Language and Culture

  • "A dreary grain silo that was transformed into an enormous colorful artwork in South Korea has been named by Guinness World Records as the largest outdoor mural in the world. The painting which depicts a young boy's journey into adulthood covers the outside of giant storage containers in the port city of Incheon, west of Seoul, taking up 23,688 square meters. The mural was commissioned by the city's government and port authority ..
  • "All cultural assets, even shards of pottery at home and abroad, whether they are valuable or not, both tangible and intangible, indicate the course of Korean history, representing our ancestors' sacred spirit, wisdom and identity. A significant number of artifacts are stored outside of Korea, scattered across many countries, mainly in Japan, the U.S. and Europe. These Korean artifacts were either destroyed or taken out of the country..
  • "The Farmer's Dance, or nongak (pronounced NOHNG-ock), is one of the oldest dance forms in Korea. Originating in the Three Kingdoms period (57 B.C.E. - 668 C.E.), the Farmer's Dance was traditionally performed during planting, harvesting, and other agricultural events. Early records mention Korean farmers working to the beat of percussion instruments. Until recently, the dance was performed in the rural areas, in particular durin..
  • "Hangeul Day's existence as an official national holiday began only six years ago, reflecting the high regard in which the Korean alphabet system is held. But it was not always this way, even after Japan's control of Korea ended and the Republic of Korea was founded. Attempt to move away from the use of Chinese characters to exclusive use of Hangeul prompted protests in the late 1960s, in part because mastery of Chinese character..
  • "Today's topic is the Korean language, or 'Hanguk-mal', as it's called in Korean (and actually, in North Korea, it's called 'Choseon-mal'). Korean is one of the major languages of Northeast Asia. It's spoken as a first language by a total of around 80 million people, including around 50 million in South Korea, 25 million in North Korea, and around 2.5 million in China."
  • "About 6 years ago, I came to Korea to teach English. [My wife Hyo and I] started this site together by first making comics about our relationship. Eventually, [she] gave me the idea to start making graphics about Korea and teaching basic Korean words for people just starting to learn Korean, or for just casual learners who wanted a bit of exposure to the language."
  • "Islam has a very small presence in South Korea, where Protestantism is dominant. According to the Korea Muslim Federation, the number of Muslims in the country stands at about 150,000, some 0.3 percent of the population. Of them, Korean Muslims account for 35,000."
  • "Good translation holds the key to globalizing Korean literature and quality translation comes from translators of diverse backgrounds, according to experts. Novelist Han Kang winning the Man Booker International Prize last month with 'The Vegetarian' highlighted the importance of translation. Experts say that British translator Deborah Smith equally deserves credit for the honor."
  • "Zainichi Korean is Korean as spoken by Zainichi Koreans (ethnic Korean citizens or residents of Japan). The speech is based on the southern dialects of Korean, as the majority of first-generation immigrants came from the southern part of the peninsula, including Gyeonggi-do, Jeolla-do and Jeju-do. Due to isolation from other Korean speech-communities and the influence of Japanese, Zainichi Korean language exhibits strong differences from ..
  • “The traditional approach to discussing this topic in literature has been through accusation, the act of testifying to the violence and deception of patriarchy and the ideology of the 'normal' family through literature. Korean society has always set specific standards for what constitutes a family, publicly scorning all noncompliance—a tendency that led to the aggravation of gender inequality in Korean society. So what better time..
  • "It’s easy to list off the most influential gallerists in Seoul. Kukje, Arario, Hyundai, PKM, Pyo and Gana Art. But in recent years, a pivotal band of creative spaces have been taking the South Korean art scene in a different direction, headed by a new generation of artists and gallerists able to adapt to the post-recession economic landscape."
  • “A fancy new building with an inviting lawn yard, public art installations and plenty of Instagrammable photo spots, Seoul Upcycling Plaza looks just like a hip place to be. And that’s what city officials hope it will become -- a magnet for trendsetters and a hotbed of new lifestyle movements. '[Upcycling] is not just about using things again (recycling). It is about giving them a new spin, value and life, with technology, design or of..
  • "Rusty, abandoned factories and warehouses are often massive eyesores, shunned by neighbors for safety concerns. But increasingly, some of these run-down structures are finding new life as venues for the arts, drawing artists, hipsters and tourists with their remarkable aesthetic combination of old and new and historic backgrounds. More than just the visual appeal, creative repurposing is a very economic decision, according to one construc..
  • “Aaron Tan, a renowned architect based in Hong Kong, once described Seoul as 'A city full of glowing church crosses.' And that seems to be an impression shared by many foreign visitors to Korea, as crosses atop high-rise church steeples, illuminated white or red at night, dot the skyline of Seoul. Has Korea been transformed into a Christian nation after hundreds of years of cultural domination by Confucianism and Buddhism?”
  • "Churches in Korea and the United States are very different in practice and demographics. I was blessed to be a part of my local Presbyterian church, and it was in the Korean church that I understood what it meant to be a different culture. There were six distinct practices or habits of attending a Korean church that surprised and delighted me all at the same time."
  • "What started as an idle curiosity about the events of that 4th of July in 1996 quickly gave way to a much bigger mystery: Why do so many cults exist in South Korea? And what has inspired so many Koreans to seek redemption through them?"
  • "In this article, we’re going to dive into every nook and cranny of a word that just might be one of the most important in the Korean language: Oppa. This is the oppa you’ve heard so often in those k-dramas you like to binge. This is the oppa that forms one brick of the foundation of Korean society."
  • "In South Korea, October 9 is Hangul Day, a public holiday celebrating the Korean alphabet, Hangul. To non-Koreans, a public holiday for an alphabet might seem odd, but Koreans are proud of their native writing system, and rightly so. How many alphabets are that easy to learn?"
  • “Descend from a dusk sky towards the muted lights of Gimpo (Kimp’o) Airport and something akin to the import of '(the concept of) religion' to South Korean modernity visibly unfolds in the florescence of neon church steeples that punctuate the nightscape of Seoul’s darkened city shapes. The peaked lines of temple roofs – suspended above stone stupa – frame small shaman shop flags that catch the eyes when they flutter. Such s..
  • "When walking through the popular university areas of Seoul, you’ll see the streets lined with coffee shops, bars, and fortune tellers. As it turns out, Korea is a fairly superstitious society, with these superstitions having their roots in a variety of traditions. One of these traditions, the tradition in which these fortune tellers are based, is Korean Shamanism."

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