Jihyun Kim

Jihyun Kim is the founder of The Koreanist. She is an undergraduate student at Konkuk University.
5 Posts
Welcome to The Koreanist

Welcome to The Koreanist

I was born and bred in Seoul with two Korean parents. My parents don’t really speak English but I was raised bilingual, speaking English from a very young age. My parents wanted me to be successful in this anglocentric world. That was a blessing and a curse. While it allowed me to be more well-read on everything that goes on in the world, I also learned that Koreans are marginalized even when it comes to issues regarding Korea. Nowadays there is more and more content about Korea in English media, but they still mostly come from Westernized perspectives. They are…
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Koreanist Book Club: Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982

Koreanist Book Club: Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-joo is a very controversial book in South Korea. Some K-pop fans set photos on fire over a female idol member talking about having read it. It has also sold more than a million copies, which is rare in Korean publishing market. It was translated into Japanese, which lead angry Korean men to leave poorly Google translated reviews on Amazon Japan. It is accused of being divisive and even misandrist, when all it really does is illustrate an average Korean woman's life. Men seem to think that the author intentionally put together a series…
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Boost the Activists in Korea; Don’t Erase Them.

Boost the Activists in Korea; Don’t Erase Them.

Photo credit: Moolrin I was glad to see people in Korea acting in support of Black Lives Matter. However, the fact that they are doing something now was not enough for some people. A couple of Seoul-based foreigners questioned why Koreans are more vocal about racism in USA than they are about the racism right here at home. They specifically brought up Yemeni refugees that sought asylum in Korea in 2018, saying they never saw protests against racism and xenophobia then. Many more Seoul-based foreigners agreed with them. I really appreciate the irony of a foreign person speaking about how…
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COVID-19 and the Precarity of South Korean Working Class

Coupang is a Korean e-commerce platform. I used to joke that Coupang is an Amazon wannabe. This time it did follow Amazon's footsteps. One of Coupang's warehouses had an COVID-19 outbreak with 63 confirmed cases and counting, just like Amazon had an outbreak at their fulfillment center. They did not follow the infection prevention guidelines. They hid the outbreak to keep people working in close vicinity. They eventually closed the warehouse two days later, but the damage was already done. Coupang distinguished itself from other e-commerce platforms by offering free next-day delivery, called "Rocket Shipping." They claimed they are ensuring…
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South Korea Has COVID-19 Under Control Despite Homophobia

About a week ago, I woke up to a number of messages from my foreign acquaintances in both my personal and professional inboxes. Are Korean gays okay? Am I, being a queer person in Korea, okay? I instantly knew what that was about, but I was still puzzled. Why are they more concerned than I? When I opened the messages, I found links from Western news outlets. UK news outlet The Guardian wrote about "high level of deeply entrenched homophobic attitudes in the conservative society" of South Korea. I found that interesting because nowhere did I see anything about high…
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