South Korean Shamans Fluidly Absorb Cultural Change

Three women in a room with ceremonial furnishings, two in perhaps ceremonial attire.

As the Republic of Korea—spurred by the world's fastest-growing economy from the 1960s to the 1990s—has rapidly developed, shamans and the rituals they perform have adapted to their new hyper-modern landscape and transformed their work in the process. During this time, the South Korean countryside has almost completely disappeared, old shrines have been crowded out by urban development, clients turn to cell phones to connect to shamans, and most shamans now chant, sing, and mime their rituals in anonymous rented commercial space.