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[Well-curated weekend] Discover all things hanji, Yongsan Park

Permanent exhibition at the Hanji Culture and Industry Center located in Bukchon, central Seoul (Kim Hae-yeon/The Korea Herald)
Permanent exhibition at the Hanji Culture and Industry Center located in Bukchon, central Seoul (Kim Hae-yeon/The Korea Herald)
For those wondering how hanji, traditional Korean paper made from mulberry trees, is used in everyday life, a visit to the Hanji Culture and Industry Center is a one-stop place to learn all there is to know.

Different types of hanji are on display at the center located in Bukchon, showing how the traditional material has been developed to meet modern design applications.

Hanji feels coarse but lustrous to the touch, revealing the nature of the raw ingredient used to make hanji – the inner bark of mulberry trees, called dak.

Photo of hanjijang (hanji master artisan) Shin Hyun-se is displayed at the Hanji Culture and Industry Center (Kim Hae-yeon/The Korea Herald)
Photo of hanjijang (hanji master artisan) Shin Hyun-se is displayed at the Hanji Culture and Industry Center (Kim Hae-yeon/The Korea Herald)
Dak is boiled in lye, resulting in long and durable fibers of consistent thickness, allowing diverse modifications in designs using hanji.

At the first-floor showroom, various household items made with hanji are on display, including hanji wallpaper, table pads, screens and stamps. Displayed hanji samples can also be purchased at the center.

The hanji making process is shown in detail in the basement workroom where photos of hanji artisans from different regions in the country working to preserve the tradition are also on display.

Various types of hanji are on display at the Hanji Culture and Industry Center (Kim Hae-yeon/The Korea Herald)
Various types of hanji are on display at the Hanji Culture and Industry Center (Kim Hae-yeon/The Korea Herald)
The use of natural materials in the production of hanji by hand adds to the eco-friendly nature of hanji, which resonates with the growing preference for environmentally conscious consumption among the public.

A thirty-minute guided tour in Korean is offered daily, at 10:30 a.m, 11:30 a.m, 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Reservations are not required.

The center’s hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. It is closed on Mondays.

Remembering Yongsan through photos
MJ Kim’s photo exhibition is being held at House No. 5520 in Yongsan Park. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)
MJ Kim’s photo exhibition is being held at House No. 5520 in Yongsan Park. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)
Do you want to explore an area not shown on a map? Pay a visit to Yongsan Park in central Seoul.

Once you arrive, you will encounter gray-colored walls and barbed wires, not something you expect to find at a public park.

Visitors take photos at Yongsan Park on Feb. 18. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)
Visitors take photos at Yongsan Park on Feb. 18. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)
Previously the location of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration offices and apartments for US Forces Korea officers, Yongsan Park is being turned into a public park, with the project slated for completion by 2027.

A special photo exhibition on display at the park titled “Yongsan Park x MJ KIM” features the work of renowned celebrity photographer MJ Kim, who has worked with stars like Paul McCartney, BTS, Michael Jackson and Beyonce, and highlights the rich history of Yongsan and the former US military base.

MJ Kim’s photo exhibition presents past, present and future of Yongsan Park. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)
MJ Kim’s photo exhibition presents past, present and future of Yongsan Park. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)
The project sought to portray areas around the park and 50 photographs were chosen to provide a look its past, present and future.

The exhibition is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

MJ Kim’s photo exhibition presents past, present and future of Yongsan Park. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)
MJ Kim’s photo exhibition presents past, present and future of Yongsan Park. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)
The entrance to the Yongsan Park is located some 10 minutes on foot from Seobinggo Station Exit 1 on Gyeongui Jungang Subway Line. A parking lot is also available.

The show is being held at red brick house No. 5520, which can be spotted after following the main road from the entrance to the park for 5-7 minutes.

Park and exhibition admissions are free of charge.

Find clues to escape rooms at ‘Next Tracer’ 

Players celebrate their success of room escape game at “Next Tracer.” (Wavve)
Players celebrate their success of room escape game at “Next Tracer.” (Wavve)
If you are a fan of room escape games or a viewer of South Korean over-the-top platform Wavve’s original series “Tracer,” this is the place to be this weekend.

“Next Tracer” is free of charge and is open to everyone. Located at T Factory in Hongdae, western Seoul, the venue is decorated with the action drama-themed installations. 

Visitors put their heads together to find clues to escape rooms at “Next Tracer.” (Wavve)
Visitors put their heads together to find clues to escape rooms at “Next Tracer.” (Wavve)
Since “Tracer” is about National Tax Service employees, the goal for visitors is to crack down on tax evasion like the drama’s characters. To escape from the four rooms, the players also need to find clues to the case.

Visitors are required to submit a job application form to become the tax office’s new employee for the game. The venue is filled with props from the drama, such as piled-up documents and a meeting room that make the visitors feel like they are part of the drama.

An interior view of one of the four rooms of “Next Tracer.” (Wavve)
An interior view of one of the four rooms of “Next Tracer.” (Wavve)
The key to finding the concealed money is hidden in a secret vault, while the room is filled with glittering pieces of jewelry and artworks. When a mission is completed, the players can celebrate their success by taking pictures with money pouring down.

“Next Tracer” is a pop-up event that will be open until mid-April. It is open every day from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Although reservations are not required, visitors must follow the government’s COVID-19 rules.

(hykim@heraldcorp.com
(sj_lee@heraldcop.com)
(yeeun@heraldcorp.com)

By Korea Herald (khnews@heraldcorp.com)
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