Korean idol groups Girls’ Generation, KARA and TVXQ will not grace the stage at Japan’s widely-watched year-end TV show this year.
“Kohaku Uta Gassen” (The Red and White Song Contest), a live four-hour show aired on Japan’s taxpayer-funded broadcaster NHK, features the country’s biggest stars, according to AFP. The show is held on every New Year’s Eve with ratings usually eclipsing 40 percent of all Japanese households.
Korean girl and boy groups have long been stars in the Japanese music scene, but NHK officials said in a press conference that they were dropped due to low popularity over the course of the year. Continue Reading »
Asian-Americans and the Politics of Fairness
The fastest-growing U.S. demographic group is highly educated, relatively affluent and, politically, increasingly Democratic.
That’s Asian-Americans, who comprised 3 percent of this year’s electorate, a share that will keep growing. They voted almost three to one for President Barack Obama, according to the exit poll. Yet unlike African Americans or Latinos, Asian Americans are more highly educated — half have at least bachelor’s degrees — and are more affluent than whites.
Why then did they support the more liberal party?
The Pulse: Asian American vote could be a wake-up call to the GOP
Much is still being analyzed regarding the voting demographics for the presidential election. Some seem easily explained.
For example, the monolithic vote for Barack Obama among African Americans. His 93 percent support among blacks is no doubt attributable, in part, to his own race, and would explain why Mitt Romney received not a single vote in 59 Philadelphia divisions.
And, given the GOP primary climate, it’s not hard to understand why 71 percent of Hispanics voted against Romney, who ran as a severely conservative candidate on immigration. That was what the primary process demanded.
S.Korea presidential hopefuls resume merger talks
AFP via Google News
South Korea’s two left-leaning presidential hopefuls on Monday resumed talks aimed at uniting behind a single candidate to take on conservative front-runner Park Geun-Hye.
The talks were suspended last week after independent Ahn Cheol-Soo accused Moon Jae-In, candidate of the main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP), of lacking commitment to political reform.
Ahn and Moon only have one week to decide which one of them will drop out of the race and support the other, with the deadline for candidate registration falling on November 26.
S.Korea to hold drill on island shelled by North
AFP via Google News
South Korea will hold a military drill this week on a border island shelled by North Korea in 2010, marking the second anniversary of an attack that triggered fears of a full-scale conflict.
Friday’s drill will feature field and simulated exercises by marines stationed on Yeonpyeong island as well as other naval forces, a Marine Corps spokesman told AFP.
“The exercise will be held… based on various scenarios of provocations and attacks by the enemy,” he said on Monday.
Obama’s message for North Korea in visiting Burma: Let’s make up
On Monday, President Obama visited a medium-sized Asian country known for its international isolation, brutal military dictatorship and flirtations with nuclear weapons. If that sounds familiar, you are not alone in seeing some parallels between the reforming autocracy of Burma (also known as Myanmar; more on that distinction here), which Obama became the first-ever sitting U.S. president to visit, and North Korea.
Student arrested after Isla Vista stabbing
KSBY (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
A student at UC Santa Barbara was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a stabbing early Sunday that left one person with life-threatening injuries.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Peter Cho at a home in the 800 block of Embarcadero Del Norte in Isla Vista Sunday.
Deputies and campus police officers had responded to a report of a fight at a business in that same area at about 4 a.m. They found a man who had been stabbed six times and another person who had been hit in the head. The stabbing victim was rushed to the hospital and taken into surgery for inuries to his back, wrist, and side. He is currently stable. The other victim was treated and released at the scene.
Man charged with assault after parking lot fight
Westport News (Conn.)
Daniel Kang of Norwalk faces an assault charge after police said he was pummeling another man in the Charles Street commuter parking lot early Thursday.
Kang, 30, was straddling another man lying on the pavement and hitting him repeatedly when he was spotted shortly before 1:30 a.m. Thursday by an officer on patrol, according to the report.
A dream fulfilled: After plenty of studying, years of yearning, 88-year-old from Korea becomes citizen
Marietta Daily Journal (Ga.)
