The famous female divers of Jeju Island known as "hae-nyeo" have made it onto the UNESCO cultural heritage list marking Korea's 19th cultural asset to win the world body’s intangible heritage status. Here’s more.
The unique culture of Korea's Jeju Island female divers known as "hae-nyeo" has been enlisted on the UNESCO list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The registration comes 2 years and 8 months after Korea first submitted its bid to the UN agency in March 2014.
[Soundbite] Won Hee-ryong(Governor, Jeju Special Self-Governing Prov.) : "With the UNESCO recognition, I extend this honor and gratitude to the Haenyeo women who overcame many hardships over the years."
The UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage said the haenyeo culture shows the region's unique cultural identity. The committee also gave high marks to the eco-friendly nature of the female divers' job, collecting seafood underwater with little damage to the environment.
[Soundbite] Prof. Park Sang-mi(Hankuk Univ. of Foreign Studies) : "UNESCO has recognized that the Haenyeo culture represents a region's unique cultural identity and diversity.The haenyeo culture can also be viewed as a directional guide toward the sustainable future of mankind."
None of the 300 or so listings so far on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity register represent a female-oriented element. Jeju's haenyeo culture is expected to be the first of its kind. With the latest addition, Korea has 19 assets on the intangible heritage list, including the Korean folk song "Arirang", the "Pansori" vocal genre, and the annual practice of making the fermented cabbage dish called kimchi for the winter, known as "Gimjang."