Park annoyed with military over North’s drones
President Park Geun-hye yesterday reprimanded the military’s top brass for failing to realize that North Korea was spying on South Korea using unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs.
“I think the fact that our military authority was not able to detect information about drones at all means there is a problem with the air-defense network and ground reconnaissance,” she said in a meeting with her senior secretaries at the Blue House.
Park stressed that Seoul should come up with measures that could instantly block or destroy any kind of intrusions from Pyongyang.
Her comments come after three digital-camera-equipped UAVs, or drones, were discovered in different regions: Paju in Gyeonggi, Baengnyeong Island in the Yellow Sea and Samcheok in Gangwon.
Korean American makes skiers’ hall of fame
Toby Dawson, a Korean-American athlete who won a bronze medal in men’s mogul skiing at the 2006 Winter Olympics, has become the first man of Korean parentage to be inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame.
The retired mogul skier, along with Montana native Scot Schmidt, Kris “Fuzz” Fedderson and Aspen native John Clendenin, was inducted into the hall of fame on Saturday at a ceremony in Park City, Utah.
Dawson was orphaned in 1981, about three years after his birth in Busan, Korea. He was adopted by an American family in Colorado, where he first started skiing.
N. Korea Shuts Down Jang Song-taek’s Department
The North Korean regime has shut down the Workers Party department once headed by purged eminence grise Jang Song-taek and executed or interned 11 high-ranking officials, sources said Sunday.
One of them was burned alive.
A source said the regime is preparing a third purge of officials who supported Jang. The first purge involved his family, relatives and high-ranking party officials, while the second purge underway. The third will target his supporters in provincial chapters of the Workers Party.
S. Korea returns N. Korean sailors, bodies after boat sinking
South Korea sent home today three North Korean sailors who had survived a fatal sinking of a cargo ship in waters off the South, an official said.
The 4,300-tonne Mongolian-flagged ship carrying 16 North Korean crew sank in the international waters off the South’s southern island of Geomun on Friday.
Two bodies were retrieved from the sea and returned to the North along with the three sailors across the border truce village of Panmunjom, Seoul’s unification ministry spokeswoman told AFP.
U.S. envoy urges N. Korea to release Korean American missionary
A U.S. special envoy urged North Korea on Monday to release Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae, who has been detained in the North since November 2012, so that he can be reunited with his family and seek medical care.
“He has health problems. We’ve expressed the desire that he be returned to his family on humanitarian grounds. So far, we’ve got no positive response,” Robert King, U.S. special envoy on North Korean human rights issues, told reporters after talks with South Korean Foreign Ministry officials.
Bae, 44, was arrested on Nov. 3, 2012 while leading a tourist group on a tour of Rason, a special economic zone on the northeastern tip of North Korea that borders China and Russia.
South Korea Teenagers: Better Off Than Most?
Wall Street Journal
South Korean teenagers are notoriously pressurized lot, with a recent survey showing just over half having had suicidal thoughts over school concerns and future uncertainty.
But another new poll measuring well-being shows that they’re among the world’s best off by a broad compilation of metrics.
South Korea ranked third among 30 countries in the survey by the International Youth Foundation, the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Hilton Worldwide that measured the quality of well-being of people aged 12-24.
Will Korea become the new tobacco manufacturing hub?
Stringent regulations and a growing negative sentiment toward cigarettes have caused tobacco companies in the world’s most advanced countries to keep their heads down.
In Korea, however, where regulations are relatively lax and a large part of the population is still very open to the idea of smoking, the situation is a bit different.
Perhaps encouraged by this difference, Philip Morris International, the maker of Marlboro and other popular cigarette brands, has recently decided to relocate its entire Australian cigarette production facility to Korea.
“We decided to cease cigarette manufacturing in Australia by end of 2014, and transition all Australian cigarette production to our affiliate in Korea,” the company said in a statement on last Wednesday.
Ten Korean writers on a country sawn in half
After two years of political hot potatoes – first China and then Turkey – this year’s “market focus” country presents a different challenge to the London Book Fair, which runs this week: who wants to read books from Korea? The choice of name could be dismissed as opportunistically misleading: Korea is two countries, but the 10 writers who will be at the book fair are all from the south.
We’re desperate to hear the inside story of North Korea because it is the stuff of nightmares, locked in unending cold war, complete with nuclear bombs aimed at unknown targets. We have no access to the first-hand stories of its citizens, so we rely on western writers, whether of novels, such as Adam Johnson’s Pulitzer prizewinning The Orphan Master’s Son, or of journalism. Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea won the 2010 Samuel Johnson prize, while John Sweeney was more recently accused of putting a group of London students at risk by joining them incognito to research his book, North Korea Undercover.
