On Saturday February 2, I attended the Korean Culture Show that was being hosted by the Korean Student Association (KSA). This event took place in the Performance Hall in the Ohio Union. This event relates really well to International Affairs since this event was showcasing Korean culture, which is something I do not considered myself well versed with. For the four performances I saw, it was a really interesting way for me to really be exposed to Korean culture for the first time.
The first performance that I saw was “Taekwondo”, which has been rooted in Korean culture for more than 2000 years now. This was actually one aspect of Korean culture I was somewhat familiar with. When I was younger I had taken Taekwondo lessons for many years, and my teacher was an immigrant from Korea. It was cool to see some of the kicks and punches and general movement they were using to break wooden boards because it reminded me of my childhood.
The second performance I saw was “HAY”, otherwise known as “Hungry Asian Youngtaz”. They are a group who had come together for their passion of break-dancing. What I found interesting about this group was that, despite the group being mostly comprised of Koreans, there was also people of different ethnicities. It was really cool to see a group of people from different backgrounds coming together for one common goal. Not to mention their moves were also really cool, they got the crowd–of around 600 I believe was said–all pumped up and cheering them on.
The third performance I saw was from a group called “Avengers”. They were a rap group that was formed specifically for this event and their catch is that their identity was supposed to remain anonymous, but funnily enough, one of their masks had fallen off. While I could not understand what they were saying, and they didn’t have the best voices, it was a really cool performance that got the Koreans in the crowd especially pumped up probably because they could understand the lyrics. This performance also shows the impact of globalization across cultures, something created in the US has become a part of Korean culture.
The last performance I saw was by a group of two called “Hypebeats”. I actually knew the main performer in this act, Alex Ikezawa. The way the performance started up was really dramatic with dark red lights and only being able to see his silhouette before he begins absolutely killing it on his Violin. He and his pianist partner where playing improvised versions of famous K-Pop songs.
One of the more comedic things taken place during this show was their intermission Ads/skits. One part in particular stood out to me because they were acknowledging a pretty common racial stereotype. In an advertisement for the Bibibop dining establishment, they were showcasing how good a particular noodle dish was. A Korean girls eyes appeared closed even though she claimed they were open, but after eating the noodles the made her eyes appear extremely open through paper cut outs of open eyes. I just found it interesting how they were all laughing at racial stereotypes that they may face on a regular basis.
While I learned a lot about Korean performing arts, I also found that, in a sense, it was weird to see how Korean jokes and pop culture can be so different from what we normally see in America. While All of the Koreans in the audience were dying of laughter or getting hyped up by some things, I was left a little confused. Ultimately, I am glad I got to see most of this Korean Culture Show because I really enjoyed what I saw.