Gomujul Nori

Gomujul Nori

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer LeeSangho(李相昊)

A children’s game consisting of hopping over an elastic band or winding the band on players’ legs along to songs.

Gomujul Nori is played with rubber bands today, but it is believed to have been originally played using straw ropes. “Korean Games” is a book by Stewart Culin and was first published in 1895. The book described a game called jul ttwieo neomgi (jumping over ropes), apart from jump roping, which was similar to Gomujul Nori. The game was developed with ropes made of natural material, such as kudzu vines or straw ropes, and evolved as a game that uses the elasticity of rubber bands. At first, the long rubber bands used for the game were made by tying many short rubber bands together, before the arrival of severed bicycle tires later on, followed by long black rubber bands as of more recently.

Gomujul Nori is played using one, two, or three bands. The game can be played by two people, but is typically enjoyed by four or more people divided into two teams. Young children or children not skilled enough could be designated as a kkakdugi, a player playing as a member of both teams.

After teaming up, the leaders of both teams play a round of Gawi Bawi Bo to determine who goes first. The winning team initiates play, while the other team holds the rubber band(s) for them. The team initiating play then needs to move in sync with a predetermined song, where upon failure to do so, the teams switch roles. Once a team is able to succeed in the succession of movement, that team proceeds to the next stage of the game. The game increases in difficulty by raising the height of the band. The height starts at ankle level, before gradually rising up to the calf, knees, thigh, waist, belly, shoulder, neck, head, and a hand width higher than their head. Occasionally the level gets as high as fully upward-stretched arms, making it difficult to catch the band with their feet, and so the playing team stands on their hands to catch it.

Many songs were used for Gomujul Nori, with the lyrics reflected the times. During the Japanese Occupation, children sang Japanese songs, whereas upon liberation, they would sing Haebangga (Song of Korea’s Liberation) and Dongnipgunga (Song of Korean Independence Military), as well as songs reflecting anti-communism following the Korean War. Subsequently, children sang the the songs learned in school, while the arrival of the television led to the use of popular commercial jingles and cartoon theme songs.

Gomujul Nori was typically enjoyed by girls, while boys were known for distancing themselves from the game as they would simply try to sneak up and cut the rubber bands when girls were at play. The game requires flexibility with a sense of rhythmic timing as the movements and songs be in sync with each other. In the early stages of the game, children would sing the songs as they knew them, yet later on, they would change the lyrics to the point where some of the lyrics remained meaningless. Gomujul Nori is played in India and in the Yanbian Prefecture of China, as well, under similar rules.

Gomujul Nori

Gomujul Nori
Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer LeeSangho(李相昊)

A children’s game consisting of hopping over an elastic band or winding the band on players’ legs along to songs.

Gomujul Nori is played with rubber bands today, but it is believed to have been originally played using straw ropes. “Korean Games” is a book by Stewart Culin and was first published in 1895. The book described a game called jul ttwieo neomgi (jumping over ropes), apart from jump roping, which was similar to Gomujul Nori. The game was developed with ropes made of natural material, such as kudzu vines or straw ropes, and evolved as a game that uses the elasticity of rubber bands. At first, the long rubber bands used for the game were made by tying many short rubber bands together, before the arrival of severed bicycle tires later on, followed by long black rubber bands as of more recently.

Gomujul Nori is played using one, two, or three bands. The game can be played by two people, but is typically enjoyed by four or more people divided into two teams. Young children or children not skilled enough could be designated as a kkakdugi, a player playing as a member of both teams.

After teaming up, the leaders of both teams play a round of Gawi Bawi Bo to determine who goes first. The winning team initiates play, while the other team holds the rubber band(s) for them. The team initiating play then needs to move in sync with a predetermined song, where upon failure to do so, the teams switch roles. Once a team is able to succeed in the succession of movement, that team proceeds to the next stage of the game. The game increases in difficulty by raising the height of the band. The height starts at ankle level, before gradually rising up to the calf, knees, thigh, waist, belly, shoulder, neck, head, and a hand width higher than their head. Occasionally the level gets as high as fully upward-stretched arms, making it difficult to catch the band with their feet, and so the playing team stands on their hands to catch it.

Many songs were used for Gomujul Nori, with the lyrics reflected the times. During the Japanese Occupation, children sang Japanese songs, whereas upon liberation, they would sing Haebangga (Song of Korea’s Liberation) and Dongnipgunga (Song of Korean Independence Military), as well as songs reflecting anti-communism following the Korean War. Subsequently, children sang the the songs learned in school, while the arrival of the television led to the use of popular commercial jingles and cartoon theme songs.

Gomujul Nori was typically enjoyed by girls, while boys were known for distancing themselves from the game as they would simply try to sneak up and cut the rubber bands when girls were at play. The game requires flexibility with a sense of rhythmic timing as the movements and songs be in sync with each other. In the early stages of the game, children would sing the songs as they knew them, yet later on, they would change the lyrics to the point where some of the lyrics remained meaningless. Gomujul Nori is played in India and in the Yanbian Prefecture of China, as well, under similar rules.