Sunday, October 28, 2012

General Mortars

So I saw this nasty item in the news:

Kim Chol, vice minister of the army, was taken into custody earlier this year on the orders of Kim Jong-un, who assumed the leadership after the death of his father in December.

On the orders of Kim Jong-un to leave "no trace of him behind, down to his hair," according to South Korean media, Kim Chol was forced to stand on a spot that had been zeroed in for a mortar round and "obliterated."

...which made me think of what might have happened if General Kim Chol had been... The General Who Could Not Be Killed By Mortar. (Hover your cursor over each image to see the English translation.)



Malcolm Pollack said...


Charles said...

Belated comment here (I was in the States for a conference), but "mortar shell" would probably be better rendered in Korean as "박격포탄."

Otherwise, the first two panels were exactly what I was thinking when I read the post title. The rest... was creative.

Kevin Kim said...


I'm sure you're right, but I ran "mortar shell" through Google Translate (I had no freaking idea how to say the word) and got "pak-gyeok-po shell." I was suspicious of the "shell," to say the least (Translate leaves untranslated any word that doesn't "compute" for it), because I know how poor Translate can be when going from English to an Asian language. So I Googled the phrase in Google Images to see whether it would indeed bring up mortar shell pics, and it did. Because those pics might have appeared simply because of the "pak-gyeok-po" part, though, I also checked Google's Web results, and saw that legitimate results did appear: "pak-gyeok-po shell" has been used by Koreans in context.

None of which is to say that "-tan" isn't a better rendering; I gladly concede that point. All I can say is that "-shell" is, in fact, used (and thus recognized) by Koreans, based on what I found.

Charles said...

Ah, the dangers of trying to figure out how to say something in another language by using Google.

I don't think Koreans regularly use this term (I've never seen it in writing before, and at least the first page of the 150 total Google results seems to consist of gibberish and/or translations from English), but I will agree that it would probably be understood by most readers.