The 2000s brought the “Han Style” by the success of Korean drama, and popular music.
In Korea, the Han Style represents Hangeul (Korean alphabet), Hansik (Korean food), Hanbok (traditional Korean clothing), Hanok (traditional Korean houses), and Hanji (traditional Korean paper). As a result of popular Korean dramas and popular music, interest in Korea has been escalated to include a host of other aspects of Korean culture. The Korean Wave that has swept through Asia starting with dramas and popular music is now receiving even greater appeal in the international market. Get to know Korea a bit better by knowing the Han Style.
Hangeul (Korean alphabet): The Korean alphabet derives from a very scientific form of writing system. This was designated as an important part of the Memory of the World Heritage by UNESCO. As the days go by and the number of tourists and expatriates expand, the desire and the need to learn Hangeul and the Korean language seems to be increasing. The alphabet refers to a series of letters that form syllables with which the Korean language is written. According to history of Korea, King Sejong, who was the 4th king of Joseon Dynasty, sponsored and helped in this creation of the alphabet with the help of a team of scholars. They created Hangeul as a written means of expressing the Korean language. This was the most significant invention in Korean history.
Hansik (Korean food): While Chinese and Japanese food have become popular throughout the world, Korean food is still not widely known. With this, the government is campaigning for the globalization of hansik with companies, civic groups, and the mass media. The key to majority of Hansik is fermentation. The point of fermenting food is to purposely break down foods into more digestible components through the natural use of the bacteria that exists around us. Some people may view fermentation has food “rotting” but actually it represents a useful and practical change. Kimchi is the representation of fermented food. Although there are hundreds of different kinds of kimchi, the basic idea of spicy fermented cabbage is the same. Like wine, the process of aging gives kimchi more of a deep taste and this goes the same with any other fermented food. Another representation of Hansik is that it is mainly based on vegetables. Traditionally, a side dish of meat was typically a rare site on the dining table of common people. Therefore, all of the side dishes were vegetable based. All in all, Hansik is a cuisine suited to health and well-being, since it is usually based on vegetables grown locally and fermented sauces.
Hanbok (traditional Korean clothing): Nowadays, Koreans wear this outfit only on festive days or special anniversaries. Children wear hanbok on their first birthday and adults wear it for their wedding cerement and on their 60th birthday. The hanbok is also worn in funerals or religious services. Touring around Korea, some villages or districts still wear hanbok on a daily basis. These places still carry out the traditional ways of life. An example of this is Chunghak-dong on Mount Jirisan. The hanbok is colored using natural dyes. The colors of nature are dyed into the cloth. For example, the red dye is made from the petals of red flowers. Overall, the dying process is very slow, complicated, and precise process. Koreans have traditionally lived as one with nature, and obtained all material from natural resources. They favor smooth curves rather than straight lines which are depicted in the gracious line to the hanbok. Hanbok is more beautiful worn than just hung and even better when it is moving rather than just standing. Due to popularity of Korean classic dramas, it seems to cause many foreigners to take a keener interest in traditional Korean attire as well. Modern designers have presented hanbok or a type of it at renowned cities of fashion such as Paris and New York.
Hanok (traditional Korean houses): The Hanok is Korean traditional architectural style with various roof types of thatches, shingles, and tiles. Today, Hanok is known to be tile-roofed houses. There are many that are occupied as private residences and maintained as national cultural heritages. The scientific excellance is demonstrated by a heating system called “ondol.” It has helped residents to endure the cold winter by heating the floors. This term has been registered in the Oxford Dictionary. The ondol culture is the core to the family’s indoor temperature control. This leads to the next fact of taking off shoes when you are indoors. Because the floor is used for both dining and sleeping, it was necessary to keep the floor clean. What makes Hanoks even more attractive is the environmental friendliness. The earth, stone, wood, and paper which make up the Hanok are obtained directly from natural resources. The wood is used as pillars, rafters, doors, windows, and flooring. Walls are made from a mixture of straw and earth. The paper that is glued to the frames of the sliding doors and the cross ribs of the windows are made from natural wood pulp. The floor is polished with bean oil, making it waterproof. These homes were positioned after considering the distance and direction of the mountains and fields as well as the location of water, leading the homes to be built in accordance to geomancy. Traditionally, and still today, a house built against the background of a mountain facing south is known to be the ideal location. With its scientific excellence and environmental friendliness, Hanok and its aesthetics may be appreciated the most from exploring the interior.
Hanji (traditional Korean paper): Hanji literally means “the paper of Korea.” This paper is made from the fibrous skin of the mulberry. The bark of the mulberry is very strong and able to endure without decomposition when it is immersed in the water for a year. The paper can allow both air and light through. High-quality of paper can be made from trees that are only a year old. In modern times, the paper is cheap because it is made from the pulp from trees that are 20 to 30 years old. The dry mulberry is cut after the frost has arrived and is peeled after steaming. Then, it is immersed into water for one day. Next, they dry it in the sunlight and the bark is peeled off. Followed by being steamed again inside of an iron pot and immersed in caustic soda, the steamed bark is smashed inside a stone mortar after the water has been fully squeezed out. Then it is rinsed in flower water after being placed inside of a wrapper. The washed mulberry is mixed with water and a natural adhesive. Next, the fibers are strained through a bamboo screen, which is shaken back and forth to create a crisscross pattern of fibers.Finally, the pul is then drived by stacking it on a wooden panel and placed in the sun. Hanji is used in a variety of ways. The name of it changes depending on how it is used. The strong vitality is the reason why this paper can be used in a multitude of ways. At one point in time, Koreans even used Hanji as a suit of armor after varnishing the lacquer. They say that the life span of these papers is about thousand years. Once, a famous Chinese poet in the 11th century said that he would like to publish his anthology with paper produced from Goryeo (the name of the Korean dynasty at that time). Unfortunately, the traditional methods for making Hanji were not passed down as greatly as before, making the manufacturing process quite challenging these days. As much as the quality of the Hanji is very high, it is a very long and tedious process.