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Thread: Associated Press: South Korea reacts to Yu Na Kim's win

  1. #16
    it's olympic season :D bethissoawesome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DesertRoad View Post
    If anybody has more articles about how Yu Na Kim's is regarded in South Korea, please do post them! I find it fascinating from a sociological point of view. It's very rare that an athlete has this kind of pull in a country. I can't think of too many comparisons. Maybe Usain Bolt in Jamaica? It's even rarer for that athlete to be female. I think Yu Na may be the first woman to be in this kind of situation. It definitely merits studying.
    A lot of it has to do with the celebrity culture there, which is also very similar in Japan. In Korea, celebrities are often lofted into very high positions politically as well... for example, Korean popstar BoA (best example I can give, because she was indisputably the most famous celebrity in Korea at a young age as well) served as cultural ambassador to the US at 15. Her fame in Korea became so astronomical, that she couldn't even live in the country and was unable to see her family for years at a time. Yu-Na is in a similar situation now... she has been put into the Korean spotlight, and they will expect a lot out of her. Unfortunately, it also doesn't take a whole lot for public opinion to change. When BoA announced she would release an album in the US instead of Korea one year, she lost all of her Korean endorsements except one, despite the fact that it seemed like people used to worship the ground she walked on. Hopefully, Yu-Na never finds herself in that position... if she had failed to medal, Korea's general opinion might have been along the lines of "she has been having too many photo shoot or press conferences to be taken seriously." The popularity Yu-Na has in Korea now is a very big burden; everything she does on or iff the ice will be disected and examined. Right now, she truly is their golden girl (and well deserved) and hopefully it stays that way.

    Here is another article for you: [url]http://articles.latimes.com/2010/feb/11/sports/la-sp-olympics-kim11-2010feb11[/url] "Kim Yu-na has South Korea's full attention" from the Los Angeles Times

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DesertRoad View Post
    An informative article on the cultural phenomenon that is Yu Na Kim in her home country:

    [url]http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/olympics/2010/02/26/skorea.celebrates.ap/[/url]

    For instance, did you know that stock trading in South Korea took a dip during the few minutes or so that Yu Na Kim was skating her short program? Apparently all the stockbrokers abandoned their money-grubbing to watch her skate. You can also see a picture of a massive crowd that gathered to watch her skate celebrates after she wins.

    Edited to add: This [URL="http://arabnews.com/sports/article23036.ece"]article from Deutsche Presse-Agentur[/URL] confirms that trading was halved during Yu Na's free skate as well.
    The photo of these old men watching figure skating is priceless. The celebrity of Yuna Kim in Korea is incomparable to anything in the US or Canada. It's not a fame of a loved movie star. Koreans love and protect Yuna like she is their own daughter, sister or grand-daughter. They feel nationalism through her as though she has landed on the mooon for the first time because they know she is single handedly breaking the trail in a sport where no other Korean has gone before. A sport where first world (Europe and the US) has excelled in throughout history. They are learning to love figure skating by watching her do it on the ice. They want to know everything about each piece of music she skates to and buy CD's of them. They take time to learn names of each jump she does. They admire her beauty and respect her athleticism. They are in love with her charism. It is almost like a cult of Yuna Kim. There is no one else to compare. Perhaps Pele of Soccer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fan123 View Post
    Aw, that is awesome! Does anyone know if the North Koreans know who Kim is and what she has done at these Olympics?
    hardly doubt it. I remember reading a book by a Canadian journalist who were granted a visit in North Korea some time in the 80s. She showed her handler a photo of Elvis Presley, Princess Diana and Pope John Paul. The handler did not know who any of these were in the photos so isolated they were from the rest of the world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aurora100 View Post
    The photo of these old men watching figure skating is priceless. .
    Exactly why this is just creepy, creepy....

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    Quote Originally Posted by watchvancouver View Post
    Insane, obsessive and stupid. It's almost like they felt inferior until producing a Yu Na Kim.
    this is very rude

  6. #21
    Go marry the quad if you love it so much DesertRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bethissoawesome View Post
    A lot of it has to do with the celebrity culture there, which is also very similar in Japan. In Korea, celebrities are often lofted into very high positions politically as well... for example, Korean popstar BoA (best example I can give, because she was indisputably the most famous celebrity in Korea at a young age as well) served as cultural ambassador to the US at 15. Her fame in Korea became so astronomical, that she couldn't even live in the country and was unable to see her family for years at a time. Yu-Na is in a similar situation now... she has been put into the Korean spotlight, and they will expect a lot out of her. Unfortunately, it also doesn't take a whole lot for public opinion to change. When BoA announced she would release an album in the US instead of Korea one year, she lost all of her Korean endorsements except one, despite the fact that it seemed like people used to worship the ground she walked on. Hopefully, Yu-Na never finds herself in that position... if she had failed to medal, Korea's general opinion might have been along the lines of "she has been having too many photo shoot or press conferences to be taken seriously." The popularity Yu-Na has in Korea now is a very big burden; everything she does on or iff the ice will be disected and examined. Right now, she truly is their golden girl (and well deserved) and hopefully it stays that way.

