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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 (1)

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". 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

2017-07 12

[Special]Black Enjoyment Given From Nature

Splashes of mud are thrown back and forth with loud screams and laughter. People become unrecognizable with mud. Boryeong-si is hosting Boryeong Mud Festival, the largest foreigner-participating festival in Korea, starting this 21st until the 30th. The combination of mud and festival is indeed unfamiliar to a lot of foreigners. However, this feature with generally not-so-clean perception has some unique characteristics. A picture of people enjoying the mud festival. (Photo courtesy of Tomatoes in Europe, mud in Korea A lot of people have a prejudice that mud is dirty. Contrasted with its appearance, mud is used in various cosmetic products. There is a record on mud that it was used in Cleopatra’s make-up and in Chinese cosmetics since the ancient times. There are also records that tells mud was used for skin care, also to treat skin diseases. Nowadays, mud is not only used for make-up and skin care, but also for dying clothes and sauna. Mud, contrary to the general belief, has a broad impact on human daily life. The manufactured mud contains various natural minerals that is effective in terms of preventing skin aging. Moreover, mud allows physical therapy as it has abilities to restrain and resist bacteria. Using these traits of mud, various big and small events involving mud started to emerge in Korea. Along the coastal areas of Southwest Chungcheongnam-do province, fine sea mud rich in minerals is found. The sea mud has abundant amount of Germanium and Bentonite that radiates high level of far-infrared rays making it helpful for skin care. Using this valuable trait of mud, Koreans combined entertainable features and made it a unique festival. Boryeong-si first hosted this festival in 1998 for four days with sixteen programs. Despite the unfamiliar and small scaled festival, 30 million tourists participated, leading to a huge success. Now, Boryeong Mud Festival is one of the most famous festivals in Korea. The mascots of Boryeong Mud Festival (Photo courtessy of The biggest mud festival The 20th Boryeong Mud Festival is being held for ten days this month mainly in Daecheon beach, which is 100m wide and 3.5km long. This shell beach is famous for its moderate water temperature and gentle slopes making it more attractive for a summer vacation spot in the West Sea. Only 30 percent of the day’s sales are available online during June and the rest are sold on-site. Diverse programs are made to allow all tourists to enjoy the mud in various ways. As the festival is held in a large area, tourists can enjoy different zones with interest. The festival provides numerous programs starting from a giant mud bath and slides, to color mud painting. Tourists can experience the thrills through the slides and fun through bathing in the mud. They can also take unique, memorable pictures in prison-like structures with mud all over their bodies. The programs are made not only to enjoy the mud, but also to enjoy the environment of Boryeong itself. People visiting the festival can also enjoy the Daecheon beach to cool themselves off, and look around numerous busking, parades and stage performances. The festival offers uncountable programs to see, feel and listen to. Tourists are enjoying the stage performance of Boryong Mud Festival. (Photo courtessy of So how can you fully enjoy this festival? Boryeong Mud Festival is a lot different from other festivals since ‘mud’ is involved in almost all activities. As mud is not very easy to wash off, a spare set of clothes would be necessary. Moreover, in order to keep the cash and waterproof cameras, a waterproof bag would be required. Moreover, packing earplugs would make you a sensible person since they will help preventing mud from going in your ears. Beside these notes, just feel free to have fun. The Mud Festival is an experience one should try at least once in their lifetime. As mud itself is a unique feature, anyone would be able to make unforgettable memories through this helpful substance. Simply with an open heart, anyone would be able to make great friends regardless of age, gender and nationalities. Make new friends through the festival! (Photo courtessy of On Jung-yun

