Monday’s Link Attack: ‘East Sea’ Movement Grows to Other States; San Jose Man Drowns; Shady Korean Weddings
Author: Cassandra Kwok
Posted: February 10th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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North Koreans In The South Who Want To Go Back Home

Son Jeong-hun escaped from North Korea more than 10 years ago. Since then, he has helped other North Koreans to resettle here in the south. The 49-year-old says that many were surprised when he announced that he wants to go back home.

“No one had ever asked to re-defect to North Korea before. The government said there’s no way for me to return, and that it was illegal. I was told that, at the very least, I need an invitation from North Korea if I want to visit.”

Son says he’s ill and wants to see his family in Pyongyang again before he dies. And he’s also broke – he couldn’t pay back a loan and lost his apartment. He says he now regrets coming to South Korea.

“I’m not making this up, 80 out of 100 defectors say they’d go back to North Korea to be with their families if it weren’t for the punishment they’d receive there. They’d go even if it meant they’d only be able to eat corn porridge.”

More U.S. States to Use ‘East Sea’ Name
Chosun Ilbo

More U.S. states are seeking to refer to the body of water between Korea and Japan as both “East Sea” and “Sea of Japan” in future school textbooks.

Last Thursday, a Virginia House of Delegates panel passed a bill authorizing the unusual use of both names, which goes against federal practice of settling for just one. On Friday, lawmakers in the states of New York and New Jersey proposed similar bills.

On Jan. 28, the Georgia state senate also unanimously passed a resolution to use the two names.

Korean residents’ groups in California, which is home to the biggest population of Koreans in the U.S. with 500,000 people, are pushing for the name “East Sea” to be used there as well, as do Korean residents’ groups in other states like Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Texas.

Republicans on mission to win over Asian-American voters
Southern California Public Radio

The Grace Ministries complex, spread over 26 acres in Fullerton, is where some 6,000 Korean-Americans worship.

But on a recent weekday, the turnout was much smaller. Just 70 people gathered in the church’s fellowship hall as Sharon Day, co-chair of the Republican National Committee, made a passionate pitch.

“We’re committed to tell you why the Republican party is the Asian party — why that’s where you should be,” Day said.

Surveys show Asian-Americans have made the biggest pivot away from the Republican party of any ethnic group in recent years. And now the GOP is doing its best to woo them back.

New York exhibition celebrates awakening of Asian-American identity in the 1970s
South China Morning Post

Asian Americans have a reputation for being apolitical, passive members of society. But that is not so, and has never been so, says Ryan Wong, curator of “Serve the People: The Asian American Movement in New York”, an exhibition now on at the Interference Archive in the Big Apple.

The exhibition, which runs until February 23, brings together posters, artworks, photography, magazines and music produced by social and political activist groups that were active in the city during the 1970s. It also shines a light on the years that saw the birth of the term – and the concept of – “Asian American”.

“The idea is to look at the identity of Asian Americans in a political context,” Wong says in an office of the Interference Archive, a Brooklyn-based organisation that focuses on documenting materials created by social movements. “It’s focused on the Asian-American movement, a constellation of activists and organisations in America, especially in Los Angeles, the Bay Area and New York City, in the early 1970s. At that time, there was an amazing outpouring of art, culture, and activism that was trying to identify the idea of Asian American-ness, as well as to put Asian Americans at the forefront of the international social movements that were happening.”

The Problem With The Asian American Consumer Report

As evidenced by a compilation of ads by top brands marketing to Chinese residents of North America during the Lunar New Year, the Nielsen report on Asian Americans may have finally succeeded in convincing corporate America to pay more attention to the fastest-growing U.S. multicultural segment. But Asian American scholars say the report may be a step backward for smaller Asian groups that are underserved and misrepresented.

All things considered, the holiday is also shared by other groups who were not particularly marketed to.

“There will always be diverse populations within Asian America that may not be successful,” said Vu Pham, former Asian American studies researcher and lecturer at UCLA. “We do need to work harder than 100% to achieve 100%.”

Orange County Gangster Says Restitution To His Attempted Murder Victim is Unfair
OC Weekly

No, Buena Park’s Kim is literally dirt poor.

He earns 13 cents an hour working in a prison laundry room and is irked that the government wants to take about half of that impressive income and give it to another man.

Outrageous, isn’t it?

Well, no.

