Post-war reconstruction of South Korea through 1973 tourism stamp

South Korea

After the Korean War for well over a decade the economic development of South Korea was at a stand still. The country was considered an economic “basket case”. However, during Park Chung-hee’s reign the country began to grow rapidly. One visible effect were the many newly constructed roads and bridges, which featured a lot on stamps.

Stamp from 1973 tourism series showing the Namhae (“South Sea”) bridge.

An example is one of the stamps from the 1973 tourism series showing Namhae Bridge. Opened on 22 June 1973 this was Korea’s first suspension bridge. Namhae Island was connected to the mainland and the bridge became a tourist attraction.

2009 Korean Film series (3rd) sheet showing “Road to Sampo”, for instance the top left stamp and the seal in the middle row (top).

In 1975 the Namhae Pavilion was opened. Many people took their picture, even wedding photos, in front of the bridge and the bridge was the ending shot of Lee Man-hee’s 1975 film “The Road to Sampo”. This film is considered a Korean classic, which is why the film was shown on the 2009 Korean Film Series. Oddly enough the film stills are shown in b/w, even though the film was shot in colour!

Still from 1975 film 삼포가는 길 (Sampoganeun gil) / The Road to Sampo.
Another still, this time the bridge as shown at the end of the film.

The film is available with subtitles on Youtube.

Here are some photos from the 1970s era:

Namhae Bridge just after opening.
Another photo of Namhae Bridge from the same era.

For many other 1970s photos of the bridge visit the Namhae Bridge Archive website.

Ivo Spanjersberg
Currently KSS Publisher/Webmaster, previously KSS Chairman (2018-2019). Living in Amsterdam. I collect Korean revenue stamps, see my website:

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