KoreAm Journal - Korean America's Premier Magazine http://iamkoream.com KoreAm Journal | Official Website Tue, 03 Mar 2015 22:10:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Korean Canadian Pastor Reported Missing in North Korea http://iamkoream.com/korean-canadian-pastor-reported-missing-in-north-korea/ http://iamkoream.com/korean-canadian-pastor-reported-missing-in-north-korea/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 22:05:09 +0000 http://iamkoream.com/?p=74355 by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

A Korean Canadian pastor has lost contact with the Canadian government after visiting North Korea for humanitarian work, reports Reuters.

Reverend Hyeon-soo Lim, 60, has traveled to North Korea more than 100 times since 1997 to help oversee a nursing home, a nursery and an orphanage in the Rajin region, said Lisa Pak, the spokeswoman for the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Toronto.

Lim entered North Korea through China on Jan. 31, and has since lost contact with his church, family and friends. The pastor was expected return from his trip on Feb. 4, but church officials were not alarmed, believing that Lim was delayed by North Korea’s quarantine of foreign travelers who may have been exposed to Ebola.

“We didn’t want to cause unnecessary hysteria, just make sure he is OK. He’s very non-political; he just wants to help the people,” said Pak, according to Reuters.

North Korea ended the quarantine program on Monday, but there has been no sign of Lim. Meanwhile, the Canadian government has advised against all travel to North Korea.

The North Korean government has a strict policy against proselytizing, as religion is seen as a threat to the ruling Kim family. Over the years, many Christian missionaries have been detained in the hermit kingdom.

Kenneth Bae, a missionary who entered North Korea in late 2012, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for alleged anti-government activities. After being detained for two years, Bae was released last November, along with fellow U.S. detainee Matthew Miller, who was formerly sentenced to prison for six years for alleged espionage.

Born in South Korea, Lim immigrated to Canada in 1986. He has a wife and an adult son.


Featured image via The Telegraph

Get our daily newsletter


http://iamkoream.com/korean-canadian-pastor-reported-missing-in-north-korea/feed/ 0
Truck Driver Charged with Manslaughter for Killing LAPD Officer in Crash http://iamkoream.com/truck-driver-charged-with-manslaughter-for-killing-lapd-officer-in-crash/ http://iamkoream.com/truck-driver-charged-with-manslaughter-for-killing-lapd-officer-in-crash/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 20:20:27 +0000 http://iamkoream.com/?p=74342 by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

The driver of a big rig truck that struck and killed an LAPD officer last year in Beverly Hills has been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

Nicholas Choung Lee died in a severe car crash on March 7, 2014, when Roberto Maldonado lost control of his truck as it traveled downhill while hauling a dumpster and a Bobcat. The truck slammed into Lee’s patrol car, killing the 16-year veteran and severely injuring his partner, only identified by her first name Stephanie.

A year-long investigation by the California Highway Patrol further revealed that Maldonado, who was also hospitalized following the crash, had failed to properly maintain the brakes and inspect the truck according to regulations. He was arrested on Friday on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter.

Maldonado, 46, faces one count of gross vehicular manslaughter and faces up to six years in prison if convicted. The L.A. Times reports that his arraignment will take place on March 20.

Lee was remembered by his friends and colleagues as a man of selflessness and courage. He was plugged into the local Korean American community as well—many remembered Lee from playing basketball with him and meeting him through local organizations. Lee is survived by his wife and two daughters.


Featured image via Veooz.com

Get our daily newsletter


http://iamkoream.com/truck-driver-charged-with-manslaughter-for-killing-lapd-officer-in-crash/feed/ 0
It’s L.A.’s Primary Election Day. Will You Vote? http://iamkoream.com/its-l-a-s-primary-election-day-will-you-vote/ http://iamkoream.com/its-l-a-s-primary-election-day-will-you-vote/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 19:39:33 +0000 http://iamkoream.com/?p=74348 by GRACE LEE | @grace_koream

Hey L.A. voters, today is Primary Election day, with open races for City Council and two proposed charter amendments, among other seats.

As we’ve been following, the two Korean American candidates vying for separate L.A. City Council seats have been actively campaigning for votes, right up until Election Day.

