwall Terrace, London NW1 4QP

This research seminar is part of a series on the History of Japanese investment in the UK (the project is being funded by the Great Britain-Sasakawa Foundation). This follows on from seminars on the electronics, R&D, pharma and financial services sectors. This will be a topical and popular seminar. Much of the discussion will focus on the way the big Japanese greenfield auto investments have matured and put down strong roots into the British economy. Although the basic thrust of this seminar will be to look at the history of the past two decades, there will inevitably be some discussion of the impact of the current global crisis on the Japanese automotive sector and how policy-makers are responding to the challenges. We will aim to steer discussions so that they focus on the historical dimension for at least two thirds of the time.

Chair: Sir Robin Mountfield, former Permanent Secretary of the Cabinet Office.
Speakers: Professor Daniel T Jones, Lean Enterprise Academy and co-author of Machine That Changed the World - The impact of Japanese automobile investments on the wider British economy. Louis Turner, Chief Executive, Asia-Pacific Technology Network - The key developments since 1990
Third speaker (or commentator) from the Japanese automotive community (to be announced)This seminar is free.

To register please send your details (name, institutional affiliation, email address, phone number) to

Smarter shooting with 8 new Cyber-shot models

This season’s latest additions to the Cyber-shot range of digital cameras look as good as the sensational images they produce.
If you’re passionate about colourful, high-fashion styling and smart technology, look no further than the Cyber-shot T900 and T90.
With slim, sensational looks, super-size touchscreens and new 720p HD movie recording, there’s no better way to show you’re serious about great images.
The powerful, compact Cyber-shot W series gains two new range-topping models. The W290 and W270 offer HD movie recording, plus a powerful Carl Zeiss 5x optical zoom with 28mm wide angle lens to fit more into the scene.
If you need high performance in a compact, go-anywhere package, the Cyber-shot H20 teams a powerful 10x optical zoom range and HD movie recording with purposeful styling.
The easy-to-use S980 and S930 offer a great value introduction to the Cyber-shot experience.
Available in a choice of silver, black and pink colour options, they’re packed with serious features like Face Detection and SteadyShot image stabilisation for clearer pictures in any situation.

About Sony
Sony manufactures audio, video, communications and information technology products for the global consumer and professional markets. With its music, pictures, game and online businesses, Sony is uniquely positioned to be one of the world’s leading digital entertainment brands. Sony recorded consolidated global annual sales of EUR 55.44 billion (yen 8,871 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008, based on an average market exchange rate for the same period of yen 160.0 to the EUR. It employs approximately 180,500 people worldwide.
In Europe, the Sony Group recorded consolidated annual sales of EUR 12.73 billion (yen 2,328 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008. Sony Europe, headquartered at the Sony Center am Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, is responsible for the company's European electronics business and registered consolidated sales of EUR 9.55 billion for the same period.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Film Screening: Twentieth Century Boys by Yukihiko Tsutsumi

Date: Friday, 20th February 2009, 6.00pm
Venue: Cinema 1, The ICA The Mall, London, SW1Y 5AH
Fee: £6 payable in cash on the night (booking required)
* Screenings continue to 28th February 2009 (See for details)

The Japan Society has secured a reduced price group booking to see this live-action take on Naoki Urasawa’s ace manga series which is densely plotted and rich in character. A major hit in Japan last year the film is inspired by the T-Rex song of almost the same name and follows a young man as he attempts to unravel the secret of the sinister conspiracy known as ‘Friend’. The globe-hopping plot builds up to a spectacular showdown on the eve of the new millennium - man vs machine against the backdrop of bustling Shinjuku! The films runs for 142 minutes and has English subtitles. For further information on how to get to the ICA please visit the ICA website.
Please use the booking form in this booklet to reserve your place, or contact the Japan Society office on tel: 020 7828 6330 or email:

Discover Korean Food #6: Dr. Sook-Ja Yoon's "Bulgogi" (THE EAST Campaign in Association with The Institute of Traditional Korean Food)

Bulgogi is a dish barbecued of thinly sliced beef that is pre-marinated with various seasonings on a hot barbecue pan. Bulgogi has been popular since the 1950s when the beef was served in thin slices to make it more tender and cut down the waiting time for diners.

◎ Ingredients & Quantity

* 300 g beef (sirloin)seasoning sauce : 36 g (2 tbsp) soy sauce, 12 g (1 tbsp) sugar, 10 g (½ tbsp) honey, 14 g (1 tbsp) minced green onion, 16 g (1 tbsp) minced garlic, 3 g (½ tbsp) sesame salt, 0.5 g (1/5 tsp) ground black pepper, 50 g (pear 100 g) pear juice, 13 g (1 tbsp) sesame oil
* 200 g (medium 1 ea) onion
* 100 g lettuce

◎ Preparation

1. Clean blood of beef with cotton cloths, remove fats and tendons, and cut into 5 cm-wide, 4 cm-long and 0.3 cm-thick along with opposite direction of the texture.
2. Skin onion and wash, shred at intervals of 0.5 cm-wide (190 g).
3. Blend seasoning sauce.
4. Wash lettuce under running water.

◎ Recipe

1. Add seasoning sauce to the beef and fumble with hands, then add onion, marinate it for 30 min.
2. Heat the barbecue pan, pan-fry the beef on high heat for 3 min. then turn over the beef, lower the heat to medium, fry it another 5 min.
3. Serve with lettuce.

