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  • 00:24

    MICHAEL BREEN: On a Unified Korea

    in Travel

    Michael Breen has been working in Korea for more than 30 years as a journalist with The Guardian, The Korea Times and others. He's the author of 'The Koreans: Who They Are, What They Want and Where Their Future Lies' and the CEO of Insight Communications Consultants.

    In the second of a two-part interview he discusses life under South Korea's 1980's dictatorship, the perils and possibilties of Korean unification and what the future holds for the country and its people.

  • 00:22

    Neoliberalism, Imperialism and Urban Development pt. 2

    in History

    In 2004, an agreement was reached between the United States and South Korean governments to relocate the United States Forces Korea from the heart of Seoul to Camp Humphreys, outside the mid-sized city of Pyeongtaek, and to a second major garrison outside of Daegu 

    The process, scheduled to be completed next year, will consolidate more than 28,000 troops into two regional hubs and will transform Camp Humphreys into the largest U.S. Army garrison in Asia.

    As the population of the garisson increases from 12,000 Soldiers, Family Members and contractors to 37,000 in 2016, the city of Pyeongtaek, in co-operation with the central South Korean government, have developed ambitious plans. 

    These include a major Samsung semiconductor chip plant, the world’s largest fuel cell power plant, an expanded maritime port, a free economic zone as well as tens of thousands of new housing developments. 

    UC Berkley’s Bridget Martin is researching the links between Militarism and Urbanization in South Korea. In the second of our two-part conversation, she talks about the intensity of South Korean urban redevelopment, the goals behind USFK base consolidation and restructuring and the historical relationship between American military bases and South Korean society.

    Music on this episode is the Pearl Sister's 'Love House' (????? ??? ??)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AAvLhCeUwc

  • 00:08

    Cycling The Megalopolis of Seoul, South Korea

    in Travel

    Can’t think of a better thing to do when hanging out in a super modern city like Seoul, South Korea then to go for a bike ride. It’s a great way to see another side of life here besides the typical tourist things  like visiting temples, museums and going shopping plus it’s so up close to everyday life here.


    I actually got my idea for this ride from the latest Lonely Planet Korea guide with a few modifications to the route. Let’s call them accidental modifications.  I started out from Yeouido Park where you can rent bikes starting at 3000 won an hour, about $2.50 USD. Yeouido is considered the mecca for cycling in Seoul.


    First stop was the Mapo Bridge where there is a designated cycle path making it safe and convenient to check out the views.


    The Han River is the fourth longest river on the Korean Peninsula with a total length of almost 500km. This river was once a very large trade route with China through the Yellow Sea however due to estuary location at the borders of North and South Korea the river is no longer actively used for navigation. 


    An exit ramp from the other side of the bridge takes you to the north side of the river with great cycling paths. Keeping to the left on this path will continue your journey along the Han River. The destination for this cycle is the Seoul World Cup Stadium, built for the FIFA World Cup in 2002.


    A great view of the beautiful domed National Assembly Building across the river. the legislative branch of the South Korean national government.


    Keep riding along the path past this cliff and under the Yanghwa and Seongsan Bridges.


    Excerpts from "Cycling The Megalopolis Of Seoul".

  • 00:20

    Neoliberalism, Imperialism and Urban Development pt. 1

    in History

    In 2004, an agreement was reached between the United States and South Korean governments to move all U.S. forces in the country south of the Han River. This move will relocate the United States Forces Korea from the heart of Seoul to Camp Humphreys, outside the mid-sized city of Pyeongtaek, and to a second major garrison outside of Daegu. 

    The process, scheduled to be completed next year, will consolidate more than 28,000 troops into two regional hubs and will transform Camp Humphreys into the largest U.S. Army garrison in Asia.

    As the population of the garisson increases from 5,000 Soldiers and 7000 civilians, family members and contractors to more than 37,000 by 2016, civic authorities for the city of Pyeongtaek have developed ambitious plans for the expanding city including a major Samsung semiconductor chip plant, the world’s largest fuel cell power plant, an expanded maritime port, a free economic zone and tens of thousands of new housing developments. 

    Bridget K. Martin, a PhD student in Geography at UC Berkley, is researching the links between Militarism and Urbanization in South Korea. 

    In the first of a two-part interview she explains how American imperialism and Korean development, heavily connected since the end of the Korean War, are continuing to work together in new and surprising ways. 

    Music on this episode: ????-??https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66fPqqAtyEw

  • 00:49

    NORTH KOREA IS NOT OUR ONLY THREAT

    in Politics

    North Korea tests an H-bomb. Iran launches missiles. Saudi Arabia inflames the Middle East.  And the liberal band played on. 

  • 00:28

    10 Years of The Jeju Peace Forum: From Activism to Cynicism

    in History

    The Jeju Peace Forum was founded in 2001 with the goal of contributing to world peace and international cooperation in the East Asian sphere through multilateral dialogue and community building. 


