What is Banjiha? 니가 반지하를 알아?

The Banjiha housing in Korea has seemed to catch the attention of many people these days, especially with people dying from being trapped in it during the massive floods few months ago. But what is it actually?

1. What is Banjiha? 반지하가 뭘까?

Banjiha is a semi-basement apartment that exists (있다) throughout (전역) South Korea. Most of the people who ends up living in these low rent (월세) apartments these days are youngsters who left their hometown (고향) to work in the society. Other than young people, citizens who are not so well off financially (재정적으로) also live in Banjihas.

2. Why was it created? 반지하가 만들어진 이유는?

The idea of Banjiha was initially emerged (생겨났다) to protect (보호) the South Korean citizens from the war with North Korea (북한) by acting as bunkers. The bunker-style construction (건설) is the reason why Banjihas are a few steps below the actual street level. However, South Korea had eased the construction laws and started to allow Banjihas as actual homes for citizens (시민).

3. Why it became famous? 왜 유명해졌을까?

Many people started to show their curiosity (관심) towards Banjihas these days. Most likely it is because the film “Parasite“ (기생충) had illustrated the life of citizens living in Banjihas and also shown the wealth disparity (격차) throughout South Korea. It shows the actual struggles (어려움) of people who lives in Banjihas and the comparison with people who live in luxurious mansions.

4. Approximate pricing of a Banjiha 반지하의 대략적인 가격.

Banjihas in South Korea exists as homes for an almost 360,000 families (가족), accounting for around 1.9% of the nation. Banjihas used to be a smart financial decision to stay in as it is inexpensive (저렴하다) with housing options starting from KRW 540,000. Typically, the minimum monthly wage (최저 임금) of a South Korean citizen is around KRW 1,800,000.

5. The state of Banjihas 반지하 지금은?

One of the neighborhoods (동네) in South Korea with a higher population (인구) of Banjihas is Haebanchon (해방촌). People that are living in these converted (개조된) bunkers are immediately
considered as poor (가난하다). The Banjihas does not only represent the poverty (빈곤) that is ongoing in South Korea but also represent the substantial social divide (사회적 분열) in South Korea.

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