Sejin Lee One

  • Kaiako / Lecturers
    Tammie Leong, Don Chooi, Jim Murray, Eddie Wong, Jocelyn Janon
  • School
    Media Design School

'One' is a bilingual interactive publication that communicates the meaning, origin, and application of the four unique Korean words: Han, Jeong, Hyo, and Nunchi. These represent the core characteristics of Korean culture, and exploring these words could ultimately help second-generation Korean immigrants understand their heritage culture and their parents.

In the 1990s, there was a drastic incline in the population of Korean immigrants to New Zealand. These first-generation immigrants that have built families in New Zealand struggled and perhaps are still struggling with adapting to the new language and culture. On the contrary, their children, the current second generation, who were either born or raised in New Zealand from a young age, experience difficulty relating to and understanding Korean culture due to a lack of exposure and education.

The second-generation Korean immigrants' inevitable obstruction in manifesting their heritage culture does not simply result in a disconnect from their roots but also causes cultural identity confusion. Consequently, the cultural gap between them and their parents often engenders conflict and lack of emotional bond, negatively influencing their relationship.

The design thinking methodology combined with the action research method was implemented to identify the problem through primary research and to develop the solution according to the target audience's needs. Considering the fear of confrontation and conflict mentioned by the majority of the interview participants, the concept focused on helping the second-generations understand Korean culture as an indirect way of solving cultural differences between them and their parents.

'One', which means ‘desire’ and ‘fundamental essence’ in Korean, aims to support second-generation Korean New Zealander youths to be "one step closer to Korean culture" and their parents. The interactive publication contains narrative about the four words that often get lost in translation as they are directly related to the history and development of Korean culture. The interactive components throughout the publication allow enhanced emotional engagement for the readers to assist with comprehending what they may find unrelated to their life in New Zealand. Furthermore, the visual identity and the use of 'hanji', a traditional Korean paper, embody a sense of 'new-tro' by implementing vintage halftone photography treatment with modern typography; combining a traditional material with the modern method of digital printing. This depicts generational and cultural differences and how they could achieve harmony through an understanding of one another. Consisting of both an English and a Korean version, the reader can read the books side by side to explore more Korean terms or detach them from their cover to share with parents or friends.

Although Korean culture is more extensive than what can be communicated through a single publication, this introductive piece provides a brief insight into the cultural differences which can then facilitate the second generations' journey of finding themselves and understanding the culture, hence the perspectives of their Korean parents.