Hell Joseon

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"Hell Joseon" is illustrated by a map of the whole Korean Peninsula painted in the color of hell's fire.

Hell Joseon or Hell Chosun (Korean: 헬조선, 헬朝鮮, lit. "Hell Korea") is an internet phrase and meme from South Korea that was popularized in the 2010s. It is a mixture of the words Hell and Joseon, meaning that "[South] Korea is close to hell and hopeless society". It also means "a country that is so bad that [South] Korea is comparable to hell". It was used mainly within Internet community sites, but was later used by the media as well.[1] Another conceptually similar phrase is the word 'Hellfire Peninsula', a place that appears in World of Warcraft. It also uses the phrase "no power" to tease out advice and advice from older generations.[clarification needed][2]


The word "Hell Joseon" was first used around 2009, and at first it was used as an expression of homophobia[clarification needed] on a few community sites. Then, when the KBS TV drama Jeong Do-jeon was aired in 2014, it became widely used as a teasing word for Jeong Do-jeon fans on DC Inside.[3] However, it has been used for complaints about government policies such as youth unemployment, economic inequality, excessive working time, inability to escape from poverty no matter how hard one worked, society that only works for vested interests, or irrationality in daily life.[4] Since then, the numbers of mentions has increased through social-networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook, and it spread rapidly in September 2015.[5]


"Spoon class" according to the economic power of the house.

The reason the word "Hell Joseon" spread is that people think that there is an overall inequality in South Korea.[6] Inequality here refers to everything that gives people trials as social evils, not natural ones. These inequities exist in many forms. Some of the inequality that operates in South Korea's society are outlined below.


South Korea is currently operating a drafting system as a country of truce. Therefore, one of the duties of the public is to perform military service obligations. The present military service period is 1 year and 9 months.[7] Conscripted Koreans spend a lot of time in disconnected from society. Even in the obligation of military service, which is the obligation of the people, there is inequality caused by the class. Therefore, there are Koreans who will try to avoid doing military service. This complaint has become a problem of draft dodging.[8] People began to use their external powers to get exemptions or to go to a comfortable place for a comfortable life.[8] Entertainers were applied as life-friendly entertainers, and the rich man manipulated documents for exemption using their money.[9]

Academic/ location central community[edit]

In South Korea most people go to college. It is because there is an implicit rule that it will be difficult for one to get a job if he/she did not go to college.[10] There is a reason for this. There is a strong organizational culture in South Korea related to universities and academic institutions or hometown. For example, the power of this organizational culture acts when interviewing to enter the workplace. If people with the same conditions are interviewed, they will be accompanied by someone from the same school and hometown as the interviewer. This culture exists within the company. So people who are not special schools are discriminated against and culled.[11] This causes inequality and causes dissatisfaction among people.Within the company, people from the same school or from the same region come together to form a faction.[12]

Vertical class culture[edit]

There was a Confucian culture in Korea that honored the upper man from old days. This Confucian culture spread throughout Korean society. This has also affected the organizational culture.[13] However, the culture that honored the upper adult was transformed into a bad culture of the subordinate. This may be the result of economic efficiency and the influence of military class society. But for whatever reason, it is true that there is now a vertical class society. This culture forces people to work by the upper people's command.[14] This phenomenon is referred to in Korean as "Gabjil" (갑질). "Gab" (갑) is the man who has power and "Eul" (을) is the man who is the weaker. "Gab" distress "Eul". So "Eul" finds it hard to live. This makes society a difficult place to live.[15]

High population density[edit]

The population density of Korea (519 persons/km2) is high. The population density of Seoul City in particular is very dense, about 16,593 people/km2.[16] As a result, there is a limited number of people and the population is so high that they have to compete endlessly, and most people have live in poverty. Eventually many people abandon their hopes for marriage (known as the Sampo generation), as it costs too much for marriage and family support.[17]

The population size is the market size and competitiveness, and the population is important for maintaining our economic level. (For the foreign investors, our market with a population of 50 million is a good investment destination.) Nowadays, when the elderly become old, they turn into multi-dependents. The burden of care for the younger generation is increasing more and the decrease of the economically active population may eventually lead to a decline in national competitiveness.[18]


The "Hell Joseon" society, which is hard to live like this, has influenced many things inside society.

