Korean Bell of Friendship

33°42′34.84″N 118°17′37.73″W / 33.7096778°N 118.2938139°W / 33.7096778; -118.2938139

Korean Bell of Friendship
Korean name
우정의 종
友情의 鐘
Revised RomanizationUjeong-ui Jong
McCune–ReischauerUjŏng'ŭi Chong
DesignatedMay 3, 1978
Reference no.187

The Korean Bell of Friendship (more commonly called Korean Friendship Bell) is a massive bronze bell housed in a stone pavilion located in Angel's Gate Park, situated in the San Pedro neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Positioned at the intersection of Gaffey and 37th Streets, this section of the park is also referred to as the "Korean–American Peace Park" and occupies a portion of the former Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur.

Description edit

The Korean Friendship Bell is modeled after the Divine Bell of King Seongdeok the Great of Silla (also known as the Emille Bell), The Emille Bell was cast in 771 for Bongdeok Temple and is currently housed at the National Museum of Gyeongju. Designated as National Treasure of Korea number 29 in 1962, the Emille Bell holds historical significance.[1] It is noteworthy that the Emille Bell is the largest bell ever cast in Korean history, and both the Emille Bell and the Korean Friendship Bell are among the largest bells in the world.

The bell is made of over seventeen tons of copper and tin, with gold, nickel, lead, and phosphorus added to the alloy for tone quality. It has a circumference of 23.8 ft (7.25 m), diameter of 7+12 ft (2.3 m), average thickness of 8 in (200 mm), and a height of 12 ft (3.63 m).[2] The exterior surface is richly decorated in relief, featuring four pairs of figures. Each pair includes a "Goddess of Liberty" (bearing some resemblance to the Statue of Liberty) and a Seonnyeo, or Korean spirit figure, holding the South Korean national symbol: a Taegeuk symbol, a branch of rose of Sharon, a branch of laurel, and a dove.[2]

The "Belfry of Friendship" (우정의종각; Ujeong-ui Jonggak), which houses the bell

History edit

The bell was presented by the South Korean government to the United States to celebrate the bicentennial of the U.S. and to symbolize friendship between the two countries. The effort was coordinated by Philip Ahn, a Korean American actor. It was dedicated on October 3, 1976,[3] and declared Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 187 on May 3, 1978.[4]: 16 

The bell is struck 13 times on the first Saturday of each month at 11:30 AM.[2]

Beginning in 2010, the bell has been ceremonially struck five times a year:[2][5]

  1. Dec 31: New Year's Eve
  2. Jan 13: Korean American Day
  3. Jul 4: Fourth of July
  4. Aug 15: Korean Liberation Day
  5. Sep 17: Constitution Day

It was also rung on September 11, 2002, to commemorate the first anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The bell does not have a clapper; instead, it is sounded by striking it with a large wooden log.[2]

The pavilion that houses the bell, known as the Belfry of Friendship, was built by South Korean craftsmen over a period of ten months. Its design is traditional. It is axially symmetric, consisting of a hipped (a.k.a. "pyramidal") roof supported by twelve columns representing the Korean zodiac, each column guarded by a carved animal. The color patterning along the bell's pavilion is known in Korean as dancheong.

In 2013, the bell received a full restoration to remove accumulated rust and graffiti tagging,[6] and access to the bell and the pavilion was restricted from September through December. The City of Los Angeles rededicated the Bell during a public ceremony on January 10, 2014, after the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism contributed more than US$300,000 (equivalent to $386,000 in 2023) to hire bell masters for the restoration.[7]

Access to the Bell was closed for more than a year following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Los Angeles,[8] reopening in May 2021.[9]

Popular culture edit

The Korean Friendship Bell is featured in films, television shows, and video games including:

  • (1995) The Usual Suspects, as the location of the jewel exchange during the opening scenes.[10]
  • (2002) Bollywood movie Kaante shows one of the characters (Andy) walking with his kid in the park, with the belfry in background.
  • (1996) American TV series Profiler features the bell and its pavilion in the season 1 episode "Unholy Alliance".[11]
  • (2013) A similar pavilion is included in the "Little Seoul" area of Los Santos, a fictional recreation of Los Angeles for the game Grand Theft Auto V.[12]
  • (2015) Lana Del Rey used this location to film the music video for the song "Music to Watch Boys To"[13][14] as has the South Korean rapper Zico.[15]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Sacred Bell of Great King Seongdeok 성덕대왕신종 ( 聖德大王神鍾 )". Cultural Heritage Administration, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Retrieved 22 July 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Korean Bell of Friendship". San Pedro. Retrieved 22 July 2022.
  3. ^ Littlejohn, Donna (October 4, 2016). "Celebrating 40 years of San Pedro's Korean Friendship Bell". Daily Breeze. Retrieved 22 July 2022.
  4. ^ Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) List (PDF) (Report). City of Los Angeles, Department of City Planning. June 3, 2022. Retrieved 22 July 2022.
  5. ^ "Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks Angels Gate Park". laparks.org.
  6. ^ Stevens, Matt (December 9, 2013). "Traditional craftsmen restore Korean Friendship Bell". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
  7. ^ Chamberlin, Bob; Stevens, Matt (January 11, 2014). "Restored Korean Friendship Bell rings again at ceremony". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 22 July 2022.
  8. ^ Marquez, Jennifer (March 25, 2021). "When Will the Pier, Korean Bell, and Fountain Reopen?". San Pedro Today. Retrieved 22 July 2022.
  9. ^ Littlejohn, Donna (May 18, 2021). "From the fishing pier to lighthouse tours in San Pedro, life slowly resturns to popular tourist spots". Daily Breeze. Retrieved 22 July 2022.
  10. ^ "The Usual Suspects". Filming Locations of Chicago and Los Angeles. February 2011. Retrieved 22 July 2022.
  11. ^ "Profiler Seas1Episo3 - Unholy Alliance". www.youtube.com.
  12. ^ loneblustranger (January 12, 2019). "Korean Bell of Friendship in Scapes vs. Little Seoul in GTA V". reddit. Retrieved 22 July 2022.
  13. ^ "Cole Stroud (@colestroud) • Instagram photos and videos". Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  14. ^ Lana Del Rey Latest [@DelReyLatest] (April 30, 2015). "The location it was shoot at was in San Pedro @ Korean Bell of Friendship" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  15. ^ "Instagram video by 지아코 • Nov 17, 2015 at 5:41pm UTC". Retrieved 27 November 2016.

External links edit