The Korea Herald


[팟캐스트] (563) 한국인들이 유독 죽음을 두려워하는 이유는?

By Choi Jeong-yoon

Published : March 4, 2024 - 10:24

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진행자: 최정윤, Ali Abbot

Death & denial: Why Koreans refuse to contemplate the end

기사 요약: '죽음'에 대해 이야기 하기를 꺼려하고 죽음에 대해 슬퍼하고 부정적인 인식이 유독 큰 한국인, 그 이유는?

[1] A few years ago, Kim Sun-yong (not her real name) stumbled upon a Facebook post written by an acquaintance from work. The author, an American who was battling late-stage cancer with no prospects of recovery, asked his Facebook friends for suggestions on what to include on his bucket list as he braced for the inevitable.

*stumble upon: 우연히 만나다/ 발견다하 stumble upon/across/on

*inevitable: 불가피한, 필연적인, 반드시 있는

[2] Most comments expressed their sadness about the man's impending death and offered suggestions as asked. But one comment written by a person with a Korean name responded, “Please don’t say that. You won’t die.” There, in the acceptance of a friend's mortality, Kim sensed a significant cultural clash.

*impend: 금방이라도 일어나려고 하다, (위험 등이) 임박하다, 머리 위에 드리워지다/ 곧 닥칠, 임박한 (=imminent)

[3] It is quite common for Koreans to deny the imminence of death, even for patients in their final stages, encouraging them to hold on to hopes for recovery. Even when doctors say there’s no hope, miracles are cited as a reason to keep hoping.

*imminence: 절박, 촉박

*hold on to: ~에 매달리다, 의지하다

[4] Many fear that bringing up the topic of death might give the impression that they are giving up on the person who is fighting to live, or may dampen the person’s courage to fight. Jung Hyun-chae, an honorary professor of internal medicine at Seoul National University, says that although fear of mortality is universal, Koreans collectively have a particularly strong aversion to accepting death and openly discussing it.

*dampen: 기세를 꺾다/ 풀이 죽게 하다, 물에 적시다

*aversion: 혐오감

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