In the East China Sea, a Far Bigger Test of Power Looms
New York Times
In an era when the Obama administration has been focused on new forms of conflict — as countries use cyberweapons and drones to extend their power — the dangerous contest suddenly erupting over a pile of rocks in the East China Sea seems almost a throwback to the Cold War.
Suddenly, naval assets and air patrols are the currency of a shadow conflict between Washington and Beijing that the Obama administration increasingly fears could escalate and that American officials have said could derail their complex plan to manage China’s rise without overtly trying to contain it. As in the Cold War, the immediate territorial dispute seems to be an excuse for a far larger question of who will exercise influence over a vast region.
N. Korea allows Swedish diplomat to meet detained U.S. citizen: reports
Yonhap News via GlobalPost
North Korea allowed a Swedish diplomat to meet with the 85-year-old U.S. citizen who has been detained in the communist country for more than a month, media reports monitored in Seoul said Sunday.
News wire services such as AFP and CNN said a consul met Merrill Newman at a hotel in Pyongyang and delivered medication sent by his family.
The Scandinavian country’s mission in Pyongyang acts as the “protecting power” for Americans in North Korea, and its diplomats provide consular services.
After escaping to South Korea, some defectors now want to return north
Since Son Jeong-hun defected from North Korea in 2002, he has helped other North Koreans escape and resettle in South Korea. That’s why so many people were surprised when he announced earlier this year that he wants to go home.
“No one had ever asked to re-defect to North Korea before,” Son says. “The government said it’s illegal; there’s no way to return.”
Son, who’s 47, wants to go home because he’s ill. He says his liver is failing and he wants to see his family in Pyongyang again before he dies.
Qualcomm employee left beaten after night of karaoke with friends
10 News (San Diego)
A family contacted 10News looking for help after a Qualcomm employee was left beaten with a brain injury after a night of karaoke with friends.
Andrew Oh, 24, is now in critical condition at Sharp Memorial Hospital. His sister Jessie tells 10News the family is struggling to find out how this could happen.
“He’s like the gentle giant,” she said. “We don’t understand why this would ever happen to him.”
Oh’s sister says he went to celebrate his roommate’s birthday last Saturday evening. They went to the Chorus Karaoke Bar in Kearny Mesa. Sometime that night, Oh stepped outside the bar and was later found early Sunday morning unconscious and badly beaten in the parking lot, said his sister, Jessie Oh.
Exchange Program in Spotlight After Korean Student’s Death in Brisbane
Wall Street Journal
Every year, around 50,000 young South Koreans go abroad as part of a popular government-sponsored exchange program—but the program is finding itself under the spotlight after a 22-year-old Korean student was killed in Brisbane, Australia.
Ban Eun-ji, a university student from southern port city of Busan, died Sunday after sustaining severe head injuries in an attack on her way to work as a cleaner at a hotel in Queensland state’s capital, according to media reports. Police have taken a 19-year-old man who they suspect of killing Ms. Ban into custody.
Ms. Ban had been in Australia for six weeks as part of the Working Holiday program, which the government promotes as an opportunity to work and travel at the same time. Nearly three-quarters of all Korean participants in the program choose Australia, partly because it is the only country among 16 that have signed agreements with South Korea that doesn’t limit participation.
South Korea’s schools: Long days, high results
The results of the international school tests – known as Pisa tests – are to be published by the OECD on Tuesday. In previous years, South Korea has been one of the highest achievers. But it means long hours of study.
Hye-Min Park is 16 and lives in the affluent Seoul district of Gangnam, made famous by the pop star Psy. Her day is typical of that of the majority of South Korean teenagers.
She rises at 6.30am, is at school by 8am, finishes at 4pm, (or 5pm if she has a club), then pops back home to eat.
She then takes a bus to her second school shift of the day, at a private crammer or hagwon, where she has lessons from 6pm until 9pm.
Sex, lies and video leaks
Kim’s boyfriend in college had asked her to look into his camera while they were having sex. She obliged as the video was supposed to be viewed between them only.
But after their relationship abruptly ended, her ex-boyfriend decided there was no reason to keep his end of the promise. He posted the video online for random people to watch and download it. He also posted her name and school to make sure that everyone knew who they were watching having sex.
The video circulated heavily among Internet users almost instantly.
In panic, Kim asked portal sites to delete the video, but it was too late. Soon, her friends and family became aware of it. She then shut herself off from all social aspects of life in shame for many years.
How Korean bureaucrats turned K-pop into a national symbol
If you visit South Korea, you’ll probably hear a triumphant refrain about Korean pop, known as “K-pop,” casting a spell over North America and Europe.
The narrative typically goes like this: Swarms of Western fans have been racing to K-pop concerts in recent years, falling in love with the young, colorful ladies of Girls’ Generation or the muscular, shirtless men of Super Junior. Thanks to their dazzling repertoire of, well, crayon pop songs, multiple concerts have sold out in the US, France and the UK. It’s a signal that the world is increasingly in awe of this homegrown Korean art.
You’ll hear this storyline in Seoul more often than the global triumphs of, say, Samsung or Tae Kwon Do.
Dia Frampton Stars In New Video From The Crystal Method
On Friday Dia Frampton Stars In New Video From The Crystal Method was a top story. Here is the recap: The Voice’s season two contestant Dia Frampton stars in The Crystal Method’s new music video for their latest single “Over It,” which comes from their upcoming self-titled studio album (out January 14.)
MSO sent over these details: The “Over It” video was Directed by Zak Stoltz and it follows Dia Frampton (The Voice/Meg & Dia) through a “Top Chef” style baking competition where the odds are stacked in her competitors’ favor as they use their sexuality to sway the judges.
Avett Brothers cellist Joe Kwon explains the band’s famous energy
The Avett Brothers released their eighth full-length album, “Magpie and the Dandelion,” on Oct. 15, and it debuted at No. 5 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums Chart. Rick Rubin, who has worked with artists from Mick Jagger to Jay Z, produced the record, making it his third album with the band. With influences of country, bluegrass, rock ‘n’ roll, folk and punk, the Avett Brothers play a style of music most commentators label as Americana.
Unique to the band’s sound and character is cellist Joe Kwon, who was born in Korea; grew up in High Point, N.C.; graduated from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill; and now lives in Durham. A few days before the Avett Brothers planned to perform on the “Late Show With David Letterman,” Joe found time to speak with me about the band’s new album, his passionate command of the cello, his artful endeavors in food and photography, and his new love of woodworking.
