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Korean Mythological Creatures

December 17, 2014

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Hooray for a lighthearted TL;DR! We’ve been handling some serious topics lately, about slave contracts, single mothers, and animal shelters, and we’re glad to put up something a lot more light and fun. WOOHOO! Now you can feel free to ask more serious questions and we’ll get back into digging into those. We just needed a break from all the seriousness.

On to other Korean Mythological Creatures! We’re starting with:

Dokkaebi – The Korean Goblin

Korean Red DevilWe learned something new when we were doing research for this topic! This guy right here is actually the symbol used for the Korean Red Devils, which is a popular sports mascot. You see it often during Olympic and World Cup time, like in our video. We just thought it was a random mascot that was meant to inspire fear, but it actually dates back to Korean folklore. Supposedly it’s a midget thing that has a spiked bat, and it tricks bad people while rewarding good people. It’s not a ghost or a spirit of something; rather, it’s transformed out of inanimate objects. I’m not well-versed enough to know what objects get transformed into the Dokkaebi, though.

Bulgasari – The Korean Gozilla

This thing I don’t actually recall seeing anywhere in Korea. Or, at least, it might have been referred to somewhere but I wasn’t aware of it. Supposedly it has a head and body shaped like a bear, needle-like fur skin, a tiger’s claws, a bull’s tail, an elephant nose, and the eyes of a rhino. Quite the concoction. I have no idea why they would take the eyes of a rhino as opposed to, well, you know, it’s freaking horn, which is what it’s known for. That’d be like hiring Michael Jordan to cook you dinner. Do rhino eyes have anything special about them?

What I find most interesting about the Bulgasari is how it supposedly was made. One day, a buddhist monk was bored from hiding in a room that he made it out of leftover rice. Then the thing started eating needles and nails and spoons and every damn thing he could find like a Katamari Ball and just kept on getting bigger. It’s name also either means “cannot be killed” or “fire can kill it.” I’m not sure which one is correct.

Gye-Ryong – The Korean Cock-Dragon

GyerongAWW YEAH COCK DRAGON. More like Chicken Dragon, but that doesn’t sound as badass as Cock-Dragon. Anyhow, think of this thing as a Chocobo, if you’ve played Final Fantasy. It kinda looks like a Chocobo. It pulls chariots for legendary heroes and all that jazz. I don’t know much more about them. There’s a mountain in Korea named after it as well, Gyeryongsan. I’m not sure why it’s called that. Maybe there are lots of cock dragons in the bushes there. HA!

Jangjamari

Ok so this one is a bit of a throwaway, because we don’t have that much to say about it, but Martina mentioned it at the end of our TL;DR. We found very little information about it. It’s part of a Korean Mask Dance, aka Talchum, and it’s a fat musical water spirit that’s covered in seaweed. It’s kind of comedic relief in the dance. And, there you go. It’s hard to find more info about it, and it’s a bit anticlimactic considering the awesomeness of the other mythological creatures we mentioned, but there you go!

So that’s it for mythology. YAY for a fun topic. I don’t think we’re doing a TL;DR for next week, because it’s Christmas, but we should hopefully get one ready for the week afterwards. Let us know if you have any similar mythological creatures where you’re from, and if there’s any overlap or not :D

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  1. When you talked about the gumiho first thing I thought of is this k-drama (it’s more of a comedy though?) called Surplus Princess (Ingyeogongjoo) in which a mermaid pricess turns human to find her true love within 100 days. It’s the little mermaid in gumiho form.

    5 years ago
  2. Bear – Their carnivorous reputation not withstanding, most bears have adopted diets of more plant than animal matter and are completely opportunistic omnivores.

    5 years ago
  3. In Minnesota/Northern midwest states, we have Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox! I’m not well versed in the tale (there’s a whole cartoon movie/episode dedicated to it though) and he was a super tall lumberjack, and the lakes throughout Minnesota/other states are his foot prints.