Korean food has been appraised as a genuine, slow, healthy food for its organization with the seasons and regional specialties, harmony of food ingredients and combination of food groups. In spite of high interest in Korean food by global villagers, there haven't been any good books introducing Korean food with internationally comprehensible recipes. As part of the project "Research and Development Project for Standardization of Korean Cuisine" driven by the Korean government, this book is designed to standardize the recipes of the selected 100 Korean foods by using international system of units (SI unit) and to present the pleasure of cooking healthy Korean food easily for everyone around the world. It also gives useful tips, such as service temperature, total cooking time, suggested utensils, nutritional information for one serve, along with specific instructions for preparing ingredients and cooking.

As a principal researcher of the Research and Development Project for the Standardization of Korean Cuisine, she has been in the lead to popularize and globalize the Korean food. She has been extending diverse R&D, lectures and writing books, and also acting as a publicity ambassador for the globalization of Korean food at the various overseas exhibitions. She has held the Special Exhibition of Korean Royal Court Cuisine during the APEC Korea in 2005 and promoted the 4th Korean Food Festival in UN Headquarters in 2007, won high praises from ambassadors to UN and overseas journals for the beauty and excellence of Korean food. Major works are: "Korean Food," "Traditional Korean Food," "The Store and Fermentation Food of Korea," "Korean Traditional tteok," "Cookies and Beverages," "Good Morning, Kimchi," "Gyuhapchongseo," "The Beauty of Wedding Food" and so on.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Midsummer Night’s Dream followed by discussion & reception

Date: Thursday, 19th February 2009 7.30pm
Venue: Southwark Playhouse, Shipwright Yard (Corner of Tooley St. & Bermondsey St.), London, SE1 2TF
Fee: £6 (over 50% discount - normally £13, Deadline for bookings: 12th February 2009)

The Japan Society has secured an allocation of tickets at a special member rate for Southwark Playhouse’s production of this Shakespearean classic. Members are also invited to attend a post-performance Q&A with the director and the rest of the creative team, followed by a chance to chat more informally over a drink in the bar. Southwark Playhouse re-imagines Shakespeare’s most magical play in Samurai Japan, bringing the mysticism of the East to the atmospheric cellars beneath London Bridge Station. Inspired by the delights of Japanese Kabuki dance, the grace of Noh theatre and the comedy of knockabout Kyogen clowns this Midsummer Night’s Dream will create a world where the charmed and the charming co-exist.

Packed into 90 minutes this production will combine vibrant verse, striking physical imagery and ensemble performances to breathe life into this most mischievous of plays. It is directed by innovative British Chinese director Jonathan Man, this year’s winner of the Better Bankside Shakespeare Award.

Please use the booking form in this booklet to reserve your place, or contact the Japan Society office on tel: 020 7828 6330 or email:

Asiana Airlines begins the Magic Boarding Pass program

Asiana Airlines (President & COO: Young-Doo Yoon) begins its Magic Boarding Pass program which enables Asiana’s passengers to get up to 50% discounts at partner companies such as tourist attractions, hotels, restaurants and shopping centers.
Passengers who travel with Asiana Airlines can get a 10~50% discount on products at Asiana’s partners companies by showing their original boarding pass and personal identification within 7 days of their flight.
For example, Asiana’s passengers can get a 15% discount on passes to Everland, a 23% discount on the entrance fee to Jeju Teddy Bear Museum, and a discount of up to 50% at Best Western Hotels depending on the branch.
Until now, boarding passes have had limited usage and with Asiana’s Magic Boarding Pass program boarding passes will become more functional especially for passengers. Asiana expects customers who fly to Korea from overseas to use the Asiana’s Magic Boarding Pass program and get discounts at Asiana partner companies located throughout Korea.
Asiana Airlines will continue to increase partners in order to enhance customers’ benefits and create similar benefits for customers who fly from Korea to overseas by entering into partnerships with foreign companies located in abroad.

※ List of Asiana’s Magic Boarding Pass Parteners
Tourist Attractions:
Jeju Teddy Bear Museum, Everland, Seoul Land, COEX Aquarium, Korean Folk Village, 7Luck Casino, Teseum,
The Korea House, Villa Sortino, Kahunaville, Ocean Star, O’Kim’s Bräuhaus, Chosun Deli, Sheobul, Chi Do Ri, Café bizbaz, WELLS Cafeteria, WELLS Snack Bar,
Best Western, JW Marriott Seoul, Mayfield Hotel, Paradise Hotel, Lotte Hotel Jeju, Jeju Shilla Hotel,
Shopping & More:
I-Park Department Store, Yeoju Premium Outlets, Duty Free Korea Incheon International Airport, AREX (Airport Railroad Express), Seoul City Tour Bus & Double-decker Bus Tour, HUB Lounge, WELLS Massage & Nail Shop, Kumho Rent-A-Car, Jungmun Beach Golf Club

Friday, 13 February 2009

JAPAN-UK 150 History Seminar Series - 1902 - 1945: Diplomacy

Date: Wednesday, 18th February 2009 6.30pm
Venue: Embassy of Japan, 101 - 104 Piccadilly, London, W1J 7JT

The Embassy of Japan and the Japan Society are delighted to host the JAPAN-UK 150 History Seminar Series, a series of three lectures focusing on the key events in the interaction between our two countries over the past 150 years. This second seminar in the JAPAN-UK 150 History Seminar Series will look at the period from 1902 to 1945. The theme of the seminar is ‘diplomacy’ and the process from the signing of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance to the deterioration of bilateral relations.