2017-07 03

[Special]From Fashionable to Affordable

Ubiquitous, affordable, and trendy are the most suitable terms to describe Korean beauty shops and their products. It is no secret that Korea is outrunning its competitors in the global beauty market, with both its domestic and global popularity skyrocketing as new products are introduced by various brands. The so-called “road-shops” in Korea (because they are on roads) are easily found in the country. From numerous brands, road-shops are stocked with beauty items that are reasonably priced. From being accessible to affordable, K-beauty brands are seeing continuous growth in their sales in the global market. Brands and trends Famous Korean mid-range beauty brands. (Photo courtesy of Etude House, Tonymoly, Innisfree, Missha, The Face Shop, Nature Republic, Skin Food, and Holika Holika are all famous and popular cosmetic brands in Korea. Each brand boasts its own series of beauty products, loved not just for the products themselves but because of their eye-catching, likeable packaging. Korean beauty brands have also gained recognition for their innovative formulas, ingredients, and manufacturing processes. On top of all these, the sophisticated and demanding customers in the local Korean market have also been one of the major drivers. The facets aforementioned push K-beauty brands way ahead of the game, differentiating them from other international beauty brands and even in the highly competitive beauty market. The short product development cycle compared with the international players helps Korean beauty brands respond more quickly to evolving customer demands and trends. Innovation in product development is driven in part by the heavy investment in research and development. Mid-range beauty brands also has an impact on its domestic aspect. Since it is very accessible and affordable, young students, ranging from elementary to high school students can also be the tarketed customers. This has lowered an entry barrier to cosmetics, teenagers showing scorching interest in makeup products and makeup trend. The outcome was the so-called “student makeup” which is basically makeup style worn by teenage students. Examples of unique packaging of K-beauty products. (Photo courtesy of Shop to shop, country to country Even though there are an increasing number of Korean beauty brand shops abroad, an influx of tourists is visiting Korea with the main interest of shopping for beauty products. Myeongdong and Ewha Woman’s University shopping street are the two most famous places to shop for cosmetic products, since virtually all brands of beauty stores are lining up in the street. Makeup lovers from various countries fly over to Korea and satisfy their beauty appetite with mid-range beauty products. Beauty brands in a row in Myeongdong (Photo courtesy of Road-shops in a line in Ewha Woman's University street (Photo courtesy of Floating on the wave of K-beauty, the mid-range beauty brands are emerging as a rising star in the world’s beauty market and finding overseas niche to meet the foreign demands as well. Just as K-pop and Hallyu is giveing quite of a cultural influence in the global stage, Korean beauty brands and the K-beauty trend is becoming increasingly popular and is being spotlighted in the makeup empire. Makeup trends of Korea, partly established by K-pop celebrities, idols’ fashion, and partly formed by beauty brands, are gaining popularity as Korean culture is further promoted overseas. Travellers from overseas purchasing dozens of K-beauty products (Photo courtesy of LookMazing) Jeon Chae-yun

2017-06 19

[Special][Insight] Art at the Tip of a Brush

A white, prickling brush stained with black ink grinded on a stone embroider a hanji (traditional Korean paper made of mulberry trees). While writing is just an ordinary routine of a civilization, there can be found the art and soul. Seoyae refers to Chinese calligraphy which dates back to when Korea appointed its official language as Chinese- Goryeo dynasty. Based on the artist’s character and skills, the written words gleam their specialty. Continued for centuries, Seoyae is again attracting the public attention for the humanities fulfillment. South Korean calligrapher Hyun Byung-chan is demonstrating the art of Korean calligraphy. (Photo courtesy of YTN) Retracing the course of Seoyae The earliest pieces of Seoyae is found in many Buddhist Sutras of the Goryeo Dynasty. Even though there is documentation regarding the existence of seoyae in the Silla Dynasty, the actual work is not yet found. Seoyae is an expression of the artist’s aesthetic consciousness. The special point in the Korean calligraphy is that not only does Seoyae involve the beauty of the words, but also involves training the artist’s spirit. Goryeo was a devout Buddhist dynasty and thus developed a calm, concentrated Goryeo Font. Then in the Joseon Dynasty, corrupted Buddhism was abandoned and in 1446, King Sejong invented the Korean language. Since then, diversity of characteristics, fonts, and styles of the Korean calligraphy was augmented. Chusa font's characteristics are very harsh and sorrowful. (Photo courtesy of Goodsense Tistory) The beginning was the Gojeon font, meaning traditional. Its peculiarity is that the time spent on writing took longer and the edge of each letter was sharp, but soft. Then during the 15 to 17th centuries of the warring state, the national calligraphy style changed to the Gungseo font, meaning the shape of an archer. It resembles the shape of an archer who needs to quickly shoot an arrow, while concentrating. This font developed in this era, because communication through epistle ought to be immediate but accurate. At the end of the Joseon Dynasty, a scholar of the Realist school and a calligrapher Kim Jeong-hui with his pen name Chusa, developed a daring but unique Chusa font. Kim used to be exiled for political reasons and his sorrow was developed into the Chusa font. It does not have a regular structure, and the touch of a brush is very harsh. Modern Korean calligraphy After the Japanese annexation of Korea and the Korean War, South Korea was not able to enjoy arts and prosperity. After the rapid economic development, South Korea suddenly began to pay a careful attention to traditional arts, and among them was seoyae. There are often two types of people who learn calligraphy- children and the modern adults. The former is the case which their parents force them to learn the Chinese letters through interesting calligraphy. Because learning a language by playing with brush and ink intrigues children’s attention, their parents choose this way of education. In addition, the primary reason of teaching Chinese is because for centuries, Korea’s official language was Chinese letters and many classic literature and history books are written in Chinese. On the other hand, the latter is the case which modern adults who lost the joy in their busy life try to find their hobbies through calligraphy. The new South Korean trend allowed the supply and demand of the calligraphy market prospered which in turn led to the easy and cheap access to it. With a set of seoyae pens and brushes with the calligraphy practicing books sold at book stores, anyone can enjoy expressing their aesthetic consciousness through writing arts. Calligraphy practicing books are easily found at book stores. (Photo courtesy of Glecole) Kim Ju-hyun

2017-06 19

[Special][HY Talk] Sexism in Online Games, What Do You Think?

