Among the many weird manifestations of Kim Il Sung’s tyranny was a prohibition of romance in the works of North Korean culture ... Growing up on the very best of Soviet and Hollywood movies, Kim Jong Il comprehended that romance could be an essential spoon of sugar to help people better swallow the bitter medicine of social mobilization and various other political campaigns. “People love love,” he once claimed in his characteristically laconic manner. “We must show it on the screen”.[more inside]
British body mod artist Grace Neutral heads to South Korea to compare and contrast their mainstream beauty standards with the (still illegal) underground tattoo scene.
AP: South Korea covered up mass abuse, killings of 'vagrants'. [no graphic pictures but deeply unpleasant]
Choi was one of thousands — the homeless, the drunk, but mostly children and the disabled — rounded up off the streets ahead of the 1988 Seoul Olympics, which the ruling dictators saw as international validation of South Korea's arrival as a modern country. ... The owner of Brothers, Park, received two state medals for social welfare achievements and sat on a government advisory panel. His version of his story even inspired a 1985 television drama about a man's heroic devotion to caring for what were called "bottom-life people."
Conan O'Brien and Steven Yeun go to Korea and end up in J.Y. Park's "Fire" music video along with the Wonder Girls and Twice. [more inside]
“It’s not a human move. I’ve never seen a human play this move,” he says. “So beautiful.” Go—a 2,500-year-old game that’s exponentially more complex than chess. As recently as 2014, many believed another decade would pass before a machine could beat the top humans. Now, Alphago, Google’s artificially intelligent Go-playing computer system has beaten Lee Sedol, one of the world’s top players thrice to win their 5 match series. When AlphaGo defeated Lee Sedol in the first game, the result was shocking to many, but doubts still remained about its strengths and weaknesses.In the second game, Lee’s play was much better. His game plan was clearly to play solid and patient moves, and wait for an opportunity to strike.Even though Lee never found that opportunity, it was a high quality game and it gave hope to everyone supporting ‘team human’. Game three crushed that hope. [more inside]
The first game between AlphaGo and Lee Sedol is scheduled to begin at 23:00 EST tonight, in Seoul. There will be a livestream with commentary in english. Since the Deepmind Go-playing computer's previous victory against Fan Hui, Go professionals and AI researchers alike have had time to consider what it means. [more inside]
When Jenny and Jenna, two Black singers regularly posting Kpop covers on YouTube, found that they were often confused for each other, they decided to band together and form CoCo Avenue, currently the world's first all-Black Kpop group. Other Black Kpop performers include RaNia's Alex, Insooni, Lee Michelle, and Tasha a.k.a. Yoon Mi Rae.
"It was Asian enough for my immigrant parents and American enough for my sister and me." In the PBS feature documentary, Off The Menu, filmmaker Grace Lee traverses the US into the kitchens, factories, temples and farm of Asian Pacific America that explores how our relationship to food reflects our evolving communities. Food Republic spoke with Jonathan Wu and Wilson Tang, whose NYC restaurant, Fung Tu, is featured in the film.
Asha Leo of Refinery29 travels around the world to learn about international fashion subcultures and the way fashion affects society worldwide. So far she's met Gothic (and other) Lolitas in Amsterdam, Moroccan expat culture, hijra in India, Hasidic designers in Brooklyn, Korean matchy-matchy fashion for couples, and the highly colorful world of Japanese decora.
Korean Buddhist temple cooking has been preserved by Buddhist nuns for over 1,600 years. One of its practitioners, Jeong Kwan, has been celebrated by chefs such as Eric Ripert from Le Bernardin in New York City. Korean temple cuisine is vegan, made without meat, fish, dairy, garlic, or onions. Layers of flavor are achieved through use of fermented, pickled, and dried ingredients. The preparation and consumption of the food are seen as part of Buddhist practice. [more inside]
In 2013, if you were a man between the ages of 20 and 49 who’d died, the most likely cause was not assault nor car crash nor drug abuse nor heart attack, but a decision that you didn’t wish to live any more. [more inside]
- 100 Years of Fashion in 2 Minutes
- 100 Years of Men's Fashion in 3 Minutes
- 100 Years of Men's Swimwear in 3 Minutes (women's)
- 100 Years of Fitness in 100 Seconds
- 100 Years of Female Dance
- 100 Years of Music
- AFI's 100 Years ... (youtube playlist from American Film Institute)
- 100 Years of Black Beauty
- 100 Years of History in 2 Minutes
Sizzler and the Search for the American Dream :: Inside the paper was another brick, bright yellow-orange and vacuum-sealed in plastic. We had never seen food that color before. We had never eaten anything that perfectly geometric. It sat in our fridge for days, like an unwelcome guest that never said anything. It just sat there without a word of explanation. We had staring contests every day. The cheese always won. I always had to blink. [more inside]
Stunning photos show why S. Korea is the plastic surgery capital of the world "During the consultation, I realized that all along, I was only thinking of plastic surgery as some kind of magic tool," she says. "From the media, and from my friends, not many people were talking about how plastic surgery was surgery."
First Wave at Omaha Beach On June 6, 1944, the Allies invaded occupied France. S. L. A. Marshall Nov. 1, 1960 [The Atlantic]
When he was promoted to officer rank at eighteen, S. L. A. Marshall was the youngest shavetail in the United States Army during World War I. He rejoined the Army in 1942, became a combat historian with the rank of colonel; and the notes he made at the time of the Normandy landing are the source of this heroic reminder. Readers will remember his frank and ennobling book about Korea, The River and the Gauntlet, which was the result of still a third tour of duty.
In Korea, people can tune in on their laptops and cell phones any time, any day and watch people eat—and talk about eating. These "online eaters" are neither chefs nor restaurateurs, but the stars of the South Korean digital food phenomenon: Mukbang.[SLYT] [more inside]
Adam Crapser was adopted from Korea to abusive parents who were arrested on multiple counts of child abuse and rape. Over thirty years later, one last sting of neglect from his parents came back to bite him: he has been served deportation papers because his adoptive parents failed to complete his naturalization process.
‘Gresham College has provided free public talks within the City of London for over 400 years.’ ‘Since 2001, the college has been recording its lectures and releasing them online in what is now an archive of over 1,000’ of them. Some examples: Snails in Art and the Art of Snails; The History of the Bowler Hat; “Speaking Scars” - The Tattoo; Mother Green Tree Frog and her Children: How Folktales Contributed to the Confucianisation of Korea; The Psychology of Doing Nothing; Möbius and his Band; Harmony in the Lowest Home: The Guitar and the Labouring Poor. [more inside]
무키무키만만수 (Mukimukimanmansu) is a South Korean indie band that's gone mildly viral thanks to a thirty second clip from a television performance of their song Andromeda. The acoustic guitar and janggu drum duo released their first album 2012 in the eponymous year, and they played other songs off that album on television, which have been gathered into a handy playlist by YouTube user HachikoTanuki. Here are a few other videos: Studio versions of 내가 고백을 하면 깜짝 놀랄거야, 2008년 석관동, 너의 선물; television performances of 방화범 (with guests) and 투쟁과 다이어트; music video maker Vio Kim has recorded them many times, including up close at a concert last year (1, 2, 3, 4, 5); here they are performing with a jazz band earlier this year. And finally, here are demos they made in 2011.
Cousu Main (which starts here) is an adaptation of The Great British Sewing Bee, and the blog of one of the participants features significant spoilers for this season. Although it's in French, the show is not hard for an English speaker to follow, just as Project Runway Vietnam (2013: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8), Project Runway Korea (2009: 1 2 3 4 5 6 ...), and Projeto Fashion from Brazil--among others--make some sense to those familiar with the English-language series Project Runway Australia, Project Runway Canada, Project Runway Malaysia (2007 finale: 1-5 and 6), Project Runway Philippines (2008: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15), and Mission Catwalk from Jamaica.
HEAVEN'S COUNTRYLAND: your 8-bit animated guide to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. (MLYT) [more inside]
Baseball writer Rany Jazayerli tells us about his online acquaintance Sung Woo Lee, fan of the Kansas City Royals, who is having a good week. He's been a Royals fan since the 1990s and this week, he came to the US to see them play for the first time. KC rolled out the red carpet and the Royals are even winning. [more inside]
The Love App. Digital life and couples culture in South Korea.
Simon and Martina, of the joint blog Eat Your Kimchi, are a married Canadian couple that moved to South Korea in 2008. They have a YouTube series called "TL;DR" in which readers can submit questions about living in Korea, and they will answer them to the best of their ability. In short: "You ask questions. We make videos answering them!" Here's a couple: The Threat of North Korea, Korean Food Etiquette. [more inside]
Cracked interviews a NK escapee, an ambassador to NK's grandson, and a journalist covering NK. Want more, without any humor (Cracked is pretty restrained for their piece)? BBC on the people smuggling industry, Yeonmi Park on growing up in North Korea, the Guardian on an ordinary day in Pyongyang, Al-jazeera explains how the Kims rule with an iron fist and some recent photographs of ordinary people in North Korea.
Korean fashion and design is having a moment, but what is fueling it? It's complicated. Let's explore the K-wave. [more inside]
Squirrel and Hedgehog - Yes folks, this is a North Korean cartoon produced in house ... The animation is really good, (episode 24 and on is animated in Flash, while before it was all hand drawn) the story is pretty complicated sometimes, and the characters are cool. The only thing actually wrong with this show, other than it being blatant propaganda, is that the lipsync is awful. [more inside]
Korean grandmothers sell Bacchus drinks (energy drinks) and sex on the side. Once part of Korea's economic engine, older Korean women are turning to prostitution to pay for their living costs. The Bacchus women also work the hiking trails where they offer coffee and sex.
Ferry with 470 Passengers Sinks off Korea Scores still missing, many of them high school students on an excursion. According to comments on the Marmot's Hole Korea blog, passengers were told to wait in their cabins rather than gather on deck. Video from Japanese Fuji television.
The Second Act "Eight years after Seoul National University (SNU) dismissed him for his central role in one of history’s most notorious scientific frauds, Hwang, 61, is in a position many researchers would envy. He heads Sooam Biotech Research Foundation, a nonprofit institute with a staff of 40, a $4 million annual budget, and a new, well-equipped six-story building. His team publishes a steady stream of papers. Devoted dog owners from around the world, as well as the Korean police, seek their services. The institute is applying its cloning know-how to rescuing endangered species and improving livestock breeds, as well as to fundamental research in developmental biology." (previously on MeFi)
There's some confusion surrounding Dennis Rodman's most recent visit to North Korea and his espoused 'Basketball Diplomacy' mission. He sung Happy Birthday (potential auto-play sound) and bowed deeply to 'Dear Leader', before his team of ex-NBA players scored 39 points to 47 against the NK team. Rodman played only in the first half and then sat next to Kim during the second half. [more inside]
Japan and other Asian countries have moved from SMS to smart phone messaging apps, with great success for all.
"Here are some of the Korean dramas that I have watched and some were aired in 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009 or even older. Although some of them might be older than the others, they are still really good dramas which you will definitely enjoy watching. I am watching some of the newer ones which have just started airing a few weeks back and I will share my thoughts with you after I have finish watching them. :)"
This is The Big Picture, an official television report of the United States Army, produced for the armed forces and the American people. Now to show you part of The Big Picture here is Master Sargent Stuart Queen
The series consists of ~822 documentaries produced by the United States Army Signal Corps Army Pictorial Service from 1951 to 1971 to educate both soldiers in uniform and the American public about military concerns as well as things like historical battles, world geography, famous soldiers, the latest weapons, space exploration, strategic objectives, peaceful initiatives, and the life of a soldier. Being a product of the Federal Government it belongs to the the American people, and is thus freely available to all to copy and distribute. Most can now be viewed on archive.org[more inside]
Why Japanese Web Design Is So… Different... If you've ever visited a Japanese website, it's a little like time traveling back to 1998. Randomwire explains some of the reasons why.
The RAND Corporation's National Security Research Division has released a 297-page report on the likely consequences of a collapse of the North Korean regime, within the Korean Peninsula, as well as to China, Japan, the US and others (PDF).
As Harvey Weinstein decides American audiences aren't smart enough for Snowpiercer, Daily Grindhouse writer Ric Meyers takes a poke at The Weinstein Company's troubled history with Asian Cinema.
This past September, Jessica Ann Lum won a "Best Feature" award in the student-journalist category from the Online News Association, for her Master's project: "Slab City Stories." Less than four months later, on January 13, 2013, she passed away. She was 25. "Jessica loved to tell people’s stories. This is hers." [more inside]
North Korea has warned foreign embassies in Pyongyang that it cannot guarantee their safety from the threat of conflict after 10 April, and has advised them to consider pulling their staff out of the capital. This follows North Korea blocking South Korean Workers from the Kaesong industrial complex - a sign that this might be more material than the usual posturing, warning that a 'moment of explosion' is nearing and moving missiles with "considerable range" to its east coast. Though the US is playing down the threat and the UK and Russia have no plans of moving their diplomats the possibility of an accident or miscalculation leading to war looms. North Korea has earned the reprobation of Russia and Fidel Castro in recent days and even longtime supporter China is beginning to lose patience with it - something some say is not before time.
Awesome rendition of Jimi Hendrix' Voodoo Chile played on a gayageum, a Korean stringed instrument | Scuttle Buttin on the gayageum rocks as well | Joe Satriani's Starry Night, the gayageum version | Luna Lee's YouTube channel. A little about the gayageum.
How Americans live today. A video report describing the living conditions of modern Americans.
In Korea, Changes in Society and Family Dynamics Drive Rise in Elderly Suicides - "The epidemic is the counterpoint to the nation's runaway economic success, which has worn away at the Confucian social contract that formed the bedrock of Korean culture for centuries." [more inside]
Around midnight local time (UTC +9) on 12 February the Democratic People's Republic of Korea detonated a 6-10 kiloton nuclear device at the Punggye-ri nuclear test facility. [more inside]
To the tinkly piano tune of "We are the world", a video released last weekend from Uriminzokkiri, North Korea's official website, shows a dream sequence involving various rockets, Korean unification, a sparkle-powered North Korean Space Shuttle, and the apparent missile-based destruction of Manhattan. [more inside]