Charismatic bullies, demonic possession, and more

Charismatic bullies, demonic possession, and more


In this exclusive video from the Octavian Forum, veteran Korea hand Sue-Mi Terry talks about the strategic imperatives driving the Hermit Kingdom — all the more relevant as Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un prepare to meet in the coming weeks. Watch it here.



Yi Mun-yol is widely regarded as one of South Korea’s greatest contemporary writers, having won a series of major national awards and international acclaim as well. His 11th novel, Our Twisted Hero, was a critical and commercial smash in South Korea (and was adapted into a film). Its protagonist, Han Byeong-tae, recalls the events of his fifth-grade school year when he encountered the frightening power of his class’s charismatic overlord. The violent, painful struggles of childhood mirror those of adulthood both in their structure and in their emotional intensity



How secure, really, are the advances of modenity? This the central question of Na Hong-jin’s terrifying and enigmatic film The Wailing. Na, director of the acclaimed The Chaser and The Yellow Sea, follows a rural policeman in Korea as he attempts to solve a mysterious series of assaults and murders seemingly wrought by an epidemic of demonic possession in his town — one that coincides with the arrival of a Japanese man. Examining xenophobia and superstition, fear and incapacity, The Wailing is a tense and penetrating look inside the human soul (and all its darkness).



. . . Japan humiliated Russia in the Battle of Tsushima, a crowning military achievement and the final battle of the Russo-Japanese War. The Japanese forces, under the command of Togo Heihachiro, benefitted from the extensive battlefield experience of their commander as well as technological superiority. The end result was not merely the destruction of two-thirds of the Russian navy but the establishment of a Japanese governorate in Korea and its subsequent domination of the peninsula.