Merry X’mas (메리 크리스마스) from Seoul!

X’mas lighting on the walls of Myeongdong Shinsegae Department Store

Merry X’mas!  Tomorrow is the X’mas day – wish all of you Happy Holidays! Although X’mas is a western festival, in South Korea, X’mas is also a great day for celebration with the family members and friends.  If you are not in Seoul, hope you may be able to get some X’mas greetings from Seoul from the two photos in this blog post. Continue reading

“The Art of the Brick” exhibition in Seoul

**Last updated on: 15 October 2020**

During my recent trip to Seoul, I stumbled upon the posters of “The Art of the Brick” exhibition (in the photo on the left) on my way to the Tongin Market.   This is the exhibition by Nathan Sawaya, the brick artist who uses Lego bricks to create artworks, and this exhibition has been selected by CNN as one of the top 10 must-see exhibitions and has already been held in different countries over the world.  As the exhibition is held in the Ara Art Centre which is conveniently located in Insadong, I went to this exhibition and liked it very much. Let me share some of my thoughts and feelings of this exhibition with you in this blog post. Continue reading

Experience Korean culture through performances!

One of the means of experiencing the Korean culture is to watch some performances with representative Korean cultural elements. There are in fact some good performances which you can enjoy even if you don’t know Korean. Let’s talk about some of them in this blog post. Continue reading

K-Animation Series – A Brief History (21st century)

In this blog post, we will talk about the development of K-animation in the 21st century, which saw the global expansion of K-animation and the great advancement in the quality of Korean-made animation.

At the start of the 21st century, the K-animation industry gained more government support and benefited from the skilled workforce which was developed in the past years.  In 1998, the Korean Government announced the 5-year plan (1998-2003) for the development of the cultural industry, resulting in the establishment of the Seoul Animation Center (1998), the Korea Film Council (1999) and the Korea Creative Contents Agency (2001). Continue reading

K-Animation Series – A Brief History (1980’s and 1990’s)

In this blog post, we continue to trace the history of K-animation by having a look at the dramatic development with a decline in the 1980’s and a resurgence in the 1990’s. Continue reading

K-Animation Series – A Brief History (1950’s and 1960’s)

In this second blog post of the K-animation series, we begin to briefly go through the history of the Korean animation industry to better understand its development. Let’s start with the 1950’s and 1960’s to see how the K-animation began and took off. Continue reading

K-Animation Series – Seoul Animation Center

When talking about animation, you may think of Disney or Japanese animation only. Although Korea started as a sub-contractor for foreign companies and the history of its animation industry is much shorter than that of it western or Japanese counterparts, it has now become a major player in the animation industry, producing many high-quality works which are exported to overseas countries.  Apart from K-pop, K-dramas and K-movies, K-animation is also an important aspect of the Korean culture supported by the Korean government.

I would like to write a series of blog posts on K-animation, including a brief overview of its history, its key features, representative animated works and festivals.  That said, let’s start this K-animation series by introducing a place where you can visit to get some exposure to K-animation – the Seoul Animation Center (서울애니메이션센터). Continue reading

Who is known as “The Children’s President” in South Korea?

Pororo and Patty at Everland

**Last updated on: 15 October 2020**

Answer: The animated character, Pororo the Little Penguin.

If you have been to South Korea, you may often come across an animated character wearing a yellow aviator’s helmet (with the letter “P” on it) and orange googles.  He is called Pororo (뽀로로), a little penguin living with his friends in a snow-covered village in a TV animation produced by Koreans.  He is so popular among kids in South Korea that he is known as “The Children’s President”.  In this post, let’s talk about this animated character to better understand him. Continue reading

Who are regarded as the Korean mermaids?

The answer is: Haenyeo (해녀) of the Jeju Island.

Literally, the word “hae” (해) means “sea” and “nyeo” (녀) means “female”, and haenyeo are female divers who make a living by harvesting marine products like abalone, conch, octopus, sea urchins, oysters, clams, seaweed, etc. from the sea. Recently, there has been news that Jeju’s haenyeo culture is likely to be added to the UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.  What’s so special about Jeju’s haenyeo?  Let’s talk about them in this post. Continue reading