The seminar will be led by Professor Yuichi Hosoya and Professor Ian Nish and will be followed by a drinks reception. Yuichi Hosoya is Associate Professor of International Politics, Faculty of Law at Keio University and currently a Visiting Fellow (Fulbright Scholar) at the Princeton Institute for International & Regional Studies (PIIRS), Princeton University. Ian Nish is Professor Emeritus of International History, London School of Economics and Political Science, specializing in Japan. Writings include Japanese Foreign Policy in the Interwar Period (Praeger, 2002) and Japanese Envoys in Britain, 1862-1964 (Editor, Global Oriental, 2007). Professor Nish was President of the European Association of Japanese Studies from 1985 to 1988.

Registration is essential. RSVP to the Embassy of Japan by Monday, 16 February 2009 by emailing with your name, email address & telephone number. Please bring this invitation and a form of photographic identification (passport, driving licence etc) with you. Without these, entrance may be denied.

People #8: An Kwang-Sik, Contemporary South Korean Painter

Nature is truly aesthetic, varied and of unlimited beauty using objects to create visual and abstract images. Man’s interpretation of nature captures the essence of this beauty and feels its spirit to produce representative works of art.

AN has developed a close bond with nature and through his work he has captured its ever-changing aspects. Images express his sensitivity.
His paintings have opened people’s minds by making them more aware of nature’s indescribable beauty. His depiction is never clear but gives the impression of being between hazy imagery and silhouettes-from a fluid feeling to that of vibrant warmth.
People appear to feel a sense of atmosphere in his work not just the copying of nature-the products of which-water, trees, flowers, petals and flowers in vases are all complementary factors. The glittering surface of the water only emphasises its intrinsic beauty.
The subject matter of a great number of AN’s paintings is water-seas, rivers, lakes-the source of life. This enhances other subject matter also represented in them creating landscapes which act to further inspire him.
Light on the water’s surface is the main inspiration of AN. Its dazzling quality and brilliance can be thought of as a spirit dwelling there.
Such a spirit could have the effect of creating an illusion, unreal and even surrealistic feelings in the mind of a person looking at his paintings where his reminiscences and subconscious are portrayed.

Images fade due to our memories growing distant whereas those clearly visible are real.
AN wants people to appreciate not only the visual images but also the emotional aspects behind them. Emotions felt in his paintings are from his memories. Such sentiments are akin to nostalgia.
Diverse images fill the pictures-mountains and rivers in silhouettes, flowing water gently carrying petals, rings of sukbujeng-i trembling in the wind, dead leaves in branches themselves casting shadows on the water’s surface, Japanese apricots depicted on the upper part of the canvas, white birches on the banks of rivers, azaleas growing wild etc.

AN’s paintings through inspiring memories, perceptions, sensitivity and artistic ability endeavour to purify consciousness against the harsh reality of life-an oasis in a desert is a suitable analogy.

Review by SHIN Hang-Seop
Written by Michael (Journalist in Chief)

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Joint British Japanese Law Association Event: Piano Recital, Miyuki Kato

Date: Tuesday, 17th February 2009, 7.30pm
Venue: St Vedast-alias-Foster Church, Foster Lane, CheapsideLondon EC2
Fee: £10 per head (Payment by cheque payable to The British Japanese Law Association)

Miyuki Kato was born in Japan and lives in London. She studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD), majoring in instrumental music and specialising in the piano, with a first-class BMus degree for performance and an Ivor Coles Memorial Award and in 2008 was awarded an MMUS in advanced performance. While at the RWCMD she also won the Jacobson Piano Prize, Chamber Music Prizes and Accompaniment Prize. (For Miyuki Kato’s full biography please see the Japan Society website.)The net proceeds of ticket sales from the Recital will be divided between the Fabric Fund of St Vedast’s Church and the BJLA respectively, a registered charity and a non-profit organisation.

BEETHOVEN: 6 Bagatelles (opus 126)
DEBUSSY: Preludes from Book 1: No.5 - Les Collines d’Anacapri, No.10 - La Cathedrale engloutie
DEBUSSY: L’Isle joyeuse
Interval (20 min) - Coffee and soft drinks will be on sale in the Church Courtyard and adjoining Parish Hall
HIRAI: Fantasy Sakura
GRIEG: Lyric pieces: Arietta, At the Cradle Nocturne, Wedding Day
TCHAIKOVSKY: Romance in F major (opus 51-5)
CHOPIN: Polonaise-Fantaisie (opus 61)

To obtain tickets, please write to Martin J Day, The British Japanese Law Association, c/o 607 Mountjoy House, Barbican, London EC2Y 8PB

People #7: Paul McGregor, Superintendent of Kingston Borough

I returned to Kingston Police Station in February of this year after having retired as a police officer from there in 2006. It was quite nostalgic meeting people with whom I had previously worked.
However, the main purpose for the visit was to meet Paul McGregor. He is at present Acting Chief Superintendent of Kingston Borough as the Chief Superintendent Laura Nicholson is attending a Strategic Command Course.

Superintendent Paul McGregor was born, bred and educated in Surrey. He joined the Metropolitan Police Service in 1987 and is currently studying for his Master’s Degree.
He initially served as a Constable at Richmond Police Station where he began to learn about the complex problems that the MPS has to deal with on a daily basis.
He continued honing his skills during subsequent postings in Hammersmith, Shepherds Bush, Clapham and Kennington-all of these areas having diverse aspects of policing.
Upon being promoted to the rank of Inspector he was in charge of a Response team before assuming the challenging role of Operations Inspector.