During a press conference with the Korean media, David Ryu, a community health executive who is running for the 4th District seat, encouraged those gathered to tell their friends and family to vote, as only 600 Korean Americans have cast a vote by mail-in ballot as of last Wednesday.

According to Ryu, at least 3,000 Korean Americans must cast votes to achieve a 50 percent voter turnout rate among the Korean American electorate in Los Angeles County.

“I’m running to change the conversation at City Hall, but that doesn’t start until I listen to … the actual community, voters, and my neighbors,” Ryu told KoreAm.

Meanwhile, Grace Yoo, a longtime Koreatown activist and former executive director of the Korean American Coalition, is vying for the District 10 seat that’s currently occupied by City Council President Herb Wesson.

Last week, a federal judge rejected a redistricting lawsuit Yoo helped spearhead in 2012. About the ruling, Yoo said, “This is not game over. This is still middle of the game. It’s a little too early to claim victory.” Yoo said there was going to be an appeal and told KoreAm, “We’re barely in the first three years, and I believe it’ll take another two-and-a-half years for it to come to an end.”

Yoo and Ryu have opposing views when it comes to Charter Amendments 1 and 2, which would change primary and general election dates from odd-numbered years to even-numbered years to match state and federal elections to help increase voter turnout.

Ryu supports the amendments while Yoo does not.

While Ryu believes that combining city elections with June and November elections will increase voter turnout and save money, he does not support extending the councilmembers’ terms by 18 months, which would allow them to draw an additional $300,000 in salary. He also expressed concerns with the diminishing of the city clerk election division.

Yoo said she does not believe Charter Amendments 1 and 2 would increase greater civic participation on the local level, and that it was about businesses continuing their special interests to the elected. She said that there is no actual dollar amount associated with the amendments and that it wasn’t a “smart move.”

Polling stations across L.A. County opened at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. today. Those who have Vote by Mail ballots must deliver their ballots at a polling location. Poll locations can be found at www.lavote.net or by calling (800) 815-2666 and pressing option “1.”


Featured image courtesy of Jimmy Lee

Get our daily newsletter


http://iamkoream.com/its-l-a-s-primary-election-day-will-you-vote/feed/ 0
Getting to Know Visual Artist Bridget Rhee http://iamkoream.com/getting-to-know-visual-artist-bridget-rhee/ http://iamkoream.com/getting-to-know-visual-artist-bridget-rhee/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 19:22:20 +0000 http://iamkoream.com/?p=74339 by DAKOTA KIM | @dakotakim1

Bridget Rhee is a New York City-based multidisciplinary visual artist, burlesque performer and art curator. She creates molded plastic sculptures, playful cartoon-drawing T-shirt designs and wildly colorful costumed photography. Using her body as a self-portrait template, the 26-year-old Rhee has combined 3D design, graphics, drawing, photography, costuming and dance to create colorful, poppy images exhibited at such places as The Art Directors Club of New York, the Roy Venters gallery in Honolulu and the Hilton Las Vegas. Rhee’s 3D designs have been published in the New York Daily News, New York Times and the art book Monumental, while her drawings have been featured in AllState insurance and Comcast videos.

From an incandescent Frida Kahlo to a playful fortune cookie act, Rhee’s burlesque performances at the Slipper Room, This ‘N’ That, Nurse Bettie and The McKittrick Hotel, all of which are in New York City, mirror themes in her pop art and establish Rhee as a modern-day artistic emblem.

Rhee, who also regularly curates pop art shows at TT-Underground Gallery in the East Village, discussed her creative life, work inspirations and Korean heritage with iamKoreAm.com from a pink neo-Victorian sofa in her quirky East Village apartment, with brief interruptions by her meowing Maine Coon Spock. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

How did you get your start in drawing?

I drew a lot growing up. I’m an only child so I was very much the source of my own entertainment. My parents told me I would mess up so many couches and walls by drawing [on them]. My high school did not have an art program, so a lot of art I did [on my own]. My parents sent me to weekend classes to try and nurture my interests. I actually went to [New York City’s] School of Visual Arts (SVA) originally for photography, but once I got to New York, I switched out of photography my first year because I realized how much I really liked design. I graduated from SVA with a degree in graphic design and 3D design.

Can you explain what 3D design is?