SISTAR’s Hyorin Makes Solo Debut With ‘One Way Love’ & ‘Lonely’
The K-pop girl group leader lets her fluttery vocals take center stage for two safe, but satisfactory singles.
After Hyorin landed K-Pop Hot 100 No. 1s with her girl group SISTAR, sub-unit project SISTAR19 and a special solo single, the K-diva is finally making her proper solo debut, promoting two singles: “Lonely” and “One Way Love.” If the objective was to launch the 22-year-old as a solo star with a unique palette of vocals colors and tones, well, mission accomplished.
The first taste of the Incheon native’s debut comes via the acoustic-leaning pop/R&B number “Lonely.” The production, while dreamy, is nothing particularly special or original for K-pop, but the vocal lines highlight Hyorin’s fluttery, hushed approach.
Running success from South Korea
The Star (Malaysia)
Running Man, another phenomenal export from South Korea, features a mix of reality TV, variety show, games and competition. Get to know the current members of the running team.
LEE KWANG SOO, 28
Who: Outside of Running Man, this runway model-turned-entertainer has acted in films such as The Scent (2012) and TV drama The Innocent Man (2012), mostly in comedic roles. For Running Man, his most well-known show, he won the award for Variety New Star in 2010 at the SBS Entertainment Awards and then a New Star Award at the same event a year later.
Running Man persona: Aptly nicknamed Giraffe due to his 1.9m height, he is massively popular and often gets the loudest fan cheers outside of South Korea, such as in Macau and Vietnam – hence he is known as the Asian Prince. On the flip side, he tends to betray his teammates for his own gain, so he is nicknamed The Betrayer as well.
Roy Choi’s POT at the Line Hotel in LA Coming in 2014
Los Angeles, get ready for POT, the upcoming restaurant from chef Roy Choi at the Line Hotel. The Line is located in LA’s K-Town and is owned by the Sydell Group, the team behind New York City’s NoMad Hotel. Choi will be doing all the food and beverage at the Line, and in addition to POT there will be POT Lobby Bar (based on “classic hotel bar[s] in Korea for international travellers”), a cafe inspired by bakery traditions of Taiwan, Korea, El Salvador, Mexico, and “supermarket birthday cakes,” and a more casual restaurant called Commissary.
POT itself is named for Korean hot pot (and not the kind of pot you smoke) and will serve “hot pots, blood soups, bbq” and more. According to Eater LA, no official opening date has been announced, but expect it shortly after the new year. Everything coming up Roy Choi these days, with a bestselling book that just came out and now a hotel’s worth of restaurants opening soon.
Louis Vuitton Publishes Seoul Travel Guide
French luxury fashion brand Louis Vuitton has published a new city guide for Seoul, highlighting features as the “fiery” tempers of Koreans.
The book is filled with observations of the city from the perspective of foreigners. Louis Vuitton has been publishing city guides since 1998. They have covered 13 major cities like London, New York, Paris and Tokyo. Seoul and Beijing were newly added in this edition, which is available in Korean, English and French.
Q&A with Christine Sun Kim: Connecting the Hearing to the Non-Hearing Through Art
San Francisco Weekly
Christine Sun Kim is a 33-year-old, New York-based visual, sound, and performance artist who uses sound as a medium in her work. She will be in San Francisco for a month-long is residency at Southern Exposure in January.
This writer was able to take a workshop with Kim recently at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where she directed participants in creating, “A Choir of Glances.” In this workshop, (during which participants wore earplugs and were not allowed to speak), participants translated words into facial expressions and sounds, ending with a live performance: Kim faced her choir and directed them in a choreography of improvised sounds and facial expressions. It felt like a joyful work.
Kim Jong-un ordered propaganda war against Park gov’t: official
Yonhap News via Korea Herald
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was found to have ordered an intensified propaganda war against the Park Geun-hye administration last month in a possible policy shift, a South Korean government official said Wednesday.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said South Korean authorities picked up intelligence that Kim ordered Kim Yang-gon, the head of United Front Department of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, to lash out at Park and her government.
The United Front and its head is in charge of inter-Korean relations and exercises power over the North’s spy agency.
Fisherman’s return stirs mixed emotions in Korean village
The recent return of a South Korean fisherman abducted by North Korea more than 40 years ago has reopened wounds in a small island village that lost 17 other men in a Cold War conflict that still simmers today.
Jeon Wook-pyo, who reappeared in South Korea in September after escaping from the North through China, has since paid a brief visit to Nongso – a remote outpost of around 170 people on the southern island of Geoje, about five hours drive from Seoul – but he won’t be settling back there.
“It wasn’t a nice feeling that he reminded me of my husband. There was nothing to feel good about,” said 82-year-old Ok Chul-soon, whose husband skippered one of two fishing boats that were seized with all hands, including Jeon, by North Korean patrol boats near disputed waters in December 1972.
She acknowledged Jeon’s return was welcome, but said she was too upset to stay throughout his visit, adding they would meet privately at some time so she could ask for news of her husband.
Reports: South Korean Arrested in Pyongyang a Christian Missionary
Voice of America
Media reports say a South Korean man arrested this month in Pyongyang is a Christian missionary, who was working there to help North Korean refugees.
The Wednesday reports, by the French news agency and South Korea’s Dong-A Ilbo, identified the man as 50-year-old Kim Jeong-Wook.
His family and other Christian activists told the news outlets that Kim had been helping North Koreans who escaped their homeland to China for years.
They say Kim was arrested after traveling to Pyongyang to check on the wellbeing of several refugees who had been repatriated by Beijing.
78% of Koreans Support Reunification
Seventy-eight percent of Koreans now support reunification of the peninsula, according to a survey released by the Hyundai Research Institute on Tuesday.
But the younger people are, the less urgent they believe reunification to be. Support was at only 66.8 percent among those in their 20s, 74.9 percent among those in their 30s, 84.6 percent among those in their 40s, and 84.2 percent among the over-50s.
Among academics and other experts, support is almost unanimous with 98.1 percent.
The divide becomes clearer in answer to the more specific question whether reunification would be in the national interest. Some 67 percent of the general public said yes compared to 98.1 percent of experts.
Most believe it will take more than a decade, with 55.4 percent of the general public and 68.6 percent of experts, followed by six to 10 years.