A promotion to Chief Inspector followed in 2002 when he was transferred to the Directorate of Professional Standards-having responsibility for the handling of complaints and the carrying out of internal investigations across Southeast London.
He was again promoted to his current rank of Superintendent in 2006 and was subsequently transferred in 2008 to Kingston Borough.
Superintendent Paul McGregor, during his twenty two years service, has not only gained vast experience at grass roots level but also the management skills required by higher ranking police officers.
He has an agreeable manner that stands him in good stead when dealing with subordinates, peers, senior officers and members of the public from all walks of life.

He believes passionately that communication, dialogue, professionalism, treating people fairly, with dignity and respect is essential to the service that the Metropolitan Police delivers to the diverse populace within its borders. He is fully aware that difficulties, misconceptions, language barriers and cultural differences have to be overcome. With this in mind he is justifiably proud of the advances that the MPS, and more especially Kingston Borough, have made in solving these problems.
Kingston Borough has the largest Korean community in the United Kingdom. Hence, it is important that the continuing positive approach taken by the Borough will lead to evermore success in the building of trust and approachability between police and Korean people.

There are sixteen Dedicated Safer Neighbourhoods Teams and Ward panels. The “Beverley Team” covers New Malden High Street to the new Homebase Superstore. I was introduced to PC Paul Humphrey who is one of two constables who work under the direction of Sergeant Steve Ring. Three Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) are also employed in this team.

PC Paul Humphrey stated that dealing with the concerns of the community covered by “Beverley Team” was of prime importance-antisocial behaviour being one of them. He was full of praise for the younger members of the Korean community with whom the team have a good relationship. Older generations were slower to respond –perhaps due to the language barrier and cultural differences. However, with the willingness of Mrs Jones(an interpreter for the MPS) and a Korean resident on the ward panel barriers are coming down.

Kingston Borough continues to meet the demands of the community, for which it is responsible, through the Dedicated Safer Neighbourhoods Teams, Response Teams and other departments.


* Policing Pledge (Our promise to the public) leaflet can be obtained from any police station
* The full version of the Policing Pledge is available on the website:
* On this website can also be found details of all sixteen Dedicated Safer Neighbourhoods Teams in Kingston Borough
* Beverley Safer Neighbourhoods Team can be contacted on 020 8721 2750
* Email:
* Kingston Police Station: 5-7 High Street, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, KT1 1LB
* Telephone Number: 0300 123 1212

Monday, 9 February 2009

Shun-Kin & exclusive post show reception for members

Date: Monday, 9th February 2009, 7.45pm
Venue: Barbican Theatre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS
Fee: £28 - stalls tickets (normal price £35) / £12 - post show reception, including 2 drinks
(in Japanese with English surtitles)

The Japan Society has an allocation of tickets superbly situated in the stalls to see Shun-Kin directed by Simon McBurney of Complicite as well as an EXCLUSIVE post-show reception with members of the cast and company.
If you are already planning to go to see Shun-Kin and would like to come to the reception that may be possible, space permitting. Inspired by the work of one of the most important Japanese writers of the twentieth century, Jun’ichiro Tanizaki, Shun-kin tells the tale of devotion, passion and power, where beauty is unforgiving and love is blinding. Moving between the neon glow of Japan and the vanished world of Meiji, Shun-kin discovers the moments of light in a world of darkness. Emerging from traditional Japanese culture, this powerful performance shows us just how close beauty and violence can really be.Under the artistic direction of Simon McBurney, Complicite is one of the world’s leading theatre companies. Shun-kin is the second collaboration with the Setagaya Public Theatre, Tokyo. It is performed by an entirely Japanese cast including film actress Eri Fukatsu.
To reserve your place, please call the Japan Society office on 020 7828 6330 or email Please indicate whether you require tickets for the show and reception or for the reception only.


It’s been a few months since I visited the Korean Cultural Centre, so I’m pleasantly surprised to be surprised by it again. I arrive to find stern armed guards in helmets staring at me. Larger than life. They are, it turns out, plastic models of Korean traffic cops. Just inside the door is an enormous lotus flower that inflates every few minutes.

Further inside, there are museum-like displays of plastic objects, disposable yet beautiful when grouped together: novelty toothbrushes, watches, an oystercard, a pen, a child’s shoes, a disposable cup. Most unsettling is a dream-like room with garish rubbery flowers on the ground that jerkily rise and fall like creatures from another planet, beside a cart of plastic cabbages, under flickering flower-covered chandeliers… It’s quite the most weird and wonderful thing I’ve seen in a long time.

These are all works by artist and designer Choi Jeong Hwa, and one of the themes is making art from discarded plastic objects. But, um, why are there such things as discarded Korean traffic police dummies? The man on the desk explains: they were used in a failed government attempt to get drivers to reduce their speed on highways in the republic. Now they’re getting people’s attention on Northumberland Avenue.

As the curator’s notes say: ‘You may feel slightly confused, or disturbed, but if you also feel surprise, and can feel a hidden sense of humour, then we can say that you have made a proper start to viewing this exhibition.’ The artist recently covered the Seoul Olympic Stadium with nearly two million pieces of discarded plastics, recycling seemingly worthless, non-biodegradable objects into something jewel-like.

I notice delightful objects everywhere. In the ladies’ loos are a Buddhist statue made of soap and models of children in hanbok. The centre is now open until six p.m. on weekdays, so a few people are drifting in from the street, while others are catching up on Korean soap opera downstairs. It also now opens on Saturdays from 11 til 5, when it sees the most visitors, very good news: my main worry about the centre when it opened on 30 January 2008 was its restricted hours. Since then, the KCC has hosted exhibitions of folk painting and antique maps as well as contemporary art and ceramics by Korean artists from the UK and Korea. It runs successful cinema screening programmes and Korean lessons, and has staged performances by B-boys and classical musicians.