    Here is another article for you: [url]http://articles.latimes.com/2010/feb/11/sports/la-sp-olympics-kim11-2010feb11[/url] "Kim Yu-na has South Korea's full attention" from the Los Angeles Times
    Read the article and know a bit about the crazy celebrity culture in Korea (there are some crazyass stories). I don't foresee Yu Na making a move wrong enough to cause the country to turn its back on her. I do hope the country produces other skating stars to share the glory and burden. And I hope Korea, and Japan, too, give some of that love to male skaters as well.

  7. #22
    it's olympic season :D bethissoawesome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DesertRoad View Post
    Read the article and know a bit about the crazy celebrity culture in Korea (there are some crazyass stories). I don't foresee Yu Na making a move wrong enough to cause the country to turn its back on her. I do hope the country produces other skating stars to share the glory and burden. And I hope Korea, and Japan, too, give some of that love to male skaters as well.
    It really seems like the celebrity culture in both Korea and Japan primarily focuses on females. Sure, there are male celebrities, but they definitely don't receive the endorsements or scrutiny that female celebrities do. BoA was even shunned in both Korea and Japan for a while because of rumors that she *gasp* had a boyfriend. Even romantic entaglements could affect the public's perception of Yu-Na (and of Mao in Japan as well); Korea in particular really seems to push that image of purity... almost like it's okay to "portray" sensuality but not actually be that way. The only thing I could ever see Korea turning their backs on Yu-Na for would be saying or doing something unpatriotic or wind up being in a relationship with Brian Orser lolol. I really don't think they will ever stop loving her.

  8. #23
    Go marry the quad if you love it so much DesertRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bethissoawesome View Post
    It really seems like the celebrity culture in both Korea and Japan primarily focuses on females. Sure, there are male celebrities, but they definitely don't receive the endorsements or scrutiny that female celebrities do. BoA was even shunned in both Korea and Japan for a while because of rumors that she *gasp* had a boyfriend. Even romantic entaglements could affect the public's perception of Yu-Na (and of Mao in Japan as well); Korea in particular really seems to push that image of purity... almost like it's okay to "portray" sensuality but not actually be that way. The only thing I could ever see Korea turning their backs on Yu-Na for would be saying or doing something unpatriotic or wind up being in a relationship with Brian Orser lolol. I really don't think they will ever stop loving her.
    So Korea doesn't have male celebrity athletes? Or they do but just to a lesser degree? I know the favorite athletes list according to the latest survey in Japan is mostly male, with Mao finishing at 3, if I recall. But is that different in Korea? If so, I wonder why that is.

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    My first post. Though being a Korean living in Korea, I don't think I can represent all the Koreans. I just don't want to see, honestly hate to see, some hasty conclusions from anyone with very limited information themselves. Hey, to get some useful sociological point of view, you should go through thorough surveys, interviews with many people as well as deep study.
    I am not sure whether this phenomenon is so unique or not... yes, Kim Yeon'a(Yuna) is much more than just a figure stater here. The article above is more or less correct, I think. But you should understand why most Koreans consider her as a national pride or even a national hero. Until a few years ago, until Kim appeared from the horizon, nobody had even imagined any Korean figure skater would be a world champion in the possible future. You know, very few skaters and not favorable circumstances... Of course, her competitiveness, overall talent, charity things, attractive looks and her star quality did help too.
    I don't think she is the biggest celebrity in Korea as some Westerners say. One of the big celebrities now, but nobody knows how long her popularity will last. Generally speaking, soccer and baseball, especially soccer, are much more popular sports and they excite people to the highest level. The biggest was when Korean soccer team went up to the fourth in the 2002 World cup. Yes, Kim has more commercials than any other stars and with this OGM, her popularity will increase much higher. Well I think her star will tremendously rise worldwide but don't know yet if she will be at the Katarina Witt status someday.
    Just want to add that Japanese have supported Asada Mao as enthusiastically as Koreans. Koreans would run for their money. I was surprised a lot to see how much Japanese media deal with Mao and figure skating. Excessive interest and collective obssession about victory in both countries? Maybe... but don't think that's so extraordinary. I read somewhere that Ando Miki had to apologize to Japanese people after Torino Olympics because Japanese values only Gold but is it not also hasty generalization? Did Andy Murray not say to UK people that he was sorry after losing in Australia?

    About the short track referee who is allegedly threatened by some crazy Koreans now, he is the same referee that disqualified a Korean skater, giving a very lucky and dirty gold medal to Ohno 8 years ago. His decision was apparently not justifiable then and this time, HIGHlLY questionable.

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    Well...how Koreans react?

    I love to see 'our baby sister'(not 'Queen Yuna') become the Olympic champion and am very proud of her...but...
    Personally, I want her to retire and be an ordinary 20-year-old uni. student, which seems almost impossible here in Korea.

