Hanja Time with Gary Routh

Gary Hanja Time Banner

Happy New Year and more lucky Hanjas

Hidden in the Korean phrase for “Happy New Year”, 새해 복 많이 받으세요 (sae-hae book mahn-ee bah-deu-se-yo) is “Happy New Year” in Korean. means “new” and means “year”, and 많이 받으세요 means “receive a lot of (something)”. Those are all ‘native’ Korean. The part is Hanja and means luck, good fortune, and happiness. The character for looks like this:

If this character looks even remotely familiar there is a reason. Go to any Chinese restaurant and you will see this character written on posters, tablecloths, chopsticks—you name it. But it is usually written in a very artistic brush style. To prove it, I took my family and my camera to our favorite local Korean Chinese food restaurant, San Tong Palace (산동반점, on Convoy) and sure enough, the character was everywhere!

Let’s take a look at a few other Korean words that use this character.

행복하다: to be happy (heng-bok-hah-dah)

The in 행복 also means happiness or good luck and can be found in words like 다행 (fortunate), 불행 (unlucky), and 행운 (a common word for just “luck”).

복권: lottery ticket (bok-gwon)

The character for means “ticket”, so 복권 literally means “Luck-Ticket”.

경복궁: Gyung-Bok Palace (gyung-bok-goong).

This is one of the most famous historical sites in Seoul. With our ‘luck’ syllable,

, in the middle of the palace name, the first syllable, means ‘scenery or sunlight’, and can be found in two common Korean words that mean scene or scenery; 경치 (gyung-chee) and 풍경 (poong-gyung). The last syllable, means house or palace. Scenery+Luck+Palace =경복궁.

Dokdo Island


Solitary islands in the land of morning calm. Why the Dokdo Island is important to Korea and what we should know.

Information provided by “dokdo-takeshima.com”, a website with historical facts about Korea’s Dokdo Island.

Dokdo is the easternmost territory of Korea and situated 87.4km to the SE of Ul-leung-do Island. It is not one island, but consists of two large islands Dongdo and Seodo and 89 small islands around them. There are about 37 South Korean police that guard the islets, and three lighthouse keepers living on the islets in rotation. In the past, several fishermen also lived there temporarily. In 2005, a South Korean couple held the first recorded wedding ceremony on Dokdo Island.

There is regular ferry service from Ulleungdo. In 2005, the number of visitors was 41,000, which became over100,000 in 2007. Dokdo’s number of tourists continues to rise.

Although the islets themselves are barely habitable, the Exclusive Economic Zone surrounding them has rich fishing grounds and possible reserves of natural gas. As of 2006, the expected reserves have not been found. A wide variety of fish as well as seaweed, kelp, sea slugs, and clams are located around Dokdo Island. Major fishery catches in the area are squid, Alaskan pollock, codfish, and octopus. There are 102 species of seaweed, although many of these have no economic value.

So, what’s the dispute over Dokdo?

Alongside other Japan–Korea disputes, Dokdo Island remains a point of heated contention. Korea and Japan have a long, complex history of cultural exchange, war, and political rivalry. The islets are the last disputed territory between Korea and Japan following World War II. Although Japan’s MOFA insists Allied Command granted Dokdo to Japan after the Second World War, there was no mention of Dokdo in the Japan Peace Treaty, leaving the issue unsettled.

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers its position “inalterable”. When Japan’s Shimane prefecture announced a “Takeshima Day” in 2005, ( Japan’s Legacy of Expansionism Continues ) Koreans reacted with demonstrations and protests throughout the country, extreme examples of which included a mother and son slicing off their own fingers, and a man who self-immolated. In 2006, five Korean “Dokdo Riders” embarked on a world tour to raise international awareness of the dispute. Another notable protest featured South Koreans decapitating pheasants in front of the Japanese Embassy.

Although claimed by both Korea and Japan, Dokdo Island is currently administered by the Republic of Korea. Both nations’ claims extend back at least several hundred years. Significant arguments supported by a variety of historical evidence have been presented by both parties, which have been challenged by counter-arguments with varying degrees of success. North Korea supports South Korea’s claim.

Please visit the website dokdo-takeshima.com and continue reading for more historical facts and information. The website is run by various experts on the subject of Dokdo islands, including Steven J Barber who started the website 6 years ago to “create a stable database that could make this valuable data accessible for years to come.”