5 men extradited to U.S. in North Korean meth case
U.S. drug agents in Thailand took custody of five men wanted in the United States on allegations of being part of a drug ring that sought to traffic in North Korean methamphetamine and other drugs, CNN has learned.
The men, who have British, Filipino, Taiwanese and Slovak citizenship, were being flown to New York to face charges, according to a source.
Thai authorities announced the arrests after the men were turned over to U.S. authorities. A U.S. law enforcement official said the charges would be made public soon.
The men are part of a broader investigation that federal prosecutors made public in September, filing charges against a group of former U.S. and European ex-military men in a murder-for-hire and drug-importation plot.
Washington urged to block expulsion of Korean-American
Local civic groups called on the United States Wednesday to take action to protect an American businessman of Korean descent from being deported from South Korea after serving a prison term here for pro-North Korea espionage charges.
Michael Chang, whose Korean name is Chang Min-ho, recently finished serving a seven-year jail term in South Korea for gathering classified information and engaging in pro-North Korean propaganda activities in violation of the anti-Communist National Security Law.
However, he is currently being kept at the Cheongju Immigration Processing Center until he can be ejected from South Korea after the Justice Ministry ordered him to leave the country.
“The U.S. government has shown no position on Chang while making special efforts to secure the freedom of Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American who is in a North Korean jail,” said an alliance of South Korean civic and human rights groups working to win the release of conscientious prisoners in a statement.
Insight: Work ethic, comic hero make Koreans hot shots in car design
In today’s auto industry, where famed Japanese quality and durability are increasingly a given, design is king and, among designers, South Koreans are hot property.
From General Motors’ bold Chevrolet Camaro to the quintessential British gentlemen’s Bentley, more top models carry the flair and signature of a group of designers from South Korea, which some have dubbed “Asia’s Italy” for its impact on car design, fashion and aesthetics.
As competition in the industry becomes ever more cut-throat, partly as gaps in quality and technology narrow, automakers need bolder, edgier designs to differentiate. From a global talent pool, South Koreans stand out.
Hyundai will sell a hydrogen fuel cell SUV in 2014, 300-mile range expected
Hydrogen, not Botox or movie openings, is the talk of LA this week. Hyundai says it will begin selling a hydrogen-powered Tucson compact SUV in 2014. It’s one of several auto show announcements this week in Los Angeles and Tokyo about hydrogen fuel cell vehicles being readied for production. Hyundai says this will be the first mass-market hydrogen vehicle available in the US.
The hydrogen Hyundai Tucson is one of the highlights of the 2013 Los Angeles International Show, with press days Wednesday and Thursday. Hyundai sees a big future for hydrogen-powered vehicles because volume production might push down the cost of hydrogen fuel technology down faster than with the lithium-ion battery technology necessary for EVs and plug-in hybrids.
Is he the next Top Chef winner?
Korea Times US
Will another Korean come away with the title of Top Chef? Stay tuned.
On the heels of Korean American chef Kristen Kish, who won last year’s aforementioned reality TV competition crowning the best chef in America, another Korean chef is among the 19 contestants vying for this year’s title.
Making Season 11 of Top Chef all the more intriguing is L.A.’s own Brian Huskey. The 32-year old Research & Development chef for critically acclaimed restaurants Paiche, Picca, and Mo-chica, also happens to be the oldest son of a well-known real-estate mogul in the Korean community – Han Huskey and his wife Sookie.
Ailee’s Popularity Rises Following Nude Photo Scandal
Multiple K-pop stars over the past year have received considerable backlash from fans and the public for offences as small as not smiling on stage or misusing a word in an interview, but Ailee –who recently had a batch of nude photos leak online– appears to be benefiting from her scandal.
Since the photos hit the web, Ailee’s surged ahead in the fan-voted polls for the 2013 MAMA Awards. She’s now ranking first for Best Female Artist, surpassing Lee Hyori who was previously leading, as well as first in the Best Female Vocal Performance category, beating out last week’s leader, IU.
While it’s obvious that Ailee’s scandal has given her the extra votes to surpass formidable competition like Hyori and IU, you can’t say that she doesn’t deserve to be where she is. Her last two pop singles, “I’ll Show You” and “U&I,” were both huge hits, and she’s also featured on the third most successful single of the year, Baechigi’s “Shower of Tears.”
Spike Lee on “re-interpreting” South Korean action thriller “Oldboy”
Veteran director Spike Lee is packing in the action with his latest film, “Oldboy.”
The new mystery thriller is based off of the 2003 South Korean classic of the same name from Chan-wook Park. The original was noted for its brutal fight scenes and fierce depiction of violence, much of which was kept in tact for Lee’s adaptation.
While the plot details between the two films are fairly similar, the 56-year-old director recently told CBSNews.com that he doesn’t want audiences to see his latest work as just another retread.
“We’re not really calling it a remake, we’re calling it a re-interpretation,” Lee said.
The latest “Oldboy” stars Josh Brolin as Joe Doucette, an alcoholic businessman who gets kidnapped and cryptically held in solitary confinement for two decades. Doucette is suddenly released by his unknown captors and soon must find out who was behind the plot in order to save his daughter.
‘Oldboy’ Reimagines a Korean Tale of Revenge
New York Times
“Rage doesn’t have to fester for years, but revenge?” the director Spike Lee said, as he rapidly autographed 50 movie posters in a downtown Manhattan hotel suite. “That stuff takes time. It’s the oldest staple of films, in stories. It goes back to the Bible.”
In Mr. Lee’s new film, “Oldboy,”Josh Brolin plays Joe Doucett, an alcoholic ad man and negligent father who is imprisoned in a small, mysterious room for 20 years for no evident reason. Believing that he was framed for his wife’s murder, and that his daughter was abducted, Joe’s rage ferments until it is distilled into pure blood lust.
When Joe is finally uncorked from captivity, he is so monomaniacally bent on vengeance that his unnamed city itself seems to bend to his will. In one shot, Joe, wearing a grim black suit and a murderous scowl, literally glides through city streets, which scroll beneath him like moving sidewalks. He seems propelled toward his revenge, as if pulled by some unseen force.
