In commemoration of the 2016 APEC CEO Summit, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Literature Translation Institute of Korea (LTI Korea) co-hosted a series of classical Korean literature events in Lima and Cusco, Peru.
The first event, held on November 10th at the National Agrarian University in Lima, was attended by some 100 people, including students, professors and local residents. Mr. Jang Keun-ho, Korean Ambassador to Peru, and Dr. Enrique Flores Mariazza. Chancellor of the National Agrarian University welcomed the audience with their opening remarks, which were then followed by a symposium on classical Korean literature. The second part of the event presented a gugak concert. At the symposium, Professor of Korean Literature Myung Joon Kim (Hallym University), Professor of Spanish Literature Hyusun Ko (Dankook University) and Professor Francisco Carranza Romero (Dankook University and National Agrarian University) introduced classical poetic songs known as siga, as well as poetry from medieval times in both Korean and Spain, and discussed the cultural differences between Korean and Peru. In the second part of the event, a group of four performers (Jun Ah Lee, Young Lee, Eung Gwan Moon, and Yuna Lee) from the National Gugak Center performed some of the classical poetic songs introduced during the symposium, including ‘Urak’, ‘Chunmyeongok’ and ‘Gogasinjo’, thereby highlighting the depth and genre specific features of each piece.
The second event took place on November 14th at the Municipal Theater in Cusco. A crowd of over 150 people including K-pop fans and members of the general public filled up the venue. The performance of traditional Korean music was received by the audience with great enthusiasm. In particular, many were moved to tears when the Korean performing group played the well-known Peruvian folk song ‘El Condor Pasa’. Afterwards, many fans lined up to get photos and autographs from the Korean performers.
On November 15th, the third and final event in the series was held at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) in Lima. Co-hosted with the Center of Oriental Studies, the final symposium was mainly aimed at scholars and academics. The audience of around 70 people mostly consisted of staff and researchers from the Center of Oriental Studies, who took copious notes and requested the data and information presented during the symposium. Compared to the two previous events which had been attended mainly by Peruvians, the final performance attracted the biggest number of overseas Koreans living in Peru. Singing ‘I Shall Live on Blue Mountain’ and reciting some classical poems together, they expressed their longing and nostalgia for the Korean culture.
In addition, the celebrated Peruvian folk group Yawar played such traditional Korean tunes as ‘Arirang’ and ‘Chilgapsan’, which drew passionate responses from the audience. On the whole, the events offered Peruvians a taste of classical Korean literature, thereby sparking their interest and curiosity in the Korean culture even further. The local institutes that took part expressed their willingness to continue their effort in the future. In order to uphold and strengthen the cultural ties created through this year’s events, the Literature Translation Institute of Korea plans to expand the existing international exchange program for classical Korean literature.