Tag Archives: south korea


Donkey Milk and Horse Oil Are South Korea’s Latest Skin-Care Trends

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

South Korea is no stranger to bizarre ingredients in beauty products. After all, Koreans have been using snail slime, bee venom and bird’s nests in their 12-step skin-care routine for the past few years. But two new unusual ingredients are gaining traction in the Korean beauty scene.

Donkey milk and horse oil are the latest skin-care trends in South Korea, according to Alice Yoon, CEO of beauty site Peach and Lily.

memebox-special-7-milk-box-07Skin Ceramic’s Donkey Milk Steam Cream. Photo courtesy of Helloprettybird.

In an interview with New York Magazine, Yoon explained that donkey milk is “gentle and soothing for those with sensitive skin and eczema, and [has] four to five times more vitamin C than cow’s milk and [is] rich in proteins.”

Apparently, donkey milk is a tried-and-true beauty treatment because Cleopatra used to bathe in it.

Yoon also said that horse oil is renowned for its healing and highly moisturizing capabilities. It is “featured front and center” at some of the flagship stores at Olive Young, one of South Korea’s largest cosmetics and supplements distributors. The product is very popular with Chinese tourists.

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 1.20.52 PMGuerisson Miracle Korean Horse Oil. Photo courtesy of Aliexpress.

When asked why South Korea uses such experimental ingredients in its beauty products, Yoon answered that Korean women tend to be “more open to exploring” while American women tend to stick with well-known ingredients, such as retinol and vitamin C.

While donkey milk and horse oil may be a bit too adventurous for the American beauty market at this time, some Korean skin-care trends are already making their way to the States. Sheet masks, essences and overnight sleeping packs are expected to “make a huge splash” in the U.S., according to Yoon.


Featured photo courtesy of Groupbuyer.com.hk

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Asian Cup

S. Korea Reaches Asian Cup Final for the First Time in 27 Years

by STEVE HAN | @steve_han

After notching a 2-0 win over Iraq in the rainy semifinal of this year’s Asian Cup in Sydney, Australia on Monday, the South Korean men’s soccer team has booked its place in the final of the Asian Cup for the first time since 1988.

Forward Lee Jung-hyub opened the scoring in the 20th minute after he leaped past the Iraqi defenders to head home Kim Jin-su’s sweeping diagonal free kick from the right side. The 23-year-old striker, who was largely an unknown player before Korea’s head coach Uli Stielike selected him in the roster for the Asian Cup, now has two goals in the tournament.

Only five minutes into the second half, Lee rose to the occasion again when he chested down a lobbed pass for Kim Young-gwon, whose left-footed half volley deflected off of an Iraqi defender and found the net, sealing the historic victory for Korea.

“The coach just asked me to do exactly what I’ve done in training,” Lee said after the match. “A forward has to score. That’s my job. I spoke to Coach Stielike privately after we came to Sydney. He told me, ‘Don’t feel pressured. I’ll take responsibility regardless of how well or bad you play.’ His trust helped me a lot and I’ve been getting better every match.”

The final will take place at the same venue in Sydney on Saturday at 1 a.m. PT. Korea will play the winner of Tuesday’s semifinal match between Australia and United Arab Emirates.

“The first reason we have to win this competition is for the pride we have for the Korean national team,” said Ki Sung-yueng, Korea’s newly-appointed captain. “The second reason is for the players [Lee Chung-yong and Koo Ja-cheol] who got injured and had to leave the team during the tournament. Now that we’re in the final, we’ve got to win the title. Our desperation is higher than ever. We would feel hugely undone if we don’t win it now.”

South Korea hasn’t won the Asian Cup since 1960 when it hosted what was then only a four-team competition, which has grown into a 16-team affair over the past half-century. In addition, the last time Korea even played in an Asian Cup final was in 1988 when it lost to Saudi Arabia after a penalty shoot-out. Since then, the Taegeuk Warriors haven’t advanced further than the semifinals.

Going into Saturday’s final, Korea is carrying an all-time record of a 15-match undefeated streak in the Asian Cup (losses in penalty shoot-outs are considered as draws). In addition, Korea has not conceded a goal in this tournament for 480 minutes, which is also an all-time record.

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‘Han Gong-ju’ Picked as Best Local Film of 2014 by KOFRA

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

The Korea Film Reporters Association (KOFRA) announced on Monday that it has chosen coming-of-age film Han Gong-ju as the best domestic picture of 2014, reports Yonhap.

Written and directed by Lee Su-jin, Han Gong-ju is based on a true story of a high school girl who was a victim of gang rape. The film has garnered critical acclaim and swept several awards at international film festivals, including the Tiger Award at the 2014 International Film Festival Rotterdam and the Jury Prize, Critics’ Prize and the Audience Award at the 2014 Deauville Asian Film Festival.

Every January, KOFRA, which currently consists of 67 journalists, tallies up its members’ votes and selects the winners of its annual KOFRA Film Awards from all the domestic films that were released in Korea the previous year.

