The Myths and Legends of Korea – SnackFever

The Myths and Legends of Korea

By Kalina Ewing

Korea is a place where magic seems to blend in with the culture. Shamanism featured in many of the creation myths in Korea, and though it was later phased out when Confucianism became the main religion, the myths and creatures remained. So I am very excited before Halloween to introduce you to some of the legendary creatures of Korea. Western cultures have many myths and legends that we are familiar with. King Arthur and Excalibur, the Loch Ness Monster; the Boogeyman; Bigfoot, Leprechauns, and many others. But we are not aware of the myths and legends of Asian countries, especially South Korea. If you ask most foreigners what they would think of when they think of Asian legends they would say a dragon. But the dragon we know does not prominently play in Korean myths and legends as it does in some other Asian cultures. There are dragon-like creatures but they are not the fire-breathing creatures that we see portrayed in most cultures today.

Korean Dragon: Korean dragons are influenced and are similar in appearance to Chinese Dragons. They are benevolent beings that are related to water and farming. They would often be said to be the bringers of the rainy season. This is why in Korea the residence of dragons is said to be in waterways or oceans. The Korean dragon differs from the Chinese in appearance in that is has a long beard and is shown carrying an orb know as Yeouiju. Only four-toed or more dragons could wield this orb that was said to have to abilities of omnipotence and creation.  Korean dragons were once said to be Imugi or lesser dragons that resembled serpents. They are several different versions on how Imugi become Dragons. One said it would take a thousand years for them to become a dragon, while another says they must catch Yeouiju falling from the sky.

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more dragons 🤩 . The Imoogi is a hornless ocean dragon, sometimes equated with a sea serpent. Imoogi literally means, "Great Lizard". The legend of the Imoogi says that the sun god gave the Imoogi their power through a human girl, which would be transformed into the Imoogi on her 17th birthday. Legend also said that a dragon-shaped mark would be found on the shoulder of the girl, revealing that she was the Imoogi in human form. Korean folk mythology states that most dragons were originally Imugis, or lesser dragons, which were said to resemble gigantic serpents. There are a few different versions of Korean folklore that describe what imugis are and how they aspire to become full-fledged dragons. Koreans thought that an Imugi could become a true dragon, or yong or mireu, if it caught a Yeouiju (similar to a falling star that is believed to grant wishes) which had fallen from heaven. Another explanation states they are hornless creatures resembling dragons who have been cursed and thus were unable to become dragons. By other accounts, an Imugi is a proto-dragon which must survive one thousand years in order to become a fully fledged dragon. In either case they are said to be large, benevolent, python-like creatures that live in water or caves, and their sighting is associated with good luck. . thank you Hiro T. for telling me about it 😊🙌 *edit: it also appears in the movie Dragon Wars! thank you @maccarstairs 😊 . don't forget the 4K giveaway still going on, I've heard of very few Fylgja yet and I'd love to hear what yours would look like! 😊💙 . . . . . . . . #mythicalcreaturologist #creature #dragon #dragons #lizard #reptile #creaturedesign #imoogi #imugi #korea #fantasticbeasts #blackworknow #blackwork #illustrationnow #illustration #darkart #beautifulbizzarre #serpent #seaserpent #folklore #myth #ink #inkdrawing #drawing #originalart #bestiary #copicmarkers

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Dokkaebi: Goblin. Probably the most well known mythological Korean creature at the moment due to the ever-popular Guardian: The Lonely and Great God series starring Gong Yoo as a Dokkaebi. In this story, the Dokkaebi is a wonderous immortal god that is searching for a bride to end his misery. But the Dokkaebi of legend were not at all like this. They are formed from a discarded object stained with human blood and did not resemble human beings. Their physical appearance could differ but was always meant to strike fear and awe in those who beheld it. Ever mischievous they were known for playing jokes, asking riddles or challenging travellers to a wrestling matching for the right to travel on. Travellers were told to focus on the right side as they were often said to have only one leg on that side. They were known to carry magical objects such as a hat to make them disappear or club to summon items. This may also be why the creature is also the mascot of the South Korean soccer team, to cause the opposing team to fear the unexpected.