    5 years ago
  4. Arab mythological creatures are “Jinn” and “Gog and Magog”.
    Jinn are supernatural creatures (Not spirits), we believe God created them from fire (hence haunted houses being hot) and they live here with us on earth. We can’t see them but they see us, and they are everywhere especially dirty places (such as toilets) and deserted areas (such as desserts or mountains, so humans would not bother them). They are able to interfere physically with people and objects, travel large distances at extreme speeds, take human forms (fully or partially, human face and body but animal limbs), and possess humans. They are not all bad, they are like humans some are good and some are bad. There are many types of them classified based on strength and characteristics.
    Many people in the past used to see them, and I remember my aunt telling me that one of her grandfathers was going home late at night when a young beautiful woman asked him to carry her on his donkey and take her home, when she arrived to her destination she asked him to stop and as she was getting down from the donkey he saw her leg which was a goat-like leg. He started shaking like crazy and as soon she went, he ran as fast as he could back home. This Jinneya [female term for Jin] is called “Umm Al duwais”, she disguise as a beautiful woman who seduces men with her seductive voice, alluring smell, beautiful look, and hypnotizing eyes. Then she only brutally kills them if they are seduced by her. She is believed to have goat leg and that is how people used to recognize her.
    The other mythological creatures is “Gog and Magog”. They are believed to be some sort of creatures (not sure of they are human, but they are not Jinn), they are described as short creatures who were evil, so humans who lived in their area asked “Dhul-Qarnayn” who was a ruler at that time to protect them from “Gog and Magog”. So he made a wall and buried them somewhere under it [Some say it is the Great wall of china]. Based on some stories, we believe they still exist and are reproducing [They are estimated to be over billions of them] and they are trying to dig themselves out. We believe near the end of the world they will get out and they will eat everything and drink all the water from lakes, which will kill many people.
    We have many other mythological creatures, if you want to read more you cans search in Wikipedia.

    5 years ago
    • Sorry to cut in but just to add to that, people believe that witches and wizards can summon jinns and direct them toward people. Many in the rural areas do practice witchcraft -or at least say they do- and people go to them for granting requests -like you want to get back at someone or want to fall in love with someone. Also according to some of the prophet’s teachings Jinn eat bones so it’s said that you shouldn’t eat the bones like the chickens’ and stuff. In addition animals like dogs and donkeys can see jinns.

      5 years ago
  5. In China, there is of course the Eastern Vampire or the gang-shi. They are often dressed in Qing dynasty official robes, have long claws and fangs. They can be immobilized by a yellow talisman that is stuck to their foreheads. They hop and can detect breath, so to hide from them, you would have to hold your breath.

    5 years ago
  6. In Iran we have a bird called simorgh which means 30 birds. In most of our story this bird can talk and give wisdom to humans. But we have an old story that is about the origin of this bird. Many years ago birds of all kind gathers to visit simorgh on top of the mountain or something. During the journey most of the birds gave up and at the end there were only 30 birds left. So by that they found the simorgh or 30 birds. (The story is actually good by the way I said it was funny!!! ) We also have an other bird called Homa which means happiness. There is also Farvehar which look like a bird (shocked) which I think I shouldn’t call it a creature because it is the symbol of God in Zartosht religion.

    5 years ago
  7. The only Canadian monsters I can think of is Windigos? or Sasquatch? and I feel like we have a Native American Loch Ness Monster somewhere. The great lakes seem like a perfect aquatic monster residence… I’ve been told that Swamp Donkeys are scary but that’s just until the locals explain that’s just we call Moos around these parts.

    5 years ago
    • They’re are a ton of lake/river monsters that are popular in Canada. The Ogopogo is the most well known. There is also the Gaasyendietha which is a dragon that is supposed to live at the bottom of Lake Ontario. Then there is the one I learned about most recently which is the Waheela, which is a giant wolf-like creature from the North West Territories.

      5 years ago
  8. The most famous Chinese mythological creature is of course the dragon. But a lot of people didn’t know that Dragon has 9 sons (or more, there are many different sayings) and all nine are kind of like half-dragon creatures. They all have different personalities and we can often see them crafted on traditional Chinese buildings (mostly temples and palace), incense burners, swords, and everything according to their personality. For example, one of the sons of dragon is called 囚牛(qiu niu) and it loves music, so people often craft it on Chinese music instruments like erhu.
    Also for Chinese, Dragon is just a big family but there are a lot of species of Dragons. We can identify them by looking at their physical features (horns, wings, number of talons on each claw: only the emperor can use the dragon with 5 talons) and habitats.

    5 years ago
  9. In Brasil we have a few mythological creatures, my favortites are:
    The Sereia Iara , which is a brasilian mermaid/siren from the amazon. Her story goes that she was the chief’s daughter in her tribe, very beautiful and an amazing warrior. As a result she was her father’s favorite, then one night her jealous siblings came to kill her,( now this is where the story splits), some say she just ran away and fell in a river, and others say she woke up and killed her attackers then ran, at which point her father angry at what happened called for a hunt and they found her and threw her into the river. She would have died but the water spirits brought her up and saved her turning her into half woman, half fish. now she sits by the waters egde and sings a beautiful song that lulls men into the water to drown (like sirens do) and she can even blind those that see her if she doesnt want them too. She is also known for taking men down into the water to marry them… but they drown. Thanks to this story many locals avoid being near rivers and lakes at dawn and dusk.

