SEOUL, Dec. 26 (Korea Bizwire) – Baduk, the Korean term for the Chinese board game “go”, is experiencing heightened popularity in Turkey, especially among female players.
This was evidenced by the 77-strong female turnout for a baduk tournament hosted at the Middle East Technical University from December 23 to 24. The competition was hosted with the support of the Korean Cultural Center in Turkey and the Korean Baduk Association.
In total, 204 players took part in the event, with two of them South Koreans living in Turkey. The event was open to both men and women ages 7 to 63 from all fields of work.
The 77 female players meant that nearly 40 percent of all contestants were women. Turkey has a higher proportion of women who enjoy baduk; the ratio of male to female players worldwide is 9 to 1, while in Turkey the same ratio is 7 to 3.
Park Sang-hoo, a team leader at the Korean Cultural Center, credited Korean TV shows for growing the number of female baduk players in a country where the game has a low profile.
“According to the Turkish Go Players Association, the show ‘Reply 1988′ in which Park Bo-gum features as a baduk player has led to an increase in ‘Hallyu’ fans who are interested in the game,” said Park.
Hallyu, or the Korean Wave, refers to the popularity of South Korean musical acts, tv shows, movies and other cultural products worldwide.
The Korean Cultural Center is hoping that baduk will join that list and be considered a staple of Hallyu in Turkey going forward.
To that end, the center will begin offering baduk lectures in the coming year.
With certain universities reportedly offering baduk courses as a liberal arts subject, awareness of the game appears to be on the rise.
The director of the Korean Cultural Center said, “Locals who know the game even a little consider South Korea to be a worldwide leader in baduk. There is considerable potential for baduk to grow as another genre of Hallyu.”
On the second and last day of the tournament, a 22-year old medical student was declared the tournament winner, and was awarded a prize of $500 and a 15-day all-expenses-paid stay at the Blackie’s International Baduk Academy located in Gangnam District, Seoul.
Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)