Bupyeong Underground Market

Travel to Bupyeong Underground Market today.

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Bupyeong Underground Market first opened in 1978 was registered in the Guinness Book of World Records in November 2014 as the largest number of shops with a single area. The gross area is 31,692 square meters as the largest single underground shopping area in Korea and the total number of stores is 1408 (as of April 19, 2014). The daily passersby in this area is more than a hundred thousand people (2016) and it is likely to miss directions from time to time because the area is so wide and underground route is complicated.
Bupyeong Underground Shopping Center was originally built as a shelter for national security in 1978. Although it is a shelter, it was opened to the public so that regular citizen could be passing through this underground passage in usual. Then, in the 1980, merchants came together one by one has made form a merchant association in earnest and started to be called as ‘Bupyeong Underground Shopping Center’ from the inside and outside. There are over 1,400 stores selling a wide variety of products include clothing, cosmetics, bags, cell phones and accessories etc., As well as, there is “Foreign Tourist Information Desk” for foreign visitors. About 50 percent of stores are tax-free membership.

Wolmi Park

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Incheon Wolmi Park in the seaside

Current Wolmi Park was an Island belonging to Jung-gu of Incheon Metropolitan City. The Island is now filled with land. Wolmi-do (月尾島) is the name given in the sense that the appearance of the Island resembles the tail of the half moon. At the time of Korean Empire, Japanese naval bases and Russian coal warehouses came into this place, and these powers engaged in a power struggle. In 1886, after the name of the French fleet that had been anchored in offshore of Incheon at the time of the “Byeong-In-Yang-Yo (丙寅洋擾),” even it has been introduced as a “Rose Island” on the foreign map. “Song Jeong Seop who was granted the right of cultivation on Wolmi-do from Ministry of Agriculture in 1900, sold the land reclamation rights to the Japanese Yoshigawa, then Yoshigawa forcibly removed the residents in Wolmi-do. The Joseon government arrested Song Jeong Seop and delivered proceeds of the sale to the Japanese embassy and demanded to return of the land reclamation rights. However, Yoshigawa did not responded, and in August 1904, he built embankment with the sacks on the pretext that the Japanese military needed on operation, and in May 1905, he demolished 80 civilian houses then occupied the entire Island. It was developed as an amusement park in 1923 after building 1 km of dykes and connecting it with the mainland, it was mainly made up for the Japanese people with bathtubs (潮湯, bathtub with boiled sea water), villas, fairies and sea water pools. Since the establishment of ‘Wolmi-do cultural street’ in July 1987, cultural and artistic performances and Wolmi festivals etc., various events are being held.


Tragedy of Wolmi Island:  On September 10, a bombing by a US marine Cops aircraft (Admiral Richard W. Rubles Marine Corps Air Corps, Fifteenth Flight Aircraft) caused collective victims of civilian residents in Wolmi Island. The bombing began around 7:00 am and was conducted 3 times up to 12:00. The bombing that was carried out by the preliminary operation of Incheon Landing Operation, the bombers flying from US aircraft carriers has dropped 95 napalm bombs to the east part of Wolmi-do which is included civilians and after shooting the rocket gun, it was done in such a way that strafing against the evacuating civilians. The Truth. Reconciliation Committee was estimated 10 confirmed victims and the actual numbers of victims will be reach 100 people if including the missing persons and those who were enable to verify their identities.

Incheon Landing Operation (仁川上陸作戰):  The Incheon Landing Operation (Battle of Incheon) was an amphibious operation initiated from Wolmi Island on September 15, 1950, led by United Nations commander Douglas MacArthur when the Korean War was in full swing. This operation involved more than 75,000 troops and 261 naval vessels, which led to the recapture Seoul of Republic of Korea, and was the opportunity to overturn the whole of Korean War situation.