    O Boto- Not going to talk much about this one, its another one from the Amazon, and basically is a river dolphin that turns into a man on full moon nights and come up on shore, he seduces the women of the villages and makes them pregnant. he also wears a hat to hide his blowhole and is said to be incredibly handsome.

    Boitata- this one is kinda from all over brasil, the legend goes that long ago there was a night that seemed to never end, it was so dark and long that nobody could see outside or go out to hunt or get firewood. then suddenly there came a heavy rain that flooded the rivers, and this woke up an old old snake that lived in a tree. The snake went out and ate all glowing eyes of the animals that had perished and were floating on the river. The eyes are said to glow because of the light of the last day the animals saw daylight. after eating so many eyes the snake grew even more and started to glow as well… Now its said to live in the forest and guard it against fire. (I find this story the oddest one of all lol)

    And my favorite: O Curupira- He is said to be the oldest of the oldest of the Native folclore, as a result there are many versions of the story. But mostly he is known as a guardian spirit of the forest, protecting the plants and the animals against hunters (if they take more than they should, or hunt an animal that is feeding its young) and lumberers. Curupira is told as a red-headed dwarf, with hair all over his body, blue or green teeth, no sexual organs, and his feet are back-to-front backwards. Those that he finds doing things that they shouldn`t in the forest he starts to torment, trapping them inside illusions and making weird and loud sounds until the men are driven to madness and possibly death (also his feet serve to make false footprints leading in the wrong directions and often doubling up on themselves to confuse the hunters further). Curupira likes to sit under mango trees as well but if he catches up watching he bolts away and is too fast to follow. there is another legend that is sorta similar too that is the Caipora. But I like Curupira better.

    another fun fact: the Curupira was Brasil`s mascot for the world Quidditch cup in 2014 :D

    5 years ago
  10. In Iceland we have many mythological creatures and about 60% of Icelanders believe in these creatures and I will name a few.
    Huldufólk – The hidden people, they are a certain type of elves and look very much like humans but are a bit shorter like children and wear old Icelandic clothes. They say they live in rocks and chose to be left alone. One could not disturb they’re home or they will curse bad luck on you, also one should not cross paths with them or they will be taken away, there are many old stories of people being taken by Huldufólk. But they can be helpful and kind to those who do them no harm, and repay favours with favours. On the other hand, they can also be malicious and take revenge if harmed.

    Trolls – many of you know of them very well and have seen them in movies and more. The Icelandic trolls are not much different, they are big and live in caves and human-like in form, they are still inhumanly strong, huge and ugly. The Trolls are very often thought to be fearsome and cruel creatures. They often treat people as they are treated and they return favours for favours, exerting vengeance if harmed. But the Icelandic trolls have a weakness against sunlight and once the light touches them they turn to stone.

    Since it’s almost Christmas why not talk about the Icelandic Santa Claus, in English they are called the Icelandic Yuletide Lads. They are thirteen, just imagine having thirteen Saint Nick‘s. But they Yule Lads are trolls, they’re Parents Grýla and Leppalúði are also trolls. Grýla their mother eats naughty children. They start coming 13 days before Christmas, children put their shoe and one Yule Lad puts a small present in the shoe, one Yule Lad comes each night 13 days before Christmas. Every Yule Lad has something special about them; I’ll name a couple, The first one that comes 13 days before Christmas is Stekkjastaur (Sheepfold Stick) comes December 12. He would try to drink milk from the farmers’ ewes. Hurðaskellir (Door-slammer) comes December 18. He is an awfully noisy fellow, who is always slamming doors and keeping people awake. Gluggagægir (Peeper) comes December 21. He is not as greedy as some of his brothers, but is awfully nosy as he peeps through windows and even steals toys he likes the look of. And the last one is Kertasníkir (Candle Beggar) comes on Christmas Eve, December 24. In olden times, candlelight was the brightest light available. Candles were so rare and precious that it was a treat for children to be given a candle at Christmas. And poor Candle Beggar wanted one too.

