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The Korea File

Korean Talk

Interviews on music, history and society from across the Korean peninsula and around the world.


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Interviews on music, history and society from across the Korean peninsula and around the world.



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The Death and Life of Great Korean Cities

Why does Gangnam, and so much of Korea, feel artificial and improvised? How are urban apartment complexes like undemocratic military bases? And will Seoul end up another megacity playground for tourists and the super rich like London, New York or Tokyo? Independent linguist Robert Fouser, a former Seoul National University Department of Korean Language professor and the author of the new Korean-language book ‘Exploring Cities’ joins host Andre Goulet to explore all this and more on episode...


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TKF host Andre Goulet on Singapore's 'The Podcast Show'

We're proud to present Singapore-based Shida Osman in conversation with TKF's Andre Goulet on 'The Podcast Show'. TPS show notes describe the conversation as follows: “Consistency, would be the key to a successful podcast”,says Andre Goulet, podcast host of The Korea File. The conversation unveils why he chose Korea, what happened to the punk rock band that he played in, his love for Korea's architecture and why he chose Bulgogi, in the “This or That” game. Hear more of 'The Podcast Show' at...


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Gentrification and the Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Seoul

Traditional Korean homes have become a victim of recent waves of gentrification in Ikseon-dong and Bukchon. But as these old residential neighbourhoods become a haven for hipsters, the unique cultural footprint of an important aspect of Seoul’s history is being erased. On episode 86 of The Korea File, Ji-hoon Suk, a University of Michigan Ph.D. student in Asian History and a keen observer of cultural heritage in the metropolis, joins host Andre Goulet to explore the rich historic legacy of...


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NEW SHOW: 'Jeju Views' S1, E1 - Vajeju Nights

Introducing Jeju Views, a biweekly snapshot of the global microcosm that is Jeju Island. Join host Ann Bush and guests in conversation as they discuss how to navigate the ever-evolving multicultural landscape of the South Korean island. On episode 1, performer Gaelan Whitney opens up about a recent production of the spoken word and comedy show 'Vajeju Nights' and how some Yemeni refugees in attendance may not have been expecting what they were in for. CONTENT ADVISORY: This conversation...


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The Legacy and Future of the Royal Asiatic Society- Korea Branch

On episode 85 of The Korea File,‘Transactions’ journal General Editor Jon Dunbar joins host Andre Goulet to discuss Urban Exploration and Bong Joon-ho’s ‘The Host’, the Seoul Queer Culture Festival and the American Embassy’s rainbow Pride flag and the legacy and future of the Royal Asiatic Society-Korea Branch. Plus: highlights from this year’s edition of the journal including the North Korea/Guyana Friendship Association, Patrilineage and the Chaebols and the predictive power of Taemon...


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Gravel 2020: Korean Identity and the Anti-Imperialist American Left

5/24/2019 engagement with radical anti-imperialist politics create the intellectual space to better understand the personal struggle of defining Korean identity as Korean-Americans in the United States….. a trio of teenagers convinced an 89 year-old former Alaska Senator to make a presidential run…. ....and how an insurgent, largely social media-driven campaign is bringing a radically anti-colonial and anti-war message to the 2020 American election discourse.... On this episode,...


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Missionaries and Diplomats: A History of the Royal Asiatic Society in Korea

The Royal Asiatic Society- Korea Branch has been enhancing an understanding of Korean arts, customs, history and social trends through lectures, cultural excursions and special publications since it's founding more than a century ago. In that time, the RASKB and it's unusual cohort of members (including missionaries, diplomats and other expatriates) have witnessed every aspect of Korea's contemporary history, from occupation, colonization and fratricidal war to a modern era of democracy,...


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Who Killed the Hanoi Summit?

Despite the high hopes many were feeling in the lead up to second Trump-Kim meeting, the Summit was probably dead before it even began late last month at the colonial-era Metropole Hotel in downtown Hanoi. But who puled the trigger? What was the poison pill? And where do the United States and North Korea need to go from here to guarantee a lasting peace? On this episode host Andre Goulet is joined by speechwriter and former U.S. State Department diplomat Mintaro Oba, who last appeared on the...


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Waging Peace on the Korean Peninsula

In May 2015, on the 70th anniversary of Korea’s national division, thirty international women peacemakers from around the world walked with thousands of North and South Korean women to call for an end to the Korean War, reunification of families and the inclusion of women’s leadership in the peace process. Christine Ahn, the founder of Women Cross the DMZ, Women De-Militarize the Zone, The Korea Policy Institute, The Global Campaign to Save Jeju Island, The Korea Peace Network and a...


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Militarism, Development and the Mixed Legacy of Seoul's Yongsan Garrison

The American military is gradually leaving Yongsan, a major garrison located in the heart of Seoul. But how are the dynamics of military spatial reorganization playing out beyond the metropolis? In this conversation Bridget Martin of the University of California at Berkley joins host Andre Goulet to explore how South Korean landscapes are shaped by the country's unresolved conflict with North Korea. This conversation was recorded on December 11th, 2018. Look for Bridget’s ‘Field Notes from...