HY (Hanyang) Talk is a newly opened series in News H, which deals with different societal issues happening inside Korea. With different topics every time, around three to four students of HYU who wish to take part, will be joining. For their freedom of speech, their anonymity will be guaranteed. This week, HY Talk selected a subject which is some of the most serious problem inside a gaming environment, sexism in online games. Discrimination of woman users inside a game is becoming more serious with the advent of a game called ‘Overwatch’ (which is a team-based shooting game from the Blizzards Entertainment) with increasing number of woman users. We have gathered 3 female users and 1 male users who think it is the reflection of gender inequality inside our society and that it should to be solved to create more clean and equal gaming environment. Discrimination against woman users, how and why? Chairperson: Hello everyone, thank you all for participating. Before we start our talk, please briefly introduce yourself. A: Hello, I played computer games since last year. To me, it is a good hobby, I play it about three to four times a week, about 2 hours a day. B: Hi, I also started playing it since last fall and I really enjoy playing games because I can fully concentrate during the short amount of time while feeling extremely excited, just as if I'm working out. C: Nice to meet you all, I started playing games since last summer and Overwatch was my first computer game. It is now one of my good hobbies and I play it about twice a week during the weekends. D: Hello, I also started playing it since the last summer and as I am the only male user in this conversation, I hope I can hear more perspectives of woman users and share mine as a male game user. News H also opened a real Kakao Talk chat room to hear opinions from more people. Chairperson: Now that all of you are active game users, we want to hear your opinions on discrimination towards female users in online games. What do you think? A: People think picking a certain character inside a game has a relation with a user being a woman or a man. Inside ‘Overwatch’, I often play a character named ‘Mercy’ which is in a healer or support position. When I enter into a voice talk while I pick Mercy, users say ‘Oh you picked Mercy because you are a woman’. This, already is quite frustrating. What’s worse is that when the team is losing male users frequently blame women users. ‘We totally lost because of Mercy. Women are no good for the team.” C: I had a very similar experience once. When I joined voice chat once by myself, I heard a member of the team saying “Did you borrowed your boyfriend’s account? Then you better try hard not to lose for him.” It was really annoying but scary at the same time. From that incident, I always join voice talk only when I am playing with my friend. Funny thing is that people don’t say that when I am with other male friends inside a voice chat. Diva and Mercy are the two most frequently played characters by Korean female users. (Photo courtesy of Blizzards Entertainment) B: I didn’t had personal experience like A and C but come to think of it, I think that is the reason why I have never joined voice talk on my own. When I started to play computer games, I saw in other SNSs (Social Networking Services) how woman users are frequently blamed without a legitimate reason. That is absurd and stupid and I thought I do not need to do voice talk if I am prone to be discriminated just because I am a woman. Chairperson: Then, why do you guys think such unreasonable discrimination occurs in a gaming society? Would there be any specific reasons? D: Even as a male user, I cannot possibly understand why they do that. I mean the woman users they encounter in a game is in a similar level or scores. On what standards can they blame women? To be honest, although it might sound a little funny, I think they do that simply because of bad experiences they had with women in real lives. Like, they must have had rejected brutally in a relationship. A: When these users lose the game, they want to blame other people although it could be because of their lack of performance in the game. The target become a woman because they think women just can’t play game as good as male. It’s stupid. B: I agree with what D and A have said. To add, I think it is because some men view women as a subject and image of ‘sex’. While a ‘user’ in a game is supposed to mean both male and female users, it becomes ' a woman user' when a player is a female. A said that the most annoying thing about the discrimination is that she is not allowed to enjoy game as freely as men do. Chairperson: What would be stereotypes woman users have to face because of their gender? C: I think the most representative one is that men can play computer games better than women. It is because men think that games has been the hobby of men for a longer period, and increase of women in a gaming environment somewhat threatens them I guess. B: While there are increasing number of women playing computer games, we are still minorities. I think that is why male users think women just can’t play games as well as themselves. A: I agree, and I think I have to reflect on that too. Even as a woman myself, when I hear that another woman user is in a higher tier, I think ‘wow she is good although she is a woman’. I don’t think I would think the same if a male user is in a higher tier. B said anonymity makes the situation worse. Chairperson: What could be the demerits woman users have to suffer because of such discrimination? A: Participating in a voice talk is very important to win the game as it is a team-based shooting game. While better communication with other members is crucial, it is sad that a lot of woman users cannot do it as often because they are intimidated by male users. D: I agree, the fact that woman users just cannot enjoy the game like other male users is unfair. B: Just like any other users, I think I can be good in some games and not in other matches. Even if I played well in a one match, I have to hear ‘Oh you are good for a woman, which just makes me feel upset. D said that it is unfortunate to equal rights of women cannot be protected, even in a game environment. Chairperson: Thank you all for your frank and honest opinions. For the last question, what do you guys think is the possible solution for the issue? A: I think there should be a policy inside a game where users can report on others who talks hate speech inside a game. C: I agree, there are already other categories like ‘Trolling, bullying, and harassing’. Specific categories for reporting ‘This user disrespected another user because she is a woman’ should be installed inside a game. B: Yes I think that is totally necessary and I hope more female progamers would appear to reduce misconception that a man somewhat has better genetic for games than a woman. Yun Ji-hyun Photos courtesy of Yun Ji-hyun and Choo Hwa-jeong Designed by Kim Hye-im

