Last summer vacation, The Observer, Yeungnam University Newspaper, and UBS went to Paju Book city for training. I would like to introduce something called metal movable types to you. The metal movable type shop in Paju is one of the few remaining metal type-print workshops in Korea. You can print a type-print directly there.
The process of printing metal movable types consists of creating magnetic particles, casting lead, selecting, sampling, proofreading, and binding. First of all, we arrange the original letter design, the original drawing, and then an automatic sculptor makes a cut in this shape. The advantage of this is that once created, it is permanently available. The next sequence of lead casting is the same lead type as the lead is placed in the type casting. This lead is melted. The third is the process of extracting the required letters from the Korean alphabet (2,200) and the Chinese characters (5,000) in the typography room. The fourth task is to prepare the plates according to the manuscript using the selected metal movable types. The next step is to put ink on the plates. Printing into the sixth procedure involves printing four pages of Korean paper at a time on a type printing press, and then folding the paper. Folding the paper prevents ink from penetrating the backside of the paper. In the final stage, the binding takes place by hand in the printing room, but the craftsman does it by himself.
Although printing using metal movable types may take longer than offset printing, the artisans love metal movable types because it feels special. The offset printing of artisan is like painting nail polish, and metal movable types is like coloring fingernails of one with balsam: it takes a thousand years to smell and feel. These artisan want the metal movable type printing to continue. Unlike books printed in ink that are faded, books printed in type are long preserved. The reason is that offset printing paper uses soft paper, while metal type printing paper uses rough paper. For this reason, the offset is smeared with ink. However, printing metal movable types puts ink into the paper. In order not to lose this advantage abroad, important books such as collection of Karl Marx are printed in metal movable types.
As a matter of fact, the printing technique of type printing in Korea started in the Goryeo Dynasty. They printed metal movable types 200 years ahead of the West. The first printed book is called Daejanggyeong, which contains of the Buddhist sermons, the contents of the scriptures, and the rules of the profile. During the Goryeo Dynasty, the telescope was made twice. The first Daejanggyeong made during the invasion of the Kitan is known as Daejanggyeong, but it was burned down during the Mongol invasions. So the book is no longer being delivered. Instead, the oldest printed version of the type remaining is Jikjisimcheyojeol in the Heungdeok Temple, Cheongju. Jikshimcheyojeol is currently registered as a UNESCO Memory of the World in recognition of its value in the world. Sadly, however, it is still kept at the National Library of France, after it was removed from Korea. It was a meaningful time for the reporters at The Observer to experience metal movable types and enjoy the publishing culture center. You can buy books published in metal type there. We hope you can visit Paju and experience Korean forgotten printing heritage.