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2017-09 11

[Special][Op-ed] Do Not Judge a Book by Its Cover

While walking down the streets in Gangnam, one of the biggest districts in Seoul, it takes no effort to find women with bandages all over their faces and around their heads, completing the look with sunglasses attempting to cover the fresh bruises and swellings. What happened to them? Certainly not a traffic accident, as indicated by their intact body--plastic surgery is what happened. Then the question is, why would they get plastic surgery? Obviously, because they want to be “prettier.” Beauty and charm are considered absolute in Korean society where lookism predominates and overrules all other supposedly more valuable factors. Let us zoom the issue in. The social norms: are you pretty enough? Is lookism bad? Or is it justifiable? Some people argue that it is next to impossible to deny lookism because being attracted to beautiful things and people is an instinctive tendency that everyone has, no matter how hard they try to deny. Others, on the contrary, assert that it is an unfair and inexcusable revolver that massacres those who are not “lucky enough.” It is almost an accepted, yet unspoken fact that attractive, good looking people have small and big perks in Korean society. “When I was a teenager, my teacher used to indoctrinate me that the only way for me to become successful is to enter one of the top universities. However, even after graduating from one of the most prestigious universities in Korea, I was nowhere near successful,” revealed Park Ji-sun, a famous female comedian. “Dear teacher, the answers were right in my face, not in the books!” added Park. This confession was made during one of her shows, which seem to be highly related to lookism. What she meant is that her success was achieved through becoming a comedian, far from studying, because her humor comes from her face. This made a lot of people laugh, instead of puzzled. "My high school teacher emphasized studying hard exclusively to me." (Photo courtesy of breaknews) ‘You need to study hard because you are not good looking’ is something that most people would nod to without negating. Could this be interpreted that those who are deemed unattractive need to be superior in academic achievements because they are “inferior” or behind the game than the others in the race of being handsome or pretty? ‘Same clothes, different look’, ‘the finishing touch to a look is a good-looking face’, ‘worth the face’, ‘it’s okay because they are handsome or pretty’, or ‘appearance is competence’ are all lookism-rooted sayings that people accept as facts in Korea. An article from 2015 reported that a 17 year old girl committed suicide because she had too many insecurities about her appearance, not to mention others that report school bullying is based on lookism, as well as workplace bullying. “Why is she dating him? Oh, maybe he is rich.” is a common logic applied to a couple behind their back when one of the two is judged to be better looking than the other. From an unidentified moment, Korea became a place where everything is evaluated essentially by how it looks on the outside. Where is all this leading to? Lookism plays a major role in school bullying. (Photo courtery of sedaily) Yes pain no gain As some people argue, lookism is undeniable—perhaps, it is something that everyone is aware of but is afraid to go against, because they have all accorded to it before, either consciously or unconsciously, or it is too true to deny. Under societal pressure, one may come to the point where plastic surgery is obligatory. Without plastic surgery, an “unattractive” person may be discriminated and be marked as inferior, or even be criticized if worse. But the thing is, getting plastic surgery would not let that person escape from criticism because plastic surgery is another perfect element for further criticism. The word sung-gwe is a newly coined term referring to those who had too much plastic surgery, often resulting in a face that looks exactly the same. Nonetheless, people choose to go through all the physical and mental pain, only to have more criticism waiting for them. A famous illustration of sung-gwe, implying that they look like clones. (Photo courtesy of timeforum) Plastic surgery clinics are seen in a cluster. (Photo courtesy of sportschosun) There may not be a clever solution for lookism besides the cliché “love yourself” or “inside is what matters the most.” People consider them as meaningless clichés and do not realize the changes they could bring into their lives if taken into account. Rather than changing the outside, reforming the inside would be much more effective. This could sound too optimistic and idealistic because we all secretly admit that lookism may be inevitable. With no choice, appearance could be a means of happiness. However, it should never be the means to misery. Being ugly, going through plastic surgery, being fat, being different are all targets of negative eyes in a lookism-oriented society. Then, what is the use of trying so hard to cram oneself into the fixed standard of beauty and succumbing to the society’s invisible but present demand? What is the honest reason for getting plastic surgery? (Photo courtesy of ohmynews) Jeon Chae-yun

