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English slogans of Korean cities: the complete list

Wonderfull SamCheokWonderfull SamCheok
blue dot
Mar 29 2013

As much as I love Korea, it is undeniable that all Korean cities tend to look more or less the same. They may be small, medium, or large; they may have various mountains, rivers, beaches and temples of which the locals are proud; but apart from that, there is little to separate one from the next.

If you are the administrator of a Korean city, then, how can you distinguish your city from all the others? If you answered, “By appending a random English word to the city name and using it as a slogan,” then you are not new to Korea.

Since I came to Korea I’ve been interested in the English slogans of Korean cities, an obsession which seems to be shared by a lot of my fellow waegukin. It is hard to say what makes them so fascinating. Perhaps it is their random quality; the frequent lack of any obvious connection to the city itself. Perhaps it is the language: the adjective is as likely to be nonsensical as it is to be sensical; indeed, it may not even be an adjective.

I recently went looking for a complete list of these, but couldn’t find one on either Google or Naver. I did, however, manage to find a number of partial lists, from which I’ve pieced this together. While I’ve done my best, it is probably not complete yet, so please let me know any omissions or errors in the comments – quite a few came from Korean blogs, and may have transcription/romanization errors.

The main sources were here, here, here and here. The commentary is mine.

  • A+ Anyang
  • Ace Yongin
  • Active Yangsan
  • Aha! Suncheon – as if someone had just thought of Suncheon as an exciting idea
  • Always Taebaek
  • Amazing Iksan
  • Amenity Seocheon
  • Art Icheon
  • Asiart Jeonju
  • Beautiful Gyeongju
  • Best Gimpo – as opposed to other, lesser Gimpos
  • Better life Yeonsu
  • Blue City Geoje
  • Bravo Ansan – Ansan has just performed an impressive feat of derring-do
  • Central Gimcheon – this accurately describes this dreadful city’s only selling point, in my opinion
  • Charm Jinju
  • City of Masters, Anseong – Sounds scary
  • Colorful Daegu – I lived here and the entire city is a uniform greyish cream
  • Creative Hwaseong
  • Delightful Paju
  • Digital Guro
  • Diversity Pocheon
  • Do Dream Dongducheon – somebody just learned about alliteration
  • Dream Bay Masan
  • Dream Hub Gunsan
  • Dream of Unity Cheorwon
  • Dynamic Busan
  • Eco Hampyeong
  • Evergreen Seongju
  • Fantasia Bucheon – nothing expresses “satellite city of Seoul” like the word “Fantasia”
  • Fast Cheonan – it has a KTX station
  • Fine city Hwaseong – “A fine city, that Hwaseong. Jolly good place.”
  • Fly Incheon
  • G&D Yeongju – Abbreviation apparently stands for “Good and Different”
  • G&G Paju – Not sure. Perhaps they were just impressed with Yeongju’s slogan. (Added: apparently it stands for “Good and Great”. Words fail me.)
  • Gimhae for you
  • Good Chungju
  • Good morning Jinhae – the Robin Williams sequel that never got made
  • Green Jeonnam
  • Gurye: Road to Nature
  • Happy Seosan
  • Happy Suwon
  • Happy Citizen, Proud Jeongeup – A victim of Google translate, perhaps
  • Happy Life Yangju
  • Happy together Yongin
  • Healthy Wonju
  • Hi Seoul – That’s the best they could come up with?
  • Hi-brand Nowon
  • Hi Touch Gongju
  • High Goseong
  • Hot Yeongyang – for their chillies and spicy chicken, not their temperature
  • I.Seoul.U – Imagine Your Verb
  • It’s Daejeon – truthful, if uninspiring
  • Joy Seocho
  • Jump Changnyeong
  • Jump Namwon – “Jump” was such a good idea that two cities went with it
  • Just Sangju – My favorite. A completely forgettable Gyeongbuk city. It’s just Sangju
  • Let’s Goyang – introduces a new verb, “to goyang”.
  • Lucky Dongjak
  • My Jinan
  • Namyangju: the slow city – a city of imbeciles, apparently
  • New hope Dangjin – better than the alternatives: The Dangjin Strikes Back and Return of the Dangjin
  • Nice Jecheon
  • 02 Gunpo
  • Only Jeju
  • Osan Fresh Energy
  • Pine City Gangneung
  • Powerful Pohang
  • Pyeongtaek Super – breaking with tradition, and the rules of English grammar, Pyeongtaek has racily put its adjective after the city name
  • Rising Sacheon
  • Romantic Chuncheon
  • Season your life with Sunchang – mmm, Sunchang
  • Smart Asan
  • Smile! Geumjong
  • Smiling Dalseo
  • Star Yeongcheon
  • Sun and fun Haeundae
  • Sunshine Gwayang
  • Top Gochang
  • Ulsan for you
  • Viva Boryeong
  • Wonderfull Samcheok – actual spelling
  • Wow! Siheung
  • Yes Gumi
  • Yes! Uiwang
  • Young city Changwon
  • Your Okcheon
  • Your partner Gwangju
Waegukin wrote these 725 words on March 29th, 2013 | Posted in Culture, Best-of |

