Korea’s Most Famous Animals?

Who is Korea’s most famous animal? Who are the most famous animals of Korean’s traditions, folk tales, and legends?

As of 2017, it must surely be Okja, the “super pig” imagined into life by star Korean film creator Bong Joon-ho. You can meet Okja and share her global adventure outside of Gangwondo via Netflix, here, or, to meet her for the first time (and fall in love with her intelligent, soulful eyes), watch the trailer by clicking on the image below:


In modern times, perhaps the most celebrated individual real-live (but now deceased) animal is also the much mourned yet still nameless cow, the subject of the 2008 hit movie 워낭 소리 (“Wahnang Sori,” or Sound of a Bell), re-named Old Partner for the English language release.



Generally, perhaps the 진돗개  (“Jindo Kae,” literally Jindo dog) is the most revered of pets and currently locally-found animals. Named after the island in the south-west corner of the peninsular, the place has a fairly unique culture of freedom and respect for this one particular breed, with some numbers able to be seen wandering freely around the streets in the main township. Throughout the rest of the nation, the Jindo is respected for its intelligence, noble countenance, and loyalty.


The noble and loyal Jindo.

In the stories of myth and legend, perhaps the most interesting animal to the imaginative guest is the mythical Haetae, seen proudly standing in stone, guarding the entrance to many esteemed premises and public halls.


The fierce and diligent Haetae. This frightening specimen proudly guards the royal palace in Seoul, and is the city’s mascot, appearing in logos and tourist publicity material.

Perhaps the other most famous animals are not actually real, but rather imaginary characters in animal form, for example baseball team mascots such as Winny and Vinny, the white eagles for the Hanwha Eagles, based in Daejon.
Winny EagleWinny, the more sociable of the Hanwha Eagles two white eagle mascots.

Vinny Eagle - HanhwaVinny, the other, angry gangster Hanwha Eagles mascot.

Gwangju City also has the Kia Tigers, and Seoul sports the Doosan Bears, and Incheon hosts the SK Wyverns. Watch the mascots in a dance-off competition, here:
Dance off

With regard Korea’s other favourite modern sport, the national soccer team also has the tiger adopted as the mascot to represent the Korea Football Association:

South Korea’s national bird is the magpie:
North Korea’s national animal is the Chollima, the mystical magical “thousand-mile horse” of ancient legend, said to be so powerful that no person could ride it:

What other famous animals do you know of? Help us lengthen the list, and celebrate animals of every sort. Please feel free to post examples of famous local animals, introduce your pet, or tell us a story of the adventures of Korean animals, celebrated throughout the ages.

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It's easy to be vegan in South Korea
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