Spring Film Series Has Punchy Finish

still image from PunchThe Center for Korean Studies spring 2014 film series–Sweet or Sweat? Ethnic Others in Korean Cinema–concludes April 22 with the 2011 feature Punch (완득이), directed by Lee Han.

Based on a bestselling novel, Punch was nominated and won numerous awards in Korea in 2012. It is the story of Wan-deuk, a teen from a poor background who never knew his mother. He struggles in school and frequently gets into fights. He clashes with his stern high school teacher, Dong-joo, at first, but they grow closer when Wan-deuk’s father asks Dong-joo for help looking after Wan-deuk. Together, they eventually learn that Wan-deuk’s mother is a Filipina immigrant working in one of Seoul’s satellite cities.

Film screenings are free and open to the public and take place in the Center for Korean Studies auditorium at 1881 East-West Road on the University of Hawai’i Mānoa campus starting at 6:30 p.m. Korean films are shown with English subtitles. For further information, contact the Center for Korean Studies at (808) 956-7041 or Professor Young-a Park (yapark@hawaii.edu) at (808) 956-6387.

For this final screening of the series, join us for light refreshments and informal conversation before the film, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The trailer for Punch can be viewed here:

Korean Culture Day 2014

culture day imageThe Center for Korean Studies hosts Korean Culture Day on Friday, April 11, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Center along with the Korean Language Flagship Center; the UH College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature; the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures; and Palama Supermarket.

The multievent program will take over the Center’s lobby, conference room, and classroom. Scheduled activities include brush calligraphy (붓글씨쓰기) and wearing hanbok (한복). You can try your hand at playing chegich’agi (제기차기), ttackchich’igi (딱지치기), konggi (공기), and t’uho (투호). There will also be demonstrations of t’aekwŏndo (태권도) and a student talent show (장기자랑). Maybe best of all, you can sample some ttŏkpokki (떡볶이) lunch boxes (도시락).

For more information about the event, contact the Korean Language Flagship Center at flagship@hawaii.edu.

Korean Films Featured in HIFF Spring Showcase

image: HIFF logoFans of Korean cinema should check the program of the fifteenth annual Hawai‘i International Film Festival Spring Showcase, which begins April 4 and runs through April 28.

The schedule includes eight recent Korean films, seven 2013 releases and one released this year. They are:

  • Another Family (또 하나의 약속)
  • The Attorney (변호인)
  • Fasten Your Seatbelt (롤러코스터)
  • Final Recipe (파이널 레시피)
  • Hide and Seek (숨바꼭질)
  • Marriage Blue (결혼전야, 2014)
  • Thuy (안녕, 투이)
  • Way Back Home (집으로 가는 길)

Illustrated synopses of the films, screening schedules and venues, and ticket information are all available on the HIFF Web site. The Spring Showcase includes thirty-seven films from–in addition to Korea–Japan, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, United Kingdom, United States, the Philippines, France, India, Canada, and Denmark-Sweden.

Korean Topics in SPAS Graduate Student Conference

image: conference artKorea-related topics are prominent in the schedule of the 2014 version of the School of Pacific and Asian Studies Graduate Student Conference. The conference will take place April 2 through April 4 at the Center for Korean Studies. The theme of this year’s conference is “Pushing Boundaries, Shifting Perspectives: Remapping Asia and the Pacific Through a Transnational Interdisciplinary Lens.”

The conference opens Wednesday, April 2, with a keynote address by Nancy Lee Peluso, Henry J. Vaux Distinguished Professor of Forest Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. Her topic is “The Plantation and The Mine: Political Ecologies of Order and Chaos.” The program begins at 5:30 p.m.

The following two days will be devoted to organized panels featuring presentations by graduate students of the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and other institutions. On Thursday, April 3, Korea-related papers include:

  • Panel 1.1, Crossing Boundaries in Music and Art (10 a.m.-11:30 a.m., Auditorium)
    • Anjelica Corbett, University of Hawai’i at Manoa: “Cheonggukjang Reggae: An Examination of Korean Reggae Through the Performances of I and I Djangdan and Windy City”
  • Panel 1.2, International Relations in East Asia (10 a.m.-11:30 a.m., Conference Room)
    • Robert York, University of Hawai’i at Manoa: “The Lost Opportunities of Nordpolitik and the New Opportunities of Byungjin”
    • Steve Chung, University of Sydney: “North Korean Factor in ROK Presidential Elections (2002-2012): Forms, Patterns and Implications
    • Ju Hee Suk, Ewha Womans University: “Two Apologies and Backlash in Asia: From ‘Murayama Statement (1995)’ to ‘Koizumi Statement (2005)’”
    • Youngoh Jung, University of Toronto: “Conscientious Objection and Draft Evasion in South Korean Society”

Friday’s schedule includes:

  • Panel 4.1, Exploring Diasporic Identity (9:00-10:30 a.m., Auditorium)
    • Zach Adamz, University of Kansas: “Mistaken Identity: The Origins of Koryo Saram and the Role of South Korea as Homeland”
  • Panel 5.2, Religion in Asia and the Pacific (10:45 a.m-12:15 p.m., Conference Room)
    • Joanna Kim, University of Hawai’i at Manoa: “For the Protection of the State: Buddhism & the Formation of the Koryo Dynasty”

Click here for the complete conference program. Questions about the conference can be sent to gradconf@hawaii.edu.

Series on Ethnic Others in Korean Cinema Resumes April 1

image: still from FailanThe third feature in the Center for Korean Studies spring 2014 film series screens on Tuesday, April 1. The film is Failan (파이란), directed by Son Hae-sung and released in 2001. In keeping with the series theme, “Sweet or Sweat? Ethnic Others in Korean Cinema,” it presents another example of the varied reactions to the challenges of Korea’s increasingly multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society.

The title character, Failan (played by Hong Kong actress Cecilia Cheung), having lost her parents, moves from China to Korea to seek her only remaining relatives. Finding that her relatives have since departed, she is forced into an arranged marriage with Kang-jae, a gangster struggling to win the respect of his organization. How will they adjust, especially when Kang-jae’s organization asks that he take the fall for a murder? Choi Min-shik (of Oldboy) stars as Kang-jae, a role that won him Best Actor at the Pusan Film Critics Awards and the Blue Dragon Film Festival in 2001.

The films of the spring series were selected by Prof. Young-a Park of the UH Asian Studies Program, with the assistance of graduate student Robert York. For information about the other films in the series, follow this link. See below for a trailer (in Korean) for Failan.

Films are shown in the Center for Korean Studies auditorium at 1881 East-West Road on the University of Hawai’i Mānoa campus and begin at 6:30 p.m. Korean films are shown with English subtitles. The screenings are free and open to all. The series is supported by the Timothy and Miriam Wee Memorial Fund at the Center for Korean Studies.