Haejin’s Reflexive Essay on the Importance of Experiencing Folk Arts

I participated the 21st national youth folk arts festival and the 55th Korean folk arts festival as a university student supporter on October 2, 2014 through October 5, 2014. “Since 1994, the 21st national youth folk arts festival has been hosting with Korean folk arts festival for teenagers continuing interest and transmission in Korean folk arts” (Yi 1992: 447). And Korean folk arts festival is held every year in order to transmit and preserve. After watching performances of the Korean folk arts festival and national youth folk arts festival, I conducted an interview and survey about 25 people in there. As a result, I felt and learned many things there. There is many Korean folk art performances mainly with Pungmul. However Korean folk arts festival is performed so many different kinds of Korean folk arts. I learned various Korean folk arts that I have ever seen through this opportunity. I felt Korean folk arts has resentment (han) and fun (heung). It was like I saw performances in the Joseon dynasty. While I watched these performance, I was thinking I hope young people contact various Korean folk arts. For now, young people often contact the popular arts. On the other hand, most young people aren’t contacting folk art. So young people should be contacted with Korean folk arts often in the future. Because, if they have interest in folk art, Korean folk arts can be passed down in after times.

I first knew Korean folk arts festival in this year. Young people don’t know well about Korean folk arts festival in despite of big festival which is supported by government. Before I attend Korean folk arts festival, I didn’t know about folklore. Before then, I only knew Samulnori, Pungmulnori, Talnori. But, after attending Korean folk arts festival, I felt lots of things and discovered the wonders of Korean folk art. And I learned Sangyeo sori, Jakdu geori, Geobuk nori and various other things while watching Korean folk arts festival for 4 days. I also actually realized ‘Heung[1] and ‘Han[2] because I learned these two things in only textbook. I thought most Korean folk art are similar until attending Korean folk art festival. However I realized that it’s different now. I hope especially young people contact folk art more than now. I think many young people watch Samulnori, Pungmulnori in Korean folk art. But if they contact various Korean folk art, I think they would think Korean folk art is not boring.

I surveyed teenagers to participate in the 21st national youth folk arts festival and adults to participate in the 55th Korean folk arts festival for 4days. One of the question is ‘what do you think about how many young people learn about Korean traditional art in future’. The most impressive student who participated in Balwu Gongyang of Incheon metropolitan city team said “Yes, and if I dance Beopgo chum continuously, I am willing to train disciples. I really like Beopgo chum.” Thus, there is a students who really interested in Korean folk art, on the other hand, some students participated in Korean folk arts festival for suggestion of teacher. But, I think that if the young often contact Korean folk art, they will be help to preserve definitely. And a 23-years-old woman who attended in Korean folk arts festival said “I attended Korean folk arts festival in second. In the past, I had no interest in folk art. But, through Korean folk arts festival, I became interested in folk art. Now I really love Korean folk art.”

While attending Korean folk arts festival, I changed my thinking and excited to get to know Korean folk art throughout the 4days. Through the survey, I knew that now teenagers played Pungmul more than other things. However students who performed a folk play except for Pungmul and Samul are rare. The 21st national youth folk arts festival showed most of Pungmul. I hope more people have interested in folk art. Such as Sangyeo sori, Geommu, Gut noreum etc. I think if young people have interest in various folk art, these wonderful Korean folk art will be passed down generation after generation. For preservation of Korean folk art, we need young people’s love and attention urgently. And I think that after collecting people’s attention and love, transmission of Korean folk art will be shine at last.


Yi, Hyeonjae. Encyclopedia Korean Culture, 19th ed., s.v. “National folk arts contest.” Seongnam: The Academy of Korean Studies, 1992.

[1] ‘Heung’ means fun and excitement in Korean.

[2] ‘Han’ means sorrow, regret in Korean.


Buddhist Drumming, Beopgo

My name is 신예선(Shin Yeseon), and I am a first year student majoring in Korean Studies. Please watch the video I prepared on the topic of Beopgo.

Related Videos List: My classmate 우지연 (Woo Jiyeon) make a video about Dancheong. So If you want to know more about Dancheong, please click this link!