For Kim Kunsoo, America stands for the freedom to dream. At 88 years old, Kim fulfilled his dream of becoming a U.S. citizen.
“I always wanted to live here,” said Kim, as interpreted through his grandson, Brian Kim of John’s Creek.
Born on Aug. 9, 1924 in Korea (now South Korea), Kim longed for freedoms protected by the United States. “Throughout the Korean history, the U.S. was regarded as very high. We always dreamed about coming to the United States,” he said.
Choi wins final LPGA Tour event of the year
AP via Google News
If nothing else, Na Yeon Choi proved to be a big-money player this year on the LPGA Tour.
Choi captured her first major this summer at the U.S. Women’s Open, the biggest purse of the year. She turned a great season into her best one yet Sunday by winning the Titleholders and a $500,000 check, the second-biggest prize on tour.
For someone who has an appointment Monday in Orlando to buy a new house, the timing couldn’t have been better.
How Hines Ward would love one more chance at the Ravens
They are making a big mistake by allowing Hines Ward on the field at halftime tonight of the Steelers-Baltimore Ravens game. It’s wonderful that the Steelers are honoring him as a part of their 80th anniversary celebration. He’s one of their all-time greats. The problem is Ward might not leave peacefully after the ceremony. He might just run out on the Heinz Field lawn and pop Ravens safety Ed Reed.
For old time’s sake, you know?
“It’s probably a good thing I’ll be in a suit and tie instead of a uniform,” Ward said.
Top Chef Seattle episode recap: Kristen Kish from Kentwood still in the hunt
Kristen Kish, the Kentwood native competing on Top Chef Seattle, cruised through the first episode from Seattle.
While not on the top team, her team was nowhere near the bottom and had nothing to worry about when elimination was being discussed.
Kish is one of the 15 contestants who started on the show. I say started because we’ve added three contestants. The first twist of the season was to have three contestants who were booted from previous seasons be the judges of the Quickfire challenge only to then turn around and join the chefs as competitors for the grand prize.
Where the Chefs Eat: Chego’s Roy Choi
Where the Chefs Eat is an ongoing series in which we ask a local chef to give us his or her favorite dining options. This week, Roy Choi, chef and owner of Chego, A-Frame, Sunny Spot and the fleet of Kogi BBQ trucks, tells us his favorite spots to eat these days.
Roy Choi lives in Koreatown, and most of the eating he does is in and around his neighborhood in family-owned Korean and Mexican restaurants.
For Korean comfort food: “Seongbukdong is a small place with really amazing food,” Choi says. “They have a few signature items, like spicy braised mackerel, and kimchee rice porridge. It’s peasant food, completely delicious.”
After Psy’s Gangnam Style, here come Korea pop princesses Girls’ Generation
The Guardian (U.K.)
Almost two months after a portly 34-year-old armed with a catchy chorus and a comical line in choreography soared to the top of the British pop charts, the world doesn’t appear to have had its fill of Gangnam Style.
Psy, the Korean rapper whose viral video sensation (the YouTube view count stands at 738 million and rising) spawned myriad copycat videos by everyone from the US navy to pupils at Eton, became the first Korean artist to gain household-name status outside K-pop’s main hunting ground of Asia.
It now seems certain that he has blazed a trail. Girls’ Generation , a nine-member Korean girl group who had racked up millions of sales throughout east Asia long before Psy made “air” horseriding socially acceptable, are poised to release their first album recorded entirely in English.
South Korea extends missile range under new deal with U.S.
South Korea said Sunday that it would nearly triple the range of its ballistic missiles, allowing it to strike all parts of North Korea and a sliver of China, under a new deal with the United States.
The bilateral agreement, coming after nearly two years of negotiations, frees Seoul to develop and use significantly more-muscular missile technology at a time of steady concern about the belligerent North.
Families of South Korean Sailors Held by Pirates Ask Seoul for Help
New York Times
The families of four South Korean sailors held hostage by Somali pirates for more than 17 months appealed to the government on Monday to intervene for their release.
