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.

Dayeong’s Reflexive Essay on Harmonizing Food Culture with Modern Society

The way to be harmonized Korean food culture with modern society

When I found out about Korean traditional culture as a Korean folklore assignment, I searched about ‘Korean jang’ and ‘gamasot’ in detail. I was unaware of correlation between these two subjects in choosing subject. In hindsight, two subjects have something in common. They are connected with Korean food culture. In Korean, the necessaries of life are considered to be food, clothing and a place of live. Seeing that I choose two subjects related to food culture, I probably think food is most important thing among three things. So, through this assignment, I want to review modern value of Korean food culture and find a new method to inform its value. I classified Korean food culture into two sections – ‘food itself’ and other Korean food culture. In light of my folklore assignment, ‘Korean jang’ is ‘food itself’ and ‘gamasot’ is other Korean food culture.

First at all, I look for ‘food itself’. I think food can easily interact with people compared to other traditional culture. If we go to the major supermarket, we can find traditional Korean food. With the purpose of informing Korean culture to the world, Korean food is used and branded. I think, the theme of Korean traditional food is ‘slowness’ and ‘healthiness’. In the article written by Han Gyeong-Gu, he mentioned about one of the traditional Korean food, gimchi(kimchi). He said that “A new interest in healthy cuisine has fostered a new regard for traditional Korean food”(Han. 2011: 150). We can know about theme of ‘healthiness’ into not only gimchi but also traditional food setting. By looking Korean food setting(sangcharim), we can know our ancestors ate nutritional food. Han also said that “The slowness of kimchi seems to refer to the fermentation process itself”(Han. 2011: 153). In the cases of gimchi and ‘Korean jang’, it is needed fermentation. In my ‘Korean Sauces, Jang’ video, I also mentioned this fermentation process. “The main ingredients in three Korean sauces or Jang are beans and they are fermented, ripened and stored. Through the processes, fermentation changes the properties of the ingredients and makes a unique flavor for the Jang”(Yi. 2014: 0.44-0.57). The process called fermentation is basically time-consuming. And gimchi and Jang is basic element for making Korean food. So, I think the term of ‘slowness’ could be used the theme of Korean traditional food.

I think, other Korean food culture can be included many things – manners, tools for eating food(spoon, chopsticks, traditional pot called gamasot, etc), community for making food and so on. Among this many things, I want to find out about ‘community for making food’. Han mentioned related content like “kimchi network” and said that “The network provided not only kimchi but also the opportunity to learn how to make better kimchi and how to live together”(Han. 2011:151). I also think Korean food is related certain group. In my ‘gamasot’ video, I said gamasot is connected family culture like that “Gamasot is necessary for Korean traditional Kitchens, and representative of family. When some family establishes a residence or moves into a new house, first of all they hang the gamasot on the Wood-burning stove. In this kind of practice, it is said that family members or people who live together for a long time are ‘eating hansotbab’ or ‘eating rice from the same gamasot’”(Yi. 2014: 0.39-1.07). I think this community comes from Korean traditional family or village culture. In old days, extended family was a very common style of a family and all people who lived in same village was on friendly terms with each other. This family or village culture makes an impact to food culture.

But, these days, the value I mention above of Korean traditional food is being lost. I think the value of Korean traditional food comes from its devotion and the process of making Korean food. As time passed, this process is simplified and substituted by someone else. “It has becoming possible to enjoy kimchi as a sort of instant food. This is quite ironic because kimchi is often praised by the Korean press for the “slowness” of its production and its healthiness”(Han. 2011: 153). I don’t think change is bad for Korean culture. Today, even ancestral rites are simplified and offspring bought some of ritual food at major supermarket, it didn’t mean lack of devotion. So, I think during making or eating Korean food, if you can feel its devotion, it is also good to feel our tradition. In explaining my other experience, I have had traditional class about making gimchi for Japanese students who are visiting to Korea. In class, instructor told the students about ingredient and process one by one. And then we can experience last process of making gimchi – just mixing kimchi seasoning. I think, this kind of class is also needed for Korean as well as Foreigner. It can be present interest and information about Korean traditional food.

As the structure of the traditional family is disintegrating and people barely says hello between the neighbors, we don’t find traditional food community like it used to be. I think instead of traditional community, by making new form of food community, we can overcome crisis of food community. Most people who like cooking foods may experience that finding new recipe through internet or SNS. Of course, direct experience is most important thing to develop culture. But, through new form of data – not only writing but also photo, video etc, I think we can overcome some differences between direct experience and indirect information.


Han, Gyeong-Gu. “The Kimchi Wars in Globalizing East Asia.” In Consuming Korean Tradition in Early and Late Modernity, edited by Laurel Kendall. 149-166. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2011.

Korean Sauces, Jang.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nE3ORgdKHGc/2014/11/DayeongYi. Accessed on 12/8/2014.

Gamasot – Korean traditional Cooking Pots

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUQSSq1tdQM/2014/11/DayeongYi. Accessed on 12/8/2014.

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.


My name is Bak Najeong and I am a first year student majoring in Korean Studies. Please watch the video I prepared on the topic of Yutnori and enjoy it!

Related Videos List:

If you want to know more about Korean traditional game, please watch this video How to make a Korean Kite.

Source List:

Video :

Photo :

  • Image by Mannam DoranDoran link to {http://mannamdorandoran.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/mannam-dorandoran-lunar-new-year-%EC%84%A4%EB%82%A0/}.
  • http://www.mirf.ru/Articles/print5270.html
  • Image by 컨츄리보이 link to {http://blog.daum.net/_blog/BlogTypeView.do?blogid=0JEAz&articleno=2142009}.
  • Image by wangjingi link to {http://www.wangjingi.com/bbs/board.php?bo_table=tb0104&wr_id=10&sfl=&stx=&sst=wr_datetime&sod=asc&sop=and&page=1}.
  • Image by 라이프앤톡 link to {http://www.lifentalk.com/562}.
  • Image by gagamel7 link to {http://ask.nate.com/popup/print_qna.html?n=5465045}.
  • Image by 달콤쵸코 link to {http://unigeo.kr/index.php?document_srl=59900&mid=main_bbs_1}.
  • Image by 중앙일보 link to {http://article.joins.com/news/article/article.asp?total_id=3468347&cloc=}.
  • Image by K-water link to {http://www.blogkwater.or.kr/1776}.
  • Image by Angella link to {http://blog.daum.net/_blog/BlogTypeView.do?blogid=0DpXK&articleno=11803960}.
  • Image by 서대문 소통창구 TONG link to {http://tongblog.sdm.go.kr/145}.
  • Image by Inmagine link to {http://m.inmagine.com/image-tgs158495-Illustration-of-extended-family-playing-game-in-chuseok.html}.
  • Image by 지후트리 link to {http://rossovir.tistory.com/33}.
  • Image by 강릉단오몰 link to {http://www.danomall.co.kr/sub2/detail.php?gid=105&acode=1&bcode=&n_page=&s0=1&searchs=윷놀이}.
  • Image by HANSA link to {http://www.ani-land.co.kr/shop/shopdetail.html?branduid=66199}.
  • Image by 한국방송통신대학교 link to {http://knou1.tistory.com/487}.
  • Image by 모브 link to {http://mauve7.tistory.com/1225}.
  • Image by 주니파크 link to {http://clipart-factory.tistory.com/1377}.
  • Image by 수출카 link to {http://www.suchulcar.com/xe/epilogue/7768}.

Information :

  • 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 : 109.

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.

How to make Ddeokguk

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 Ddeokguk

Related Videos List:

Other student videos related to Korean food include one about Gamasot (pots), one about sauces, one about kimchi, one about red bean porridge, and one about omija tea.

Sources List:


http://blog.daum.net/myfoods/8525379 by Carlsberg
http://sg.bokdream.net/ by Bokdream
http://www.matzzang.net by Matzzang
http://www.bostonkorea.com by Bostonkorea
http://www.sg.bokdream.net by Bokdream
http://www.lotteallsafe.tistory.com by Lotteallsafe
http://www.energy.korea.com by Energykorea
Other photos by Yi Nagyeong


By Yi Nagyeong

Information :

This page is Naver encyclopedia. In the page, there are informations about Ddeokguk such as ingredients and process.