June, 2010

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by Harumi Okochi.
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Self portrait
of Dr. Kim Yong Oak

Meeting with Do-ol, Dr. Kim Yong Oak

It was our great honor that Dr. Kim Yong Oak, the great philosopher of Korea came to stay with us in April.
It was his second visit to Yoyokaku after 18 years, and the first with his wife Dr. Choi Young Ae.
My husband and I made a plan to show them "Korea in Karatsu".
This is a small record of their three days in Karatsu, Japanese nearest gateway to the Korean Peninsula.
In old times, Dr. Kim says, southern Korea and northern Kyushu were one cultural sphere. People, rice, iron, letters, Buddhism, and so many cultural things flew into Kyushu through this gate of Karatsu. Pre-historic and historic,
archeological evidences are here and there, if only we have clear eyes to identify them.

So I would like to invite you to join this excursion to feel that we are one.

   Lunch before the excursion.
Dr. Choi looked happy because her husband ate the lunch. Usually, she said, Dr. Kim is too absorbed in studies and forgets his lunch.
Yobuko, western part of Karatsu, is famous for squid.

From Yobuko, across a bridge, Kabeshima Island lies. Here is Tashima Shrine where three goddesses of the sea are worshipped. Here in this port village, we can smell a hint of Korean lifestyle.

Near Yobuko, Nagoya Village was the fort from where Shogun Hideyoshi sent soldiers to invade Korea some 400 years ago.
Nagoya Castle Museum is a rare museum in Japan which shows unhappy history between Korea and Japan.
Korean curator, Miss Son, explained to Dr. Kim.

In Nagoya, there is a test tunnel, which, in the near future, will be made into "Japan-Korea" tunnel.
This project is slowly going on, and we don't know if it really comes true.

Kakarashima Island in this town is where King Munyeong of Baekje was born in the 5th century.
This monument is to show this.
In June every year people from Kongju, where the King's grave is, come to this island and have the birthday festival together with citizens of Karatsu.

Dr. Kim said that he was moved to see the birthplace of one of the Korean ancient kings.

Here and there in this small bay, things with Korean signs have floated in, and it is the evidence that the ancient delegation easily came here with the help of the waves.
Dr. Kim enthusiastically took pictures of this place.

Back in Karatsu, we went to see an old burial mound, the same style of which can be seen in the southern part of Korea.

Dr. Kim reads the explanation of this tomb.

Then to Ochi town, southern part of Karatsu, to see Buddhas carved on the cliff. They are about 1200 years ago.
Buddhism also came to Japan through China and Korea.

We went up the Mount. Kagami, in other name, Hirehuriyama, where there remains a legend of Lady Sayohime, who waved her magic scarf to clear the bad spirits from the sea way of her husband when he went to the war in Korea.

This bell was made in Korea and donated to a temple in Koje Island in Korea about 1000years ago.
This is now a Japanese National Important Cultural Property.
Dr. Kim wonders why this bell is here in Japan.
Dr. Kim's drawing and writing . We are so happy to receive this gift.

Thank you for your company.
I hope you will visit next month again.

Thank you very much for visiting this page.
I hope you will return next month.
Yours, Harumi Okochi
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