A fisherman focuses on his fishing net oblivious to all around
The remains of the Japanese colonial period are dotted around the city. Dongguk Temple in Gunsan is the only Japanese-style temple in Korea. It’s a wooden structure with a tiled roof built in 1931. The colours are a lot more subdued than traditional Korean temples and the construction materials were brought over from Japan. The temple is now run by Korean monks.
Behind the wooden structure is a bamboo forest. And in front of the entrance to the temple jizo statue.
The old customs house was also built by the Japanese. The sign outside tells us that the building opened in 1899 under the jurisdiction of the Inchon Customs House. It’s a European style building designed by a German architect and the red bricks were imported from Belgium. We are also informed that “this building gives the historic lesson as a symbol of the Japanese Imperialism to plunder rice in Honam region, a rich agricultural plain.” The area provided a rich source of rice and it was shipped out from here to Japan.
The current Customs House is the modern white building to the right of the old red customs building.
So just as I was wondering are there any famous people from Gunsan? I got my answer: Yes, there are. And I found the answer on a shop door.
Our town treasure
The sign proudly advertises that Chae Man Shik (1902-1950) a famous Korean novelist came from Gunsan. He lived during the time when Korea was colonised by Japan and his writing often reflects this. Read more about Chae Man Shik’s work here.
우리마을= our town
보물입니다 (보물 treasure)