It’s Liberation Day in Korea

August 15th is a public holiday in both North and South Korea and signifies the date Korea became free from Japan. This date  – August 15, 1945 – marks Japan’s surrender to the Allied forces and the end of World War II. In North Korea, Liberation Day is commonly known as Jogukhaebangui nal, whereas in South Korea it is called Gwangbokjeol.

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Korean Creation Myth: The Legend of Tangun

Brief Notes on The Legend of Tangun 

Welcome to my blog! I chose the name ‘the bear and the tiger’ because if refers to the creation myth of Korea – one Korea – before the Peninsula was divided into two sovereign states, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea). Here are some quick notes about Korea’s creation myth to help shape the rest of Korean history and subsequent conflict!

The Legend of Tangun from http://legend-of-tangun.tumblr.com

The Legend of Tangun from http://legend-of-tangun.tumblr.com

  • Female bear + male tiger wanted to become human
  • Went to a cave, could only eat garlic and mugworts
  • Female bear endured and married son of the god and had a boy named Tangun
  • Bear is a symbol of courage, patience, and wisdom
  • Tangun chose Pyongyang as his residence, which is very important to North Korea
  • Tomb of Tangun was “discovered” in NK
  • NK emphasizes the myth because it legitimizes the State as the more representative state of the entire Korean people
  • Each side claims it’s the sole, legitimate government
  • Koryo = North Korea
  • Silla = South Korea
  • Koreans go back in history and try to find any credence to their claim that they are the rightful leader of the whole population
  • NK emphasizes the history of Koryo and South emphasizes Silla
  • Koreans tend to be obsessed with history and hierarchy

More info: http://koreanhistoryproject.org/Ket/TOC1.htm

Note: Any mistakes, omissions, or inaccuracies are my own and are unintended. Opinions are my own.