When watching a Korean drama or a variety show, have you noticed how some Koreans talk about poop casually? In South Korea, poop became a popular icon that extends to poop museums, poop jokes, poop cafes, themed parks, and even in an award-winning movie. Poop is nothing to be ashamed of in Korea. Know more of its essence in Korean Culture below.
Joking about poop is not as dirty as it might seem to other countries. In Korea, it can be a cute character. They make adorable designs and even have cute merchandise. In a Poop Cafe in Seoul, they serve latte in toilet bowl-shaped mugs, with chocolate poop waffles and candies. Why is that?
Poop in Korea is called ‘ttong’ In Korea, they believe that ttong can carry good luck. When you dream of it, it is a positive thing. In traditional medicine, they make children poop and use it as an ingredient in some medicine. They also use it as a secret recipe to a poo wine, a medicinal drink, called Ttongsul.
You can see this in Strong woman Bongsoon, ttongsul was given to a gangster in pain made by Bongsoon’s mom. In the past, they believe that it would treat wounds, heal bones, and detoxify the human body.
The elderly also made a nickname like ttong-gangaji, or ‘poop puppy,’ which have the same vibe to a ‘cutiepie’. There are also a lot of poop-related stories and proverbs in the Korean folk culture like “The Red Bean Porridge Grandma and the Tiger”. The story revolves around a grandma who was about to be eaten by a tiger until the dog poop tried to help her.
Another recommended story is the ‘Doggy Poo’ ( 강아지 똥 ). You can watch this in a 34-minute animated movie directed by Kwon Ohsung or read it on Kwon Jung-saeng’s 1968 children’s book. This one can touch your heart on how nobody contemplates life and its purpose. It stars a poop who was always rejected and abandoned. In the end, he realizes his true strength to help a small bud grow into a beautiful flower and lives a happy life.
Professor Choi Dukkyung published a book titled “Manure Ecology in the Agricultural History of East Asia” where he explained that this culture came way back in the old times where feces and urine were essential in the agrarian country of Korea. They consider it as a precious source of fertilizer and not dirty waste material. They look at it positively as a source of energy that helps the lives of animals and plants.
So it’s okay to joke around poop in Korea, of course with the right context. Don’t forget to enjoy cool poop cafes and themed parks in Seoul. You could also see a lot of interesting statue in Poopoo land.