Religion for Lunch: The Many Faces of Jesus in Korea

Dr. Hannah Amaris Roh

In contemporary South Korea, “Jesus” is as much a cultural figure as he is a moral and religious one. Images of “Korean Jesus” surfaced when photographs of an extremely muscular Jesus statue in South Korea went viral in 2016. This so-called “Korean Jesus” also often appears to be a European white man, very much in the likes of Warner Sallman’s 1940 “Head of Christ” portrait. What do these imaginations of “Korean Jesus” reveal about the position of Jesus (and Christianity) in Korean popular culture?

Dr. Hannah Roh is the author of Christianity, the Sovereign Subject, and Ethnic Nationalism in Colonial Korea: Specters of Western Metaphysics (Routledge, 2022). Her writing has appeared in Bitch Media and the Los Angeles Review of Books. She is currently a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Asian Studies at UBC.