Rhythmic gymnast Son wins 4 World Cup titles
South Korean rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon-jae earned four titles, including the individual all-around gold medal, at a World Cup stop in Portugal over the weekend.
Son finished first in ball, clubs and ribbon events on Sunday at the FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Lisbon, a day after claiming the all-around title.
Son became the first South Korean rhythmic gymnast to win an individual all-around gold at a senior international event.
Dresden to build ‘Korea Street’
Dresden will have a “Korea Street” to commemorate President Park’s state visit to Germany. (photo: Yonhap News)
Thanks to President Park Geun-hye’s visit to Dresden, the capital of Saxony will now establish a street named after Korea. The Grünes Gewölbe, or Green Vault, a well-known historic museum in the city with one of the largest collections of treasures in Europe, has also begun offering an audio guide to its collection in Korean.
Cheong Wa Dae said at a briefing on March 30 that Dresden Mayor Helma Orosz told President Park that he will re-name a street in Dresden as “Korea Street”. The Dresden mayor made the announcement during a luncheon hosted by the prime minister of Saxony, Stanislaw Tillich. The decision marks the friendship and cooperation between Korea and Germany and commemorates President Park’s visit to the city.
The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly
The best-selling Korean novel, marketed as “a Korean Charlotte’s Web,” loses something in translation
by ELAINE CHA
The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly is a novella I wanted to love. Since my time in Seoul from 2000 to 2002, I’ve longed for more English-language translations of contemporary Korean fiction. The discovery, therefore, of Hen—the Korean-to-English translation of Hwang Sun-Mi’s wildly popular Madang Eul Na-un Amtak—excited me as 1) a children’s lit lover, and 2) a heritage Korean speaker with very uneven reading and comprehension skills. Hen being hailed “a Korean Charlotte’s Web” stoked expectation. Comparisons to George Orwell’s Animal Farm intrigued.
And the prospect of being able to read the original—requiring a grade 5 level of reading, a good dictionary and some commitment—added to my anticipation.
While Hen did not rise to the occasion, the fault may lie more in its marketing than its content. It was unpersuasive as children’s fare, by E.B. White or kid standards. But as a work for an older audience (or a serious, introspective pre-teen), The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly is, like its Korean original, an affecting tale offering much for consideration. Continue Reading »
N. Korea fires short-range missiles, South says ‘provocative’
AFP via Yahoo News
North Korea fired short-range missiles into the sea off its eastern coast for the second time in a week Monday, prompting a warning from South Korea of “reckless provocation.”
The missile tests have clearly been timed to coincide with annual South Korea-US military exercises which kicked off a week ago and run until mid-April.
Two missiles were fired Monday and both flew around 500 kilometers (310 miles) into the Sea of Japan, according to South Korea’s Defence Ministry.
Four short-range Scud missiles were fired in similar fashion on Thursday.
South Korea proposes regular family reunions with North
South Korean President Park Geun-hye made a formal proposal to North Korea on Saturday to hold family reunions regularly, uniting families separated since the 1950-53 Korean war, a sign Seoul is seeking to improve relations with the North.
The reunions used to be held roughly annually, but until this February had not taken place since 2010 when tensions between the two Koreas spiraled after the South said the North sank one of its naval vessels.
The latest family reunion was held on February 20-25 at the Mount Kumgang resort just north of the border and a total of 813 family members met in tears and joy.
“I propose to North Korea to make family reunions regular in order to ease the deep sorrow of the separated families as soon as possible. North Korea too has separated families and I believe it also has to relieve their pain and agony,” said Park in a speech marking the March First Independence Movement Day.
N. Korea’s No. 2 man arrested
North Korean government may have locked behind bars the state’s second-in-command Choe Ryong-hae for not fulfilling his duties and other allegations deemed disloyal, Free North Korea Radio (FNKR) said Friday.
According to the media’s state correspondents, the Korean People’s Army (KPA) Chief was arrested at his home on Feb. 21 at around 6 a.m. Some 30 military guards detained Choe who at the time was getting ready to go to work.
The guards, after the arrest, confiscated all documents and appliances at his office in the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces.
Choe is known to have been serving his jail time in a cell located inside the State Security Department since then.
Park Geun-hye Asks Xi Jinping…
Exit Emperor Kim Jong-Il
SK President Park Geun-hye is said to have asked China’s President Xi Jinping whether there was a plan for China to annex North Korea as the 4th province of the Northeast (Dongbei) in the event that North Korea’s governance structure completely breaks down. Xi is said to have answered, no.
