World ? Asia ? South Korea

Wangin Culture Festival

Apr 2009 (annual)
Link: Wangin Cultural Festival Website
The Wangin Culture Festival celebrates the great Korean scholar, Dr Wangin, who furthered cultural and political relations between Korea and Japan. At Yeongam, his birthplace, a 300-people strong procession re-enacts the doctor and his entourage leaving for Japan.
The festival coincides with the blooming of the cherry blossom on Mt Wolchulsan.

A great Confucian scholar, master calligrapher and poet, Wangin is believed to have been born in Yeongam between 375 and 384 AD at the time of the Paekche Kingdom. During this period, the Paekche Kingdom was struggling from continued attacks by the Koguryo Kingdom, another of the three kingdoms in ancient Korea. To cope with this situation, Paekche tried to strengthen its diplomatic ties with neighbouring Japan and dispatched Dr Wangin there in a friendly diplomatic gesture.

In the 4th century AD, at the invitation of the Japanese emperor Ojin, Dr Wangin went over to the neighbouring island country followed by hundreds of Korean artisans skilled at producing paper, ceramics and textiles. He also took with him a selection of items, including the Analects of Confucius and 1000 Chinese written symbols.

During his stay in Japan, he taught the culture of the Paekche Kingdom and Chinese symbols (which were to form part of the modern Japanese language). He became revered as a saga of Japanese culture and his endeavours established the foundations of Japan's Asuka culture.
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