2017-09 07

[Special]Historians of Hanyang and Their New Page of the Book

In the 21st century when the passion for history is decreasing among students due to its utility in employment, there are true historians trying to preserve the value of history at Hanyang University. The heroes are alumni Han Sang-hyeop and Cho Soo-yeon, Ph.D student Lee Seung-ah, and a third year student Jeon Yae-mok. With the passion to learn deeper on history, the four Hanyangians gathered to introduce their career. Cho has been funded by the South Korean government for her mastery degrees at Canada. Winners of the KGSP South Korea has been sponsoring university students from various fields to augment their educational strength. Since the early 2010’s, the government has decided to increase its sponsor on humanities sphere through the KGSP-Korean Government Scholarship program. Two alumni of the Department of History- Han Sang-hyeop and Cho Soo-yeon, have been chosen as the winners to grab tickets abroad for the in-depth studies aborad. Han’s advancement in China Han has received the Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the Department of History at Hanyang University. Throughout the 10 years of achievements at Hanyang, Han is now mapping out his career at Tsinghua University for his doctoral degree. “There are several areas you can apply for the KGSP, but I selected comparative history for my doctoral degree. Luckily enough, I was chosen as the beneficiary of the governmental sponsor, which I owe my gratitude to my professors,” said Han. More specifically, Han’s comparative history refers to the difference in the Nationality Act between the late Qing Dynasty, Netherlands, and Japan. Through intricate studies and comparison, Han is planning to discover the origin and meanings of the term “People.” “I wish my fellow juniors at the Department of History will feel pride in their major, since history is such a special subject that allows us to reorganize the past with given documents,” emphasized Han. Korean Government Scholarship Program (KGSP) provides financial support for students studying overseas for intellectual researches. (Photo courtesy of KGSP) Grafting history and education at Canada After her graduation this February, Cho decided to achieve her mastery and doctoral degrees on education related to history. “My attention on history concentrated on the cases produced outside of Korea, which influenced my decision to study abroad,” said Cho. However, studying overseas requires substantial burden on financial ability which motivated Cho to apply for the KGSP. “It was a great honor for me to be selected as the only student sponsored by the government heading to Canada,” described Cho. Cho is currently studying historical education on multi-culturalism and the world citizenship. “While I was full of questions learning history at Hanyang University, I thought that the answer to all the questions was in education which led all the way here to Canada,” mentioned Cho. The most imperative factors to Cho’s success are HY-WEP (Hanyang Work Experience Program) internships, knowing specific field to study, and patience while studying. “Department of History is a great start for sprout historians to grow upon. I recommend all Hanyangians to use all the opportunities that our school is providing!” Toward the completion of research task by NRF National Research Foundation of Korea, also known as NRF, has been running the Global Ph.D. Fellowship program that supports students pursuing a Ph.D. degree in a Korean university in order to foster the nation's core human resources. Lee Seung-ah of the Department of History at Hanyang University has been selected as one of the winners of the program despite the intense competition. The task Lee decided to research on is China’s changes of agricultural technology and social disparities in accordance with the global market. “When I first began my doctoral career and realized that this research needs financial support, I decided to apply for the NRF program for funding. Fortunately, I was drafted for this task and I’m planning for my research presentation on January at Japan,” said Lee. For preparation, Lee picks Hanyang University’s Industry-University Cooperation Foundation’s English interview for the NRF program the most helpful. “Utilizing school’s help is extremely valuable. If students of Hanyang are planning for their research funding, I recommend them to practice continuously with the aid of our school!” National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funds various majors of South Korean universities. Junior of Hanyang toward the brighter future Jeon in his junior year at the Department of History has recently received 100 Years Humanities Scholarship by Korea Student Aid Foundation. Currently studying in his intensive major courses, Jeon has revealed his ardor for history. “I began learning history to understand humans. Deeper I study the past of humans and their events, I start to grasp why different kinds of human beings with various actions are around me,” explained Jeon. Jeon also expressed the special gratitude for his parents and professors. “I was grateful that my parents were proud of me. Also, without the great teachings of my professors, I would never be able to take this scholarship,” said Jeon. For the farther college education and beyond learnings, Jeon is excited to step ahead for deeper lessons at Hanyang. Kim Ju-hyun Photos by Lee Jae-oh

2017-09 04

[Special][HY Talk] Smoking Areas of Hanyang University. What Do You Think?

