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Traditianal Korean Thought

Traditional Korean thought

Traditional Korean thought has been influenced by a number of religious and philosophical thought-systems over the years. As the main influences on life in Korea, often Korean Shamanism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. These movements have shaped Korean life and thought.


Traditional rites and shamanistic practices have developed in Korea for millennia. Throughout Korean history, native shamanism deeply influenced and was influenced by Buddhism and Taoism. In contemporary Korean, a shaman is known as a mudang.

Even though belief in Korean shamanism is not as widespread as it once was, the practices are kept alive. The mudang seeks to solve human problems through a connection to the spirits. This can be seen clearly in the various types of gut that are still widely performed.


Korean Buddhist thinkers refined ideas originally introduced from China into a distinct form. The Three Kingdoms of Korea introduced Buddhism to Japan, from where it was popularized in the West. Korean Buddhism consists mostly of the Seon lineage, which is derivative of the Chen (Zen) Buddhism of China and precursor to Zen Buddhism known in the West through Japan.

Buddhist temples can be found in most parts of Korea and many are considered national treasures.


Haeinsa is a Buddhist temple in South Gyeongsang.


One of the most substantial influences in Korean intellectual history was the introduction of Confucian thought as part of the cultural exchange from China. Today the legacy of Confucianism remains a fundamental part of Korean society, shaping the moral system, the way of life, social relations between old and young, and high culture, and even survived the modernization of the legal system.

Mud Festival

The Boryeong Mud Festival is an annual festival which takes place during the summer in Boryeong, a town around 200 km south of Seoul, South Korea. The first Mud Festival was staged in 1998 and, by 2007, the festival attracted 2.2 million visitors to Boryeong.

The mud is taken from the Boryeong mud flats, and trucked to the Daecheon beach area, where it is used as the centrepiece of the 'Mud Experience Land'. The mud is considered rich in minerals and used to manufacture cosmetics. The festival was originally conceived as a marketing vehicle for Boryeong mud cosmetics.

Although the festival takes place over a period of around two weeks, it is most famous for its final weekend, which is popular with Korea's western population. The final weekend of the festival usually falls on the second weekend in July.

History of the Festival

In 1996 a range of cosmetics was produced using mud from the Boryeong mud flats. The cosmetics were said to be full of minerals, bentonites, and germaniums, all of which occur naturally in the mud from the area.

In order to promote these cosmetics, the Boryeong Mud Festival was conceived. Through this festival, it was hoped people would learn more about the mud and the cosmetics. The festival has become popular with both Koreans and western tourists, as well as American Military personnel stationed in the country, and foreign English teachers working in Korea.

The festival attracted some controversy in 2009 when a group of school children attending the festival developed skin rashes after contact with the mud.


For the period of the festival several large attractions are erected in the seafront area of Daecheon. These include a mud pool, mud slides, mud prison and mud skiing competitions. Colored mud is also produced for body painting. A large stage is erected on the beach, which is used for live music, competitions and various other visual attractions.

A small market runs along the seafront selling cosmetics made using the mud from Boryeong. Various health and beauty clinics offer massages, acupuncture and other treatments utilising the medicinal qualities of the mud.

The festival is closed with a large firework display.


Jesa is a ceremony commonly practiced in Korea. Jesa functions as a memorial to the ancestors of the participants. Jesa are usually held on the anniversary of the ancestor's death.

Kinds of ancestor rituals

There are several kinds of ancestor rituals such as gijesa (기제사), charye (차례), seongmyo (성묘), myosa (묘사). Gijesa is a memorial service which is held on the day of the ancestor's death every year. Gijesa is performed until upwards of four generations of ancestors in the eldest descendant's house. Memorial services that are performed on Chuseok or New Year's Day are called "charye," On April 5th and before Chuseok, Koreans visit the tombs of their ancestors and cut the grass off the tombs. Then, they offer food, fruits, and wine, and finally make bows in front of the tombs. Memorial services that are performed in front of tombs are called "seongmyo". Finally Myosa are performed at the tomb site in the lunar month of October to conduct in memory of old ancestors (five or more generations).


To perform ancestor rituals, the family at the eldest son's house prepare many kinds of food such as wine, taro soup, beef, fish, three different colored vegetables, many kinds of fruits, and rice cake or songpyon.

After midnight or in the evening the descendants set the shrine and in front of the shrine they set up written prayer. Several ritual greetings (kangshin) then follow. The first entails an offering of rice wine; a designed attendant then, recite a written prayer. At the conclusion of the first ritual offering, the eldest son would show his respects by performing a ritual bow twice. Then these things are followed by next eldest sons, sons-in law. When all the ritual offerings are made, all the attendants at the ceremony bow twice and the spirits are sent off until the next year. The table with the food and wine offerings is then cleared and the written prayer recited earlier on during the ceremony is set a fire.

