Voluntary Agency Network of Korea

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Voluntary Agency Network of Korea
사이버 외교사절단 반크
Revised RomanizationSaibeo oegyosajeoldan bankeu
McCune–ReischauerSaibŏ oegyosajŏltan pank'ŭ

VANK (반크), an acronym for Voluntary Agency Network of Korea (사이버 외교사절단 반크), is an Internet-based South Korean organization consisting of 100,000 South Korean members and 30,000 international members.


Examples of campaigns they have conducted include spreading the story of the ancient kingdom of Goguryeo, and about Jikji, the world's oldest extant book printed using movable metal type.[1]

VANK publishes reading materials, postcards, maps, and videos. VANK's self-built online database and published books with information about Korea are acknowledged by overseas universities as recommended learning resources about Korea.[2][3][4][5] As a way to exchange cultures and connect with foreigners, VANK also conducts surveys about foreigners' opinion of Korea, such as a notable survey about what sides of Korea interest foreigners the most.[6][7][8]

VANK disputes certain terms and information regarding Korea's geographic names or about Korean history.[9][10] The head of the Voluntary Agency Network of Korea said the organization has corrected hundreds of mistaken statements by foreign governments about South Korea.[11]


VANK is an independent non-governmental and private organisation. According to VANK, they do not receive money from any organisation or corporation, and are run by donations.[12][13] It received donation from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of South Korea.[14] VANK has received monetary support from the South Korean government; however, the amount has been decreased in recent years, from 80 million won in 2006 to 30 million won in 2008.[15][16]

Notable work[edit]

VANK have successfully campaigned for the correction of information in major publications such as National Geographic, DK Books, and Lonely Planet.[17]

Some examples of their work include:

  • Listing Jikji as the world's oldest extant book made with a movable metal type
  • The correction of Admiral Yi-Sun Si's name on Yahoo's travel site[18]
  • The listing of "East Sea" as an official name for the body of water between Japan and Korea in the National Geographic Magazine[18]


VANK has been accused of promoting Korea at the expense of Japan. Critics claim that VANK has attempted to discount Japan and Japanese culture, manipulate history during and after World War II and have other countries believe in distorted perspectives related to Japanese-Korean history that have a bias favoring Korea.[citation needed]

An About.com spokesman, relating his company's decision to use the name "East Sea" to refer to the body of water otherwise known as the Sea of Japan, stated that they chose to use the name "not necessarily because it agreed with the South Korean geography activists but because the e-mail bombardment was annoying."[19] It was reported in the Asia Times Online that they received as many as 20 e-mails per day regarding this issue from VANK.[20]


  • Nov. 2002 Awarded the Presidential organization in the field of public relations (2002 World Cup Organizing Committee)
  • Dec. 2002 Awarded a prize by the Presidential organization
  • December 2002 Tourism Korea Award (Korea Tourism Organization)
  • December 2003 National Assembly of Korea
  • December 2004 Catholic Media Awards 'Special Prize'
  • Oct. 2005 Awarded a prize by the Presidential organization for the national diplomatic unification field (Ministry of Culture and Tourism)
  • April 2008 Promoted Ambassador to Seoul
  • September 2008 Promoted ambassador to Jikji
  • October 2008 Gyeongsangbuk-do special prize
  • Jun. 2009 Awarded Presidential Committee for Information Culture (Ministry of Public Administration and Security)
  • June 2009 Seoul Tourism Award
  • February 2010 31 proud Koreans selected (Maeil Business Newspaper)
  • April 2010 Yi Sun Shin (Gyeongsangnam-do, Jeollanam-do)
  • May 2010 Award for Creation (Joongang Ilbo)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "반크(VANK), 직지세계화에 나선다", The Chosun Ilbo, 2006-09-25, retrieved 2006-09-25
  2. ^ East Asia Languages and Cultures University of Notre Dame
  3. ^ Multicultural Resources Angelo State University
  4. ^ Korean studies for Global Understanding George Mason University
  5. ^ Center for Korean Studies UCLA
  6. ^ Korean cooking classes available for expats October 26, 2010 Korea Herald
  7. ^ Korea’s Cyber Vigilantes foreignpolicy
  8. ^ About VANK VANK
  9. ^ "CIA gets its Korea facts wrong", The Inquirer, 2006-12-13, retrieved 2007-10-06
  10. ^ Northeast Asia's intra-mural mural wars By David Scofield Dec 23, 2003, Asiatimes
  11. ^ Organization corrects South Korea errors UPI, 15-DEC-06
  12. ^ Interview of VANK(in Korean) dcnews, 2008-12-01
  13. ^ History Distortion, Do not Move! hanyangian.com
  14. ^ "Official Support for 'Cyber Diplomats' to Continue", The Chosun Ilbo, 2008-10-22, retrieved 2008-10-28
  15. ^ "반크 정부 지원예산 삭감에 네티즌 반발 거세", Asia Today, 2008-10-21, retrieved 2008-10-21
  16. ^ "VANK支援問題:李大統領、予算配分を直接指示", The Chosun Ilbo, 2008-10-25, archived from the original on 2008-10-26, retrieved 2008-10-25
  17. ^ Reporter Kim Min-sung (January 15, 2007). "CIA · BBC, VANK protest Korean history and geographical error correction" . Kookmin Daily News.
  18. ^ a b ghwang@yna.co.kr (November 10, 2008). "Vank, distorted Yi site" . Yonhap News . Confirmed on November 10, 2008
  19. ^ Sea of Japan vs. East Sea, About.com: Geography, February 24, 2002
  20. ^ Scofield, David (2003-12-23), "Northeast Asia's intra-mural mural wars", Asia Times, retrieved 2007-10-06

External links[edit]