When people hear “3D design,” they automatically think I do computer work or computer-generated imagery (CGI), but no, 3D design means, in the most traditional sense, that I build stuff. I spent most of my college years in a woodshop, building things by hand. It’s a lot of fun to just go through that process. I’ve learned to rewire electrical things, or fix a broken door—stuff that I probably would not otherwise know how to do myself.

How does burlesque fit into your interest in drawing, 3D design and curation?

Burlesque is a creative outlet. It’s like a canvas, where all the skills I learn from drawing and 3D, I can incorporate into my acts.


How did you get into burlesque?

I had a roommate at the time, and his boyfriend was a drag queen. Every now and then, he would take me to these shows and there would be burlesque in them. I loved how funny everything was, and sexy and just super creative. Those are three things I love—fun, sex and creativity. I especially loved how empowered those women looked, and I wanted to do that. I had these ideas [for acts]: Marilyn Monroe, Frida Kahlo…

What kinds of gallery shows have you curated?

I’m into group shows, and seeing other people’s work. I did a t-shirt graphic show. The only theme was black and white, a single graphic on a white shirt, so everyone had to follow that. To see that, the gallery in black and white, it’s so simple and basic, but everyone’s vision and style is completely different.

You have a great sense for kitsch, pop art and graphic art. It’s interesting and likeable in a way that sometimes the New York art world is not. What’s your inspiration for such fun art?

I like being happy. (Laughs).

Was it difficult having such an artistic temperament growing up in the Korean community?

I was a really bad student and [my parents] realized that art was the only thing I was good at, so they let me go to art school. I’m second-generation Korean American. My parents aren’t very traditional–they’re way more free-spirited than these other stories I hear from Korean friends whose parents make them go to medical school and what not.

It sounds like they were supportive.

I think part of the reason my parents were so supportive was because of their own life experiences. My dad, even though he was born in Korea, spent his childhood growing up in Vietnam because of the [Korean] war. My grandfather was a war general at the time, and my dad was a kid growing up and saw all of this stuff that kids – well, human beings – should not see, and I think that affected him a lot in terms of how he wanted to raise his own child. When I came along, he wanted me to have a childhood and be happy, because he didn’t have that growing up.

My mom works for hospice so she works with people on their deathbeds, reflecting on their lives, talking about what they regret, what they wish they did, what they wish they didn’t do. The most common thing is that they wish they did what made them happy and that their families were accepting of their choices. I think that affected my mom’s mentality raising me. I probably had an easier time in terms of not having the “traditional” Korean American upbringing.


Being an artist in New York can’t be easy. What inspirations keep you going when you want to quit?

I’m a believer in general that in life, whatever you admire in somebody, you have in yourself as well. Anything you want to be in life, you could totally be it. I actually have this file on my desktop called “Inspiration People.” There are maybe 10 people, not all visual artists, but in all of them, there’s something I like about them. Mr. Rogers – he wasn’t a visual artist, but his sweetness and kindness and gentleness influence the feminine things I put into my own style, like my pink couch and cherry teapot. I have John Waters because he’s weird as shit. It tells me it’s okay to be weird and have eccentric taste. Same with Betsy Johnson. I love how strong Beyoncé is, because it encourages me to be unapologetic in whatever your art is. Bettie Page: how she stood out a lot during her time period. Tina Fey: just the fact that it’s empowering to see a woman on a stage of her own choosing. That influences how I feel about art.

It’s one thing to have the idea and another to execute it.

The people who actually accomplish things, the one thing they have in common, they just did it. It’s so easy to stop. Everything is a calculated risk, but when you start doubting yourself because you start to see competition, it’s like standing on top of a really high point and looking down – you get dizzy. No one on their deathbed ever wishes they spent more time in the office! I don’t want to be that person thinking, “Wow, I spent my life holding back on a lot of things because I was scared of something I made up in my own head.”

On that note, what are some future projects you’d like to do?

Definitely more burlesque. One of my goals within the next year or so is to build a giant martini glass. It’s so crazy expensive to rent one, and I want to own one, and I have the skills to build one. I really want to do a shrimp cocktail act. And with art, I’d like to do something with textiles. I don’t know what, but I want to try something I haven’t done before.

What is your favorite Korean dish?