Once all of these steps are completed, the feasting of the food and wine (or umbok) by the family members follows. Consuming the ritual food and wine is considered to be an integral part of the ceremony, as it symbolizes the receiving of the blessings bestowed upon the family.

Modern ancestor rituals

Ancestor worship has changed much in recent years. These days it is common to hold ancestor rituals up to only two generations of ancestors, and in some cases, people only hold rituals for their dead parents. In addition, more people are holding rituals in the evening, not after midnight. People can also perform ancestor rituals in a younger son's house.

Today, in most Korean families, ancestor rituals still remain an important part of their culture and they are faithfully observed. These ancestor rituals, in spite of revised form, continue to play an important part in modern Korean society, which testifies to their inherent importance in the lives of Koreans.

Global Leadership

Global Leadership is the interdisciplinary study of the key elements that future leaders in all realms of the human experience should acquire to effectively familiarize themselves with the psychological, physiological, geographical, geopolitical, anthropological and sociological effects of globalization. As a result of trends, starting with colonialism and perpetuated by the increase in communication, (brought about by the internet and other forms of human interaction based on the speed of computer-mediation) a host of meaningful new concerns face mankind; consisting of but not limited to: human enterprises, international business development and design, and significant shifts in geopolitical paradigms. The talent and insight it will take leaders to successfully navigate humanity through these developments have been collectively gathered around the phenomenon of globalization.

Global Leadership competencies

Global competencies include the following.

Recognizing differences in the world based on

  • Physiological factors
  • Socialization
  • Geographically based factors
  • Anthropological factors
  • Socio-economic factors
  • Race, ethnicity & color
  • Sex and Gender
  • Physical Disability
  • Religion

Using technology to make and maintain truly global connections by maintaining

  • Diversity at all levels of the organization
  • Multi-national corporations and subsidiaries
  • Virtual workspaces and business chains
  • Social Networking
  • Information access and availability

Cross-cultural Competency (C3)

A set of 40 general cross-cultural learning statements (knowledge, skills, and personal characteristics) were recommended by a DoD focus group in order to foster the career development of cross-cultural competence in military and civilian personnel.

  • Willingness to Engage
  • Cognitive Flexibility & Openness
  • Emotional Regulation
  • Tolerance of Uncertainty
  • Self-Efficacy
  • Ethnocultural Empathy

The nine GLOBE cultural competencies are

  1. Performance orientation - refers to the extent to which an organization or society encourages and rewards group members for performance improvement and excellence.
  2. Assertiveness orientation - is the degree to which individuals in organizations or societies are assertive, confrontational, and aggressive in social relationships.
  3. Future orientation - is the degree to which individuals in organizations or societies engage in future-oriented behaviors such as planning, investing in the future, and delaying gratification.
  4. Human orientation - is the degree to which individuals in organizations or societies encourage and reward individuals for being fair, altruistic, friendly, generous, caring, and kind to others.
  5. Collectivism I: Institutional collectivism - reflects the degree to which organizational and societal institutional practices encourage and reward collective distribution of resources and collective action.
  6. Collectivism II: In-group collectivism - reflects the degree to which individuals express pride, loyalty and cohesiveness in their organizations or families.
  7. Gender egalitarianism - is the extent to which an organization or a society minimizes gender role differences and gender discrimination.
  8. Power distance - is defined as the degree to which members of an organization or society expect and agree that power should be unequally shared.
  9. Uncertainty avoidance - is defined as the extent to which members of an organization or society strive to avoid uncertainty by reliance on social norms, rituals, and bureaucratic practices to alleviate the unpredictability of future events.

Dining Etiquette

Dining etiquette

Dining etiquette in Korea can be traced back to the Confucian philosophies of the Joseon period. Guidebooks, such as Sasojeol (士小節, Elementary Etiquette for Scholar Families), written in 1775 by Yi Deokmu (李德懋), comment on the dining etiquette for the period. Suggestions include items such as "when you see a fat cow, goat, pig, or chicken, do not immediately speak of slaughtering, cooking or eating it", "when you are having a meal with others, do not speak of smelly or dirty things, such as boils or diarrhea," "when eating a meal, neither eat so slowly as to appear to be eating against your will nor so fast as if to be taking someone else's food. Do not throw chopsticks on the table. Spoons should not touch plates, making a clashing sound" amongst many other recommendations which emphasized proper table etiquette.

The eldest male at the table was always served first, commonly served to them in the men's quarters by the women of the house. Women usually dined in a separate portion of the house after the men were served. The eldest men or women always ate before the younger family members. The meal was usually quiet, as conversation was discouraged during meals. In modern times, these rules have become lax, as families usually dine together now and use the time to converse. Of the remaining elements of this decorum, one is that the younger members of the table should not pick up their chopsticks or start eating before the elders of the table.

