For some research I was doing recently, I ran across the most amazing resource online -- a huge collection of photos and videos about Korea, dating from the 1950s to the present. Some are old news stories, others are government propaganda videos, and others are, well, I have no idea.
I'm talking about E-History website, run by KTV (Korea Policy Broadcasting?). For the video section especially, you can spend countless hours, just skipping around and browsing. Sadly, the site is only in Korean, but it is pretty easy to navigate, even for beginners.
There are 11 categories running down the left side, for politics, economics, military, society, eduction, culture and more. Below those categories, the site is also organized by decade. And because all the videos have been indexed and described, the search engine works surprising well.
Here is a sampling of some interesting videos related to movies and culture:
- Old movie theaters from 1957.
- Television starts in Korea in 1956, thanks to RCA.
- More about Korea's first TV station HLKZ, from 1956.
- AFKN from 1959.
- Opening of KBS headquarters in 1976.
- Some movie awards from 1959. Includes clips of Yu Hyun-mok (the famous director) and Choi Eun-hee (the great actress and wife of the late Shin Sang-ok).
- The first Best Korean Movie Awards in 1962. With awards going to Shin Sang-ok (for Romantic Papa) and Kim Ki-young (for The Housemaid) and Choi Eun-hee.
- The first Grand Bell Movie Awards, a few months later in 1962.
- Grand Bell Movie Awards from 1990. Features Kang Su-yeon winning an award, lots of really bad hair and shoulder pads.
- A report on Shin Sang-ok and Choi Eun-hee in North Korea from 1984 (with plenty of Bukgoe comments throughout).
- Sadly I could not find much interesting about old rock music. Did find this 1963 video about singer Lee Chun-hee.
And just some random stuff I liked:
- A golf tournament from 1954.
- Namdaemun devastated by a fire in 1954 (wow, deja vu).
- Yonsei's Severance Hospital back in 1962.
- Yonsei University's 80th anniversary.
- Korean boxer Yu Jae-du beating Koichi Wajima for the WBA Light Middleweight Champion belt in 1975 (Yuh Jae-doo?).
- A video from 1970 talking about Korea's next five-year plan and how Korea would develop in the future.
- The opening of the Yanghwa bridge connecting Mapo and Yeongdeungpo in 1965.
- The opening of the Seoul Sanga Apartments in Chungmuro in 1967.
- Namsan Wayne Apartments being destroyed in 1994
- Don't leave your nasty gum around, from 1990.
- Miss Korea 1957. Includes the swimsuit competition.
Okay, you get the idea. I could do this for days, but those selections should get you started. What a great website.
UPDATE: Given how popular Kim Yuna is these days, I thought people might want to check out these skating videos:
- Skating in 1955. Around 1 minute in, we get some figure skating, too. They could be the ancestors of Kim Yuna (metaphorically, that is).
- Rhee Sungman taking in some skating on the Han River in 1958 (including some more figure skating).
- 1959, more speed skating and figure skating (and the figure skaters are getting a little better). (Oh, love the spelling of "sports" in this one. 스포오쯔... never seen that before).
- Ice fishing and ice hockey from 1961 on this one.
- Skating at Gyeongbok Palace in 1963.
- Skating at the Dongdaemun Ice Rink, which I never knew existed, in 1964.
- Ice Carnival at the Dongdaemun rink in 1964. Including a talented little 6-year-old, Yoon Hyo-jin (who went on to finish 17th at the 1976 Olympics in Innsbruck).
* * *
A couple of random restaurant notes. Seems like every time I turn around, new Indian restaurants are popping up all over the place. I talked about Manokamana before (which now seems to be doing very well, as I can never get a seat there).
But if you cannot get a seat at Manokamana, there is another option just down the street -- Amma. Amma is just as good as Manokamana, if not better (I think the portions are bigger), and it is dead quiet. The furniture is a little odd (like out of a 1995 Korean dabang, but don't let that throw you). It is right behind the Hyundai Department Store. Map here. Totally worth checking out.
If you are looking for more of a Western bar experience, a new place just opened up in Shinchon that I also recommend called Beer O'Clock. Beer O'Clock has a good selection of beers (including Alley Cat Pale Ale), your basic bar food (which I have not tried yet, but looks good), and a great ambiance. It is on the second floor, with floor-to-ceiling windows that all open up, making almost every seat in the place a window seat.
I have not been there on a weekend yet, so maybe the vibe changes then. Hopefully not, but I do not know. But for a quite, comfortable mid-week place, Beer O'Clock was really good. Easily the best Western bar in Shinchon. Map.
* * *
UPDATE: Random note. As I write this post, my blog is the 10th most popular in the world under the Google search "distressed bondage." Sometimes I do not understand the Internet at all.