Naengmyun—mul naengmyun. It’s so refreshing!


Get our daily newsletter


http://iamkoream.com/getting-to-know-visual-artist-bridget-rhee/feed/ 0
Meet Yumi Hogan, Maryland’s New First Lady http://iamkoream.com/meet-yumi-hogan-marylands-new-first-lady/ http://iamkoream.com/meet-yumi-hogan-marylands-new-first-lady/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 17:59:59 +0000 http://iamkoream.com/?p=74331 Gov. Larry Hogan holds 2-year-old granddaughter, Daniella Velez, as his wife Yumi waves to the crowd during a snowy inauguration day in Annapolis, Md. on Jan. 21. (Photo by Patrick Semansky/AP Photo)

by SUEVON LEE | @suevlee

When her Republican husband edged out his Democratic opponent last November by five percentage points in the closely watched Maryland gubernatorial race, Yumi Hogan was elated and admittedly in a state of disbelief.

“Still, I can’t believe [it],” she said of spouse Larry Hogan’s surprise victory, which placed a Republican into the Maryland governor’s office for the first time since 2006. And as the first Asian American first lady of Maryland, the Korean immigrant also recognizes her own momentous place in history as a result of her husband’s win.

“Not only first Asian, [I am the] first Korean first lady in the whole United States, in the 100 years of [Korean immigration to this country],” Yumi Hogan proudly stated, speaking with KoreAm by phone in early January. “I’m very proud of the whole Asian community. They are really looking forward to how I’m going to help them.”

Larry Hogan, Kim Velez, Daniella Velez, Yumi Hogan, Jaymie Sterling, Julie KimThe Hogans and their daughters at the inaugural ball at the Baltimore Convention Center. (Photo by Steve Ruark/AP Photo)

For starters, Yumi Hogan appears poised and ready to embrace the role of playing a Korean cultural ambassador of sorts, as she and her husband settle into their new home, the governor’s mansion in Annapolis. Toward that end, the 55-year-old landscape artist, who is an adjunct professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art, mentioned that she plans to bring to the historic Georgian-style mansion, home to Maryland’s governors for the last 125 years, a quintessential Korean item: a kimchi refrigerator.

“We’re going to ferment kimchi,” said Hogan, noting how she plans to teach the kitchen staff how to prepare Korean cuisine.

A Lunar New Year celebration at the governor’s residence in late February was to give Maryland’s first family a chance to introduce Korean dishes like japchae and bulgogi to the invited 200 guests. “I’m going to cook and show how good Korean food is,” said Hogan.

The 11-year-old marriage between Larry and Yumi Hogan was a notable footnote to the main election tale of last year, which, by most accounts, was a big political upset in a heavily blue state. Hogan, known for her winsome smile, friendly demeanor and bold jewel-toned attire, certainly proved an asset to her husband, who proudly told Asian groups that his wife is a first-generation Korean American immigrant.

As the Republican candidate hit the campaign trail last year on his quest to succeed Martin O’Malley, the former two-term Democratic governor who was ineligible to run for a consecutive third, Yumi canvassed the state to address mostly Korean and Chinese groups. “I’m not a politician, but I have to help my husband,” she said of the experience. “With my husband’s bus tour, we were like a parade. People were welcoming.”

Cul-Politics-FM15-Yumi-paradeYumi Hogan greeting supporters on the campaign trail. (Photo courtesy of the Hogan Family)

Though a political novice, Hogan managed to drum up support and enthusiasm for her husband among Maryland’s Asian communities, which are proving to be a more active and influential voter bloc in a state of roughly 6 million residents that is 6 percent Asian American.

“Asian Americans in Maryland, particularly in Montgomery County, are really an important and growing demographic,” Sam Yoon, president and executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Council of Korean Americans, told KoreAm. “For the governor, when he thinks about appointing political leaders, to think about Asian Americans, is a real opportunity, and I think his perspective is definitely going to be different for having a spouse who is Asian American.”

Already, Gov. Hogan has appointed businessman Jimmy Rhee to his cabinet as special secretary of minority affairs, in another first for a Korean American.

Although Rhee did not previously know the Hogans on a personal level, he said of the first lady, “I have found her to be very focused. She feels that diversity is a tremendous asset we have in Maryland.”

