|CEO of Anyoung Seoul, Yoon In-ju is explaining the history of Seoul Station by showing them historical photos. Anyoung Seoul aims to share more interesting stories on the city that can be easily overlooked. Photo provided by Yoon In-ju.
“Anyoung means ‘Hello’ in Korean, but it also refers to wishing peace and happiness of the society,” said Yoon In-ju, the CEO of Anyoung Seoul. “As Anyoung is the first Korean word foreigners learn and the first word before used to start a conversation, it well suits the company’ vision. We introduce various sides of the city and share stories of each area that people probably wouldn’t have heard about before.”
Yoon established Anyoung Seoul only a year ago, but she has already successfully carried out several programs, such as Seoul Station Walking Tour and Seoul Local Playing Card.
Having majored in architecture, she used to make architecture-related podcasts with her friends after graduating, later through which she realized how indifferent people were about the city they were living in.
Feeling that she should do something about this situation, she worked at an architect’s office where she took charge of the regional survey of the Seoul Station High-level Road Urban Regeneration Project.
The project enabled her to meet new people and hear new stories, such as histories hidden in unknown alleys in Seoul.
“During the project, I wanted to share my special experiences with others,” Yoon said. “So, I made a walking-tour program called Seoul Walking Bus to introduce Seoul in an entertaining way. After that, with my friend whom I met through making podcasts, I founded Anyoung Seoul.”
Now Anyoung Seoul has various ongoing programs, such as Process to Village Tour Guide and Seoul Local Playing Card.
The Process to Village Tour Guide project is where Anyoung Seoul trains residents to become guides, telling people interesting stories of what happened in the area in the past.
For example, a woman who used to manage a popular theater several years ago would share what the theater culture was like then. By having the residents as guides, participants can experience in-depth tours of the area. The project is also effective in that through the guides’ real-life experiences, people can understand the city better and feel emotionally closer to the city.
People have written positive reviews on Anyoung Seoul’s official Facebook page, saying that they genuinely enjoyed the tour and thanking the guides for plenty of juicy history stories. Giving a five-star review, one participant expressed huge appreciation to Anyoung Seoul for changing his perspective of Seoul. He added that he is looking forward to other programs held by Anyoung Seoul.
Another attraction of Anyoung Seoul is Seoul Local Playing Card, a newly designed game containing the history of Seoul. As the name implies, the cards are named after various locations in Seoul. All 13 locations were chosen near Seoul Station and showed how each place has changed since the Joseon Dynasty.
Yoon hopes people of all ages to enjoy the game, while also gain more knowledge on history of Seoul along the way.
“It is a busy week as we are doing lots of projects right now, but it is surely fun,” Yoon said. “We usually have five to 25 participants, mostly families or people in their fifties to sixties. Elderly people come to our tours frequently because there aren’t many programs other than us that deal with how the city was in the 70s and 80s that they experienced hands-on.”
Yoon had more stories about the time when she was doing a tour around Malli-dong and Gongdeok-dong. In the area, there was a movie studio where director Shin Sang-ok and actress Choi Eun-hee, the top celebrities of their time, used to manage. Looking around, elderly participants started sharing their own experiences related to the place and reminiscing about the old days. Yoon said that she felt she was the tourist, as she learned something new about the area. She felt the city come alive.
Currently Yoon is planning on a program about Namsan Mountain. She questioned whether citizens were viewing Namsan Mountain as just a mountain or something more. Even though mountains are a very integral part of Seoul, it seems to Yoon that no one really appreciates the landscape.
She hopes Anyoung Seoul will encourage more people to take interest in the city and get to know more of its history.
“I truly believe that Anyoung Seoul will enable people to feel love for the city they are living in,” Yoon commented. “The more people are interested in Seoul, the better the city will be. Anyoung Seoul!”