If I had an octopus and you were a haenyo...
August 15, 2010 3:32 PM   Subscribe

From the tools link: We had a taewak in our house growing up. My mom used to keep her sewing scraps in it. I never knew what it was until now; thanks for the linkage!
posted by brina at 4:28 PM on August 15, 2010

Interesting post, thanks grounded.
posted by nickyskye at 4:32 PM on August 15, 2010

I'm currently watching The Great Merchant Kim Man Deok, much of which is set on JeJu.

Her mother was a haenyo. I'm enjoying it greatly, but then I've come to love the k-drama recently. YMMV.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:34 PM on August 15, 2010

There is a strength and grace and fearlessness in these women. Their story is inspiring and tragic, as they will soon live only in memory. Other means of harvesting sea life are damaging and indiscriminate, and there are few dangerous occupations that are so utterly owned by women.

Thank you for this, grounded.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:13 PM on August 15, 2010

Unfortunately, Jeju culture is becoming less and less distinct from that of mainland South Korea. On the bright side, though, the reason the sea women are coming to an end is that they made good money and sent their daughters off to college, ensuring the harsh, dangerous diving life won't run in the family.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:32 PM on August 15, 2010

Ama [related]
posted by unliteral at 10:06 PM on August 15, 2010

Intriguing. Thanks for posting this.
posted by Drexen at 1:18 AM on August 16, 2010

What I can't figure out from the linked material is why this occupation was exclusively female - if diving was so profitable, what kept men away from it and how did an all-female diving profession come about?
posted by Dr Dracator at 4:05 AM on August 16, 2010

Very interesting, thanks for posting this!
posted by oracle bone at 5:00 AM on August 16, 2010

Ian Baguskus a fine art photographer has a nice portfolio of Haenyo diver image: http://www.ianbaguskas.com/ian_baguskas.html (site is unfortunately flash only so no direct link).
posted by raulgutierrez at 7:42 AM on August 16, 2010

See also My Mother, The Mermaid a movie in which the protagonist's mother is a haenyo.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:45 PM on August 18, 2010

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