WATCH PRISCILLA AHN’S VIDEO FOR “LEAVE IT OPEN”
Georgia-born singer, Priscilla Ahn, first made waves back in 2008 with “Dream,” a mellow, softly sung acoustic ditty with the clarity of tone and mainstream appeal of Norah Jones (in fact, they shared the same label), and a simple, black and white video that’s been viewed over seven million times. In the interim since then, the 29-year-old singer has released three full length records, but to be frank, this is the first track that’s really made us sit up and pay attention, and it seems Dave Sitek—who released “Leave It Open” on his Federal Prison imprint—is similarly enamored.
It’s easy to hear why. On “Leave It Open” Priscilla trades her trad, stripped blueprint for Casio beats and chillwave synths, with her airy vocals floating and falling in daydreamy echoes. It’s the kind of song best listened to sun-drunk and flat on your back, while reality slips away over the horizon. Meanwhile, the video—premiered above—raises several pertinent questions such as:
Jeremy Lin, Again
On Thursday night, Jeremy Lin stood in the visitor’s locker room of a familiar building surrounded by a throng of New York City reporters whom he must have vaguely recognized. The reporters asked Lin how it felt being back in the city and all the usual revenge-narrative questions, and Lin did what Lin always does — he was polite and noncommittal and thanked everyone and talked about how he was happy that the Rockets had beaten the Knicks. Patrick Beverley, who now starts ahead of Lin as Houston’s point guard, sat across the way, a towel draped over his lap. He seemed amused by the whole spectacle, although not in any malicious or snarky way. “I’m just glad I don’t have a locker anywhere near his,” he said. When Chandler Parsons came out of the shower, he corralled a Rockets team employee. “You gotta help me out,” Parsons said. The team employee gathered up all the bass in his voice and began edging his way through the mass of bodies and recorders and cameras to Parson’s locker, adjacent to Lin’s.
The scene, while lively, almost felt like a chore for the gathered press. Jeremy Lin’s return to Madison Square Garden is still a story, albeit one with diminishing returns. On Thursday night, even the fans couldn’t muster up too much enthusiasm for Lin’s return. There were a few boos when he went to the foul line or checked in at the scorer’s table and certainly more Asian dudes than one would usually find at Madison Square Garden in mid-November.
Hyun-Jin Ryu Bobbleheads Are Coming
Korea Times US
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 vs. the Cincinnati Reds.
Mark your calendar: Ryu Hyun-jin bobbleheads are coming to Dodger Stadium.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have handed out 10 bobblehead dolls in each of the last two seasons. They are always the best attended giveaway nights, to a point where the Dodgers build ticket packages built around them.
Lydia Ko reunited with Michelle Wie for pro debut
Lydia Ko has been paired with American Michelle Wie for her first venture into the professional golfing ranks tomorrow.
The duo are well aquainted with one another from their time competing among the amateur ranks, with Wie today taking to Twitter to voice her excitement at the news of their pairing.
“Excited to play with @Lko424 at her first tournament as a pro! #ifeelold,” Wie said.
As a former teenage sensation, Wie enjoyed a similar path to success as Ko, before turning pro shortly before her 16th birthday in 2005.
Are Asian Men Undateable?
The online dating website “Are You Interested” recently surveyed more than 2.4 million interactions on its site and confirmed what many of us suspect: America loves Asian women.
In fact, Asian female users are more likely to get messages, including inappropriate ones, from male users of any race other than Asian. This trend, popularly dubbed “yellow fever,” is not a new phenomenon, springing instead from an attraction to what some observers say is the exotic appeal of Asian women, and a self-indulging fantasy of being with women who are seen as docile and submissive.
While Asian women seem to be in high demand, Asian men do not. Asian female and non-Asian male pairings are seen to be common, but Asian men are often left out of the discussion over interracial relationships entirely. As one of my black female friends put it, “Asian men, along with black women, are probably the least desirable people.”
Deflecting An Asteroid, With Paintballs
When you think about ways to deflect an asteroid, your mind probably immediately jumps to heavy artillery. Things like lasers. Or Bruce Willis-style nuclear bombs. But Sung Wook Paek is working on a much lower-key approach to preventing Armageddon: paintballs.
Paek, a graduate student at MIT, one day found himself riding a bike and thinking about how we could deflect an asteroid hurtling toward earth. He said cherry blossoms were in bloom on MIT’s campus, and he was navigating across a path littered with little balls of fruit.
“Whenever I rode my bicycle on [the fruit], it popped up and made my bicycle tire dirty,” Peak said. Then the idea hit him: exploding balls of color — probably not the first thing that pops into your mind when you think about diverting a planet-destroying asteroid, but Paek’s idea is brilliant in its simplicity.
N. Korea slams President Park for fueling inter-Korean tensions
North Korea slammed President Park Geun-hye Tuesday for fueling tensions with provocative anti-Pyongyang remarks made during her recent trip to Europe.
The North’s Korean Central News Agency, citing a statement issued by an unidentified spokesman for the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK), referred to Park by name and accused her of being a hypocrite and only focused on maintaining a confrontational stance with the DPRK.
The DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name.
During her recent trip to France, Britain and Belgium, Park, who has made “trust building” the cornerstone of her North Korean policy, called on the isolationist country to get rid of its nuclear weapons and improve human rights.
Syrian regime recruited North Korean pilots – activist group
A British-based Syrian activist group claims Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has recruited 15 North Korean pilots to operate his regime’s attack helicopters.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors casualties and developments in Syria’s civil war, cited an opposition-linked website, which claims the North Koreans were brought in due to fears Syrian pilots might defect to neighboring countries.
In the past, there have been reports of Syrian fighter jet pilots defaulting to Jordan with their jets but the reports were never confirmed.
North Korea, a close ally of Syria, is thought to have sold military equipment, including chemical weapons and scud missiles, to the Assad regime in the past.
S. Korea pledges US$5 mln in aid to Philippines
Yonhap News via GlobalPost
South Korea will offer US$5 million in relief aid to the typhoon-ravaged Philippines and send a team of relief workers there, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.
The government decided to provide the Philippines with assistance in cash and relief goods including food, blankets and tents, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The goods will be shipped to the country after the Philippine government’s approval, which is expected to take a day or two, according to the ministry.
Samsung offers US$1 mln in aid to typhoon-stricken Philippines
Samsung Group, South Korea’s biggest conglomerate, said Tuesday that it has decided to offer US$1 million in aid to the Philippines, which has suffered from huge damage by a typhoon.
