Suspected North Korean defectors found off Japanese coast
The Guardian (U.K.)
Coastguard officials in Japan are questioning nine suspected North Korean defectors after they were found drifting off the country’s west coast, on Tuesday morning.
The group – three men, three women and three young children – were found by a coastguard helicopter 15 miles off the Noto peninsula, in Ishikawa prefecture, after a tip-off from local fishermen.
They were collected by a coastguard vessel and taken to Kanazawa for questioning. Their eight-metre boat bore Korean characters along its sides and was stocked with rice and pickled vegetables, Japanese media reports said.
A man claiming to represent the group told local media that they had come from North Korea and had intended to travel to South Korea. The man reportedly described himself as a member of the Korean People’s army, and said the eight other people on board were his relatives.
Hawkish senator obstructs confirmation of Sung Kim
The U.S. State Department is trying to persuade a senior Republican senator to lift a hold on the confirmation of Sung Kim, the nominee to become a new ambassador to South Korea, congressional sources said Monday.
Jon Kyl (R-AZ), assistant minority leader in the Senate, has been blocking the confirmation process for more than a month, according to the sources. He is known as a staunch conservative on foreign policy.
The article goes on to say that it was unclear exactly why Sen. Kyl is holding up the confirmation.
Police not ruling out foul play in former Cal golfer’s death
Police have not ruled out foul play in the death of Diane Kwon, a 21-year-old former golf star found dead last week in a shopping center parking lot.
Kwon, a graduate of Kennedy High School in Fremont, was not shot or stabbed, Sgt. Chris Mazzone said. Authorities are trying to determine her cause of death, which they are treating as “suspicious,” he said.
The Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau is performing an autopsy and a toxicology report, which takes four to six weeks to complete.
“We’re waiting for those reports to come back to find out the cause of death,” Mazzone said.
About 11 p.m. Sept. 5, a passer-by discovered Kwon on the ground near her car, behind a building formerly occupied by Barnes & Noble in Fremont Plaza, 3950 Mowry Ave., police said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Father’s relief as Chris Jeon, ‘dude with the AK47′, calls from Libya
The National (U.A.E.)
At first, it did not sink in. Front line? Front of what line? A concert or movie queue? A beach volleyball game? No, the caller said, your son is at the front line of the Libyan civil war with rebel fighters trying to oust a notorious despot.
Peter Jeon was stunned. “A friend said Chris was on the news, so we went on the internet,” said Mr Jeon, an orthodontist in Orange County, California. “Obviously, we were shaken.”
Moon Bloodgood Q&A
This former dancer turned actress and star of TNT’s post-apocalyptic thriller Falling Skies talks no small amount of trash while running circles around you in the gym or beating you to a pulp on Xbox Live. That’s right, Moon Bloodgood is perfect.
Dave Gibbons Is a Church Misfit
Check out this O.C. Weekly cover story by former KoreAm staffer Michelle Woo about Korean American pastor David Gibbons.
Newsong was on its way to becoming Orange County’s next big megachurch—then its pastor decided to pull back and go small.
Raising Kang: Single mother, single goal
Casa Grande Dispatch (Arizona)
Here’s a nice profile of a Latina single mother raising her son Michael Kang in Arizona.
Hawaii, it happens, is a part of Kang. His father is Hawaiian-Korean. His mother is Hispanic. He takes a bit of gentle ribbing from his classmates about his ethnic diversity. For Kang, that’s all just background noise, though. Military life has always been his focus.
How Korean Pop Conquered Japan
In Japan—a country that has prided itself on producing and exporting its own fantastical pop culture—Korean entertainment has come to gobble up massive portions of melodrama and musical market share. Not only do Korean dramas air frequently on TV, but in the past year Korean pop groups like Girls’ Generation and KARA have shattered sales records and become primetime fixtures on Japanese television programs, thanks to a mish-mash of Western club-friendly and a sped-up tempo appropriate for an arcade. This boom in Korean entertainment isn’t just about units moved or appearances on talk shows; Korean media, especially pop music, has exploded in the Land of the Rising Sun because the K-Pop architects have embraced everything that the Japanese music industry has shunned for years.
Scholar fights for Korean studies in US
[Professor Kim Yung-hee], currently director of the Center for Korean Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, is wrestling with a fresh challenge.
The class size of Korean studies there is shrinking.
“These days it is hard to find students who are interested in Korean studies as a major. As a Korean literature professor, this is my primary concern,” said Kim. “The arts and literature department is not a priority in many U.S. universities. I think this is the case for Korea, too. I understand many Korean parents encourage their children to attend either law or medical school in the hope that they can land high-paying jobs easily after graduation.”
Students’ lack of interest in Korean studies came as a bit of a surprise, considering the number of undergraduate students taking Korean language courses at the University of Hawaii has continued to increase. Approximately, 300 to 400 students attend the course every semester.
Seoul revival as students embrace Korean language
Good Korea move: 89 students have signed up for a new Korean language program at the University of Western Australia, which is riding a wave of teenage obsession with Korean pop groups and television.
“We initially had more than 100 and we had to put a cap on [numbers]. Nobody expected so many students,” Associate Professor Kyu-suk Shin said. Korean has been in low demand in Australia, despite official rhetoric about its importance.
Pizza on Jesa Table?
Ask a Korean! (blog)
This photo is generating an interesting online controversy in Korea. As the Korean covered previously, jesa is a traditional ritual in which the family gets together to commemorate the ancestors. (A jesa held on chuseok and other holidays are called charye [차례].) Jesa follows a strict guideline in all aspects, including what to put on the table and the order in which those items will be arranged.
Needless to say, pizza does not really fall under that guideline — hence the controversy.