It’s exactly a year since the centre opened, and the director, who’s kindly agreed to meet me at the end of the day, greets me warmly. Kyu-Hak Choi (no relation of the featured artist) has been at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the UK for three years, planning and opening this cultural centre, and he has almost accomplished his mission. In his words, the ‘hardware’ is now in place – it’s now a case of developing the ‘software’. It all started several years ago with a survey among over six hundred UK citizens.

‘It was an interesting result. There’s a difference among age groups in the perception of Korea. People over fifty remember the Korean War, demonstrations, North Korean issues – negative images. The under-forties have more positive images of Korea – 2002 World Cup soccer, IT products, Korean films.’

They came up with a strategy of targeting the younger generation from teenagers to forties through contemporary art and performance, to get people to open their minds to Korea.

‘With traditional culture, it’s too hard to compete with China and Japan – British people might think Korean looks like a sub-culture of them! But contemporary culture is clearly different, distinctive.’

Choi began negotiations in 2006 for the centre’s vitally important prime location – just south of Trafalgar Square, on the way to Embankment – and finished a year later with a fifteen year lease. In 2008, they received over 20,000 visitors, having projected for barely half that footfall – a huge success. Of those, over seventy per cent were Brits or tourists from other countries, with the Korean community and tourists from Korea accounting for a mere 21 per cent. So how have people found out about the Korean Cultural Centre?

‘They get information from the website, from emails. We’ve focused on groups such as the London architecture community to expand the email list. We participated in the Thames Festival, and the Dano Festival in Trafalgar Square. We invited cultural, tourism, sport organizations to the centre. We co-operated with Samsung to introduce Korean culture to their UK staff. The UK general public don’t know much about Korea. It’s a hard job to raise the Korean profile.’

And so much of what we hear on the news is negative. I mention the news item earlier in the day about the latest breakdown in the peace process between North and South.

‘Every news story makes our job harder. It’s been a challenging year. But we’ve made remarkable progress.’

This year will be much tougher, he says, developing programmes for the future amid serious budget concerns. So they’ll be focusing on making the best use of their space. There are plans to expand into other cities such as Nottingham and Manchester, and into Wales, collaborating with other venues to deliver Korean films and performances. They’ll reach out to the New Malden community by targeting families and schools through Korean manga and animation programmes. They hope to co-operate further with Korean artists and performers, contemporary and traditional, based in New Malden and Kingston.

The vibrant art exhibition for their first anniversary, ‘Shine a Light’, was chosen for its sense of fun and its accessibility. In fact, the same artist created the cool, funky interior of the centre. February will see classic Korean films from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s being shown each week, a Korean Night at the University of London, an exhibition in Portsmouth and a cultural documentary screening every Saturday. Coming in the next few months are a design exhibition, a fashion show, a Korean food festival, plus the Thames festival and the Edinburgh Fringe.

Have they succeeded in changing people’s view of Korea?

‘The first stage is to make non-Koreans more interested in Korea. It will take a long time to change their attitude. When they visit, they leave with some interest. They feel something. The Korean Cultural Centre is a place where people can get a feeling of Korea. It’s a gateway.’

There are also plans to expand the Korean language programmes for different levels of beginners.

‘I was so surprised – I thought not many people would be interested – there are so many on the waiting list! Some are UK people married to Koreans. Some are related to Korean business. Some are just the general public interested in Korea!’

With only five staff and the director, they’re very busy. Choi, who became a civil servant 25 years ago after graduation and has completed overseas missions in Hanoi and Los Angeles, has until August to finish his work before he returns to Seoul.

‘This is just the beginning of a long journey. We’ve laid the foundation. I am really proud. We did a really good job. But there remains the tougher task to raise the profile of the Korean Cultural Centre to the UK people. In the long run, when the general UK public think of Korea, when they are asked which is the premiere culture among Korea, Japan and China, we want them to say Korea is the most interesting!’

‘Shine a Light’ continues at the Korean Cultural Centre until 21 March.

Jennifer Barclay is the author of Meeting Mr Kim: Or How I Went to Korea and Learned to Love Kimchi (Summersdale Publishers, £7.99)
* This article first appeared on

Saturday, 7 February 2009

A Concert for a Winter's evening.

Under the baton of its Korean-born Musical Director, Byung-Yun Yu, Thames Philharmonoia performs regularly around Kingston and at London venues such as St John's Smith Square, presenting a wide classical repertoire as well as more unusual work from around the world.

This local orchestra has its first performance at the Landmark Arts Centre in Teddington on 28th February 2009 at 7.30pm.

The orchestra want others to enjoy the music they enjoy playing and so........ for a concert on a winter's evening have introduced a special group discount £5 each for 5 or more tickets and a Family ticket £20 for 2 adults and 2 children. Individual tickets are £10 and £8 concessions. Available from the Landmark Arts Centre. We have introduced a special Group Discount price for tickets: £5 each if 5 or more tickets are purchased. These are available in advance or at the door on 28th February.

Telephone the Box Office: 020 8977 7558.
The programme is:
Wagner - Prelude and Liebestod: Tristan and Isolde,
Weber - Clarinet Concerto No. 1: Soloist - Martin Powell
Kalinikov - Symphony No. 1


I’m not sure the theatre staff were quite prepared when the drummer troupe led the audience dancing into the foyer, bashing gongs and drums in a frenzied finale to an energetic evening. Young and old, the Chichester crowd jumped, laughed and clapped to the beat until at last the band’s leader, shirtless and sweating under portraits of venerable British actors, leapt in the air and yelled, ‘We are Dulsori! From KOREA!’