    5 years ago
    • In the Faroe Islands, we also have myths about trolls and huldufólk, but they’re a bit different in our stories. For example, I remember the Faroese myths describing the huldufólk as being at least human sized, and that they wore grey clothes. Oh, and they shy away from electricity/electric lights. Otherwise I remember it being the same, with them living in rocks and being a mix of good and malicious. Small differences, but both the Faroese and the Icelandic huldufólk are very different from “normal” elves.

      5 years ago
  11. I live in Finland and we have this big collection of old folklore called the Kalevala. It has a lot of cool stuff like a woman getting pregnant from eating a lingonberry and a mother sewing her dead son’s body back together to restore his life. The Kalevala explains the birth of the world with a duck laying eggs on a woman’s knee sticking out of the ocean, and those eggs getting broken and in the process turning into the sky and land. I love how illogical mythology is :D Like it’s a matter of course that broken eggs just casually turn into the world we live in with no explanations.

    5 years ago
  12. Gye-Ryong… appearance actually resemble the Chinese Phoenix zhu-que more then the Dragon.
    Zhu-que represent south and fire in Chinese feng-shi and star sign. It also represent happiness and the yin in yin-yang.
    Sorry can’t really compare it properly… I can’t find much info online… so yeah

    5 years ago
    • DD

      Phoenix called 봉황Bong Hwang in Korea and it appears a lot in its correct shape. Gye-Ryong is just different creature.

      5 years ago
      • DD

        Sorry I confused. Phoenix in Korean is not 봉황 but 주작(朱雀). It is very common creature in literature and fine art before 15c. I’m pretty sure that the pronunciation is very similar to each others because It is just same word. As I once note in the other Tr:Dr. when things belongs to ancient period, name and idea about the creature is barely distinguishable between Korea and China while its reputation and characteristics are not same.

        5 years ago
  13. Oh, I love mythology! Probably the most popular bulgarian creature is the samodiva. Some people say that they are wood nymphs but I`m not that sure that this is quite right…. I know three theories about where samodivas come:
    1 – they are the worst dead womens which no heaven no hell wants ;
    2 – they are dead virgins;
    3 – they are womens which mens leave them and they go to forest and become samodivas;
    I hear those theory from grandmas in villages. Samodivas are very beautiful but they don`t like humans.
    Samovilas are very colouse to samodivas but they have wings and they care of forest animal, tree, flower, bush or a mountain stream, as jealously protect it, mainly from human harm.
    Karacomjul/bulgarian goblins/ is other bulgarion creature. They came in nights. They take the form of low-legged dwarfs, with a big nose, bulging eyes and a body covered with hair, who wander the roads after midnight. Often sitting at intersections and accost okasneli passengers, asking them riddles or ask them for services. If a person behave nice to them, goblins can help him
    otherwise they cause him harm. According to some beliefs they sit at the crossroads because there are usually erected gallows and goblins have the task to keep the spirits of those who were hanged not leave the dead bodies.
    And the third creatyre is zmey . It`s huge fire- breathing monster like a dragon. The dragon is the ultimate evil force, a messenger of darkness.Same say zmeys are friendly towards people,
    There are other creatures as vodnici / masters of rivers, streams and springs / Domovik / spirit of a deceased ancestor or father of the family / Torbalan /Boogeyman/ who steals children and eat them / when I did not want to sleep my parents scare me with him /.

    5 years ago
    • Oh may god ! I totally forgot to tell you more about samodivas!!! Every night they gather and dance in some meadow. Some stories say that they dance naked, other say they dance in pure white long linen shirts.During the dance hardly touch the ground with the feet, and trampled magic herbs carry strong healing scent. Therefore, sick people who gather enough courage to go spend the night near the village square, and to relate them fairies unusually favorable, while in most cases are too disaffected to people and meeting their cause many damages. Naked fairies often ride big deer with golden horns, which are their favorites.

      If a man fails to steal samodivas veil , she becomes an ordinary woman and obey him. Such fairy wedded, birth, but it is not a good mother and housewife, and use every opportunity to reclaim their stolen freedom and they abandoning their children.
      According to some legends fairies steal young boys and make them slaves, according to other stories they kill men. Often twinning with people who helped them .