Byeong-In-Yang-Yo (丙寅洋擾):  Yang Yo (洋擾) means the frenzy and battle caused by Western people. It is the case that the French fleet invaded Ganghwa Island in 1866. In early 1866, Heungseon Daewongun (Father of Kojong who came on the throne in Joseon Dynasty) imposed a ban on the Catholic Church and massacred thousands of Korean Catholic believer, included 9 French missionaries. At the time of the persecution, 9 of the 12 French missionaries were held and executed, and only 3 were able to escape. Of these three, Ridel escaped to China and urged the French fleet commander Rose (P.G., Lutz) who staying in China to retaliation by announce the persecution. Therefore, Rose fleet commander led the Great Fleet and caused a military conflict between Korea and France.

Incheon Chinatown

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Discover Incheon Chinatown

Incheon Chinatown is located just in front of the Incheon station, you can see the Chiatown entrance opposite side of street when you get out No.1 exit. Chinese restaurant and souvenir stores are lined in the streets. The Incheon-China Day Culture festival and Jajangmyeon festival are held in September and October every year.

Let’s look into the historical background of this place from now on. It was formed in 1884 as the Overseas Chinese coming to this Concession(租界地) after the opening of Incheon port in 1883. Most Chinese who lived in Incheon Chinatown at the time came from Shandong in China. It was at the Im-O Military Revolt(1882年壬午军乱) that Chinese people began to coming into Korea from Qing Dynasty in China at the end of Joseon. When Im-O Military Revolt was broke out and the situation of Joseon Dynasty was changing suddenly, Qing Dynasty dispatched the navy of Oh Jang Gyeong(吳長慶) who was stationed in Shandong province in China even though there is no request from Joseon Dynasty. More than 40 Chinese merchants came into Korea following the 4,500 soldiers under the commander of Oh Jang Gyeong and they began to do business near the Yongsan where they were stationed.

Both countries envoys were on visiting each other from ancient, and Chinese traders often stayed in Korea through the “Market Openning(開市)” due to public trade, but this was the beginning of long-term stay. Jemulpo was selected as a Opening Port candidate area after the Japan-Joseon Ganghwa Treaty in 1876, but it took six years to be selected as a actual Opening Port area. Joseon Dynasty was reluctant to opening a port just right next to Seoul, and therefore, Japan also took time to searching for other candidates area. Jemulpo was selected as the opening port by the “Jemulpo Treaty in 1882,” Quing Dynasty, Japan and other western powers flocked ahead to Jemulpo. It was formed as the each foreign countries Concession (租界地) by conclusion of “Incheon Jemulpo clause of each countries concession (仁川濟物浦各國租界章程)” in 1882. Japan established a consulate immediately after the Treaty of Jemulpo, and Qing Dynasty also established the Qing Dynasty Government Office(靑國理事府). In 1885, Qing Dynasty set up a line of telegraphic that’s linking to its home country. The Qing Dynasty also signed on the “Joseon-Qing Trader Sea & Land Trade Pact (朝淸商民水陸貿易章程)” and began trade through Jemulpo. On March 7, 1884, the “Incheon Chinese Trader Concession Pckt (仁川華商租界章程)” was concluded, and as Qing-Joseon Dynasty autonomy has been determed, lots of Chinese came settled down. The present Chinatown is stemmed from the Concession (租界地) at the time. In 1910, the size of Korean Overseas Chinese was 11,800, of which 2800 were lived within this Concession area. Today, about 2,000 Chinese live in Incheon, and about 120 household live in Chinatown. Since its Opening Port in 1883, facilities of Chinese religious has been built within Chinatown. It was said founded by Buddhist monk named Hwang Hab Gyeong(黃合卿) and built a Temple the Temple (廟宇: Shrine where deity is held) called Uiseondang (​義善堂). This place, which shared ups and downs with Overseas Chinese, was placed in the crossroad of abolition 1970s, and opened again after the massive repairs in 2005 with the support of the Chinese government and the fund rising of Overseas Chinese. Currently, this is the cultural heritage No.1 designated by Overseas Chinese Association in Incheon Metropolitan City.

