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Gi, Heung, Jeong Culture print






The notion of jeong is very complex, but it is basically the notion of caring for others and putting others before oneself. Koreans do not easily express their feelings and emotions toward others outwardly, however, you will likely feel jeong almost instantly upon your arrival to Korea. You'll notice this in different ways, such as new friends offering to personally escort you to the doctor when you’re sick, or receiving a new pair of gloves because the lady at your boarding house noticed you didn’t seem to have any, and somebody else paying the bill every time you go out for dinner.



A traveler was thirsty so he approached a well at the entrance to a village. At that time, a young lady was doing her laundry near the well. The thirsty traveler politely asked her for a bowl of water to drink. The young lady shyly handed him a bowl of water without directly facing him. The traveler found a leaf of weeping willow floating inside the bowl of water. He didn’t want to embarrass the woman so he drank the water slowly, trying to avoid the leaf.


What he didn’t know is that the woman put the leaf there on purpose, to prevent him from drinking too hastily and getting an upset stomach. The concern and care shown by the lady is a good example of Korean people’s indirect approach to offering favors to one another. This very delicate yet complex sentiment is well summed up in the Korean word jeong.


The jeong of Korean people has been recognized throughout Japan, China, Southeast Asia and other countries through Korean TV dramas and movies. Winter Sonata and Jewel in the Palace, two Korean TV shows that were immensely popular in Japan, depict Korea's sentimental affection. NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) airs re-runs of Winter Sonata, Jewel in the Palace, and other shows as well. Many fans come to Korea to visit TV show and movie sets. The jeong portrayed through Korean pop culture has been catching the attention and interest of people throughout the world.



Korean TV Dramas Present Jeong to the World

TV Drama A Jewel in the Palace (대장금)



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