At the start of the show we heard them advancing up the stairs as if approaching a village, rekindling the spirit of ancient Korean festivals. In their early twenties and mostly from Chollado region of southwestern Korea, these four women and two men dressed in white robes and red ribbons each play several instruments, so your attention is constantly being drawn to one unusual drum or horn or string after another.

The exciting show is full of power and energy, mixing rhythms in a way that can emulate the natural elements of a thunderstorm; the musical style known as pungmul uses crashing gongs and various drums, including the distinctive hourglass-shaped janggu where one arm moves back and forth with mesmerizing speed to beat both ends of the drum.

Most memorable are the huge buk or barrel drums that face the audience from at the back of the stage. At the climax all six drummers hit six drums each with alarming force from every conceivable angle – the exhilarating noise gets bigger and wilder like a train rushing headlong towards you. And just as you think it’s over, Dulsori invite you to join them.

Hanyoung Ryu, manager of the troupe, who came straight from performing in Chile and after the UK will be touring Germany, says:

‘European countries love it – once they see it, they are fans. Koreans too, but unless they see it, they don’t know. Modern Korea is very western now, and the traditions will all disappear unless we promote them. There’s not much opportunity to see and experience traditional music in Korea. In my opinion, Korean people like modern things.’

Do Korean people go to the theatre?

‘Yes, but only to see things like Mamma Mia. They think traditional drumming is old, from farmers.’

When I spent three months traveling around South Korea I found the people immensely proud of their culture.

‘Proud, yes, but not interested,’ laughs Hanyoung. ‘I was the same, I didn’t know anything about the music when I started working with Dulsori. I was surprised that it was very beautiful.’

This was Dulsori’s first appearance in Chichester, but judging by the standing ovation, it’s unlikely to be their last. A week before, Hanyoung told me English audiences tend to be more reserved. Chichester might have changed her mind.

If you missed them on the UK tour in January, you can see their clips on YouTube, or catch up with them in July at the Heavenly Planet festival in Reading. Further UK dates will likely be confirmed in the coming months, including the week-long workshop at SOAS in London.

Jennifer Barclay is the author of Meeting Mr Kim: Or How I Went to Korea and Learned to Love Kimchi (Summersdale Publishers, £7.99)
* This article first appeared on

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

High Kicking at Richard Challoner: Free Intro Session

The days are getting longer, children are fully back in the routine of school and personal safety is of utmost importance to everyone. Now is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the Kuk Sool WonTM Martial Arts Clubs in New Malden.

Kuk Sool Won™ is the systematic study of all traditional martial arts and seeks to integrate and explore all aspects of the traditional Korean Martial Arts. The New Malden club, which was officially opened by His Worshipful the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kingston-Upon-Thames, Councillor David Berry, last September, has now opened up extra classes at the Richard Challoner School in New Malden. The Grand Opening of the new venue at Richard Challoner involved a demonstration by the current students who were aged from 5 to 45. The demonstration included self-defence and break falling techniques, traditional forms and weapons and a variety of wood breaking using the hands and feet.
The club is now inviting everyone to come along with friends, family members and colleagues to learn a new skill together. The club runs Junior and Adult Classes every Monday and Wednesday at the Richard Challoner School and the Malden Emergency 1st Aid HQ.

Principal Instructor James Barker, who is a 3rd Degree Black Belt and a Qualified Secondary School PE Teacher said ‘This is a really exciting opportunity for people of all ages and abilities in New Malden to get involved in an activity which teaches self defence, discipline and respect, provides healthy sporting competition and best of all is a great way to get physically active and make new friends’.
The club is now enrolling so please come along and see what Kuk Sool WonTM can offer you and your family.

Contact James on 07973 173892 or to sign up for your FREE INTRO CLASS!


In January 2009 in Seoul I had the pleasure of meeting a gracious lady-Dr. Sook-Ja YOON-who is the foremost authority in South Korea for the making of traditional Tteok, cakes, cookies and for her knowledge of the varieties of tea available.

Dr. Sook-Ja YOON was born in GAESUNG-now in North Korea-and comes from an intellectual family. Her father was employed by the government in the capacity of a researcher/administrator in the field of Agriculture. Her mother was one of the very few women who graduated from university and subsequently became a teacher.

Her family was well known and respected in the area due to their involvement in social gatherings and ancestral ceremonies. Her mother was responsible for preparing and presenting the food on all of these occasions.

Dr. Sook-Ja YOON therefore had the benefit of developing the skills and knowledge for the preparation of traditional Korean food by emulating her mother.

After her mother passed away Dr. Sook-Ja YOON studied at “the Korean Food School” in Korea whose principal Dr. Wang also originated from GAESUNG. She continued her studies in Royal Cuisine under the guidance of Professor Yom Cho Air and in Tteok under Professor Kang In Hee. Other courses were attended in order to further her knowledge about Tteok.

Dr. Sook-Ja YOON is using her culinary background to achieve the same worldwide recognition for Tteok as is afforded to Kimchi.

