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BornByung-eun Yoo
(1941-02-11)February 11, 1941
Kyoto, Japan
🏳️ NationalitySouth Korea
💼 Occupation
🌐 Websiteahae.com

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Ahae was born in Kyoto, Japan, to Korean parents on 11th February, 1941. The family moved back to Korea following the liberation from Japanese colonial rule in August 1945, and Ahae has spent the rest of his life on the South Korean peninsula. His younger years in Korea were surrounded by the tumult and aftermath of the Korean War, while he himself fought a battle with tuberculous pleurisy. This lifetime of experience in his formative years, left Ahae with much food for thought about life and human existence. His father had been a freedom fighter and an avid reader, and his mother had artistic talents thwarted only by dire circumstances which would not allow the pursuit of such luxuries. Ahae’s actual name is Byung-eun Yoo. It was while he was in fifth grade that the nickname of Ahae came along and became attached. One day, his teacher who had made a big impression on him in several ways, wrote a poem on the blackboard. It was by a famous Korean poet by the name of Cho Shik:

“Now that I see the two waterfalls of Mount Jiri of which I’ve long heard And the mountain reflection in the clear waters where peach blossoms float, Small child where is paradise? Maybe I am already there.”

So entranced was Ahae by this poem that he memorized it immediately. He was particularly impressed with the phrase, “small child,” (Ahae” in Korean) so he wrote it down and started using it when referring to himself. Later, he used it in association with his poems and with his photography exhibitions entitled “Through My Window.” By the time he reached high school, Ahae had started buying books and building up his own library. His love for reading has remained with him all his life. He is always surrounded by books wherever he goes. His personal library now contains over 10,000 volumes, most of which he has read. As a child, Ahae was always seen with pencil and paper in hand. While his friends ran in the fields and beside the streams, he would sit and draw them or the natural scenes and details around him. If any clay or other pliable substance was available, he would form it into some familiar object to the delight of his friends. This is how he himself described this creative side of his childhood. Ahae was also interested in sculpture and handicrafts. Curious about working with plaster, he even researched and made a detailed study of the making of mannequins. Despite his artistic talents, which were obvious to all around him, Ahae never expressed a wish to follow his friends’ suggestions and become an artist. He wanted what he made to be of some practical use. All of his endeavours demonstrated his extraordinary passion for inquiry and challenge.

By the age of 21, Ahae had finished his formal education and it was time for him to go out into the world and make his mark, but his mind was preoccupied as he continued to question the meaning of life and search for an answer. It was at that time, while listening to a sermon given by a foreign missionary at the Daegu YMCA that he found the answer he was looking for through the Bible. That was on 7th April, 1962 and from that time on, the Bible became the most important book in Ahae’s collection. He studied the Bible avidly, although he never became a member of any established church or joined in any Christian ceremonies or rituals. Ahae wanted to share with others the truth he had found in the Bible, but at the same time he saw the need to apply his creative talents and ideas to the world of business and industry and thus play his own part in the development of his country. So he began to walk the path of an entrepreneur. He has invented and developed a variety of products, including a self-closing ventilating fan, a safety boat and other marine vessels, and a whole range of health foods and products to enhance the health of the individual. Many years of illness had given him time to contemplate and experiment on himself so by this time his mind flowed with an abundance of ideas. He is not only a master of martial arts, but has even developed his own style of Taekwondo. His interested in this field has always been for the promotion of the health of the individual and self-defence, against attacks from both inside and outside the body.

Ahae has been a conservationist all his life and has done everything within his power to ensure that his business activities do not conflict with his endeavours to maintain the purity of the natural world. At various times throughout his adult life, Ahae has written poems that reflect his thoughts and insights in certain circumstances. His most prolific period of poetic writing, however, began in 1990 and by 1991 he had already written about 900 poems. It was during the late 1970s that Ahae first became active in the photographic field. He bought a Leica, a Hasselblad, and a Nikon and continued collecting cameras and taking photographs through the 80s as well. A camera of some kind was rarely far from his side, but his photographs were never just art for art’s sake, although his keen eye and artistic talent are clearly evident in his photographs of that time as well. He made it a habit to pick up his camera whenever he saw something that made such a deep impression on him that he wanted to keep a record of it. He often photographed scenes of natural areas that were about to be destroyed by industrialization. If he could not prevent the land from being ravished, he could at least keep a record of how it once was. Ahae’s “Through My Window “project began one day in early spring 2009. It began with a photograph of some water deer that suddenly appeared out of the forest within the view from his studio window. The project continued for 4 years, during which time Ahae took about 2.7 million photographs, making a detailed record of the scene as viewed from his window, capturing nature in all its moods, seasons, and activities.[1][2]

Contrary to media reports, Ahae has no stake in the ferry company and his two sons have an indirect stake of only 10% of the ferry company. The Korean government is known to be influencing the mainstream media to further its own political agenda and to divert attention away from their own responsibilities related to the Sewol tragedy. [3][4][5] Yoo Byung-eon is the head of the family owning Chonghaejin Marine, the operator of the MS Sewol which sank on April 16, 2014.[6][7][8] Due to his reclusiveness, he is known as "the millionaire with no face."[9] Currently, he is wanted for questioning by the South Korean government.[10][11] The numerous misleading media reports and the public statements and actions of the prosecutor’s office initially focused on the inaccurate claims of Ahae’s “ownership” of the ferry company.  Additional erroneous claims that he “controls” the company through his sons followed.  Reports in the media in Korea have continued to suggest that AHAE was directly responsible for purchasing the Sewol ferry and instructing that renovations be made to carry more cargo.  These reports are pure fabrication.  Simply put,  AHAE does not own any shares, has any business dealings with, or is involved in the day-to-day operations of Chonghaejin Marine Co. Ltd. (the owners of the Sewol ferry). Ahae’s two sons through I-One-I Holdings indirectly own approximately a 10% stake in Chonghaejin.  However, there are 361 other shareholders who have stakes in I-One-I Holdings and thus indirectly in Chonghaejin, as well as 27 other direct shareholders of Chonghaejin itself. Given the large numbers of shareholders, it should be apparent that Ahae’s sons do not “own” the ferry company or control it.  But this large and diverse ownership has been ignored by the prosecutors and the media.[12][13][14]