Typhoon Haiyan cut a wide swath of destruction through the central part of the Southeast Asian country last weekend, taking thousands of lives and leaving thousands of homes destroyed.
The group’s financial aid will be delivered to the country via the Red Cross and World Vision, a nongovernmental humanitarian aid group.
Meanwhile, the group’s flagship unit Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s biggest smartphone maker, will send a 20-member emergency team of its Filipino subsidiary to the areas hit by the typhoon to provide free repair service of home appliances, the group said.
Linking up Europe and South Korea ‘not easy’
Deutsche Welle (Germany)
Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to pay a state visit to South Korea today, November 12, where he will meet with President Park Guen-hye. The two leaders met on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg in September and have a full agenda for their two days of discussions in Seoul, including ways of improving bilateral ties, ensuring peace and stability on the fractious Korean peninsula and stepping up cooperation and exchanges.
Putin, however, is particularly keen on a project that could bring major economic and geo-political benefits to Russia: the long-debated plan to connect the furthest reaches of Western Europe with Busan, the South Korean port on the very tip of the peninsula, by railway.
This route would primarily follow the existing Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to the Russian Far East before crossing into North Korea on the short stretch of border that the two nations share, continuing south, traversing the so-called Demilitarized Zone that is the border between North and South and finally ending up in Busan, the largest container ship hub in Asia.
How to Cure South Korea’s English Fever?
Wall Street Journal
How much should a country pay to master the English language?
Based on the economics and outcomes of English tuition in South Korea today, the country is throwing excessive amounts at the task with meager results.
According to Swiss-based language learning company EF Education First, the average South Korean gets nearly 20,000 hours of English education from kindergarten through university. Much of that tuition comes at private institutes known as hagwon that Korean kids flock to stay ahead in the nation’s hyper-competitive educational race.
Ailee’s Agency Takes Legal Action Regarding Distribution of Singer’s Nude Photos
Ailee’s agency, YMC Entertainment, has taken concrete moves in order to take legal action in regards to the distribution of the singer’s nude photos.
A representative from YMC Entertainment stated to a local news source on November 12 KST, “CEO Jo Yoo Myung has personally appointed a lawyer in the U.S. However, we cannot currently reveal specific plans as we are still in the process of closely examining the facts.” The reason for appointing a U.S. lawyer is due to the difficulty of investigating from South Korea, as all sources of the photos are located overseas.
A source from the foreign affairs department of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency also commented, “The foreign affairs department doesn’t always take on every investigation involving foreigners.” Pointing to the lengthy and difficult process of obtaining help from U.S. law enforcement agencies and embassy, the source stated, “It will be hard to expect a proper investigation in the case of Ailee.” The source continued, “But if [the agency] appointed a U.S. lawyer, the speedy procurement of the identity of Ailee’s ex-boyfriend might be possible. It will depend on how much ‘Allkpop’ cooperates.”
Super Junior wows European fans
Super Junior held a successful first concert in London, where about 10,000 fans gathered, SM Entertainment said Monday.
The popular K-pop boy band performed at Wembley Arena in London its signature “Super Show 5.” The audience included not only British fans but also those from France, Germany, Poland, Hungary and other parts of Europe.
The group started off with “Mr. Simple,” which is the lead track from its fifth full-length album, and continued on with such popular songs as “Sorry Sorry” and “Sexy, Free & Single.” All together, the members performed 23 songs.
Samsung Debuts Online Drama Series
Samsung will begin airing a web-only soap opera this week in an effort to ride interest in TV dramas and connect with the country’s smartphone-obsessed youth.
Samsung Group spokesman Kevin Cho said the series is a new step for the company’s social engagement program, targeting South Korea’s twentysomethings with a story about penniless young jobseekers living together and the hardships they face in getting a job.
South Korea’s largest conglomerate by revenue appears serious about the production quality, recruiting an outside studio and K-Pop stars for the six-episode “Infinite Power.”
Video: Rob Gronkowski mocks Asian fan at watch party
Richie Incognito and Riley Cooper are among the NFL players who have come under fire for racially insensitive incidents this year. Rob Gronkowski may be next.
TMZ has posted a video of the Patriots tight end mocking an Asian fan. (See below.) The incident was reportedly filmed during a fan event last weekend. Gronkowski was scheduled to attend a watch party Sunday at Bar Louie in Foxboro.
When an Asian man wearing a Gronkowski jersey began dancing, the Pro Bowler said into the microphone: “They told me he could only cook fried rice.” Gronkowski later referred to the Asian fan as “Leslie Chow” after Ken Jeong’s character in The Hangover.
Sobban: A Korean-Southern diner
Wall Street Journal
There are fewer than 40 seats inside Sobban, the Korean-Southern diner set under the horseshoe-bowed roof and soaring plate windows of a vintage Arby’s. That hasn’t stopped the crowds that (mostly) wait patiently to try this exciting new restaurant — one whose time most definitely has come.
You could argue that Atlanta has emerged as one of the country’s (if not the world’s) great towns for Korean food, and many of the area’s best chefs find inspiration from the restaurants and markets throughout the Northern suburbs. We’re ripe for a Western-style restaurant like this, which assumes a certain level of familiarity and comfort with Korean flavors on the part of the customer, both in terms of its chile heat and its twangy funk of fermented vegetables.
This restaurant also has some budding star power behind it: Jiyeon Lee and Cody Taylor of Heirloom Market BBQ. This project seems more like Lee’s baby, and she oversees the menu. It feels one part derived from Korean family recipes and home cooking, one part Southern farm-to-table, and one part rock ’n’ roll new Asian in the manner of Miso Izakaya or Octopus Bar.
Chef Roy Choi Soups Up Instant Ramen With American Cheese
Thought you’d never look at another package of instant ramen again after college? What if American cheese was involved?
In his new cookbook, L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food, chef Roy Choi of L.A.’s famous Kogi taco truck (among a slew of other popular restaurants) shares this souped-up instant ramen recipe that will forever change the way you look at your 2 a.m. college dinner (or 2 p.m. breakfast).
“Making instant ramen is spiritual, important and methodical for Korean-American kids,” Choi tells Tasting Table. “It’s our peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”
A dangerous stalemate between Japan and South Korea
Relations between U.S. allies Japan and South Korea have descended to another low, fueled by issues of wartime history and the still-poisonous legacy of Japan’s harsh colonial rule over Korea from 1910 to 1945. The two countries’ leaders have not met since May 2012, and polls show that three times more Koreans view China favorably than Japan. A senior adviser to the Japanese prime minister recently suggested to me that the United States might no longer be given a free pass to use its bases in Japan to support South Korea in a war.
