Just a couple days ago, on October 13, 2016, Mijoo Kim wrote a heartbreaking article on the declining population of the Haenyo.
Haenyo means “Sea Women” in Korean and they are a small fishing group of older women. But the fishing that these women do are anything but normal.
They focus on the art of free diving: diving without the assistance of a breathing apparatus- scuba gear. These women are able to hold their breathes for over 2 minutes while diving to depths over 30ft and hunt for shellfish on the sea floor!
However, I am not writing this article to brag about the great feats of the Haenyo, but to explain my dissatisfaction of their inevitable extinction. As the writer Kim stated, “These women divers are carrying on a Korean legacy and will be the last of their kind… They are the last generation of Haenyo”. I despise the idea that a great tradition that has lasted many generations is suddenly coming to a halt and there is no one to uphold this aspect of Korean culture.