Jury deliberations broke down over one member’s view of self-defense
Joong Rhee’s trial for murder ended in a hung jury because one juror believed the accused could use any degree of force if he was defending himself when he allegedly bludgeoned Hae C. Park to death, according to two other members of the panel.
That lone juror agreed that Rhee’s explanation of the fight that led to his business partner’s death didn’t match the legal definition of self-defense, said juror Hector Jimenez.
Trial scheduled in 2011 slaying in Long Beach
Northwest Indiana Times
A trial date is set in the case of a Chicago man accused of causing the 2011 death of a 17-year-old boy with a single punch to the head in Long Beach.
James Malecek, 20, is scheduled to go on trial beginning April 1 in a case expected to take up to two weeks to present to a LaPorte Circuit Court jury.
Dr. Tom Kim: Missionaries could do more good by serving at home
Knoxville News (Tenn.)
In Acts 1:8, Jesus tells his disciples, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” The order in which early Christians were told to witness could mean that “home” missions are just as important as “foreign missions.”
Should Christians be as concerned about the home front as foreign missions? Clearly, both are important. How should we divide our efforts?
South Korea’s lost children return
Deutsche Welle (Germany)
Long before Samsung and Hyundai emerged as global brands, babies were South Korea’s top “export” – thousands of children were adopted overseas. Some are coming back as adults.
When South Korea was left in ruins following its war with the North in the 1950s, many children were sent to families in the United States or Europe. Western families were convinced they were giving these Korean orphans a better life.
Asian American YouTube stars join in promoting voter registration
Southern California Public Radio
Thirteen Asian American YouTube stars have joined in an effort to promote voter registration for the upcoming November elections.
Musical group Far East Movement, local YouTube sensation Wong Fu Productions and YouTube comedian KevJumba are just a few of those featured in the video. Each has proven themself an internet star; Wong Fu Productions alone has collected over 194 million YouTube views. KevJumba has a total of more than 300 million.
TV’s minority report not making the grade
Last time you went to a clinic, chances were good that your primary doctor was of South Asian descent — unless you happened to check into a TV hospital.
Fox’s “The Mindy Project,” a new sitcom about a lovesick ob/gyn, is the first series on broadcast television to feature an Indian-American in the lead role, a milestone that writer/star Mindy Kaling does her best to downplay.
Tim Kang: The secret side of agent Cho
New Zealand Herald
Actor Tim Kang says he is nothing like the character he plays in The Mentalist.
Actor Tim Kang expects more often than not to be wearing some type of uniform when he’s cast in Hollywood.
Kang believes directors seem to have honed in on his serious side – and it could be part of the reason he was cast as agent Kimball Cho in the successful crime drama The Mentalist.
Cheezburger reality show to talk dead LOLcats, other big issues
The golden age of LOLcats is upon us. All those irritating and occasionally awesome captioned pictures of kitties are digging their claws even deeper into the soft, sockless, and vulnerable flesh of our pop culture with a new reality show premiering on Bravo in about a month.
“LOLwork” is a comedic documentary-style show that keeps tabs on the goings-on around the Seattle offices of Ben Huh’s time-wasting (or productivity-boosting, depending on your choice of studies) empire, the Cheezburger Network.
Juilliard violinist gives demonstration to junior high musicians
Salina Journal (Kansas)
By the time Siwoo Kim was in sixth grade, he was such an accomplished violinist that he was invited to join the high school orchestra.
For the next six years, Kim and other members of the Columbus, Ohio, school band would visit elementary schools and play for them.
The result of these outreach visits, Kim said, was stunning.
‘Comrade Kim Goes Flying’ is a North Korean rarity
Los Angeles Times
When the Belgian filmmaker Anja Daelemans and the British-born documentarian Nicholas Bonner resolved six years ago to collaborate, they decided to add an unusual challenge: make a movie in and about North Korea.