In March 2008, 17-year-old Kim, a Sunny Hills High School student, and his fellow Korean criminal street gang punks decided to prove their toughness by trying to kill an innocent man visiting Emery Park in Fullerton.

According to law enforcement reports, Kim was the leader of the scumbags, who repeatedly shoved a knife into Jack Stotts and then took turns beating him with a baseball bat.

Coroner: San Jose man accidentally drowned at Santa Cruz wharf
San Jose Mercury News

A 31-year-old San Jose man who was found dead near the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf on Feb. 1 died from accidental drowning, according to the Santa Cruz County Coroner’s Office.

Ryan Kim was found unconscious and fully clothed in the water about 1 p.m., but it remains unclear how he got there, said Santa Cruz County sheriff’s deputy Ryan Kennedy. Kim apparently tried to climb the mussel encrusted wharf pylons and cut his hands and arms, authorities said.

An investigation concluded that there were no signs that Kim was suicidal and his death does not appear to be a suicide, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

How ‘Frozen’ took over Korean cinema
Korea Times

Stella Chung, a 39-year-old mom with two pre-school girls, thought that she was well past Disney movies until “Frozen” started sweeping local theaters. Following a friend’s recommendation, Chung took her family to the theater over the Lunar New Year holidays.

“It was the best Disney movie I’d seen in a long time,” Chung said. “I was as impressed with Frozen as I was with the old Disney classics I grew up watching, like Sleeping Beauty (1959) and Beauty and the Beast (1992). Frozen really combines all the qualities women look for in an animated film — a gripping storyline, lovely characters and unforgettable music.”

Chung is among many Korean women in their 30s who are revisiting their youth through “Frozen.” A recent report showed that the women in their 30s were the driving force behind the movie’s record-breaking performance at the box office in the last few weeks here since its local release on Jan. 16.

‘Mistresses’ Adds ‘General Hospital’ Alum for Season 2 (Exclusive)
Hollywood Reporter

Mistresses has added two characters for the new season.

General Hospital alum Rebeka Montoya and Catherine Kim, who was discovered at ABC casting department’s Los Angeles talent showcase, have joined the second season, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Both will recur.

Mistresses, from executive producer K.J. Steinberg, is a remake of the British series of the same name. Alyssa Milano, Yunjim Kim, Rochelle Aytes, Jes Macallan, Brett Tucker and Jason George star. Rina Mimoun and Bob Sertner are also executive producers.

Montoya will play Toni, a Latina lawyer whose ambition is matched by her beauty and whose presence will shake things up more than a few of the main characters. Kim, meanwhile, has been cast as Mia, Karen’s patient who leads the psychiatrist down a twisted path.

Viktor Ahn 1, Korea 0
Korea Times

The much-anticipated Viktor Ahn versus Korea showdown almost didn’t happen. And when it did, their drama proved merely a foil to the greatness of Canada’s Charles Hamelin, who won his third-career Olympic gold in the men’s 1,500-meter event at the Sochi Olympics on Monday.

Ahn, a three-time gold winner for Korea, trailed Hamelin and China’s Han Tianyu for the bronze, hauling in his first medal for his adopted homeland Russia, which had previously never won a medal in short track.

Hamelin, who took gold in the men’s 500 meters and 3,000-meter relay at the 2010 Vancouver Games, was considered a surprise winner as the 1,500 meters has never been the best event for the 29-year-old. Now, the Quebec native is favored to win multiple medals in Sochi.

Rejecting the U.S. to Skate for Russia
New York Times

In 2011, the South Korean short-track speedskating star Ahn Hyun-soo became a Russian citizen, changed his name to Viktor Ahn and pledged to compete for his adopted homeland at the Sochi Games. President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was said to be especially pleased.

But what if Ahn Hyun-soo had not become Viktor Ahn? What if he had become Joe (or Mike, or Bill) Ahn instead?

That seemingly unlikely situation is not so far-fetched. When Ahn, 28, went searching for a new Olympic allegiance after a falling-out with the South Korean skating federation, he and his father examined naturalization for top athletes in several countries — with the United States and Russia being the final two possibilities, said Jang Kwon-ok, a former Russian speedskating coach who helped recruit Ahn.

Jang, who has also coached the national teams of South Korea, Australia and the United States, said last week that Ahn, who will compete in the men’s 1,500-meter race on Monday, considered trying to switch to the American skating program but ultimately chose to go with Russia because it was an easier and more lucrative process.

