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Yellow & Grey

May 19, 1985

Regarding the article on Joel Grey playing a Korean martial arts master in "Remo: The First Adventure" ("The Man Who Would Be Korean," by Nancy Mills, May 7):

I was born in Korea and adopted as a child by Americans. I speak a handful of Korean words, have some Korean friends and study an Asian martial art (kendo in Japanese and kum-do in Korean).

I would not consider myself to be any great expert on "all aspects of Korean philosophy or culture," as Mills writes that Grey has become. But I do know that several stereotypes were perpetuated by her article, including the lumping together of Korean, Japanese and Chinese cultures as one.

If Korean children sit around and fold scraps of paper into artworks, they don't call it origami, which is a Japanese word. Koreans would eat dim sum when, like anyone else, they go to a Chinese restaurant. At home they eat kim chee, kalbi, bulgoki, pap and more kim chee.

And many Koreans have dark curly hair, contrary to what Mills writes. No, Mr. Grey you don't look normal. Your son is right in his description--more like Billy Idol as a Marine.

DAVID J. VAN HOUTEN

(formerly Eum Sung Duck)

Los Angeles

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