HY Talk is a series which opens a chance to listen to the opinions of Hanyangians on various controversial issues. This second article deals with the smoking areas within Hanyang University (HYU). Currently, the whole campus is designated as a non-smoking area except for the specified smoking areas, including three smoking booths within the Seoul campus. However, there are unceasing conflicts between smokers and nonsmokers on different positions they stand. We have therefore gathered two smokers and two non-smokers, to find out the intrinsic reasons of these conflicts and also to exchange opinions of smoking booths set up within the campus. ▷ Click to see the first article, Sexism in Online Games, What Do You Think?’ Problems of smoking areas Chairperson: Hello everyone, thank you all for participating. There are various opinions on smoking areas between smokers and nonsmokers. What do you think about the smoking areas within HYU? Smoker A: I feel that there are too few designated smoking areas. There are a lot of people who smoke in places they’re not meant to such as Haengwon Park and the Engineering Building Ⅱ, but I believe there is a reason why they continue their actions. One is because the university is reducing the number of smoking areas, and another is because of the different opinions between the students and the school. I think the students aren’t fully aware of the existence of official smoking areas. Smoker B: I also feel that wee need more areas for smokers within the school. There should be a way for smokers and non-smokers to coexist in the campus. However, smoking areas are unilaterally decreasing and people who smoke eventually need some space to smoke. For example, there are no smoking areas near the Engineering Building Ⅱ even though a lot of courses are taking place in the building. I think that’s why a lot of people tend to smoke in front of the building. Non-smoker C: Since I don’t smoke, I simply hate the smell of cigarettes. There are people smoking between the Social Science Building and the Policy Building even though it is a non-smoking area. I always have to smell cigarettes when I pass by this road. I think more smoking booths or smoking areas should be made in the right places so that people like me wouldn’t have to feel unpleasant. Non-smoker D: I use the music building very often, but there are people who smoke in its basement. This smell, starting from the basement, fills the whole building that is five stories high with the smell of cigarettes. Ventilation isn’t made properly so the smoke stays within the building. Signs in front of the Engineering Building Ⅱ are indicating it is a non-smoking area. A solution made by the school; smoking booths Chairperson: As one of the solutions of the conflicts, HYU invested a lot of money to construct three smoking booths within the campus. These smoking booths are simple booths that are made to block the smoke, in order to give less harm to the nonsmokers. What do you think about these smoking booths? A: Other than just being small, no ventilation is possible inside the booth. The difference of smoking in the booth and out of the booth is enormous. The smell remains for a much longer amount of time with much more pungent smell. That’s why I tend to smoke out of the smoking booth most of the time. B: I heard that around 30 million won was required for each smoking booth. Despite the amount of money they've spent, I personally think it is ineffective. People can’t use this booth since it’s stifling even to the smokers, due to the impossibility of ventilation. This booth gets too hot during the summer and too cold during the winter. Other effective solutions should be made instead of the smoking booth. C: I didn’t know a lot about the smoking booth since I don’t smoke. However, after listening to their opinions, I think it’s urgent to change the current status. I thought there would be at least some kind of an air purifier since it was so expensive. Chairperson: How do you think we can make better use of the existing smoking booths then? A: I believe a modification is most needed. As I know, a smoking booth in Gangnam has an open-roofed smoking booth. By accessing 4m of height to this booth, there is a less threat of second-hand smoking. D: If the booth can be wide open during a time period when there is little floating population, ventilation might become possible. C: I also agree. By improving the booth to be a little more pleasant, smokers would be able to willingly smoke in the smoking booth, provoking less conflict. The rights of both smokers and nonsmokers Chairperson: A lot of the conflicts put an emphasis on the rights of both smokers and nonsmokers. What do you think is the right of smokers and nonsmokers? A: I think the school should at least try to communicate with the smokers. They shouldn’t just make smoking areas in random places that is hard to go to. It should be an area close enough, but also an area that could separate smokers and nonsmokers. B: It is if course right to reduce non-smoking areas. However, I believe consideration is also required for the smokers. The school should be able to arrange a certain area that is close to the building but not in the way of the people passing by. D: Even though I am a nonsmoker, I think the word ‘right’ fits the smokers more. They pay a lot of tax to smoke, so I believe that nonsmokers should also listen to the smokers to protect certain rights of the smokers. C: I also agree to D, but I really hope people wouldn’t smoke while they’re walking around. It’s just an attack for us when we have to smell the smoke of cigarettes while we’re walking around. Solutions to the problem The opinions of A and B, who are both smokers. Chairperson: What do you think should be done regarding the problems of smoking areas? A: First of all, locations of smoking areas should be changed and widened. A lot of the smoking areas are located in places with a lot of floating population. Moreover, I sincerely hope our school would find some channel to communicate with the smokers on issues regarding smoking areas. B: I fully agree to the change of locations, since the smoking booth in front of the International Building is also located on the path of other students. Moreover, there are a lot of visitors smoking in non-smoking areas, not only students of HYU. I believe firm fines should be given to the people violating the rules, regardless of students and visitors. D: I believe the biggest problem is the smell. Nonsmokers react to this fiercely not due to their health, but since it evokes repulsion. If a certain program could be made so that the smokers could also feel this stench, they might be able to understand the non-smokers. Moreover, I believe there should be opportunities for discussion between smokers, so that everyone could reach an effective solution. The opinons of C and D, who are both nonsmokers. On Jung-yun Photos courtesy of On Jung-yun and Yoo Hye-jeong Designed by On Jung-yun

