Dasom’s Reflexive Essay on Learning about Tradition

I made a video that introduce Korean tradition to foreigners. And this was my second time making video in my whole life. I made a video about Dongji[동지] and Korean natural dyeing. I think teaching someone’s tradition to other people is an end in itself. The act ‘teaching’ contains the kind mind that want to share our special thing. And by learning other’s tradition, we can get the chance that understanding other culture and also can compare with our tradition.

Frankly say, I never believed that I can do this. From making video to uploading my video on youtube. Because I thought this is kind of the work that special social organization and government usually do. But I am so proud that I can do this. Even I am a just freshman who learns about Korea just few months. I need to spend more time and effort to make my video, but truly this chance was really make me proud. And this was reconfirmed me that I can do this and what I should continuously do.

While making a video about Dongji, I learned our tradition more. If I didn’t make this video, I even don’t know what Dongjiheonmal[. But now, I can clearly explain the whole thing about dongji to foreigners and I can easily organize the information by thinking my video order. I thought this was real study. To make a video and teach others, at first I have to be an expert on that topic. By doing this, we can learn and memorize the whole thing even we do not have to try to memorize it consciously. Just without my being aware of it, I know the point and can memory the whole thing. I feel this is real study. Usually, to me, dongji is just a day that we eat red bean porridge. When the morning news tells me that today is the dongji, then I usually eat out to eat red bean porridge. No more, no less. But now, dongji become a more special day to me. I want to follow the tradition that my ancestors do. And I want to modernize those forgotten traditions. If we cannot do, then change it into modern way. Actually next dongji, I will present little socks to my mother to do not forget the meaning that present beoseon[버선] to their female family member. There are lots of ways to revive those old meaningful traditions and also we can make new traditions and improve it.

And also, while the process of doing natural dyeing, I feel happy to do what my ancestors usually do. If I picked the flowers and make dye, It would be more meaningful. But I thought this is kind of adapting (or compromising). This is modern society. So that people find more easy way to do something and buy pre-made products. So using the cochineal powder is kind of compromising, I thought. And I learned huge thing while do this with my mother. As my mother teaches me how to do natural dyeing and give me some her special tips which came from her experiences, I thought this is the real transmission. During with my mother, by watching her processing, each second I learned how to do natural dyeing. Just with her and saw what she is doing, I learned and I can do the same thing to my future daughter too.

While this process, I feel the most important thing is ‘just try’. Just try, then someone will learn you and as time goes by continuing this, some descendent will search one’s memory and record what she saw. And this will be a tradition. Like current intangible cultural asset usually do. Same here, the important thing is ‘do’ the tradition. We all know this is tradition and that is the historic holiday, but they really don’t care it. But when they know the meaning of it and do that, then each small act become a precious thing. And I learned how much you know about the tradition and how often you do the tradition is the most important thing. And finally I feel some responsibility as a Koreanist that not only just inform tradition but instruct why we have to keep it and how can we keep our precious tradition.

Video on Dongji and on natural dyeing.


Yeseul’s Essay on How Korean Traditional Culture is Adapting to Modernity

I argue that ancient culture should change their form simply or conveniently to reconcile with a modern world in our life. These days, many modern people think ancient culture is outdated and very complex to enjoy. Because of those reasons, many ancient cultures are disappearing. Modern society regards convenience and simplicity as important things, because modern society is more complex than the past and requires so many things in a short time. So I think we should change ancient culture more simply and convenient for enjoying. I found good examples in the changes of Hanbok (Korean traditional clothes), how to make Hanji (Korean traditional paper), the changes of Hanok (Korean traditional house) and the application of Korean traditional wedding to new Korean style wedding way.

First, I made a video about how to put on women’s Hanbok, so I could find some good changes in wearing Hanbok. The hardest part of putting on Hanbok for people who don’t wear Hanbok often is tying Goreum. So modern people changed it to be convenient. They get rid of Goreum, and use a frog closure or snap fasteners. And Korean traditional socks, Boseon, have ‘Sunuk’. Traditionally, people had to look at Sunuk to see which was the left and right Boseon. However these days, people make Bosoen which doesn’t have left or right, so people can wear it more easily. Also, the skirt of Hanbok was changed. The length of the skirt is shorter than before, because traditional skirt was too long for people to walk quickly in everyday life. Besides, people reduced the width of sleeves of Hanbok for convenience. Putting on traditional Hanbok took more time than wearing western style clothes. So modern people changed the forms to wear it easily and conveniently. I also found an internet shopping mall to sell modernized Hanbok. I think this is the solution about how to reconcile ancient culture with a modern world. If we stick to original and traditional Hanbok, modern people cannot feel interest in Hanbok and they do not pay attention to Hanbok. As a result Hanbok can be forgotten by a modern world. Also, the internet shopping mall makes younger people access easily to buy Hanbok. So I think we should accept modernization and adjust our ancient things to a modern world. I think this is the solution to prevent ancient things’ disappearing and reconcile with a modern world.

Second, I could find the effort to make ancient culture more simple and convenient in how to make Hanji. Traditionally, to drain Hanji, ancient people used stone or heavy wood. However in these days, people use some machine to drain Hanji. If people use machine, they can drain quicker and conveniently. And modern people also use machine to dry Hanji, while ancient people used this methods: Sunlight drying, Wooden board drying, and Floor heating drying. Sunlight drying is to dry Hanji under the sun. Wooden board drying is using wood when they dry Hanji. Floor heating drying is to dry Hanji on warm floor. These methods require too much time, and the maker should care more to dry Hanji. So modern people started to use machine to dry Hanji much faster and easier than using traditional methods. I think this change is very important, because ancient culture should think about its productivity and cost. These days, a lot of modern people don’t find Hanji for their everyday life’ paper. In short, there is a scant demand, so now paper makers have hard times to earn money. However through they changed the process of making Hanji, they can produce more Hanji in a short time and less cost. These days, we live in capitalism society, so we should care about the cost. I think if enjoying ancient culture requires too much money and time, modern people don’t want to cost their money and time. So I think we should find strategies like Hanji production.

Third, Hanok is also changed its form for convenience and simplicity. Traditionally, Hanok heated itself with Ondol which is the traditional heating system. However I think Ondol system is not proper in a modern world. Ondol system is complex to establish and people couldn’t control the temperature freely. Also, people needed firewood to heat house, if they use Ondol system in Hanok. So people accepted new boiler system in Hanok. Besides, Hanok accepted western style toilet. Traditionally, the toilet of Hanok was located in outside of house. However it was so uncomfortable, so people changed it. And traditional door of Hanbok was made with wood and paper, but it was hard to retain. So Hanok use glasses for its doors, but it maintain the form of traditional doors.

Fourth, I want to talk about the wedding style to explain how to reconcile ancient culture and a modern world. I watched Haeon’s video and I found there are some limits to allow strictly the rules of traditional wedding. For example, a groom can’t appear with riding a horse in the city. And the rules of the traditional wedding can be complex for new generation in these days. So modern people simplify the rules and add it in modern wedding style. It is called ‘Pyebaek’.

Consequently, the ancient culture which I mention in this paper: Hanbok, Hanji, Hanok and the traditional wedding maintain the essence of them, but they changed their uncomfortable things to reconcile with a modern world in our lives. And also the ancient culture accept modern thing like internet or machine to reconcile with a modern world. So I think these changes are good and necessary, because these changes make ancient things remain around us and reconcile with a new world, not becoming extinct, for reason which is uncomfortable and complex. However also, I am little worried about that people more concentrate the convenience and simplicity, so it can cause losing of our own ancient culture. Therefore I think we should be careful to change our ancient things to be more convenient and simple. In short, we should change properly to harmony modern life, but also we should be careful not to lose our own things.

Traditional Wedding in korea

Hello! My name is Yang Ha-eon. I’m a first year student of Hanguk University of Foreign Studies. I want to explain to you about Korea’s traditional wedding ceremony~!

Related Videos List:  hope you enjoy it!! And also please watch my another video about Bowing. It will teach you how to bow in special day or events.

Sources List




  • Gim yundeok – “Geomungo Sanjo”

This year, Korea suffered lots of things. Especially, Sewol-ho disaster was the most tragic incident. Many performances and ideological movements were shown. I think these are the moral and attempt to make new things to do not repeat the tragic incident. History always gives us experience and moral. Furthermore at this point of time, history still attempts to tell us something. However, it may be asked whether we have ears can hear that. In performance and life, we can feel it and it is called Han. Because Han is in our DNA that consists of experience, it makes us share history and life.

Many performers and scholars attempt to arrange the stage that can combine modern and tradition. But we already combine and share modern and tradition through Han. As I studied and watched some performances, I felt sharing of Han. If someone asked me the question “what and where is the Han” Then my feeling such as love, charge, sadness and an overflowing joy will be basis. The feeling Han is the medium that connect modern and traditional culture. Especially, I felt deep sorrow when I heard pungmulnori. In Honam Udo Jeongeup Nongak, I could feel not only grief of Saewol disaster but also hope. The tearsouldn’t describe in one emotion. It was like an immediate and inevitable reaction. Also, I felt similar emotion in Goseong Ogwangdae. But there is also coexistence and equality that are the basic point of the performance and Korean culture. Performers combined the modern aspect and natural Korean culture. It is not weird but natural. This was the ideal point of the performance. Combination of modern and natural Korea is detailed goal of modern Korea society. But it is having an absurd dream.

During the video project, I went to traditional wedding ceremony and researched about bowing. They were about folklore and first I think it is really difficult. I couldn’t define and say folklore in confidence. But later when I was eating dinner I saw my spoon. Then I realized that this is the folklore. There is no spoon that is same with Korean spoon. I think that the unequaled thing that represents my identity is the folklore. Even a small product, our tradition and marvelous wisdom are in it. When I watched traditional wedding of Korea, I can confirm details that have meanings. For example, gourd dipper represents a well-matched couple and the concord of husband and wife. The chestnut symbolizes the ancestors and the jujube symbolizes fecundity.  Our duty is that reinvent the tradition and the meanings. Folklore is old and non-fashion, but it tie in and cannot be detached with modern. Modern makes folklore real “folklore”. That is to say, because modern exists, past also exists. Humor and cons of life coexist with us in the name of tradition. It is not natural but inevitable. I can feel tradition in daily life and me.

Tradition is the identity of Korea. That identity is gained by experience. Experience is the key-point of our identity. It makes me sad and even joyful. I can feel and see feeling of other people. My identity is hidden in my DNA called “Korean”. Because I am Korean can feel wonder seeing traditional wedding ceremony and many other performances. It is not a just nationalism. What I seen one by one can be my identity. Some foreigner can see Korea through me. Because  which I’m doing is all tradition and learned by experience and history. I am a subject that reconciles modern world and ancient culture. I am a living witness of ancient Korea and an intermediary between tradition and modern. Ancient and modern are connect with emotion and effort that keep and love tradition. We are the keeper and lover. Especially because I am a student of Korean Studies who is responsible for the knowledge of Korea.

Dancheong- Traditional Multicolored Paintwork

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

Related Videos List:

My classmate 이예슬 (Yi Yeseul) make a video about The past, present and future of Hanji. So If you want to know more about Hanji, please click this link!

Sources List:


  • Image by 방화동 예술가 link to {http://blog.naver.com/bangwhapulib}
  • Image by 단청문화원 link to {http://www.gangsun.net}
  • Image by 눈사슴 link to {http://blog.naver.com/snowdeer83}
  • Image by 무정성불 link to {http://blog.naver.com/ksanti24}
  • Image by 샘 link to {http://blog.naver.com/gojhan}
  • Image by 오색빛깔 link to {http://blog.naver.com/sindo1895}
  • Image by 무요김영준 link to {http://blog.naver.com/toziwa}
  • Image by Top Class Tour link to {http://topclasstour.co.kr}
  • Image by 좋은사람 link to {http://blog.naver.com/happyday_ek}
  • Image by 한산내기 link to {http://blog.naver.com/man0472}
  • photos by CedarBough Saej
  • other photos by Woo Jiyeon

Information :


  • 단청, Dancheong, Traditional Multicolored Paintwork

Gangneung Danoje (Gangneung Dano Festival)

My name is 강아람, and I am a first year student majoring in Korean Studies. Please watch the video I prepared on the topic of Ganeung Danoje. Ganeung Danoje is one of Korea’s major folk festivals held in the 강릉 area on 단오, the fifth day of the fifth lunar month

Related Videos List:

My classmate 이보람(Yi Boram) make a video about 단오(Dano). And my classmate 이혜진(Yi Hyejin) make a video about 강릉관노가면극(Gangneung Gwanno Mask Dance Drama). So If you want to know more about Dano and Gangneung Gwanno Mask Dance Drama, please click this link!

