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[Land of Squid Game] Kkakdugi culture

When children get together to play, it is inevitable that there is one child who is the least skilled or younger than the rest -- especially if a younger sibling has followed their brother or sister out to play. Typically, these children are picked last to play on a team, or they could be left out altogether if there are an odd number of players for a game that calls for equal numbers.

Korean children have developed a way to include those who could be left out when picks have been made. The “kkakdugi” method allows the least skilled or youngest players have a chance to play for each team, so neither team is disadvantaged by having a less skilled player. Kkakdugi is an example of Korean culture’s approach to getting along with everyone, without discrimination.

In the Netflix hit series “Squid Game,” for one of the rounds a woman who seemed to be the weakest player was not chosen by anyone and was left out. The players thought that she would be executed as a penalty, but she got a free pass to the next level, being designated as a kkakdugi.

By Min Byoung-chul

Min Byoung-chul is an endowed chair professor at Chung-Ang University who is widely known as a multicultural educator and for his practical English education. This content is based on his book, “Land of Squid Game” that can be purchased at major book stores.  -- Ed.

By Korea Herald (
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