Korean news roundup: Korea-Japan tension, (lack of) LGBT rights and the giant mound of sweets trend

Today we’re launching a new feature! A lot of people want to stay up to date with the latest Korean news but it can be difficult to keep track. So we’re here to help with a daily rundown of the biggest stories. This time it features a growing storm between Korea and Japan, LGBT people continuing to be unhappy living in Korea and teenagers engaging in group diabetic coma inducement.

Proving that Korea is still a country that can change quickly, the National Assembly passed a tough new anti-corruption law on Tuesday making it illegal for people in various positions to receive gifts worth more than 1 million won. As might be expected, there’s been a lot of backlash with some calling the law unconstitutional and others worrying it makes it seems their professions are hotbeds of corruption. The Korean Herald has a good run down of the various positions.

The first petition for retrial of an adultery case has been submitted to court after it was decriminalised last week. The man had been given a 2 year jail sentence and he’s now looking to have it wiped from his record.

There’s been a protest outside the American embassy in Seoul after the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman addressed anti-Japanese nationalist sentiments in Korea and China which the Korean press and many Koreans have reacted to negatively. The protesters said “She belittled the Korean government and gave indulgence to Japanese war criminals”.

And the fun and childish, childish games continue between Japan and Korea at a political level as the description of Korea on the website of Japan’s Foreign Ministry changed from “important neighbour sharing the basic values of liberty, democracy and market economy” to “most important neighbouring country”. What that means, I have no idea but it’s been widely interpreted as negative.

Chingusai – Korea’s longest running gay rights organisation –  has just released a new report on LGBTI people’s experiences of life in Korea. The Kimchi Queen highlights the most important points. It’s pretty saddening with less than 10% liking their life in Korea as it is at the moment.

Korea’s most popular tourists destinations are no doubt Seoul, Busan and Jeju but Chuncheon, the capital of Gangwon province, seems to be marketing itself more and more at families and those of us who are children at heart. A new Animation Character Park is being built onto the existing Animation Museum (which already sounded amazing due to it having a ‘robot studio’ whatever that means). There’s also set to be a Legoland which takes up a whole island opening there in the next year or two.

In a pretty sad survey, over half of Koreans in their 20s and 30s feel they have been forced to give up on at least one of the following: dating, marriage, children, interpersonal relationships, or home-buying. The reasons seem to be mostly money related.

A new school in Busan has opened that is made up on 181 shipping containers. Parents and children aren’t too impressed and neither are the netizens. It does look a little terrifying.

The controversial documentary about a Korean pastor who operates an abandoned baby ‘drop box’ in Seoul is showing in selected theatres in the US until tomorrow.

And finally…

In the tradition of all good bulletins, here’s a fun little fluff piece to finish up.

Brian Ashcraft over at Kotaku has an in-depth article on a popular trend with Korean students of taking as much sweet stuff as you find, mixing it all together in a bowl and eating it with your friends. Kids, eh?

Let us know if you like this feature and would to see it more often.

  • dustdevilliz

    This is great! Love the round-up format, and the links to sites and sources that I don’t usually check out or might have missed.

    • http://beyondhallyu.com/ Lizzie (beyondhallyu)

      Glad you like it! Our team are all super busy for the next month or so, so hopefully this is something that can keep us ticking along until that’s all over.