    Media always exaggerates. Politicians and entreprisers want to make use of it.
    The best reply I've read under an article about Yuna's gold medal....'Turn off your cell-phone,Yuna.. they'll call you'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DesertRoad View Post
    So Korea doesn't have male celebrity athletes? Or they do but just to a lesser degree? I know the favorite athletes list according to the latest survey in Japan is mostly male, with Mao finishing at 3, if I recall. But is that different in Korea? If so, I wonder why that is.
    Koreans have a lot of male celebrity, and sports stars. In baseball, soccer, the Olympic swimmer, the golfer who beat tiger. But Yuna has been voted "most influential person (not athlete) in Korea" two years running and she topped all these athletes. This could and would likely be temporary. But for now, she has a mix of being the top in a sport they never expected, than she is beautiful and charismatic on TV etc. So she is a phenomenon. Something they haven't seen with other sports or media stars.

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    OK, I'll try to offer my take on the Korean Yuna phenomenon. These are just my personal experiences and views. Please don't take offense if you don't agree!
    From what I witnessed in Seoul and from the way from Korean friends act, Kim Yuna was definitely the biggest star in Korea (and I went right in the middle of the "Gee" fever). I just saw so many pictures of her in stores and so many commercials on TV. It really really blew my mind. When I tried to ask somebody about it, the only answer I got is "you Chinese will never be able to understand us." I guess what he meant was that Yuna, to the Koreans, is somebody truly special and unique. The Korean people, from what I see, are very unified. They love to all band together to like the same thing. Therefore, it is very common for a person to become a phenomenon. In recent years, they've had the BoA fever, DBSK fever, Wonder Girls fever and Gee fever. Yuna fever is just the biggest of them all. Korea has never excelled at any winter sport that's this popular in the west before. Therefore, Yuna's success in figure skating is viewed as one of the biggest successes their country has had ever.
    Being a celebrity of that status comes with tremendous pressure though. An unique Korean phenomenon is "anti-fans". These are people who devote their lives to tearing down a celebrity. Yuna, despite all her wonderfulness, has thousands of anti-fans. Literally every little move is scrutinized, and what we here in NA will never understand is just how influential the Korean (anti)fans can be. They managed to kick a popstar out of a country for a rude myspace comment he made when he was a kid. They've driven numerous celebrities to suicide before. Therefore, for Yuna to put down such amazing programs under such intense pressure......I can't even state my admiration in words.
    If anyone is Chinese here, the closest analogy I can offer is LiuXiang. For Italians, I guess the closest thing is Fabio Cannavaro after the World Cup win. For the French, she's probably like Zinedine Zidane.

  13. #28
    Go marry the quad if you love it so much DesertRoad's Avatar
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    Thank you guys for your perspective and on the ground reports. I don't mean to suggest that people of any country are monolithic, and I'm sure there are many South Koreans who are indifferent about Yu Na Kim. I am reasonably sure, though, that for a few years now, she is one of the biggest celebrities and most popular person in South Korea. It also seems to me that regardless of the country, this is a rare position for a female athlete to be in. Women's athletics just rarely get this level of respect. It seems figure skating is the only exception, probably because perception-wise, there's a bit of an intersection between being a famous figure skater and being a pop star. However, even in figure skating, a female skater won't rise to this level of prominence in her country until she wins the Olympics (consider Peggy Fleming, Katarina Witt, Shizuka Arakawa, etc.). The two exceptions are Mao Asada and Yu Na Kim, and part of their success likely stems from their rivalry. And even Mao Asada, as beloved and ubiquitous in her own country as she is, doesn't seem to be on the same level Yu Na Kim is in South Korea (like the poll I mentioned above that put Mao behind other male athletes in a ranking of popularity). And Mao has to split the figure skating limelight with Shizuka, Miki Ando and other Japanese stars, while Yu Na is a pioneer and has the stage to herself.

    pshla, I like your suggestion that Yu Na's fame comes from the fact that she's successful in a sport popular in the west (or at least perceived to be). I never thought of it that way before. But Yu Na reached the top in a discipline that was previously crowded by Americans, Europeans, and then by a massive influx of gifted Japanese ladies. I would imagine that from a Korean perspective, Yu Na Kim is a glamorous superwoman who came out of nowhere to beat all the other countries at their own game. It'd be hard not to feel a little bit giddy about that.

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    On NBC Hammond sated that Yuna and Brian Orser are going to Korea on Monday to meet with the President of South Korea. That should start a media event for sure. Please those of you in Korea, upload some videos Yuna's Korean coverage on You Tube. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    In related news, a Korean citizen was just arrested for threatening to bomb the Australian embassy, and there is a national movement afoot to boycott Australian goods, after an Australian referee disqualified the Korean ladies' speed skating team. (The ISU relieved him of further officiating duties for the rest of the games for his own safety.)
    There's crazees in every country. I don't think it's a good idea to generalize a whole population based on the actions of one person.

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