Tag Archives: south korea

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Kim Jong-un’s Sister May Visit South Korea

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

North Korea has offered to send Kim Jong-un’s younger sister as an envoy to a Seoul food festival in March, an organizer told Reuters on Thursday.

The Association for South-North Economic Cooperation, a private South Korean business group with ties in the North, submitted an application to South Korea’s Unification Ministry for the joint festival, according to the Korea Economic Daily. The group claims that its North Korean counterparts provided them a list of officials to participate in the event, and Kim Yo-jong was listed as a participant.

However, there is some skepticism over the group’s application. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Unification Ministry said it could not “confirm the existence of the North Korean entity” and noted inconsistencies in the association’s proposal, including Kim’s official position in the communist state.

Kim, who is presumed to be 27, was identified by North Korea’s state media last month as the vice department director of the ruling party’s central committee, but the South Korean association’s application named her as the director.

The group was also not listed in business directories and its website could not be found on Naver, South Korea’s leading search engine. In addition, North Korea had not mentioned Kim’s visit through its state media.

The food festival is scheduled for March and is set to celebrate the Korean peninsula’s 70th anniversary of independence from Japanese colonial rule, said the organizers.

If Kim is approved to attend the event, then it would mark the first visit made by an immediate member of North Korea’s ruling family.

Photo courtesy of Wikitree

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Hello Kitty Cosplays as Sanrio Characters for McDonald’s Korea

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

Hello Kitty has been on a roll this year, celebrating her 40th birthday by holding her first convention in America and preparing to open a Hello Kitty cafe in California. Now, the beloved character is being featured as a Happy Meal toy for McDonald’s Korea while cosplaying as some of her Sanrio friends.

If you live in South Korea and you love Sanrio characters, then you better hurry over to the closest McDonald’s because these irresistibly cute plushies are not going to last. As some of you may be aware, Koreans take their Happy Meal toys very seriously.

Check out these adorable limited edition Hello Kitty plushies below:

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Pictured above, Hello Kitty is dressed in My Melody and Tuxedo Sam costumes. These two toys were released on Nov. 29.

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Plusies of Hello Kitty dressed as Purin and Keroppi were released on Dec. 3.

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The final pair of plushies feature Hello Kitty dressed as Bad Badtz-Maru and Monkichi and will hit Happy Meals on Dec. 7.

Before you line up at McDonald’s, please note that each customer are allowed only two plushies with one purchase. That means you can’t buy all six toys at the same time.

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Photos courtesy of McDonald’s Korea and Rocket News 24

South Korea Fishing Ship Sinks

11 Bodies Recovered Near Sunken SKorean Fishing Boat

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

On Wednesday, rescuers recovered 11 more bodies from the western Bering Sea, where a South Korean fishing boat sank earlier this week, reports the Associated Press.

The bodies were found by fishermen searching for debris of the sunken Oryong 501, according to Seoul’s foreign ministry. Sajo Industries, the firm that owns the sunken vessel, said that 11 bodies recovered were presumed to be three South Koreans, seven Indonesians and one Filipino.

With this recovery, the death toll from the sinking has been raised to 12 while 41 crew members remain missing. Due to rough seas and stormy weather, it is most likely that the death toll will continue to rise.

A foreign ministry official said that Russia and the U.S. have sent coast guard helicopters to assist with the search for the missing crew members, and at least five fishing ships have been mobilized near the site. In addition, the U.S. rescue ship Munro is expected to arrive on Thursday to join the rescue operations.

The Oryong 501 sank on Monday in the frigid waters near Russia while fishing for pollock, a winter delicacy in Korea. The ship was carrying 60 crew members, which consisted of 35 Indonesians, 13 Filipinos, 11 Koreans and one Russian. Seven people were rescued and one body was recovered on Monday.

According to AP, the waves were more than 13 feet high and the water was 14 degrees Fahrenheit at the time of the sinking. It is believed that the ship began to list after seawater flooded into its storage areas.

Family members of the missing crew members have expressed their anger and blamed Sajo Industries and the ship’s captain for not doing enough to save their loved ones.

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Powerful Billboard Lets South Koreans Stop Child Abuse

by ETHEL NAVALES

It’s easy for many of us to say we’re against child abuse, but how willing are we to interfere, step in, and do what we can to stop child abuse? That’s exactly what this billboard in South Korea asks anyone who passes by.

It’s quite difficult to ignore this powerful, interactive ad which shows the silhouette of two people: An angry adult holding a glass bottle over his head and the scared child he is threatening to hurt.

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At the top of this upsetting image are the words “Child abuse, you can prevent it” along with an arrow pointing to the blank space in between the abusive adult and the child. This is where passersby are asked to “step in.”

The powerfully symbolic ad truly shows its brilliance when an onlooker steps in between the silhouettes. Suddenly, a superhero logo will pop up on the onlooker’s shadow with an emergency number and the words, “Report to become a hero for children.”

The message is instantly clear. Anyone can become a hero and help prevent child abuse. In fact, simply reporting child abuse can save lives.

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Photos courtesy of demilked.com.

Originally published on Audrey Magazine

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Seoul Philharmonic’s President Accused of Sexual Harassment

by STEVE HAN | @steve_han
steve@iamkoream.com

Park Hyun-jung, the first female president of South Korea’s most renowned orchestra, the Seoul Philharmonic, is under public scrutiny after her employees accused her of sexual harassment, verbal abuse and unethical hiring decisions, according to reports.

Seventeen of Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra’s employees testified in the petition that Park has constantly abused them since taking the prestigious position early last year. Of those testimonies, one included a murky incident at a public dinner gathering in October last year at which Park, after drinking an excessive amount of alcohol, allegedly tried to touch a male employee’s genital area by pulling him by his necktie.

