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Arirang from Mexico wins Arirang video contest

Maria Eugenia Olsen Aguilar (Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation)
Maria Eugenia Olsen Aguilar (Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation)
The Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation on Tuesday announced Maria Eugenia Olsen Aguilar’s “Anniquin Arirang” as the winner of its “Arirang”-themed video contest.

The contest -- held jointly by the Cultural Heritage Administration and the Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation -- called for short videos featuring diverse versions of the Korean folk song “Arirang.”

“(Through the competition) we discovered that our national intangible cultural heritage has been passed on in various forms across generations and regions,” head of the Cultural Heritage Foundation Jin Ok-sub said in a statement.

A total of 160 videos were entered into the contest in November, according to the agency. Submissions came from various countries, including the US and China, as well as from different age groups, the agency said.

Top-prize winner Aguilar is a fourth-generation Korean Mexican. Her ancestor was one of the Korean immigrants -- who were often referred to as “Anniquin” -- that moved to Mexico during the Japanese colonial era to work in sugarcane fields. These immigrants sang Arirang as they labored in harsh conditions and the song has been passed down through generations.

(Maria Eugenia Olsen Aguilar whose “Anniquin Arirang” won an “Arirang”-themed video contest organized by the Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation. (Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation) )

Aguilar will receive a 2 million won ($1,802.78) prize and her video is now on the Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation’s YouTube channel and Naver TV.

The four second-prize winners’ videos will be released on Thursday and 10 videos from the third-place winners will be released next Monday.

By Song Seung-hyun (