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Historical background to BTS-inspired webtoon '7FATES: CHAKHO' Updated: 2022-01-27 17:11:56 KST

It's Thursday, and the Lunar New Year holiday is just around the corner.
Our culture correspondent Kim Bo-kyoung is here in the studio with us as usual, to tell us what exciting cultural content our viewers can expect along with the latest trends in the arts and culture sector.
Bo-kyoung, what have you brought for us today?

Hi Jung-min, the very first joint webtoon project between Naver Webtoon and Hybe the management company behind superstars BTS had huge numbers of views when it was released recently.
Though there were mixed responses from fans, many enjoyed the eye-catching plot.
Today I would like to share the historical facts the webtoon is based on, a group of tiger-hunters in the Joseon Dynasty for fans to know the meaning behind the webtoon's title "7FATES: CHAKHO".

The BTS-inspired webtoon, "7FATES: CHAKHO" exceeded 15-million views in only two days since its release in mid-January.
And as well as its links to the K-pop superstars, the webtoon is also based on the historical facts of the Joseon Dynasty.

The webtoon's name "chakho" comes from "chakhogapsa", who were a group of professional tiger hunters.
During the Joseon Dynasty, many tigers lived in Korea's mountains. Documents such as "The Veritable Records of the Joseon Dynasty" and Isabella Bird Bishop's "Korea and her Neighbors" showed that the animals attacked and killed many people.

"The records say half of the Joseon people went on a tiger hunt while the other half would go to the funeral of those who have died because of the tigers. Another says tigers cut off traffic routes and appeared in the royal palace yards causing panic."

To tackle such issues, King Sejong, known as the inventor of the Korean alphabet, Hangeul, formed a group of professional tiger hunters named "chakhogapsa".
They were the most skillful and courageous hunters selected by a test among the volunteers; who can run fast and are good at archery and throwing spears.
Tigers were considered fearful yet also respectable and brave and thus images of tigers were used to ward off evil spirits.

"We would create a shrine for tigers, and they were very considered very awe-inspiring so people would hold ancestral rites with tiger pictures in front. They were also dauntless, so people would hang pictures of them on walls to prevent evil spirits."

The high prices for tigers led even civilian hunters to chase the creatures, leading the number of wild tigers to fall and the "chakhogapsa" to disappear.
Now, comics give us a chance to look closely into history and also think about what we should do, not to hunt tigers, but rather protect them.

It is very interesting to see the how the webtoon was inspired by history and to learn how the 'Chakhogapsa' group really worked.
Webtoons of course are popular but another thing to enjoy these days is of course the dramas on OTT services.
For the Lunar New Year holiday, has anything interesting been released?

Sure, those who are into K-zombie dramas such as "Kingdom" will be fascinated to hear that another Korean zombie thriller "All of Us are Dead" is to be released on Netflix this Friday.
This much-anticipated series is based on Joo Dong-geun's popular webtoon or online comic titled "Now at Our School".
It shows high school students trying to escape from school during a zombie apocalypse.
During the press conference on Wednesday, the cast and the director said the series is going to be different from other zombie dramas.

"There are many zombie thrillers but most of them happen to adults. This one happens, not to fully mature members of society, but to young students in a confined area. I thought it would be interesting and meaningful to see what choices these young students would make when they are at the border between life and death."

"Usually people use guns to kill zombies or a large army to kill them. But this drama takes place in school so we use desks, and mops to fight them which I believe is a big difference from other zombie dramas."

Another Korean-style zombie thriller series I should definitely give it a watch.
I heard lots of people are very much anticipating this series.

Yes, the official trailer uploaded on YouTube has more than 1.4 million views, so it seems lot of people are looking forward to it.

There's certainly plenty to enjoy for those people planning to stay home this Lunar New Year holiday.
But there are also plenty of exhibitions on.
Are there any special venues that you might want to recommend?

Well, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art has four branches nationwide Seoul, Gwacheon, Deoksugung Palace and Cheongju, and all of them have noteworthy exhibitions.
I would like to recommend a visit to the Gwacheon branch as video art pioneer Paik Nam-june's largest installation work "The More, The Better" has started test runs for the first time since its shutdown in 2018 due to technical problems.
After going through frequent repairs since 2003, the museum had to eventually shut down the installation so that it could be properly restored.
The 18.5-meter-tall tower is made from more than one-thousand CRT monitors, and after three years of restoration, 7-hundred-35 of them have been repaired and the other 2-hundred-68 that couldn't be revived have been replaced with liquid-crystal displays.
During the six months of test runs, the museum will see how the restoration project went and complete the work.
The time for the test runs varies depending on the date, so visitors might want to check the time before heading to the museum.

Well, given that this year is the 90th anniversary of Paik Nam-june's birth, I believe such test runs, having the tower running again have a huge significance?

That's right, as this year marks the 90th anniversary, the museum has prepared exhibitions on the artist's work “The More, The Better Archive” in June, and the exhibition “Paik Nam June Effect” in November showcasing artists whose works were influenced by Paik in the mid-to-late 1990s.
So those interested might want to mark those exhibitions on their calendars.

Alright Bo-kyoung, thank you for sharing that cultural information.
Happy Lunar New Year and I will see you next week.

You too. Thank you.
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