Presumably, the new leaders of the respective countries had vetted this question/answer prior to their summit (Beijing, June, 2013). Nevertheless, it is a loaded question, and it had to have caused stir among policy wonks in Beijing.
Park’s question goes directly to her initiative in unification of two Koreas under the leadership of South Korea. She sought consensus among neighboring countries, and appears to have persuaded Xi, Putin, and Obama that Korean unification under the South Korean leadership was good for the region.
Ex-Premier Murayama Expects Abe to Stick by Japan’s War Apologies
Wall Street Journal
Tomiichi Murayama, the former socialist leader of Japan who apologized for Japan’s wartime aggression, is the latest ex-premier to come out of retirement and make current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe uncomfortable.
Mr. Murayama, who is celebrating his 90th birthday Monday, said in a recent visit to South Korea that he expects Mr. Abe to stick by the 1995 “Murayama statement” that contained the apology. Mr. Murayama also wants Japan to uphold a 1993 statement apologizing over the “comfort women” issue, made by Yohei Kono, Japan’s then-chief government spokesman. The term comfort women refers to women and girls, many of them Korean, who were forced to sexually serve Japanese soldiers during World War II.
At a news conference in Tokyo on Friday, Mr. Murayama stepped up his criticism of those who want to revise the apologies, describing the recent controversy surrounding the Kono statement as “meaningless.”
South Korea Assails Japan on Wartime Brothels
New York Times
Unleashing fresh criticism of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, President Park Geun-hye of South Korea on Saturday urged him to be honest and courageous enough to face his country’s history of aggression in the early 20th century, especially its enslavement of Asian women in Imperial Army brothels.
“True courage lies not in denying the past but in looking squarely at the history as it was and teaching growing generations the correct history,” Ms. Park said, referring to Japan’s often brutal colonization of Korea from 1910 to 1945. “The more one denies the history of the past, the more wretched and more isolated one gets.”
Just a day earlier, Mr. Abe’s government said it would re-examine a landmark 1993 apology it made to the sex slaves, commonly known by the euphemism “comfort women.”
Former White House staffer Ronnie Cho ‘seriously considering’ Arizona congressional run
Former White House staffer Ronnie Cho is strongly considering a congressional run in Arizona, sources tell the Washington Examiner.
Cho, the former associate director for the White House’s Office of Public Engagement, has been taking calls encouraging him to run in Arizona since Democratic Rep. Ed Pastor announced Thursday he would retire after his current term.
Sources close to Cho, a Phoenix native and Arizona State University alumnus, said he is seriously thinking of throwing his hat into the ring in Arizona’s 7th Congressional District. If successful, he would be the first Korean-American Democrat elected to Congress.
Cho also has been an editor at Newsweek/Daily Beast and worked at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as associate director in the Office of Legislative Affairs.
Gourmet Heaven owner charged with discrimination, wage theft
Providence Journal (Rhode Island)
Gourmet Heaven owner Chung Cho was arrested Monday on five charges of discrimination against workers and five violations of failure to keep wage records at its Connecticut stores, according to Connecticut court records.
Four days earlier, on Feb. 20, New Haven police arrested Chung on 21 felony counts of wage theft and 20 misdemeanor charges of defrauding immigrant workers, according to the court records.
Gourmet Heaven has two locations in Connecticut and two in Providence, one on Weybosset Street downtown and the other, more recently opened, on Meeting Street on College Hill.
The Providence stores are not under investigation, according to Nicole Armstrong, program coordinator for the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training.
Oscars: Karen O Performs Ethereal ‘Moon Song’ With Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig
Karen O took the Academy Awards stage Sunday with special guest Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig accompanying on guitar for their performance of Oscar-nominated original song from Her, “The Moon Song.”
Dressed in a deep-V red gown, a seated Karen O brought an ethereal mood to the Dolby Theatre with Koenig’s help on supporting vocals. The performance was in stark contrast to Pharrell Williams’ show-stealing performance of Despicable Me’s “Happy” minutes before, with dozens of dancers amping up the star-filled crowd. An image of a moon rose as Karen O and Koenig crooned “The Moon Song” with the rest of the stage in black.
The two teamed up for a new version of “The Moon Song,” which was co-written by Karen O and Her director Spike Jonze, as part of a three-song EP released on iTunes. Karen O also recorded a solo version.
2NE1 Vs. Girls’ Generation: K-Pop Girl Group Battle Raging on the Charts
As two of K-pop’s biggest international acts, Girls’ Generation and 2NE1 dropping albums within days of each other was sure to stir up a competitive chart battle in both their native South Korea and abroad. According to early chart forecasts, both Korean releases should be making exciting chart moves.
