November 17, 2014

KDrama Word of the Day: Ihon (Divorce)

Road sign for a fork in the road ahead - one arrow splits into twoIhon (이혼) – divorce – is our KDrama word for today. Ihon is the common Romanization, but remember that the Korean letter Romanized as “i” is pronounced “ee,” so eehon would be a better English spelling for it. Like 사랑 (love) and 결혼 (marriage), 이혼 becomes a hada verb: 이혼하다 (ihonhada), “to do divorce.”

You may notice the words for marriage and divorce both include the syllable 혼 (hon). As a standalone word, 혼 means “Soul.” We know this because it was the Korean title of Lee Seo Jin’s striking 2009 horror drama. Does it carry the same meaning within the words for marriage and divorce? Don’t know, but that would make sense.

You can find a huge range of statistics for Korean divorce, many of them badly outdated. Non-Koreans living in Korea contribute to this, reporting divorce as extremely rare, because it is not necessarily talked about. However, the statistics show a different story. Although there is still a strong cultural value to keep families together, especially where there are children, Korean divorce has been steadily rising for more than a decade. Until recently, divorced people rarely remarried (probably because they were not seen as desirable mates), but this too has started to change.

One reason for the change is probably that courts have become a little more sympathetic to Korean women. The prevalence of rural Korean men marrying women from outside of Korea with no preparation for cultural differences is also a factor. Divorce is most common among people over 40. Extreme abuse from or of “lineal ascendants” (i.e., parents or grandparents) of a spouse is listed twice in the six grounds for divorce, but abuse of children is not specifically mentioned. Presumably it would be covered under a catchall item.

Couples can divorce by mutual agreement, or take the divorce to court if they cannot agree on terms. There is a division of property acquired or sustained during the marriage, and child support, but no alimony. Child custody is far more likely to be awarded to the father. There is also common-law-marriage in Korea, which does give spouses some economic rights, but no inheritance rights.

Check out this example divorce case.

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March 7, 2013

Seoyoung My Daughter – Episode 37-38

Episode 37

Yikes! Episode 37 of Seo Young My Daughter opens with a hair-raising demonstration of the scariest driving ever. Raise your hand if being run off the road by your honey is on your relationship dealbreaker list.
Seoyeong pulls away from Ujae who has run her car off the road and grabbed her by the arm in the middle of the street
Ki Beom has a hilariously ironic tirade about lying and family values. His hypocrisy is completely invisible to him. Until Ji Seon’s damning faint praise that he’s the best of the betrayers in her life, that is.

I’m not sure how far back it goes, but there is a tradition of women drummers in Korea, and it isn’t hard to see why. They have to release the stress and frustration of all that sexism somewhere. I hope Ji Seon’s drumming session clears her shock so she thinks of asking Seo Young for an explanation.

You’d never guess Sang Woo had been MORE…

February 25, 2013

Seoyoung My Daughter – Episode 35-36


Episode 35
Oooo, that Seon Woo is so evil. Can you believe she’s actually criticizing Mi Kyung for acting unselfishly?! Hate her! Mi Kyung, who has grown up a little, is feisty enough to take her, but I doubt Seon Woo can be trusted to keep Seo Young’s secret. Not that it’s much of a secret anymore.
Seon Woo looks up the walkway to Lee Sang Woo's front gate
And then Seon Woo has the gall to wonder why Seo Young wants nothing to do with her. Gee, could it be because she’s an obsessive, competitive bully who’s trying to undermine Seo Young and her marriage at every turn? Here’s a tip: Not a recipe for friendship! It was great to see the spirit of the old Seo Young rise to that occasion.

Poor Yoon So Mi. All those years of MORE…

February 20, 2013

Seoyoung My Daughter – Episode 33-34



Hah! Just what I thought! Conceived MORE…

February 12, 2013

Seoyoung My Daughter – Episode 31-32


The dominoes are finally starting to fall, as we knew they must.

Sung Jae’s birth secret is unveiled at last – partly. But who’s the daddy? His adopted father seemed genuinely surprised by the baby on his doorstep, and his exec’s interest in Sung Jae (Lee Jung Shin), so I suspect the cliffhanger ending will turn out to be the exec’s refusal to tell them who the biological father is. Unless MORE…