One of the most commonly used expressions in everyday life in South Korea is “Pali, Pali!” (hurry, hurry!). Its effects can be seen everywhere, from food to language to technology. In some ways, this “Pali, Pali” culture represents South Korea’s recent entry onto the world stage. The chapter discusses the historical context and the dual nature of this culture.
Put simply, “lookism” is judging an individual’s character through their appearance. The term first appeared in the US in 1970 and over time gained widespread usage due to its contemporary relevance. In fact, an August 2000 New York Times report went so far as to classify it as a new form of discrimination, tantamount in severity to racism, sexism, and religious or ideological discrimination.
“Honjok” comes from the Korean words for being alone (hon) and a group of people with something in common (jok) and describes a growing subculture in Korea of spending time alone. The emergence of “honjok” culture represents the choice an increasing number of young Koreans are making to live on their own rather than with their family or a partner as has long been the norm.
Hierarchy is not a concept unique to Korea. In fact, it would be difficult to find a society without some sort of hierarchy. Nonetheless, there are some unique qualities that set Korea’s hierarchical culture apart from others. With a society firmly rooted in Confucian ideals and a pervasive military culture, Korea’s hierarchical roots run deep.
“Eom•chin•a (mom’s friend’s son)” is yet another entry in the long list of recently coined words sweeping Korea. This word was first used in the webtoon Closet Fantasia (2005) and now, one can easily find the word in nearly any cultural medium, from TV shows and movies to books and news articles. That said, what exactly does this three syllable word signify?
The Korean drama “Sky Castle” premiered in 2018 to widespread acclaim. The show follows the lives of Korea’s elite scrambling to secure spots for their children at one of Korea’s prestigious ‘SKY’ universities. The drama’s content and popularity both speak to the high place education occupies in Korean society.
The Korean expression, “Neri-Sarang,” roughly translates as “downward love”, expresses the notion that love is something pure imparted from the elders to the young, not the other way around. Meanwhile, “Filial Piety” continues to hold major sway over Korean society and its values despite the concept’s ancient roots.
When discussing what uniquely defines the Korean people, two words that often come up are “Cheong” and “Han”. These two words describe complex emotions pertaining to Korea with meanings difficult to capture in translation. What are “Cheong” and “Han” and why should Koreans feel them particularly strongly?
The video game industry in Korea has gone from humble beginnings, like many other countries, with the widely accepted original video game “Pong”, to a nationally televised activity with connections to major conglomerates such as SK Telecom, a wireless telecommunications operator.