Industry forecasters suggest that 2NE1′s new album “Crush” might sell around 4,000 copies by the end of the tracking week on Sunday, March 2. Meanwhile, Girls Generation’s “Mr.Mr.” EP could sell 3,000.
If 2NE1′s latest effort sells 4,000, it would easily mark the act’s best sales week; the group’s previous high came when “2NE1 2nd Mini Album” EP sold 1,000 in its first week in 2011.
‘Frozen’ Crosses $75 Million in South Korea, Breaks Local Records
Frozen broke several South Korean box office records over the weekend as it became Sunday the first animated feature and the second imported film to cross 10 million admissions here.
As of Monday, according to the Korean Film Council, the Oscar-winning film has grossed $75.48 million (80.45 billion won), making Korea the most successful market for the Disney animation outside of the U.S.
The film’s directors, Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, expressed thanks to Korean fans with a hand-drawn picture of the character Olaf and the message, “Thank you Korea for loving me so much! I want to give you all a warm hug!!”
The Chinese obsession with Korean dramas is making bad Chinese TV look bad
Days after a woman suffered a heart attack after staying up late to watch the hit Korean drama “My Love From the Star” (来自星星的你), Xu Qinsong, a Guangdong delegate to the CPPCC (Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference), stood up for the poor souls working in the lackluster Chinese domestic television industry by saying enough is enough with China’s Korean drama craze.
In a recent interview, the venerable Mr. Xu lamented how the Korean Drama obsession is hurting China’s “cultural self-esteem.” And the truth is, he does kind of have a point.
“My Love From the Star,” which recently concluded its first season on February 27, weaves a deeply complex and nuanced tale of a young, beautiful Korean actress (played by the young and beautiful Jun Ji-Hyun) who falls in love with her young and beautiful alien boyfriend (played by the young and beautiful Kim Soo-hyun). The show has been broadcasted on China’s video platform sites LeTv.Com and iQiyi, where it has reportedly been watched 14.5 billion times on the latter site alone. Damn. On February 14th, over 100 fans took out a full-page advertisement in the Beijing News to wish male star Kim both a happy Valentine’s Day and happy birthday on February 16th.
Korea’s indie rock music survives in shadow of K-Pop
South China Morning Post
It’s Saturday night in Hongdae, one of Seoul’s best-known entertainment districts. Alleyways that are quiet by day have transformed into bustling passageways lined with busy bars and restaurants; street food vendors have pitched tents to serve soju and fried seafood; and young men and women prowl the streets in their nightclub finery.
With so much action going on, it’s easy to miss the entrance to Club Freebird, an obscure but influential music venue in the area. Inside the bar, surrounded by the blue haze of stage lights, a small crowd sways to Led Zeppelin-inspired guitars and the siren-like vocals of a singer in black eyeliner, fishnet tights and shorts.
Apart from the cheap drinks, every member of the audience is here to enjoy something that South Korea isn’t known for: indie music.
Yoo Jae Suk Gifts University Students Who Appeared on “Running Man”
Comedian Yoo Jae Suk gave gifts to the guest university students who participated in the March 2 broadcast of SBS’ “Running Man.”
According to a “Running Man” representative on March 3, “Yoo Jae Suk gave iPads as gifts to the university students who participated in the ‘Running Man 2014 University War’ special.”
The rep explained, “Yoo Jae Suk wanted to express his gratitude toward all of the university students who actively participated on the show. He was too shy to give the gifts in person, so he asked the production team to give out the gifts on his behalf. He wanted to let this pass quietly, but people found out.”
Nike yoga master trainer Leah Kim: I felt out of place in an office
Leah Kim, 34, was an unsporty child destined for a ‘proper’ job. Somehow, she became Nike’s global yoga master trainer.
Growing up in California, it was the norm to be health-conscious and yoga was around my entire life. But it wasn’t until I was at college at UCLA [University of California, Los Angeles] that I walked into class with the teacher who would become my mentor, and yoga became a huge part of my life. During that first class, I started experiencing the aspects of yoga that go beyond the physical, that ask you to look within. It seemed like there was so much to learn and I just wanted more.
I was definitely not sporty at school – not in the slightest. Sometimes it feels like a fluke that I’m now a ‘Nike athlete’ but I stepped into my body’s potential when I stepped on to the yoga mat. I’d gone to UCLA to study economics but I wasn’t passionate about it. Growing up, there was an inherent expectation that I would get a ‘proper’ job in some sort of business capacity. But once I got into my cubicle at my first job out of college, I felt out of place and uninspired. I found I was so much more contented at the yoga studio than anywhere else and wished I could spend all day long there. Then one day I had the realisation – well, maybe I can…
S. Korean business man charged for alleged spying for North
A South Korean businessman has been indicted on charges of handing over classified information to North Korea, prosecutors said Tuesday.
