The Two Koreas in Keywords

Dec 28, 2010

Cheonan. Yeonpyeong. North Korean Face-girl. Mt. Baekdu. What were the hottest keywords for Koreans in 2010?

North Korea pounded Yeonpyeong island, a South Korean populated island near its western border, with heavy artillery fire on 23 November. As news of this spread, South Koreans tweeted furiously, expressing their feelings about the attack, and offering ideas about what to do in case of an emergency. The incident set back the hard-earned South-North Korean relations and was a wake-up call to young South Koreans who had become used to the peaceful situation. Read More: (The night of skirmish; Reactions from Japanese side, by Scilla Alecci; and Reactions from Russian side, by Masha Egupova)


November-December: Pizza and Chicken controversies that eclipsed the WikiLeak's case

While the WikiLeaks diplomatic cable dump swept the world, its impact was not felt as strongly by a majority of South Korean bloggers who were used to hearing all the gruesome stories about North Korea (Wikileaks' impact on China and North Korea, By John Kennedy).

Instead, the hot news in the last two months of the year was about how the big chain stores were encroaching on the territory of small businesses with low-priced products. E-mart pizza and Lotte Mart chicken came under fire for providing the same items with higher quality at lower prices, almost devouring local pizza and chicken parlors.

Bloggers who sided with small business owners during the E-mart pizza controversy leaned toward the Lotte Mart chicken that disappeared a few weeks after its debut. The nation spent several weeks embroiled in the controversy about the price of chicken, and even the President felt compelled to comment. (Read more)


This post was originally published on Global Voices in December 2010.