The 2nd Annual Korean Cultural Night at UCSD

Mark your calendars! April 12th is the night of Korean cultural fun @ UCSD.

Korean Culture Night (KCN) is the biggest cultural event at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) hosted annually by UCSD KASA (Korean American Students Association) and UCSD Ko.SCA (Korean Student Cultural Association). The purpose of this event is to increase cultural awareness and to unify the native Korean students, Korean American students, as well as anyone interested in the Korean culture in UC San Diego.

KCN will showcase a variety of performances by the talented UCSD students that represents the Korean culture. This event provides free Korean food and drinks for the audience and promotes audience participation through games, quizzes, and raffle prizes throughout the evening between the performances. KCN will be both an entertaining and educational night for the attendees, and the event will annually be held in the beginning of the spring quarter of the academic year of UCSD.

Last year’s very first KCN event (2012) was very successful with over 350 attendees, despite the short time to advertise the event and the horrible weather. This only proves that KCN has a huge potential. We will work hard to make KCN the biggest and the most popular annual UCSD event that will create an everlasting positive impact on campus and the surrounding San Diego community. This year’s KCN will take place on April 12th in PC Theatre on campus.

There is a global popularity of the South Korean entertainment and culture, and by utilizing this widespread interest, KCN will not only reach out to Korean students, but will also bring together many other ethnic groups to expose them to the Korean culture, as well as educate them on the social and cultural issues that Korean Americans of our generation face today. We plan to demonstrate the issues this year by filming a sketch featuring UCSD students, which will be both entertaining and culturally educating.

Ever since I entered UCSD as a freshman, I have had a goal of organizing KCN. KCN was also held during my high school years in Diamond Bar, and has had a lot of personal meaning to me. Fortunately, I had the opportunity last year to organize the event successfully with UCSD KASA, UCSD Ko.SCA, and KGSA with the help from my high school mentors who had experience in holding KCN. While planning UCSD’s first KCN, I quickly realized that KCN can be more than a simple replication of a talent show from my high school years. An event such as KCN has a much bigger potential that can be used as a powerful educational and cultural tool that can change the surrounding San Diego community. This year, we plan to execute KCN to its full potential!

For inquiries please contact: kcn@ucsd.edu


AUTHOR BIO: James Lee is a 4th year undergraduate student at UC San Diego studying Physiology and Neuroscience and he plans to apply to medical school after graduating this spring.

Korean 101 with “Talk to me in Korean.com”


How to say “I am sorry”, and getting someone’s attention  죄송합니다. [joe-song-hap-mi-da]  “I am sorry.” or “I apologize.”

죄송합니다 is NOT always “I’m sorry”. Even though 죄송합니다 [joe-song-hap-ni-da] is BASICALLY “I’m sorry”, you can’t use 죄송합니다 when you want to say “I am sorry to hear that.” Many Korean people actually get confused when they talk about some bad news to their English-speaking friends and hear “I’m sorry” from them. If you say “I’m sorry.” after you hear a piece of bad news from your Korean friend, he or she might say “Why are YOU apologizing for that?” to you. This is because 죄송합니다 ONLY means “I apologize.”, “It was my bad.”, “Excuse me.” or “I shouldn’t have done that.” It can never mean “I’m sorry to hear that.”

In English, you can use the expression “Excuse me.” in all of the following situations.

1) when you are passing through a crowd of people

2) when you are leaving the room for a second

3) when you want to get someone’s attention and talk to them or let them know something

4) when you want to call the waiter in a restaurant or a cafe to order something

저기요 [jeo-gi-yo] is an expression that can be translated to “Excuse me” but this Korean expression, 저기요 is ONLY used for situation number 3 and 4 above.

How do you say “Excuse me.” when you want to pass through? You can say:

잠시만요. [jam-si-man-yo] (literal meaning: “Just a second.”)

죄송합니다. [joe-song-ham-ni-da] (literal meaning: “I am sorry.”)

잠깐만요. [jam-kkan-man-yo] (literal meaning: “Just a second.”)

** Yes, “jamsimanyo” and “jamkkanmanyo” are the same thing.

These are the most commonly used expressions. You don’t have to memorize them right now, but they are just good to know!

