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[Newsmaker] Shattering prejudice about cultural heritage

Attempts to break the staid image of cultural heritage are reaping positive results

Monsta X members Kihyun and Shownu try out mask play in an episode featuring the ”Golden Era Route.” (CHA)
Monsta X members Kihyun and Shownu try out mask play in an episode featuring the ”Golden Era Route.” (CHA)

Imagine learning about Korean cultural heritage and history with K-pop stars while reading a webtoon or watching a short movie, instead of reading dry textbooks.

The Cultural Heritage Administration is working to break the perception that learning about history and culture is boring, while also trying to appeal to young people.

Last September, the CHA rolled out an eight-episode short documentary series starring boy band Monsta X on YouTube.

The documentary videos, which broadcaster JTBC also aired on Nov. 22, mainly featured members of the group visiting seven heritage-themed travel routes created by the CHA, and learning about their history with Seo Kyoung-duk, a liberal arts professor at Sungshin Women‘s University who is well-known for promoting Korea abroad.

“I can see interesting new places and broaden my knowledge. South Korea is a beautiful country and I wish that one day I will be able to visit all of those places introduced by hosts and Monsta X members,” a YouTube user commented on a video titled “‘Korean Heritage Travelog‘ with MONSTA X #8.“

-Monsta X members Jooheon and I.M explore the ”Mythic Landscape Route“ in Jeju in a short documentary created by the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA)
-Monsta X members Jooheon and I.M explore the ”Mythic Landscape Route“ in Jeju in a short documentary created by the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA)

The seven tour routes were introduced as part of the CHA’s ”Visit Korean Heritage Campaign.” It includes “Route of Royalty,“ which connects royal heritage sites, as well as “Route of Antiquity” in South Chungcheong Province, home to the capital of the Baekje Kingdom (18 BC-AD 660).

On Nov. 18, the CHA also presented a webtoon series inspired by Baridegi, a Korean shaman myth, which has been passed down in the spoken form. The original story is about a princess abandoned by her father.

In the webtoon, Princess Baridegi sets out on a journey to discover who stole the stars in the Big Dipper. During her journey, she gets to visits some cultural heritage sites in Korea and introduces some of the stories behind them. The webtoon is available on various platforms, including Lezhin Comics, Kakao Page, EBStoon and Inamootoon.


A Cultural Heritage Administration webtoon inspired by Baridegi, a Korean shaman myth (CHA)
A Cultural Heritage Administration webtoon inspired by Baridegi, a Korean shaman myth (CHA)

To round out the year, the organization released the short film “Cheobjong- Palace Guard Inspection Ceremony” featuring several well-known actors.

The 20-minute film was released Thursday on the CHA’s YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/chluvu and the Royal Culture Festival’s YouTube channel https://c11.kr/i65r with English subtitles.

The movie about the inspection of guards ceremony at a Joseon royal palace features actor Tae In-ho, who has played supporting roles in several hit Korean dramas, including “Descendants of the Sun” and “Misaeng,” and actor Park So-jin, more widely known as K-pop girl group Girl’s Day member So-jin, as the protagonists.

The film highlights the dynamic nature of the traditional ceremony.

Cheobjong refers to a big bell which was used during the Joseon era in times of emergency and during the king´s inspection of the guards. For the inspection ceremony, palace guards gathered together, along with civil and military officials.

By Song Seung-hyun (ssh@herladcorp.com)
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