This is Jeju 5-day market earlier today, located in Jeju City and the biggest on Jeju. There are stalls selling snacks to the market customers and there’s something for all tastes – sweet or savoury, hot or cold; you can watch a pancake being prepared for you or fill a basket with different cookies to take away. We had the tempura vegetables from the stall in the photo at the bottom, but didn’t try the tempura chillies. It’s all delicious and a few thousand Korean Won will buy more than enough.
Here’s a subject I haven’t written about before: The Jeju 4.3 Uprising or Massacre. I’ve had opportunities but didn’t know where to start; I still don’t understand it well. What is clear is that many thousands of Jeju people were killed in fighting or were summarily executed by the South Korean authorities, many dumped in unmarked graves. The reason? The real or perceived threat of communist sympathisers on Jeju in the uncertain years after the Japanese had left after the Second World War, when the division of the Korean Peninsular was becoming a long-term reality. ‘4.3’ refers to April 3rd, 1948, the nominal date of the start of the Uprising, which lasted until May 1949.
The photo above is taken on the north coast of the island, just a few kilometres east of Jeju City. The background shows a typical modern Jeju settlement; the foreground shows the remains of the site of Goneul-dong village, as does the photo below. I can do no better than quote from the notice erected to record the site:
Goneul-dong was located in the west coast of Hwabuk 1-dong, Jeju City. Before the April Third Uprising, in ‘Inside Goneul’ at the east bottom of Byeoldo Peak, there were 22 dwellings, in ‘Middle Goneul’ located between the two branches of Hwabuk Stream, 17 dwellings, and in ‘Outside Goneul’, 28 dwellings.
On January 4 and 5, 1949, Goneul-dong was put to the torch and has been deserted since. Around 3-4 p.m. on January 4, 1949, one platoon from the 2nd Regiment of Korean Constabulary laid siege to Goneul-dong. They rounded up all the villagers. They took approximately 10 young men to the coast and executed them. Then, they set fire to all 22 dwellings in Inside Goneul and all 17 dwellings in Middle Goneul.
On January 5, soldiers killed some villagers who were confined in nearby Hwabuk Elementary School at ‘Mosalbul’, on the east coast of Hwabuk-dong. Then, they burned all 28 dwellings in Outside Goneul. Since then, Goneul-dong has been deserted.
And according to Wikipedia, “For almost fifty years after the uprising, it was a crime punishable by beatings, torture and a lengthy prison sentence if any South Korean even mentioned the events of the Jeju uprising.”
I’ve been to plenty of bus stations over the years, in all sorts of places. To be honest, they’re not the most inspiring of places. The one in Jeju City is no exception, especially on a Sunday afternoon – a few sleepy restaurants, some shops selling snacks and last-minute cheap souvenirs. Even on a clear and sunny day with distant views of Mt Halla, it has an unprepossessing, functional, feel to it.
There are old women waiting for busses, not quite like the statue outside the station but not so different either. We helped one elderly lady, clearly not as frail as she looked, heave a large sack on to her head at Haenam bus station a few weeks ago. In Jeju, the regular travellers are joined by hikers on their way to and from the different olle (walking) trails around the island.
Maybe the fact that I’d travelled to Jeju to try and buy a new bike, only to find the bike shop closed, and the fact that I had to wait over an hour for a bus home, didn’t help me form a positive impression. For all that, it’s still good to be able to explore, watch, and take in the sights and sounds of new places.
A market is always a safe bet for some good photos. This is Jeju 5-day market, which happens every five days in Jeju City. There are 5-day markets in lots of locations around the island (and maybe beyond – I don’t know).
A lot of the market is for food – fruit and vegetables, fish and meat – but there are plenty of other things as well. We didn’t buy any of the many kinds of fish, or the squid or the cuttlefish; we didn’t buy the chrysalises or the pigs ears or chicken feet; we weren’t tempted by the puppies or kittens; we’ve already got some kimchi in the fridge so didn’t go for the pickled vegetables.
However, we did buy a trowel for 2000 Won (just over £1) and a little tangerine tree for 9000 Won (about £6), which is now planted in the garden. We also bought a small pot of rosemary, and a pot-plant (chrysanthemum?) which is now on our doorstep.