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Category Archives: Korea

Korea Blog: Yoo Jae-ha’s “Because I Love You,” 30 Years After His Untimely Death

Thirty years ago this month, a Korean singer-songwriter by the name of Yoo Jae-ha died at the age of 25. Had the car accident that killed him happened a few months earlier, before he released his first and only album Because I Love You, Korean pop music, now better known as “K-pop,” might have taken a […]

Seoul Urbanism on TBS eFM’s Koreascape: Seoul’s development seen through TV commercials

Each month I join Kurt Achin, host of Koreascape on Seoul’s English-language radio station TBS eFM, for an exploration of one of Seoul’s urban spaces. This time, building on a piece I wrote for the Los Angeles Review of Books Korea Blog, we talk about the development of Seoul as you can see it over sixty years of television […]

Korea Blog: Korea’s 1990s sitcom about life in Los Angeles, “LA Arirang”

Not long after I started studying Korean, I signed up for a Japanese class, Japanese being the closest language I could find classes for in Santa Barbara at that time, in hopes of meeting a Korean international student with whom to practice the one I really wanted to learn. I soon did, and he invited […]

Korea Blog: Korea’s New Comfort-Woman Comedy “I Can Speak”

Over the past few months, a publicity blitz of the caliber usually reserved for Hollywood superhero spectacles has urged Koreans to see a I Can Speak (아이 캔 스피크), a movie about a straight-laced young civil servant who reluctantly gives English lessons to an old battleaxe. Or at least that’s how it looked at first: as more […]

NPR Music: BTS breaks onto the Billboard charts

Making it to the top of the Korean pop music charts demands no small amount of blood, tears, and sweat — and even more to break beyond it. Few current groups know it as well as the boys of BTS, the young septet who this week became the highest-ranked K-pop act ever on the Billboard 200 chart, […]

Korea Blog: Korea’s Dilbert-Era Loanwords

Lulled into a false sense of security by the simplicity of its alphabet, those students of the Korean language who don’t give up in frustration will sooner or later find themselves facing a variety of unexpected challenges of communication and comprehension. Nearly a decade after learning that deceptively easy writing system, I still often get […]

Times Literary Supplement: Michael Breen’s “The Koreans” and “The New Koreans”

The Korean word for South Korea is hanguk, but South Koreans more often refer to it as uri nara, “our country”. The equivalent term in Japanese is mainly used by octogenarian ultraconservatives, but in South Korea everyone says it. They also speak of uri mal, uri eumshik, uri ddang, uri minjok – “our language”, “our […]

콜인의 한국 이야기: 한국과 일본

작년에 나는 한국에 살면서 일본에 다섯 번 여행을 갔고 거기에 도착할 때마다 일본에 있는 것에 대하여 기뻐했다. 다른 서양인들이 가끔 나에게 한국과 일본이 기본적으로 똑같지 않냐고 물어봐서 나는 그렇지 않다고 대답한다. 미국인이나 유럽인의 시각에서 보면 같은 아시아에 있는 한국과 일본이 비슷해 보일 수도 있지만 서로 비교하면 비슷한점들이 거의 없고 공통점도 거의 없다. 한국에 살고 싶었던 […]

Los Angeles Review of Books Podcast: Bae Suah and Cheon Myeong-kwan

Colin Marshall talks with two of South Korea’s best-known novelists, Bae Suah and Cheon Myeong-kwan, as they visit Los Angeles on a trip with the Literature Translation Institute of Korea. Bae’s Nowhere to Be Found and Cheon’s Modern Family have both recently appeared in English translations. Colin also speaks with the Translation Institute’s president, Kim […]

Diary: Blue Bottle Coffee

For a couple years now, I’ve met my Korean speaking partner Mi-young once a week at a coffee shop. During the first few months we always met at the Tom N Toms just up the street from me, but you can only hear their corporate-issue music loop so many times before it becomes a problem. Besides, life’s too […]