Why Korea hasn’t won a Nobel Prize for literature?

KTLIT LogoI’m really not quite sure what to say about this video, except that it is in line with Korea’s general desire to win a Nobel Prize for literature and that this guy obviously doesn’t understand;

a) translation
b) that cultural roots underlay ALL languages, and
c) his head from a hole in the ground.^^

Really, claiming cultural superiority for languages? Mad.
(NOTE: This clip comes on and off of youtube, and if it ever disappears I have taken the chance to download it as an mp4. This is just too classic to let go away)




12 thoughts on “Why Korea hasn’t won a Nobel Prize for literature?

  1. Racist and nationalist claptrap.

    The speaker would fit in well in the DPRK as well as the ROK, given his racism.

  2. Ha, the lad is obviously spending far too much time at the Korean Independence Hall down in Cheonan! He’s off his rocker – I hope the person who laughs is actually laughing at him!

  3. There’s this kind of people for every language… A friend of mine (French speaking) had the good fortune to hear her pastor (English speaking) say during a sermon that English was the most beautiful language on Earth… My friend just had to roll her eyes!

    Have a good day!

  4. @emma…
    yes, yes, korea is just like everywhere else, esp. the big evil english empires. yes, yes, this is an isolated incident. you, i, and everyone else, have never experienced anything like this before in korea. yes, yes, why complain about korea when i and my family and my friends and everyone in the evil empires are just as bad. actually, hey, he makes a lot of great points. i think i am converted – and who said 50 yrs, opps, 500 years, opps, 5000 years, opps 10 000 years, of history doesn’t matter.

    i wonder why korean doesn’t include a word to describe how superior their blood is…oh, wait a minute…

    incidently and oddly, my wife barely blinked when she watched this a few days ago. she told me she had heard it all before and shrugged it off.

    here is another question: “how far gone is a society when they measure their worth by the number of nobel prize they win?” oh right, that was just this guy – i’ve never heard anyone in korea use silly awards like the nobel prises as a yardstick…. one day the world will recognize jeju as the new *natural wonder of the world (http://www.maangchi.com/talk/topic/vote-to-make-jeju-island-a-new-7-wonder-of-the-world) – ps- good luck with that phone bill govt. of jeju…http://ph.news.yahoo.com/eighth-wonder-jejus-18-8m-phone-bill-074005508.html)

    for *natural paradise click here: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/65/View_of_Jeju_city.jpg

    sorry to charles for the links and the ramble – just thought it appropraite to give some perspective to the “just like the west” crowd.

  5. I think there is some truth to both Emma and BDH’s comments… certainly there are nativist chauvinists in any language – I think the classic case is the perhaps apocryphal story of the German claiming nothing could compare to hearing Shakespeare in German!

    But BDH’s point is a good one also. As a relatively new player on the international scene, Korea is often way to defensive/prickly for its own good. Youtube is littered with videos of absurd claims for Korea and its history (conquered the US, own the rights to the Christmas tree, etc).

    This is why expats had such a hearty laugh at the brilliantly constructed “Original Pizza” clip by Mr. Pizza – it neatly deflated that Korean tendency and was full of humor, not preaching. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth checking out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiLA6Bk_ivs

    I think the truculence of the guy in this video makes it seem even more appalling, but that could just be me reading something in?

  6. Regarding Shakespeare,

    I remember being in Yemen and have a government minister insist that Shakespeare was an Arab, and that he was actually names Sheikh Safir, and that his works were all originally in Arabic (now lost).

    He insisted that it was all a British plot.

  7. Hello everyone,
    I’m Korean.
    I appologize for what this guy says in the video.
    I think he is completely wrong.
    He seems to be lecturing to high school kids in one of the hagwons(학원).
    That is a wrong type of education they should get.

  8. @Wonsu

    You don’t have to apologize for him. He is responsible for his own ignorance or cultural chauvinism.

    I agree that it’s not the kind of education that will help Korean young people become great global citizens, but those kids will learn that on their own, from someone else.

  9. Wonsu,

    Ditto to what Rob said, if we all had to apologize for every yahoo in any of our demographics? We’d never get anything else done…

    This guy is just one data point.^^

  10. i know this is an old post but i just HAVE to leave a comment..
    living in korea and i hate japan as much as anyone else here so i don’t feel sorry about that(if you ever meet the grandmas who were forced to be war sex slaves, you will hate japan as much as koreans do-seriously, i cried after meeting some of those women…)
    but that hagwon teacher is embarrassing the whole country..
    i wish korea would receive a nobel prize in literature just as much as any other korean but i recognize that our literature isn’t that great yet and there’s a time and place for everything so…

    i know what i said is all mixed up and confusing but just felt really mixed up after watching that video

  11. Dear NP,

    My wife has met some of the “comfort women” so I have some idea of the feelings of Korea towards Japan and I share some of them. Historically, Japan has been quite awful to Korea. And, yeah, I think a Nobel prize will come, but my guess is it will be a few years down the road (particularly if Ko Un doesn’t win it). This guy (the hagwon teacher) is just a kind of thick-headed fellow, and I absolutely don’t think of him as representative of most Korean thought.^^”

    I think the literature is great, but it needs to be better known. That process is slowly happening.

    Thanks for your comment..

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