About Mihansa

About Mihansa

Curious about Mihansa? Korean drama put Korea on the map for me in 2011, and Mihansa.net was born in 2012. As I learned more about Korean culture in my quest to better understand dramas, my interest expanded beyond hallyu to include most things Korean. I find answers (and new questions) in Korean TV, film and music, intermittent Korean language study, Korean news, blogs, museums, local performances, experimentation with Korean foods and products, online research, and in conversations with Korean visitors and Korean-Americans.

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Q: Are you Korean?
A: Not even a tiny bit.

Q: What are you?
A: My ancestry is majority Irish, minority Scottish/English, with a dash of German.

Q: Why are you so interested in Korea?
A: I don’t really know. Initially, the expressive skill of Korean actors and the novelty of Korean historical settings caught my attention.

As I began to learn more about the country, I was impressed by the spunk and determination of a people surrounded by large and historically hostile forces, quite a contrast to my own continent-spanning country with its friendly neighbors.

I also see intriguing resonances and contrasts between Korean and U.S. cultural evolution, often centered around the issues that interest me most.

Q: Like what?
Transformation, cooperation, justice, ethics, psychology, identity. All of which are staples of Korean drama and film.

Q: So you’re an American?
A: Yes.

Q: Have you ever been to Korea?
A: Not yet. I’d like to know more of the language first, so I can interact with people.

Q: How’s that coming along?
A: Not very well, sorry to say. I progress fastest when I have a Korean study partner with whom I can exchange weekly emails. If you are a native Korean speaker who has mostly lived in Korea and would like to be my email partner, please contact me (see below).

Q: What does “mihansa” mean?
A: Mihansa is a made-up word, cobbled together from the Korean words for America (miguk), the Korean alphabet (Hangeul or Hangul) and Korean historical drama (sageuk). Also a pun on the English word “me,” and the Spanish word “mi” (my).

Now that I know a little more about the Korean language, I realize that “mihansa” is not a very Korean-sounding word. But then, I’m not Korean, so maybe that’s OK.

Q: Do you speak Spanish?
A: A little. My Spanish is better than my Korean :)


If you’d like to email me privately, use this form.

23 comments to About Mihansa

  • Added, I enjoy your blog! :)

  • Amarender

    When I was searching “Emperor of the Sea” landed in this blog and nice to see this.

    It is almost 8 years back i have seen this TV show & passionate by Korea culture and their arts.

    Recently started looking for this show to refresh but not able to find any where :(

  • Leely

    Hi there!
    Sorry if my english isn’t so good, that’s not my mother tongue x)
    Just wanted to say that, even if your blog is fairly “recent”, it already interesting and complete! I learned some new things thanks to you kk
    Hwaiting! ~

    • Mihansa

      Thanks, and welcome! Your english sounds fine to me. I really love that I hear from kdrama fans all over the world. But what does *>.< mean?

      • Leely

        Thank you! :D
        It’s just a smiley, like ^.^ but the eyes are like that >.< (you can imagine that's saying "aigoo") … Don't know if you get it but it's okay, that's not important ^^
        And the "it's*" was because I made a mistake in the previous one post, so I corrected ^^ … I know: life is complicated kkk

  • Hello there!

    I was lucky to discover your amazing site when I was searching for legal streaming sites of Korean dramas. Your recommendations are awesome and I think I have enough movie and drama titles for my own blog to post.

    Thanks for introducing us to the world of Korean dramas! I’m enjoying your reviews and will definitely be a regular visitor.


  • Mihansa

    Welcome to the wonderful world of Korean drama :) Since your blog focuses on Japanese drama, I’m curious what differences and similarities you see?

    • Thanks for the welcome!

      I see a lot of similarities. Unlike Americans and Europeans, the Japanese and Koreans are fond of their families. There is much love and while some movies depict parents as evil, some of the best Japanese and Korean movies like Tokyo Story, Mother, Tokyo Tower, Chronicle of my Mother portray love among family members.

      Production values are very high and the pursuit of the perfect movie and drama drives both Korean and Japanese producers to cast the best actors, directors and crew. KOrean production tend to have bigger budgets.

      The difference is the focus on the genre – Japanese filmmakers dwell more on the quirky types, Samurai warriors, robots and space adventures. Koreans are more romantic, with a sense of history (although Japanese also love historical dramas and movies), and crime/thriller. Both love horrors too!

      Both industries are prone to conservative approach, but sex and violence are becoming common. However, there is still censorship. Japanese are more liberal and somehow deal with sex a bit more. Korean dramas feature very attractive actors and actresses.

      • Mihansa

        I feel obliged to say on behalf of Americans that many of us are quite fond of our families, and I feel sure the same is true for Europeans. Mediterranean cultures, in particular, are known for their strong family orientation, which carries over into immigrant communities in the U.S. I have also observed this with my Scandinavian immigrant friends, though there is less of a stereotype about it.

        I know what you mean, though. Despite a trend towards American young adults living with their parents longer since the economy stalled, there is less of an expectation on either side that parents will participate in (and even direct) major life decisions than there seems to be in Asian cultures. However, there seems to be a reverse trend developing in Korea, where more young adults live alone than ever before.

        After running across a reference to Yaoi for the first time on your blog, I’d have to agree that Japan deals with sex more, though Korean films are much more frank about sexual relationships than Korean TV dramas, and of course Kpop is highly sexualized. It is really fascinating to see how evolving sexuality and gender roles are expressed in Asia. On the one hand, women’s economic and political power and legal rights (in Korea, at least) are about par with the U.S. in the 1960s. On the other, the international connectedness with other cultures via the internet is a hugely significant difference. There also seems to be much more flexibility in male roles, though I don’t know how much that carries over into daily life outside of the entertainment world.

        I appreciate your observation about the genre differences. Although I prefer live action, even I am aware of the longtime anime and manga presence in the U.S. I get a feeling Korea is less prone towards creating separate genres for separate audiences, although there is some of that. Instead, I think there is very conscious tendency for Kdrama to incorporate storylines and characters who will appeal to diverse audiences within the same drama.

        Kdrama definitely focuses on beauty, along with Korean culture in general. From a western perspective, the Korean definition of beauty is very specific (some might say narrow). I’m curious whether that is also true in Japan?

  • Umesh Joshi

    Hi Mihansa,

    I love your blog and I personally like it. I come across to this blog while searching for a Korean novel “Hae-sin”. Can you help me out to find it online or offline?

    • Mihansa

      Thank you! Emperor of the Sea was my first complete Korean drama. I had zero knowledge of Korean culture when I stumbled across it on a local broadcast channel (I couldn’t even tell that it was dubbed in Chinese until I was halfway though the drama), so as you might imagine, I had a LOT of questions after I finished watching it in 2011. I made an extensive search for an English translation of Hae-sin at that time, without success. I concluded that it might have been one of Cho In Ho’s earlier works, since I couldn’t even find any references to it, outside of its connection with the drama.

      Cho In Ho, who was a major literary figure in Korea, passed away last year. Many of his obituaries have been translated, so it is easier to find information about him in English now. As it turns, Hae-sin was published in 2003. It is not on Wikipedia’s list of his translated works (for any language), which is too bad, because I think many people who see Emperor of the Sea/Sea God wish they could read it. If my Korean ever gets good enough, I’ll write Cho In Ho’s publisher and suggest it.

      You can read a famous short story by Choi In Ho here. Be warned, it has the same rather grim outlook on life that pervaded Emperor of the Sea.

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