National Geographic : 1950 Jun
(£) National leograpllic Society '81 AnsCO coIlor DnyAnSuIIr tluer Feather Pompon on Swivel Button Gyrates Madly When a Korean Dances Most of the year this man tills his rice fields, but in the off season he joins other farmers in performing old folk dances for community entertainment. Many of these dance routines consist of complicated steps requiring skill and endurance. They go on for hours to the accompaniment of throbbing drums and clashing gongs. The dancer's gold teeth, capped by a Japanese dentist, flash when he smiles. He wears the rainbow-hued banded sleeves favored for children's festival costumes, brides' gowns, and robes of professional women enter tainers, known as kisang. Korean kisang occupy a position like that of the Japanese geisha. Girls are trained from childhood in the art of entertainment. They learn to provide music, dancing, and pleasant conversation at parties and banquets attended by men, who leave their dutiful wives at home. During the 40 years when Japan controlled the country, little effort was made to make the people more than servants of the Empire. Improvements were introduced only when they would serve Japan. Though freed of Japanese rule, Korea remains a house divided, for separate governments exist on each side of the 38th parallel, the postwar boundary established when the American and Soviet forces drew up their zones of occupation. During the occupation of South Korea, American Military Government officials served as advisers until Koreans were trained to conduct political affairs. United States Military Government terminated in August, 1948, and the last of our occupying forces with drew in June, 1949. However, the Republic retains an advisory military mission of some 500 persons to help train its security forces.