comments

57 comments on “English slogans of Korean cities: the complete list”

  1. yoo says:

    i absolutely agree with you! although i am korean, i can’t understand why koreans prefer english to Korean in all aspects. it might disappoint not only foreingers but also many koreans.

    for example, first, the korean bank’s name:”NH(농협), KB(국민), woori(우리), shinhan(신한)…’ second, the company’s name: “sk, kt, LH, LS, Lg u+..” third, sooo many english sign things.

    it looks like a picture or symbol to uneduacted people. sometimes i don’t know the meaning of the english sign either. -_-

    i feel korean Government people n politicians think that to join the ranks of advanced countries we have to be westernized. only few poeple try to keep the korean traditional style. it’s shameful..

    when making plans for new town things, they could design it with fusion style like modern n traditional residence. then, without wasting money it could attract many tourist too. i think.

    to keep korean’s identity is the best way to make money!

    people have to know that many other countries make money by conservation of their historical places.

    BUT! it’s not only for making money. it’s good for everyone. (especially for the next generation.)

    well. am i an old-school>?? ^^

  2. Marie says:

    These days I am pretty sure Suwon is “Human City Suwon”.

    Naturally.

  3. Lienad says:

    Yoo, as a foreigner I totally agree. I’ve lived in Korea for 4 years and could never understand this obsession with trying to impress with English. It just looks silly and uneducated with all the mistakes. As a tourist who was to come SK they don’t want to see all this broken English when Korean is such a beautiful language. HEY! I live I’m Gimcheon and it’s not dreadful… Also in Seoul I used to live in Dobong-gu (도봉구) our dong slogan was Greenopia. Not Greentopia but Greenopia.

  4. Robert says:

    You left out, Happy Seosan…

  5. The Waegukin says:

    Thank you all for the suggestions and corrections. I’ve updated the article to reflect your changes. Lienad, although Greenopia Dobong is pretty special, I tried to leave out 구s and limit it to actual cities/counties (시 and 군) just to have some hope of something approximating completion.

  6. The Waegukin says:

    Oh, and sorry about bad-mouthing Gimcheon. I used to live in Gumi, and so naturally I sneer at Gimcheon.

  7. Joe says:

    I used to live in Bucheon and actually think their slogan is relatic to their fan fiction film festival they hold each summer. I’m not defending it as some great slogan, just think it might actually have some basis.

  8. The Waegukin says:

    Sounds plausible, Joe, but it wrecks my joke. I prefer to pretend that they think of Bucheon as a wondrous place where Mickey Mouse dances ballet with magical broomsticks.

  9. Charlie Chalk says:

    Bravo Ansan

    O2 Gunpo (The symbol for oxygen)

    Happy Suwon has changed?

