Korean Legend of goblins

Goblin' star Gong Yoo spotted in Sydney | SBS PopAsia
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The word “goblin” has become synonymous with this fine-looking man above,

Goblin poster with signatures, Entertainment, K-Wave on Carousell
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this iconic poster

Your Ultimate Guide to Filming Locations of Drama “Goblin” | The Calm  Chronicle: A Lifestyle, Travel, Style & Beauty Blog by Pheuron Tay
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and this iconic scene.

But before star writer Kim Eun Sook’s “Goblin” became a global hit, the word “goblin” brought to the minds of Koreans images like these:

재미나고 신기한 도깨비 이야기
Photo Credits, credits to original illustrator
역사추적! 도깨비의 정체는?
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아트인사이트 – [Opinion] 당신의 도깨비는 어떤 모습인가요? [문화전반]
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Goblins exist in the legends of not only Korea but also various European cultures,

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but in this blog post, I’ll account the Korean tale of the legend of goblins that I grew up listening to!

Called “dokkaebi” (도깨비), these legendary creatures do not have a fixed appearance but usually appear in the form of a human man, albeit with a lot more hair on arms and legs. They are usually depicted to be wearing a hanbok and a hat (that used to be worn in the olden times in Korea) called “paeraeng-ee” (패랭이)

패랭이 - 표제어 - 한국의식주생활사전 - 한국민속대백과사전
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While modern Koreans picture goblins as creatures with horns on their heads wearing clothes of the caveman era, Koreans in the past pictured them as creatures who looked like big, sturdy human men.

In terms of personality, goblins are tame, playful, a little stupid and prone to being angered if humans didn’t want to play with them. They’re so naive to the point that clever human beings manipulated them to get gold and coins from them.

They like food such as memil-muk (메밀묵)

메밀묵 하재일기(荷齋日記) 한국고전번역원 - 램프쿡
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영상] 드라마 '도깨비' 속 그 제품, 기자가 써봤습니다! '공유인형' 메밀군에 반하다 - 스포츠경향 | 뉴스배달부
Photo Credits. A scene in drama “Goblin”; Kim Go eun hugging “memil-gun” doll, a goblin who has disguised himself as memil, his favorite food, so that people won’t be scared of him (tearss)

and makgeoli (막걸리) (Korean traditional alcoholic beverage).

불의 여신 정이' 문근영, 막걸리 광고 찍어도 되겠네, 막걸리 먹방 공개:·· 시사코리아에 오신걸 환영합니다. ··
Photo Credits. A scene in drama “Goddess of fire” where Mun Gun Yeong’s character drinks a cup of makgeoli

They also love mischief, story-telling, listening to songs, and wrestling playfully. (They seem more like precious mischievous creatures rather than scary ghostly beings…)

Of course, as fans of the drama “Goblin” may know by now, goblins are scared of the color red and shun things like blood and red beans. According to legend, people in the past ate red bean or used horse blood to chase away goblins and ghosts.

도깨비 | 동영상
Photo Credits. Gong Yoo (goblin) terrified of horse blood
드라마 도깨비 - 도깨비와 말피 : 네이버 블로그
Photo Credits. Horse blood that terrifies goblins
오늘 동지...팥죽 먹는 이유는? 팥죽을 더 맛있게 만드는 재료는 '이것'
Photo Credits. “Pat-juk”, also known as “red bean porridge”, is eaten as a meal, snack, dessert and appetizer before meal. It’s eaten on “Dongjitnal”, a day Koreans eat red bean porridge. Btw, I can eat this every day.

While these creatures may be portrayed to be pretty harmless and even occasionally a little friendly to human beings, they were associated with fear and the unknown, with the Korean word “dokkaebi” literally meaning “a phenomenon that cannot be understood”.

도깨비' 4회 분수대 데이트~공유 "도깨비 방망이 없어, (검)이게 와전 된거야" 움짤
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Rather than wielding cool swords like this, goblins in the legends carry around “bangmang-ee”, or magical bats, which something look like this:

한국전래동화-도깨비방망이 - 리디북스
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These magical bats act like magical wands. With their bats, goblins can basically do anything with it. They’re famous for saying, “Come out gold!” and making heaps of gold appear before them.

tvN 드라마 на Твитеру: "내가 금이 많다고 해서 너에게 준다는 건 아냐 '3' #도깨비 #tvN #new #금토드라마  #매주금토 #저녁8시 #공유 #이동욱 #김고은 #유인나 #육성재… "
Photo Credits. The goblin portrayed by Gong Yoo also occasionally makes gold appear when he’s drunk lol- a good reference to the actual legendary tale of goblins

They’re also able to transform into anything/alone. A tale accounts for a human who tied up a goblin to a tree, only come back and see a broom tied to a tree instead.

도깨비 이야기] ②빗자루, 부지깽이로 변신하는 도깨비 - 천지일보 - 새 시대 희망언론
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There’s a lot more to this interesting mythical creature, but that’s it for today’s post on goblins! If you’ve enjoyed this post please give it a “like” and take a look at my other posts on “Hanstyle” 🙂

Cheers, Han Seol

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