Namiseom Korean name Hangul 남이섬 Hanja 南怡섬 Revised Romanization Namiseom McCune–Reischauer Namisŏm
Namiseom is a tiny half-moon shaped island located in Chuncheon, South Korea, formed as it was inundated by the rising water of the North Han River as the result of the construction of Cheongpyeong Dam (청평댐) in 1944. Its name originated from General Nami (남이장군), who died at the age of 28 after being falsely accused of treason during the reign of King Sejo, the seventh king of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea. Although his grave wasn't discovered, there were a pile of stones where his body was supposed to be buried. It was believed that if someone took even one stone from there, it would bring misfortune to their house. A tour company arranged the grave with soil and then developed Namiseom into an amusement park.
Creator of Namisum
Kang Woohyun, born in Danyang County in 1953, majored in graphic design and was the president of the design company until 2000. Inaugurated as Namisum CEO in 2001, he has worked as an illustrator, a fairy tale writer, a graphic designer, an environmentalist and civil activist, and has been preoccupied with the development of a theme park in Namisum. He has placed much value on culture and environment Namisum's nature. Since his inauguration, he has tried to eliminate the merry-making image of the amusement park where visitors just play and drink, and recreate the place where nature is in harmony with art and culture Namisum's art and culture.
In 1965, Min Byungdo purchased and started to reforest the island. In 1966, he founded Gyeongchun Tourism Development Inc. and developed it into a resort town. He changed the firm name to Namisum Inc. in 2000.
In 2001, Namisum Inc. started to invest heavily in environment and art and culture-related events. Non-profit organizations such as YMCA and YWCA have participated in environment campaigns for recycling, environment monitoring and eco-friendly development. Furthermore, Namisum Inc. has been supporting various events ranging from paintings to applied art in cooperation with writers and international organizations such as UNICEF and UNESCO.
From 1960 to 1990, it was known as a location for a film "Winterreise (겨울나그네)" and "Riverside Song Festival (강변비가요제)". Since 2001, it has become one of culture tourist attractions as the number of Asian tourists increases due to the success of Korean dramas. Also it has been in the spotlight of the international resort town with natural environment many foreigners living in Korea desire to visit.
Namisum declared independence as the Naminara Republic on 1 March 2006. It has drawn 1.5 million visitors a year on average.
Namisum offers a bike center, an electric car tour and a swimming pool. It takes about 2 hours from Seoul by car. It provides visitors with a direct shuttle bus from Insadong in Jongno, Seoul.
Metasequoia path is a location for a Korean Drama "Winter Sonata (겨울연가똥)" produced by KBS. The forest path is surrounded by white birches and Korean white pines all year around. This place was used to film two main characters' childhood - Yujin and Joonsang step on each other's shadows after skipping class.
International festivals are held throughout the year. The International Book Festival, supported by KBBY is held every year and has contributed to improvement of children's books and culture. Another is YoPeFe where teenagers from different countries present their traditional dance and songs and teach them to each other. Through this experience, they learn each other's culture.
There are a recycling Center, an environment school and a green store. Namisum used to be filled with garbage such as bottles of Soju and scraps from visitors' food. Children learn the importance of protecting the environment.
Namisum is an imaginary country[according to whom?], but the "passport" issued from Naminara is required in order to enter Namisum. It declared itself a self-governing country in 2006 as acceding to General Nami's natural greatness of soul and appointed Ryu Hongjun as the 1st head of culture and Suzanna Samstag Oh as a foreign head. In addition, it has invented its own passport, currency, stamp and telephone card, and has promoted the establishment of Naminara in other countries.
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