Book review: Giacomo Lee — Funereal

Giacomo Lee: Funereal Signal 8 Press, 2015, 230pp Giacomo Lee’s debut Funereal is fast-moving novel set very much in contemporary Seoul, and referencing so many contemporary issues in South Korea’s high-pressure society. Soobin, a marketing graduate whose genuine smile endears her to her customers in the doughnut takeaway store which is the only place she […]

2014 Travel Diary day 3: 사십구재

The 49th-day ceremony (사십구재) for Sena Lee, who died in Seoul on 22 April 2014, held at Anjeoksa, Sancheon-gun, at which family and friends said farewell to her. According to dharma master Tim Lerch,  Traditionally, the period of 49 days after someone dies is seen as a time for that person to check their consciousness and digest their […]

Photos of King Taejo’s tomb in Kaesong

The Rodong Sinmun has some nice pictures and a brief article on the tomb of Wang Kon, founder of the Koryo dynasty as King Taejo. The tomb is one of the Historic Monuments and Sites of Kaesong recently entered into the UNESCO list of world heritage. Update: links to the full set of Rodong Sinmun’s […]

Looking back at 2012: Domestic news

In our final round-up of Korea-related stories which caught our eye in 2012, we look at domestic and business news. Modern Life and how to escape it. Korea came 24th out of 34 leading countries in an OECD quality of life index, coming bottom of the class in job security and gender income inequality and […]

2012 Travel Diary #22: The Burial Grounds of the Royal Joseon Placentas, and why underfloor heating is not always good for you

Sancheong Town, Gyeongsangnam-do, Sunday 1 April 2012. Yes, it’s 1 April, and no, this article is not an April Fool’s joke. Sunday in Sancheong town, and the National Assembly election campaign is in full swing. All along the main street, the ppongtchak trucks are parked nose to tail, probably about eight of them. All of […]

2012 Travel Diary #16: Silla pagodas, Korea’s first beautiful village, and Nammyeong’s tomb

Sancheong, Gyeongsangnam-do, Thursday 29 March 2012. Today is the day we start the ascent of Jirisan, but first there’s a couple of local sites of interest that I need to visit. First, the two Unified Silla dynasty stone pagodas, which are now the only remnants of Dansoksa, a temple built in the middle of the eighth […]

Kkokdu – a cortege’s colourful attendants

Accompanying the KCC’s exhibition of Korean funerary figures, Charlotte Horlyck gave a helpful lecture providing some historical background and context to these colourful wooden characters. The talk was particularly valuable as the introduction provided by the director of the Kkokdu Museum a few weeks previously had lacked much content. While generally admitting that not much […]