August 18, 2008

Ian Baguskas' Haenyeo

Ian Baguskas who I've linked on this site before and who has worked with us at 20x200 has a nice series of South Korea portfolios worth checking out. My favorite of these is titled Haenyeo. Haenyeo translates as 'sea women' and is the name used for the female divers of Jeju Island. For about 3 centuries these ladies have been diving up to 80 feet to collect octopus, abalone, and sea weed and until recently drove the economy of this island known for it's many rocks, winds, and women. Korean tourism promotes the haenyeo as mermaids but it's a a hard scrabble life and partially because of this, their numbers are declining precipitously. Only around 5200 are thought to be left, down from 20,000 in the 1960's and 40,000 in the 1930's. More than half are in their mid-60's.

posted at 08:39 AM by raul

Filed under: things korean

TAGS: divers (1) haenyeo (1) jeju island (1) korea (5) sea women (1)


08/22/08 11:38 AM

My great-grandmother and great great grandmother were Haenyeo. My grandparents and parents are ashamed of it and never talk about it, but I think it's wonderful. My dream is to visit there and see if I can find any old women in the village who remember my great grandmother.

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