Mo’ Korea: Korean Studies Pt. 1–Korea Exposé

Mo’ Korea covers a lot of Korean pop culture, but you can’t just understand a country through their popular entertainment alone. It helps to understand some of the history of the country as well as some current issues everyday Koreans are facing. Enter my mini-series within a series, Korean Studies. Life is more than just a K-pop video or K-drama, and the websites I’ve found can help you gain a well-rounded look at what Korea, both the bad and the good, is all about.

Independent news site Korea Exposé is one of my favorite places to visit when learning about Korea. I actually found this site when I was writing my article on the multicultural children’s choir who performed at the Winter Olympics. I’ve found Korea Exposé to be a great resource when it comes to getting an unbiased take on the issues affecting Korean citizens.

 

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#3 The organization, called Women March for Justice (and ‘Inconvenient Courage’ in Korean), are not without their controversies. Their stance to allow only “biological women” in the rallies — including reporters — have raised more than a few eyebrows. Some critics call them overly aggressive, even hateful in their speech toward men. Anti-feminists attempt to discredit their movement altogether. . But it is undeniable that they have sparked the national conversation about a topic that has been neglected for a long time. . “It won’t change, it won’t change. But we have changed,” says the placard in the last photo. . Watch our interview with the organizers “Women March for Justice Against #Molka” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJZgC4ORCq0) on our YouTube channel . Photo by Jieun Choi (@thisisjieun) . Be a Patreon: support the work we do (link in bio)!

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#1 A fourth anti-spycam rally was held in central Seoul last Saturday. Tens of thousands of women convened in front of the royal palace for the cause, despite the scorching sun on Aug. 4. . The organizers, behind the movement, Women March for Justice (and ‘Inconvenient Courage’ in Korean), remain largely faceless and nameless. There are around 200 of them, all women, all volunteers. Most of them are assumed to be younger, in their 20s to 30s, and with the exception of few staff, all of them remain anonymous even to each other. . Watch our interview with the organizers “Women March for Justice Against #Molka” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJZgC4ORCq0) on our YouTube channel . Photo by Jieun Choi (@thisisjieun) . Be a Patreon: support the work we do (link in bio)!

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Founded in 2014, Korea Exposé provides substantive reporting of the Korean peninsula. As the staff wrote on their Facebook page:

The Korean Peninsula has been divided into two for more than six decades, with a fast-developed capitalist state and a secretive totalitarian state co-existing in uneasy armistice. That contrast has in part led to a great deal of ‘pop journalism’ with little substance when it comes to reporting on the Koreas. Are more South Korean women having plastic surgery? Have the Kims bought yet another luxury yacht?

Fascinating as such questions may be, the two Koreas are more complex beneath the surface.

Our aim at Korea Exposé is to speak to a global audience about the two Koreas in a way that goes beyond the clichés and superficial analysis. We bring together a diverse crowd of writers who see the peninsula from different points of view: South Koreans domestic and abroad, North Koreans who have left their homeland, and non-Koreans who study or live in the region.

By looking at Korea through that multi-faceted lens, we hope to transcend both the simplistic coverage that characterises much of the foreign reporting and the ideologically charged content that many Korean media outlets pass around as news.

At Korea Exposé, we practice journalism that challenges politically motivated censorship and calls on the public to pay attention to the most salient topics in today’s Korean Peninsula. We are proud of our access to sources, fluency in the Korean language, and deep familiarity with the region that enable us to carry out our work.

 

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#4 Samgyeopsal is inseparable from South Korea’s economic ebbs and flows. . If its advent had to do with the expanding economy, urbanization and export industry in the 70s, it was during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis that pork belly became the epitome of South Korean barbecue. Due to its affordability, families and companies dined out at pork belly joints instead of beef barbecue restaurants. . “The demand for samgyeopsal exploded,” said food expert Joo Young-ha. . Read: “Grilled Pork Belly: A South Korean Love Story (https://www.koreaexpose.com/origins-samgyeopsal-pork-belly-korean-bbq/).” . Photo by Jieun Choi (@thisisjieun) . Be a Patreon: support the work we do (link in bio)!

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Much of Korea Exposé’s articles focus on the intersection between culture and politics, particularly where immigration, Korean identity, Korean history and Korean innovation are concerned. Here’s a small list of some of Korea Exposé’s most recent articles and videos:

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Koryo Saram: 4th Generation Redefines Korean ‘Roots’

ké cast S2 E3: Is There Room For Conscientious Objectors in Korea?

‘Too Different to Be Chinese, Not Good Enough to Be Korean’

North Korea Reporting: Riddled With Errors, Even in Neighboring South Korea

Tyranny of South Korea’s Majority Against Refugees

My Life Isn’t Your Porn: Why South Korean Women Protest

2018 Seoul Queer Culture Festival

These aren’t articles that you’ll find on your standard CNN or New York Times, regardless of how rigorous they say the reporting is. These are articles about people who understand the on-the-ground reality of Korean life, and their articles and videos can provide those of us in the States and elsewhere who are interested in Korea valuable information we wouldn’t get otherwise.

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Korea Exposé is supported through Patreon, and if you love what you’ve read from the site, make sure to support them if you’re financially able. A place like Korea Exposé needs to stick around because it’s given cultural students like us a chance to immerse ourselves from the comfort of our own computers.