It was, the filmmakers agreed, a wild idea. “A bottle of whiskey was involved,” said Bonner, only half-joking.
After all, no Western-financed movie had ever been produced inside North Korea. And no film shot inside the country had ever been edited outside it, as the pair wanted to do. North Korea’s repressive government — which had occasionally collaborated with China and the former Soviet Union on films, and once co-produced a movie with South Korea — had always refused to work with any entity from a Western European or English-speaking country.
HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH A K-POP STAR
The New Yorker
A Beijing resident for the past five years, the photographer Matthew Niederhauser has photographed everything from the ninetieth anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party to Beijing’s music underground, in his project “Sound Kapital.” For John Seabrook’s piece about the South Korean pop-music industry in this week’s issue, he turned his attention to the K-pop phenomenon, and to a concert in Jakarta, Indonesia, by the band Girls’ Generation.
FA to probe Millwall racist abuse claim by Bolton striker Sordell
Daily Mail (U.K.)
Bolton striker Marvin Sordell has claimed he and several team-mates were racially abused by Millwall fans during his side’s 2-1 defeat at The Den.
The 21-year-old said on Twitter that he had reported the incident and alleged Lee Chungyong, Darren Pratley and Benik Afobe had also been subjected to racist taunts.
Young North Korean Defectors Struggle in the South
New York Times
But when he finally made it to South Korea, and freedom, Mr. Kim faced an obstacle that even his considerable street smarts could not help him overcome. He had placed into a university under a new affirmative action program, but was haunted by the deprivations of his past and quickly slipped behind South Korean classmates who had already made it through years of an extremely competitive education system.
“I just couldn’t shake the memory of hunger from my mind,” said Mr. Kim, 26, who dropped out after just one semester and fell into a deep, alcohol-fueled depression.
It’s still ‘My Way’ or the highway under North Korea’s Kim
Los Angeles Times
So North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s recent embrace of Western songs, movies, cartoon characters and flashy fashion — public displays his late father and grandfather would have denounced as “spiritual pollution” — has set Korea analysts to pontificating on what the new leader’s cultural inclinations might signify.
Kim Jong-un Is Ardent Fan of Western Pop Culture
Highlights and the theme song from “Rocky 4″ were played during a performance by the newly-created Moranbong troupe in front of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last Friday. The show also featured groups of female singers dressed in mini-skirts, high-heeled shoes or off-the-shoulder tops reminiscent of the girl groups of South Korea, and performers dressed as Disney characters.
Top diplomats of two Koreas shun each other at ASEAN forum
Top diplomats of the two Koreas have pointedly shunned each other at annual security talks here, dashing hopes of a possible encounter and underscoring frozen inter-Korean relations.
Paying for Reunification: No Joking Matter
Wall Street Journal
When Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik came up with the idea of gathering donations from the public as a way to help cover the costs of Korean reunification, he raised more eyebrows than cash.
That hasn’t stopped him pushing ahead with the idea, and on Thursday evening he hosted a fundraiser-cum-comedy-show in northern Seoul to kick-start the program. The centerpiece of the event was the presentation of the first of his own hand-made ceramic “unification jars.”
Colin Farrell and John Cho square off in the new Total Recall clip
In less than a month the remake of the 1990 film TOTAL RECALL, from director Len Wiseman, will hit theaters and the marketing monkey is in full swing. Today we’re getting a newish clip from TOTAL RECALL which shows Colin Farrell going into the fantasy factory and having a short exchange with a bleach blonde Jon Cho. This remake doesn’t really give anything away since we’ve seen the majority of the clip in the previous trailers, but it’ll keep you all intrigued so you won’t forget to put TOTAL RECALL on your summer “to watch” list. We’re also getting a look at the international poster which features Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel, nothing special but nothing terrible either.
What they said: K.J. Choi
K.J. CHOI: You know, it’s bogey-free on the tournament in the 18 hole. Keep patient every hole. This week in birdie, good patient and good crowd. I love the people here.
Course is fantastic shape in the morning. More saving and greenside hit the putt. It’s a very good read. This really first time Graham caddie for me, so very good helping in this course.
