South of the Border

Photo © Globaljuggler from Wikipedia Commons

“The North Koreans are not a reasonable people,” Ms. Lee said at the beginning of our trip. It was less a warning than a statement of fact.

The bus tour of the Korean Demilitarized Zone—the four-kilometer-wide ribbon of land that bisects the Korean Peninsula—left from downtown Seoul at eight in the morning but had begun raining long before. The travel agency was clear about the dress code: “No faded or torn jeans, sandals, leather pants, shorts, sleeveless shirts, sweatpants, slippers, or military-style clothing.”

62: Haunters (초능력자) (LAFF 2011)

Gang Dong-won in Haunters

Writer-director Kim Min-suk, who spun the classic Western story through a Korean cultural filter with the script for The Good, the Bad, and the Weird, stakes out similar claims for the supernatural thriller with Haunters. The film rides the framework of the hero-villain origin story, a quintessential clash between good and evil that has become utterly […]

Friends Like These

Kim Jong-il’s unprefaced, unofficial visit to China last week was the diplomatic equivalent of a drunk dial, with both parties behaving awkwardly, saying things they don’t really mean, and then pretending to forget the incident, or, in the case of North Korea, deliberately misremembering events.

Exporting Asian-America

There is a well-oiled pop machine in South Korea. It seeks out obscure Asian teenagers from across the globe, signs them into draconian 8 year contracts, and cultivates them in rigorous training camps. After years of intense dance and vocal lessons, language education, and exacting physical exercise, these “trainees”, the future Rains and BoAs, are unleashed upon Asian markets as superbly packaged solo or group pop products.