Korean Church Association offended by Buddhist animal statues in Incheon Airport
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Korean Church Association offended by Buddhist animal statues in Incheon Airport

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There’s an article here about how the Korean Church Association is offended by the recently installed 2 metre statues on the 2nd floor of Incheon International Airport made in the form of the 12 animals from Buddhist mythology. Quick translation of a few parts of the article (not the whole thing):

The animals including the snake, dragon, mouse and so on have the face of an animal and the body of a human. According to the article some have described them as ‘eerie’.

The association’s bureau chief sent a message to the airport on May 26th saying that it was “thoughtless to propagate this under the guise of ‘traditional culture’ in a public space with public funds,” and that they requested they be removed.

Response from the airport was that they installed the statues on the 18th to introduce Korean traditional culture to people visiting the country, and that they were undergoing a cultural airport project in order to make the airport into a hub of transportation. In the boarding area are places to experience Korean culture and exhibits of relics. The statues were made through the cooperation of the National Museum of Korea, and cost a total of $70,000 to make.

My opinion? They’re not eerie at all, they’re worth the cost and the Church Association is completely unfounded here. Korea fails to understand that sometimes people like eerie, that people often to come Asia to experience a bit of this mysticism, and are often disappointed by the bland fare (fried meat and soju-drenched nightlife just to raise one example) they are presented with. Jeju-do is perhaps the only place that understands that eerie is good:

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The names of some of the people from the Church Association and the airport are in the original article, and I think it might be a good idea to send off a few emails to the airport to let them know that the statues are really cool. Or maybe letting them know in person the next time you go there. It would be a shame if they were somehow pressured to take them down.