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Korea via stamps: 'Arirang,' the first movie
Nov 06, 2014
'Arirang' (1926) is directed by Na Un-gyu and funded by Choson Cinema Productions Modern visual records, like photographs and motion pictures, were first introduced to Korea during late Joseon times. Even the reigning King Gojong (r. 1863-1907) took frequent photographs. Many po...


The King Has Donkey Ears!: Even bamboo trees can't keep...
Nov 06, 2014
Once upon a time in ancient Silla, there lived King Gyeongmun (r. 861—875), the kingdom’s 48th king. On top of living in tumultuous times, full of turmoil and rebellion, King Gyeongmun had another vexing problem. According to legend, he had hideously large ears. Much like King Mi...


Dutch king meets 350-year-old compatriot
Nov 05, 2014
With the visit to Korea of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, there has been a reenactment of a 17th century Dutchman meeting Joseon's King Hyojung (r. 1649-1659). Hendrick Hamel, the sailor in question, was the first Westerner to live in Joseon-era Korea....


Symposium brings together writing systems, art
Nov 05, 2014
Writing systems were combined with other crafts to create new art forms in the heart of Seoul. Running from October 24 to November 2 in and around the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Seoul, the World Script Symposia 2014 was a festival that mixed the alphabets o...


Return of 'Otello,' the opera
Nov 03, 2014
Celebrating the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth this year, one of his four tragedies, "Othello," recomposed by Verdi in 1887 into the opera "Otello," will be performed from November 6 to 9 in Seoul. This special four-day run by the Korea National Opera company will be on...


Come and taste rice beer in Insa-dong
Oct 31, 2014
The 2014 Makgeolli Festival is now underway in and around the neighborhood of Insa-dong in Seoul. Aimed at raising international awareness of makgeolli, the range of traditional Korean rice beers, especially the kind brewed with newly-harvested rice, the four-day festival is full...


Fairytale comics go online
Oct 31, 2014
When learning a foreign language, some of the most easily accessed books are often comic books. With drawings alongside short sentences, the context of a comic is readily comprehensible. Moreover, reading comics also helps understand the respective country's culture and can be be...


Seoul screens architecture film festival
Oct 31, 2014
A special kind of festival has just kicked off in Seoul, an event designed to help better understand architecture and to glimpse architectural trends both domestically and across the world. Ewha Womans University plays host the sixth Seoul International Architecture Film Fes...


Korean literature in English: ‘The General’s Beard’
Oct 29, 2014
The first novella penned by Lee Oyoung, who has had a successful literary career as a critic, novelist and poet, was “The General’s Beard.” It is a detective story that is made complex by the presence of quotations from a novel written by a young man in the story, Kim Chol-hun. ...

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Childhood reminiscence via old stamps - Part 5. Heungbu...
Oct 29, 2014
The 'Heungbu and Nolbu' stamps are printed on May 5, 1970 1970. (From top to bottom) The swallow gives Heungbu a gourd seed. He finds a gourd filled with gold, silver and all sorts of treasure. Nolbu harvests his gourd with anticipation. Misfortune befalls Nolbu. (images courtesy...