Sources List:




  • 두산백과 www.doopedia.co.kr
  • Shin, Kwang Seop. Encyclopedia of Korean Folklore and Traditional Culture Vol. 1 : Encyclopedia of Korean Seasonal Customs. Seoul: The National Folk Museum of Korea, 2010 : 38.

About the Janggu

My name is Yi Nagyeong, and I am a first year student majoring in Korean Studies. Please watch the video I prepared on the topic of Janggu.

Related Videos List:

My classmate 신예선 makes a video about Beopgo-Buddhist drum. So If you want to know more about Korea traditional music, please click this link!

Sources List:

Photos :

http://www.zhj.co.kr by Sin Gyeongsun
http://www.ewhakukak.co.kr by Jo YangHeui
http://www.kukaggi.com by Baek Eunjong
http://www.sculturein.com by Heo Junghak
http://www.moranbullkyo.co.kr by Moran
http://www.socioaldashboard.com by Socioaldashboard
http://www.en.wikipedia.org by Wikipedia
http://www.blog.sorifestival.com by Sorifestival
http://www.tour.egreennews.com by Park Hyunjun
other photos by Yi Nagyeong

Video :

By Yi Nagyeong

Information :

This site is Korean traditional music site. This page is for Janggu.


I learn Janggu during my major class. So, I think making Janggu is easy for me because I learn it now and have the instrument. Whenever I want to play the instrument, I can play Janggu. That’s why I choose the topic. Before, I choose the story of the video, I thought that I have to introduce complex information about Janggu such as kind of Janggu, history of Janggu and so on. However, I choose basic things of Janggu such as how to grip 궁글채 (mallet stick) and 열채 (bamboo stick), position when playing Janggu and so on. I think there’s lots of complex video about Janggu and I’m not expert of Janggu. People are just interested in watching Janggu performance. So, I think I have to introduce basic things of Janggu.

Because of my assignment, I have to go to the Korean traditional music performance. Most of music was traditional music. Koreans usually think that Korean traditional music is boring. They like classic music. And they think classic is high culture and Korean traditional music is low culture. I think it’s because of their prejudice. Actually, I had same idea as other people. However, after taking the Janggu class, my prejudice is changed. Before taking the class, I had no idea. However, after the class, I know how to grip 궁글채 and 열채, role of 조이개 (ropes between the two heads of the janggu) ,the position and so on. Now, I know how much difficult to play Janggu and what rhythm performer play when they play the rhythm that I learned. So, I think the best way to make ancient culture reconciled to modern world is learning the ancient culture. We have lots of opportunity to contact western classic music and learn western instrument such as piano and violin. Having lots of opportunity to contact western music make people feel familiar to the western culture. If there’s lots of opportunity to contact Korean traditional music, I think people’s prejudice will change. In my case, just little lecture changes person’s prejudice. Making lecture about learning Korean traditional instrument or having assignment about going to watch Korean traditional performance is the best way to reconcile ancient culture and modern world. If people feel familiar to Korean traditional music, then we don’t have to put effort. People will go to the traditional performance and learn traditional instrument spontaneously.

Making folklore video was hard assignment for me. Because, making video is very new to me. I didn’t know how to edit and making subtitles. Choosing topic was also hard for me. I worried giving wrong information to people who learn Korean folklore through my video. So, I chose easier topic than what my classmates chose. I thought I talk about very basic factor of Janggu. However, I learned and reminded lots of things. Especially, before making the video, I didn’t know when Janggu started to play. Janggu class is not cultural studies. It’s even my major class. However, I didn’t know about Janggu. When I realized the fact, I felt ashamed.  Through the experience, I realized the importance of learning folklore. Especially, my major is Korean studies. For being Korean studies student, I think we have to learn Korean traditional culture. I think we should learn Korean traditional instrument. If we don’t learn anything about traditional instrument, we have no chance to pay attention to traditional instrument. And I think as Korean studies student, playing Korean traditional instrument is very basic thing. Korean traditional instrument, especially Janggu is very attractive instrument. I can play drum. People usually think playing Janggu is easier than drum. However, that’s not true. Playing Janggu is more difficult. During playing Janggu, we have to breath(호흡하면서 쳐야 해요). There’s no strict tempo. The most important thing in playing Janggu is breath and feeling. Making video makes me realize the importance of learning traditional instrument.