Tag Archives: Seoul


Chloe Moretz and Eric Nam to Star in ‘We Got Married’

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

Hollywood actress Chloe Moretz is set to appear in the Korean mock-marriage reality TV show We Got Married, starring opposite Korean American singer Eric Nam.

We Got Married is an enormously popular show that pairs up celebrities and allows them to experience the many charms and quirks of married life. Since its launch in 2008, We Got Married has expanded and created spinoffs, in which Hallyu stars are paired up with celebrities from other Asian countries. According to the Korea Herald, Moretz is the first Caucasian celebrity to participate in the show.

chloe-moretz(Photo via Pop News Herald/Naver)

In 명동!! w @chloegmoretz! Thanks @laneige_kr

A photo posted by 에릭남 Eric Nam (@realericnam) on

After arriving in South Korea on May 19, Moretz met up with Nam to film the upcoming episodes of We Got Married. Nam gave the 18-year-old actress a fun tour of Seoul, complete with visits to a shoe store in Hapejong, a LINE Friend store in Garosu-gil and Seoul’s popular shopping district, Myeong-dong.

The two stars seemed to enjoy their date, evidenced by their cheerful selfies shared on Instagram.

On Thursday, Moretz was seen wearing a vibrant traditional Korean hanbok, alongside her older brother Trevor

In addition to We Got Married, Moretz will be making guest appearances on SNL Korea 6, fashion and beauty show Follow Me 5 and an interview on Pikicast.


Featured image via Pop Herald/Naver

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5 Facts About Teachers’ Day in South Korea

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

Today is a special day for teachers in South Korea. On May 15, Korean teachers and students annually observe Teachers’ Day (스승의 날), a holiday that traces back all the way to the early 1960s.

For those of you unfamiliar with the holiday, prepare to be schooled! Here are five facts about Teachers’ Day in South Korea.


1. Origin story: Get well, teacher

eu35LJ24(Photo via Oh Kpop)

Teachers’ Day in South Korea is said to have originated in Seoul back in 1963 after a team of Red Cross youth members began visiting their sick ex-teachers in hospitals. These visits gradually evolved into an annual observance that was held on May 26.

2. Date change and cancellation

200605150014_00Students at the Department of Korean Classics of Kyungsung University massage their professors’ shoulders.  (Photo via Chosun Ilbo)

In 1965, the date for Teachers’ Day changed to May 15 to commemorate the birth of King Sejong the Great, the creator of the Korean alphabet. South Korea shut down national ceremonies celebrating the holiday between 1973 and 1982, but later resumed them afterward.

3. Carnations, parties and “love cards”

Teachers'_Day_Gifts_South_Korea_05_2013Korean students give handwritten letters to an English teacher. (Photo via Join Chase)

On Teachers’ Day, Korean students traditionally pay respect to their teachers by presenting carnations, the same kind children give to their parents on Parents’ Day (May 8). Students also craft handmade “love cards” containing messages of gratitude toward their teachers.

Colleges and universities with an ample budget tend to throw special parties or performances for their professors. Special dishes are prepared and awards are given to the most outstanding educators in their fields.

4. Bribery

gift-on-tableA teacher’s desk laden with gifts from students on Teachers’ Day (Photo via Teachers Page)

Many schools in South Korea either close or have a half-day on Teachers’ Day, as many parents use the holiday as an excuse to give teachers expensive gifts that are considered to be bribes. Some schools choose to organize outings for their teaching staff to prevent this problem. Current and former students often visit their teachers during the day to pay their respects.

5. World Teachers’ Day

nha-giao1Vietnamese elementary school students present flowers to their teacher. (Photo via Zing.vn)

South Korea isn’t the only country that dedicates a day to honor their educators. Mexico also celebrates Teachers’ Day, known as Día del maestro, on May 15 by holding cultural events. Vietnam, Singapore, India, Philippines, Venezuela and Poland are among several countries known to celebrate some form of teacher appreciation day by having students prepare small gifts, performances and activities for their mentors.