2017-09 04

[Special][Op-Ed] Right to Have Safe Periods

"Hey, do you have it?" "What?" "The thing, you know." "Oh, that thing. I have some." This conversation is likely to happen not only between illegal drug dealers but also ordinary women referring to feminine hygiene products. Mentioning about women's cycle or products related to it has been considered as not careful or virtuous. However recently, many women along with men are voicing out for the right to have ‘safe menstruation' after the fact that one of the best-selling sanitary pad contains toxins was revealed in March. Volatile Organic Compounds found in sanitary pads In the safety test conducted by Korean Women's Environmental Networks and Professor Kim Man-koo of Kangwon National University, 10 types sanitary napkins and panty liners were found to have more than 200 Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), including benzene, styrene, and Trichloroethylene. VOCs are organic compounds that can easily become vapors or gases. Not all VOCs are harmful, but some are known to cause cancer or sensory irritation. One of the toxins found in the pads, Styrene, is classified as a carcinogen by World Health Organization and a widely known reproductive toxicant, which can affect the menstrual cycle and volume. A protestor is requesting a full investigation on sanitary pads. (Photo courtesy of Money Today) Kim later unveiled that three items among the 10 are Kleannara's Lilian pads and panty liners. This made the public outrageous, requesting a full refund of the products. Kleannara initially denied the credibility of the test and announced that Lilian pads are authorized by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, therefore safe to use. Nevertheless, after being included in the list of investigation of the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, Kleannara decided to refund the problematic items on the 23rd. As the complaints grew steadily, the company also announced to fully stop the production and sales of Lilian products in the following day. Should manufacturers disclose full ingredients of feminine products? One of the main controversies around the current situation is whether consumers have a right to know the full detail of what makes menstrual products. Existing law does not require the manufacturers to fully disclose the components because the products are classified as sanitary aid. A revised pharmaceutical affairs act was passed last December to reveal all ingredients of sanitary aids in its package or bottle. However, sanitary pad, tampon, mask, and bandage were excluded from the revision because the products are not directly absorbed into the human body. Lilian pads and the Kleannara's announced that the pads are safe. (Photo courtesy of Kleannara) Many feel that the current legal system did not reflect the reality so well, as the outer vulva of female genital is vulnerable to contaminants and moist, being able to absorb some substances if regularly affected. Another revision that mandates feminine hygiene products is proposed in July, waiting to be passed in the National Assembly. I feel like this amendment being passed is not going to be the end of the story. Even if the sanitary products come with the full ingredient, it would be hard for the consumers to tell which product contains toxin or not. Also, the toxin standards of the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has been left not updated for the past two decades. The chemicals in the center of the issue are not listed as toxic chemicals and have no standard whatsoever. This means that Lilian pads and other products in veil could still pass the safety test if the list is not going to be updated soon. Panty liners are also in the middle of controversies as some liners are not even classified as menstrual products. They are industrial products, and Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy is liable for its credentials. Panty liners, in this case, are not required to pass any specific test to be sold in the market. Some even say ‘do not use this product to absorb menstrual blood', which makes less sense. Members of various feminist organizations are having a press conference. On the right, the description on a panty liner says not to use the product to absorb menstrual blood. (Photo courtesy of Kyunghyang Shinmun official Twitter account) Conclusion Through the tragedy of toxic humidifier, the recent egg issues, and the present-day toxic feminine products, the life of Koreans are constantly in threat through the use of daily products. Although almost half of the nation's safety was and is being threatened, the size of the issue seems to be smaller than usual. Is the social atmosphere hushing on ‘magic' to blame? Or is it just we who are used to hearing such news about toxic daily items? I guess we have to wait and see. Kim So-yun

2017-08 27

[Special][Op-ed] Accommodation, Ready to go?