The 55-year-old man, only identified by his surname Kang, is under suspicion of transferring state-of-the-art South Korean military technology between March 2012 and July 2013, as well as providing personal information on hundreds of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.
“The (leaked) data were important and could be used by North Korea for military or intelligence operations,” said an investigator at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office.
Among the leaked confidential data is the transferring wireless video and audio system technology called “KAISHOT,” prosecutors said. The technology was used by the South Korean Navy during the rescue of Korean sailors from Somali pirates near the Gulf of Aden three years ago, they added.
Virginia bill on ‘East Sea’ in home stretch
Use of the name East Sea in textbooks won approval Monday from a Virginia legislative committee, leaving just two steps before a longtime dream of the local Korean-American community comes true.
The House of Delegates education panel passed it in a 18-3 vote. The House floor is expected to vote Thursday on the bill, which requires new school textbooks to name the body of water between Korea and Japan the East Sea as well as the Sea of Japan.
Chances are high that it will pass the floor, given the level of support in the chamber. Since the legislation was already approved by the Senate, its fate will likely be decided by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who has the power to veto legislative measures.
N.Koreans ‘Want Reunification’
More North Koreans than South Koreans want reunification, according to a straw poll of defectors by Media Research with the assistance of the North Korea Refugees Foundation.
Interviews with 200 North Korean defectors, most of whom came to South Korea within the last two years, revealed that 76.5 percent of them believe North Koreans want reunification “very much,” and only three percent “a little.”
Two percent said North Koreans “do not really want” reunification, while 0.5 percent said they do not want it at all.
South Korea: Kim Il-sung ‘worship’ declared illegal
Jo Young-nam apparently went to North Korea in 1995. He travelled through Germany, Japan and China to get there, and later claimed political asylum in Germany. He was arrested in 2012 when he returned to South Korea’s capital, Seoul.
A lower court had ruled Jo’s visit was akin to sightseeing. But South Korea’s Supreme Court says Jo was supporting North Korean ideology when he saw Kim Il-sung’s embalmed body at an extravagant mausoleum in Pyongyang, leading it to ban the activity for all South Korean citizens.
“His worshipping at the palace, which symbolizes Pyongyang’s propaganda, can be interpreted as praising and propagating the North’s ideology,” the high court ruled. “The way in which he entered the North, his continued support of the enemy and the symbolic meaning of the palace should be taken into consideration.”
Korea Adopts Name-and-Shame Tool to Boost Jobs for Moms
South Korea will adopt a name-and-shame policy, publicly identifying companies with low female employment levels, as President Park Geun Hye targets 1.65 million extra jobs for women.
Policy steps will include increased subsidies for parents on childcare leave and preferential treatment for “family-friendly” companies seeking government contracts, six ministries said in a joint statement today.
With an aging population threatening to undermine South Korea’s economic growth, Park, the nation’s first woman president, has pledged to lift the female employment rate to 61.9 percent, from 53.5 percent, before her term ends in 2018. Cho Yoon Sun, the minister for gender equality, is working with the family-run industrial groups called chaebol to try to end male-dominated employment practices.
How I Learned To Feel Undesirable
It’s an odd feeling, as an adult, to look at a photo of your parents and feel perplexed by it. As a young child, I believed that most sets of parents looked like mine — a Korean man, a white woman — and it never registered to me that other parents looked different, or that their love could be something culturally undesirable.
But as I have moved through 32 years of looking at myself in the mirror, a time in which the vast majority of interracial couples I have known have looked nothing like my parents, I have come to see their love as something rare. Most men in interracial couples I have encountered do not look like my dad. They do not have his skin tone, or his combination of dark hair and dark eyes. My mom often tells me stories about when she began dating my father in suburban New Jersey in the 1970s, and I could only infer from her stories that her predominantly white community felt confused and unsure why a white woman would find an Asian man attractive.
I learned, slowly, painfully, over the course of my life that most people shared the opinion of my mother’s community. I know this, because I look like my father
Nothing like “Duck Dynasty”: My life as a female hunter
Female hunters are everywhere. They are on television as the women of “Duck Dynasty” and the ladies of “American Hoggers,” blogging under names such as “Hardcore Huntress,” and co-authoring bestselling cookbooks such as “Kill It and Grill It.” Is this reason for feminists to celebrate, or a symptom of something more complicated? And is there some unspoken rule that says female hunters must be white-hot blondes?
Alas, I am neither hot nor blonde (though my sister, during her rock-star phase, certainly qualified). I’m a Korean-American preacher’s daughter who hunts and butchers my own venison. I thank the land, the Lord, and the deer for the bounty I am about to receive, for I fully expect that one day, nature will be feasting on what’s left of me.
