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Monday, February 21, 2005

Barbershop insults, and more about the "hair clipping controversy"

The people at EBS, (Education Broadcasting System?) are not happy that a comedian at SBS made the word ibalso (barbershop) out of the three letters ebs in a section of a comedy program in which Roman character terms are given a comic interpretetion. In the Korean order of things, getting likened to a barbershop is disparaging. Chosun Ilbo tells further that EBS has interpreted this insult in the context of its competition with SBS and the coming screening of digital broadcasting licences.

Barbershop picture / 이발소그림
Linked from a Hankyoreh21 article
For the illustration of this note I've googled a kind of a painting which in Korea is called ibalso kûrim, "barbershop picture", not necessary for being mostly on display in barbershops but being of low status in terms of art and on display for popular viewing in "non-art" places. Don't know what the English term for this kind of art is, but here we call that "marketplace art", for being sold in marketplaces outside of the "normal" art market.

This piece of news reminded of the issue from late last year, when the Korean Barbershop Association had managed to persuade the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare to issue a ruling, in which the (hygiene?) law was interpreted to prohibit the use of a clipping machine (ibalgi/parik'ang) in hairdressing shops in favor of barbershops (my entry from last December).

Let's see what the later developments in the "parik'ang controversy" are.

Later, the Barbers' Association seems to have further requested from the ministry that men be prohibited to use hairdressing shops. To that, the ministry had issued a recommendation to both Barbers' and Hairdressers' Associations that men use only barbershops. "Even though it is not stated in the hygiene law (공중위생법), it is a common practice that male customers use barbershops and female customers use hairdressing shops." (Hanguk Ilbo, from KINDS.)

KBS News ran a story on the parik'ang controversy on January 28. Barbers' Association is continuing its struggle for the survival of barbershops, but the odds are not good, as the the Health Ministry seems to have thought out that they have better things to do than control (tansok) the use of hair clipping machines.

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Comments to note "Barbershop insults, and more about the "hair clipping controversy"" (Comments to posts older than 14 days are moderated)

<Anonymous Anonymous> said on 28.2.05 : 

What a drag. Here in Japan I use a combination beauty shop/barber shop run by a woman who gives me one of the best haircuts I've had in my life (but she frequently wins contests). She took the shop over from her father, who started it, and then she got the beautician's license. I guess they don't have those in SK.
In fact, I think women give me better haircuts than men (even in the US) and the really only competent haircuts I've gotten in Japan are from beauticians and not barbers. In fact, I avoid barbers here whenever possible. Most can't handle Western hair, and even fewer have the desire to learn.

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