Modern Shaman –
The life and work of Juh-Young Kim

Modern Shaman —
Juh-Young Kim,  2018

Juh-Young Kim is a shaman living in Seoul, South Korea. At age 31 he is struggling for recognition, financial stability and a life that is free from stifling social constraints where success, looks and the pressure to conform have pushed Juh-Young into a sub-class that is often treated with prejudice and disdain. Excelling in both, the artistic and psychic aspects of the trade, Juh-Young‘s dream is to one day earn the highly prestigious title of ‘intangible cultural heritage’, to move to Vienna and to drink his favorite coffee – the Viennese Einsapnner, every single day. Juy-Young’s describes his childhood as a challenging and often painful time. With his visions of the “other side” becoming increasingly clear and encounters with the spiritual world more frequent. At one point, he suffered from the so-called “shaman illness” – an excrutiating psychic episode that comes with excrutiating fevers and pain. Many shamans claim this illness as a way of initiation. Claiming that “if you fight it, you may die, but if you accept it, you have fully entered the realm of the in-between.”
Juh-Young currently lives and works in Seoul and is a sought after fortune teller, performing mudang and ritual teacher.

This project began in 2017 and we ( are currently working on a documentary short about Juh-Young and this fascinatingly ancient practice in modern day Korea.

All images copyright
of Guannan Li