TalkToMeInKorean is a website and community where learning Korean may not be magically easy, but is fun and exciting. Learning a new language can be a lot of fun when you are a part of a welcoming and encouraging community with teachers and other learners. We hope that TalkToMeInKorean is just that; a community that motivates and nurtures learners to develop their language skills in fun and innovative ways. Since our launch in December 2009, we have recorded over 15,000,000 lesson downloads and 1,000,000 unique visitors.


Introducing UCSD’s KASA: Why this cultural organization on campus matters


When students first enter college, they check out the Greek systems and different organizations to explore what college has to offer. But behind that curiosity, there is a sense of wanting to belong somewhere. Students want to identify themselves as something or feel wanted. University of California, San Diego (UCSD) has many Korean organizations, but many Korean Americans who want to be involved have a hard time identifying themselves into those groups because they do not feel that sense of belonging. Our club welcomes everyone− fluent and non-fluent Korean speakers, non- Koreans wanting to learn Korean, or those who simply like the food and the entertainment aspect of Korea. What makes Korean American Student Association (KASA) so special is that we eliminate the language barrier to give a sense of that identity and acceptance to those who feel that do and do not feel that connection with any of those groups. We not only welcome second generation Korean students, but we also welcome the first and 1.5 generation students.

The purpose KASA is to promote the expansion of cultural knowledge, political awareness, and social interactions. One of the biggest events we hosted in the past is Korean Culture Night (KCN). With the growing popularity of South Korean entertainment and culture, KCN is the perfect opportunity for cultural awareness and gathering of native Korean students and Korean American students, as well as anyone who is interested in the Korean culture. Also, our other events include community services, social gatherings, mentorship opportunities, Korean politics, and career building opportunities. UCSD KASA is also part of Southern California Korean College Student Association (SCKCSA), which is the oldest and largest non-partisan, non-profit organization Korean American Student organization in the United States. SCKCSA, which consists of 13 different campuses, serves as a bridge between the Korean community and student body. Annually, SCKCSA volunteers at one of the largest Korean Festival in the nation, Freshmen Dance-off competition and more.

Initially, I joined KASA with a different motive. But over the past four years, I realized that KASA has shown me that it is more than a resume point. It is a place of friendship and family. All the staff can say they chose to be staff for the friendship and genuine love for KASA. We all give to KASA expecting nothing in return, all we want to do is to share the same incredible experiences of making everlasting friendship and various opportunities members and non-members.

AUTHOR BIO: Darae Jun is a 4th year studying Environmental Systems in UCSD. She does research in biofuel production and is pursuing a Ph.D.

Featured Blogger: Apes Adventures



This past weekend the foreign teachers in town went on a Cultural Excursion.

FIRST STOP… Hanok Village! This village houses traditional Korean Style Houses. The houses are on stilts, and the “village” also houses a copy of a portrait of one of their beloved Kings. BUT while the village hosts the copy of the portrait, the ORIGINAL was also on display while we were there (it’s only on display for 15 days!).

Inside the portrait museum in the village we were able to see some of the history of South Korea, and sit in a “King’s Chair”. We learned interesting facts such as the background that can ONLY be painted in the King’s portraits, and how you can look at the armor of the higher class members and determine if they are a Prince, King, etc. (Spoiler – its all about the dragon claws!)

After Hanok Village we had lunch and then it was ARTS & CRAFTS!! We made jewelry boxes out of Rice Paper and Seaweed glue.

While we waited for our crafts to dry, we headed off to learn how to make traditional Bibimbap – MY FAVORITE!!!  We watched the teachers make it, and then they let us loose to do it ourselves. We split into 2 groups and got to it! Afterwards, we all scarfed it down and it was DE-LISH-OUS!!!

Then we were off to get some more culture…WEDDING TIME!!! We learned about a traditional Korean wedding, and even got to act it out!


Here’s are some traditional wedding traditions:

1) Before the wedding, the Groom gives the Bride a wild goose. If a wild goose can’t be found, a duck will do.

2) During the wedding, a chicken is placed in the North and South areas of the ceremony. The heads of the chickens look like they are wearing a hat like a person of power would wear.

3) When the Bride and Groom see each other at the beginning of the ceremony, the Groom faces the West, and the Bride faces the East (they are facing each other).

4) The wedding has 3 parts…


Part 1 – The bridesmaid and groomsmen fill a cup of alcohol and the Bride/Groom raises it to the heavens, and the earth, and then dumps it on the floor.

