South Korea Revives Traditional Dress

Women wearing hanbok, a traditional Korean garment, at Gyeongbokgung Palace in central Seoul

SEOUL — A state-led campaign to revive hanbok, the South Korean traditional dress, is keeping dress rental shops in Seoul busy as it gains momentum.

Under the campaign, visitors to major old palaces in the capital receive free entrance if they are wearing hanbok. Both foreigners and locals have picked up the trend.

On an early November afternoon, even as the temperature fell to around 5 C, many women in the traditional garment were seen at Gyeongbokgung Palace in central Seoul, strolling around and taking photos of the palace and themselves with their smartphones. The dress saved them the entrance fee of 3,000 won ($2.55).

The campaign was launched in October 2013 by the Cultural Heritage Administration, which is in charge of the country’s cultural facilities. Free entrance is offered at sites including Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung and Deoksugung palaces.

An official at the agency said the campaign is intended to revive and popularize hanbok. It started to gain popularity this year, with an increase in the number of people taking advantage of the free entrance offer.

The number of hanbok rental shops around Gyeongbokgung Palace has grown significantly. There are now 60 to 70 shops in the area, according to South Korean media.

The campaign is also helping promote the local tourism industry. Restaurants near the palace have started offering discounts of as much as 20% to customers wearing hanbok.

Source: Koichikato/ Nikkei staff writer