      5 years ago
  14. hmmm, here in Mexico we have the a) mayan “aluxes”, kinda like prankster goblins? yeah, let’s go with goblins, who live in the wild or in corn fields. they enjoy throwing stones at people walking by the road or making them lose their way. sometimes when cleaning land for a new construction, workers would find stones neatly piled together, meaning there is an alux nearby and that’s kinda like their shrine. people who destroy the piles or use them for the construction are said to suddenly fall ill or get into mishap. there is a bridge near Cancún (my home town) that would keep crumbling during its construction, until some locals suggested they build a shrine to calm the aluxes nearby, and what would you know, they build a pyramid-like shrine and the brigde never fell down again. spooky :I
    as for the Aztecs, there’s the b)Ahuizotl, a dog like creature that lives near water and has a hand on its tail, which it uses to drag people and drown them.
    and a more general mythological creature is the c)”nahual”, people who can shape shift into animals. they can either protect or curse persons, it depends on their nature, much like how there’s good and evil sorcerers? yeah.
    also, Aztec gods Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl made the world from the body of the “cipactli”, a crocodile-type being that had mouths on every joint of its body and who kept eating us, the poor mortals, because there was no land, only water. Tezcatlipoca sacrificed his left foot so that they could kill the crocodile and we could finally survive. Such a nice god, that Tezca (not! he’s evil but not, I’ve always thought he’s like the mexican Loki)
    there’s many more but this has become a tl;dr so, yeah, my culture is cool, lol XD

    5 years ago
  15. Upon googling haechi, I discovered that Marvel also has introduced a Korean character named Haechi as part of the most recent installment of the New Warriors series. I couldn’t find any information on Wikipedia about him though. Looks like he’s new as of 2014.

    5 years ago
  16. In Finnish mythology, Näkki is a shape shifting water spirit who usually appears in human form, that resides in murky pools, wells, docks, piers and under bridges that cross rivers.

    He is known for pulling young children into the depths, if they lean over bridge railings or otherwise look into water surfaces to see their own reflection and touch the water.

    During Midsummers night, Näkki rises from the water to dance in the middle of the celebrating people.

    It is also said that although Näkki is very beautiful from the front, his backside is hairy and extremely ugly. Other stories tell that a Näkki is an ugly “fishman” which can at will turn itself into a beautiful woman who either is extremely voluptuous or has three breasts or alternatively into a silvery fish, horse or a hound, which are only ways to lure his unwary prey to the water. Näkki is also called Vetehinen or Vesihiisi (water fey, see Hiisi).

    There is a Finnish tongue twister about him that goes like this; Vesihiisi sihisi hississä (The water pixie hissed in an elevator). This is of course useless information, but I just really wanted to hear you guys say it.

    5 years ago
  17. Zoe

    There’s actually a surprising amount of cross-over when it comes to mythology all over the world, not just between China-Japan-Korea.

    In English for example, the days of the week excepting Monday and Sunday are all named after pagan gods. Saturn -> Saturday, was a Roman god and not just a planet. Tiw -> Tuesday, Wodan -> Wesnesday, Thor -> Thursday and Frigg -> Friday were all German gods. That’s practically the same Thor as the Norse mythological Thor. Likewise, Wodan is a variant of Odin ;-)

    Recently, on one of my “useless Wikipedia articles marathon” (as you do), I discovered a Breton creature called an ankou.

    5 years ago
    • Frigg and Odin are norse also ^>^

      5 years ago
    • Zoe

      Crap, pressed the comment button. I was going to say that according to Wikipedia, the ankou also exists in an Irish proverb as well. So there’s Celtic connections as well.

      My favourite myth from my corner of the world is the changeling. That’s a replacement baby, swapped for a human one by fairies/trolls. Often the changeling baby would be very sickly and die, or just generally be a bit odd or awkward. It’s possible that children with learning difficulties or disabilities were explained as being changelings. Supposedly, fairies/trolls had a particular preference for blonde-haired children :-/ ;-) (MARTINAAAAAAAAAAAAAA I think we could both be changelings!)

      5 years ago
  18. From a quick look up, the first two also exist in Chinese mythology since the words themselves are loanwords. Haechi is written as 獬豸 in Chinese characters and is pronounced xie-zhi in Chinese. Next, gumiho is written 九尾狐 (literally: nine-tail-fox) in Chinese characters. It is pronounced wu-wei-hu in Chinese. According to Wikipedia, in Japanese, the creature is called kyuubi no kitsune (九尾の狐) or kyuubiko (九尾狐).