Logistical problems and accommodation issues have always been a huge concern before large multinational events like the Olympics. With time ticking down, Pyeongchang Olympics is scheduled to start from February 9, 2018, which means that a lot has to be done within five months’ period. 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics is the largest scale in the Winter Olympics history with the highest number of participants, countries, events, and medals yet the thought of something being missing is hard to dispel. After some thorough research about the accommodations of Pyeongchang province, agreements have reached that there is a lot to be done about the issue. What is the main problem? According to Pyeongchang province, estimated number of accommodation facilities needed during the Olympics period is over 54,500 rooms with the number of visitors being 140 thousand per day along with directly related people (IOC committee, media, national teams) being around 50 thousand. During the Chef de Mission Seminar Pyeongchang 2018, issues have been raised about the accommodation and transportation around venue cities. Although the construction of the venues has impressed the committee, the problem was that since Pyeongchang is a mountain cluster, vital team officials and coaches would have to move to coastal cluster around Gangreung province or even further. As for the transportation, although KTX trains are scheduled to run on 20 minute intervals during Olympics period from Seoul to Pyeongchang, lack of shuttle bus within the city has been one of the problems pointed out by the officials. During the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation World Cup held in Pyeongchang from March 17 to 19, the shuttle buses were available at 30 minute intervals uphill towards the stadium, but the audience had to stop at mid-point for a safety check-up and must walk the remaining distance. Getting back to the main point of accommodation, due to the hotels being fully booked in Pyeongchang, the price of the room charge has skyrocketed to 5 to 10 times compared to regular season. It is estimated that motels and 3 star hotels would charge about $700 to $800 or even more per night for double-bed standard rooms. Some of the Airbnb studio flats around Gangreung demanded $5 thousand for 20 days of stay. Gangreung province tourism officials have stated that it is hard to control the charge rate set by individual accommodation businesses due to autonomic price policy. The cheapest fee for media teams are set at $250 per night which is higher than 2010 London Olympics ($100 per night average), 2014 Sochi Olympics ($180 per night average) and similar to 2016 Rio Olympics ($254 per night in average). In addition, the parking fee for all Olympic facilities for one-month period costs $4,715 which is about $900 more expensive compared to 2014 Sochi Olympics parking fee. Some of these fees are set for appropriation of expenses by the organization committee and they are at about $2.6 billion deficit in budget. It is hard to say that the costs would be rational for international visitors staying in Korea during the Olympics season. From top left to clockwise, speed skating, ice hockey, short track, and bobsleigh stadium. (Photo courtesy of Wikitree) What are the solutions? A lot of experts have agreed that it would be a waste of budget to create huge hotels which will be less of use after the Olympics. It would be wiser to consider creating simple facilities that would be more efficient considering the costs needed to build large hotels. One of the solutions could be the caravans. In 2015, Mungyeong International Military Sports Council World Games has been held in Korea with 7,045 representative squad participating from 117 countries. Although it has not been as large scale as the Olympics, they have provided 350 caravans as the provisional residence for the national team members. The overall cost needed to provide 350 caravans was only $3.1 million which could have been $70 million if the committee had decided to provide proper building facilities. Looking at Germany’s Octoberfest, the largest beer festival held in München for 2 weeks, 14 huge tents accommodate six million visitors with only three months of preparation. This is a highly efficient festival with low costs and Pyeongchang would have to focus on it in order to be the main city. Obviously it will be hard to provide huge tents as accommodation in Pyeongchang considering the weather, but it is highly possible to create camping facilities with big tents providing a glamping experience for the visitors at the same time. Cruise hotel used in 2014 Sochi Olympics (Photo courtesy of Samsung) The last solution could be to provide cruise hotels around the eastern coast of Korea as they have already tried during 2010 Vancouver Olympics and 2014 Sochi Olympics. During the Vancouver Olympics, three large vessels have been used as accommodation and during the Sochi Olympics, 100 thousand tons weight of cruise has been used as a provisional residence. As the Pyeongchang Olympics is to be the largest scale Winter Olympics, huge expectations lie ahead of it. Although the solutions suggested so far may not be the only ones, it seems quite reasonable and highly efficient considering the fact that these solutions have already been used during diverse national events. Since Olympics is the global festival for all, I hope that all accommodation problems and pricing issues are solved to provide a positive appearance of Korea towards the visitors. Pyeongchang Olympics official mascots, Soohorang and Banabi (Photo courtesy of Ohmynews) Kim Seung Jun

