Who Owns the Lantern Festival?
Who Owns the Lantern Festival?
  • Kim Jo Dana
  • 승인 2013.11.10 22:43
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There is severe conflict between Seoul and Jinju on the issue of holding the lantern festival.  Jinju Namgang Yudeong Festival is a festival with a history of over 420 years.  It was founded on the Battle of Jinju Castle during Imjinwaeran (The Japanese Invasion).  Yudeong simply became one of Jinju’s festivals.  At first, it was only a stream art festival, but it soon developed into the Namgang Yudeong Festival in October 2002.  A rearing festival in 2004, its greatest moments were from 2005 to 2008.  It is natural for Jinju citizens to take pride in the festival.  The conflict between the cities began when Seoul started its lantern festival in 2010.  The years from 2010 to 2012 were Visit Korea years, so it was a way to attract visitors from other countries.  Seoul started to hold various events, and Seoul Lantern Festival was just one of them.  Seoul Lantern Festival showcases approximately 30 thousand large lanterns along with its wide array of experimental programs.  Seoul Lantern Festival has attracted quite a lot of visitors, so Seoul city is planning on continuing the festival again this year, but Jinju has voiced objection.  Jinju claims the year 2013 is no longer a Visit Korea year so there is no reason to need for Seoul Lantern Festival to continue.  With tensions rising, the festival has brought huge animosity between Jinju and Seoul. 


- Debate Topic -
Seoul Lantern Festival Should Come to an End,
Because the Original Lantern Festival is Held in Jinju.




Jun Yuna /
Division of Business Administration '12

Jinju Namgang Yudeong Festival started 420 years ago, and it is the oldest Yudeong Festival in Korea.  Also, the festival represents Korea.  Many Koreans visit it yearly in October, and it was chosen best festival chosen by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.  Moreover, Jinju Namgang Yudeong Festival is renowned abroad; festival committee members have shared their knowhow technique with Canada.  Most noteworthy, though, is the fact that Jinju is a festival city representing Asia, so it is quite obvious why Jinju citizens are demanding an end to the Seoul Lantern Festival.  Seoul Lantern Festival started for the 2010-2012 Visit Korea years to welcome tourists.  Jinju agreed to its temporary opening but to continue with the festival takes away from a local inherent festival.  Jinju Namgang Yudeong Festival has found success through its effort to study the festival’s long history.  If Seoul operates a similar festival, Jinju will not only lose years of research, but also the city’s uniqueness.  Every year in Jinju, many people including foreigners visit Namgang Yudeong Festival, but if Seoul holds a similar festival, Jinju will lose its tourists.  Because Seoul is the largest city in Korea, it has many other festivals and events to attract tourists.  However, thesmaller and medium-sized cities like Jinju operate only one or two traditional festivals a year to promote their cities.  If Seoul continues its festival, Jinju Namgang Yudeong Festival will suffer greatly.  Furthermore, Jinju Namgang Yudeong Festival is not a festival based on Buddhism but a festival based on the history of the Battle over Jinju Castle, so it has deeper meaning unlike other lantern festivals, which mostly based on Buddhism.  Hence, the original purpose of the lantern festival will be lost if Seoul continues with its lantern festivals.  Historical significance will be ignored.  Jinju Namgang Yudeong Festival is the only major festival in Jinju.  Small and medium-sized cities must be given the chance to attract tourists, so the original meaning of Jinju Namgang Yudeong Festival must be kept.  Seoul Lantern Festival should be discontinued from this year.

Jang Yuna /
Division of Business Administration '12

Jinju and Seoul are arguing over operation of a lantern festival in Seoul.  Jinju claims Seoul mimics Jinju Namgang Yudeong Festival and is demanding the discontinuation of Seoul Lantern Festival.  However, Seoul is fighting back.  Then, which side in the argument is reasonable? I think Seoul’s claim is reasonable.  Jinju claims Seoul merely mimicked the festival of Jinju.  Specific lanterns that Jinju claim Seoul scooped from its festival total 11, but 5 of the lanterns were previously exhibited in Seoul earlier.  Also, two of them were made by same organization and the remaining four are merely universal one.  The phrase “Lantern Festival” itself is an ordinary and universal one.  Any city can hold a lantern festival; Jinju cannot claim the phrase “Lantern Festival” as its own.  That claim is selfish.  Last year, Jinju Namgang Yudeong Festival attracted more than 2.8 million people and earned Jinju almost 140 billion won.  Jinju argues that if a lantern festival is held in both Seoul and Jinju, no one would visit Jinju.  However, the income earned by Jinju Namgang Yudeong Festival clearly shows the festival’s help to Jinju economically.  However, Jinju has no right to stop the Seoul Lantern Festival from operating merely for the sake of Jinju citizens.  Opening a lantern festival in both cities can be a “win-win” situation.  Also, Jinju worries that visitors to Jinju Namgang Yudeong Festival will decrease.  However, the festivals’ locations, period of operation, and content are clearly different, so Jinju doesn’t have to worry about its numbers of visitors.  Actually, between 2010 and 2012, the years Seoul also held a lantern festival, found the number of visitors to Jinju Namgang Yudeong Festival increased.  Even Seoul presented a mutual cooperation scheme to Jinju, Jinju wants Seoul to stop its lantern festival.  It is selfish of Jinju to think that lantern festivals should be limited to just one city.  Nevertheless, I hope thetwo cities cooperate to find a solution beneficial to both.  As this battle brings into reasonable result, it can be a good example of the battle between cities in the future. 

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