2017-06 19

[Special]Korean Superstitions about Dreams

Dream interpreting existed in various civilizations, especially in the ancient times and the Eastern part of the world. Korea is not an exception to the culture of dream interpreting. Many modern Koreans think that dreams may denote certain meanings related to one’s fortune. As a result, specific details about the meanings of diverse dreams exist in Korea. Auspicious dreams and ominous dreams Dreams are generally distinguished as lucky or unlucky according to its content and prominent symbols related to it. Dreams without any notable symbols are considered to have no significant meaning and can be ignored. Due to the importance of the presence and meanings of the symbols, sometimes even nightmares may be a dream with good meaning. Even though a good or bad figure appears, what happens to it in the dream is most important when interpreting the dream. For example, if something bad happens to a good symbol, or vice versa, the meaning of the dream changes. In cases where others want to buy one’s dreams, selling the dream is possible with the exchange of money or valuable items. Generally, dreams about dragons are considered the best of dreams as they are thought to bring huge success and fortune. There is an old belief that dragons are imaginary but auspicious animals. Dreams about pigs are also the lucky kind that may foretell the procurement of money. This is because ‘don’, the pronunciation of Chinese character for ‘pig’, is similar with that of ‘money’. Strangely, a death of a family member in a dream denotes that that certain individual would live long. Additionally, dreams about one’s ancestors reappearing means good luck. Beautiful natural elements such as a rainbow, stars, and flowers are thought to bring luck as well. Pig dreams are thought to bring large sums of money. (Photo courtesy of Conversely, dreams about losing a tooth is a bad omen because they signify that something bad will happen to one’s intimate friends or family. Many dreams regarding babies, such as hugging them, are strangely unlucky. They mean that some agony or worry will trouble the dreamer, and one’s honor and fortune will also collapse. Losing one’s shoes is also one of the bad dreams that is thought to deprive one of of his or her job or friends. In addition, being chased by someone means that one is feeling nervous or isolated, and may experience failure. Taemong, or dreams before a birth of a baby Most Koreans have vivid dreams before conceiving a child, which are called taemong. The dreamer is not limited to the baby’s mother but includes its father, other family members, or even friends. Different symbols in the dream tell whether the baby is a boy or a girl. For example, some taemong that symbolize the birth of a boy are the sun, a big fish, a serpent, and red pepper. On the other hand, a half moon, a small snake, and flowers are a few of the elements of a girl’s taemong. Korean mothers are very interested in taemong, because they may fortell whether the baby is boy or a girl and also its future. (Photo courtesy of There are various stories of special taemong that were dreamt for the birth of famous people in Korean history. An enormous bull with a fiery red sun perched between its two horns, riding a cloud in the mountains appeared in the taemong of King Sejong, who created hangul with his men in the Joseon Dynasty. As the bull tripped and the sun tumbled down, a boy dressed in red jumped in and swallowed the sun. The taemong of the former president Kim Dae-jung who won a Nobel Peace Prize in the year 2000 showed the gods from the heavens. Also, a dragon and a snake twisted together and rising to the heavens is the taemong of Park Ji-sung, a legendary soccer player. Although Koreans enjoy the idea that dreams may foretell the future, or possess a special kind of meaning, most people today do not seriously believe in dream interpreting. However, some people tend to take precautions when they have had bad dreams, and decide to buy a lottery ticket after having good dreams. Jang Soo-hyun