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Korean shamanism finds new life in modern era

By Ju-min Park

[Snip] Though an ancient practice, Korean shamanism – in which singing and dancing are used in trance rituals addressed to specific gods, often to get an answer to specific questions – had long been suppressed in Asia’s second most Christian nation.

In leaping from poverty to rapid modernization, the county’s dictatorship in the 1970s tried to eliminate shamanism, claiming that shamans deluded the world, while some Christian missionaries demonized them and their followers.

But today, visiting a mudang – shaman priest or priestess – is so common that politicians consult them seeking answers to questions such as whether they should relocate their ancestors’ remains to ensure good luck in the next election. Shaman characters have also featured in popular television shows.

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