2017-08 27
2017-08 21

[Special]What Makes You Strong Under the Burning Sun

Back in the days when the air conditioner did not exist to avoid the heat of hot summer, Koreans found their escape plans from food. Boknal refers to a particularly hot period during the summer in Korea. Boknal is divided into three periods- chobok, jungbok, and malbok which refer to the first, second, and the third hottest days of summer. Traditionally, Korea was an agricultural society which required strength to farm even under the hot Sun. Thus, Koreans during the summer consumed various foods they believed to be bringing stamina for them during summer. Every year, the date of three Boknals vary upon the lunar calendar. Above is the date of Chobok, Jungbok, and Malbok of 2017. Boknal cuisine varied upon the social class one belonged to since the Joseon Dynasty. First, people of the royal family could enjoy the privileges that no others could dare to gape for. In fact, they were the only ones able to intake cow- including all meat and milk. For their Boknal food, the royal family of the Joseon Dynasty chose Tarak Stew, which is made of cow milk. Since consumption of cow among people was forbidden by law, this method of stamina improvement on the Boknal was considered exclusive and special. Among the Yangbans, who belonged to the aristocrat class, Samgyetang was considered to be restoring their health during the hot days of summer. Samgyetang is a chicken soup with ginseng and other oriental ingredients forged in Korean traditional way. First, they cooked Samgyetang by emptying the inner parts of the chicken and filling it up with healthy ingredients such as ginseng, jujube, garlics, and sticky rice. Since chicken was not a cheap poultry to grow in an agricultural society, only the ones with fiscal ability could enjoy Samgyetang. People from the low class, however, could not obtain valuable meat or ingredients eaten by higher strata. Thus, there were two dishes they could consume- dog meat and red beans. Because dogs were comparatively less productive in farming, people ate bred one dog to share it on Boknal with entire neighbors in the village. Also, red bean soup was popular among farmers on a hot day. Tarak stew, Samgyetang, dog stew, and red bean soup are representative dishes during Boknal. (in the clockwise order) (Photo courtesy of Naver) Korea has been denounced by several Western countries due to the culture of regarding dog as food. However, it is important to note that the culture began with the scarcity of protein back in the days. Also, one village took one dog which was bred only for the consuming purpose. Thus, historians of South Korea assert that this culture is not worth being rebuked for. However, there are also suggestions that indiscriminate consumption of dogs under the false hearsay that canine intake is healthy should be halted. Also, many animal activist associations around the world is currently recommending Korea to prepare a legal production procedure of dog meat like cattle, so that those being eaten can die in the most humanitarian way. In the modern era, the most popular dish on Boknal is Samgyetang. This is because the ingredients added inside the chicken are proven to be healthy. Also, Tarak stew is no longer considered special due to everyday consumption of milk and dog stew’s negative image deters people from having it. Recipe of Samgyetang (Video courtesy of Make Food, Eat Food) Samgyetang restaurants are prevalent in South Korea. However, homemade Samgyetang is also a trend, due to the supply of simple and convenient ingredients. In supermarkets, there are processed chickens and bundles of oriental ingredients sold. Thus, even foreigners can try out Samgyetang in cheaper price with their own style. Restore your stamina well on Boknal! Kim Ju-hyun