Social influence[edit]

Young people who talk about Hell Joseon are self-righteous and slander about the fact that they are not rich.[19] Between the twenties and thirties, there is "no hope", and the immigration is prepared in spite of discrimination in foreign countries.[20] On the other hand, instead of anger, "I live in Hell Joseon because of this."[21] However, Choi Kyung-hwan, the deputy prime minister of the economy, answered that he had never heard of the word "Hell Joseon" or "hearing the word Hell Joseon".[22] Kim Moo-sung, chairman of the party, said, "The word Hell Joseon is popular because it learns distorted and biased history."[23] Kwon Young-joon, a professor of business administration at Kyunghee University, said, "Both government and political parties are failing to appease the anger of younger generations. "If this is the case, self-made anti-socialists are bound to grow up rapidly."[19] Among them, the youth groups including the 21st century Korean University Student Union expressed their displeasure through the act of 'Hell Joseon flipping flap' and they collected social complaints of young people into Facebook comments and kakao talk, 'Complaints chorus' followed.[24]

Cultural influence[edit]

In 2015, a South Korean film filled with the era called Hell Joseon is filling the theater.[25] On September 3, 2015, DC Inside opened the "Hell Joseon" Gallery.[26] September 18, 2015 Big Data Analysis Company After analyzing blogs and Twitter based on the following software, the number of 'Hell Joseon' word exposures has increased explosively and online community called 'Hell Joseon' has also appeared.[27] In addition, Dish Inside users can express the oppressed complaints of young people, such as creating a new game called Burum Marble, in a humorous way like games.[28]


There is a criticism that "the surplus man who does nothing tells the story of Hell Joseon" or [29] "the Hell Joseon frenzy is in the mind of the complainant." [30] It is also pointed out that the word "Hell Joseon" itself is caused by dissatisfaction with society's inequality or absurdity, but it is also problematic in that it does not actually expect any political projections.[31]'Lee-er-young' said, "The countries that want to leave the Hell Joseon are not heaven." The present employment and the polarization are a global phenomenon as a result of the development of information technology. Also she said if you are blaming others, it is just hell. Then she criticized the fashion of referring 'Hell Joseon'.[32]