  10. The Waegukin says:

    It was Happy Suwon until I changed it due to Marie’s comment above. Looking at the Korean version of the official city website, it does say “휴먼시티” on the logo, but as it is in Hangeul I am afraid it is disqualified pending further evidence. All the English logos I’ve looked at say “Happy Suwon”, so I’m changing it back.

    By the way, can anyone tell me why this article has suddenly gone viral today?

  11. caitlin says:

    I always find the city slogans to be hilarious! I actually live in the Yes Gumi city so the Gimcheon comment was great : )

  12. caitlin says:

    And The Korean posted this on Facebook so that’s probably why you’re getting a lot of hits

  13. Lienad says:

    Wow so many of us live in either Gumi or Gimcheon. We may to fight… May e a water balloon fight.

  14. The Waegukin says:

    @Allison – wow, that is special. Thanks.

    @Caitlin, thanks, that would explain it. He’s a bit of a hero of mine, so I feel pretty happy about that.

    @Lienad, bring on your puny Gimcheon army…

  15. K says:

    Hi-touch Gongju

  16. Sarah says:

    This is brilliant, thank you so much! So many times my friends and I have sat in a bar brainstorming (and laughing at) these bizarre little slogans.

  17. Anita says:

    Dream for Unity: Cheorwon

  18. K says:

    Gangneung here – I think we’re Pine City Gangneung, or Gangneung Pine City? Anyway, we’re the pine city.

  19. The Waegukin says:

    Pine City Gangneung.

    Thank you all for the contributions, please keep them coming. Completion may yet be possible.

  20. Kristy says:

    My friend wrote to me and told me about ‘Diversity Pocheon’…

  21. blahblah says:

    Seoul has also another slogan “Pride of Asia”

  22. blahblah says:

    oh sorry,

    Pride of Asia -> Soul of Asia

  23. Nonni says:

    You should put up all the logos for the slogans! They’re awesome!

    http://puzzlet.org/personal/wiki.php/DynamicKorea

  24. The Waegukin says:

    The “Soul of Asia” thing is a little tricky. It is an English slogan, but like “Chungnam: Heart of Korea”, it actually seems like a slogan designed for promotion to English-speaking tourists/investors, and seems to fall into a slightly different category from the one- or two-word slogans. I’m not sure if those belong here or not.

    Nonni, I could do that, but it would be a lot of work, I think it would disrupt the flow of reading it, and I’m not terribly interested in it. It’s the language that interests me, not the logos themselves.

  25. Alex says:

    Could you put this list in alphabetical order by city name rather than by city slogan? It would make it a little easier to find specific cities.

  26. The Waegukin says:

    Could I manually alphabetize 70+ cities? I suppose I could, but honestly I have better things to do with my weekend. Besides, I like seeing, say, the various incarnations of “Happy” next to each other.

    I suggest Ctrl+F if you want to find a particular city.

  27. Nolie says:

    G&G in Paju’s slogan stands for “good and great.” Yes, really.

  28. Kerry says:

    “Ulsan for You” is Ulsan’s slogan.

  29. The Waegukin says:

    @Kerry, thanks. Not sure how I missed that one.

    @Nolie, I was actually afraid it was that. One thing I like about the list is the sense of one city trying to top another. “‘Yes, Gumi’? Pah. We’re ‘Yes! Uiwang’! With an exclamation mark! Suck on that!”

  30. yg says:

    Glorious Yeonggwang

  31. The Waegukin says:

    Do you have a source for that? A google search for “Glorious Yeonggwang” in quotes gives only two results, both leading to the same obscure video.

  32. KL says:

    The It’s Daejeon one is also supposed to be representative of what the city is known for, i.t.s = information, science, and technology. It’s a cool piece of trivia, but still a very matter-of-fact slogan.

  33. 0rca says:

    This was a riot to read.

    It probably went viral because it was posted to the Korean subReddit

  34. dnguyen says:

    This blog post is very bland, and hardly scratches the surface. I agree with 0rca’s explanation. I live in Daegu, and there’s so much going on here on the international, national, and local stage. Colorful fits it perfectly.

