Relation Between Haechi and Korea!

Relation Between Haechi and Korea!


If you have been learning about Korean culture for a while you might probably have seen Haechi more than once but maybe don’t know its meaning and relation with the country, so today we bring you the history and importance of this mythological creature.

The Xiezhi is a legendary creature with Chinese origins that has appeared in myths and legends throughout East Asia. It has a single long horn on its forehead, thick dark fur covering its body, brilliant eyes, and resembles an ox or goat. It has the natural ability to tell right from wrong and would ram corrupt authorities with its horn before eating them. It is recognized as a justice symbol.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

This creature has also been “adopted” by other cultures like the Japanese and the Korean, in Korea the Xiezhi is referred to as Haetae (해태) and according to Korean chronicles, has a bell in its neck, a horn on its forehead, and a leonine body coated in sharp scales which resides in Manchuria's boundary regions. The Haetae was thought to offer protection against fire catastrophes in Joseon-dynasty.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Haetae sculptures were incorporated into buildings such as Gyeongbok Palace to fend off fire, and was selected and announced as Seoul's official mascot, Haechi as a measure of new sign to serve as the city's new icon and help improve the capital's reputation abroad as corporate identity (CI) is used to improve corporate image.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

“Despite the scale and reputation of Seoul, we don't have any representative symbol. We've selected Haechi as the symbol and we hope it will promote the city internationally'' said 2008 Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon

As you may know, several cities around the world have a mascot or symbol that distinguish them, for example New York’s Big Apple, Berlin’s Buddy Bear, Madrid’s Bear and the Strawberry Tree or Singapore’s Merlion; Seoul’s Mayor goal was to promote the city as “City of Haechi.”

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Before Haechi could be chosen as the city’s mascot, it almost didn’t happen since at a press release it was told that:

“At first, the city decided to use Gyeongbok Palace as its symbol, but the palace’s image was not versatile enough to be used in different ways, that’s why we decided to choose the Haechi, which is related to the palace.”

All this happened after 6 months of preparation, including various surveys and public hearings when The Seoul Metropolitan finally made the selection, and it is not like the city had no mascot before, but due to the lack of promotion as well as its symbolic meaning, Wangbomi (a tiger) has never been well known.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

The Seoul Metropolitan has directed the installation of additional Haechi in notable locations and other places all over the city as part of its active promotion of the new symbol. This includes having Haechi appear on various advertisements for Seoul on items like travel packages and souvenirs like coins and T-shirts.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Haechi & Korea

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Haetae monuments are widespread throughout South Korea, particularly in Seoul, in addition to determining guilt and innocence, is also revered as a protector against fires and other natural calamities and is frequently incorporated in architecture to reflect this concept.

Because of the haetae's importance in Korean folklore, there are a number of food enterprises, sports teams, and theme parks that bear its name. Haechi if you have noticed, has also been part of Seoulbox history!

Since 2009, the haetae has served as Seoul's official emblem. It can be seen all around the city in subway stations, museums, palaces, and parks; and frequently used as a lantern at Korean celebrations.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

The haetae is one of the most well-known and revered of all the mythological monsters in Korean folklore, and they frequently appear in popular culture.

The South Korean Cartoon, “The God of High School,” in which there is a Charyeok (a pact with higher beings) called haetae, gives the haetae its name in popular culture. This Charyeok appears as a blue creature with sharp teeth that resembles a dog with strong skills like hydrokinesis, nitikinesis, and healing abilities.

We hope you have enjoyed and learned more about this unique and quite interesting mythological creature and we are glad to share the knowledge of Korean culture.




About the author: Suji was studying in London in the year 2019 and, although being separated from her family, her passion for Korea was growing. She noticed that a lot of her close friends loved Korean culture, food, music, and dramas and gradually started to fall in love with Korea, but there weren't many opportunities to actually "experience" this wonderful nation!

Suji was aware of what she needed to do to introduce Korea to her friends' lives and, conceivably, to those of everyone else who was curious about a piece of Daehan Min-guk.


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