This dysfunctional relationship threatens to undermine U.S. security interests, including dealing with a rising China and an aggressive North Korea. For too long, U.S. policymakers have told themselves that wartime memories will eventually fade. It is clear that the passage of time cannot by itself cure the corrosive effect of historical injustice or dim the fires of nationalism among younger generations of Northeast Asians.
North Korean Naval Ship Mysteriously Sank
A North Korean naval vessel sank last month, according to media reports in North and South Korea, but the details, including the number of causalities and the reason, remain a mystery.
In a rare report on a military mishap, the North’s official news agency said Saturday that an unspecified number of deaths occurred while a submarine chaser was performing “combat duties,” the Associated Press reports. State media also reported that leader Kim Jong Un visited a military cemetery and displayed images of the leader beside stone markers inscribed with “Oct. 13.”
Uncensored Instagrams From North Korea Buck Brutal Trend of Secrecy
When Associated Press photographer David Guttenfelder first went to North Korea in 2000, he was plunged into the dark—he had to leave his phone at customs, and his hotel windows were covered with black plastic. But over time, the most restrictive country in the world has loosened up, at least for some. In January it allowed foreigners to carry phones; in February it activated a 3G network for visitors. As the AP’s chief photographer for Asia, Guttenfelder now sends out images from the Pyongyang bureau and posts daily to Instagram. In a country without the Internet, a reporter with social media is king, so we asked Guttenfelder for his report from inside:
I was the mayor of the Koryo Hotel in Pyongyang on Foursquare until a week ago. And if you’re seeing restaurant check-ins in the capital, my AP colleague and I probably left them. In a country known for its censorship, I’m now uploading photos to Instagram from the streets of North Korea like I would anywhere else in the world.
South Korea’s elderly population booms
There has been a gradual change in South Korea’s workforce in recent years, as it gets older.
The number of elderly people finding jobs in the capital has more than doubled in the past 10 years, because the country has the world’s fastest growing aged population.
Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett reports from Seoul.
Why Asians Are Deserting The GOP
Asian-Americans have been moving steadily toward the Democrats and away from the GOP. In 2012, Asians supported Obama by a staggering 73-26, compared to 62-35 in 2008. This is a remarkable trajectory for a group that, back in 1992, supported George H.W. Bush over Bill Clinton by a strong 54-30 margin. In every election since then, Asians have increased their support for the Democratic candidate, including elections like 2004 where most other groups, even progressive ones, were going in the opposite direction
COMMENTARY/ Haruki Murakami forms community of ‘coolness’ in South Korea
Asahi Shimbun (Japan)
On July 1, a 50-meter line formed in the new books section of one of the biggest bookstores in Seoul. South Korean TV stations and newspapers reported on this unusual scene with a hint of excitement.
It was the line for the release of the Korean-language translation of Haruki Murakami’s new novel, “Shikisai wo Motanai Tazaki Tsukuru to, Kare no Junrei no Toshi” (Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage). It was the first Korean translation of the writer’s book in three years since his “1Q84” was released in the language. This time, as in the past, Murakami returned to this country’s literary scene with great fanfare.
What created the biggest buzz was the report that Murakami had gotten a record advance of some 140 million yen ($1.4 million) for the new novel, substantially higher than the approximately 100 million yen he received as an advance for “1Q84,” a sum described at that time as unprecedented in the history of the South Korean publishing industry.
Four More Korean Americans Become LAPD Officers
Korea Times US
Becoming a police officer is an increasingly popular career option for Koreans in Los Angeles. Four more Koreans graduated from the Los Angeles Police Academy on Friday.
They are Kim Ko, Lee Ji-sung, Park Kyung-han, and Park Myung-hun. Kim, 22, is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara with a degree in history, and will work out of the Mission Hills station. Lee, who made a career change from teaching at the age of 39, has been assigned to the Olympic station. Park Kyung-hwan, 23, is a psychology major from UC Riverside and will patrol out of the North East station near Koreatown. Park Myung-hun, also 23, will work from the Valley station.
During the last five months alone, a total of six Koreans became members of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), reflecting its growing popularity. According to the Los Angeles Police Academy’s only Korean instructor Paul Ahn, they receive more than 100 Korean applicants per every 24-week session.
Park seeks to promote Korean culture in Paris
South Korean President Park Geun-hye watched French fans of Korean TV dramas sing and dance to the tunes of theme songs of popular series in the heart of Paris on Sunday as she sought to promote Korean culture on the first full day of her visit to France.
The Korean “Drama Party” was meaningful because the French fan club of Korean dramas, named “Bonjour Korea,” organized the event voluntarily, officials said. It shows that not only Korean pop music, known was K-pop, but also dramas are gaining popularity, they said. The event was held at the Espace Pierre Cardin performance hall near the famous Champs-Elysees street.
It was the first event Park attended after arriving in Paris on Saturday evening for a three-day visit. Her trip is aimed at bolstering business and financial cooperation as well as cultural exchanges between the two countries.
A Love Letter to L.A., From Its Street-Food King
The Atlantic Cities
When describing a plate of kalbi — the thin slices of marinated, grilled Korean short ribs — in his lively new book, L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food, the chef Roy Choi is a poet: “They came out of the kitchen a glistening, super deep brown caramel. This is L.A.’s southern comfort, its own version of American BBQ filtered through Korea, which is as amazing as anything from Austin to the Carolinas.”
Born in Seoul, raised in L.A. and ping-ponged through countless neighborhoods as a child, Choi — the man whose pioneering Kogi food truck introduced Korean tacos to the world and paved the way for the food truck craze to follow — is a bard of SoCal’s unlikely cultural collisions. (Subscribe to his colorful, R-rated Twitter feed, @RidingShotgunLA, and you get something approximating a mash-note rap to L.A. and other great food cities.) The book is a vivid, curb-level tour of Choi’s personal L.A., rich with photos and detailed narration.
Songwriter weaves thread of K-pop hits
Two hands are not enough to count the K-pop stars he has worked with; T-ara, 4minute, Beast and counting. Same goes for the smash hits he has produced.