Cul-Politics-FM15-Yumi-SwearinginAt the governor’s swearing-in ceremony led by Mary Ellen Barbera, chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals. (Photo courtesy of the Hogan Family)

In addition to her role as Korean cultural ambassador, Hogan told KoreAm that among her goals as first lady are fundraising on behalf of the local arts community, providing support to military families and working with organizations that assist single mothers. The latter is a cause close to her heart.

Born in Naju and raised in Seoul, the youngest child of eight immigrated to the U.S. after finishing high school in Korea. She lived in California, Texas and Hawaii before settling in Maryland’s Howard County because of its quality public schools for her three daughters from a previous marriage. The divorced mother, a devout Christian who is a deaconess at her Presbyterian church in Maryland, pushed her daughters to get straight A’s and to attend church, all the while raising them single-handedly during their formative years.

Hogan met Larry, a former real estate broker who founded the anti-tax hike grassroots organization Change Maryland prior to his candidacy for governor, at an art show in Maryland in 2001. As the governor recently told the Washington Post, “I was more interested in the artist than the art.” In 2004, when he was serving as a cabinet secretary in the then-Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich, Jr. administration, the couple wed, incorporating a traditional Korean ceremony into the celebration. It is her second marriage and his first.

Cul-Politics-FM15-Yumi-studioHogan, a landscape artist, paints using sumi ink and hanji paper. (Photo courtesy of the Hogan Family)

It was only after she married Larry in 2004, and with his encouragement, that Hogan decided to return to school to pursue her passion—art—eventually graduating, with honors, from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2008 and earning her Master of Fine Arts from American University in Washington, D.C., in 2010.

“I don’t think she ever lived life for herself; she lived for us,” Jaymi Sterling, Hogan’s middle daughter who is a Maryland state prosecutor, told KoreAm. “He basically told her, ‘It’s OK to live your life, it’s your turn to live your life now. It’s OK to live your dreams, the kids are going to be fine.’ He supported her in all those endeavors.”

The governor stands almost a head taller than his wife. In official photographs, she wears tailored garments in shades of royal blue or crimson red, her wavy shoulder-length hair worn loose or half-pinned, accessorized by small drop earrings.

“They’re comfortable in their own skin. They’re very respectful of each other,” Sterling said of her parents. “You can tell they really love each other.”

Larry also immediately embraced Sterling and her siblings, Kim Velez and Julie Kim, and they, him. They refer to him as their father, while he calls them his daughters.

Cul-Politics-FM15-Yumi-HoganFamilyThe Hogan family. From L-R: Julie Kim, Yumi Hogan, Gov. Hogan, Kim Velez, Daniella Velez, Louis Velez, Jaymi Sterling and Ben Sterling. (Photo courtesy of the Hogan Family)

Sterling even appeared in a 30-second TV spot last September for the campaign, defending her dad against Democratic opponent Anthony Brown’s claims that Larry was “anti-woman” for his policy positions on abortion and contraception early in his political career. As Sterling narrated that her dad favors over-the-counter birth control covered by insurance and is committed to not changing Maryland’s law on a woman’s right to choose, the ad flashed two family photos showing the Hogans together—Larry, Yumi and their three adult daughters.

In his inauguration speech outside the Maryland State House on a snowy January 21, one of the first things Gov. Hogan did was thank his family.

“To my wife, Yumi, my daughters and my entire family, please know that it is because of your incredible love and support that I am able to stand here today,” he said, during a ceremony that included a performance of the “Star-Spangled Banner” sung by the Korean American bass baritone Kwang-kyu Lee.

Later that evening, Hogan, her three daughters and 2-year-old granddaughter, Daniella Velez, who is of Korean and Hispanic descent, took the stage beside the newly minted governor at the inaugural ball at the Baltimore Convention Center. As they smiled out into the crowd of onlookers, the multiracial first family made for a striking image, seemingly ushering in a new era for an increasingly diverse state.


This article was published in the February/March 2015 issue of KoreAm. Subscribe today! To purchase a single issue copy of the February/March issue, click the “Buy Now” button below.  (U.S. customers only. Expect delivery in 5-7 business days).


Subscribe to our daily online newsletter by clicking on the button below.

