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March 31, 2016

Ilbon? The Hallyu say!

Here’s some old news that is new – and surprising – to me. Japanese megacorporation SoftBank added DramaFever to its lengthy acquisitions roster in 2014. If DF’s Korean-American co-founders noted the inconsistency (not to mention irony) of handing over the promotion of Hallyu to a Japanese company, they didn’t let it get in the way of their $100 million payday. Revenue dropped after the sale, and 16 months later, SoftBank passed DramaFever on to Warner Brothers at a loss.

The flag of Japan, with the white viki logo across the red circle in the centerBut wait – there’s more. Before it acquired Soompi last year, Viki had itself been acquired by Rakuten (also a Japanese company). So for awhile there, DramaFever, Viki and Soompi were all Japanese-owned!
UPDATE: Four days after posting this article, I received a proposal from “the largest adnetwork group in Japan” to place advertising on I declined. Clearly KDrama has become a major moneymaker, and if that’s a mark of its quality and worldwide popularity, I congratulate Korea.

However, this site is about a personal journey of cultural exploration and discovery, which has broadened my perspective on many things, and helped me become more conscious of the influence of my own culture. I love exploring and researching things Korean, and writing about them.

It would be great if the blog produced income so I could spend more time on that, but I have yet to encounter a form of “monetization” (a word I hate) that I feel comfortable with. My posts are my sincere and candid perspective on the things I am writing about. I’m sure I get things wrong sometimes, but you never have to worry that I am pushing anyone’s agenda but my own.

February 10, 2016

South Korea to Shut Down Kaesong Industrial Complex 개성공업지구

A map showing the border between North and South Korea and the cities of Seoul and KaesongThe South Korean government today announced plans to close the Kaesong Industrial Complex. Kaesong, also Romanized as Gaesong, is a city on the southern border of North Korea. Sageuk fans may remember it as the Korean capital during the Koryeo (or Goryeo) dynasty from the 10th-14th centuries, immediately preceding the Joseon era.

These days, Kaesong is home to 124 South Korean factories staffed by North Korean workers. The rather bizarre arrangement just goes to show that mutual greed overrides political principles when ruling elites collide. South Korean factory owners pay the North Korean workers about $74 a month. Minimum wage for South Korean workers is $5 an hour. MORE…

November 6, 2014

KDrama Word of the Day: Ton (Money)

돈 (money) is another frequently heard word in Kdrama. You will not have a hard time finding it once you start listening for it. 돈 is usually Romanized as “ton” but it sounds more like the English word “tone,” except the T is a little softer, almost a D, and there is a little less lingering on the o.
A 5,000 won Korean bill - about $5 USD
This might be a good time to mention that Korean has a different way of structuring sentences from English. It isn’t just that things come in a different order, as is true in some other European languages. Rather, Korean uses extra marking syllables to clarify meaning, instead of word order.

I don’t know enough about this to teach it, but I bring it up because you will often hear extra syllables when listening for a word. Reasonably enough, you may wonder if you are hearing the word you are listening for, or some completely different word. In the case of 돈, you may hear it followed by “ee” (이). Yes, that is money they’re talking about.

Tune in tomorrow, when we will combine Korean’s most frequently used verb with 돈 to make a common sentence.

Want more KDrama Word of the Day posts?

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