5 Facts About Jeju Island: The Hawaii of Korea

In Korea, when people think of going on vacation, the first place that comes to mind is always Jeju Island. Nicknamed "the Hawaii of Korea," Jeju Island is known for its beautiful nature, specialty seafood dishes, and unique culture. Because of this, Jeju Island has become the premier holiday destination for both couples and for families, and the island welcomes more than fifteen million visitors each year!

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1) Jeju Island was founded by three demi-gods

There is a popular legend revolving around how the civilization on Jeju Island was founded. In the legend, three demi-gods, Go (고), Ryang (량), and Bu (부) emerged from holes in the ground. These men later went on to be the founders of the original kingdom of Tamna, which ruled over the island now known as Jeju until it came under control of the Joseon Dynasty in 1404.

2) Jeju Island has its own language

While Jeju Island is part of Korea, locals also have their own language that is not understandable by mainland Koreans. Though most fluent speakers of the language are now in their old age - with most Jeju residents speaking a variation of Korean with Jeju dialect - there are efforts being made to revitalize the language and teach it to the younger generation.

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3) Jeju Island has a matriarchal family structure

In many cultures, it is common to have a patriarchal family structure, where the man is the head of the household. In Jeju, however, women are known as the main providers. This is because of the prominence of haenyeo (해녀; literally translating to “sea women”), or female divers. These divers harvest mollusks, seaweed, and other sea life from the ocean. Because Jeju Island’s economy relies heavily on fishing and seafood exports, the prominence of haenyeo led to women becoming known as the breadwinners of the household.

4) Jeju Island contains a Natural World Heritage Site

Jeju Island is a volcanic island and contains many volcanic structures. Today, the “Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes” are protected by UNESCO as a natural World Heritage Site. Some parts of this site include Hallasan, a dormant volcano and the tallest mountain in Korea; as well as the Geomun Oreum Lava Tube System, a cave system where lava used to flow when Hallasan was active.

 5) Jeju has protective “stone grandfather” statues

When going around Jeju Island, you may see large statues of basalt rock placed around the island. These statues are known as dol hareubang, (돌 하르방; literally translating to “stone grandfather" in the Jeju dialect). Traditionally, these statues are seen as gods that offer both protection and fertility. Today, there is a belief that if you rub the nose of the statue, you will give birth to a boy; but if you rub their ears, the baby will be a girl.

Our summer collection features a tee inspired by the memorable aspects of Jeju Island, available in colorways White, Black, and Light Blue. See the design below.

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