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Food Expressions #3 + North Korea’s Godzilla Movie (Pulgasari)

Here’s the third edition of Visual Korean Food Expressions. For the other two Posts in this series, see below:

  1. Visual Korean Food Expressions #1
  2. Visual Korean Food Expressions #2

21-beggar-stomach 22-dog-porridge 23-short-hot 24-meju-belief 25-soybean-maggots 26-soup-hand 27-poo-bean-paste 28-cutting-bean-paste 29-packed-bean-sprouts 30-bulgasari

The last one is the most interesting to me. Actually, in Korean, 불가사리 usually means “starfish”. Here are some more interesting facts about the Legend of Bulgasari:

  1. The Chinese characters (不可殺이) mean “can’t be killed”.
  2. It has the body of a bear, nose of an elephant, eyes of a rhino, tail of a cow, legs of a tiger, fur like needles. (Source)
  3. Bulgasari eats only metal, grows bigger the more it eats, and can’t be killed.
  4. Birth: According to one legend (in the book I have), one day a widow was knitting when a small thing that looked like a bug crawled up on her needle and devoured it. She was curious so gave it another. Then, more metal objects and it grew and grew.
  5. Death: The same legend says that after fighting the army and eating all their metal weapons and armor, a lone monk walked up. Bulgasari backed off and cringed. The monk knocked it on its back with his staff, and the monster disintegrated into a collection of all the metal objects it had eaten.
  6. There is a North Korean Godzilla-style film about Bulgasari – released in 1985.
  7. The film’s director, Shin Sang-ok, was kidnapped by Kim Jong-Il and forced to make this and other propaganda films for North Korea.
  8. The director and his wife (also kidnapped) escaped in Vienna during a film festival in 1986.
  9. The film is “intended to be a propaganda metaphor for the effects of unchecked capitalism and the power of the collective.”
  10. In the film, Bulgasari is created as a rice doll by an imprisoned blacksmith. When it comes into contact with the blood of his daughter, it comes to life. It then fights in an uprising with the peasants against the corrupt king.
  11. The movie was publicly released in Japan in 1998 as Pulgasari.

The FULL Pulgasari 1985 Film (Eng Subs)

The above video has English subtitles. But here is another one with Japanese subs and at a higher quality:

  1. Pulgasari (higher quality, Japanese subs)

So what do you think of North Korea’s Godzilla film? Let us know in the Comments below.

**These expressions are from How Koreans Talk: A Collection of Expressions.For more in-depth explanations, buy the book.

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