JEONJU, SOUTH KOREA
Date Modified: 06.28.2008
Content: Jeonju - General Info and Links
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Area: 206.25 km2
Population: 645,108 (2005)
Population density: 303.1 people/km2
Jeonju (Jeonju-si) is
a city in and the capital of North Jeolla Province, South Korea.
It is situated about two and a half hours south of Seoul and is
an important tourist center famous for Korean food, historic buildings,
sports activities and innovative festivals.
Located in the fertile Honam plain, famous for strawberries and
exceptional produce, Jeonju has been an important regional center
in the province for centuries.
Jeonju gained its reputation as a "royal city" when
the founding father of the Joseon Dynasty, General Yi Seong-gye,
attained a massive victory in 1302 against Japanese invading forces.
In 1894, the town was occupied by Donghak peasants' rebellion.
Jeonju was given a metropolitan status in 1935, and the city was
founded in 1949.
Recent leadership in both innovation and preservation of the past
has been shown by Jeonju Mayor Wan-ju Kim, considered one of the
more visionary and distinguished leaders in South Korea.
- Jeonju bibimbap, a traditional local food, is well-known across
South Korea. There are also several very famous vegetarian restaurants
serving Jeonju style food, with a pine wine.
- National Jeonju Museum exhibits ancient relics from the Baekje
- There are extensive royal museums, temples, a castle fortress
on a hillside, and a rather famous paper museum, as well as an
annual paper fashion show highlighting high style and traditional
Korean clothing made of paper.
- The Jeonjeu film festival draws annually 50,000 visitors.
- Jeonju is planning an annual "Fun Festival" as well
as a "Royal City Sports Festival" for a weekend of five
different races in September.
>>People and Everyday Life
Education is a major industry in the city because of the lack
of a lot of manufacturing jobs. Hakwons, or private learning academies,
are found on just about evey other city block or so, ranging in
size from single classrooms to entire multi-floor buildings, specializing
in everything from musical instrument instruction to languages
to computer skills to vocational studies. Many university students,
when they can find a job, end up being teachers at a hakwon, school,
or university, unless they apply for a different kind of job outside
the city, like in Seoul. The city also exports teachers and professors
to other cities in the province. Perhaps keeping with the city's
tradition of being a place of the upper class, there is a particularly
strong emphasis on education, because other than one's wealth,
these days whether one is educated or not is one of the main distinguishing
factors between people of lower class and those of the above (if
such distinctions can still be made), especially in the still
very rural area that Jeonju is in where there are a lot of farmers.
In fact, the city can probably boast one of the lowest (if not
the lowest) teacher to non-teacher ratios in the country (meaning
there are a lot of teachers compared to non-teachers, or people
who were teachers at some point in their lives to those who weren't).
For recreation, many people take advantage of the nature that
is always closeby and go on hiking trips in the numerous and splendid
mountains and parks. There are also quite a lot of historical
sites to visit, which are home to ancient and unique stone monuments
Right beside the zoo, which is itself a large and lovely park
area, there is the Samsung Sound and Culture Hall, which is a
large and modern concert complex, and is very accessible from
the city. There are frequent music concerts and recitals all year
round, and musicals when they stop by. Quite a few internationally
famous piano players come from this city and sometimes perform
here when they return home from tour.
The major Korean broadcasting networks all have branch stations
in the city, and they in turn produce some local shows in addition
to the main broadcasts, for the entire province. The regional
shows tend to be educational documentaries, cultural or historical-related,
and a few quiz shows. One quiz show by the local MBC, Quiz School,
is hosted by Bae Dong-Sung, whose area of operation is usually
Seoul, but was imported for the show. Episodes of this show can
be viewed free of charge on the internet, after the initial television
broadcast, and is an example of a small local TV station being
able to broadcast itself worldwide by taking advantage of the
very good Korean IT technology. The questions tend to (but do
not always) ask about local culture and history, maintaining the
tradition that Jeonju is a place that holds its culture and history
in high regard. There is also an English segment to the show in
which the contestants are taught a phrase and asked a question
in English by bi-lingual Canadian co-host Thexder, reflecting
the necessity of foreign language education and an international
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Jeonju City Government Website
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