Although the actual awards ceremony is being held on Thursday, Jan. 29 at the Korea Press Center in Seoul, the association published its full list of winners early Monday morning.

Chun Woo-hee received the best actress award for her titular role in Han Gong-ju while Choi Min-sik of period piece blockbuster The Admiral: Roaring Currents snagged best actor.

Yoo Hae-jin of The Pirates and Jo Yeo-jeong of Obsessed won best supporting actor and actress, respectively. Meanwhile, singer-actor Park Yoochun was awarded best new actor for his role in Haemoo.

My Love, Don’t Cross That River, a documentary about an elderly couple’s lifelong love, received best independent film. In addition, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, which grossed over $671 million in the box office worldwide, won best foreign film of year.

Watch the trailer for Han Gong-ju below:


Photo courtesy of Cinando

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a New Year's address

North Korea Demands Sanctions to Be Lifted for Family Reunions

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

North Korea urged South Korea on Friday to lift its sanctions as a condition for resuming dialogue on reunions of families separated during the Korean War, reports Reuters.

“If the South Korean government is sincerely interested in humanitarian issues, it should first remove the ban that was imposed for the purpose of confrontation,” the North Korean Committee for Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK) told KCNA, the North’s state-run news agency.

This is the first official response from Pyongyang to South Korea’s weeks-long offer to hold high-level talks. Last week, South Korean President Park Geun-hye renewed the call for dialogue and stressed the importance to staging an inter-Korean family reunion for Lunar New Year’s Day, which falls on Feb. 19.

South Korea imposed the sanctions on the North after a torpedo attack on its navy ship, Cheonan, in 2010. The attack killed 46 South Korean sailors, and the sanctions froze trades and investment with the North. However, North Korea has denied responsibility for the attack.

“It is regrettable that North Korea has linked the purely humanitarian issue of separated families to the May 24 measure, which is completely irrelevant,” the South Korean Unification Ministry said of the sanctions, according to Reuters.

Earlier this week, a South Korean activist group threatened to drop 100,000 DVD copies of The Interview if North Korea fails to respond to the South’s call for resuming dialogue.

Despite this, Lim Byeong-cheol, the South’s Unification Ministry spokesman, said there is no set deadline for Pyongyang to respond to family reunion talks.

“If enough time is secured for preparing a reunion, the reunion event could take place at any time,” Lim said.


Photo courtesy of Reuters/KCNA

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Rebecca Kim

KoreAm U Weekly Roundup

Temple University student dies after falling eight floors
Family and friends mourn and pay tribute to Rebecca Kim (photo above) – ‘a humble, kind, intelligent girl.’

UPDATE: Third person arrested for involvement in homicide of University of Georgia Student Min Seok Cho 
Cho, 21, was fatally shot in the head during a marijuana deal that reportedly went bad on Jan. 13.

Korean language classes in NY aren’t just for Koreans anymore
Lessons previously geared toward young second-generation Korean Americans in the past now target a diverse group of students who take time out of their weekends to brush up on their ga, na and das.

2015 Youth Leadership Summit, March 26-28
Asian Americans Advancing Justice AAJC’s Youth Leadership Summit is a three-day leadership development program for college students. The summit provides a unique opportunity for young advocates from across the country to come to Washington DC to network and learn together. The deadline to apply is Feb. 14.

International and American students divided at the Ohio State University
Physical distances no longer divide OSU students, but distances in communication sometimes do. Some students say that the stereotypes — both of United State citizens and International students — often cause harm to chances of finding commonalities with each other.

University of Virginia students launch “Pear” matchmaking app
Joshua Choi

After finding limited success with popular dating apps like Tinder, second-year student Joshua Choi took matters into his own hands — developing the mobile app Pear, which launches in the Apple and Android stores this week. The app, Choi said, relies on users’ natural inclination to play matchmaker with their friends.

Sophomore Heein Choi selected as Charter Day student speaker at William & Mary University
Choi ’17, a double major in Asian American studies and finance, is a South Korean immigrant whose family moved to Silver Spring, Maryland, when he was four.

South Korean university students trust strangers more than politicians and corporations
The results of the survey of 2,300 students from 130 universities throughout the country demonstrate the high level of pessimism among the younger generation about the political and economic agents in the country.

Beyond Black and White: Asian-American Memories of Selma

As the country marks 50 years since the historic 1965 voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery with everything from individual memories to big-screen memorials, the stories of Asian-American participants, like Endo, are often lost in the mix, as are the motivations behind their solidarity.


Let us know of the latest news from your own campus at koream.u@iamkoream.com!

Day care - child abuse

CCTV to Be Required at Day Care Centers in South Korea

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

Surveillance cameras will soon become a requirement for all day care centers in South Korea as part of an effort to prevent child abuse, according to Yonhap News Agency.

During a policy meeting on Thursday, South Korean lawmakers decided to pass a bill next month that will allow them to install surveillance cameras at about 45,000 day care centers nationwide. The law is expected to take effect in March.