Get our daily newsletter


http://iamkoream.com/meet-yumi-hogan-marylands-new-first-lady/feed/ 0
Samsung Levels Up with New Galaxy S6 & S6 Edge http://iamkoream.com/samsung-levels-up-with-new-galaxy-s6-s6-edge/ http://iamkoream.com/samsung-levels-up-with-new-galaxy-s6-s6-edge/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 01:43:47 +0000 http://iamkoream.com/?p=74286 by JAMES S. KIM | james_s_kim

Samsung had a rough year in 2014. The Galaxy S5 smartphone garnered mediocre reviews, and the company lost a huge chunk of their market share to up-and-coming Chinese smartphone makers and, of course, their nemesis in Apple. These all contributed to Samsung’s first annual profit decline in 2011.

For a company that has always marketed its products as the “next big thing,” the new Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are going to have to come up big—now. Samsung debuted its new flagship models yesterday before the Mobile World Congress began this week. A first glance seems to immediately indicate that, at the very least, things will look a lot different.

Samsung went all-plastic and metal for this iteration, and there are no visible screws or seams anywhere. Both feature a 5.1-inch 1440p Quad HD Super AMOLED display, which, based on Samsung’s track record, should look amazing. The S6 Edge in particular, with its curved edges on both sides (compared to just one on the Note Edge) that give the phone hardly any side bezel.

But with this new “premium” look and feel, Samsung did trade away some functionality—and this may be a deal breaker for a number of people. With the all-glass and metal body, there’s no slot for a microSD card and no removable battery. The S6 also is not water-resistant, compared to its predecessor. The glass back of the phone could potentially mean less durability, as Apple found out with its iPhone 4 and 4s designs.

SM-G925F_026_Combination-1_White_PearlThe Pearl White Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. Image via Samsung Mobile Press

Under the hood, the phones are quite similar. Both have Exynos 7420 chips, after Samsung stepped away from using Snapdragon chips as they had done in previous Galaxy S smartphones. Both phones feature 64-bit Android Lollipop with a toned-down TouchWiz on top of 3 GB of RAM. Android Police describes the Exynos chip as “very, very fast,” compared to the numbers from the LG G3, Nexus 6, LG G Flex 2 and the new HTC One M9.

As for the batteries, they are actually smaller than the one in the S5. The S6 and Edge, however, come with wireless charging capabilities. Samsung also got rid of their problematic swipe fingerprint scanner on the S5, electing to follow Apple’s lead and switching to a one-touch fingerprint scanner. Samsung mobile payments is also coming in the second half of this year, too.

The camera includes the same Sony sensor in the Note 4, which has a spectacular camera to begin with. Samsung tinkered a little bit, adding Optical Image Stabilization to the main camera, which will shoot at 16 megapixels. The front-facing camera has also been bumped up to 5 megapixels.

SM-G920F_027_Combination-2_Black_SapphireThe Black Sapphire Samsung Galaxy S6. Image via Samsung Mobile Press

Samsung hasn’t revealed the price of either device, but there are three models for each smartphone, based on storage capacity: 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB. Expect the Edge to cost a bit more than the S6. Both models will have Pearl White, Black Sapphire and Gold Platinum colors, but the Blue Topaz will only be available for the S6, and the Emerald Green limited to the Edge.

At Samsung’s press conference on Sunday, Younghee Lee, a marketing executive for the mobile division, commented that the aluminum alloy used in the S6 and S6 Edge is “50 percent stronger” than competition and would not bend, to laughter and applause. Samsung has never been afraid to take shots at Apple—”Next Big Thing Is Already Here” ads come to mind. But all jokes aside, Samsung is now the one playing catch-up on the mobile front, and there’s never been a more pressing year for them to back up their talk.


Get our daily newsletter


http://iamkoream.com/samsung-levels-up-with-new-galaxy-s6-s6-edge/feed/ 1
South Korea Celebrates 96th Anniversary of the March First Movement http://iamkoream.com/south-korea-celebrates-96th-anniversary-of-the-march-first-movement/ http://iamkoream.com/south-korea-celebrates-96th-anniversary-of-the-march-first-movement/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 00:55:45 +0000 http://iamkoream.com/?p=74269 by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

South Koreans on Sunday celebrated the 96th anniversary of the March First Movement, also known as the Sam-il Movement, a series of demonstrations for Korean national independence from Japanese colonial rule.