In Korea, unlike in China and Japan, the rice bowl is not lifted from the table when eating from it. This is due to the fact that each diner is given a metal spoon along with the chopsticks known collectively as sujeo. The use of the spoon for eating rice and soups is expected. There are rules which reflect the decorum of sharing communal side dishes; rules include not picking through the dishes for certain items while leaving others, and the spoon used should be clean, because usually diners put their spoons in the same serving bowl on the table. Diners should also cover their mouths when using a toothpick after the meal.

The table setup is important as well, and individual place settings, moving from the diner's left should be as follows: rice bowl, spoon, then chopsticks. Hot foods are set to the right side of the table, with the cold foods to the left. Soup must remain on the right side of the diner along with stews. Vegetables remain on the left along with the rice, and kimchi is set to the back while sauces remain in the front.

Korean chopsticks made of silver.

Drinking etiquette

The manner of drinking alcoholic drinks at dining is particularly important in Korean dining etiquette. Each diner is expected to face away from the eldest male and cover his mouth when drinking alcohol. In the most formal situations, when the eldest male offers a drink, the diner should politely refuse it three times. After three refusals, when the eldest male offers one more time, then finally the diner can receive it.


친어머니께서 입양인에게 쓴 편지를 국문에서 영문으로 변경해주실 봉사자님을 구합니다.

가능하신 봉사자님은 성함과 이메일 주소를 남겨주세요.



미국에서 입양인이 한국을 방문합니다. 이때 입양인 공항픽업(5/2)을 도와주실 봉사자님을 찾고 있습니다.

가능하신 봉사자님은 댓글로 성함과 연락처를 남겨주세요!!


- 5월 2일 공항 픽업 -

날짜 : 5월 2일 월요일

시간 : pm 6:00 도착 예정 (인천공항)

장소: 인천공항  - 인카스 게스트하우스(우리집) (서대문구 연희동 소재)

봉사 내용 : 입양인 공항마중 및 픽업하여 게스트하우스까지 동행

참고 : 교통비는 입양인 제공


친어머니께서 입양인과 전화통화를 하길 원하는데, 전화통화 시 통역을 도와주실 봉사자님을 찾습니다.

가능한 봉사자님은 성함을 남겨주세요 ^^


날짜 : 5월 3일 화요일

시간 : pm 3~5시 사이

장소 : 인카스 사무실

2011 해외캠프 자원봉사자 모집

2011년 미국에 있는 현지 입양인 캠프에 참여하실 자원봉사자를 모집합니다.

해외 한국문화캠프는 해외로 입양되어 한국문화를 접해보지 못한 아동•청소년기의 입양아들에게 현지에서 어릴 때부터 한국문화를 경험할 수 있도록 기회를 제공해주며 그들이 모국에 대한 친밀감을 가질 수 있도록 도우려고 노력하고 있습니다.

자원봉사자들은 해외입양아동, 청소년 및 입양가족들과 함께 해외 현지에서 캠프 생활을 즐길 수 있으며 좋은 우정을 만들 수 있는 잊지 못할 소중한 기회가 될 것입니다. 캠프 이 외의 시간에는 현지 관광과 문화를 체험 할 수 있는 기회도 있습니다.

◆ 내용 및 일정

- 모집인원 : 미국 00명

- 준비기간 : 2011년 5 ~ 6월 중

- 행사기간 : 2011년 6 ~ 8월 중(캠프정보 및 스케줄에 대한 자세한 정보는 별도 문의)


- 입양아들에게 영어로 가르칠 수 있는 분 - 한국문화소개 (현대 문화), 한국어 기초수업, 요리, 종이접기 외 각종 공예, 동요, 무용, 음악, 전통악기 (장구, 꽹가리, 징 등)
- 이 외에도 교육 가능한 분야와 활동 경험 등을 자원봉사 신청서에 자세히 명시해 주세요.


인카스 홈페이지 ( "2011 해외캠프 자원봉사자 신청서"를 작성해 주시고 자원봉사 신청시 사진을 업로드 해 주세요.

상기 모집요강은 추후에 수정될 수 있습니다.

자세한 사항은 1차 서류심사 후 추후공지

문의: 대외협력팀 최 은정(기타문의 : 이메일로만 가능)


친어머니께서 입양인과 전화통화를 하길 원하는데, 전화통화 시 통역을 도와주실 봉사자님을 찾습니다.

가능한 봉사자님은 성함을 남겨주세요 ^^


날짜 : 주중 1일

시간 : pm 4~6시 사이

장소 : 인카스 사무실


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