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Too Different to be Chinese, 'Not Good Enough' to be Korean

With a unique cultural and geographical history going back centuries, the ‘Joseonjok’ are considered too different to be fully Chinese in China while simultaneously 'not good enough to fit in’ in South Korea. In this conversation, writer Eddie Park joins host Andre Goulet to discuss his recent investigative reporting from the Korean Autonomous Prefecture in Yanbian, China. This interview was recorded on October 25th, 2018. Read Park's piece at KOREA EXPOSÉ:...


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ROK Military vs. Human Rights: Court rules in favor of Conscientious Objectors

Amnesty International says that there are more than 230 conscientious objectors currently incarcerated in the country. But a Constitutional Court ruling this summer, a ruling that states that the government must provide alternative civilian roles for those who refuse to take up arms due to religious or political reasons, sends a clear message that conscientious objection to military service is a human right. On this episode of ké cast, Korea Expose staff writer Jieun Choi joins host Andre...


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Jeju's Yemeni Asylum Seekers Reveal Korean Xenophobia

South Korean society has long been intolerant of outsiders, but the outrage sparked this summer by a thousand Yemeni asylum seekers on Jeju Island illustrates the depth of the country’s xenophobia. On this episode of ké cast, Korea Exposé Publisher Se-Woong Koo joins host André Goulet to discuss why, despite its vaunted democracy and economy, compassion and humanitarian instincts are in short supply in South Korea. Read Se-Woong's piece 'Tyranny of South Korea's Majority Against Refugees' at...


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Spycam Porn: Culture of Voyeurism leads to Summer of Protest for Korean Women

This is 'ké cast' Season 2, Episode 1. Produced in collaboration with Korea Exposé, and independent media organization that speaks to a global audience about the two Koreas in a way that goes beyond cliché and superficial analysis, look for this podcast at the beginning of each month through 2018. On this episode, Korea Exposé managing editor Haeryun Kang joins 'The Korea File' host Andre Goulet to explore this summer's massive women-led protests against spycam and South Korea's pervasive...


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Reality TV Diplomacy: Pageantry Trumps Tension as US-NK Summit Proceeds

Former U.S. diplomat, speechwriter, and commentator on U.S. foreign policy in Asia Mintaro Oba joins host Andre Goulet to discuss this month’s on again off again US-North Korea meeting how the Moon administration’s heroic heavy lifting has kept the summit on track. Plus: a risk-free template for how to be a North Korea pundit. This conversation was recorded on June 1st, 2018. Music on this episode is from the album 'The Best of Yi Moon-sae'.


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The Promise of Peace vs. The Doomsday Machine

John Carl Baker, a fellow with Washington, DC think tank The Ploughshares Fund joins host Andre Goulet to talk about peace, nuclear proliferation and this historic week on the Korean peninsula. This conversation was recorded on May 2nd, 2018. Music on this episode, 'But I Like You' is from Busan indie rock band Say Sue Me. Find their new album 'Where We Were Together' on Bandcamp. Mastered by Chris Hernandez at Studio Petite Palais in Montreal.


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Summit Spring: DPRK, ROK, US + PRC in Diplomatic Dialogue

Jenny Town (Assistant Director of the US-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies/Managing Editor at joins host Andre Goulet to discuss Washington's reaction to the surprise announcement of a Donald Trump/Kim Jong-un summit and- what can we expect from this month’s upcoming inter-Korean talks. How do the conditions surrounding the summit compare to the Roh Moo-hun/Kim Jong-il meeting of 2007? Plus: John Bolton as White House National Security...


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Peace Olympics Lead to Shock Diplomatic Breakthrough

Steven Denney (Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto/Senior Editor at joins host Andre Goulet to discuss the diplomatic delegation's visit to Pyeongyang and how Korean nationalism and American obstructionism continue to clash in the wake of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games. Plus: January's weird Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Security and Stability on the Korean Peninsula, organized by the Canadian government and the U.S. State Department, comes under...


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Ilbe and the alt-Right: Fascism and Conservative Politics in South Korea

In this conversation with prominent blogger Ask A Korean, we unpack the spy-ops and psy-ops that have informed more than a decade of alt-Right agitation in South Korea. Plus: a look into the anti-democratic overreach of the National Intelligence Service and a deep dive into the origins of Ilbe, Korea’s nihilistic proto-Reddit web forum and 4chan and Breitbart predecessor. And, an analysis of the diminished status of South Korea’s political right-wing today. Also, three fundamental questions...


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2018 a Year of Possibility: Inter-Korean Talks and the Pyeongchang Olympics

As the Koreas begin high level diplomatic talks, host Andre Goulet is joined by photojournalist Jules Tomi for a wide-ranging conversation on the upcoming Pyeongchang Olympic Games and the confluence of factors, including chaotic American political leadership, that may be leading to an easing of tensions on the peninsula. Plus: critiquing voyeuristic journalism, apocalyptic diplomacy by Twitter and debating the perilous potential of possible reunification. This conversation was recorded on...