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Korea urged to promote culture more subtly

Feb. 23, 2011 - 18:51 By 김윤미
KOCIS to open eight cultural centers abroad

Non-Korean and Korean culture experts, including directors of foreign cultural centers in Seoul, professors and foreign correspondents, advised the Korean government to promote its culture in a more smart and subtle way.

Their advice came as the Korean Culture and Information Service, affiliated under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, held a policy briefing conference in Seoul to present its 2011 Korea promotion plan to the expert groups and Culture Minister Choung Byoung-gug and ministry officials.

“I’m impressed by the increasing level of expansion of Korean culture. But we live in a new society which values creation. If you want to increase (cultural) exchanges, think about the artists and people that you have move as well,” said Laure Coudret Laut, director of the French Cultural Center in Seoul.

“Korea and France not only exchange artists but coproduce cultural content together. If you increase the exchange infrastructure by creating a cultural center, the center needs to be a comprehensive one to integrate diverse aspects of culture,” she said.
Culture Minister Choung Byoung-gug (center) and participants including French Cultural Center in Seoul director Laure Coudret Laut (right) and Bulgarian student Tsvetelina Kuzmanova attend the policy briefing by the Korean Culture and Information Service in Seoul on Wednesday. (KOCIS)

The KOCIS plans to newly open eight cultural centers overseas this year to promote Korean culture overseas. The eight centers will be located in Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Spain, India, Mexico, Turkey and Hungary.

Korea’s cultural centers will hold events such as writing visitors’ names in the Korean alphabet and practicing taekwondo.

They will conduct surveys of young people to assess the local interest in Korean culture, said Seo Kang-soo, director of the Korean Culture and Information Service.

“Korean cultural centers are the venues of cultural communication with the world. We will diversify target countries, moving away from focusing on only advanced countries,” Seo said

“We plan to open four more centers in 2012. By then, there will be a total of 28 cultural centers in 24 countries.”

Choi Jung-hwa, president of the Corea Image Communication Institute, suggested the Korean government use more subtle methods to make Korean culture more attractive, just as “a woman in a little bit of mystery may be more attractive.”

Che Zahohe, director of the Chinese Cultural Center and counselor of foreign affairs at the Chinese Embassy in Korea, expressed his positive view on the Korean Wave.

Some people point out that the Korean Wave has been going downwards in China recently but it is only natural for a wave to have both ups and downs.

The KOCIS said its multi-language-serviced Internet portal,, will expand language services to nine from the current five. The four new services will be French, German, Russian and Vietnamese, it said.

YouTube video blogger Steve Miller, who introduces places in Korea under the name “Qi Ranger,” said he spends about 50 hours a week updating his blog and gets about 200 to 300 e-mails a day asking about Korean culture.

The discussion results were immediately shared through social networking sites at and

Choung stressed the power of culture in promoting Korea’s image.

“It was not economic or military power but Coca Cola and jeans that brought down communism in the late 20th century. Likewise, Korea’s liberal and democratic way of thinking has created a unique Korean culture called hallyu,” said Choung.

“The Culture Ministry will help create unique Korean content through interactive cultural exchanges with our global neighbors,” he said.

By Kim Yoon-mi (