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 #19: Beopgyesa Temple and those Japanese feng-shui stakes

Beopgyesa Temple (법게사) is the highest in Sancheong County and at least the third-highest in Korea. The good people of Sancheong believe that Beopgyesa is the highest temple in South Korea, a claim which is supported by Beopgyesa’s entry on the Cultural Heritage Administration website, where the following text is to be found: “It is […]

Guilt, Nostalgia, and Victimhood: Korea in the Japanese Theatrical Imagination

Looks like a very interesting talk at the Japan Foundation on 1 December. Of course, it has to clash with something equally as compelling: a rare screening of Kim Ki-young’s Insect Woman at the KCC. The Japan Foundation hosts: Guilt, Nostalgia, and Victimhood: Korea in the Japanese Theatrical Imagination Speaker: Carol Fisher Sorgenfrei (UCLA) How […]

Korea and the tsunami

Some links relating to Korea’s response to the Japanese tsunami Korean Entertainers Step Up to Help Japan (Chosun Ilbo) http://bit.ly/dTcArk Even anti-Japan groups join the aid bandwagon – (JoongAng Daily) http://bit.ly/eraCyA Putting aside negative feelings toward Japan – A former comfort woman calls for philanthropic aid to neighbor http://bit.ly/eMcpW3 Quake moves Japan further away from […]

Film review: Sona, the other myself

The third Asia House Pan-Asian Film Festival offered the opportunity to see an unusual documentary. Yang Yonghi’s Sona, the other myself is a simple portrait of three generations of a family – an elderly ethnic Korean couple living with their daughter (Yang herself) in Osaka, and Yang’s three elder brothers and their children who live […]

Bae Doo-na named Best Actress

Bae Doo-na has been named Best Actress twice over in Japan for her role in Air Doll, which showed at the London Film Festival last year. Bae will pick up her trophy at the 23rd Takasaki Film Festival on March 28, after claiming her honor at the 33rd Japan Academy Awards on March 5. Source: […]

The Japanese counter-wave

March’s edition of Seoul magazine has an interesting article discussing how cultural waves do not travel in just one direction. Supporters of Korean culture are keen to point out the unstoppability of the hallyu: Rain in the Philippines, BoA in Japan, Super Junior in China, TV Dramas everywhere (except the UK it seems). Back home, […]

DPRK: Japan and the abduction issue

It’s been a while since I last received a copy of the DPRK e-bulletin. Here’s the latest one. The related BBC story is here. DPRK FM Spokesman Exposes Japan’s Moves to Internationalize “Abduction Issue” Pyongyang, June 13 (KCNA) — A spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry issued a statement on June 13 as regards the […]

Book Review: Admiral Yi Sun-sin

Admiral Yi Sun-sin: A brief overview of his life and achievements Korean Spirit and Culture Promotion Project, 2006 A quick and easy read setting out the achievements of Admiral Yi in the Imjin war against Japan. As well as telling Yi’s story (sometimes using Yi’s own war diary and memorials to the throne), the book […]

Admiral Yi enters cyberspace in history book fightback

The Admiral who gave the Japanese a bloody nose in the Imjin War has no fewer than three websites to his name: www.koreanischerheld.com exclusively for German readership, www.koreanpatriot.net for a multilingual audience (including English), and www.koreanhero.net which is an html version of a glossy book on his achievements. He himself can be contacted, through some timewarp […]

Conspiracy theories

Tom Coyner has a mischievous speculation in one of his recent email news updates. I sometimes wonder if Pres Roh and PM Koizumi have these gentleman agreements, off the record of course, that allow each of them to act ridiculous so as to pander to local politics while knowing that the other politician is giving […]