The New York Times isn’t writing fawning articles about the kind of hunting that I practice, even though my bona fides sound a lot like those of the goddess of girl hunting, Georgia Pellegrini. She went to Chapin. I went to Andover. She became a stockbroker. I became a professor. She cooks. Me too. Pellegrini turned to hunting after butchering a domesticated bird. That was also where I started. After the encounter with an eviscerated bird, however, everything diverges.
The 1960′s American K-Pop Tale of “The Kim Sisters”: From Post War Korean Poverty to USA Prime Time
If asked “What is the first Korean music you were introduced to?” how would you respond? Fans from the 90′s might say H.O.T., Seo Taiji and Boys, g.o.d, Fin.k.l and etc. More recent fans may respond with Girls’ Generation, Big Bang, Wonder Girls, 2NE1, and etc. However, if you were to ask the same question to an American in the 1960′s, they would most likely respond with “The Kim Sisters.”
Wait, the Kim Sisters? Who in the world are they? “The Kim Sisters” was a popular female music trio from Korea composed of sisters Sook-ja, Ai-ja, and Mia (Mia is actually a cousin of the two, but was considered a sister) who battled poverty and hardships on their journey to becoming a top act in the glittering light filled city of Las Vegas, as well as becoming a favorite guest on the popular Sunday night variety show “Ed Sullivan Show.” Lets take a look at their amazing story that begins with their musically talented family in war ravaged Korea during the 1950s.
The story of the “The Kim Sisters” begin with their musically gifted family. The mother of Sook Ja and Ai-Ja, Lee Nan Young, was a famous singer in Korea before the war, most known for her 1935 hit “Tears in Mokpo,” and their father Kim Hae Song was also a successful conductor. The sisters would lose their father during the war and the bombings would destroy their home. Lee Nan Young continued to support her family with performances for the GI troops stationed in Korea, when one day she decided to make the trio “The Kim Sisters,” composed of her daughters Sook-ja, Ai-ja, and niece Mia. Thus the group began, and the trio began singing together during their early teen years for GI troops stationed in Korea.
Foreign entertainers are finding fame in S. Korea
Korea Times US
Japanese actress Mina Fujii featured only briefly in the 2012 television drama “Emperor of Drama.” She had a very small role and her Korean was at a beginner’s level. But instantly, people began inquiring about her on the Internet. There was a demand for actresses such as Fujii in the Korean entertainment industry.
Having acted since she was a teen, Fujii was not a stranger to the Korean entertainment sector. She appeared in music videos with TVXQ, when it was still a five-member K-pop group, and the actor/singer Jang Keun-suk, who is known as “Prince of Asia.” Serendipity was it? Maybe it was. The Japanese actress however was frank and straightforward in saying that she came to Korea after a search for her niche in the competitive acting industry.
“I fell in love with ‘Winter Sonata’ as a viewer and started learning Korean. I didn’t study Korean with a certain purpose back then. I also liked how the drama continued for 45 minutes and had a different story and ambience,” said Fujii in an interview with The Korea Times. An actress since teen, the Niigata-native turned serious about making her entry into the Korean market when work dwindled after graduation from Keio University.
Orioles have made an offer to Korean pitcher Yoon, source says
The Orioles have enough interest in signing Korean right-hander Suk-min Yoon that they have made him an offer, according to an industry source.
Yoon has received multiple offers to pitch in the big leagues in 2014, but has not yet made a decision, a source said. That could come within the next several days.
Along with representatives from the San Francisco Giants, the Orioles attended a private workout for Yoon in California last week. Club officials wanted to make sure that Yoon, a 27-year-old who reportedly has a fastball in the low 90s, was healthy.
The 2011 Most Valuable Player for the Kia Tigers in the Korean Baseball Organization, Yoon also won a gold medal with the South Korean team in the 2008 Olympics.
Kimchi grand master Kim Soon-ja takes Korean dish global
South Korea’s best known dish is kimchi, spicy pickled cabbage, which is served with every meal of the day – including breakfast.
The grand master of kimchi is Kim Soon-ja, and she is South Korea’s secret weapon in expanding the appeal of the country’s national dish.
Mrs Kim explains why she wants people across the world to eat kimchi.
‘I am Homeland’ showcases Korean-American poets
A collection of poems written by first-generation Korean-Americans has been published in the U.S. It consists of 120 poems delving into their migration experiences, sense of displacement and their daily lives as immigrants in the country they chose as their second home.
