'Arirang' to Be Listed by UNESCO

      November 06, 2012 12:55

      The Korean signature folk song "Arirang" will likely make UNESCO's intangible cultural asset list next month. The song has recently been recommended for the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by a subcommittee of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, the Cultural Heritage Administration said Monday.

      The final decision will be made at a full session of the committee starting in Paris on Dec. 3.

      Given that the subpanel's recommendations have never been rejected by the committee, chances are high that "Arirang" will be listed, the CHA explained.

      Seoul applied for UNESCO listing of all versions of "Arirang" in Korea ending with the words "Arirang, Arirang, Arariyo," but not necessarily the regional variations.

      A total of 232 intangible cultural properties of 84 countries have been registered with UNESCO. China tops the list with 29, followed by Japan (20) and Korea (14).

      China listed a version of "Arirang" sung by ethnic Koreans in Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture as its own intangible cultural heritage in 2011 but has not yet applied for UNESCO registration.

      In Korea, by contrast, the song has not been designated as an important intangible cultural asset. Under the current regulations, cultural assets can only be listed if someone or some entity holds the rights, but no one owns "Arirang."

      However, that will change when the National Assembly passes a revision to the relevant law next month, according to the CHA.

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