As a result, he has earned the nickname “Midas touch,” forcing his clients to put their names on a long waiting list to receive his high-priced care. His fame seems unlikely to dim for a while since his ability to write music and know trends remains intact.
Taking advantage of the K-pop boom overseas and his fame, the star songwriter is looking to expand his business into overseas markets, especially into China.
“I’ve sold 15 songs so far this year and seven songs were hits, which means the success of my song is estimated at 50 percent or so,” said Lee Ho-yang, better known as “Sinsadong Tiger,” his pseudonym, in a recent interview with The Korea Times at his office in Seoul’s Sinsa-dong, home to several major incubators of K-pop singers such as SM Entertainment and JYP Entertainment. “It’s likely that I will sell four more songs by the end of the year.”
Could Detroit Tigers land free agent Shin-Soo Choo? One national writer predicts that they will
The Detroit Tigers have a high payroll. They face a tough decision when it comes to Max Scherzer, who will be a free agent next winter. Miguel Cabrera will be a free agent a year after that. They have seven free agents of their own and nine players eligible for arbitration this offseason.
They are not expected to make a huge splash in free agency. But at least one writer believes they will.
In his annual post about the top 50 free agents on the market, Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors predicts that the Tigers will sign free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, who will be one of the most sought-after free agents on the market.
Korean barbecue great Park’s fast food Oleego in downtown L.A.
Los Angeles Times
Name of restaurant: Oleego (which means “to place or lay on top” in Korean)
Concept: Fast food Korean in an upscale downtown food court
Chef: Jenee Kim, the owner of Park’s Barbeque, is trying her fast-casual Korean food concept at the TASTE inside the Fig at 7th complex
What dish represents the restaurant, and why? The galbi is the most expensive item on the menu (at $12), but worth it for the tasty tenderness. The beef strips come with a giant bone you can gnaw on. Although you can choose your favorite starch, the kimchi fried rice or the egg fried rice go best with the beef. The seasoning is a bit sweet, but Koreans usually swing a little sweet when trying to please American palates.
The New KFC : Korean Fried Chicken
The Korea Blog
Many people would associate Korean food culture with the traditionally tasty dishes such as Kimchi, Bulgogi, Sangyetang, Bibimbap etc. However, a new wave of Korean Food Culture that cannot be ignored is the Korean Fried Chicken, also known as KFC coincidentally!
The Korean Fried Chicken started off as a supper food, yasik, in the 1980s. For convenience, fried chicken was a popular home/office-delivery dish, just like how the original KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) had traditionally been marketed. Besides the chicken, the delivery would normally come with softdrinks and packed pickled radish too.
Why Kim Jong Un Snubbed Mongolia’s President
Wall Street Journal
Mongolia’s president had a busy four days in North Korea this week, meeting various officials and zipping around to Kim Il Sung University, a Pyongyang theater, the Munsu water fun park, the border with South Korea and Kim family mausoleum, among other places.
But after Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj had jetted out of Pyongyang on Thursday it became clear that he didn’t meet the one person expected to have capped it all: Kim Jong Un.
What’s with the apparent snub?
Experts say it may have something to do with North Korea’s ambivalent attitude towards the landlocked country to the north-west. The nomadic ancient Mongolians were considered barbarians by the Koreans, according to historians.
When It Comes to Slaying Asian-American Stereotypes, Ads Lead the Way
Before May runs out, let’s spend a few moments thinking about the importance of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, a time when the country recognizes the contributions and achievements of Americans of Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander heritage.
May heralds two important moments in history for the United States and Americans of Asian-American ancestry. In May 1843, the first Japanese immigrants arrived in America, and in May 1869, the Transcontinental Railroad was completed by a large number of Chinese immigrants.
President Jimmy Carter signed a joint resolution of Congress in 1978 to proclaim Asian-Pacific American Heritage Week an annual observance. In 1992, President George H. W. Bush extended the week to a month-long celebration. Each year since then, every sitting president has issued a proclamation commemorating May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.
Back to Korea
More and more Korean students who have come to the United States to study are on their way back to Korea. They say even the Korean companies here are refusing to sponsor them in order to obtain a work visa, making it impossible for them to get employed and stay in America.
One 25-year old female Korean, identified only as K here, says she’s been spending stressful days since graduating from Cal-State Northridge this year, during an interview with The Korea Times. “I was told since I was a sophomore about how difficult it is to get a job here, so I even changed my major from straight traditional music to more practical management in music, but it hasn’t helped,” she said. “At every job interview, they tell me they find it difficult to hire me because of my resident status, to a point now where I have to seriously consider going back to Korea.”
Many of her friends are facing a similar predicament. She says it seems like one out of ten has been successful in landing a job in the U.S. after finishing their studies here and added, “I even have a friend who got married here but still can’t find a job!”
Review: A one-man revolution rises up in ‘Sake Bomb’
Los Angeles Times
In “Sake Bomb,” twentysomething video blogger Sebastian (Eugene Kim) has a problem few film characters ever face: a sense of relentless, righteous rage for which there is no simple solution. For Sebastian, life as an Asian American male is one of perpetual defense against silent accusations of foreignness, meek quietness and — the one that really stings — small genitalia.
To disabuse the world (or at least his 10 subscribers) of such stereotypes, he bleats the concepts of Asian American Studies 101 over the Internet. In person, he’s even more unpleasant, indicting any Asian woman with a white partner as a self-loathing racist, a charge he doesn’t really believe.
Actress Jamie Chung Reveals What It’s Really Like to Train for a Half Marathon
A little over two months ago I was presented with the opportunity to run the San Francisco half marathon with Nike. It sounded like an almost impossible and utterly scary challenge, but after a solid week of consideration I decided to accept.
I’d never been one to set any fitness goals for myself— I was more of a running “dabbler,” if you will— but over the course of the two months leading up to the San Francisco half marathon, I really dedicated myself to a fitness schedule. That meant getting plenty of sleep, scheduling runs into my morning routine at least four days a week, adding extra protein to my diet to supplement all the calories I was burning, and running in the more supportive shoes Nike Lunar Glides.
As my training progressed I met other women running on the team, like the actress Jamie Chung! I jumped at the chance to interview her, and here are her tips for running, more about her routine, and stellar words of motivation.
