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 These days, many modern people think ancient culture is outdated and very complex to enjoy.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.


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 {}
  • Image by 단청문화원 link to {}
  • Image by 눈사슴 link to {}
  • Image by 무정성불 link to {}
  • Image by 샘 link to {}
  • Image by 오색빛깔 link to {}
  • Image by 무요김영준 link to {}
  • Image by Top Class Tour link to {}
  • Image by 좋은사람 link to {}
  • Image by 한산내기 link to {}
  • photos by CedarBough Saej
  • other photos by Woo Jiyeon

Information :


  • 단청, Dancheong, Traditional Multicolored Paintwork

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
  • 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.

Gamasot – Korean traditional cooking pots

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

Related Videos: 

Other my video is about Korean Sauce, Jang. Jang and Gamasot was necessary for Korean traditional cooking. If you want to know about basic material for Korean cooking, please watch this linked video.

Sources List:

Video : Accessed on 11/21/2014.

Photo :

Information : KISTI. Accessed on 11/21/2014.

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 : Accessed on 11/21/2014.

I interviewed the manager of the “Ggokdurang Hanok” (the hanok’s website is: 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.

The past, present and future of Hanji

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

Related Videos List:

Hanji is dyed with 5 colors. These are Obangsaek. To learn more about Obangsaek.

[Sources List]




Kendall, Laurel. “Intangible Traces and Material Things: The Performance of Heritage Handicraft” Acta Koreana 17. 2014.

To learn about Hanji, I visited “Hanji Theme Park”. Hanji Theme Park is located in Wonju, Gangwondo, Korea. You can learn about the history of Hanji, how to make Hanji and you can also see so many crafts made with Hanji. In addition, you can learn and experience modern art of Hanji. You can get more information with this link.

Music: “시간여행 (Time travel)” – 초콜릿 (chocolate)