By Stephen Bugno
Korea’s Jeju Island is known for what it has and for what it lacks. It is called Samdado, meaning “Island of Three Abundances” due to its strong wind, sufficient supply of rocks, and tough women (because traditionally many men have been lost at sea). What Jeju supposedly lacks (at least until recently) is beggars and thieves. For this reason, the three-pole gate was the traditional entrance to properties instead of a secure closed gate.
The gates are known as jeongnang and can still be seen throughout the island. The poles are used to communicate to the guests. If all three poles are placed horizontally into the stone sides, it means all from the household are gone. If one or two poles are down it means the family is gone, but not far away. And if all three poles are down, it means someone is at home.