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Hangul 반크
Revised Romanization Bankeu
McCune–Reischauer Pank'ŭ

VANK, an acronym for Voluntary Agency Network of Korea, is an internet-based South Korean organization consist of 100,000 Korean members and 30,000 international members. According to its website, VANK members are Cyber Diplomats to introduce Korea to the world and World Changers to solve world issues wisely to change the world. VANK hopes that Korea will be the hub of Asia and to be the gateway to northeast Asia.[1] It was started in 1999 as a small e-pal site and later it became an organization that intends to promote Korea and introduce the country to foreigners.[2]


VANK was founded by Park Gi-tae and is organized for the purpose of uniting cyber diplomats who want build up friendship with foreign friends by exchanging sincere letters and sharing dream and visions before promoting Korea.[3] They share friendships with foreigners. Young Koreans are volunteering to share their sincere friendship via the internet with those interested in their nation.[4] In addition, one of their goals is to introduce the achievements and milestones of Korea and Korean history and culture. Examples of campaigns they have conducted include spreading the story of the ancient kingdom of Goguryeo,[5] and about Jikji, the world's oldest extant book printed using movable metal type.[6]

VANK publishes reading materials, postcards, maps, and videos to introduce Korea to foreigners. VANK's self-built online database and published books with information about Korea are acknowledged by overseas universities as recommended learning resources about Korea.[7][8][9] [10]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. [11][12][3]

VANK aims to change information that they believe are wrong about Korea's geographic names or about Korean history.[13][14] The head of the Voluntary Agency Network of Korea said the organization has corrected hundreds of mistaken statements by foreign governments about South Korea.[15]


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.[16][17] It receives donation from Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of South Korea [18] 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.[19][20]


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 are biased by Korea.

An 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." [21] It was reported in the Asia Times Online that they received as many as 20 e-mails per day regarding this issue from VANK.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ About VANK VANK
  2. ^ Founder's letter Founder tells how and why he set up VANK.
  3. ^ a b About VANK VANK
  4. ^ Why don't you be a Friend of Korea? VANK
  5. ^ /town_trend_detail.htm?No=62 "高句麗の歴史を守ろう/We must protect Koguryo's history" Check |url= value (help), KBS World, 2006-05-02, retrieved 2009-06-02 
  6. ^ "반크(VANK), 직지세계화에 나선다", The Chosun Ilbo, 2006-09-25, retrieved 2006-09-25 
  7. ^ East Asia Languages and Cultures University of Notre Dame
  8. ^ Multicultural Resources Angelo State University
  9. ^ Korean studies for Global Understanding George Mason University
  10. ^ Center for Korean Studies UCLA
  11. ^ Korean cooking classes available for expats October 26, 2010 Korea Herald
  12. ^ Korea’s Cyber Vigilantes foreignpolicy
  13. ^ "CIA gets its Korea facts wrong", The Inquirer, 2006-12-13, retrieved 2007-10-06 
  14. ^ Northeast Asia's intra-mural mural wars By David Scofield Dec 23, 2003, Asiatimes
  15. ^ Organization corrects South Korea errors UPI, 15-DEC-06
  16. ^ Interview of VANK(Korean) dcnews, 2008-12-01
  17. ^ History Distortion, Do not Move!
  18. ^ "Official Support for ‘Cyber Diplomats' to Continue", The Chosun Ilbo, 2008-10-22, retrieved 2008-10-28 
  19. ^ "반크 정부 지원예산 삭감에 네티즌 반발 거세", Asia Today, 2008-10-21, retrieved 2008-10-21 
  20. ^ "VANK支援問題:李大統領、予算配分を直接指示", The Chosun Ilbo, 2008-10-25, retrieved 2008-10-25 
  21. ^ Sea of Japan vs. East Sea, Geography, February 24, 2002
  22. ^ Scofield, David (2003-12-23), "Northeast Asia's intra-mural mural wars", Asia Times, retrieved 2007-10-06 

External links[edit]