2017-08 14

[Special][Op-ed] The Buried Sorrows of Koreans

On the 26th of July, a movie named Gunhamdo (Battleship Island) was released, shading a new light on the forced labor of Koreans during the Japanese colonial era. This movie is based on an island named Hashima, and focuses on the Koreans facing extreme labor dominated by the Japanese. This movie pulled out great attention towards the historical facts of Hashima island, and revealed some historical facts people should know. A photo of Hashima Island, also known as Battleship Island. (Photo courtesy of Chosun news) Hashima Island, which is also called as a battleship island due to their appearance, is a small island near Nagasaki, which all 6.3 hectares were used as a coal mine. During the 1950s, this island thrived because of enormous amounts of coal mines production and thus was able to support the modernization of Japan. This little island contained the first reinforced concrete structured apartment in Japan along with various modernized recreation facilities such as theaters and restaurants. However, this island has been abandoned since 1974 when coal mines shut down. In 2015, Hashima island was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site as it was recognized as a site that contributed to the modernization of Japan. This island is now used as a tourist sight, to show the introduction of Japan’s modernization. However, on the other side of this island, contains huge sacrifice of Koreans. A lot of Koreans, most of them fifteen or sixteen, were taken to the island and were forced to work 1000m under the ground in narrow coal mine tunnels. The average temperature exceeded 45° with excessive amounts of coal dust when the workers only had their underwear on, let alone decent working suits. They constantly suffered from the threats of methane explosions and mines caving in. Moreover, the workers only received a single chunk of the leftovers of soybean oil for their meals. A survivor Choi Jang-sub reminisced, “No one would be full even when we eat our breakfast and lunch all at once. Desperate screams were heard all day through concrete walls due to hunger. My only wish was to have a simple meal with rice and soup.” Workers who were only teenagers were forced to work for an average of 12 hours a day. If they couldn’t fulfill their quota, the supervisors would whip them and not ration their meals. If they were caught escaping, they would be beaten to death on the spot or tortured. There is a record that water mixed with coal ashes were poured into noses of people hung upside-down for this torture. The workers therefore called this island, "the Hell Island". A photo of a Korean working in the mine of Hashima Island. (Photo courtesy of MBC) The mine workers didn't receive enough food to eat. (Photo courtesy of MBC) In 2015, a variety show in Korea, Muhandojeon, introduced a tower in Takashima Island that was erected for the souls of the Korean workers in Hashima Island. Citizens fund-raised money to modify the road to this tower, as it was shown covered with bushes, looking as if it were intended to be hidden. However, after the modification, Nagasaki hung a danger sign across the road with improvised direction boards, referring that it isn’t certain Korean workers’ remains are under the tower. As more Koreans visited this site despite this sign, Nagasaki blocked the whole road with large wooden sticks and copperplates. Japan has now completely blocked the single way Koreans could visit and pray for the workers sacrificed through forced labor. Japan is now facing a deadline made by the UNESCO. As there were fierce oppositions made by Korea before being designated as a world heritage site, Japan has mentioned they would indicate Koreans were ‘forced to work’, and make a progress report until December this year. However, right after the designation, Japan declared that the phrase ‘forced to work’ didn’t mean forced labor, but was intended as mine workers in Japanese. Japan is currently denying all forced labor made upon Koreans and blocking all ways of approach, and therefore pulls attention on how they are going to make through their progress report. Even in the current tour course, the sites which are expected to be worksites, are blocked due to ‘restoration work’. There are still a lot of facts to be identified between Korea and Japan. What is truly needed is the interests of all global citizens to reveal what is right and what is wrong. Messages were found on the walls of coal mine tunnels. (Photo courtesy of EBS) On Jung-yun

2017-07 31

[Special]Korean Films Drawing Attention from the World

A Korean historical movie on the May 18 Democratic Uprising ‘A Taxi Driver (2017)’ has been selected as a closing movie at this year’s Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal, Quebec. It was the very first Korean movie to close the festival. As more and more movies from Korea are invited to numerous international film festivals such as Fantasia, Cannes and Berlin International, attention from the world to Korean films are also growing year by year. Some movie journalists call 2017 as one of the most significant years in the Korean film history. The poster for the movie 'Okja (2017)'. Released in June 28th, it is available on Netflix and small theaters. Standing ovation in Cannes ‘Okja’ is a name of Director Bong Joon-ho’s most recent film but also a name of a super pig in the movie, which refers to a genetically modified species invented to feed millions with the least environmental impact. Another main character Mija is a farmer girl who is Okja’s best friend and family. She fights for Okja against people who try to take it. The movie tries to deliver the message of veganism and the cruelty within a meat diet. Bong revealed that he also turned vegan through numerous interviews. ‘Okja’ was spotlighted for various reasons. To begin with, it was produced by the world-wide video streaming service Netflix, with famous casts such as Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, and Lily Colins. It’s unprecedented way of distribution also brought attention to the film itself. Netflix’s decision to release it online only in most markets induced heated debates across the world. This is why Korean audiences cannot watch 'Okja' in major multiplexes in Korea such as CGV, Megabox and Lotte Cinema. Despite all the stories behind, the film was officially selected in Cannes and also got an unexpected standing ovation that lasted for four minutes in its premiere. Berlin best actress winning film also in Cannes From the left, actress Kim Min-hee and director Hong Sang-soo. Kim is holding her Silver Bear trophy from Berlin International Film Festival. Actress Kim Min-hee also received attention from world-wide by winning the best actress award at Berlin International Film Festival, for 'On the Beach at Night Alone (2017)'. Directed by Hong Sang-soo, two other movies of theirs also made it to the Cannes this year. 'The Day After (2017)' in competition, and 'Claire’s Camera (2017)' in special screening segment. This is the filmmaker’s fourth time competing in Cannes. The Silver Bear winner actress Kim Min-hee is on both of the movies, too. Unlike the speculation of many Korean press expecting one, the films did not win any awards. However, it definitely was a step forward to shed the light on Korean films and film workers behind the scene. Other than the movies made by renowned directors, movies such as 'Villainess (2017)' by Jung Byung-Gil and 'The Merciless (2017)' by Byun Sung-hyun also received invitations from the Cannes, both in the midnight screening area. This made two out of three cinemas in the area to be Korean. This opens many doors for Korean film industry to explore various themes with the support of international funds, even for people who are relatively new to the industry. For foreigners in Korea Demand for English, Chinese and Japanese subtitled Korean films has been increasing due to such international interests. Thanks to Seoul city and CJ’s ‘English Subtitles on Korean Movies Business’ in 2010, many foreigners can still enjoy some films without having to find illegal routes. Also, there are about a dozen of Korean movies including the famous “Okja” on Netflix, of course with subtitles for foreigners. Kim So-yun