Roy Choi serves up an appetizer with memoir ‘L.A. Son’
Los Angeles Times
Several years ago, a cookbook editor friend called asking my advice on whether she should publish Jacques Pépin’s autobiography. Pepin is one of my heroes in food, I told her, but I’d pass on the book — all chef biographies tend to follow the same story arc, there’s not a lot new to be said.
Wisely she ignored me, and though “The Apprentice” turned out just as I predicted plot-wise, it was one of the bestselling cookbooks of the year. I learned two lessons from that incident: I’m a lot better off as a second-guessing journalist, and when it comes to these autobiographies, plot is secondary to character.
What brings this to mind is Roy Choi’s new book, “L.A. Son: My Life. My City. My Food.” On the surface, there is not much to connect Pépin and Choi. Pépin is the consummate old-school professional. Choi is the tattooed bad boy popularizer of the Korean taco and the food-truck craze, thanks to his Kogi truck.
YouTube All-Stars: Why I Love Korea (Interview)
The YouTube Music Awards is going on right now and Seoulistic was lucky enough to be invited to take part in the event! Youtube flew out a few YouTubers to Seoul to film videos to promote the event. Some are in Seoul for the very first time, others have been living here for years. And we thought with these diverse backgrounds, it would be the perfect to ask people what they thought about Korea and what they loved about it! Hopefully, you’ll get to see why we’re running this site and making videos on our YouTube channel!
Roots of K-pop
Everything has its roots and humble beginnings of its own. K-pop is no exception.
While today’s genre is characterized by pretty young boy and girl bands with slick dance routines and computer-assisted catchy tunes, its primitive form nearly nine decades ago was nowhere near any sort of attention-grabbing fanciness.
Back then, the out-dated combinations of black and white traditional costume or “hanbok” was considered the sole “uniform” for singers, with which they solemnly crooned melancholy songs on creaking wooden stages under dim lighting.
They normally confronted another harsh reality after the show: social stigma. In a society affected by Confucianism for generations, entertainment was considered an inferior profession so that its practitioners were belittled with the derogatory nickname “tantara.”
Ken Jeong ready for SportsCenter
I’ve been in Europe this week, so I watched opening night NBA highlights in Dublin. We’ve been on a press tour for The Hangover Part III’s DVD/Blu-Ray’s release but it’s been the release of LeBron, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin that has been occupying my mind.
I’m a hoops addict — which is exactly why this opportunity to host tonight’s 6 p.m. SportsCenter, on the first Friday of the 2013-14 NBA season, is so humbling.
I grew up in North Carolina, which was heaven for a hoops junkie, with Duke and Carolina right there. (Editor’s Note: Jeong attended Duke as an undergraduate and received his M.D. from UNC. He is a licensed physician.)
Footballer Lee Chun-soo Says Sorry for Bar Brawl
Incheon United star Lee Chun-soo apologized in front of the press on Thursday for his involvement in a recent bar brawl.
The 32-year-old former national team member was accused of assaulting a customer at a bar in the early morning of Oct. 14. He faced the press this week and read out a written apology.
The footballer said he wanted to apologize to his fans and the club for letting them down.
Mystery meat dish in Koreatown a tasty surprise
Los Angeles Times
When I was in Korea a few weeks ago, I fell in love with something called tteok galbi, hand-chopped beef short ribs mixed with vegetables, aromatics, sometimes even pork, then grilled over a hot charcoal fire. Tteok is the Korean word for rice cake, but the patties are so called because they look a little like rice cakes, not because they include rice among their ingredients. They are more or less the local equivalent of hamburgers, served bare on a plate accompanied by neither rice nor bun.
The best tteok galbi tends to be served with the bones inserted back into the patties as a sign of authenticity, and maybe to add a little flavor. In Gwangju, there is an entire street devoted to tteok galbi specialists. In Damyang, the home of the dish, a platter of the juicy, crunchy patties joins bamboo “sashimi” as the heart of the region’s famous country meals.
I did not find it beyond imagining that among the several hundred Korean restaurants in Los Angeles, there might be one or two serving some version of the dish.
Korean art on exhibit at world-renowned U.S. museums
Korean art has been regarded as a spinoff from those of China and Japan, which are believed to possess the core of Asian cultural and aesthetic values. It is rare to have the opportunity to appreciate the sheer essence of Korean art on the international scene.
However, as Korea’s national profile is on the rise partially thanks to the cultural influence of “hallyu,” or Korean wave, global interest in Korean cultural roots is also spiking. Ongoing exhibitions in the United States featuring ancient artwork from Korea offer an opportunity for non-Korean visitors to discover the unknown beauty of Korean ancient art which is discernible among Asian cultures.
Supported by the National Museum of Korea, two major exhibitions on Korean art are taking place in east and west coast cities of the United States. “In Grand Style: Celebrations in Korean Art During the Joseon Dynasty” and “Silla: Korea’s Golden Kingdom” allow for a large-scale and in-depth exploration of rare objects from two ancient Korean kingdoms ― Silla (B.C. 57-A.D. 935) and Joseon (1392-1910). It is notable to compare the two distinctive cultures based on different ruling ideologies ― Buddhism in Silla and Confucianism in Joseon.
Instagramming North Korea
Three North Korean boys gaze attentively into the camera lens, their portrait surrounded by selfies and shots of fancy food. Nearby, a female soldier smiles as she salutes, and a woman runs a snack shack in the North Korean countryside.
They are the subjects of the trailblazing Instagram account of an American teacher in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital and perhaps one of the least understood places on Earth.
Drew Kelly, 24, is one of the few foreigners posting photos of North Korea.
Known as the Hermit Kingdom, North Korea is renown for its government’s secrecy and strict control on the flow of information. The country’s authorities and its reclusive leader, Kim Jong Un, severely limit what state media report and the access that foreigners, and especially journalists, have to the country.
South Korea’s Fashion Doyenne
Wall Street Journal
In 1947, at the age of 19, aspiring South Korean fashion designer Noh Myung-ja decided to change her first name to Nora. Her inspiration: the protagonist of Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 play “A Doll’s House,” about a housewife who leaves her children and husband to discover herself.
Ms. Noh, who had recently ended a marriage of convenience that helped her avoid becoming a “comfort woman” to Japanese soldiers, soon left Seoul to study fashion in Los Angeles. So began a career spanning more than six decades, in which the designer’s name and brand, Nora Noh, became a driving force in South Korean fashion for more than three decades, from the 1950s through to the 1970s.