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books

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Exclusive Excerpt: The Deadly ‘Pretty Boys’ Who Were Korea’s Warriors and Assassins

hwarang

K-pop’s biggest male stars may be beauty gods but they’re hardly a new trend. While Korean pop stars may wear porcelain foundations, colorful eyeshadows, and blood-stained lips, there were men who walked — and worked — the earth centuries before. They were called the hwarang – literally “flower boys” aka “pretty boys” of Korea’s Silla dynasty – who sported crimson eye shadows, powdered faces, and slicked-back hair as a spiritual practice. These warriors were chosen for their beauty, as Silla’s king, Jinheung, believed beauty was power. In the excerpt below, we understand Korea’s rich history of beautiful men and how cosmetics, makeup, skincare isn’t a new phenomenon — beauty is literally embedded in the very culture. Here’s a history of the pretty boy warriors who were precursors for K-pop stars to thrive in our modern era.

South Korea is now known as the beauty capital of the universe, and its men hold the title of world’s biggest cosmetics consumers. Korean men glisten and glow, their complexions plumped and hydrated, as if serums pump through their very veins. But to understand why Korean men today care so much about their aesthetics, we must look to Korea’s sixth-century Silla Dynasty, and to the hwarang. The hwarang—which roughly translates to “flower boys”—weren’t only some of the fiercest weapons-wielding, martial arts–practicing assassins in Asia. They would become legendary for their fight and their faces. Aesthetics, and the spirituality behind beautifying, were paramount to their ability to defend their kingdom for over two centuries . . . and to lead the way for generations of Korean beauty boys to come. 

‘Captain Underpants’ Book Pulled Off Shelves for ‘Passive Racism’ and Asian Stereotypes

Captain Underpants

A spin-off book of the highly successful Captain Underpants franchise will no longer be distributed due to its “passive racism” and Asian stereotypes. 

The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future,” a graphic novel by children’s author Dav Pilkey, was first published in 2010. The book follows cavemen Ook and Gluk as they time travel to the year 2222 and meet a martial arts instructor named Master Wong. 

‘Game of Thrones’ Producers Pick Up Chinese Author’s Hugo-Award Winning Sci-Fi Trilogy for Netflix

Liu Cixin

“Game of Thrones” producers are on board for a Netflix adaptation of the Hugo Award-winning Chinese science fiction trilogy “The Three-Body Problem” by Chinese author Liu Cixin.

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who both worked on the HBO’s adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones,” are set to co-write as well as act as serve as executive producers for the Netflix series, reported CNN.

‘Loveboat, Taipei’ Dives Into the Real-Life Cruise Where College Students Go to Hookup and Learn Chinese

When Abigail Hing Wen was sent to Taiwan for a six-week-long summer program to learn Mandarin and more about her heritage, she did not expect the wild and crazy nights of friendship and romance.

Wen, who also works in Silicon Valley as a venture capitalist, captures the journey of self-discovery in her debut novel, “Loveboat, Taipei”.

Einstein’s Travel Diaries Reveal His Shockingly Racist Views On Asians

Albert Einstein, whose name has become synonymous with “genius,” is universally revered not only for his intellectual achievements but also for his humanitarian advocacies.

However, the humanist side of the German-born theoretical physicist’s reputation has sparked debate after his private journals detailing his tour of Asia in the 1920s were published.

Chinese President’s Bookshelf Reveals He’s Studying the World’s Next Game Changer

It has been a tradition for Chinese president Xi Jinping to address his citizens from inside his office at the beginning of the year, offering wishes and stating his plans for the coming months. This time, he has vowed that China will be the keeper of international order.

And with his New Year’s Day greeting, the bookshelf behind him has also become the subject of a customary inspection for some observers, according to Quartz.

China’s Version of ‘Game of Thrones’ Gets Translated For Western Readers

Beloved Chinese kung fu epic novel “She Diao Ying Xiong Zhuan” (often translated as “Legends of the Condor Heroes”) is set to make its debut in the United Kingdom with a 12-volume series under British publisher MacLehose Press.

First serialized between Jan. 1, 1957 and May 19, 1959 in Hong Kong Commercial Daily, the wuxia, or martial heroes, novel by Louis Cha Leung-Yung. a.k.a. Jin Yong, is often compared to J. R. R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” and George R. R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones” due to its complex storylines and overall epic scale.