The decision comes after a series of child abuse cases in Incheon. Last week, a video of a 33-year-old day care teacher physically assaulting a 4-year-old girl for not finish her meal went viral and shocked the nation. A similar case was also caught on camera back in December when another childcare worker flung a 2-year-old boy onto the ground multiple times. Both cases are still under investigation.

“Child abuse is a crime that cannot be tolerated under any circumstances,” said Welfare Minister Moon Hyong-pyo, according to the Korea Herald. “We also acknowledge that the problem is associated with the long working hours of day care workers. We plan to come up with plans to tackle this issue as well.”

Day care center employees work about 9.3 hours a day and their average wage is about 1.3 million won (USD $1,200) a month, according to Yonhap. Due to poor working conditions, it is difficult to recruit qualified people for the job. Local governments, however, are planning to offer financial support for the new policy.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government, for example, pledged up to 2.4 million won for day care centers to install surveillance cameras and plans to send counselors to help child care employees cope with their stress.

In addition to combating child abuse, South Korea’s Welfare Ministry plans to establish an agency for single parents struggling with child support payments in March 2015.


Photo courtesy of Yonhap


Samsung Loses Ground to Apple in South Korea

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

Samsung has always marketed their smartphones as the “next big thing,” but when Apple went big with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in 2014, South Koreans flocked to the fruit.

According to Android Authority, Apple gained significant market share in Japan, China and Korea as Samsung lost ground. Sales for the iPhone reached record highs in October and November in Korea and Japan. Samsung, which has consistently held upwards of 60 percent of the smartphone market at home, saw their market share drop significantly.


As seen above, Apple’s market share in South Korea pretty much doubled from 15 percent to over 30 percent during the latter months of 2014. Globally, Samsung saw its market share decline to 23.8 percent in the third quarter, down from 32.5 percent from the same period in 2013.

Last year was not kind to Samsung’s mobile division, as the company struggled against cheaper handsets, led by the Chinese company Xiaomi, which overtook Samsung’s majority market share in China. On the premium end of the spectrum, the Galaxy S5 and Note 4 didn’t stand up as well against Apple’s larger iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. That led to the company’s first annual profit decline since 2011.

It’s not all doom and gloom for Samsung, though. Their other divisions of the company, in particular television and memory chips, are going strong, and Samsung isn’t sitting pat. They replaced the head of its mobile design team amid criticism of the Galaxy S5 in May 2014, and recently added former Tangerine co-CEO Don Tae Lee as their global design team leader.

Lee was responsible for coming up with an award-winning design for British Airways’ business-class and first-class cabins, according to Korea Joongang Daily. He also worked with mobiles back in 2011 with Huawei and introduced some innovative design concepts that unfortunately never made it to production. At Samsung, Lee will be in charge of leading the design philosophy for not only smartphones, but other Samsung products including washers, televisions and refrigerators.

Lee is part of Samsung’s long game, though, and the company faces more immediate challenges. There will be a lot riding on the Galaxy S6, due out sometime in March, to be Samsung’s flagship on the premium front. Samsung’s $92 Tizen-powered smartphone, however, hasn’t been received too well in India, where the company hopes to gain traction on the mid to lower-end front.


Photo via Bloomberg News

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South Korean Teen May Have Traveled to Syria to Join Islamic State

The Turkish border city of Kilis, where the missing Korean teenager met and vanished in an unmarked taxi with an unidentified man on Jan. 10. Photo courtesy of Yonhap.

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

Seoul officials are speculating that a South Korean teenager who went missing in Turkey may have crossed the border into Syria to join the Islamic State.

The 18-year-old, identified only by his surname Kim, traveled to Istanbul on Jan. 8 and made his way to Kilis, a border town, along with a South Korean guide. The South Korean Foreign Ministry said Kim went missing on Jan. 10 after leaving his hotel. The guide, whose identity has not been disclosed, reported Kim’s disappearance to the Korean Embassy on Jan. 12.

Security footage showed Kim leaving the hotel around 8 a.m. and entering a van with an unidentified man about half an hour later. A foreign ministry official said the vehicle, which carried a Syrian license plate, was an unregistered taxi. Kim and the other passenger were dropped off at a camp for Syrian refugees east of Kilis, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Turkish daily newspaper Milliyet ran a story reporting that a South Korean national had joined IS, but the South Korean Foreign Ministry said the claim had not been verified, as there was no proof that Kim had actually crossed the border. However, the WSJ notes that travelers, including Islamic militants, have often passed through Kilis to get into Syria.

Milliyet also reported that Kim had exchanged emails with IS before traveling to Turkey. South Korean police said they found photos of IS members on the wallpaper of Kim’s computer at home, as well as tweets from a user presumed to be Kim saying he wanted to join the militant group, according to Korea Herald. Kim had reportedly told his family he was visiting a friend named Hassan, who he had apparently met online as part of his first overseas trip.

If it is confirmed that Kim had crossed the border into Syria to join Islamic State, he would be the first South Korean jihadist recruited to the group.

On Tuesday, South Korea extended travel bans on six countries, including Syria, along with Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan and Yemen. Seoul and Damascus have no diplomatic relations as well.