    The 2003 edition of the conference included President Roh Muu-hyun's official apology to Jeju Island for the 4.3 massacre and the 2007 Jeju Declaration envisioned a regional peacekeeping diplomatic role for South Korea based on the Helsinki Process. 


    In 2008, with the election of the hardline right-wing Lee Myung-bak government, the foreign affairs ministry changed the name of the conference to The Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity and shifted focus away from co-operative agreements, bringing in big name speakers on themes unrelated to the peace process.  


    A glance at the list of events, workshops and speakers from the 10th Forum held last May, full of washed-up politicians and discredited neoliberal economic themes, suggests a conference in search of an identity.  


    Darren Southcott, editor-in-chief of The Jeju Weekly magazine, joins The Korea File to discuss whether or not the Forum has stayed true to it’s roots as a regional peace initiative.  

  • 00:17

    12 Years of STEPPING STONE, Jeju's Indie Rock Festival

    in History

    From humble beginnings in a Tapdong parking lot 12 years ago, the Stepping Stone indie rock festival celebrated another success in 2015 in spite of heavy rain, intense winds and a washed-out beach due to Typhoon Chan-hom. 


    The Korea File was at the festival's Plan B, Daemyung Resort's Diamond Ballroom on Hamdeok Beach, to speak with festival organizer Kim Myoung-su and some of the bands, including Romantiqua's guitar-heavy post-rock, the Mogwai-esque soundscape harmonics of Apollo 18 and the dynamic folk punk of Jeju's own Zen Alone. 


    For more on the festival check out Ann Bush's eyewitness account at


    http://www.jejuweekly.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=4846

  • 00:29

    On Jeju Shamanism pt. 2

    in Travel

    South Korea is one of very few developed nations to have maintained a Shamanic heritage over millennia, and although Shamanism’s influence has diminished on the Korean mainland in the face of modernization, state-sponsored oppression and a generational shift in recent decades, it is still widely practiced on Jeju by a shrinking, but significant, number of elderly islanders .

    Filmaker, writer and photographer Joey Rositano has spent more than three years attempting to answer this question, documenting, researching and collecting myths and stories from the elderly practitioners of shamanism on Jeju island.

    His documentary ‘At Search for Spirits on the Island of Rocks, Wind and Women’ premiered at the 2014 Jeju Women’s Film Festival and a book of his photography work entitled ‘Spirits: Jeju Island’s Shamanic Shrines’ was released this week.

    This is the second of a two part conversation.

    For more on Joey's documentary, to find out about shrine preservation efforts on Jeju or to order a copy of 'Spirits: Jeju Island’s Shamanic Shrines', go to https://pagansweare.wordpress.com/

  • 00:28

    On Jeju Shamanism pt. 1

    in Travel

    With roots emanating from the animistic tradition of central Siberia, Korea is one of very few developed nations to have maintained a Shamanic heritage over thousands of years. But after decades of neglect and government-sponsored eradication efforts in the 20th century, what's left of Korean shamanism? 

    Filmaker, writer and photographer Joey Rositano has spent more than three years attempting to answer this question, documenting, researching and collecting myths and stories from the elderly practitioners of shamanism on Jeju island. 

    His documentary ‘At Search for Spirits on the Island of Rocks, Wind and Women’ premiered at the 2014 Jeju Women’s Film Festival and a book of his photography work entitled ‘Spirits: Jeju Island’s Shamanic Shrines’ was released this week. 

    This is part one of a two part conversation.

    For more on Joey's documentary, to find out about shrine preservation efforts on Jeju or to order a copy of 'Spirits: Jeju Island’s Shamanic Shrines', go to https://pagansweare.wordpress.com/

  • 00:28

    Urban Exploration/Seoul Punk

    in Travel

    In part two of our conversation, writer and journalist Jon Dunbar talks about his authoritative experience with Urban Exploration around the country, the 10th anniversary of his seminal zine Broke in Korea and why he believes Seoul's punk and indie rock scenes should be kept separate. 

    Jon Dunbar's writing and photography can be found at http://daehanmindecline.com/

    This episode's music: 
    1960's Group Sounds band Hi 6 w/ "?? ?"

  • 00:30

    Jeju's Back-to-Land Movement

    in Travel

    Korea’s back-to-the-land movement is an unprecedented phenomenon in modern Korean history. What’s driving tens of thousands of Koreans to leave the conveniences and comforts of the city to start a new life in rural Jeju? 

    Agnes Sohn is an American cultural anthropologist with a focus on social and cultural movements. She recently completed three months of field research under a Fulbright-Hays grant and returns to the island in the fall to continue her doctoral dissertation. 

    In this interview she discusses the root causes of Seoul's growing urban exodus and the challenges and complications that arise for new arrivals attempting to integrate into the mostly elderly and primarily agricultural communities of rural Jeju.

    Special interview assist from Jeju dialect language preservationist Moira Saltzman.

    Music for this episode courtesy of folk legend ??? with ??? ???https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5-ifLVyoMM

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