In the news

When Seoul Mayor Park Wonsoon was in town yesterday he signed a “friendship city” agreement with London Mayor Sadiq Khan at City Hall. According to Yonhap, the agreement is “aimed at strengthening cooperation in nine sectors including economic democratization, improved response to climate change and digital renovation.” Earlier in the day Mayor Park was at […]

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The advance of Korea’s longevity

by Philip Gowman 22 February 2017
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According to a study by Imperial College London and the World Health Organisation, “average life expectancy is set to increase in many countries by 2030 – and will exceed 90 years in South Korea.” The press release accompanying the report revealed: The five countries with the highest life expectancy at birth for men in 2030 were: […]

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So now you know

by Philip Gowman 19 February 2017
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You couldn’t make this up. Or maybe you could. Even though I suspect it’s a fake cover posted online to make people go out and buy the paper itself (which I would do if it weren’t cold outside), it’s still too good not to share. Thanks to Paul Matthews for spotting this gem (also to […]

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A survey of post-millennials – and South Korea shows its expected malaise

by Philip Gowman 13 February 2017
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Another of those surveys, and guess where South Korea ends up in the rankings? As you might expect from the land of Hell Joseon, the statistics do not look great: second from bottom in terms of overall happiness. Around 1,000 15-21 year-olds from each of 20 countries were surveyed between September and October 2016 as […]

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Choe Il presents his credentials as DPRK ambassador

by Philip Gowman 12 February 2017
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Embed from Getty Images From the Court Circular page of the Buckingham Palace website: 9 February 2017: His Excellency Mr. Choe Il was received in audience by The Queen today and presented the Letters of Recall of his predecessor and his own Letters of Credence as Ambassador from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to […]

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Choigate and Park Geun-hye’s censorship of the arts – contd

by Philip Gowman 11 January 2017
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A couple more links relating to censorship under Park Geun-hye, which will be updated as news breaks. First, a re-post of the pdf purporting to be the blacklist of 9,473 names, first posted here. 10 Jan 2017: Via Br Anthony comes the “appalling news … that [Park] personally gave orders that the two most important […]

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HTB warns against Korean “cult”

by Philip Gowman 11 December 2016
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An exclusive in yesterday’s Telegraph reports that Holy Trinity Brompton, among other evangelical churches, is warning against a group called Parachristo which is said to have links to ‘a controversial South Korean group known as Shincheonji (SCJ) – or the “New Heaven and New Earth” church (NHNE) – whose founder Man-Hee Lee is referred to […]

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BBC Korea Service expected to start as early as 2017

by Philip Gowman 16 November 2016
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It was confirmed today that Korean would be one of the 11 additional languages in which the BBC World Service will broadcast. An accompanying interview with a BBC official on this morning’s Today programme said that the Korean content is likely to be a half-hour daily news programme focused on regional current affairs, though world […]

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Gangnam Style remembered on Strictly

by Philip Gowman 14 November 2016
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Thanks to would-be Labour finance minister Ed Balls for brightening up our dull Autumn on the BBC’s celebrity talent show Strictly Come Dancing. Consistently at the bottom of the scoreboard, he is saved by the popular vote. In the most recent episode he had the guts to do a Gangnam Style inspired Salsa, choreographed (with […]

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Choigate, censorship and the arts

by Philip Gowman 5 November 2016
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At any other time the presence of a demonstrator outside the KCC – and outside the opening screening of the London Korean Film Festival – protesting about artistic censorship that is said to have taken place during the current KCC director’s stint at the National Gugak Centre would have been prominent news. But choreographer Jung […]

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BECTU: “Film festival sets disgraceful example in Living Wage Week”

by Philip Gowman 3 November 2016
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Many of us enjoyed the London East Asia Film Festival recently, myself included. But let’s not forget the hard work of the staff who make it happen. BECTU, the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union, is supporting the temporary and part time workers who according to a news item on their website were paid below […]

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Ambassador Hay talks to Korea Times

by Philip Gowman 1 November 2016
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There’s a nice interview with Ambassador Hay in the Korea Times this week. In it, he gives us news about the UK participation in military exercises on the peninsula that had the North Koreans so riled (four Eurofighters will join in an aerial drill with Korean and US planes at Osan air base in Gyeonggi-do), […]

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New Paju footbridge honours Glorious Glosters

by Philip Gowman 25 October 2016
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I am grateful to the Association for the Study of Songun Politics UK for alerting me to the recent opening of a new bridge – the “Gloucester Heroes Bridge” – commemorating the role of British forces (and it was not just the Glosters, though they are the regiment who feature most prominently in the accounts) […]

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FT sticks the boot into Reckitt Benckiser

by Philip Gowman 19 October 2016
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In an article subtitled “Multinational group’s corporate culture is out of step with the public mood” the FT today laid into Reckitt Benckiser for its management and presentation of its troubles in Korea. It was dismaying to see an update mention the “HS Issue” in the same workaday tones as poor sales of the Wet […]

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British artist at sea with Hanjin Shipping

by Philip Gowman 15 September 2016
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Winning a residency programme is often a milestone in a young artist’s career. When Royal College of Art MA sculpture student Rebecca Moss won a residency programme from Vancouver’s Access Gallery, that sounded like a huge opportunity. The residency, entitled 23 Days at Sea, involves sailing in a container ship from Vancouver to Shanghai – […]

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Slaves to the System Project launches Poland report

by Philip Gowman 7 July 2016
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Slaves to the System, a collaboration between EAHRNK and the Leiden Asia Centre, published their first major report on DPRK workers in Poland at a conference held at Leiden this week: On Wednesday afternoon (6 July) in Leiden, the Netherlands, a new in-depth report on the issue of North Korean forced labour in Poland was […]

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Visiting Korean students protest Comfort Woman issue

by 앤서방 29 June 2016
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Great to see so many young people from South Korea raising awareness of the ‘comfort women’ issue in London today, performing and protesting at the Japanese embassy and Trafalgar Square.

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