33ec9db8The signing of the Korean Declaration of Independence (Image via LoveKorea)

In 1910, the Korean peninsula was officially annexed by the Japanese Empire, marking the end of the Joseon Dynasty. Under Japanese rule, Koreans were required to speak Japanese and adopt Japanese names. As a result, Korean culture and traditions began to diminish.

About a month after the sudden death of former Korean Emperor Kojong on Jan 21, 1919, a group of Korean students studying in Tokyo published a statement demanding Korea’s independence, which was inspired by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson’s “Fourteen Points” speech at the Paris Peace Conference. Many Koreans believed that Kojong was poisoned as there had been previous assassination attempts, such as the “coffee plot.”

The Movement

f0006347_47e256367aa66Pagoda Park during the March First Movement (Photo via Lucas Stories)

On March 1, 1919 at 2 p.m., 33 leaders of the independence movement convened at the Taehwagan Restaurant in Seoul and read the Korean Declaration of Independence, launching a series of nonviolent protests across the country.

The leaders initially wanted to meet at Tapgol Park, also known as Pagoda Park, but chose to meet at a more private location in order to prevent a riot. However, massive crowds appeared at the park to hear a student named Chung Jae-yong read the declaration and held a peaceful procession. Caught off guard, the Japanese authorities could not control the growing crowd and were forced to call military forces to quell the protest on March 1.

The Massacre

19336-2-2625Illustration of the Jeam-ri Massacre (Image via KC Times)

As the public protests continued to grow, the Japanese government’s response became increasingly more violent, resulting in massacres and mass imprisonment. One notable incident was the Jeam-ri Massacre. On April 15, 1919, the Japanese police drove at least 29 village residents of Jeam-ri into a church and set the building on fire after barring the doors. There were no survivors.

Approximately 2,000,000 Korean protesters, many of whom were civilians, had participated in more than 1,500 nonviolent protests before the Japanese brutally suppressed the movement. According to the book Bloody History of the Korean Independence Movement by Park Eunsik, about 7,509 people killed, 15,849 wounded and 46,303 arrested by the Japanese during the independence movement. Many of the arrested protesters were sent to Seodaemun Prison, where they were tortured and faced death without trial or due process.



Although the March First Movement failed to achieve the immediate independence of Korea, it promoted change. After the campaign, the Japanese colonial government briefly allowed Koreans to write and distribute Korean literature under the “cultural policy.” However these lenient policies were later reversed during World War II.

Since 1949, March 1 has been celebrated as a national holiday that commemorates the courage and sacrifices of those who died and suffered for the independence movement. Today many Koreans celebrate this holiday by distributing South Korean flags and participating in re-enactments of the nonviolent processions while shouting “manse,” which translates to “hooray” in English.


Featured image via Gwangju Blog

Get our daily newsletter


http://iamkoream.com/south-korea-celebrates-96th-anniversary-of-the-march-first-movement/feed/ 0
Cow Gets Loose on South Korean Highway, Causing Udder Chaos http://iamkoream.com/cow-gets-loose-on-south-korean-highway-causing-udder-chaos/ http://iamkoream.com/cow-gets-loose-on-south-korean-highway-causing-udder-chaos/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 21:04:36 +0000 http://iamkoream.com/?p=74276 by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

Okay, it was a male cow. But I just had to milk the pun.

A bull held up traffic on the Gyeongbu Expressway last week after it got loose when the truck carrying it—along with two other bulls—tipped over. Reportedly, the freed bull hoofed it along for 3 km and nearly 40 minutes before it was captured.

You can see the YTN News report below, which includes a shot of the upended trailer.

Thankfully, neither the bull nor any other motorists were harmed, although the traffic jam probably didn’t help any moo-ds (sorry). We do have to question the choices this driver and passenger made in following the bull maybe 1.5 car lengths behind it—just for the sake of a good shot on their smartphone.


Seriously, there’s a reason why people hate tail-gating motorists. Think of how mad the male cow must have been (OK I’m done).


Get our daily newsletter


http://iamkoream.com/cow-gets-loose-on-south-korean-highway-causing-udder-chaos/feed/ 0