Girls’ Generation’s YoonA earned $3.5 million USD in first half of 2012
Girls’ Generation is currently in the lead when it comes to being considered the nation’s girl group. Yet even among all the members who have each achieved such great popularity, member YoonA has earned the greatest salary. On top of the payments she receives as an artist, YoonA has landed a total of 20 advertisement deals and also completed another drama. As a result, YoonA’s total income has exceeded 4 billion KRW (approx. $3.5 million US dollars) after just the first half of this year.
Minjae Lee features iconic women in his upcoming work
Minjae Lee is a mostly self-taught artist who uses seemingly old-fashioned tools, such as markers, pens, crayons, and acrylics, to create art that focuses on ethereal women. His newest works will focus on iconic women that range in celebrity from actresses to singers to models. The chosen women to be featured in this series of artwork reflect both his Korean and worldwide influences.
22 stunningly photogenic destinations in Korea
While the book doesn’t necessarily make for the most exciting read (we would have loved some quirky/crazy personal stories featuring these destinations as settings), the 1,000-plus photographs are amazing, and the book is certainly crammed with historical and practical information.
Pet Dogs Abandoned and Sold by Owners for Korean Meat Market
At the height of summer, known in Korean as the Boknal, it has been reported that those who can no longer take care of their pet dogs take them to the Moran market outside Seoul in an attempt to sell them for meat, only to abandon them when merchants refuse to purchase a former pet [Moran is known for selling animals as both pets and meat].
The human rights crisis you aren’t hearing about
San Francisco Chronicle
Rarely do we hear about the horrendous human rights abuses that have been perpetrated for decades in North Korea’s political prison camps, where torture, public executions, and starvation rations are reportedly commonplace. One reason for this lack of public awareness has been the dearth of information. For a long time, North Korea was sealed as tight as a drum. But as cracks begin to show, more news comes streaming out. One of the most horrifying – and compelling – stories to emerge is that of Shin Dong-hyuk.
Price of Rice is Soaring in North Korea
Wall Street Journal
One problem with North Korea’s chronic food shortages is that they’re, well, chronic – so bad so much of the time that people tune out. As one North Korean official said in a recent report by Good Friends, “Every year we say this is the worst year, but this year is the absolute worst in our history.”
Now, there’s a market signal that the official may not be exaggerating.
Brother of South Korean President Is Charged With Bribery
New York Times
The elder brother and mentor of President Lee Myung-bak was arrested on bribery charges early Wednesday, further weakening the political leverage of Mr. Lee, a lame-duck leader already grappling with setbacks in both domestic politics and foreign policy.
Tokyo spearheads protests against monuments for Korean women
The Japanese government has ordered its diplomats in the U.S. to step up efforts to block the erection of monuments here for Korean women forced to serve as sex slaves for Japan’s imperialist troops during World War II, a source said Tuesday.
South Korea hints at scrapping whaling plan
AFP via Google News
South Korea said Wednesday it may scrap its fiercely criticised plan to resume “scientific” whaling if experts come up with non-lethal means to study the mammals in its waters.
“We may not conduct whaling for scientific research if there is another way to achieve the goal,” Kang Joon-Suk, a senior official of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, told reporters.
Studying and Struggling, 7,000 Miles From Home
Voices of New York (CUNY Graduate School of Journalism)
Hyuk “Jim” Ji spoke only a few words of English when he came alone to New York at the age of 16. Still, he excelled academically at North Babylon High School on Long Island, spending long hours poring over his schoolbooks, as he had in Korea.
“I’m not saying I’m smarter, but I already have good study habits ingrained in me,” he explained.
For Ji, it was everything else that was hard – making friends, understanding American teenage slang, adjusting to the habits of his Latino host family.
“In Korea I would go to school, take classes after school, go to a private tutor, and then go study,” he said. “I didn’t really know how to socialize outside of academics … at first I didn’t have my own friends.”