Part 2 – The bridesmaids/groomsmen fill a cup of alcohol and the Bride/Groom take a sip and then they switch and finish it. This shows that they CAN finish the drink, but choose to share it instead.

Part 3 – The bridesmaids/groomsmen pour alcohol into a cup that is split in two with a red/blue ribbon attached. The red/blue ribbon is tied at the end to the other color to connect the cup. Red – women, Blue – men. The Bride/Groom take a sip and then switch it again. Then they join the cup back into one cup. This shows that men and women started as one, then were divided, and are now whole again.


Then the wedding is completed!!!


Since we had an actual couple in the group, we had them “get married” in the Traditional Korean way.

After the wedding, we all were given different Korean clothing to wear to see what it was like. Of course, I LOVED this!

Once the modeling was over…the day was done. It was time to head back to Jinan…but what a great day!



Apes 🙂


Q&A with April:

Please introduce yourself!

– I am a Virginia native with a love of traveling. I am in Korea teaching English on a year contract. I have already spent a year and a half away from America, teaching English in South East Asia (a year in Thailand, and 2 months in Myanmar).

Who should read your blog?

– Anyone who is interested in going abroad should read my blog. There are not a lot of sites about what SPECIFICALLY life is like in each country. There are many “teaching English is xxx country” sites which tell you the broad basics, living arrangements, food, etc. There are not too many sites that tell you (for example) bring lots of socks to Korea, and make sure to bring WARM slippers to teach in, you don’t teach in shoes…

What made you decide on going to Korea?  How long are you planning on staying?

– When I was younger I took Korean Martial Arts. That was my first exposure to anything Korean. Once I started looking into traveling I looking into South Korea due to my connection through Martial Arts. I actually wanted to go to Korea as my first teaching assignment, but a fellow “travel teacher” advised me to try Thailand first, as the contracts are short 4-5 months at a time. Once I completed my first contract there I knew I would be ok with being away from my home for an extended period of time…so then it was off to Korea for my next chapter of life!


Any interesting facts / discoveries about Korean people / culture / life there?

– I am most surprised at the “normalcy” of Korean life. The food isn’t weird, the availability of western products is huge, the ease of travel is great, and the living conditions are westernized. It may be biased since I was in SE Asia first and everything there was so different (hot weather year round, Buddhist temples and holidays around every corner, etc).


Any tips / advice for people wishing to go to Korea to teach English?

– Make sure to get all your paperwork done on time. It is a LOT of work, but it is worth it. Come here with an open mind, it will be different from the western world.

– Try to learn some key phrases before you come, and make friends with your co-teachers, they can be GREAT resources for everyday life.

– As much as having Korean friends is great, make sure to also spend some time with other foreigners. Sometimes you just want to vent/gossip/exchange ideas with someone who speaks your native tongue.

– Keep an open mind, enjoy life in whichever area you live, but don’t forget there is a whole country to experience while you’re here!


Read April’s blog at apes-adventures.blogspot.com

Special thanks to Mike Avila for connecting us to April!


Reflections by K-Konnect Writers

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Looking Back at 2012…


Jini Shim: Earlier this year, I came to Korea Daily and asked them if I can use some of their magazine pages to publish articles in English. The reason was that throughout the many months I was back in San Diego, I met people who were avid fans of Korean dramas, interested in learning the Korean language, enjoying not just Kpop music but Korean indie songs (nice taste), or simply wanted to know a new culture. And before I knew it, a coterie of “Korean culture enthusiasts” was turning into a big network, and I wanted to share their stories to a wider community. I am so grateful for everyone that I met through this, and am constantly amazed at the passion and knowledge they bring. And I can proudly say that we are connecting with one another on a quite personal and profound level, which is truly a blessing.


Clark Rhodes: I began writing and editing for KKonnect in its infancy. The newborn project was perhaps a preemie of sorts, fragile, but alive and hungry. When Jini Shim, Vong Phonsiri Jr., and I began brainstorming in April, we were (and still are to some extent) very idealistic. The project isn’t close to being a year old, but like any child, we always seem to be outgrowing our clothes. I began with the Korea Daily, writing simple articles about the Dalai Lama and UCSD’s Korean Culture Night. Now I find myself analyzing data, taking wacky pictures, scouting writers, and drinking more and more coffee each day. I don’t consider myself a parent of KKonnect, but more like a Godfather or crazy uncle. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity given to me by the Korea Daily to nurture this child. I’m also proud of my ever-growing KKonnect family and I see nothing but potential in San Diego’s Korean-American community.


