Jason Strother

Multimedia Journalist

Sun Mu- The Faceless Painter (Arts Freedom)

Sun Mu by Strother
Sun Mu – the faceless painter
Sun Mu is not his actual name. It’s a nom de plume that uses a combination of two Korean words that translate to ‘The Absence of Borders’. It not only represents what he feels is the transcendence of art but also the literal military demarcation line that keeps the Korean people separated.

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Ji Seong-ho’s Long Journey To Freedom (Yonhap)

Ji Seong-ho knew there was no turning back as he pulled himself out of the water and onto the banks of the Chinese side of the Tumen River. He wiped tears from his eyes and quickly glanced at what he had just left behind.

"I knew from that point, the next time I go to North Korea will be when reunification finally happens," he said

ji Sepmg-ho1

Ji Seong-ho protests North Korea's human rights abuses

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Pyongyang Ultimate Frisbee (yonhap)

While London hosts the Olympics this summer, a different competition will get underway on the other side of the globe. But this series has no flaming torches, gold medals or even referees. The game is Ultimate Frisbee, and the venue is the North Korean capital Pyongyang.
The "Peace Tournament" is set for August 11 and is sponsored by Beijing-based Koryo Tours. The rules of Ultimate, as the sport is known for short, are a mix-match of basketball and American style football, in which one team attempts to huck, or throw, a plastic disc to a receiver in the other team's end zone.


Western tourists play Frisbee with North Korean students in 2011 (Courtesy Sam Baker)

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For Better Luck in Love and Life, Some Koreans Change Their Names (yonhap)

When Yu Do-hyung looks at her ID card, she experiences a brief moment of confusion. The face staring back at her is a familiar one, but the name is something she had to get used to. Three years ago, Yu was persuaded by her father to change her given name.

"At first when I saw my new name, it was strange and I hated the sound of it," Yu, who was once known as Young-ah, said. "It's like a man's name."

Saju tent

Koreans visit saju or fortune telling tents for advice on how to lead luckier lives (Courtesy Matthew Crawford)

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Korea’s Caviar Kingpin

The banks of the Namhan River bend throughout this region of the Korean countryside, said to be the geographical center of the nation. It's an area dotted with apple orchards and surrounded by green hills, where on a quiet afternoon the sound of chanting can be heard, echoing from a Buddhist temple. At one spot along the shoreline stand what appear to be above ground, Olympic-sized swimming pools. But you won't find any athletes doing laps in their lanes. The river water-filled tanks are home to 50,000 Caspian Sea sturgeon.
The fish belong to economist-turned-aquaculturist Han Sang-hun, the owner of Almas Caviar, South Korea's first and only caviar farm. Seventeen years ago, Han brought a couple hundred sturgeon back home with him from a business trip to Russia. He says finding a place to raise them was a no-brainer. Just like what any entrepreneur might say, the secret of creating a successful business is location, location, location.

Han Sang-hun (Courtesy Steve Herman)

Han Sang-hun (Courtesy Steve Herman)

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Korea’s Blind Face Challenges, Opportunities (yonhap)

Park Gwang-jae Park Gwang-jae's hands are firm and strong. He's crouched over a client lying face down on the matted floor of his massage parlor. Park digs his fingers into the man's shoulders and back, hitting pressure points and relieving tension. At age 49, Park has been an "anma-sa," a masseur, for more than half his life, but that wasn't always his plan.

When Park was a teenager he lost his vision due to a connective tissue disorder that caused his retinas to detach. No surgery was able to restore his sight and at age 20, Park entered a school for the blind.

"Massage was the only vocational training available at the blind school," Park says in his shop located near Ewha Womans University in western Seoul.

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