Concession(租界地) – The area where have been set up so that foreign residents can usually resident in the port area and where to enjoy extraterritorial rights.

The boundary stairway between Qing and Japanese concession (淸•日租界地境界階段): It was designated as Incheon Metropolitan City Monument No.51 on December 23, 2002. The designated area is 840 square metter and it is owned and managing by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT). This was a boundary area between the Japanese concession established in 1883 and the established by Qing Dynasty in 1884. And This stairway is connected to the Freedom Park.

Ganghwa Treaty – On Sept. 20, 1875, Japan’s brand new warship “Un-Yang-Ho(雲揚號) was shelling Chojijin in Ganghwa Island and overwhelmed with explosion sound. Then Japan putted forward a treaty of peace on February 10, 1876. And this was the “Ganghwa-do Treaty.” The Ganghwa Treaty was an unequal treaty concluded in accordance with Japan’s coercion with military power, and it was the first treaty that Korea made with foreign countries in the modern era.

Jemulpo Treaty – The Japanese empire dispatched “Hanabusa Yoshimoto(はなぶさ よしもと),” a diplomatic minister in order to under the pretext of demand compensation for damage at the time of Im-O Military Revolt(壬午军乱), and landed at Jemulpo under the protest of the powerful Navy. It was the Qing Dynasty that was the most nervous to news of Japan’s military expedition. The Qing Dynasty listens to opinions of Yun Shik Kim who was a foreign student in China, promptly dispatched military commended by “Oh Jang Gyeong” as a justification for protecting tributary. At this time in the Qing Dynasty, worried about the expansion about the situation, and to calm on the Japanese minister, while relaxed attitude of Joseon government and held talks in Jemulpo between two countries and concluded the “Jemulpo Treaty.”

Jajangmyeon (짜장면) – There were many southern merchant from Guangdong and Hong Kong who living in Concession (租界地), but the number of northern merchants from Shandong gradually increased. In addition, the Chinese workers started to enter the Incheon where the Opening Port was held du to the construction boom. Most of them were from Shandong Province. Restaurant owners and farmers also came into Korea follow them, and sell the food to them and farmers supplied vegetables to restaurants. Around 1905, Jajangmyeon based on home cooking in Shangdong Province was made and sold. It is the food which the unloading workers who crossed from Shandong province, were simply ate as mixed with noodle and Chunjang (black colored sauce) in order that fill their stomach during work in the port. Since then, there have been many Chinese restaurants selling Jajangmyeon opened around Qing Concession (租界地), and “Gonghwachun” is known as original Jajangmyeon restaurant which most first opened in 1905.

Gonghwachun (共和春) is originated from the establishment of Shandong Hall around 1907 by the Overseas Chinese “Woo Hui Gwang (于希光:1886~1949)” who moved to Incheon from Shandong China. Shandong Hall which is not a place with the current “Gonghwachun” but opened elsewhere, was a shop called guesthouse (客棧) that provided lodging for the merchants who migrated from Qing Dynasty. Shandong Hall changed the name of the establishment to “Gonghwachun” in 1912 with the meaning of the “Spring of the Republic has came” to the motherland, when birth of People’s Republic of China after stopped Qing Dynasty imperial politics by the Shinhae Revolution of 1911 (辛亥革命).

Freedom Park (仁川自由公園) – Around 1888, this freedom park was established as a name of “Global Nations Park (萬國公園)” for the inhabitants of the foreign settlement in Incheon that was designed by Russian civil engineer “Céline Sabatine.” It was the first large-scale public facility in Korea, and it has been called “Western Park (西公園)” at the time in the Japanese colonial period. And after liberation, it was called as “Global Nations Park (萬國公園)” again, and Kim Jeong-lyeol who was took office as the mayor of Incheon in 1957 changed name to “Freedom Park,” with building a statue of General MacArthur to commemorating his Incheon Landing Operation during the Korean War. And it has long been as a representative place of Incheon so far, with retaining the pain of Korean modern turbulent history.

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