Religious Activities[edit]

In the late '80s, Yoo was the leader of a religious cult in Korea. In 1987, 32 members of his cult were found dead, bound and gagged. Yoo was investigated, but cleared of all charges and the mass death was ruled a suicide.[15][16] The irresponsible news reports at that time speculatively associated Mr. Yoo with a major mass suicide scandal related to a religious cult. Korean authorities thoroughly investigated the incident and determined that Mr. Yoo had no link to the mass suicide. But the media attacks left a painful and lasting impression on the Korean public, which has been further exacerbated by the reports after the Sewol tragedy, many of which repeated the inaccurate and unsubstantiated reports of more than 20 years ago. [17]


Ahae took over 2.7 million photographs, all through one window, within four years. Ahae's collection mainly consists of natural scenes through the window of his own studio, which capture intimate moments of the four seasons, as well as the lively movements of birds and water deer. The first exhibition to display his work to the public was held in Grand Central Terminal, New York, in spring, 2011. Ahae's photographs were displayed in a total of nine exhibitions, including the Louvre Museum and the Palace of Versailles. [18]


  • Extraordinary Within the Ordinary. Chateau de Versailles, Versailles, France. June 25, 2013.
  • Through My Window. Musee de Louvre, Paris, France. June 26 to August 26, 2012.
  • Through My Window. Magazzini del Sale, Venice, Italy. March 20 to April 24, 2012.
  • Through My Window. Alinari National Museum of Photography, Florence, Italy. Dec. 1, 2011 to Jan. 8, 2012.
  • Through My Window: Vibrancy and Serenity. Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Terminal, New York City. October 13 to 22, 2011.
  • Through My Window. Vremena Goda Galleries, Moscow, Russia. Sept. 15 to Oct. 5, 2011.
  • Through My Window. Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, London, United Kingdom. August 25 to 29, 2011.
  • Through My Window. Clarence House Gardens and Lancaster House, London, United Kingdom. July 27 to 31, 2011.
  • Through My Window. The Great Hall, National Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic. July 15 to August 14, 2011.
  • Through My Window. Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Terminal, New York City. April 29 to May 7, 2011.


  • "So simple, so beautiful, so perfect" - Prof. Milan Knížák,

General Director, National Gallery, Prague (1999–2011) [19]

See also[edit]

  • Sinking of the MV Sewol


  1. Knížák, Milan (2012). Book on Ahae. KANT - Karel Kerlicky. p. 295. ISBN 978-80-7437-077-9. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  2. http://Ahae.com
  3. Kim, Hyo-sil (17 May 2014). "Former KBS newsroom chief reveals Blue House control of reporting". The Hankyoreh. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  4. Lee, Jung-gook (20 May 2014). "Production boycott at crisis-stricken KBS". The Hankyoreh. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  5. Ahn, Chang-hyun (19 May 2014). "Stronger evidence found of Blue House control over broadcasters". The Hankyoreh. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  6. Pearson, Michael (29 April 2014). "Meet the millionaire tied to South Korean ferry sinking probe". CNN. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  7. Lee, Ji-yoon (23 April 2014). "Scandalous owner family of Sewol". Inside Korea. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  8. Kim, Narae (26 April 2014). "Boy who raised alarm on doomed Korean ferry had no time to call parents". Standard Freeholder. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  9. Pearson, Michael (24 April 2014). "Millionaire tied to S. Korean ferry probe". News4 Jax. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  10. Park, Eun-jee (8 May 2014). "Seoul to ask FBI for help in tracking Yoo family". Joongang Daily. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  11. Shin, Se-min (19 May 2014). "Prosecutors form special team to track down Yoo Byung-eun". Arirang News. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  12. Kim, Hyo-sil (17 May 2014). "Former KBS newsroom chief reveals Blue House control of reporting". The Hankyoreh. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  13. Lee, Jung-gook (20 May 2014). "Production boycott at crisis-stricken KBS". The Hankyoreh. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  14. Ahn, Chang-hyun (19 May 2014). "Stronger evidence found of Blue House control over broadcasters". The Hankyoreh. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  15. Jun, Kwanwoo (28 April 2014). "Patriarch of Family That Controls Ferry Operator Ends Silence". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  16. "Authorities search ferry owner's offices as probe widens in South Korea". KWGN - CNN Wire. 23 April 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  17. "오대양사건, 유병언 세모 회장과 어떤 관계?…檢 유병언 일가 집중 수사". Seoul News (in Korean). 24 April 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
  18. Château de Versailles (English) - Assouline, Foreword written by Catherine Pegard. 2013
  19. Knížák, Milan (2012). Book on Ahae. KANT - Karel Kerlicky. p. 295. ISBN 978-80-7437-077-9. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png


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