In the United States, the first week of May is designated as National Teacher Appreciation Week, which was established by the National PTA back in 1985. World Teachers’ Day is also annually celebrated around the globe on Oct. 5.



North Korea Executed Defense Minister: NIS

by HYUNG-JIN KIM, Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered his defense chief executed with an anti-aircraft gun for complaining about the young ruler, talking back to him and sleeping during a meeting presided over by Kim, South Korea’s spy agency told lawmakers Wednesday, citing what it called credible information.

South Korean analysts are split on whether the alleged bloody purge signals strength or weakness from Kim Jong Un, who took power after his father’s 2011 death. Some aren’t even sure if it really happened. One expert described the reported development, part of a series of high profile recent purges and executions by Kim, as an attempt to orchestrate a “reign of terror” that would solidify his leadership.

National Intelligence Service officials told a closed-door parliamentary committee meeting that People’s Armed Forces Minister Hyon Yong-chol was killed in front of hundreds of spectators at a shooting range at Pyongyang’s Kang Kon Military Academy in late April, according to lawmaker Shin Kyoung-min, who attended the briefing.

Kim Gwang-lim, chairman of the parliament’s intelligence committee, quoted the spy service as saying Hyon had failed several times to comply with unspecified instructions by Kim. The office of another lawmaker, Lee Cheol Woo, released similar information about the NIS briefing.

The NIS didn’t tell lawmakers how it got the information, only that it was from a variety of channels and that it believed it to be true, Shin said. The agency refused to confirm the report when contacted by The Associated Press.

South Korea’s spy agency has a spotty record of tracking developments in North Korea. Information about the secretive, authoritarian state is often impossible to confirm.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said the U.S. can’t confirm reporting of the execution of North Korean officials, but added that “these disturbing reports, if they are true, describe another extremely brutal act by the North Korean regime. These reports are sadly not the first.”

Analyst Cheong Seong-chang at the private Sejong Institute think tank in South Korea questioned the authenticity of the report on Hyon’s execution because the minister still frequently appears in state TV footage.

North Korea typically removes executed and purged officials from TV documentaries, but Hyon has appeared multiple times in a TV documentary on live fire drills between April 30 and May 11, according to Seoul’s Unification Ministry. North Korea’s state media hasn’t mentioned Hyon since an April 29 report of his attendance of a music performance the previous day.

Hyon was named armed forces minister, the equivalent of South Korea’s defense minister, in June of last year. He was made a vice marshal of the Korean People’s Army in July 2012 before being demoted to a four-star general later that year, according to South Korea’s Unification Ministry. Kim, the South Korean parliament’s intelligence committee chief, said Hyon was the North Korean military’s No.2 man after Hwang Pyong So, the top political officer at the Korean People’s Army.

Kim’s purges over recent years are seen as efforts to bolster his grip on power. The most notable was in 2013 when Kim executed his uncle and chief deputy, Jang Song Thaek, for alleged treason. Last month, spy officials told lawmakers that North Korea executed 15 senior officials accused of challenging Kim’s authority.

Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Dongguk University in Seoul, said Kim Jong Un appears to be using purges to keep the military old guard in check because they pose the only plausible threat to his rule. Koh said Kim could be pushing a “reign of terror” to solidify his leadership, but those efforts would fail if he doesn’t improve the country’s shattered economy.


Associated Press writer Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul, and Matthew Pennington in Washington, contributed to this report. Featured image courtesy of Yonhap News Agency.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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campus seoul

Google Opens First Asian ‘Startup Campus’ in Seoul

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

South Korea’s startup scene is one of the most dynamic and fastest growing in the world, and Google’s “Campus Seoul” is expected to only add fuel to its growth.

Google officially opened Campus Seoul on May 8 after announcing the entrepreneurial center’s launch last August. Seoul is Google’s first Asian start-up campus and third international campus, following two other campuses in London and Tel Aviv. Google also plans to establish campuses in Warsaw and Sao Paulo in the near future.

