▲ The book, published by Jeju Sea Grant Center and The Jeju Weekly, is an essential English resource on haenyeo culture and tradition.
Book II of Jeju Haenyeo: Stewards of the Sea by Dr. Anne Hilty has been published by Jeju Sea Grant Center and The Jeju Weekly.
Section I of the second volume turns attention to intangible heritage such as the diving women’s songs, myths and shamanic religion. Sections II and III then respectively explore increasing global awareness of Jeju haenyeo and the potential future influence of the culture.
Like Book I, the volume is beautifully illustrated with photographs by Brenda Paik Sunoo and Seung-eun Lee.
Recognizing that the haenyeo lifestyle is “all too destined to drift into the mists of time,” the book is primarily purposed to support the bid for UNESCO inscription of haenyeo culture as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Hilty encapsulates the spirit of much of the book in the introduction, differentiating its cultural focus from the historical and occupational content in Book I.
“Shamans, goddesses, a dragon of the sea, mystical islands of afterlife, labor songs of longing, indigenous women’s cultural space, foods that tell stories, and a dialect unintelligible to the mainlanders — these are the ingredients of the rich and picturesque milieu in which the diving women of Jeju find themselves.”
Section I, Haenyeo Culture, accordingly looks into the foods, songs and myths of the women. Section II, Global Awareness of Haenyeo, then outlines increasing coverage in media and the arts, as well as at international events. Section III, Social Implications, concludes with the author’s paean for the lasting value of haenyeo culture to global society.
Professor Byung Gul Lee provided invaluable support in publishing the books as director of Jeju Sea Grant Center, and he states they are the first to “describe the comprehensive haenyeo culture in such thorough detail.”
Lee added that they can help preserve “a viable, sustainable Jeju ocean culture” which is essential to “the island’s cultural identity and continuity.”
The book is intended for distribution to high-ranking officials to support the UNESCO bid and is therefore not currently on general sale. A number of e-book formats have been made available, however, including pdf Mobi, EPUB and others.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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