The petition also said that Park, 52, once told a female employee during a meeting that she would “do well as a hostess” at a bar. She has also told two other female employees at the same meeting to sit next to important male guests and accommodate them like “bar girls.”

In addition, Park repeatedly used profanities to her employees and threatened to make deductions from their paychecks when and if the company suffers a fiscal loss. She also hired and promoted select individuals, such as her friends’ children and former students.

Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra is a city-funded organization, which was founded in 1948. Park became its first female president in February of last year when she vowed to serve the organization with “transparency and reasonable measures for a meaningful social cause,” according to South Korea’s Newsis.

Park, who received her doctorate degree in sociology from Harvard, had no previous experience in working for performing arts agencies or organizations as she spent the majority of her professional career in customer service and marketing departments of South Korea’s conglomerate Samsung’s financial and insurance institutions.

South Korea Fishing Ship Sinks

52 Missing after South Korean Ship Sinks in Bering Sea

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

Rescuers resumed their search for the 52 people missing from a South Korean fishing ship that sank in the frigid waters of the Bering Sea after no survivors were found on Monday, said Seoul officials.

The Oryong 501 was carrying 60 crew members, which consisted of 35 Indonesians, 13 Filipinos, 11 Koreans and one Russian, when the vessel sank off the coast of Russia on Monday, reported CNN. Seven people were rescued while the body of one Korean crew member was recovered, leaving 52 missing.

“None of the missing crew members were rescued overnight,” an official at Seoul’s foreign ministry told Yonhap. “Search and rescue efforts resumed early Tuesday morning after being suspended for hours due to bad weather and rough seas.”

He added that five fishing ships were already mobilized near the site and that an additional six ships is expected to join them within 12 hours. However, the death toll is expected to rise since there has no been no sight of survivors.

Seoul has urged the Russian government to hasten its search for the missing crew members and sent two diplomats to Chukotka Port, the closest port from the accident site, to provide support. The U.S. coast guard has also joined the rescue efforts by flying out its aircraft, according to Yonhap. Russia is expected to do so as well.

Foreign ministry officials believe that the ship, which was catching pollock, sank due to stormy weather and high waves. According to the Associated Press, the waves were more than 13 feet high and the water was 14 degrees Fahrenheit at the time of the sinking.

An official at Sajo Industries, the firm that owns the ship, said the captain had issued an escape order after the crew failed to right the ship by using a pump. He added that the seven survivors were used one of the ship’s eight lifeboats and believes that the rest of the crew attempted to escape as well.

Photo courtesy of Yonhap/AP

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U.S. Air Base in SKorea Lifts Lockdown After Shooter Alarm

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

The U.S. Osan Air Base in South Korea was forced to lock down on Monday after reports of a possible active shooter in the high school located on the base, according to the Associated Press. Security forces swept the school and its perimeter, but found no suspicious activity.

Morgan Nugent, principal of Osan American High School, wrote in a post on the air base’s Facebook page that officials “decided to error on the side of safety and went into a full school lockdown” after one of the school’s teachers received an automated call saying there was an active shooter drill taking place. However, there was no shooter drill scheduled for that day.

All personnel on the base were ordered to stay in their quarters or workplaces until the security forces swept the premises gave an “all clear” signal, said Osan spokesman Tech. Sgt. Stacy Foster.

According to the base’s Facebook page, there were no reported injuries or suspicious activity found.

 

Located south of Seoul, the Osan Air Base is home to the 7th Air Force and houses about 7,500 to 8,000 U.S. troops, civilian employees and their family members, according to the base’s public affairs office.

Photo courtesy of Rhee Dong-Min/Reuters

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South Korean ‘Kidults’ Obsess Over Kids’ Toys

by STEVE HAN | @steve_han
steve@iamkoream.com

When Shim Sung-min first met Lee Hannah, he was taken aback by his wife-to-be’s odd hobby. A 33-year-old Lee had an intense longing for Lego Minifigures, a popular set of collectible toys for children.

“I asked her to bring a part of her collection one time,” Shin told South Korean daily newspaper Maeil Shinmun. “Those little actions figures couldn’t stop coming out of her bag and those later filled the entire table at the cafe. I soon started wondering how much money we would be spending on buying Lego once we actually get married.”

Lee is one of many South Koreans in their 20s, 30s and 40s, who’ve come to be known as “kidults” for their incessant passion for what is largely seen around the world as kids’ collectibles. The Atlantic also recently reported that the toy-obsessed kidult phenomenon has been growing rapidly in South Korea, one of the world’s most elderly countries.

In May, McDonald’s in South Korea began distributing Super Mario toys for its Happy Meals. The toys were out of stock within three days, McDonald’s spokesperson told the Korean media.

“What we found interesting was that the toys ran out in just one day in our stores located near business-clustered areas … rather than residential areas where you would think there would be more demand for toys,” the spokesperson reportedly said.

The growing number of kidults is due to South Korea’s odd socioeconomic pattern over the last two decades. Many of today’s South Korean kidults were born in the 1980s when the country’s median age was in the early 20s. South Korea’s birthrate has since dropped to lowest among developed countries, and its median age has soared to 41, and is expected to rise to 53 by 2040.

“Korea’s economy was booming when they were growing up,” South Korea’s English language media network Arirang TV reported. “Such nostalgia or reminiscence could give them a sort of psychological satisfaction.”

Lee, the Lego-obsessed wife of Shim who works as a piano instructor, added: “Collecting Lego is one of the small things that gives me happiness in my everyday life. I don’t mind being called a kidult at all.”