Last month Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe announced that shipments of high tech equipment and material to South Korea will undergo additional screening to make sure the imported materials are not being used for military or weapons purposes. The screenings will start on August 28. Until the announcement, South Korea' enjoyed most favored nation status with Japan, but now it will be treated like any other Asian country Japan trades with. Many Koreans have taken to the streets to protest.
Asian Boss went to Seoul to interview Koreans about the new restrictions.
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Mack (9) and John (13) have lived in Korea for about 4 years. They speak Korean fluently and with good accents, and now appear on television frequently. (In the video, a restaurant server who spoke with the boys said she was "shocked" by how well they spoke the language.) The boys' mother was also interviewed in the video. She said she wanted to move from the US to Asia with her husband and kids just for a change, and her husband (a computer programmer) found a job in Korea. They planned to stay for two years, but now love South Korea so much they want to stay.
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For 500,000 KRW (443 USD), an Uncle Service will send a rough-looking, hulking man to your bullied kid's school to warn the bullies to stop picking on them -- or else. This is called the "Uncle Package."
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Huge news from North Korea in advance of the North-South summit next week, and planned denuclearization
talks with the U.S. President. Read the rest
South Korea has one of the world's highest suicide rates -- it has steadily mounted since 2000, rising to 25.6 per 100,000.
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This short documentary about Korean fashion is on its surface about the many looks cultivated by Korean designers, but it's especially interesting as an analysis of what late-stage capitalism looks like in a homogenous culture. Read the rest
From collecting seashells for the inlay, harvesting tree sap for the lacquer, to adding the final touches, creating these stunning lacquer boxes in traditional Korean style takes about a year. Read the rest
Sixty years ago, North Korea and South Korea were one country. Jacob Laukaitis recently spent a week in each country and made a video of the differences he saw. His guide in South Korea was a man who escaped from North Korea. He told Jacob that only the most privileged North Koreans get to live in the capital of Pyongon. He paid human smugglers $30,000 to take him out of the county. He spent three years working on a farm in China to pay off the debt. Read the rest
Keep the excesses of one of the world's cruelest, most corrupt nations top-of-mind with this $80 Kim Jong Un men's romper suit, which is, conveniently machine wash/wrinkle free. via Crazy Abalone) Read the rest
As a U.S. nuclear-powered missile submarine docked in South Korea today, North Korea put on a huge live-fire artillery drill to commemorate the foundation of its military--and, presumably, show the world who's boss.
Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs are the subject of renewed concerns in recent weeks, as the blundering Donald J. Trump administration 'forgets' where its armadas are. Pretty much the entire world is freaked out today over the possibility of future nuclear tests (or worse) by 'that gentleman' in Pyongyang, as forgetful Donald likes to call him. Read the rest
Everybody knows that North Korea is a failed state basket-case full of starving people and multigenerational concentration camps, but South Korea is hardly the model of good governance: from the long-serving leader who stole $200M and gave it to his kids (who now live happily in America off his nest-egg) to those long-ago days of 1988 when the government kidnapped homeless people and developmentally delayed people and put them into forced labor camps -- some of which still operate today. Read the rest
Gayageum virtuoso Luna Lee's intense cover of "Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)."
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Austrian artist Martin Roth created an installation of grass sprouted in worn Persian rugs at the UK's Korean Cultural Centre; the grass sprouts, dies, and ruins the rugs. In between, the room looks and (apparently) smells amazing. Read the rest
In the runup to the 1988 Olympics, the South Korean government ordered Seoul's "vagrants" to be cleared from the street. Thousands of people, many of them small children, were sent to a "welfare facility" called "Brothers Home," where they were subject to vicious, often fatal beatings and routine rape. The order to round up the vagrants came from then-President Park Chung-hee (father of current President Park Geun-hye) whose successor, President Chun Doo-hwan, suppressed any investigation into the atrocities. Read the rest
“Hey, Obama,” a weird letter from North Korea to the President of the United States opens, according to a translation offered by the Associated Press. “I know you have a lot on your mind these days … I’ve decided to give you a little advice.” Read the rest
Since 2014, Suckfly, a hacker group apparently based in Chengdu, China, has used at least 9 signing certs to make their malware indistinguishable from official updates from the vendor. Read the rest
Tony from the Starshipsofa podcast writes, "This week I talk (MP3) to freelance science journalist Mark Zastrow about his visit to a controversial Korean lab, led by Woosuk Hwang who is cloning puppy dogs." Read the rest