    5 years ago
  19. In china, the gumiho means nine tailed fox, a type of high level fox spirit. Which actually symbolize peace and good fortune for since ‘dark age of china’ till around AD960 when they started telling tale about foxes being cunning and eventually involve into the myth that fox spirit are evil and seduces male to gain their ‘jingqi’ (a form of human essence in the body according to ancient chinese history which is necessary for survival).
    Chinese believe that all fox spirit started of with one tail which store their ‘magic power’ when the power stored reaches its limit it split into 2 tails, when it gain all nine tail it becomes immortal, then it practice for 1000 years to become a ‘fairy’ (lower level god).

    5 years ago
    • See this is a little more similar the the Kitsune, the Japanese nine tailed fox, the tales of them being cunning and tricksters is definitely very similar, and the magic tails. Only in Japanese the Foxes become a god automatically when they reach 9 tails, as far as I know. once reaching 9 tails the fox’s fur also becomes either golden or silver. They also transform, they can transform into a lot of things, but pretty women seems to be a favoured one. They don’t steal energy from men as memory recalls, but do enjoy having one night stands or even marrying and having children with them, then showing the men their true form and being like “Haha I was a fox the entire time!”
      …So basically the Kitsune/Gumiho isn’t evil in Japanese Mythos… They’re just assholes.

      Kinda neat how all these cultures have related myths and thing. Each one similar, yer, at the same time unique. :)

      5 years ago
  20. I LOVE MYTHOLOGICAL STUFF!! Which is great because Sweden got lots of em! Some of my Favourites are Bäckahästen (can’t find a translation for it) and it’s a gorgeous white horse which lives in a river, and it will only show itself to small kids, and offer then a ride on it’s back. The horse can take as many kids as possible at once, becuase the back gets longer with each kid, and then the horse runs back to the river and drowns the kids.

    Another drowner is Näcken (Neck), and he is a man who plays his violin by rivers and lakes, completely nude, thereby his name (Näck is an older word for ‘naken’ which means nude). His playing is so good that when people hear it, they become enchanted and follows him out into the water where they drown, just to keep hearing him play.

    Then we have Skogsrået or the Huldra who is (on the front) a gorgeous woman who lives in the woods, where she will ensnare men and get them lost. However, if she turns your back to you, you will see that her back is completely hollow, the edges look like old bark, and she got a foxtail. But she can also be helpful sometimes. If she blew down your rifle barrel then you would never miss, unless you tried to shoot one of her own animals.

    A slightly newer concept was the one of a tiny personal brownie, who would keep ypui and the family and house safe. On christmas you need to put out a pot of our special rice pudding porridge (it sounds weird but it’s very yummy) with a big piece of butter in the middle. If you were too greedy and only gave him a tiny piece or no butter at all, then he would have his revenge through different ways. Maybe he would bring sickness, leave the house for eternity, make sure the cows didn’t give any milk or slaughter all your animals.

    We got lots more but those top 3 are my favourite mythical creatures :)

    5 years ago
  21. Ahahahaha oh my goodness at Simon’s random version of the story!!!
    And wow I’m actually surprised Martina didn’t know about the Korean Marvel character!

    5 years ago
  22. I remember watching SHINee’s Hello Baby, and when they did the Poor Man Rich Man skit, Onew was the Korean Goblin. I initially thought “Oh my gosh, Onew oppa what are you DOING!” BUT NOW I UNDERSTAND IT YAY!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gU1dZI5AuOc
    A real challenge to understand is Indian mythology. There are so many stories that I can’t keep track! (Or maybe being in Canada without a constant education about it is what confuses me!)

    5 years ago
  23. Here in Singapore, one of the most famous mythical creatures is the Merlion. It has the head of a lion and the body of a fish. The lion head comes from this old legend of how Singapore was discovered: long story short, this prince from Sumatra(?) discovered this island and spotted this creature that looked like a lion, so he named it Singapura (singa=lion in Malay, pura=temple in Malay, so Singapura=lion city). The fish body represents Singapore’s early beginnings as a fishing village called Temasek ( meaning “sea town” in Javanese).

    The Merlion, or just lions in general, is like the national symbol of Singapore, we have a few Merlion statues at different tourism spots around Singapore. The original and most well-known Merlion is at the Singapore River and it spouts water from its mouth.

    5 years ago
  24. I love this topic. I love hearing about mythology in other cultures and I don’t know much about korean mythology so thank you for doing this topic. :)

    We have loads of mythological creatures in Ireland. The creatures can be known as “daoine sidhe” or just the sidhe. (Sidhe is pronounced like shee) When I’m explaining what the sidhe is, I usually call them fairies but they include banshees, leprechauns, púca, etc. You also have the Tuatha Dé Danann which are the Gods. You have selkies as well but I don’t think they fit into groups.

