Seoul Animation Center

The Seoul Animation Center (Korean: 서울 애니메이션 센터) is an animation and cartoon museum and activities center located on the hillside of Namsan in Jung-gu, Seoul. It was established by the Seoul Metropolitan Government in May 1999 to support the South Korean comics and animation industry and later expanded to include games and characters. It is operated and managed by the Seoul Business Agency (SBA) and jointly hosts the Seoul International Cartoon and Animation Festival (SICAF), and other art exhibits and festivals at the center and on nearby Cartoon Street.[1][2][3][4]

Seoul Animation Center
서울 애니메이션 센터
Native name
서울 애니메이션 센터
FoundedMay 1999; 23 years ago (1999-05)
Seoul, South Korea
Headquarters126 Soparo (8-145) Sopa-ro Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
ServicesMovie theater, museum, library, exhibitions, experiential education

History and locationEdit

The center, established in May 1999, is located in Yejang-dong on the northern edge of Namsan Mountain, and occupies four separate buildings which were constructed in 1962. It hosts exhibitions, education programmes and festivals and receives more than 250,000 visitors every year.[5]

The surrounding neighborhood was developed during the Japanese colonial era[5] and housed the Korean Central Intelligence Agency, which formed in 1961, with their interrogation section in one of the center's buildings.[6] The area has been dubbed ‘Animation Town’,[5] and includes Cartoon Street, which entrance is directly across the street from the center[7][8] The center is an approximate ten minute walk to Myeong-dong Station, downhill along Cartoon Street; with Soongeui Women's College and Namsan's cable car and walking courses nearby, up the mountain.[8]

The center is managed by the Seoul Business Agency (SBA), which is affiliated with the city government, and provides support to small and medium-sized venture companies.[9] In addition to its own activities, the center partners with SICAF as host for their film festival,[10] and holds events on Cartoon Street, like the 2014 Cartoon Street Festival which featured art and Korean cultural experiences.[4]


Facilities inside the complex, which is decorated with colourful murals of cartoon characters, include a library, cinema and exhibition hall.[5] The entrance courtyard has cartoon character statues, among them the popular Larva, Pororo,[11] and Robot Taekwon V, with Dooly the Little Dinosaur and Pucca inside. The center hosts exhibitions and experience-based programs that focus on characters from domestic manhwa and animations. The rooftop garden was featured as the house of Choi Han-kyul, played by cast member Gong Yoo, in the Korean drama, Coffee Prince.[12]

Cartoon museum and libraryEdit

Library, March 2011.

The Cartoon Museum or 'House of Cartoon' was built in 2002 to expand holdings of Korean comics. The three-story building includes exhibits, three dimensional artwork, and a library of over 56,000 items, including 48,000 comic books and 8,000 animation videos; and holds performances and magic shows.[1][11][13]

The library is a lending library with comic books on the first floor, and exhibits, individual viewing screens and a mini-theater on the second floor. The collection includes Korean cartoon trends from the 1970s through the 2000s. The interior has trompe-l'œil or "trick art" featured on restroom walls.[14][15] Manager Park Kyoung-jin, part of the Ani-Town Team at the Seoul Business Agency, said in 2014, "Since we started stocking Korean comic books in foreign languages, series that have already been exported, we’ve seen a growing number of foreign tourists."[11]

Seoul Ani-CinemaEdit

The 179-seat Seoul Ani-Cinema[16] opened on January 19, 2005, and was the first theater in Korea exclusively used for animation.[17][18] It holds solo domestic and international film screenings and provides support for other international animation film festivals, conferences, previews and seminars.[1][16]

In 2005, the cinema starting hosting the Korean Independent Animation Film Festival (Indie-AniFest), which is organized by the Korean Independent Animation Filmmakers Association, with cash prizes and awards for adult and student divisions.[19][20] Some of the winners placed well in international competitions, such as in 2014, Joung Yumi’s Love Games at Animafest Zagreb, and Jeong Dahee’s Man on the Chair at Annecy International Animated Film Festival.[21]

The cinema, also, started hosting films for the yearly SICAF festival as early as 2007.[3][22] In December 2007, they hosted a seminar to help improve the environment of the Korean broadcasting market, "Seminar on Successful Cases of Korean Animation in Foreign Markets and on Plans to Improve the Korean Broadcasting Market".[23] In July 2009, they helped screen free films for the "Korea Ani Marathon" festival hosted by KOCCA and KOFA to provide a platform for some 300 short animations made in Korea every year.[24] At the 18th event in 2014, 362 films from 43 countries were screened at the cinema and other theaters in Myeong-dong.[25]

Seoul Ani-Cinema, November 2015

Screenings at the cinema include the inaugural film Hammerboy, shown on opening day in 2005.[18] Others screened in early years were: New Royal Secret Commissioner,[26] Empress Chung,[27] and Olympus Guardian in 2005;[27] Robot Taekwon V (digital),[28] Shark Bait,[29] and Hello Francesca (animated), in 2006;[30] Jang Geum's Dream in 2007;[31] The Tale of Pumpkins,[32] Colin the Unbeatable,[32] The White Seal,[32][33] Life Is Cool,[34] A Millennium Giraffe,[35] There She Is!!,[35] Donkey Xote,[36] Raw Invader,[35] What's Up?, and[35] Love is Protein in 2008.[35]

