Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Feng Shui and the Japanese

I found a strange article in the Joongang about Fend shui and how the Japanese tried to use it to poison Korea's psychic environment by placing metal (a conductor? I'm not sure of the reasoning) in strategic places in Korea's mountains. A man named So Yun-ha has been cleaning the country of those damn Japanese relics. The article reads like the premise for a Tim Powers novel (if you're not a fantasy geek, that reference is wasted).

For the past two decades, he's traveled the country's
mountains and valleys to uproot metal posts, nails, rods or chunks, which he
says were planted by ultra-rightist Japanese during the colonial regime; the
shapes are meant to disrupt the flow of Korea's energy according to feng
shui. Feng shui, known as pung su in Korean, is an ancient Chinese form of
geomancy, a study of the flow of the earth's energy. Mr. So is a firm
believer.On his first visit to Mount Namhan, a site so vital to the peninsula's
positioning Mr. So dubs it "the wings of a crane," he followed a hiker named Lee
Jeong-hu who first spotted the suspicious metal lumps drilled into the heavy

As an example, he cites a story about the former
Japanese general Tomoyuki Yamashita who had allegedly confessed to Shin Se-woo,
a translator for the Japanese army during World War II, that the Japanese army
headquarters in Korea had assigned people to plant metal chunks throughout the
peninsula to harm the peoples' gi, or spiritual energy.

Having hiked on a few mountains here, I have found a lot of metal imbedded in the rock, most of it is orange and was put up recently as stairs here in Seorak. Some of it; I think near the Pusan perimeter, looks like military issue to get supplies up the slopes more easily. I wonder if there is good metal and bad metal, or if it is all about placement.

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