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  • 작성자 사진Lee Noo-ri

[Society] Modern Version of Hong Gil-dong, Kimchi

No. 153 / Sep 6, 2021

The Korean classic novel Hong Gil-dong was written by Heo Kyun to address corruption in Joseon. Hong Gil-dong is the main character. The Joseon Dynasty had a caste system. Children whose mother was not their father’s legal wife were constrained in many ways. Within the family, they were prohibited from addressing their father as “father.” The modern version of Hong Gil-dong is Kimchi. Koreans can no longer refer to Kimchi as “Kimchi” to Chinese people. This spread through Run BTS Ep.142 V Live. Naver referred to Kimchi as “Paochai,” with a caption. Paochai is a Chinese pickle that has nothing in common with Kimchi. When the Korean protested, Naver replied that it was just following the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST)’s instructions, and the MCST announced that to reflect the public opinion, it would revise the name of Kimchi to “Xinqi,” a Chinese pronunciation of Kimchi. The public does not understand why Kimchi should be changed to irrelevant terms. A national petition has emerged. Four main reasons were given in the petition. First, if Xinqi is adopted as the official name, the traditional Korean food, Kimchi will lose its traditional significance. Second, the lack of consistency in the terms will reduce the promotional effect. Third, the notation is purely the domain of each country. It is China’s choice to pronounce Washington as Hwaseongdun and Coca-Cola as Kirkoukur, not the United States (U.S.)’s preference. China has called Kimchi “Korean Paochai” on its own before Korea created the term Paochai or Xinqi. Fourth, changing a foreign language instead of a native language is cultural toadyism.

There are two reasons for this controversy. First, Korea tends to adopt foreign language notation with the original sound. Hangul is a letter that King Sejong of Joseon modeled after human pronunciation institutions to make it easier for people to learn; therefore, Koreans can pronounce and write down most of the original sounds in the world. For example, China refers to Jeju Island as Jizhoudao and to President Moon Jae-in as Wonjjaiin, but Korea refers to Beijing as Beijing and to Mao Zedong as Mao Zedong. Second, Korea is considerate, so it refers to names from the other country’s point of view. Sometimes terms are changed to make it easier for foreigners to understand. Buchimgae is named Korean pizza, and Tteok is named rice cake. For this reason, the Korean government enforced the use of Paochai or Xinqi, even though Kimchi and Paochai are completely different foods.

The Ajou Globe (The AG) agrees with the Voluntary Agency Network of Korea (VANK)’s idea that Korea’s notation is not suitable for the era of globalization. Run BTS was watched by approximately 6,600,000 viewers. A single broadcast could have caused millions of people to misunderstand that Kimchi is the same food as Paochai. To prevent this situation, we need to use proper nouns. Kim Byung-ki, a professor at Jeonbuk National University, worries that “If Kimchi is marked as Xinqi, China could conduct the Northeast Project with the understanding that Kimchi is a traditional Chinese food based on this.” The AG quotes VANK: China likes red, but not everything red in the world can be Chinese. Kimchi is a traditional Korean food that every Korean eats at every meal from the past to the present.


 

By Kim Min-ji, AG Reporter

mmoboo77@ajou.ac.kr


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