Han is a uniquely Korean concept that even Koreans have a hard time defining.
It’s considered impossible to translate into English, but it’s often described as an internalized feeling of deep sorrow, injustice, resentment, regret and anger.
Some people describe it as Korean rage, but according to CBC Radio associate producer Eunice Kim, it encompasses many more emotions.
“Han is a response to Korea’s long history of suffering — its repeated invasion and oppression by foreign powers, like the Japanese occupation and the Korean War,” she says. “Some believe it runs in the blood of all Koreans and permeates Korean society, including pop culture — everything from films and books to music and TV shows.”
In the video, she offers up five examples of han in Korean pop culture.
➤ Link to web story and radio documentary: https://cbc.ca/1.5118989
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