    I was told that banshees cry whenever someone in an Irish family is about to die. Sometimes it’s said that they cry before someone dies, warning a family of a future death. That myth is probably where they got their bad reputation :P. You usually see images of banshees combing their hair. You shouldn’t pick up a comb you find on the ground in case it’s a banshee’s which would make it cursed. I don’t know if this is a widespread myth but apparently, if you take a banshee’s comb, you will die soon afterwards. I know an old woman is the typical image of a banshee but I usually hear stories about beautiful, young banshees. Always female, by the way, as the “ban” part comes from the word “bean” meaning woman.

    Selkies are sort of like mermaids in a way. I think they are sometimes confused with mermaids because I remember reading the translation of an Irish lament and it seemed more like a selkie than a mermaid as translated. They’re seal women. Apparently, there are males too but I’ve only ever heard of the women. To make a selkie your wife, you have to steal her seal skin (They become human on land) and hide it or burn it. They’re apparently great wives but they miss their home and will try to return to it if they can even if they have children. If you hide it and they find it, they’re gone forever.

    Leprechauns are tricky little things that you never want to annoy. There are loads of stories of leprechauns outwitting humans and such. To get a leprechauns pot of gold, you have to catch a leprechaun by surprise and not let go of him until you get the gold. However, this can backfire like it did in one Irish story. Right, so this man finds a leprechaun and catches him. He says he won’t let go unless he tells him where his pot of gold is. The leprechaun is annoyed as he says he doesn’t have one because he only makes shoes for a living. The man, however is adamant and eventually the leprechaun tells him where it’s buried. The man puts a red handkerchief over the bush and goes home to get a shovel, letting the leprechaun go. When he gets back there are red handkerchiefs on all of the bushes and he can never find the gold.

    The sidhe are known to entice people for years or maybe forever with music. Legend has it that if you hear music at night coming from the flowers or something, you should cover your ears and not get too close (the music would draw you closer) or else their music will trap you into, basically, dancing for insert-time-period-here. Same goes for entering fairy circles, etc. The sidhe don’t liked to be spied on.

    There are also the Fianna who aren’t really mythological creatures but they are from mythology. They’re a group of really strong warriors and a lot of Irish folklore centres around them, especially Fionn (pron. fyuhn) and his son Oisín (pron. uh-sheen where I’m from. It’s oh-sheen in the North, I think). Tír na nÓg (I hate when this is spelled incorrectly. Pet peeve of mine :P) is a very famous story about Oisín.

    Sorry for the super long post. I really love talking about mythology.

    5 years ago
  25. I love hearing about other countries mythologies. In Sweden we have a ton of mythological creatures, most will try to either kill you or seduce you, and some are just lonely sad murdered spirits. Oldest ones have to be giants… which kind of makes sense since the ice age left some very odd relics (like gigantic boulders in the middle of flat fields or deep huge holes in stone). Like the bearwoman, it was also part of the creation myths for the vikings. Yes, vikings… which is why I cannot stand the Thor-Marvel stuff… poor Loki was not 100% evil, and Thor’s hammer is really funny (for the Marvel that is). Loki was actually part giant, which explained his wickedness, as he had a god-like self and a giant self, by ragnarok he did join the giants in the end, but he’s also helped the gods a lot.

    And just because I am Nasty, ever seen Thor in a dress? It happened. Muahahaha

    5 years ago
    • But….jotuns weren’t evil! D: Also yes, Marvel Thor is just…no. Odin was an asshole, too. >:C

      5 years ago
  26. Simon’s stache looks like a sparrow! Cannot unsee it!

    5 years ago
  27. I love korean myths! I teach kindergarten here and more than one of my korean coworkers calls the dokkaebi when one of the kids is being especially bad or not eating their lunch. It’s like a prerecorded app that the teachers pretend to talk to on speaker phone and then they tell the dokkaebi the address of the school and it says it will come find the kids if they don’t start acting nice.

    5 years ago
    • Haha! Omg! I would have been terrified as a kid if my teacher had done that! Even if it wasn’t me in trouble!

      5 years ago
  28. I think nothing can beat the Indian Culture when it comes to Mythology. Even our Gods seem pretty mythological with their several hands and ability to take on ANY form. There is Ganesh – the Elephant God.
    But I think the most well known mythological creature is “Naga”- The 10 headed snake. If I remember correctly Naga is a King Cobra and always resides in water.
    As if 1 headed snake is not enough…..

