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[Eye Plus] Blacksmith forging new year into shape

While the global political sphere enters an era of change and uncertainty, one family has found solace in their decadeslong tradition as blacksmiths.

Kang Young-ki, 64, and his son Dan-ho, 37 have been working to protect, preserve and advance their metal workshop Dongmeyong Blacksmith in Cheonho-dong, Seoul. 

Photos by Park Hyun-koo (The Korea Herald)
Photos by Park Hyun-koo (The Korea Herald)

The workshop’s history traces back to the 1930s, when the senior Kang’s father jumped into the business. The founder, who devoted his entire life to the business, died seven years ago. Now, the senior Kang, who first held blacksmith’s tools at the age of 4, is leading the business, while his son began learning the techniques five years ago.

Despite the freezing weather outside, the blacksmith shop remains hot, with the temperature hitting almost 40 degrees Celsius. A stream of intensifying heat, drops of sweat and the resonating clang of hammers are emblematic of how much passion the Kangs have in carving out intricate tools with top-notch artistry.

Kang Young-ki, with 50 years of experience under his belt, seems upbeat regardless of the political upheavals outside of the shop. After all, he’s the master of a three-generation blacksmith’s shop, and seems to enjoy seeing red sparks spew from the hammer and anvil. 

By Park Hyun-koo