Natalie Cisneros: Although I have only been with this magazine for a couple months, I am grateful for this opportunity and have had a lot of fun so far with the KKonnect family. I first started out here with my article on Gangnam Style, and would like to write many articles in the future about the impact of Korean culture around the world. As I am becoming more involved in the Asian community in San Diego, I hope to spread cultural awareness to more people through the many great aspects of Asian culture, including: film, music, language, and dance. I have never considered myself as a writer before, so I would like to become even better at sharing my thoughts and grow closer to the people I know and have yet to meet. To everyone in KKonnect, let’s continue to write great articles and give more opportunities for people in San Diego to learn about Korean culture!


Simeon Rodgers: Writing for KKonnect has been a great experience for me. Being able to place my thoughts and dreams on a page for others involved in the culture to read has been really rewarding. Because I love to think, I come up with lots of topics to write about and having a place to share them is priceless. Undoubtedly it’s also cool to have people recognize me from the magazine, or local businesses thanking me for featuring them in an article. Being a part of KKonnect is just one more way I can be involved in the Korean culture of San Diego and bring people together around the world. Not to mention that I have met a lot of cool people through this experience. What’s not so cool about that?


Francis Bautista: How did I get involved with KKonnect? Jini dug a really big hole, covered it with a tarp, and put a picture of SNSD’s Tiffany on it. I ran towards it and fell in.  ….No?  Okay, this is how it really happened. My friend Ivan called me up to the office to hang out, and Jini told me about the group, their goals, and the KKonnect magazine. Jini asked me to do an article on a restaurant, and out of fun, I did. I figured that I wasn’t doing anything better anyway. That article got published. Ever since then, I’ve been writing articles and publishing my manhwa “Strawberry Scented Burnout:Taekwondo” within the pages of KKonnect. I always figured that my knowledge of taekwondo and knowledge of Korean food and shoji would come in handy. I’ve enjoyed my time with KKonnect and I’m looking forward to what the next year holds. Maybe I’ll actually learn Korean. Serious.


Rhema Williams: Becoming an intern at KKonnect has been a fun part of my life. I really enjoy telling people that I have the opportunity to write for a Korean magazine. One of the best points about the internship is meeting all the cool people who work with me that have become good friends of mine! I have continued to broaden my knowledge of Korean culture through this internship and I’m very grateful to the KKonnect staff for all they have done for me!


Eli Shand: Oh, where should I start? Well, it’s been a real pleasure to work with the Korea Daily, and more specifically, the wonderful KKonnect family! We’ve had our shares of not-so-inside jokes and adventures, and have welcomed some new friends on board during these few months.  I never imagined that I’d find an opportunity to become a published writer as a 16 year old High School student, let alone one in which I got to leave my mark in the San Diego community by helping those delve into the world of Korean Pop Culture!  The fabulous friendships and memories made thus far have made the hours of dedicated work and commute worth it, and it’s a great feeling to be able to look back and watch how far we’ve progressed over time~ With 2013 right around the corner, I hope that KKonnect will continue to blossom and truly become something that I can look back at and be proud of always as I transition forward into college.  Please keep your eyes out for our future issues and other endeavors, I can promise that we won’t disappoint!




H-MART OPENS IN SAN DIEGO: A new chapter in the Asian Market Chronicles

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H-Mart made its much-anticipated Grand Opening in San Diego on November 17, 2012. The atmosphere was electric as a mass of eager shoppers awaited the opening of the doors, stretching across the large parking lot and looping a few times. Pungmul dancers were frolicking through the crowds, beating drums thunderously, playing horns which resonated throughout Mira Mesa. Representatives from H-Mart came to commemorate not only   their new store opening, but also their 30th anniversary of existence.

As the store doors opened, a flux of shoppers charged inside with shopping carts and a flurry of baskets. After surviving a pit of excited shoppers poking and bumping me for room (or perhaps flirting), I emerged and got my first glimpse of the market.  Inside a very modern market with both Korean and American products, a deli section, fresh meat, organic produce, and fish market. H-Mart San Diego has the distinct feel of an Asian Whole Foods offering rare high-end American products in addition to variety of products from all across Asia. There is also a small bakery called “Paris Baguette”, offering desserts, pastries, fresh bread and croquettes.