South Korea: It’s a nice day for a shady wedding

Weddings here are not just huge American-style parties. They’re lavish, anxiety-inducing celebrations. They’re even sometimes used for nefarious purposes, such as influence peddling.

Families take the events very seriously. Their honor is at stake in a society where social stature is paramount.

Forget the American ideal of intimate affairs in bucolic settings. Families here are eager to show off their wealth and personal relationships, judged by the number of guests and the unbridled opulence of the event. Hundreds of co-workers, friends and distant relatives arrive even if they’ve never met the bride and groom. Otherwise, the hosts could lose face.

For some young couples, the demands are so grueling they lead to a pile-up of debt and fighting later in life

Korean-based operation takes stink, mess out of hog farming
West Hawaii Today

A Korean-based method of managing animal waste is improving hog farming conditions and garnering support on Hawaii Island.

“There seems to be a growing interest in natural farming,” Donn Mende, Hawaii County research and development deputy director, said.

Sim Mook Kang, owner of Kang Farms in Mountain View, adopted the practice for his piggery outside of Kurtistown in 2009. It was the first of its kind in the United States to use innovative waste management technology that, according to Kang, leaves most visitors surprised.

“It’s a pretty good system because there’s no smell,” Kang said.

World’s first robot theme park to open in South Korea
CTV News

A massive project is underway in South Korea that would bring the Will Smith movie “I, Robot” to life with the opening of the world’s first theme park devoted to robotics and artificial intelligence.

Slated to open in 2016, Robot Land will include a family-friendly amusement park with rides and attractions, waterpark and hotel, but will also be home to a graduate school for robotics, research and development lab, as well as a residential complex, retail center and condominium.

Spanning 387,505 square meters in Incheon, 30 km from Seoul and 15 minutes from the Incheon airport, Robot Land is a tri-level investment from national and local governments, as well as private developers, and is estimated to cost US$625 million.

Though details remain scarce, one of the main mandates will be to offer more “Asian and Korean content” in order to differentiate itself from other theme parks.

North and South Korea Set February Dates for Family Reunions
Author: Steve Han
Posted: February 5th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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Photo via CNN.

Family reunions of North and South Korean families separated during the Korean War will take place between Feb. 20 and Feb. 25, the South Korean Unification Ministry announced on Wednesday.

Barring a last minute change, the reunions will resume for the first time since 2010 and will be held at the Diamond Mountain resort in the southeast region of North Korea.

The two Koreas agreed to revive the reunions, which stalled while South Korea’s conservative former president Lee Myung-bak was in office, following face-to-face talks at the Panmunjom, a village in the border that separates the two countries. The agreement comes after South Korean President Park Geun-hye urged North Korea to hold the family reunions in a speech last month.

The North initially rejected the request, saying that “the mood wasn’t right,” but had a change of heart and agreed late last month to discuss reinstating the reunions. Continue Reading »

Tuesday’s Link Attack: SKorean Man Charged With Spying for North; Foreign Actors in Korea; Korean Photoshop Trolls
Author: Cassandra Kwok
Posted: February 4th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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S. Korean business man charged for alleged spying for North
Yonhap News

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
Yonhap News

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’
Chosun Ilbo

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
BBC News

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
Baltimore Sun

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
BBC News

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
Korea Herald

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.

Monday’s Link Attack: Japan Lobbies Against ‘East Sea’; SKoreans Ranked Biggest Drinkers; ‘Frozen’ Tops Korean Box Office
Author: Cassandra Kwok
Posted: February 3rd, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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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
Korea Times

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
BBC News

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
Yonhap News

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.
Chosun Ilbo

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
Hollywood Reporter

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
Korea Times

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
Eater (U.S.A)

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.

Dating Agencies Match North Korean Women With South Korean Men
Author: Young Rae Kim
Posted: January 31st, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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For the tens thousands of North Korean women who have escaped the oppressive regime, adjusting to life in South Korea is a struggle, particularly for those who fled alone.

An estimated 26,000 North Korean women are currently living in South Korea and 75 percent of North Korean refugees are women, according the Wall Street Journal. In addition, many refugees left their families behind in North Korea and are all alone in South Korea.

Such was the case with Na Soo-yeon who escaped to South Korea in 2008. In her solitude, Na turned to a dating company that helped her find a South Korean husband for companionship and support. Continue Reading »

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