Pop singer Kim Jang-hoon and self-styled Korea promotion expert Seo Kyoung-duk posted a full-page Korean tourism advertisement in the New York Times on Tuesday.
The advert appeared on Page 5 in Section A, and was bannered “Visit Korea” over the Korean map where seven islands ― Ganghwado, Heuksando, Ieodo, Jejudo, Geojedo, Ulleungdo and Dokdo ― were marked in bold letters.
The ad noted that South Korea is a peninsula surrounded by many beautiful islands and that Jejudo has been named one of the finalists for the on-going New7Wonders of Nature poll organized by a Swiss-based, government-controlled foundation.
The full-page Korean tourism advertisement in the Feb. 22 edition of the New York Times. (Yonhap News)
The rest of the advert read: “In the East Sea, on Ulleungdo and Dokdo, you can experience beautiful landscape and sample fresh seafood to satisfy your palate. Visiting Korea and the surrounding Islands will be an extraordinary experience you will not regret.”
Dokdo are the easternmost islets of Korea, but Japan calls them Takeshima, claiming sovereignty over them. Japan also names the East Sea the Sea of Japan.
“Soon after the advert hit the NYT, readers sent about 20 e-mails, saying that they didn’t know that Jejudo was one of the finalists for the New7Wonders of nature poll and that they plan to visit Korea,” said Seo, professor at Sungshin Women’s University, who organized the ad. “U.S. NBC, Japan TBS and The Epoch Times in China called in for an interview, and even another New York regional paper sent me an advertisement request as well.
“Through social networking sites, the advertisement news has been tweeted all over the world. Tweeting is a very effective way of promotion,” he added.
He said that though the ad was focused on tourism, he wanted to inform the world that Dokdo and Ieodo are part of Korea.
Pop singer Kim Jang-hoon (right) and Sungshin Women’s Uiversity Prof. Seo Kyoung-duk. (Yonhap News)
“That’s why I marked the island names in bold letters. The advert of cultural and tourist side of Dokdo might be effective in strengthening Korea’s dominium over the islets,” he said.
The ad was fully sponsored by Kim, who said that it was timely as this year was designated “Visit Korea Year.”
Since 2008, Kim and Seo have worked together to let the world know more about Korean issues, including China’s Northeast Project and “comfort women.” The former was research conducted from 2002 to 2006 by China which assumes a greater influence of the state over Korea in the past. Awareness was also raised about comfort women, a euphemism referring to those drafted into sexual slavery by the Japanese during World War II.
The duo have so far placed adverts not only in the New York Times but in the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. They plan to promote the “Korean history series” after the Korean tourism ad.
Their latest advert, however, was met with a negative reaction on expat and news blogs, with many criticizing its design and effectiveness as a tourism ad.
By Hwang Jurie (firstname.lastname@example.org