    5 years ago
  29. I’ve been interested in korean mythology for a few months now, I’m so happy you did a video on that subject! Korean mythology isn’t well known but you have so much things to learn.

    By the way, I found interesting how you can find equivalent of the same mythical being in different country, for example the gumiho/kitsune/huli jing or the haetae/xiezhi.

    5 years ago
  30. My favourite mythologycal creature in my country could be translated as the Owl with copper dick! It’S not something ancient mithology just a creature to scare the shit out of your child. My grandma used to tell me if I gonna be a bad child the owl with the copper dick will come and get me. As a kid it was kind of scarry to imagine it :D

    5 years ago
  31. The Gye-Ryong looks just like a the English mythological creature called the cockatrice. Supposedly it is born from the egg of a chicken that is incubated by a toad or a snake. It can kill you by looking at your or breathing on you. I wonder if English kids would get freaked out if they found toads in the hen house?

    5 years ago
    • In Poland we call creature you mentioned Bazyliszek. In Oldtown of Warsaw there is still a cellar where one of them was supposed to live. In version I know Bazyliszek was turning people into stones by looking at them. Everyone who went to cellar didn’t come back, but then some guy went down there with mirror, Bazyliszek looked at itself and turned into stone.

      5 years ago
  32. It’s interesting about the Hae-tae protecting against fire because Chinese dragon symbols would also be used to ward off house fires etc. because dragons were associated with air and water (I think :P). Maybe the two were related in the past?

    5 years ago
    • The dragon symbolized wood, the one thats associated to water is call xuan-wu (looks like a turtle and snake mixed… ).
      U probably got it confuse, cuz theres actually four common guardian animals thats use rather than just the dragon.
      The Green Dragon (青龙 qing-long) is east, Phoenix (朱雀 zhu-que) south, west the White Tiger (白虎 bai-hu) and the turtle snake xuan-wu on north. And north is where water is.
      Chinese version of hae-tae is call xie-zhi. According to old tales, xie-zhi is a very wise animal that can tell if a person is good or evil. They use their horn to knock evil person off their feet and swallow them. Usually people does not put hae-tae in living house, mostly see them at places that has association with any kind of law.

      5 years ago
    • That sounds like a really interesting idea. Perhaps so!

      5 years ago
  33. for Croatia it isn’t very clear and we have a few different legends and theories. One of them is that Croatian were some little tribe in a search for a new home, and they were guided by 5 brothers and 2 sisters. The oldest one was named Hrvat, so the Croatian name of a country is Hrvatska. Stories also says that Croatians were pirates and great soldiers and were always used in battles and wars.

    5 years ago
  34. Biologist in the house!:) about bears, they are omnivores so although they will be stinky they might just survive that diet. The tiger however… not so much.

    The rinoceros eyes thing makes zero sense to me since the only thing I know about it is that they are seriously bad. Maybe that can be used as a weak spot to defeat thid monster (that cannot be defeated)

    Time to sleep. Goodnight

    5 years ago
    • I didn’t know that rhinos had bad eyes. In fact, I knew nothing about their eyes altogether, so now that I know their eyes are bad make the whole Korean Godzilla thing even more confusing. Hmm…

      5 years ago
      • They do have really good ears, so if they wanted to make an invincible monster, taking the ears would make more sense :)

        5 years ago
  35. Paul Bunyan an Babe the Blue Ox?

    Does Korea have urban legends similar to the ones we have in North America? You know, like the couple making out in the car and an announcement coming on the radio about an escapee from the jail who has a hook and is considered dangerous and they freak out and drive off. They get home and there is a hook hanging on the door handle. Or the cab driver picking up a girl and giving her a ride and she leaves something in the cab and he goes to return and the people in the house say, “that’s our daughter’s, she’s been dead for 20 years!”

    5 years ago
  36. Question/ Request for TL:DR: Can we get an updated packing list for Korea. I’m interested to know if things have changed a lot or not so much since you’re last video on this subject. P.S Hello EYK Crew you’re all awesome (especially Intern Leigh, I’m very Intern Leigh biased)

    5 years ago
  37. Are there any fun or educational korean board games like an equivalent to scrabble?
    I look online and i only see is Yut, Shogi and Go when i Google, “Korean board games”

    5 years ago
  38. heehee hee i know just the scene from naked kitchen to which you refer *evil giggle* (actually the exact expression in my profile pic)

    5 years ago
  39. bigfoot

    5 years ago