Campus Seoul will support local entrepreneurs by serving as a “community hub” and foster creative ideas by connecting professionals on a local level. Additionally, the campus gives entrepreneurs access to Google’s extensive international network, which allows them to connect with fellow startups and venture capital firms on a global scale.

South Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) expects that Campus Seoul participants will attract more investment by targeting the global market from the beginning of establishing their startups. Previously, Google and the MSIP joined forces to support the K-Startup program, which attracted more than $23 million (USD) in investment and created 77 startup companies from 2012 to last year, according to Business Korea.

South Korea is quite fitting to house the first Google Campus in Asia. The country already boasts a reputation for being the perfect place to test next-gen IT technology, since it has the highest smartphone penetration rates and Internet of Things (IoT) utilization rates. The government is also pouring money into the startup scene, and the trendy neighborhood of Gangnam has become the brightest spot in the country for new tech businesses.


Featured image courtesy of Google’s Asia Pacific Blog 

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SW Day 6

Pic of the Day: The Force Awakens in South Korea on ‘Star Wars Day’

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

Yeah, we know. Star Wars Day was Monday. But if the Force is with you, Star Wars Day is every day.

South Korea held its first official Star Wars Day earlier this week, highlighted by a number of events in Seoul, including an imperial march through the streets of Myeong-dong that ended up in front of a Uniqlo store. The clothing retailer had been running a “Disney and Family Week” campaign leading up until Children’s Day on May 5, according to Asia Today.

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One blogger also attended a ceremony for newly christened Jedi Knights, with lightsabers and all, at the local CGV cinema.


Here are a few key Star Wars terms and phrases in Korean for your reference.

May the Force be with you.
포스가 당신과 함께 하기를
(Pronounced: Poh-soo-ga dang-shin-gwa hahm-geh ha-gee-reul)

(Pronounced: Kwang-sun-gum)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
스타워즈: 깨어난 포스
(Pronounced: Star Wars: Geh-uh-nan poh-soo)

These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.
이것들은 네가 찾는 드로이드들이 아니다.
(Pronounced: Ee-guht-deul-eun neh-gah chah-neun deu-roi-deu-deul-ee ah-ni-da)

Also, stormtroopers dancing to the classic “Nobody” by the Wonder Girls.

The Force will be with you, always.


Featured image via Naver

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Chanel Stages Its First Fashion Show in South Korea

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

French fashion house Chanel staged its resort fashion show at Seoul’s Dongdaemun Design Plaza on Monday night, the same night as the Met Gala. Despite this overlap, there were plenty of Hollywood celebrities seated in the front row, including actresses Kristen Stewart and Tilda Swinton as well as Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen.

This was Chanel’s first fashion show in South Korea, and creative director Karl Lagerfeld brought his A-game. Decorated in colorful polka dots, the venue was reminiscent of a large Twister board, especially with models strutting down a winding, rainbow-spotted catwalk.


오방색 물방울 무늬가 둥둥 뜬 DDP로 여러분을 초대합니다! ❤️ #ParisSeoulChanel


A photo posted by Vogue Korea (@voguekorea) on

Lagerfeld paid homage to the show’s host, featuring resort wear resembling hanbok, or traditional Korean garb. Models also wore black braided wigs inspired by South Korea’s Chosun dynastry.

“The concept is a modern, international version of typical Korean mood, how we see it for the modern 21st century but with inspiration from the past,” the designer told the Korean media at the show, according to Reuters. “I love traditional Korean clothes, materials, patterns.” 

Model Soo Joo Park, who was recently named the first Asian American ambassador for L’Oreal, opened the colorful show.  