Former President Park Geun-hye criticized it in 2015. In the aftermath of the Liberation Day celebrations in 2016, "new words are denouncing our country as a place where it is difficult for us to deny our great modern history and envy the world," criticizing the fashion of the word "Hell Joseon". Also she said "Self-deference, pessimism, mistrust and hatred can never be the driving force of change and development." and, "Now we must revive the spirit of challenge, progress and affirmation that was the driving force of Korea's development." [33] However, some argue that it is necessary to reflect on why the Korean government has shown such a word as a coined word derived from the Park Geun-hye administration.[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "나라 탓하는 '헬조선'…부모 탓하는 '흙수저'". hankyung.com (in Korean). 2015-10-04. Retrieved 2017-11-06.
  2. ^ "[지금 SNS에서는]2030이 부르는 또 다른 대한민국 '헬조선'". 동아닷컴 (in Korean). 2015-07-10. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
  3. ^ "[기타뉴스][헬조선외전①] 헬조선은 극우들의 혐오언어일까?" (in Korean). 2015-09-16. Retrieved 2017-11-06.
  4. ^ "최신 영상 | 연합뉴스". 연합뉴스 (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-11-06.
  5. ^ "청년의 상실감이 만들어낸 온라인 유행어 '헬조선'". KBS 뉴스 (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-11-06.
  6. ^ "[전성원의 사람냄새] 헬조선을 만든 사람들". 인천일보 (in Korean). 2017-10-23. Retrieved 2017-11-06.
  7. ^ "군 복무기간 21개월로 '동결'" (in Korean). 2010-12-21. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
  8. ^ a b ""고위층·고소득자 병역기피 특별관리"". KBS 뉴스 (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-11-06.
  9. ^ '실형', 병역기피위해 가짜진단서 만든 의사 (2017-09-13). "병역기피위해 가짜진단서 만든 의사 '실형'". 서울경제 (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-11-06.
  10. ^ "[청년 리포트] ⑦ 대학 대신 내 길 갔지만…"고졸로 살기 쉽지 않아요"". KBS 뉴스 (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  11. ^ "학연, 지연, 인맥이라는 그들만의 리그 - ㅍㅍㅅㅅ". ppss.kr (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-12-17.
  12. ^ "기업 10곳 중 7곳, 학연 지연에 따른 라인(파벌) 존재해". 벤처스퀘어 (in Korean). 2011-08-31. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  13. ^ "한국의 유교". 위키백과, 우리 모두의 백과사전 (in Korean). 2016-10-31.
  14. ^ "'하라면 하라'… 한국 조직문화의 단면" (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  15. ^ Trent Bax (10 February 2017). Bullying and Violence in South Korea: From Home to School and Beyond. Springer. pp. 182–. ISBN 978-3-319-44612-7.
  16. ^ "국가지표체계". www.index.go.kr (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-11-26.
  17. ^ "[표지이야기]연애도 결혼도 출산도 포기한 '삼포세대'" (in Korean). 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2017-11-26.
  18. ^ "젊은층, 노인부양 부담 커져" (in Korean). 2008-03-23. Retrieved 2017-11-26.
  19. ^ a b "[취업 청탁 '현대판 음서제']"취업 청탁은 '윈윈'할 수 있다는 믿음에서 나와"" (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-11-13.
  20. ^ ""포기만 하며 사느니 한국 포기" 짐싸는 2030". 한국일보 (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-11-13.
  21. ^ 헤럴드경제 (2015-10-12). ""이맛에 헬조선 삽니다" 분노 넘어 조롱 만연 2030" (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-11-13.
  22. ^ "[말말말]"'헬조선'의 의미를 아시나요?"". www.joseilbo.com (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-11-13.
  23. ^ "김무성, 왜곡되고 편협한 역사의식 가르치니…'헬조선' '망할대한민국' 단어 유행해" (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-11-13.
  24. ^ "뿔난 청년들, 헬조선 '딱지치기'로 뒤집는다" (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-11-13.
  25. ^ "영화가 본 2015 대한민국은 '헬조선'". 한국일보 (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  26. ^ "자국비하 게시판 왜 만들지…헬조선갤 개설 어리둥절". news.kmib.co.kr. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  27. ^ 현혜란 (2015-09-18). "<빅데이터 돋보기> 청년의 상실감이 만들어낸 유행어 '헬조선'". 연합뉴스 (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  28. ^ ""현실반영 어마무시" Korea 부루마블 '씁쓸' [20대뉴스]". news.kmib.co.kr. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  29. ^ "아무일도 안 하며 '헬조선' 불만 댓글…'잉여'인간 160만명으로 급증" (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-11-26.
  30. ^ "[Why] '헬조선'은 불평분자들 마음속에" (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-11-26.
  31. ^ "[이택광의 왜?]망한민국" (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-11-26.
  32. ^ "대한민국이 '헬조선?' 그럼 어느나라가 천국? - 경북도민일보". www.hidomin.com (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-11-26.
  33. ^ 강건택 (2016-08-15). "'헬조선' 정면비판한 朴대통령, 신산업창출·노동개혁에 강조점". 연합뉴스 (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-11-26.
  34. ^ "[비하인드 뉴스] '헬조선' 신조어 대신 '노오력'을?". 2016-08-15. Retrieved 2017-11-26.

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