Titled “I am Homeland,” the collection is edited by Choi Yearn-hong, a scholar who also serves as the founding president of the Korean-American Poets Group. In his introduction, Choi explains why the collection is unique compared to other works of literature written by second- or third-generation Korean-Americans.
He identifies as a first-generation Korean-American poet as well. Born in 1941 in Korea’s Chungcheong region, Choi first moved to the U.S. as an international student in 1968 and eventually settled in Washington, D.C., in the early ’80s. He still lives in the city.
Let Korean Photoshop Trolls Brighten Your Day Once Again
It’s Tuesday. There are days left in your week. Maybe you need a pick me up! Maybe you need Korean Photoshop trolls. I know I do. P
As Kotaku first pointed out last year, Korean Photoshop trolls make the internet a better place. And hopefully, they’ll make your day a better one, too.
Once again, the trolls folks at We Do Phoshop are taking requests, and will turn your photos into… something you aren’t quite expecting.
Koreas Plan Family Reunion Talks
Wall Street Journal
The two Koreas on Monday appeared to move closer to resuming reunions of families separated by the Korean War after North Korea agreed to hold preparatory talks at the border this week.
Breaking its weeklong silence on the South’s proposal that the reunions be held from Feb. 17 to 22, Pyongyang suggested a meeting on the northern side of the Panmunjom border village on Wednesday or Thursday
The South notified the North that it preferred Wednesday, Seoul’s unification ministry said. North Korea later agreed.
“Given the urgency of the family-reunion issue, the government will prepare for the reunions to resume as soon as possible,” ministry spokesman Kim Eui-do told a regular briefing.
French cartoon festival highlights sex slavery victims
A special exhibition about Korean women forced into sexual slavery during World War II attracted nearly 17,000 visitors during the four-day Angouleme International Comics Festival in France.
On Sunday, Minister of Gender Equality and Family Cho Yoon-sun welcomed the event for helping raise international awareness of the tragedy of wartime victims.
“The power of art is enormous. I feel vindicated that the wartime sex slavery issue has become a universal wartime human rights issue through the art of comics at this festival,” Cho was quoted by the ministry as saying.
The minister promised that she would continue to try and raise the issue at the international level through diverse forms of art.
Inside North Korea’s Western-funded university
In the heart of North Korea’s dictatorship, a university – largely paid for by the West – is attempting to open the minds of the state’s future elite. The BBC’s Panorama has been granted unique access.
Entering the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, it is immediately clear this is no ordinary academic institution.
A military guard salutes us as our vehicle passes through the security checkpoint. Once inside the campus we hear the sound of marching and singing, not more guards but the students themselves.
They are the sons of some of the most powerful men in North Korea, including senior military figures.
Wary NKorea struggles to stay afloat in info age
It’s late afternoon at the e-library in North Korea’s Kim Il Sung University, where row after row of smartly dressed students sit quietly, their faces bathed in the glow of computer displays as they surf the Internet. On the surface, it’s a familiar-seeming scene, which is exactly why officials are offering it up for a look.
North Korea is literally off the charts regarding Internet freedoms. There essentially aren’t any. But the country is increasingly online. Though it deliberately and meticulously keeps its people isolated and in the dark about the outside world, it knows it must enter the information age to survive in the global economy.
As with so many other aspects of its internal workings, North Korea has tried hard to keep its relationship to the Internet hidden from foreign eyes. But it opened that door just a crack recently for The Associated Press to reveal a self-contained, tightly controlled Intranet called Kwangmyong, or ‘‘Bright.’’
Document shows Japan’s aggressive lobbying against East Sea name
The Japanese Embassy in Washington signed a US$75,000 contract recently with a major U.S. public affairs firm in a bid to kill a legislation on the use of the “East Sea” name, according to a related document.
Yonhap News Agency on Sunday obtained the four-page contract signed in mid-December between the embassy and McGuireWoods Consulting LLC (MWC). It details the company’s strategy to block a legislative move in the U.S. state of Virginia on identifying the body of waters between Korea and Japan.
The legislation would require local school textbooks to name it the East Sea as well as the Sea of Japan.
MWC is developing “white papers and talking points on why the ‘East Sea’ proposal is bad public policy,” reads the document from the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) database of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Chun Doo-hwan’s Son Owns Prime Real Estate in U.S.
Disgraced ex-president Chun Doo-hwan’s son Jae-yong and his wife, actress Park Sang-ah, own a US$2.4-million home in Orange County, California, giving the lie to his claim that he is broke.
The property was discovered by journalist Ahn Chi-yong, who analyzed real estate registration documents and other materials for the Chosun Ilbo’s premium website on Sunday.