She is the author of thirty major publications. Some of the titles are:

* The Beauty of Korean Food-with a hundred Best Loved Recipes ( printed in English, French, Korean, Japanese and Chinese )
* Korean Food
* Traditional Korean Food
* Korean Traditional Tteok
* Cookies and Beverages
* Good Morning Kimchi (printed in English, Korean and Japanese )
* Gyuhapchongseo
* The Beauty of Wedding Food
* Beautiful Korean Tea
* Beautiful Korean Liquor
* Korean Seasonal Food
* Korean Pickles and Fermented Food
* Adulthood Ritual and Korean Food
* Korean Tteok, Cookies and Desserts
* A Landscape with Tteok
* Traditional Food of Aristocrats and Noted Families in the Eight Provinces

Dr. Sook-Ja YOON’s achievements are formidable:

* Director of the Institute of Traditional Korean Food
* Professor of the Department of Traditional Cuisine-Baewha Women’s College
* Chairperson of the National Culinary Professor Association
* Member of the Judges for the National Culinary Examination
* Member of the Screening Committee for the Culinary Masters of Korea
* Member for the Screening Committee for the Master of Traditional Korean Food
* Head President of the Institute of Traditional Korean Food
* Director of the Tteok and Kitchen Utensil Museums
* Member of the Advisory Committee for the provision of meals for the 1988 Seoul Olympiad
* 1999-Member of the Advisory Committee for Food providers for the third ASEM
* 2002-Recipient of the Presidential Award for the Contribution to High Quality Rice Production and Expediting Consumption
* 2003-Advisor for in-flight Korean meals for Korean Air Lines
* Organiser of the Special Exhibition of Korean Royal Court Food for the APEC summit Conference in 2005 in Korea
* 2006-Recipient of the Award for Female Inventor
* 2007-Publicity Ambassador for the Promotion of Agricultural Products and Food
* 2007-Promoted the Korean Food Festival at the UN Headquarters in New York
* 2007-Advisor for Food for the Dinner at the North and South Korean Summit Talks
* Recipient of the President’s Cheoltap medal of the Republic of Korea
* 2008-Promoted Korean Cuisine at the Thames Festival in London

She is formulating an action plan for the globalisation of traditional Korean food. Elements being considered are:

* Standardising Korean cuisine
* Localising Korean food by seeking non Koreans’ opinions on taste
* Using the correct and universal descriptions of Korean food
* Instructing professional cooks and chefs
* The continual introduction of Korean cuisine by presentations at exhibitions outside Korea

Government lead initiatives
* The introduction of Korean food and culture
* Informing and involving people of prominence
* Expanding RGD
* Establishing an infrastructure
* Obtaining financial support from businesses

Family input
* Promoting the importance and benefits of Korean food and culture

Domestic Food Industry
* Developing the taste of Korean food to suit non Koreans

Korean Food Industry abroad
* To standardise and re-educate owners of Korean restaurants outside Korea to the authentic tastes, menu preparations and new cuisine.

A specialised organisation for the research, development and popularisation of traditional Korean food

The Institute, located in front of the beautiful Chandeok Palace of Jongno-gu district, is a professional research organisation established and devoted to the research, development, popularisation and globalisation of traditional Korean food. It was founded in 1998 with the headquarters in the ULCHIRO area of Seoul but then moved on the 8th of November 2001 to the current location.

164-2 Waryong-dong
Telephone number: 82-2-741-5411
Fax: 82-2-741-5415

The building comprises of ten floors:

1. The main JILSIRU Café which offers patrons –fifty types of Tteok, Hankwa
(Traditional Korean snacks) and thirty traditional Korean Teas
2. Tteok Museum-Tteok ulture Exhibition
3. Tteok Museum-Tteok making methods
4. Research and Development Room Kyusudang
5. Sojubang-Recording studio
6. Sarangbang
7. Royal Kitchen
8. Culinary Department Library
9. Jilsiru-Tteok Research Room
10. Hanulchae

Centre for the popularisation and globalisation of Traditional Korean food

In order to popularise and globalise traditional Korean food through education, the Continuing Education Division -an auxiliary teaching institution of the Institute of Traditional Korean Food- offers various systematic and professional learning programmes from introductory to advanced levels incorporating theory and practice.

The division has numerous qualified faculty members with Dr. Sook-Ja Yoon as Director. Her support staff comprises of researchers in cuisine, accreditation holders in cuisine, government appointed human cultural assets in cuisine and other professionals. Teaching is conducted in modern classrooms and in laboratories, which are found on the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 10th floors, using educational equipment and facilities of a high standard. Professional courses offered include the making of Tteok, Korean cookies, ritual wedding and gift food, Royal Court food, traditional liquor and traditional tea. Terms are quarterly beginning in January, April, July and October. Night courses are also available. The total number of students enrolling during a year exceeds five thousand.

Walks of life after graduation

Besides receiving diplomas graduates are presented with “ The Certificate of the First Class Technician in Traditional Cookies “ and “ The Certificate of the First Class Technician in Wedding Food “. Some graduates secure employment with the mass media or in the fields of Education and Cookery, whilst others start their own businesses. Many have previously participated in food fairs and competitions having distinguished themselves by winning gold medals. Anyone, young and old alike, who is interested in traditional Korean food and has a love and passion for learning is welcome at the Continuing Education Division where they are encouraged, through the excellent programs and facilities provided, to realise their dreams and aspirations.

The main café at the Institute was opened on the 3rd of October 2002 and the second in Insadong on the 4th of November 2004

Jilsiru Tteok cafés are special meeting places where distinctive and beautiful rice cakes together with the fragrance of teas are in abundance. Korean culture and tradition can also be experienced here. Patrons can enjoy an assortment of cakes and cookies-traditional and new recipes that have been developed by the Institute of Traditional Korean Food. Thirty different teas are also available. Discerning customers can purchase beautifully decorated cakes for special occasions, Tteok, cookies and gift sets.

