Some YouTubers have ventured into touring and featuring Korean +slum villages as part of their content. The highly-acclaimed movie Parasite and the hit Netflix series Squid Game sparked foreign interest in the subject of poverty in Seoul.
The YouTubers were surprised how a luxurious area like Gangnam could be beside Guryong Village, an illegal encampment (commonly called a shantytown or “moon village” in Korean) at the edge of the luxurious district of Dogok-dong, Gangnam.
Guryong Village was first created in 1988 by informal settlers evicted from houses demolished during the city’s rapid development before the 1988 Olympic Games. It had an estimated 2,500 to 4,000 inhabitants composed mainly of the elderly, living in shacks and trailers. The residents established a postal service in their area and received temporary residence cards in 2011.
The village has buildings like a kindergarten and church, utilities like water, gas, and electricity, for which payments are communal, and its security, all organized through two village associations. The Gangnam government plans to redevelop the area with new apartments for 7,671 people by 2025. As of 2019, 406 out of 1,107 households (36.7%) had been relocated.
The activities of these Youtubers drew mixed reactions from netizens. From Netizen Buzz, commenters did not take the Youtubers’ actions too kindly.
Netizens on YouTube look at the videos from a different perspective; some Koreans appreciate the honesty of these videos.
You can watch Youtuber Daniel Leeds and his tour of Guryong Village here: