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What if there was a Robot cheering for those fans?

The Hanwha Eagles, a much beleaguered South Korean major league baseball team have introduced Fanbots, jersey-clad robots who lead cheers, display messages (and selfies where the robot would otherwise have a blank screen) sent in from fans at home, and generally stand in for fans who aren't there. [more inside]
posted by julen on Jul 30, 2014 - 13 comments

Korean fashion and design that is Having a Moment

Korean fashion and design is having a moment, but what is fueling it? It's complicated. Let's explore the K-wave. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 26, 2014 - 23 comments

Frankly, my dear, I do give a damn

Meet Scarlett, North America's Top ranked Starcraft player. A complex, real-time strategy game with exquisitely balanced opposing forces, Starcraft is so popular that men can and do make a career out of playing the game. All but one of the top 20 ranked players in the world live and play in Korea. And all of them are men. So maybe it is not surprising that Scarlett, a 20 year-old transgender woman from Canada , is making huge waves in the gaming community.
posted by misha on Jul 22, 2014 - 33 comments

Dinner Porn...

...but not quite what you think. SFW
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering on May 3, 2014 - 13 comments

Best Korean Dramas 2009 / 2010 / 2011 / 2012 / 2013

"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. :)"
posted by timshel on Dec 16, 2013 - 33 comments

The Big Picture

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]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 10, 2013 - 6 comments

Preparing for the Possibility of a North Korean Collapse

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).
posted by acb on Sep 30, 2013 - 62 comments

Creative addition to bridge prevents suicides

South Korea has the one of the highest suicide rates in the world. An addition to the one of the more popular suicide bridges in Seoul has prevented many (SLYT).
posted by JiffyQ on Jun 24, 2013 - 86 comments

"A law should serve the people, but it didn't protect me."

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]
posted by kliuless on Mar 4, 2013 - 23 comments

Les Militaribles

A Korean airforce parody/tribute to Les Miserables
posted by Artw on Feb 7, 2013 - 10 comments

Hanawon: South Korea's Resettlement Program for North Korean Refugees

North Korea has been called the world's most repressive state [previously], but every year, two to three thousand North Koreans manage to escape to South Korea. Recognizing the potential for disorientation among the refugees and disruption for South Korean society, in 1999 the government's Unification Ministry set up a mandatory resettlement program called Hanawon--"one people". (It also screens the newcomers carefully for spies.) Last year, due to growing need, the government opened another Hanawon centre. [more inside]
posted by hurdy gurdy girl on Jan 20, 2013 - 17 comments

"China sends people back to this place"

"Q: What kind of comparisons can be drawn between Asia’s underground railroad and the one in pre-Civil War America? A: The way it’s set up is similar. The safe houses and transit routes are kept secret and vary a lot. There is another similarity in that many of the people who operate on the underground railroad are ethnically Korean, just as many of the operators on the original underground railroad were free blacks." -- an interview with Melanie Kirkpatrick, author of Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad
posted by bardic on Dec 13, 2012 - 10 comments

Nicholson Baker Sings!

Nicholson Baker has recorded a protest song. [more inside]
posted by El Sabor Asiatico on Aug 24, 2012 - 7 comments

Bye Bye Birdie

Soo Bin Park in Nature has reported that South Korean highschool textbook publishers will be removing examples of evolution due to demands of creationist groups [more inside]
posted by Knigel on Jun 5, 2012 - 59 comments

"Show You A Thing Or Two"

A very special South Korean version of "The Miracle Worker" (Part 1, Part 2), featuring music purloined from the shows Bat Boy and Legally Blonde.
posted by hermitosis on May 31, 2012 - 12 comments

The other black gold.

"Instead of poking the fish with a screwdriver to find out whether they are ready to spawn, farms now can use a biopsy or ultrasound. Mr. Han said that after years of trial and error, his team has found a way to make that determination by feeling various parts of a fish." An entrepreneur in South Korea gets closer to perfecting sturgeon aquaculture. (SLNYT)
posted by Nomyte on May 11, 2012 - 31 comments

Opposition MP lets off tear gas in parliament

South Korean MP Kim Sun-dong sets off a tear gas canister in parliament to try to block passage of a free trade agreement with the US. Another video here.
posted by Numenius on Nov 23, 2011 - 58 comments

Help Wanted: Busybodies With Cameras

People in Korea now have a new vocation available to them: snitching on other civilians for cash payouts from the government.
posted by reenum on Oct 17, 2011 - 83 comments

I beg you, crying on my knees: please, oh please, don't feed the children!

Seoul mayor issues ultimatum in bid to limit free school lunches. 'Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon wants to limit free school lunches to poor children and take students from wealthy families out of the gratis cafeteria line. And he warns that if voters don't back his agenda in a Wednesday referendum, he's going to quit his post.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Aug 23, 2011 - 57 comments

Seoul's Intellectual Pressure Cooker

Welcome to Exam Village, a neighborhood in Seoul where people live while studying for various professional entrance exams.
posted by reenum on Aug 23, 2011 - 23 comments

"I'm not a good singer, but I just like it."

Sung-bong Choi auditions for 코리아 갓 탤런트 (Korea's Got Talent.) (SLYT. The singing starts around 2:45. Video is unrestricted.)
posted by zarq on Jun 7, 2011 - 33 comments

KORUS FTA

The Republic of Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement is the United States' first Free Trade Agreement with a major Asian economy, and its largest trade deal since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993. It has supporters and detractors.
posted by Joe Beese on Dec 6, 2010 - 49 comments

Welcome Home, Soldier

"Regardless of political stance, no one can deny the joy felt upon seeing your loved ones return home safely -- WelcomeHomeBlog.com is a site celebrating that amazing feeling. Visit daily for heartwarming stories, videos and pictures of members of our courageous armed forces returning home to their families and friends..."
posted by zizzle on Dec 1, 2010 - 5 comments

Recruiting the Top-Third

Top-performing nations recruit 100% of their new teachers from the top third. In the US, it's 23% - and 14% of high poverty schools. A new study by McKinsey and Company examines what Finland, Singapore and South Korea do to attract top graduates to teaching, including selective admissions to teacher training, competitive compensation, a more professionalized work environment, cultural respect and greater opportunities for advancement. Doing the same in the US would cost roughly $180 billion a year. [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Sep 20, 2010 - 84 comments

The Director, the Actress, the Dictator, and the Monster who was Hungry for Iron

Shin Sang-ok (1926 - 2006) was a Korean movie writer, director and producer, who studied film in Japan and returned to South Korea, where he gained fame and became the uncontested leader of the film industry in the 1960s, in a time when regulations on the industry limited other studios. In the 1970s under the Fourth Republic of South Korea, the film industry was even further limited, which lead to Shin's studio being closed. Things went from bad to worse, when "the Orson Welles of South Korea" was kidnapped by request of Kim Jong Il, the son of North Korea's dictator, Kim Il Sung. The reason? Kim Jong Il wanted the nation's film industry to promote the virtues of the Korea Workers' Party to a world-wide audience. After being imprisoned for four years, Shin was reunited with his ex-wife (who was also a captive of North Korea) and the given relative freedom, producing seven films in North Korea. While setting up a distribution deal to share Kim Jong Il's vision with a broader audience for a Godzilla-like monster movie, Shin and his wife escaped and sought political asylum in the United States. Their freedom was possible because of that last film for Kim, entitled Pulgasari. But Shin's life in movies was not over yet. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 5, 2010 - 14 comments

The Future of Border Defense: Robot Sentries

The Korean DMZ (pdf) / PLZ has been a hot tourist attraction for years, featuring must-see sites like the Third Infiltration Tunnel, Dora Observatory, the Dora Mountain Train Station, the Freedom Bridge and the Imjingak Tourist Site, complete with its statue of Harry Truman. And now, South Korea's border with North Korea -- the most heavily militarized border on Earth, -- will be patrolled by killer robots. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 15, 2010 - 50 comments

Queer Science

Less than two weeks after a controversial paper came to light advocating the pre-natal treatment of some female fetuses with a hormone to make their behavior more stereotypically female (previously discussed here) comes news of actual animal research on causing the opposite inclination. By knocking out the fucose mutarotase gene, scientists in South Korea have apparently created "Lesbian mice" who prefer other female mice and who resist the attempts of male mice to mate with them. Article abstract, and coverage by The Telegraph.
posted by Asparagirl on Jul 9, 2010 - 19 comments

'The younger Kim is only 27 years old and is apparently fond of shooting things, having majored artillery in Kim Il-Sung University.'

On March 26, 2010, the ROKS Cheonan, a South Korean navy ship, exploded and sunk, killing at least forty sailors. On May 19, an international investigation team concluded that a North Korean torpedo sunk the Cheonan. What does this mean for the Koreas and the world? It's not clear, but Ask a Korean provides a brief, yet historically contextualized dossier on this issue. [more inside]
posted by ignignokt on May 25, 2010 - 86 comments

Asaekkiga

Asaekkiga a comic by Yang Young Soon
posted by MetaMonkey on Feb 20, 2010 - 26 comments

The Economist: The World in 2010

In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year, NATO may lose in Afghanistan, the UK gets a regime change, China needs to chill, India's factories will overtake its farms, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum, the stimulus will need an exit strategy, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2", African football will unite Korea, conflict over natural resources will grow, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable), technology will grow ever more ubiquitous, we'll all charge our phones via USB, MBAs will be uncool, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world. And so the Tens begin.

The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Nov 14, 2009 - 60 comments

"I have owed too many people..."

Former South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun committed suicide on May 23. The former president jumped from a cliff in his hometown, where he had retired to. A country mourns (video and articles 1, 2), and clashes (more, WSJ), over the legacy of the former human rights attorney who fought for the rights of student protesters and against the corrupt presidencies of the 80s, had his presidency saved by protests and activism in the electronic age, and at the end of his life found himself being investigated for bribery. [more inside]
posted by kkokkodalk on May 28, 2009 - 25 comments

North Korea threatens, again

North Korea announces it will no longer abide by the ceasefire that ended the Korean war. Previously. [more inside]
posted by NoraReed on May 26, 2009 - 139 comments

The Plot Sickens

South Korea has one of the world's highest suicide rates (previously). The phenomenon has been acute in the entertainment world. In the past two years, over ten Korean celebrities (mostly actors, actresses, and singers) have taken their own lives. Most of them were under 30. The latest death was that of 26 year-old actress Jang Ja-yeon, star of the popular comedy-drama "Boys Over Flowers." Initial reports stated that Jang's death was yet another in a tragic line of Korean celebrities succumbing to depression due to the pressures of stardom and (according to one foreign commenter) the inability to "admit that there is a lot of intense depression and mental illness in Korea." But there's also an emerging twist in Jang's death. Her suicide note has been found, and it turns out that her death wasn't due to relative intangibles of depression and mental illness. In fact, she was allegedly being beaten and raped by various higher-ups in the Korean entertainment business, and the names of the guilty are beginning to come out (one of whom has apparently fled to Japan).
posted by bardic on Mar 15, 2009 - 39 comments

Ko Un

"He was sentenced to death after the military coup in 1980, a few months later he was pardoned but put under house arrest. While under arrest, he began to write a collection of poems; the aim of which was to create portraits of all the people he had ever met in his life" [Maninbo, or Ten Thousand Lives]. To date, 26 volumes from the ongoing collection have been published. Meet Ko Un. Ex-Buddhist Monk and one of South Korea's greatest poets.
posted by vacapinta on Feb 25, 2009 - 6 comments

Ghost Train

Abandoned Amusement Parks in Asia - 1, 2, 3
posted by Artw on Jan 20, 2009 - 30 comments

A New Mozart?

5 Year Old Adopted South Korean Blind Piano Prodigy Yoo Ye-eun can play songs after hearing them once. Watch her perform with Britain's Got Talent's Connie Talbot in a South Korean TV show called "Star King".
posted by MythMaker on Jul 13, 2008 - 29 comments

Charity begins at the home office

The Axis of Evil has some competition — in Ohio. The Bush Administration continues to apply pressure to North Korea about its alleged counterfeiting of $100 notes: This Korean story quotes Amb. Alexander Vershbow demanding physical proof that Pyongyang has destroyed its forging equipment. On the other hand, according to the BBC, South Korea's intelligence service doubts the North is counterfeiting, although it may have done so in the past. Meanwhile, on the homefront, a 16-year-old has been fingered as the mastermind of a bogus bill ring operating out of the boy's home in North College Hill, OH. Oddly, the Cincinnati Enquirer article announcing the bust is chock-full of juicy tips for would-be home engravers: rip off old bills rather than new, don't overlook those colored fibers, and set the wash cycle for delicates. Oh, and don't even think about using scissors: it's a sure giveaway!
posted by rob511 on Feb 19, 2006 - 17 comments

Imprisonment of Unlicensed English teachers in South Korea

Stories from a prison in South Korea, told by an English teacher imprisoned for teaching without a license. Punishment: deportation. But if a prisoner can't collect wages due, then the prisoner can't buy a plane ticket and stays jailed, where the prisoner can't make money, until such time as the prisoner can afford a plane ticket, ad infinitum. Part one. "The massive Mongolian sings beautifully. A sad falsetto—I imagine it to be about missing a faraway homeland of vast, green pastures, endless fertile grasslands, deserts and broad skies." Part two. "He should really go to a hospital outside of the detention center, but…he would have to pay for any medical treatment outside.…If he spends any money on medical bills he would have less money for buying his airplane ticket home. So he must go untreated."
posted by Mo Nickels on May 18, 2005 - 16 comments

South Korea blocks major weblog services.

Mr. Roh, tear down this firewall! South Korea's previous efforts to censor the beheading video of Kim Sun-Il have escalated considerably. They are now blocking most major weblog services, including Blogger/Blogspot, TypePad, and LiveJournal -- a degree of censorship for weblogs even greater than that of China. The rallying cry of opposition seems to be centering around this letter :
"I am writing this letter not primarily to criticize all Koreans .... No, my purpose is more specific: to cause the South Korean government as much embarrassment as possible, and perhaps to motivate Korean citizens to engage in some much-needed introspection. To this end, I need the blogosphere's help .... The best and quickest way to persuade the South Korean government to back down from its current position is to make it lose face in the eyes of the world." If you are interested in giving the South Korean Ministry of Information and Culture a piece of your mind, please email them at: webmaster@mic.go.kr.
posted by insomnia_lj on Jul 1, 2004 - 16 comments

South Korean government bans Kim Sun-Il execution video.

South Korean government bans Kim Sun-Il execution video. Activates government emergency internet monitoring system. Orders web sites and ISPs to comply. "Web sites that fail to follow through the instructions will be subject to shut-down or police investigation". Several South Korean web sites have already been shut down, while other sites, such as Yahoo! Korea, are assisting the government by blocking and censoring their user's email. Meanwhile, a general strike, massive antiwar protests, and a refusal by airline unions may prevent the deployment and supply of 3,000 South Korean soldiers to Iraq, as well as the rule of the current South Korean government. Numerous U.S. websites are being blocked, and one of the sites, Ogrish.com, is under attack from hackers for carrying the execution video. (warning: tragic and traumatic. Windows Media.)
posted by insomnia_lj on Jun 25, 2004 - 47 comments

I'm sure it goes well with Hennessy

We deliver to Pyongyang in 30 minutes or it's free. Well, not quite. But this is what happens when Kim Jong Il orders a pizza.
posted by pieoverdone on Jun 12, 2004 - 33 comments

That gentle piano is the peace of the grave

Young-hae Chang's latest, Operation Nukorea, is shattering, unflinching, and beautifully executed. It's a little tale about consequences, and what happens downstream from decisions not sufficiently considered.

It probably would have brought tears to my eyes even if I did not have family in Seoul. Watch it through to the end.
posted by adamgreenfield on Apr 18, 2003 - 56 comments

Arson in South Korean subway

More senseless killing, boys and girls: an Arson in a South Korean subway. "With 135 people injured, many seriously, and at least 90 people listed as missing, officials say they expect the death toll to rise much higher." This will, no doubt, help in stabilizing the region.
posted by antimarx on Feb 18, 2003 - 10 comments

Yankee go home!

Another reason why we can't win. If we stay, we are labeled as imperialist agressors, keeping the two Koreas apart. If we leave, the South Korean economy will collapse as investors flee (and the North might well take the opportunity to invade again); we will then be blamed for causing South Korea to collapse. The only winning move is not to play. I say leave them to it and shrug when they come crying back to us for help.
posted by mrmanley on Jan 9, 2003 - 32 comments

Korea DMZ

korea-dmz.com is a site devoted to not only the history of the DMZ, but also some unexpected treats.
posted by hama7 on Dec 19, 2002 - 20 comments

A blip on the radar, or a sign of shifting opinions?

A blip on the radar, or a sign of shifting opinions? Can recent events in the Republic of Korea be taken as an indication that the special relationship between the US and South Korea is changing, and that public sentiment amongst Koreans is turning against America? [more inside]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken on Sep 19, 2002 - 43 comments

Bush decides he doesn't want peace.

Bush decides he doesn't want peace. resident bush has made it clear to the president of south korea that he will be reversing the previous administration's policy toward north korea. so the strides of peace that have been made can easily be wiped away now. i especially like the reversal of colin powell's comments from the day before.
posted by bliss322 on Mar 8, 2001 - 34 comments

I guess Microsoft can't be everywhere.

I guess Microsoft can't be everywhere. Where do you want to litigate today?
posted by grant on Feb 21, 2000 - 1 comment

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