Information on the Exhibition

Room 1 displays Tteok according to the seasons. Rice cake soup is made on the first day of the New Year. Azalea pancakes are made on Samjit day-falling on May 3rd- heralding the coming of spring. Sweet coated fried stuffed cake-Juak-is made on Yudu day on June 6th. Various rice cakes, especially stuffed Pine cake are made on Chuseok-the August Moon Festival-when newly harvested cereals and fruit are available and so on. Other seasonal rice cakes are displayed along with the utensils required to make them. In this way visitors can learn about Korean rice cakes and their preparation.

Room 2 shows food used in traditional rituals. Also displayed in this room, theme-wise, are relics worn shiny with age in bygone days. In a man’s life, from life to death, there are at least four major sequential rituals. The paraphernalia, especially food and dress, is on view to help visitors to understand their significance.

A four year course for a Bachelor’s Degree aiming at educating leaders in the Field of Cuisine

The Culinary Department with a credit bank system for a Bachelor’s Degree is another educational branch attached to the Institute of Traditional Korean Food. This Institute was established to provide its students with the theory and techniques of Oriental and Western cuisine thereby honing their skills in the art of cooking. Such acquired skills making them distinguished leaders and professionals in dietary lifestyles by exploring traditional Korean cuisine. They also acquire similar theoretical and technical knowledge of food world-wide.

Activities and results of the Culinary Department

1. Competed in the Seoul International Food Exhibition in 2006-all five entrants won medals.
2. Competed in the Wellbeing Culinary Competition-Exhibition in 2006-all fifteen entrants won medals.
3. Competed in the Seoul International Food Competition in 2007-all six entrants won medals in the Individual Competition Category.
4. Participated in the Osaka Food Exhibition in Japan and the Taiwan Food Exhibition.
5. Actively engaged in the Tteok and Traditional Liquor clubs’ activities.

It has been said in the past that “Korean Traditional food is just medicine”. A more modern way of expressing this sentiment would be to say that such traditional food can be highly nutritious and restorative.

Korea produces a variety of seasonal ingredients to complement the four distinct seasons.

Rice is the chief grain for cooked rice, porridges, rice cakes and Korean cookies. Wheat flour, Barley, Buckwheat flour, Foxtail millet, Chinese millet and African millet are also used for an assortment of dishes.

Soya beans, Red beans, Mung beans and peas are constantly used.

Potatoes and sweet potatoes contain a lot of starch and sugar and can be substituted for a main course.

There are various vegetables grown throughout the seasons and are ingredients for numerous dishes.

Pine mushrooms, Brown Oak mushrooms, Oyster mushrooms, Stone mushrooms and Snow Puff mushrooms are the most edible in Korea.

Fish and clams
Being a peninsula country a variety of fish, clams, oysters and crab are readily available. Cooking methods include braising, simmering in Soy sauce, grilling, steaming and cooking in soups.

Methods of cooking are braising, grilling and drying.

Chicken’s and quail’s eggs are often steamed or pan-fried.

Apples, pears, peaches and strawberries may be soaked in wine or vinegar. Persimmons and jujubes are often dried. Hard shell nuts such as walnuts, chestnuts, gingkoes and pine nuts are used for garnishing.

Salt, Soy sauce, Soybean paste, Red pepper paste, Green onions, Garlic, Ginger, Ground Black pepper, Ground Red pepper, Mustard, Cinnamon, Edible oils, Sesame salt, Sugar, Starch syrup, Honey, Glutinous starch syrup, Vinegar, Chinese pepper and Salt fermented seafood

Kinds of Korean food
Main dishes
Bap (Cooked rice)
Juk (Porridge)
Guksu (Noodles)
Mandu and Tteokguk (Dumpling and Sliced rice cake pasta soup)

Side Dishes
Guk (Soup)
Jjigae (Stew)
Jeongol (Hotpot)
Jjim (Steamed dish)
Seon (Steamed or parboiled stuffed vegetables)
Jorim (Braised dish)
Cho (Janggwa) (Seasoned and braised seafood)
Bokkeum (Stir-fried dish)
Gui (Grilled dish)
Jeon.Jeok (Pan-fried dish, Brochette)
Mareun-chan (Dry side dish)
Jangajji (Pickled vegetables)
Jeotggal (Salt fermented seafood)
Sukchae (Par-boiled vegetables)
Saengchae (Fresh salad)
Kimchi (Seasoned and fermented vegetables)

Tteok (Rice cake)
There are more than fifty different types both traditional and modern in colours and shapes eg round, rectangular, bows, fans, sandwiches, flowers, hearts, twists, leaves, hearts, ribbons and an open chrysanthemum flower.

Hangwa (Korean cookies)
A wide selection of colours and shapes eg Yakgwa (Deep fried honey), fried ribbon, Pine nut, traditional pressed sweets and Omija (flavoured jelly)

Eumcheong (non-alcoholic beverages)
Rice Punch, Cinnamon Punch with dried persimmon, plum tea, Ginseng tea etc

The Institute Of Traditional Korean Food is the leading organisation in Korea for the promotion of traditional Korean cuisine both within and outside the country. Dr. Sook-Ja YOON, her associates and support staff are committed to achieving this goal.

Her enthusiasm for and pride in the work of the Institute of Traditional Korean Food is patently obvious as are her leadership qualities.

The East News