  35. The Waegukin says:

    It went viral because the Korean of Ask a Korean blog posted it on Facebook. It was posted to Reddit a few days later.

  36. David says:

    Fantasia Bucheon sounds like a strippers name.

  37. Matthew Jam says:

    Yeah, Suwon is now Human City Suwon, and before being Happy Suwon it was Haha Suwon, accompanied by a creepy picture of a laughing disembodied head. That’s my favourite, naturally.

  38. Yaksa says:

    “Wonderfull Samcheok”
    Have you ever been to Samcheok? I have. It’s a sleepy (for Korea) little coastal place. Almost charming – almost.
    I was saddened to not see Donghae on the list. “City of Beautiful Ocean”

    BTW, like the site.

  39. Waegukin says:

    You’re telling me that Samcheok is, actually, wonderfull?

    Ah, but is it Donghae – City of Beautiful Ocean or Donghae – Sunrise City”?

  40. Ashley says:

    So, in ‘Happy Suwon,’ Happy was actually an acronym of 5 other adjectives:
    Harmonious(?)
    A
    Prosperous(?)
    P
    Young

    I’ve been trying to scour the internet to find out what the actual acronym is, but so far, no luck. Any chance you’ve encountered it?

  41. Waegukin says:

    Googling with Suwon in Korean gives the answer- harmonious, abundant, paramount, prosperous, young.
    http://m.kgnews.co.kr/articleView.html?idxno=267636

  42. Ashley says:

    Oh, of course! Abundant and paramount. Those are just the adjectives that come to mind when I think of Suwon.

    Thanks for the help!

  43. Paul says:

    It’s not just cities! Once you get into the designated cities outside of the capital, the slogans start to appear on a ward-by-ward basis. I used to live in Daejeon’s Dong-gu which boasted the slogan “Dong Pride”, superimposed over a rainbow and sometimes besides a little thumbs up. It’s since been replaced with “Dong-gu With You”, rendered in such a way to evoke an old-timey traditional Korean feeling… despite still being in English.

    Gotta say, (Pine City) Gangneung is the best of that lot by far, although I’ll respect (Dynamic) Busan for producing promos that generally fit their slogan.

  44. Clayton says:

    “Yeonggwang” (영광) literally means “glory,” so it quite redundantly reads “Glorious Glory.” What’s better than glory? More glory, of course. Korea, you make me proud…

  45. Chris says:

    These are horrible. I’d be awesome if someone could do some research to see who created these names and how much each city wasted to get these cringeworthy names made.

  46. Laura says:

    This list and your commentary has me doubled over laughing. I live in Namwon and have never seen Jump Namwon anywhere…I do, however, see the slogan “City of Love” in a lot of places. This one is actually a bit logical as the city is hometown to Chunyang, famous for being devoted to her fiance and refusing to sleep with the skeezy magistrate.

    Pyongtaek Super just reminds me of Lotte Super, which I’m sure is not at all what they were going for but does make me giggle.

  47. P says:

    I think for “Wonderfull Samcheok,” there is a second “l” because the meaning intended is “full of wonder” or “wonder-full.” Maybe that was the intent, maybe not.

  48. Douglas says:

    I like “Dream Bay Masan,” it captures the mood of the place.

    “Fly Incheon” is good, too.

  49. Brent says:

    All other Gimpos are #2 or lower.

    Hahahahahaha!

  50. Katherine says:

    I didn’t read all the comments, so someone may have already pointed out that you left out the new creme de la creme:

    I.Seoul.You

    ?!?@!?!?

  51. Waegukin says:

    It’s a beautiful thing. Added.

  52. Paul says:

    Samcheok might be wonderfull of wonder, but it’s also jam-packed wonderfull of giant wooden cocks.

  53. Michael Aronson says:

    Your commentary cracked me up. I recommend you expand the formatting and take a swing at them all.

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