Mark James Russell

Books, blog and other blather

Month: November 2015

K-Pop Now popping up the charts again

Is K-Pop Now some kind of stocking stuffer? Because in the last couple of weeks, its sales ranking has risen noticeably over on Amazon. And I know I haven’t been doing any marketing or publicity.

Weird, but most appreciated. Once again, K-Pop Now is the No. 1 book on Amazon for Popular Dance, and it’s up to No. 28 for Travel -> Japan. Why Japan Travel? I have no idea. Maybe that was the categories my publisher entered.

(Hey! Over of Amazon.ca, K-Pop Now is doing even better, and is the No. 7 book for Travel > Japan. Again, weird, but appreciated).

Anyhow, I think it’s wonderful anytime anyone buys one of my books. Thanks much, mysterious Internet people.

Oh, and if you are looking for more books as stocking stuffers, might I humbly suggest Young-Hee & the Pullocho

Trudeau and Korea, part deux

Given that Canada has just elected another Trudeau to be Prime Minister, I thought it would be fun to revisit this blog entry I wrote a couple of years ago on Chun Doo-hwan’s visit to Canada in 1982.

I re-watched the video a couple of times and, sadly, there’s no signs of a young Justin Trudeau. But I hope you might enjoy it nonetheless…

* * *
ORIGINAL FROM HERE:

I just came across this Daehan News feature about South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan visiting Canada in 1982 and thought some people might get a kick out of it.

Chun, of course, came to power in 1980 (officially), following the assassination of Park Chung Hee in 1979 and the short-lived presidency of Choi Kyu-ha. It was a pretty dicey time for North-South relations, so Chun probably needed all the legitimacy he could find.

There’s a short New York Times article on his visit here.

Just to give an overview of this video:
0:00 – Leaves African leg of his trip
0:05 – Ottawa and Parliament buildings (“Canada is a peaceful country,” says the narrator)
0:31 – Chun Doo-hwan and his wife Rhee Soon-ja disembark their plane. Greeted by Edward Shreyer
1:13 – Rideau Hall for official reception
1:31 – Prime Minister’s residence for some garden party
2:01 – Choppers to Montreal to meet with Korean War veterans
2:45 – Back to Ottawa for an awkward-looking meeting with Pierre Trudeau

Not mentioned in the video (unsurprisingly) is the assassination plot to kill Chun during his visit. Choi Jung-hwa, a son of the International Taekwondo Federation founder and North Korea-friendly Choi Hong-hi, had been living in Mississauga at the time. The younger Choi allegedly tried hiring a couple of people to kill Chun while the South Korean president was in Canada. But apparently that plot was broken up months before the visit — Choi went into hiding in Europe for years before returning to Canada and spending a year in jail.

There’s more about Choi and his return to Korea in the JoongAng Daily, including the great news that  North Korea disguised its agents as taekwondo masters working for ITF and dispatched them abroad. Given that I studied taekwondo at an ITF gym while in high school, it makes me wonder if I could be a sleeper agent.

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