Monday, September 30, 2013

GTA Joseon

GTA 5 cover art.
If you know anything about video games you'll likely know that GTA 5, the latest installment of the prolific and controversial Grand Theft Auto series, was released just the other week and made over a billion dollars in its first three days on store shelves. Wild! To commemorate the release of the latest GTA, the hilarious minds at SNL Korea created a sketch in which a fictitious version of GTA that takes place during Korea's Joseon dynasty, titled "Grand Theft Autumn: Joseon," is released. It's pretty darn hilarious, and even if you don't understand Korean the jokes are pretty obvious -- especially if you've played any of the games.

Here's an actual photograph taken in Joseon in 1888. 
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Korean history, the Joseon period ran from 1392 to 1892, one of the longest-reigning dynasties in the world. During this dynasty neo-Confucianism flourished in Korea, and many of the cultural cues that make up Korea's national identity were formed during this time. Before Japan colonized Korea from 1910 to 1945, the country was known as Joseon and the entire Korean peninsula was one country. Many North Koreans still identify with the name Joseon and refer to the Korean language as joseonmal instead of hangukmal, which is what South Koreans call it. I'll likely touch more on Joseon in future posts, but in the meantime, watch this video! It's funny!        

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