Friday, April 23, 2010

Korean Studies

Growing up Korean in America has been both enlightening and frustrating at times. I was born and raised in the U.S. and speak English fluently, but my "Americaness" has always been questioned. I wasn't sure how to feel about this when I was younger, but have come to better understand it through my studies (and more importantly through faith). While I identified as Korean growing up, it wasn't until senior year of high school that I started getting interested in Korean society (via kpop and kdramas haha). Especially after taking classes on East Asia and Asian American studies, I became interested in more important aspects of Korean culture. As part of the Korean diaspora, I wanted to better understand Korean culture so as to understand "Korean American" culture. While Korean Americans may feel that they don't fully "belong" to Korean or American culture, I am thankful for the somewhat objective or outsider perspective I am able to have on both cultures.

One of my main areas of interest is the Korean diaspora and Korean society. There's definitely a lot of stuff I love about Korea, but there are also many things that make me worried, sad, and disgusted at times. These are some of the Korea related topics I want to explore more in the future:
  • gender inequality
  • class disparity
  • hierarchy (sunbae-hoobae system) & the abuse of it
  • suicide (highest rates in the OECD)
  • education & schools (high costs and crazy competition)
  • regionalism
  • the role of military in shaping culture
  • sex (industry, affairs, etc.) --> 1 in 10 men in the world have purchased a prostitute, 1 in 5 Korean men pay for sex more than 4 times a month (see more stats on prostitution)
  • intense working culture (Korean men work the longest hours in the world)
  • superficiality (plastic surgery anyone?) & body image
  • consumerism
I've been meaning to use this blog to write more things on my mind (and in my moleskin) and not just post pictures. Okay must go write some papers now :( I shall update with Italy pictures soon and still need to do a food post!

Btw heads up! I shall be coming home May 18-25! Honestly, I was starting to forget home, but am definitely looking forward to going back :) See y'all soon!


  1. reading your post has made me question a lot of my own motives, wackie! even for this summer. i think that taiwan, like korea, has so much superficiality and materialism seeping into all aspects of its culture. kind of makes me wonder if you're able to step back from it all and not be affected...probably not. good luck getting over all of that jet lag! you are one travelmeistA ~

  2. por ejemplo, i accidentally started watching another cheezy taiwanese drama and although it is SO STUPID in plot, characters, etc...i can't stop :O

  3. I totally know what you mean jackie! My parents have always disliked many of the points you brought up in your list which has obviously influenced the way I view Korea a lot of the times too. It's funny because when I use to talk to my friends back home about these issues they would always get defensive or would think I hated Korea. Well I guess I could have gotten a little too riled up when it came to gender inequalities... but anyways I do love Korea and its culture, just not all of it...

    oh and btw, KATE! i thought you were working on your thesis?! you always look so studious when i see you.

  4. i've been lying to you subin :( beyond epic fail..

  5. i think that the sunbae hoobae thing is ok in some ways but like you said..there's just too much abuse going on with it!! =/
    and the sex stats are gross. =O

    good luck writing your papers..and see you soon!! AAHHHH (: