In the Seoul Prize-awarding ceremony on Wednesday, the KBFD-TV of Honolulu, Hawaii won the highest honor for its documentary, "We Call Her Bae Myeong-sa."
In the radio sector, Hanmi Radio of Sunnyvale, California, in the U.S., won the top prize for the program, "Forgotten Hero Jang In-hwan."
Interesting wording there; Wikipedia has more on Mr. Jang, 1875 - 1930:
He is best known along with Jeon Myeong-un for his role in the 1908 assassination of Japan lobbyist and former American diplomat Durham Stevens.
Gusts of Popular Feeling has much more on that shooting, leading the reader to wonder whether it was a justifiable political asssassination or an act of terrorism.
On the topic of terrorism among Korean national heroes, Gusts of Popular Feeling also talks a little about Kim Gu, one of the leaders of the Korean independence movement and a man described by some sources as a terrorist. He brings up a 1949 TIME magazine article written after Kim's assassination:
Jail, exile, violence and intrigue had been part & parcel of Kim Koo's life for more than half a century. At 19, he killed a Japanese policeman in Korea, served several years in prison. Later Kim Koo went into exile in China, further enhanced his reputation both as an intense Korean nationalist and ruthless political terrorist: To friend & foe alike, he became known as "The Tiger."
More on Kim's less-than-wholesome activities here. Kim will be on the new 100,000 won notes set to be released next year. The above post was rather coincidental because Kim is one of the "great men and women" featured in lesson 12 of my school's English textbook. I had to make a powerpoint presentation introducing some of Korea's great men and women (in English) but wanted to tread very lightly because so many of the big names were associated with violent periods in history (Yi Sun-shin, Yun Gwan-sun, Kim Gu, etc.). I recall my former hagwon students using an essay on Yi Sun-shin to get into some pretty anti-Japanese feelings, some pretty ugly words from elementary school students, and I wanted to withhold those opportunities this time around. I don't believe Korean independence was an unworthy cause for Koreans to take up, of course, but I don't want to get into it in front of 35 students with practically no English ability.
I ended up going with King Sejong, Yi Sun-shin, Yu Gwan-sun, Shin Saimdang, and Heo Jun, plus two Americans, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King. Four of the seven were in their textbook, hence their inclusion instead of others. As I prepared for the lesson it was pretty clear that just about any "great" man could be contentious, including Lincoln and King. I started going through people in my head who were influential during this century---and "helped" by google searches that turned up people like Park Chung-hee and Kim Il-sung, two men I wouldn't dare include in a presentation like this---and realized just how tricky it would be to touch anyone in recent memory, given the way popularity shifts and given the politics of this area. It was also pretty tough to come up with influential women not named Yu Gwan-sun or Shin Saimdang; I was tempted to leave out the former because of her violent death, and I was tempted to exclude the latter because to some she represents stereotypical concepts of Korean womanhood and you never know if a teacher or student would make a stink.
Anyway, there was an interesting comment on that last Gusts of Popular Feeling post in relation to the new 100,000 won note, which features Kim Gu on one side and a 19th-century map on the other. The release of the note has been delayed because, doh, the map didn't have Dokdo on it because . . . Dokdo doesn't appear on the map. I don't know how controversial Kim is to Koreans---probably not controversial at all---but a foreign professor here got into some trouble for mentioning Kim and terrorist in the same lecture, and the Liancourt Rocks territorial dispute is always extremely tense, leading one person to comment on the post thusly:
Of all the people who could have been chosen in the 4000 year history, they chose someone who could arguably be called a terrorist and of all the images of Korea, they had to choose map that had to be "corrected" to include Dokdo. Who planned such a laughable concept?
The short answer is that this is Korea's money, not Japan's or anyone else's. Though it might have been more diplomatic to choose people and images less recent and less controversial, Korea hasn't exactly had a diplomatic century, and isn't known for understatement or for pulling its punches against Japan, as these politicians demonstrate during the Korea-Japan friendship year.
Besides setting off anti-Japanese uproars in class, I was also eager to avoid the laughs, the "negro," and the "monkey" catcalls that come with anything remotely having to do with a darker skinned person. My students have lately taken to calling each other "Obama," apparently oblivious to the fact that the rest of South Korea looks down as them as being dark-skinned country folk themselves. It's important as an English teacher to try and teach students out of this behavior, but going against a decade of education like that is easier said than done, especially since teachers often get in on the act. I couldn't in good conscience leave out either man, but I did opt for a picture of shackles to represent "gave freedom to slaves" rather than a cartoon or a picture of a real slave, because you know exactly what that would have been like. Anyway, showing King and Lincoln did bring out the laughs, but . . . um, thankfully? they also laughed at Heo Jun's clothes and mocked Yu Gwan-sun's round face and small eyebrows. You know, the 16-year-old girl who was tortured to death and who is considered a national hero slash martyr? Yeah, she didn't look pretty while in jail, I guess. All of which lead me to conclude that they're probably not entirely racist. Just 13-year-old Korean kids.