Let’s Celebrate National Hangul Day (Oct 9) : Korean Character (한글) Is Beautiful to Be Pop Culture

HELLO in eight different languages

Daejeon ─ As a heavy international traveller, one of my hobbies is collecting my name written in exotic language as a souvenir. Alphabet is not exotic anymore for me, but Japanese, simplified Chinese, Cambodian, Taglog, Arabic and Hebrew are. In the same reason, Hangul is exotic character for foreigner.

Nowadays you can meet Korean immigrants wherever you go including Canada. Hangul(한글), Korean character, is an unique heritage of Korea for sure, because many nation doesn’t have their own character to express their language. Moreover, Hangul can be a pop culture component and spread internationally in the global era. Here’s good examples.

Mandy Rose ⓒ WWE

A Little Bit of Bad (WWE NXT Superstar Mandy Rose titantron theme)

Canadiene loves professional wrestling as much as the citizen of the United States and Mexico.
Tough Enough runner-up, and new WWE NXT diva, Mandy Rose is has officially made her NXT debut! Whole lyrics consists of Korean, but not made in Korea definitely. Well, I hope see her in WWE main show roster someday, then I could hear this voice at the ring.

One Republic – Wherever I Go

They are the latest and hottest, famous artist for Korean listener, but I thought Korean doesn’t recognize One Republic made their music video decorated with Korean character.

So do I. The 1st time I saw this promotion video was in a hotel of Haifa, Israel. Without any thinking, I just turn on MTV. At that time, I was able to hear “Wherever I Go” directed by Joseph Khan (3rd generation Korean American director). 2nd generation Korean American actor Kenneth Choi starred.

오내내(Oh my my), What the heck?

It started with the scenery of Seoul from the top of Mt. Namsan(남산). Some stuffs (Kokomien noodle 꼬꼬면, snack Jagalchi 자갈치) in the video are actually you can see in Seoul, but most scenes took in Carlifonia.


“Hey, are you getting off here? – 저기, 안 내려요?”
Otherwise, Actress has bad Korean pronounciation. Without caption, I won’t get what she said.

will.i.am, Nicki Minaj – Check It Out

“안녕하세요, 여러분들. 오늘은 특별한 초대입니다. 이제 미국에서 온 친구들, 윌 아이 엠하고 니키 미나즈 오셨어요. 쳌 잇 아우ㅌ. (Hi, everyone. tonight our special guest, Will.I.Am and Nicki Minaj from US. Check it out.)”

110985-nicki_minaj_will_i_am_red_carpet_vmas_2010_617_409Will.I.Am and Nicki Minaj ⓒ Billboard

It was the first try of pop music adopt Korean character. Each of subtitle in VEVO has written in Hangul. However, Minaj made excuse with her statement.

Korea media and newspapers dealt with the article about this song and music video, because Nicki was superstar and it was the 1st time of Hangul on pop culture.

“I dislike Korea! I didn’t know when I saw the video at first. Director made 3D computer graphic without my permission. At that moment, I think Korean character was exotic character from somewhere in southerneast asia!” but soon after she had to apologize.

PSY – Right Now

Before the sensation of Gangnam Style, PSY was darn good singer as well yet. But since then, he just made an one-hit-wonder. Let’s figure out what PSY heats the universe except Gangnam Style.

Yes, he was the first mover of EDM Genre. A quite successful YouTube star. Unfortunately although he is a singer-songwriter, he haven’t wrote good song as you know.


A reason of his failure, na, the biggest mistake of PSY is dismissing Korean lyrics. Gentlemen, Hangover … His songs were pieces of broken English. It’s neither English nor Korean. He makes a mixture of EDM (Electronic Dance Music). Nobody wants to listen to such a mess.

Besides, for Korean or native English speaker, it is hard to understand what he said.

I can guarantee that Gangnam Style’s key factor of success was Hangul. People all around the World may not understand its meaning, but it made people completely focused on some memes on that music video. Just check his beloved greatest song of all time, RIGHT NOW. No stupid English, no autotune.

%eb%ac%b8%eb%aa%85_civ5screen0067Ingame portrait of King Sejong ⓒ Sid Meier’s the Civilization V

King Sejong and his sevants (corresponding author Chung, Inji) made Korean Character and released  Hangul in 1443. To memorize Hangul during Japanese colonial era, the researcher’s association of Chosen language designated Oct. 9th as Gagya Day (가갸절, Ga and Gya is first and second complete charater of Korean language) in 1931, Gagya Day renamed in 1926.

Nowadays, Hangul Day is a national holiday of Korea after resovereign, but it is Sunday in 2016. But we are still able to enjoy Hangul in various type of culture. Thanks for reading. Come and celebrate the Hangul Day with my playlist!

* I’m seeking of cultural usage of Hangul, Korean Character, in international mass media. Leave a reply.



Ryu, Sungyoung

                     Researcher ( http://www.tipa.or.kr )
@ Technology & Information Promotion Agency


8 replies »

  1. Is there any place for an English speaker to order prints of the beautiful artwork displayed behind King Sejong in the photo?

    • You mean landscape painting (일월오봉도, 日月五峰圖), or did I miss something? If I understood, that picture is originally situated in Gyeongbok Palace and I’m gonna go there next week. I will tell you when I could find a vendor in souvenir store.

      • As I expected, there’s few souvenirs -from postcard(₩1,000) to accessory case (₩ 30,000) which has designed of the painting are able to buy at Gyeongbok royal palace.

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