Sources List:


  • Image by (사)강릉단오제위원회 link to {http://www.danojefestival.or.kr/default.asp}
  • Image by Naver Map link to {http://map.naver.com/index.nhnquery=6rCV66aJ&enc=b64&queryRank=1&tab=1}
  • Iamge by 한국민족문화대백과 link to {http://terms.naver.com/entry.nhn?docId=}



  • Dubeonjjae dal (Second moon) – “A dancing Teddy”, “Crystal Flower”
  • Various Artist – “Jaunyoung”, “The day of Confucianist”, “Trouble Maker”

Information: http://www.danojefestival.or.kr/default.asp

Korean Traditional ID Card: Hopae

Hello, my name is Gwon Seon-gyeong. I am a student who major in Korean studies at Hankuk university of foreign studies. I made this video to introduce the Joseon dynasty ID card: Hopae. I hope this video will help you to know about it. Please enjoy this video. Thank you.

Related Videos List:

No other videos directly relate to this topic, however, I would like to recomend you to see videos made by my classmates on the topics of K-SAT, How to bowing in Korea, also.

Sources List:

Photos :

Video :

All of the videos by Gwon Seon-gyeong.

Information :

한국민족문화대백과 http://terms.naver.com/entry.nhndocId=657703&cid=46622&categoryId=46622 accessed on 11/07/2014.

Keywords: ID card, Taejong, Hopae

Ggokdu -Korean wooden bier doll-

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

Related Videos List:

Other student videos related to Korean traditional crafts include one about the past, present, and future of Hanji, one about gamasot, one about beopgo, and one about dancheong.

Sources List:

Photos :


music by Yang Bang Ean – “wish to fly”

Information :

http://www.kokdumuseum.com/dataspace/info.asp Accessed on 11/21/2014.

I interviewed the manager of the “Ggokdurang Hanok” (the hanok’s website is: http://www.kokdumuseum.com/dataspace/info.asp and you can visit it AM 10:00 to PM 5:00 everyday in Bukchon hanok village), Jeong Minseon to learn more about Ggokdu.

During the second semester, I researched on ggokdu, Korean wooden bier doll. When I first saw ggokdu at Bukchon hanok village, I was impressed by ggokdu’s dynamic expression. I wanted to know more about ggokdu, and I learned ggokdu are like a partner of the dead. Also I got to know only few ggokdu are made now because now almost modern people don’t use bier in their funeral. When I heard that few ggokdu remain and few ggokdu are made nowadays, I feel sad that our Korean looks like to unprotect Korean’s traditional culture.

Because of ggokdu, I can seriously consider about Korean traditional culture’s problem. Lots of Korean traditional culture is disappearing now. I think one reason of this problem is that people don’t use traditional things or live traditionally. The other reason is that people aren’t interested in protecting traditional culture or they don’t know what traditional culture exist.

So I think about the solution that reconciles traditional culture and a modern world. I think traditional culture is not only used when we live traditionally. We can live modern and use traditional things simultaneously. I find the example of my solution in ggokdu. I think we can use ggokdu in our modern funeral though we don’t use bier in our funeral. Ggokdu’s guiding, guarding, caring, and entertaining role can be matched with modern funeral too. Originally ggokdu are used to decorate bier, but I think ggokdu can also decorate a coffin or an urn that people usually use in their modern funeral. I think just stick to same traditional culture is not good for protecting traditional culture. Rather than protect exactly the same traditional culture, change it according to present people’s lifestyle is better to preserve traditional culture.

Also, I think we must learn deeply about our traditional culture from primary school to university. Now, Korean schools just teach limited knowledge about traditional culture when we are in primary school, and it is even finish when we enter middle school. So, students don’t know much about Korean traditional culture, and also they can’t think seriously about traditional culture’s disappear because they don’t know about that. In case of me, I didn’t know about ggokdu before I went to Ggokdurang hanok, which is seeing real ggokdu and listening explanation about ggokdu. From primary school to high school, I never learned anything about ggokdu. But after I knew and learned about ggokdu in Ggokdurang hanok, I feel seriousness about disappearing ggokdu and I can think we should protect our wooden bier doll.

So with teaching continuously, I also think experience our traditional culture is very important. Like ggokdu, it is hard to print lots of photos in one textbook, and it is hard to feel ggokdu’s dynamic expression that just looking some photos. In that case, go to Ggokdurang hanok or ggokdu museum and see lots of real ggokdu can be helpful. We can learn traditional culture by textbook, but experience traditional culture by watching, eating, hearing, smelling, and touching is impressed in our mind easily.

 I want to inform about ggokdu to people, especially Korean. Ggokdu is also our important traditional culture, but Korean don’t know about it or they don’t really think about that. I want to introduce them about ggokdu, so I make a video about ggokdu as specific as possible. If people watch my video and become interested about ggokdu, my purpose is achieved and I think it’s my way to protect our traditional culture.