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우리가 국가대표팀 선수들에게서 보고 싶은 것은 단순한 승리만이 아닙니다. - 승리와 골을 향한 열망, 어려움 속에서도 끝까지 최선을 다하는 투혼, 대한민국 축구의 자부심을 지켜내려는 투지, 경기의 승패를 떠나 '잘 싸웠다.' 말할 수 있는 선수들의 강한 의지, 우리는 이것이 보고 싶습니다. - 지난 스웨덴전에서 우리는 한동안 느끼지 못했던 선수들의 의지를 보았습니다. 그동안 잊어버렸던 가슴 속의 뜨거움을 다시 확인할 수 있었습니다. - 지난 결과에 실망하지 마십시오. 국가대표라는 무게와 책임감에 걸맞은 투지와 투혼을 보여준다면 붉은악마는 끝까지 선수들을 지지하고 응원할 것을 약속합니다. - 아직 경기는 끝나지 않았습니다. 고개를 들어 마지막까지 최선을 다해 뛰어 주십시오. 우리는 그 마지막까지 함께 경기장에서 대한민국을 외치겠습니다. #붉은악마 #할수있어대한민국

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Gwisin: this is the Korean term for a Ghost. It does not differ greatly from the ghosts that we as a western society are familiar with in that they are usually legless, floating in the air and usually see through. The main difference is that they tend to have long black hair, a creepy stare, wearing white funeral clothes, and are usually female. They can come in other types such as male, or the weirdest is an egg-shaped form with no legs, arms or eyes. They usually have unfinished business (such as revenge), they may fling objects around or cause a chill in the air to gain attention. These ghosts are usually found in abandoned areas, buildings and graveyards. Popular versions of this type of ghost have been seen in the movies such as The Ring.

Haetae or Haechi: this is probably something you will see a lot of if you visit Seoul. The creature is a bit odd looking with the body and head of a lion, scales covering its entire body and curved horns on its head. This creature is the symbol of the city of Seoul and is also known as a guardian, warding off evil omens. For this reason, you will see statues of it outside many buildings standing guard in Korea.

Gumiho: Nine-Tailed Fox Lovers of Kdramas will be very familiar with this mythological creature. It has been featured in many Asian dramas, is popular in many different Asian cultures and has been even featured in a popular game (League of Legends.) The creature in the drama is often portrayed as a woman cursed to be this poor creature and unable to find love unless she entraps some poor man. But the Korean legend is more sinister. They are a fox-like creature that was able to transform into a beautiful woman and lure the man away so they may devour his liver. If they are able to refrain from eating human flesh for a thousand days they will no longer transform back into a fox and stay a human forever.

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⚠️⚠️SWIPE 👀👀👀 Aquí está mi versión de una 구미호(gumiho) para el reto Creepypasta de #6halloweeks En los stories de @glitterqueensmakeup os cuento un poco más sobre el maquillaje y la leyenda urbana coreana, pero os lo puedo resumir en simple seducción con el fin de comer hígados y corazones 😂 ¿Conocías esta leyenda urbana? Here's my version of a 구미호(gumiho) which is a very popular character in korean urban legends, very similar to Japanese kitsune, but an evil version of that. Gumiho are the foxes that lived more than 1000 years and transform into women to seduce men so they can eat their liver or heart. Did you know about this urban legend? 👀👀▪Voldemort & Minotaur Lenses from @lensvillagedotcom. Discount code: ANDREEA15 #makeup #makeuplook #makeupartist #gumiho #구미호 #메이크업아티스트 #메이크업 #할로윈 #halloween #halloweenmakeup #blood #cute #귀여운 #creepypasta #halloweenoctoly

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Moon Rabbit: Jade Rabbit this is a rabbit that was found by looking at the formation of the craters in the moon. It started as a Chinese legend and was taken on and changed in Korean folklore. The rabbit is now a symbol of the mid-autumn festival Chuseok and is said to be pounding its pestle for rice cake. To see the version of how the rabbit came to be in the moon click here.

These are only a few of my favourite creatures that I picked to share with you. There are many more creatures of legend in Korea as well as creation legends that one could share. The culture of Korea is so full of interesting stories that you will never be bored learning about them.

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