At the world cup, we’ve heard our fair share of national anthems, and the Korean national anthem is an interesting song that has an interesting history. The world cup has brought about the best kind of nationalism in Koreans, but there is one feeling that I appreciate more than the nationalistic one that flows through my heartt when I hear the national anthem. It’s a feeling brought about by another song.
The economic contrast between North and South Korea is clear from space.
I choose today to introduce the song because today’s date is June 25th. It is an important day for Korea. It is the day that the Korean War started 60 years ago, in 1950. That pretty much means Korea has been divided for just as long. As such, 3 generations have come of age in the divided Korea, and this song, created shortly after the division happened, calls for the reunification of Korea.
The song is called “우리의 소원은 통일 (Uri e soweon eun tongil)” or Reunification is our wish. Every time I hear this song I almost start to cry. I don’t know what it is about it. I grew up in America and I didn’t even understand the words when I first heard it, but it makes me tear up. Perhaps it’s the children singing it that does it for me. I mean, they don’t deserve to live in a divided country, they’re only children. What do they know of international politics and war?
Perhaps it is the situation in North Korea that makes me emotional. Just look at this picture of the Korean peninsula at night. South Korea is a robust, modern economy. North Korea is.. well, not. The harsh conditions that the people in the north live under is striking, and sad. So perhaps that’s why I am getting emotional.
This song is sung in both North and South alike, and usually in presentation it’s sung by children, because the intent of the song is to portray innocence.
Videos of two renditions of the song with lyrics after the jump Continue reading