From my many travels across the United States, I’ve noticed that each H-Mart offers a different selection of products, bakeries and food courts making each H-Mart unique and adding a little intrigue with each store opening.

In other news, Mira Mesa is slowly becoming the new hub of Asian grocery stores in San Diego with Lucky Seafood, Seafood City, Vinh Hung Supermarket and now H-Mart.

Now we wait to see how Korean markets like Zion Market will respond to this opening… This writer expects more competitive prices and happier customers.

Rhema’s (Totally Biased) Kpop Countdown!

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One of the biggest and most awaited comebacks of the year was from none other than BIGBANG, one of the most loved and widely known kpop groups there is! BIGBANG is still on top and still killing it after all these years, and one of the most popular kpop songs of the year was none other than BIGBANG’s “Fantastic Baby”! The music video for “Fantastic Baby” was released on March 6, 2012 and has gotten BIGBANG many well-earned perks. On March 16, a few days after it was released, BIGBANG earned two gold medals on YouTube for “Recently Most Popular” and “Trending” since it gained over 8 million views in such a short time. Not to mention “Fantastic Baby” stayed top 10 on music charts for over 10 weeks, showing its true popularity. “Fantastic Baby” is still making records as it just recently hit over 50 million views on YouTube making it one of the most watched kpop videos out there. The song has strong electronic beats providing a catchy rhythm, and not to mention lots of eye candy in the music video. It has a sound that is very hard to get bored of; you just want to get up and dance!

Another top favorite kpop song of mine is a recent comeback by Block B! Block B recently released their first full-length album called “Blockbuster” on October 16, 2012. Block B are known for their talented rappers, singers, and of course, good looks. Their title song “NILLILI MAMBO” has easily become one of my favorite songs of the year. What I specifically like about this release is the music video. The video showcases Block B as pirates trying to steal treasure, and it feels like you’re watching a movie. It is very well done and I love watching it over and over! All of the members are pretty silly and very loveable. You feel close to their music because they work very hard for their fans.

Boy group SHINee are called the princes of kpop and they have a special place in my heart because they were my first kpop group ever. SHINee came back after a year and six month hiatus with their fourth mini album called “Sherlock”, released on various music sites on March 19, 2012. After the album was released, they reached #1 on various music sites and gained attention internationally in places like America, Canada, The United Kingdom, and France. They achevived 8th place on the iTunes Top Albums chart and have won many awards because of “Sherlock”. SHINee are also know for their absolutely amazing dancing skills. They received special attention for “Sherlock” working with world famous choreographer Tony Testa who has also worked with stars like Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson. Not to mention the electronic beat is super addicting! Please check out SHINee’s “Sherlock” and give them your support!

TVXQ or Tong Vfang Xien Qi (made up of Changmin and Yunho from the previous kpop group DBSK or Dong Bang Shin Ki) have also made a very long awaited comeback recently with “Catch Me”. Released on September 25, 2012. “Catch Me” has done so well in just the last half of this year that TVXQ announced they will be having their own world tour starting in Seoul and going to many other countries around the world, starting the new year off strong. TVXQ’s Yunho and Changmin have been in the kpop scene for many years now, so it’s no wonder they’re still at the top. The music video has insane choreography and even when they perform live they still reenact it flawlessly. The dance is called “The Hulk Dance” because all of the dancers have gold plated arms, and when they connect them all together, it looks like they are raising giant arms like The Hulk! The music video is really phenomenal. There are many impressive points about this song and TVXQ has made me very proud to be their fan. Check it out for yourself sometime!

B.A.P (Best Absolute Perfect) is another one of my all time favorite kpop groups and they have made a big name for themselves. They haven’t been stars for very long but they already have a very loyal following. B.A.P is a 6-member group that has actually released many songs in 2012, but my ultimate favorite B.A.P song is “Power”. The music video for “Power” was released on April 26, 2012 and has about 4 million views on YouTube. After promotion in Korea for this song, they went on an Asian showcase tour in countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, and Taiwan. It’s got that grudge sound to show their true “Power” and their image usually has to do with the bad boy look. B.A.P has it all: great dance moves, powerful vocals, and insane raps. They really are a force to be reckoned with. B.A.P GOT THE POWER!