Living the Hite Life With the Cast of K Town
“The moment I heard you were a reporter, I said I’m not going to answer one more of your goddamn questions.”
Steve Kim may just be another Korean guy at S Bar with a faux-hawk and 400 Twitter followers, but he’s acting the part of entitled reality star remarkably well. We’re at Palm Tree L.A., a little slice of fiber-optic candy-colored Vegas cheese unassumingly hidden on the fourth floor of a nondescript building on Wilshire Boulevard, sitting around a manic, blacklit explosion of fruit platters, Hite beer, and Johnny Walker Black. It’s the final shooting day on the reality television show on which Steve is a primary cast member. The cameras are off for now and the mood is relaxed, if not a little weary, five hours into what constitutes a workday for this crowd. So Steve’s sudden burst of anti-journalist vitriol was a little out of nowhere, especially in response to my offhand inquiry about karaoke plans. This guy can’t possibly be for real, right?
2NE1 ― pushing boundaries, defying expectations
From day one, K-pop foursome 2NE1 have been all about breaking rules and surprises.
Their larger-than-life stage presence and natural charm were already enough to make them stars but their uncanny ability to produce something fresh and out of the ordinary with every new release — catching fans and casual listeners off-guard without exception — has placed them in a league of their own.
Girls’ Generation most popular among foreign K-pop fans
South Korean group Girls’ Generation was the No. 1 choice for foreigners participating in a South Korean contest for emulating the choreography of popular K-pop groups, the organizer said Tuesday.
After analyzing video footage sent in by the participants of the “2012 K-pop Cover Dance Festival,” contest organizer Korea Year Committee said that Girls’ Generation was emulated in 155 instances, the largest number.
Roy Choi of Kogi Featured in Ride-Along Film For Nowness
Roy Choi has become a fixture in the L.A since he burst on to the culinary scene with his Kogi mobiles in 2009. The Korean-American chef has never left us bored; from winning Food & Wine Best New Chef to his rumored vegetarianism he is always breaking the mold.
Nowness did a ride-along with Choi, exploring his ideals of feeding both the belly and the soul in a short film.
Lucky Rice Night Market Coming to L.A.
Lucky Rice, the New York-based Asian food festival whose “culinary council” includes the like of Anthony Bourdain, David Chang, Marcus Samuelsson, and Masharu Morimoto, is moving out west — well, further west that is. On the heels of its Las Vegas event back in June, Lucky Rice laid out plans for its next stop in Los Angeles, announcing an August 4 event at the Helms Bakery complex just east of Culver City.
Ballerina Seo Hee Rises to Principal Dancer at American Ballet Theater
Korean ballerina Seo Hee has become a principal dancer at the prestigious American Ballet Theater. Her appointment marks the first time that a Korean dancer has been promoted to the position within the ABT, which is considered one of the world’s three leading ballet companies.
Seoul’s last 1-screen cinema plays classic finale
AP via Google News
Seoul’s last old-style, one-screen cinema, soon to be knocked down and replaced by a hotel, played its final movie Wednesday — the Italian classic “The Bicycle Thief” — a moment so emotional for the theater operator that she publicly shaved her head in frustration.
The theater, which opened in 1964, had become a place where mostly elderly moviegoers gathered regularly to watch classic Hollywood and South Korean films and indulge in nostalgia for cinematic days gone by.
Arizona slugger who complained of SC racism moves to Charleston
WIS TV (Columbia, S.C.)
Someone start playing Alanis Morissette’s Ironic, because the former Arizona Wildcats outfielder who said he’d never live in South Carolina because of racism is moving to Charleston.
Robert Refsnyder, the College World Series most outstanding player who ended USC’s chances for a third straight national championship, has moved to the Palmetto State to play for the Charleston RiverDogs.
S.Korea Finalizes Line-up for London Olympics
The roster of athletes representing South Korea at the 2012 London Olympics has been finalized. The Korean Olympic Committee on Tuesday announced the list of 245 athletes and 129 officials in 22 sports who will compete at the Olympics later this month.