Tug-of-War in Asia
Cooperative projects for safeguarding common living heritage

Living Heritage Series

Tugging Rituals and Games

A Common Element, Diverse Approaches

Chapter 6

Korean Tug-of-War: Diversity and Its Significance

Yang-Myeong Han
Professor, Department of Folklore, Andong National University, Republic of Korea

Throughout the years, I have been researching Korean recreational activities, and among them, the tug-of-war was definitely the most central theme. According to my research, the Korean tug-of-war has many different features following the different regional characteristics, but they also have similar patterns. Although it is possible to speculate that the diverse characteristics of each region’s tug-of-war is due to the area’s geo-ecological, sociocultural, and magico-religious factors and culture exchange, it is difficult to prove these factors in depth. Thus, this paper examines the diverse features present in the tug-of-war through studies completed up to now. Also I would like to add that the only intent for the tug-of-war studies was to compile and examine them in this report.
Despite many methods in examining the diversity of tug-of-war, this paper sets a few standards to reveal the present features, and with these standards, the meaning of Korean tug-of-war can be understood.

The project will highlight many characteristics, including the size of the transmission group, space and time, type of rope, team composition, rope processing modes, rope materials, and the relationship with the community god.