A video posted by G-DRAGON (@xxxibgdrgn) on

@kimssung2 #sunghee #chanelcruiseseoul @wilhelminamodels @romanyoung @nomadmgmt A photo posted by Jonathan Yee (@yeejonathan) on

  @jihyeparkjhp @thesocietynyc @nomadmgmt #chanelcruiseseoul   A photo posted by Jonathan Yee (@yeejonathan) on

Several Hallyu celebrities also attended the event. BIGBANG’s G-dragon and Taeyang, 2NE1’s CL, Girls’ Generation’s Yoona, Super Junior’s Choi Siwon and f(x)’s Krystal were among the K-pop stars who watched the show from their front row, candy-colored seats. Actors Park Shin-hye, Jung Ryeo-won, Han Ye-seul and Lee Jong-suk were also spotted at the star-studded fashion event.

#KarlLagerfeld at #ChanelCruiseShow 서울.. A photo posted by YOONA (@officialyoong) on


Welcome to KOREA Karl photo by @shootingthestyle A photo posted by CL (@chaelincl) on


@xxxibgdrgn #ChanelCruiseSeoul   A photo posted by CHANEL (@chanelofficial) on


Featured image via Elle Korea/Instagram

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Seoul to Demolish the Last Surviving Slum Near the Ritzy Gangnam District

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

Seoul recently announced that the demolition of Guryong, the last surviving slum in the glitzy Gangnam district, will begin this summer after years of debate over redevelopment plans, reports Reuters.

In the shadows of Gangnam’s luxury high-rises, Guryong is a grim home to 2,000 residents, mostly elderly living in poverty. Most of the dilapidated homes in the area are made of plywood, metal, sheets of plastic and cardboard boxes. Amenities are sparse, and residents rely on coal to keep warm during the winter.

“I am scared that I will continue to live here and die here,” Kim Ok-nyo, an 80-year-old slum resident, told Reuters.

After her husband died of a heart attack nearly 30 years ago, Kim moved to Guryong, where she uses a shared toilet around the street corner. To support herself, she used to do temporary work at construction sites and clean one of the high-rise apartments that loom over the shantytown. She now depends on a monthly government stipend of 200,000 won ($187).

Last December, city and district officials approved a redevelopment plan that would allow them to build thousands of low-cost housing units as well as subsidized homes for current slum residents.

“We need to develop the area quickly to improve housing security for people there, because these illegal shacks are old, so they are vulnerable,” said Cho Gyu-tae, a Gangnam official handling the redevelopment.

The rise of Guryong slum settlements began in 1988, when the Seoul government chased hundreds of residents from their inner-city slum homes in an effort to “clean up” the capital for the Summer Olympic Games.


Featured image via Korea Herald

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[VIDEO] Mark Ruffalo Says, “I’m Moving to Korea” After Meeting Avid Korean Fans

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

Hollywood actor Mark Ruffalo recently appeared on the talk show Live! With Kelly and Michael and recalled his trip to South Korea, joking that he wants to move there after witnessing the ardor of his Korean fans.

“Now I can die knowing what it’s like to be a Beatle,” he said.

Ruffalo visited Seoul earlier this month to promote Avengers: Age of Ultron, along with Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and writer-director Joss Whedon. Since it was his first time visiting South Korea, Ruffalo, who portrays Hulk in the blockbuster sequel, was blown away by the warm reception he received at the airport and press conference.

“For some reason, I was really big in Korea. I’m huge in Korea,” Ruffalo said, causing everyone in the studio to laugh. The actor then showed the audience just how enthusiastic his Korean fans were by imitating their fangirl screams and hyperventilation.

Jesting that he does not receive the same enthusiasm at home, Ruffalo quipped, “I’m moving to Korea.”

Age of Ultron has monopolized South Korean theaters this past weekend, sweeping 90.5 percent of the market share, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The Marvel flick has so far grossed over $27 million in the country.

Ruffalo can also credit his enormous popularity in South Korea to his performance in the 2014 musical dramedy Begin Again, which quickly became the most-watched independent film of all time in Korean cinema history. Several Korean musicians, including SPICA.SLUNAFLY, Juniel and Kwak Dong Yeon, also covered the film’s original song “Lost Stars.”


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