From the Riddance of Demons to the World Cup’s Red Devils: Shades of Red in Recognizing Multidimensionality of Individual Cultures
Today’s society places a significant emphasis on understanding multiculturalism and diversity. But in doing so, it creates a unidimensional understanding of each culture, and fails to acknowledge the multiple layers of thought and understanding within an individual culture. This research examines the changing ideas of Korean nationalism over history through the national perception of the color red. During the Chosŏn dynasty (1392-1910), Koreans conceived the color red as a significant force that warded off evil spirits; it was a symbol of the natural element fire, the cosmic polarity yang, the heart of the body, and the consciousness of the spirit. After the Korean War (1950-1953), red became a color of Communism and social, economic, and political destruction. It was strongly associated with North Korean Communists and their Chinese comrades. Then, during the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea-Japan, young South Koreans became the self-proclaimed “Red Devils,” demonstrating a zealous embracement of the color red by filling the streets and stadiums with a sea of red. Through the study of this one deceptively simple color, one can understand the magnitude of each culture’s multidimensionality. This is a significant aspect of education across cultural worldviews that should not be overlooked in multicultural, cross-cultural, and global education.
Keywords: Multiculturalism, Diversity, Multidimensionality of Individual Cultures, Korean Nationalism, Education, Red, Cross-cultural, Global
Undergraduate, Department of History, Harvard University