I wish that one of my ultimate bias’ Lee Hongki and I could eat ice cream together! Who do you love in kpop? Lee Hongki is from a band called FT Island who made a comeback this year with their song “I Wish”! It quickly became one of my favorite songs of the year but I really don’t know a lot about FT Island. I have been finding out more about them because I’ve always loved Hongki but never knew his band very much, mostly his acting skills.

Hanja Time with Gary Routh

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Hanja Time!

A Single Stroke


The simplest Hanja character must be the character for the number 1.  It is pronounced일, and it looks like this: 一

Yep, it’s just a line. The numbers two (이) and three (삼) are just as simple:


The characters for one, two, and three are so simple that once you have seen them, they are almost impossible to forget.  The numbers four through ten aren’t as easy to remember, but they aren’t too complicated:

Four (사)
Five (오)
Six (육)
Seven (칠)
Eight (팔)
Nine (구)
Ten (십)

Numbers can seem a little boring, especially if the goal of learning Hanja is to increase one’s vocabulary. But even numbers have a funny way of sneaking inside every day vocabulary…

Take another look at the character for Ten (십): 十

자가, the Korean word for “cross” gets its name from the fact that a cross looks like the Hanja character for ten.  The자 means letter or character, and the가 means shelf (in the olden days, long wooden poles were mounted on a wall and used as a shelf).  So the name means “Wooden poles that look the ‘ten’ character”.

Character, or Letter
Wooden poles used as a shelf

The 자 that means “letter” or “character” is the same자 that is in the word 한자 itself. The 한 in한자 refers to the Han dynasty of China. So 한자 literally means “Han Chinese Characters.”

If the character for ten could be hiding in an everyday word like십자가, what other words might have numbers hiding in them?


Let’s go back to that single stroke, the number one. As it turns out, there are quite a few everyday words that have this character in them:

일등 一等 First place
일반적 一般的 general, usual, average, ordinary
일생 一生 one’s (whole/entire) life, a lifetime
일월 一月 January
일주일 一週日 One week
일회용 一回用 Disposable
제일 第一 The most, the first
통일 統一 Unification, or Reunification

Let’s take a look at another example of numbers hiding in everyday words. I’ve always had a hard time keeping the word for uncle (삼촌) and cousin (사촌) straight.  They sound so similar that I could never remember which was which.

Both words end in촌, which means “degree of kinship”.


Remember the characters for three and four?

Three:  (삼):  三

Four     (사):  四

As it turns out, the word for uncle- 삼촌, literally means “3rd degree of kinship.”  What that means is that you are separated from your uncle by three steps.  You are the first step, your dad is the second step, and your dad’s brother is the 3rd step.  He’s the third 촌, or the삼촌.


Suppose your uncle has a kid.  That kid, your cousin, would be the fourth촌, or사촌!

Thanks to Hanja, I now have a way of remembering the difference between 삼촌 and사촌.

A few other common words that use the number 4(사) are:

사계절 四季節 The four Seasons
사방 四方 All 4 directions, or “every side”


Unlucky number 4

In Korea (as in China and Japan) the number 4   is associated with death.  This is   because both the Hanja character for death   and the Hanja character for four   are pronounced사.  The   character for “death” looks like this:

The most common word that uses this character   is사망 (死亡) 하다, which simply means “to die”.  This may seem like a silly reason to fear   the number four.  Nonetheless,   superstitions being what they are, many buildings in Korea do not have a 4th   floor!


Now let’s take a look at the character for one hundred.  It is pronounced백 and looks like this: 百


This character can be found in the word for department store, 백화점, which literally means “Store of a hundred products”.

One Hundred
Goods or products


Finally, let’s take a look at the character for ten thousand.  It is pronounced만 and looks like this: 萬

This character is found in the Korean equivalent of “Hooray”, which is “만세”, which literally means “Ten thousand years.”

Ten Thousand
Years (or age)

Of course Hanja numbers are used for more numerical purposes- minutes, months, and years are all counted in Hanja numbers.  For a closer look at these and other uses of Hanja numbers visit www.kkonnect.net.  For any questions, comments, or suggestions, please feel free to email me at newhanja@gmail.com. And be sure to join us next month when we see how many Hanja characters evolved over thousands of years from simple, easy to recognize drawings.

About the author: Gary Routh is an engineer at The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWAR). He began learning Korean in 1994 using various methods, including the study of Hanja as a helpful tool in building vocabulary.