Archive for the 'Korea' Category

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Children of the Secret State

After reading Hyok Kang’s This is paradise!, here’re even more intense impressions about the inhumane conditions in North Korea (hat tip: Occidentalism), a discovery channel documentary:
North Korea – Children of the Secret State – I have no words for the content, just tears.

More by Renk, a Japan-based group which is committed to spread information about the last Stalinist totalitarian dictatorship.

p.s.: If you live in Korea or a handful of other countries I unfortunately can’t specify further, you’ll recieve the following message when trying to access the video: Currently, the playback feature of Google Video isn’t available in your country. If this is the case, there’s a workaround.

Kushibo-e Kibun

Added Kushibo to the blogroll. Don’t rush through his blog, there’re too many good articles you’d miss out on.

Travelling Through North Korea

Dan Schorr recently travelled through North Korea. He describes the English language Pyongyang Times as follows:

No news about other countries. No sports scores. No crossword puzzle.

No crossword puzzle? No fun in Kimjongil-land.


This is Paradise!

The best place to get Korean books about and from Korea:

Currently, I’m reading Ihr seid hier im Paradies (engl. This Is Paradise!) by Kang Hyok and Phillippe Grangereau. Great book so far, rather short with 256 pages, but with such detailed information about misery and sorrow about his life as a kid in North Korea that it blows my mind. I thought I know about the life conditions since my wife told me quite a lot about it in the last four years and I’ve read about it before. We’re actually reading it together… but I had no idea how bad it really is. There’d be too many pieces from the text to quote, so I’ll leave it at a general recommendation: If you have ten bucks to spare, go and get it.

Blogroll addition: The Marmot's Hole

The Marmot’s Hole added to Blogroll. It’s a group weblog centered around all things Korean, including news, events, culture and history. Writing since January 2003, the linklist to other Korean blogs is extensive – if you want to participate in the discussions though, you have to register (an extreme, but safest way to prevent spam in comments). You’ll notice the absence of a design or any colors with the default theme, so nothing’s going to distract you from the content.

update: Firefox with enabled adblock blocks their weblog’s header image…

The Face of the Enemy

???? (Tori Jangun), 1978During breakfast, I told my wife about how North Korea said that Japan doesn’t belong in the six-way talks on their nuclear weapons program because…

The nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula is not a matter for such an insincere and clumsy political dwarf as Japan to deal with

so they should step aside and let the big guys talk (Hat tip to Cominganarchy). This is not the first time North Korea snapped at its neighbor, but the region is not known for favorable views of neighbors and good relations. For example, after the short anecdote my wife told me that when she was a kid she watched an animation for children called ???? (Tori Jangun, 1978). Click on the image to see the details.

The interesting part of the story is, the pig in red cloth in the upper right corner was a not at all flattering portray of Kim Il-Sung Yuri Irsenowich Kim a.k.a. Kim Jong-Il (who at that time was the Party secretary of organization and propaganda and already designated as successor of his father, Kim Il-Sung). The wolfes in the lower left represent North Korean soldiers – the imagery is quite vivid. Tori Jangun was not only shown in the movies, but also in schools throughout the South Korean half of the penninsula.

p.s.: unflattering appears to be a false friend?

p.p.s.: During research, I came across

Korean Registration Form

The last project is done, had a marathon of over nine hours yesterday and finished it a few minutes ago. My wife checked and doublechecked everything.

IIK ??? ???

I hope it’s going to attract new students from South Korea. With a short glance over the documentation of this and last years courses, I’d say there are already many students from Japan and South Korea coming to learn German here, but with the current government change and the new policy for academic tuition fees the numbers might decline in the long run.


BibimbapToday’s lunch: South Korean Bibimbap with improvised ingredients: Rice, farn, salad, gingko, chongak-kimchi, zucchini, onions, sesame leaves and doraji. Here are a few more recipies for Bibimbap.

On the Menu

spring rollsMy family doesn’t really know what my (south-korean) wife and me eat. My brother is married to a German, my mother is with an American, my father is married with a Croatian – diversity whereever you look, even on our dishes. My wife’s family in Korea is curious, too, so I’ll post food every now and then. Today we had spring rolls, whic are not very difficult to cook, but I need more practice with the rolling – I did the ugly roll in the back.

Six-Party Talks

The – unfortunately – neverending story goes on: Pyongyang claims again the have or are close to achieve nuclear weapons capabilities and puts its neighborhood on the edge. This time the threat was more precise, news from North Korea’s capital arrived that they removed fuel rods from its nuclear power plant. The only (peaceful) way to convince Pyongyang to let go is a concentrated effort by all parties in the six-party talks. The opposite, threats to take down the North Korean government could easily result in a burning Korean penninsula.

North Korea urged to rejoin talks