2017-07 24

[Special]Dokkebi, the Korean Goblins

Korean goblins, known as dokkebi, are often described with high horns, big eyes, clothes made out of tiger leather, and carrying an iron mace. These goblins often appear in old Korean tales and if we take a careful look into these tales, it is not hard to find that the image that people have about dokkebi is quite wrong. The idea of dokkebi with horns came from Japan’s Oni, which is a Japanese version of goblin. The famous story of “old man with a lump” is also what has been spread to Korea during Japanese colonial times. Diverse types of myths exist on where they came from, but it is hard know where they really came from. Different Types of Dokkebi Bride dokkebi is the only goblin with the shape of a beautiful lady. They are known to appear at night to fool around with drunk men. They have the best trait of a dokkebi in that they lure people well. Most of the men who are lured by the bride dokkebi are found under the bridges or inside the bushes talking nonsense. These goblins showed traits of god which rewards the good and punish the bad. One-eyed dokkebi is one of the most famous goblin which are known to appear in Jeolla province or around Jeju island. Other than being one-eyed, they have good appetite which can be guessed from their huge mouth and belly. With their appetite, they sneak into people’s houses and eat up buckwheat jelly, steamed rice cake, and rice wine as much as they could then disappear the next morning. One-legged dokkebi is also one of the most popular characters used in the traditional comics and tales. Although they only have one leg, they love doing Korean wrestling (ssireum). They are known to smell fishy and because they have one leg, it seems easy to beat them but it’s actually harder to win against them for some reason. One tip for winning against them is to push them towards the left since they won’t move an inch being pushed towards the right. Later on, these creatures have been brought back into the spotlight as TV drama characters. This is a commonly mistaken idea of how dokkebi looks like which is actually Oni, a Japanese goblin. (Photo courtesy of Dokkebi in Korean soap opera Dokkebi became quite an issue through Korean drama earlier this year. By recreating the image of dokkebi in the modern world, it depicted the goblin as a god-like figure with ultimate power. Although some scenes described dokkebi different from what it should have been, there were aspects similar with the conventional goblin in Korean traditional tales. Dokkebi has been depicted as a god-like figure in modern day drama (Photo courtesy of tvN) These goblins are known to be well adapted to warfare and they are born from old broomsticks, furniture, or materials that have human blood on it. The dokkebi from the drama is also a great warrior and was born from a sword stained with blood. Real, or older dokkebi is generally depicted as a huge, hairy man who enjoys wearing white trousers and bamboo braided hat. Drama depicted the goblin as tall, handsome man (being hairy yet to be identified) who wears a stylish outfit. As for the characteristics they have, it shares quite similar traits while being quite different suited to modern day style. These goblins are known to be party animals being surrounded by people all night long drinking rice wine. They are quite naïve that they are tricked by humans a lot. In addition, they are known to be playful yet ill tempered. The drama shares a similar trait in that they are competitive yet naive. Other than that, this goblin does not enjoy being around people or drinking alcohol a lot. As such, the character of dokkebi created in the modern drama refers to the original idea of the goblin although changes have been made to suit the modern day viewers. As such, there are diverse types of dokkebi in Korea and the list would go on ranging from baby ones to elderly and even the furniture being a type of dokkebi. Although some of them may seem quite different from humans, a lot of Korean goblins share a similar trait that they reward the good and punish the bad. For they are quite fair and square, it would be best to be kind to people around you to avoid any mishaps. Korean dokkebi would look similar to this picture, a hairy man without horns. (Photo courtesy of Kim Seung-jun