Korean name
Revised RomanizationBuchaechum

Buchaechum (Korean부채춤; lit. fan dance) is a Korean fan dance originating from various traditional and religious Korean dances. It is usually performed by groups of female dancers.


Buchaechum was created in 1954 by dancer Kim Baek-bong, who drew influences from both Korean shamanic ritual dances and traditional Joseon court and folk dances.[1] It is said that Baek-bong was inspired by the graceful movements of butterflies and wished to incorporate this beauty into traditional Korean dance. [2]

Koreans embrace Korean heritage and culture through the arts, specifically through dance. The Buchaechum, which can also be referred to as Korean fan dancing, is a traditional, beautiful way to represent Korean culture while embracing minority empowerment, (Lim, 2015). As Buchaechums display beautiful traditional Korean clothing, and colorful Korean fans, at the same time, Buchaechums also represent family, school, and Korean communities being able to come together as well as appreciating minority empowerment.

In 1992, the Korea Dance Association designated Buchaechum as a masterpiece, while in October of 2014, Buchaechum was designated as a cultural asset. [3]

The Korean fan dance may used to have a more traditional setting; there has been an increase in change of the setting, performers, and audience of a traditional Buchaechum, (Kim, Crump, 1993).

Since 2006, the Korean Cultural Center has opened Korean Cultural Centers all over the world. These cultural centers are normally opened in major cities around the world. The events at these cultural centers have brought Buchaechum to many people who might otherwise have never experienced this part of the Korean culture. While many people will also find Buchaechum through the ingestion of other media, such as K-pop and Korean Drama, also known as K-drama, these cultural centers will sometimes hold events that can introduce attendees to other cultural aspects of the Korean people.


This dance is performed at many celebrations and events in Korea, and has become popular worldwide. Dancers use large fans painted with pink peony blossoms to create various formations that represent images such as birds, flowers, butterflies, dragons and waves. The dancers wear brightly coloured hanbok, the Korean traditional dress.[4] The outfit itself is considered an essential element in the overall performance. This includes a traditional Korean hanbok that includes the Chima (skirt) and Jeogori (jacket). The accessories includes various hair accessories such as ornamental hairpins or ribbons. There is also the Buchae (fans) that are large and colorful which adds an eye-catching dynamic to the overall flow of the dance. [5] Buchaechum is usually performed with minyo (folk song) or sanjo (instrumental solo) accompaniment, though court and ritual music is often used as well. The dance is known for showcasing the elegant and graceful aspects of classical technique in a format suitable for modern audiences. [6]

Not only does performing Buchaechum show true Korean elegance, it also allows the audience to appreciate Korean culture, especially Korean fan dancing. This allows audiences to visually remember and take in how beautiful and calming the fan dance is, all with remembering sounds of the Korean drums played as well. Buchaechum allows individuals of other countries to celebrate Korean culture, and to celebrate multiculturalism. Not only are Buchaechums performed in Korean culture, but are celebrated in other countries such as Japan and the importance of dance in expressing identity. The Buchaechum shows grace and elegance while helping others understand the importance of being viewed to more of a modern audience. Various countries have been appreciating and understanding the importance of the Buchaechum, much more than in the past.

Outside Korea

It is possible to experience Buchaechum outside of Korea in Asia and globally.


According to a Hallyuism blog entry, Buchaechum is also popular in China. It is sometimes performed as a part of other spring celebrations as the movement "represents the blooming of flowers." [7]


In Japan, many Korean cultural events took place to show their respect and allow Korean arts to stand out to others. In Japan, special events such as fairs or Korean festivals were created to help express diversity not only within the Asian community, but specifically the Korean culture. Buchaechums were one of many Korean events which took place in public areas, such as parks, schools, or community recreation centers. Participants in the Korean fan dance, which included mainly girls, hold bright colored fans as they dance to drums being played in the background. Japanese schools helped create these events to show more appreciation of traditional Korean arts. While the country of Japan housed many Korean students, schools in Japan acknowledged the lack of funding in the Korean community education system. Japanese schools also did this to show how Japanese educators who may not respect or acknowledge Korean culture appreciate Korean dance more, especially when a lot of their students participate in the Buchaechum, (Lim, 2015). The performance of the Buchaechum of Koreans living in Japan helps Korean students’ parents also realize the importance of their own culture. Korean adults who have lived in Japan with children may lose touch of their Korean culture, as they adapted to Japanese culture and customs.

Beyond Asia

Since the beginning of Hallyu or the Korean Wave, Buchaechum has gained in both recognition and popularity outside of Asia. Buchaechum is often showcased as part of Korean cultural performances at international events, festivals, and cultural exchanges. Korean embassies, cultural centers, and performing arts groups frequently present Buchaechum in various countries to promote Korean culture and foster cultural understanding. The dance's captivating beauty, graceful movements, and vibrant costumes have resonated with audiences worldwide, leading to its popularity in countries with diverse cultural backgrounds. Buchaechum's inclusion in international cultural festivals and events has helped to raise awareness of this traditional Korean dance and its significance in Korean heritage. In cities and towns with a large presence of Korean immigrants, Buchaechum may be seen at yearly celebrations which may take place at a local church, temple, or cultural center. Not being tied to a specific religious tradition, the dance can be seen in many places as it is more of an expression of the Korean people. [8]

Moreover, the accessibility of digital and social media platforms has enabled the wider dissemination of Buchaechum performances, allowing people from different parts of the world to experience and appreciate the art form. This is normally through wide-reaching platforms such as YouTube. [9]

While Buchaechum's popularity might not be as pervasive as modern K-pop music or Korean dramas, its presence in the global cultural scene continues to grow, contributing to the appreciation and understanding of Korean traditional arts beyond Korea's borders. Some areas it could be experienced include cultural festivals, mixed celebrations and events, multicultural events that include Asian cultures, Korean-specific cultural showcases, along with religious and non-religious gatherings.

See also


  1. ^ "Traditional Dances". world.kbs.co.kr. Retrieved 2020-07-05.
  2. ^ Chang, Sharon (2020). Dance of the Butterfly: A Novel. Korean Cultural Press. pp. 1–200.
  3. ^ "Buchaechum". Korean Vibe Wiki. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  4. ^ "부채춤" [Buchaechum]. terms.naver.com (in Korean). Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  5. ^ Slater, Judith J. (2004). Teen Life in Asia. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9780313315329.
  6. ^ "The Met Lunar New Year Festival: Year of The Rooster". Korean Cultural Center New York. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  7. ^ "Korean Traditional Dance: Buchaechum". hallyuism.com. Retrieved 2023-07-24.
  8. ^ Lee, Jeong-Seok (1998). "Buchaechum: A Study of Korean Traditional Fan Dance". Korea Journal. Winter 1998.
  9. ^ Chang, Sharon (2002). "Korean Traditional Dance". Asian Theatre Journal. Spring.