The Crazy Election Campaigns in South Korea

by Sharon -- June 28, 2010

I’m going to tell you a thing or two about the crazy occurrences that go on in South Korea during election time.  This is a very random topic to be writing about, especially from someone like me who enjoys writing about fashion and cute Asian kids, but hopefully you’ll understand that it’s too ridiculous to not write about.

Jason and I first encountered Korea’s voting shenanigans while we were on Jeju Island enjoying the rainy scenery and the rocky beaches.  At first we noticed the very normal campaign posters strewn all over town; gigantic pictures of Korean men (and one woman, woohoo!) with their three syllable names and their promises to the Korean community.  This was all written in Korean, of course, so it’s not like we could tell you what they said.

Then we noticed that each candidate had a number assigned to their namethat was written next to their pictures, also in huge font.  We assumed this number was their ballot number and they simply wanted to make it easier to remember who to vote for, instead of remembering all three syllables of their name.  But then again, what do we know?

Then we started to see flat-bed trucks driving around with huge plasma TV’s playing candidate propaganda and music videos all over town.  Not to mention the fact that the music was always obnoxious and extremely repetitive.  I’m pretty sure they took one eight-count of music and just repeated it over and over again.

THEN we started to see people decked out in candidate uniforms dancing and singing all over town.  They would have huge foam mittens (like the ones at baseball games) and inflatable sticks with their specific numbers on them and they would bow to each and every car driving by while reciting their number.

THEN we started to see people riding on the flat-bed trucks with the TV’s while doing an awfully choreographed dance along with the music video.  To give you a taste of how ridiculous these songs were, we did get to translate a few of them and can tell you that the only lyrics some of them sang were “Number 7 Number 7 Number 7 Number 7 Number 7….”  Or they would just repeat the candidate’s name over and over again to the same simple tune.

When I think back on the election campaigning here, it reminds me of my elementary school elections where we would vote on class president, class secretary, class treasurer, etc.  Unfortunately my elementary school elections weren’t nearly as over-the-top as the ones we witnessed here in Korea…

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4 Responses to “The Crazy Election Campaigns in South Korea”

  1. I can’t see the last few pctrues but it might be my computer :) I wish I could see this in person!

  2. Hmmm they’re actually videos from You Tube. I’ll see if I (Jason) can look into this. :)

  3. Sounds like effective marketing to me! Got you guys to write about it!

    Greetings from the Silicon Valley area myself! HOpe you guys are having a good time.



  4. Nothing like repitition and subliminal messaging. Mass hypnosis maybe? Sounds interesting. Did you ever find out what the numbers mean exactly?

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