Prosecutors last month revised an arraignment of disgraced Chun Jae-yong and his uncle Lee Chang-seok, reducing the amount of taxes they allegedly evaded from W6 billion to W2.7 billion (US$1=W1,073). Prosecutors accepted Chun’s claim that he did not manipulate a real estate contract for the sale of a plot in Osan, south of Seoul to dodge W6 billion in taxes.
South Koreans drink twice as much liquor as Russians and more than four times as much as Americans
The biggest hard alcohol drinkers on the globe aren’t cuddled up somewhere in sub-zero Siberia; they’re sipping on Soju, in South Korea.
South Koreans drink 13.7 shots of liquor per week on average, which is the most in the world. And of 44 other countries analyzed by Euromonitor, none comes anywhere close. The Russians, the second biggest in Euromonitor’s sample, down 6.3 shots per week; Filipinos drink roughly 5.4 shots per week; and Americans consume only 3.3.
South Korea’s unparalleled liquor consumption is almost entirely due to the country’s love for a certain fermented rice spirit called Soju. The South Korean liquor accounts for 97% of the country’s spirits market.
S. Korea Crackdown on Underground Economy Stokes Angst: Economy
South Korean (KOGDPQOQ) bar owner Jeong Young Soo doused his body with paint thinner and set himself aflame, his final protest against a government crackdown to collect more tax from his industry.
The shock in front of Chuncheon city hall, northeast of Seoul, highlighted an underlying tension as President Park Geun Hye tries to squeeze an extra 27.2 trillion won ($25 billion) in revenue from the undocumented economy.
Extra pressure on groups from bar owners to doctors to mom-and-pop retailers contrasts with Park’s 2012 election-campaign focus on reducing the scope of industrial groups, known as chaebol, to create space for small- and medium-sized businesses. The clampdown may have the opposite effect, said Jean Lim, a Seoul-based economist at Korea Institute of Finance, a non-profit research center.
‘Frozen’ Sets South Korean Box-Office Record for Animated Film
Frozen has became the highest-grossing animated feature ever in South Korea over the weekend, while also selling the most tickets during the country’s long Lunar New Year break from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2. According to the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), the Disney film has grossed $44.17 million (47.7 billion won) in South Korea, passing prior record holder Kung Fu Panda 2, which pulled in $41 million (44.3 billion won) in 2011.
Frozen, about two estranged sister princesses trying to break a wintry spell that freezes their kingdom, has so far drawn more than 6 million admissions in South Korea as of Monday. It reached the box-office milestone in just 18 days, after taking only 17 days since opening on Jan. 16 to reach 5 million admissions. The film is expected to easily break 7 million admissions in the days ahead.
South Korea’s film offices often use admissions as their primary measure.
The Frozen soundtrack is also reportedly selling well, according to local music charts.
Expectations high for Korea’s Olympians
Figure skater Kim Yu-na and short-rack skater Shim Suk-hee are expected to lead South Korea to a respectable medal count behind traditional powerhouses at the Sochi Winter Olympics, according to recent projections.
In its preview of the Games, the Associated Press (AP) predicted Korea would win six gold, two silver and three bronze medals. That would put Korea in seventh place overall according to gold medal count.
Meanwhile, Sport Illustrated magazine predicted Korea would capture five gold, five silver and three bronze medals, finishing eighth in gold medals.
Both had Kim defending her gold medal in women’s figure staking over opponents such as Mao Asada of Japan and Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia.
James Hahn ready to make his move at Pebble Beach
San Francisco Chronicle
One year later, James Hahn still hears more about his dance moves than his golf skills.
Hahn stitched together a strong West Coast swing in 2013 – tie for fourth in Palm Springs, tie for 16th in Scottsdale, tie for third at Pebble Beach. Even so, most fans remember him for his animated, Gangnam-style dance off the No. 16 green at TPC Scottsdale (the party hole), after he rolled home a 20-foot birdie putt in the final round.
In nearly every tournament since then, spectators have asked Hahn to dance again. Even after a routine par on the first hole? Uh, no, he’s not really in the mood.
Pot Bar Now Opens Wednesday, Here’s What to Drink
The Line Hotel, a revamp of what was formerly known as The Wilshire Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard at Normandie in Koreatown, has a cool new minimalist look and a top shelf set of food and drink operators poised to make waves. While the hotel has been up and running for guests since early January, the property’s food and drink components are still in the works, but come Wednesday (yes, slight delay) The Line’s lobby bar, Pot Bar, part of Roy Choi’s Pot restaurant, will soft roll. Choi, who earned a name for his prized mashup of Korean and Mexican flavors at Kogi, has teamed up with eat-your-drink chef Matthew Biancaniello, a barman applauded for his own crazy mashup cocktails that sometimes involve uni and white truffles.