Exhibition and character experience halls, educational facilitiesEdit

The exhibition halls hold special exhibitions on multiple themes related to cartoons, animations and games. The Theme & Special Exhibition Hall has a lobby gallery and individual spaces. The Character Experience Pavilion holds exhibitions, conferences, education seminars, and has display rooms for animation experiences using clay animation, stop motion animation, and characters.[1][37][38][39] Educational training is held in content and digital labs for children and adults, including design and writing classes and use of digital image production equipment.[40]

Plans for new centerEdit

In August 2016, the Seoul Metropolitan Government opened the Seoul Animation Center Design Competition with plans for a new center to be built.[5][41]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Kim, Joo-hyung (April 2, 2014). 재미로③ 서울애니메이션센터, 만화영화의 모든 것. Yonhap (in Korean). Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  2. ^ "Seoul Animation Center". Seoul Business Agency. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "SICAF 2016". SICAF. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Seoul to Hold a Cartoon Street Festival". tbs eFM. November 10, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e Fulcher, Merlin (September 26, 2016). "Competition: Seoul Animation Centre, South Korea". Architectural Review. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  6. ^ Jang Hyeok-Jin and Kim Jeong-Hee (December 15, 2015). "On the street where cartoon characters live". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  7. ^ Oh, Grace (December 17, 2013). "'Cartoon street' opens in downtown Seoul". Yonhap. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Getting Here - When You Come To N Seoul Tower By Bus". NSeoul Tower. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  9. ^ Park, Hyong-ki (February 1, 2016). "New webtoon center opens on Seoul's Cartoon Street". The Korea Herald. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  10. ^ "The Seoul Animation Center to bolster up Fantoche Animation participation". HanCinema. May 16, 2005. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  11. ^ a b c Lee, Seung-ah (February 6, 2014). "Seoul's secret travel destination: the cartoon-strewn streets". Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  12. ^ "Top 30 Famous Alleys in Seoul...Myeong-dong Jaemiro, p. 105-106" (PDF). Seoul Metropolitan Government. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  13. ^ "House of Cartoons". Seoul Business Agency. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  14. ^ Lee, Seung-ah (December 31, 2013). "Libraries transformed into new cultural spaces". Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  15. ^ "Libraries". Seoul Business Agency. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  16. ^ a b "Seoul Ani-Cinema". Seoul Business Agency. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  17. ^ "Korea's First Animation Theater to Open Jan. 19". HanCinema. January 17, 2005. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  18. ^ a b "Animation theater to open in Seoul". HanCinema. January 18, 2005. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  19. ^ "Indi-AniFest 2016". Korean Independent Animation Filmmakers Association. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  20. ^ "Indie-AniFest 2007 calls for submissions". HanCinema. May 31, 2007. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  21. ^ Yoon, Sojung (June 23, 2014). "Korean animation wins int'l animation awards". Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  22. ^ "SICAF". The Dong-A Ilbo. May 24, 2007. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  23. ^ "Animation industry seeking to improve the broadcasting market". HanCinema. December 3, 2007. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  24. ^ "Domestic short animations come to moviegoers". HanCinema. July 10, 2009. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  25. ^ Baek, Byung-yeul (July 20, 2014). "Korea's largest cartoon festival starts Tuesday". The Korea Times. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  26. ^ Shin, Jun-sup (February 14, 2005). "The Seoul Ani Cinema, releases 'New Royal Secret Commissioner' again". HanCinema. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  27. ^ a b "'Dailyzoom' to hold 'The Seoul Animation Film Festival'". HanCinema. June 20, 2005. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  28. ^ "Robot Nostalgia Brings Classic Anime Characters to Life". The Chosun Ilbo. August 17, 2006. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  29. ^ ""Pi Story" ("Shark Bait") opens at Seoul Ani-Cinema". HanCinema. October 11, 2006. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  30. ^ "Animation "Hello, Francesca" premiered at Seoul Ani-Cinema". HanCinema. November 23, 2006. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  31. ^ "'Jang Kum's dream' screens at Seoul Ani Cinema". HanCinema. January 11, 2007. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  32. ^ a b c "Free Animation Screening Commemorating SBA's 10th Anniversary". HanCinema. March 26, 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  33. ^ "The introduction of The White Seal". HanCinema. February 29, 2012. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  34. ^ "Six Popular Animations will be back!". HanCinema. November 26, 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  35. ^ a b c d e "Congratulations on Birth of Animation!". HanCinema. November 3, 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  36. ^ "Ani-Cinema will screen "Donkey Xote" until 19th". HanCinema. November 4, 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  37. ^ "Exhibition Hall". Seoul Business Agency. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  38. ^ "Character Experience Rooms". Seoul Business Agency. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  39. ^ Jimenez Jr., Alfredo (May 2, 2012). "Look alive at the Seoul Animation Center". Stars and Stripes Korea. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  40. ^ "Educational Facilities". Seoul Business Agency. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  41. ^ "Call for Submissions: Seoul Animation Center Design Competition". ArchDaily. October 14, 2016. Retrieved November 21, 2016.

External linksEdit