Literary Works Loved by Koreans
Literary Works Loved by Koreans
  • Choi Kim Seoyoon, Kwon Jung Eunseo
  • 승인 2020.06.01 09:50
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From the past to the present, Koreans have always been exposed to many literary works. Some works have touched their hearts, while some have provoked anger. By reading these stories, Koreans have experienced happiness, awareness, and even healing. Moreover, the works have taught generations of readers various lessons that made them realize the meaning of life. To that extent, literary works are as essential as life friends for Koreans. Then, among the works that are dear to Koreans, which ones are exceptionally meaningful for life in the 21st Century? Here is one of the most popular books and movies that is loved by Koreans.




“Stop for a moment and take some time to love me.” 
-Monk Hyemin 

Things you see only when you stop (2012)

This book conveys a message of comfort and encouragement from Buddhist Monk Hyemin. It discusses how to live happily and meaningfully beyond religion, race, and value. It offers a sense of warmth and wisdom to readers on the values of life when life is not flowing in the direction they would like, such as the state of relationships, love, heart, and life. The book is divided into eight categories: relaxation, relationships, future, life, love, fulfillment, passion, and religion. In the chapter focused on relaxation, modern people stuck in a busy lifestyle are urged not to lose sight of the value of rest and self-love. In the chapter on relationships, the book teaches readers how to live free of human relationships and how to forgive others. The chapter on future teaches modern people who are afraid of an uncertain future to prepare by living in the present happily and meaningfully. In the chapter on life, readers are given the opportunity to explore the meaning of life and who they are as an individual, and in the chapter on love, advice is given on the great value of love and devotion. The fulfillment chapter teaches readers how to self-reflect, and the chapter on passion provides advice on living with appropriate degrees of enthusiasm, a level that is neither lacking nor excessive. Finally, in the chapter on religion, the author teaches tolerance and respect for religion diversity. Monk Hyemin concludes the chapter with a proverb. What is the truth about life that Monk Hyemin would like to remind society through his eight chapters? Take the opportunity to read or reread the book to find out. 


There are a number of universal values, and they include love, tolerance, relationships, and respect. These values are easily understood and engraved in the minds of all in the world, but in reality, they are difficult to put into practice. In other words, as sloppy understanding of a value results in more confusion than realization of that value, which is harmful. For example, people are well aware that comparing themselves to others will never result in happiness. Nevertheless, most people feel inferior after comparing themselves to others. They sense a lagging and hate themselves, which is hurtful. Whenever they think they are slower than others or they are different from others, they become obsessed and distressed by these ideas. In addition, some over obsess on not being loved by all and feel pressured to pursue this love. Repetition of these thoughts only brings about anxiety and it eventually lowers a person’s self-esteem. The author of the book, Monk Hyemin, conveys an authentic truth that life values contain, warm, touch, and comfort the hearts of modern people. Furthermore, the book encourages readers to accept the dignity of being a complete unique individual. For readers who are hurt and busily running around in today’s cold reality, the book may offers a rest for their mind. Reading the book, this reporter believe readers will experience deep and serious pondering of who they are, what they think, what they really want, and how to live. 




“I still have 12 ships at my command.” 
- Sunsin Yi 


The Admiral: Roaring Currents

After the Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592, a war broke out and lasted six years. Koreans suffered from the plundering of the Japanese, and the nation was being torn apart. Under the circumstances, Sunsin Yi, who had previously been stripped of command under a false charge was reinstated as Admiral of Samdo, where an intense battle was taking place. It was the worst battle among many wars. General Yi only had 12 ships at his command, and one Turtle battleship. Also, his soldiers had lost their fighting spirit at that time. To make matters worse, the Turtle battleship had been set ablaze by a traitor trying to escape the battle. General Yi, however, did not get discouraged, and before starting his charge, he set fire to a billet, saying, “This is where we stand. This is where we fight!” He wanted his soldiers to face their fears. In addition, he examined the movements of the sea very carefully in order to take advantage of them and score a win. The Battle of Myeongnyang occurred in 1597. Against a Japanese navy of 330 ships and soldiers who believed the battle would be an easy victory, will the strategy of General Yi succeed in defeating the Japanese?    





Korean audiences may gain a sense of pride while watching the movie <The Admiral: Roaring Currents>. Audiences will surely admire the determination of General Yi and how he managed to achieve victory against Japan with much larger navy comprised of 330 ships. Also, audiences will be touched by his troops and the sacrifice they made to keep Joseon fear of the invasion. They may also feel a huge sense of anger at the Japanese invaders when they capture innocent civilians and when soldiers decapitated captured Korean soldiers, especially the chopping off of a prisoner of war’s eyes, nose, and mouth. However, thanks to the battle at Myeongnyang, the nation became more united against the Japanese invasion. In addition, the tactics used by General Yi in the movie, even though they have been sensationalized, have been praised highly from both the Korean and foreign presses. The film <The Admiral: Roaring Currents> was released in 2014, and it went straight to the box office number one, watched by about 17 million people. Considering the total population in Korea is about 40 (present day 50) million, that is a huge number. From the film, moviegoers understand the respect and love Koreans feel towards General Yi as well as how strongly Korean stay connected to their history. As a Korean, this SMT reporter feels proud that these types of films are consistently becoming Korean box office blockbusters because they remind the public of the sacrifices of our ancestors to protect the nation. Watching this movie, foreigners will come to understand why this movie occupied the Korean box office for so long and why Koreans are fascinated with the effort of their ancestor. Reflection on the effort of ancestors, Koreans and international peoples around the world will sense a stronger connection to their home nation’s history, so this reporter wishes these types of films are continuously shown love by moviegoers. 


Choi Kim Seoyoon / Cub Reporter 
Kwon Jung Eunseo / Cub Reporter 

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