What happens on April Fools’ Day in Korea?

It’s probably not a great day to be a school teacher on April Fools’ Day (만우절 man-oo-cheol) as pranks might be played on you. But for young people it can be fun as some shops and restaurants have offers or events. Last April Fools Day I wrote about  cinemas offering a discount if you turned up in a fancy dress costume. Anyone dressed in military wear, superhero getups, or school uniforms (here’s the ad below) could get a discount. My student (in her early 20s) was perturbed when her boyfriend asked her to wear her old school uniform on their date to the cinema…

april fools day korea


April fools pranks at schools can be quite dramatic and involve participation from the whole class and often advanced preparation. For example the whole class might wear their school uniforms on back to front, so from the back of the class it looks like their hair is completely covering their face. Everyone will need help getting dressed – it must take quite a lot of time and so early in the morning too. But some pranks don’t need any preparation – one of my students (actually the same student I mentioned earlier) told me about how in her high school class everyone pretended to be asleep on their desk for half an hour! The teacher got gradually more and more upset. No kidding! HALF AN HOUR?

Over the last few years there has been some pretty dark humour around too though, like suicide pranks – shoes lined up along an empty window and no students in the class. I do not want to be the teacher walking into that room to look out of the window and see all the ‘bodies’ lying on the ground below! Here’s an article with pictures of the pranks

april fools day


And it’s not just schools having fun. Office workers are at it too. How about arriving at work to find your desk and keyboard and chair and everything covered in aluminium foil for a futuristic space age look? Or going to the office loo only to find the toilet paper is aluminium foil too? Or finding your computer is now made of cardboard? More pictures here at koreaboo.com

april fools day


K-pop idols and celebrities get involved with jokes and fun on their social media sites. Since I’m not really into K-pop (or jokes and fun) I can’t tell you anything about this but I did see this article on this year’s K-pop idol pranks. When it comes to computer games, you will find the same glazed look in my eyes. But if you are interested in Game of Warcraft Thrones or whatever it’s called then you might be interested in this year’s Blizzard Korea pranks


Korean newspapers don’t seem to take part in actual April Fools Day joke articles. (I could be wrong but I haven’t seen any) These days with all the ‘fake news’ around it can feel like every day is April Fools Day, but here’s a selection of this year’s joke news from the Irish and British media.

On April 1 here, The Korea Times took a rather more serious approach to the day with the results of a survey of the 10 biggest lies in modern Korean history as voted by the public. I think this is certainly in keeping with the mood since the impeachment of former President Park exposed her presidency to be one big old lie :( Although she still refuses to accept that she did anything wrong. Her ‘lie’ about agreeing to co-operate with the investigation into her actions as president comes in at number 5.

But at least we know these are lies. What about the 10 most ridiculous lies North Koreans are made to believe about Kim Jong Il. Apparently he had a supernatural birth and has supernatural skills and can, amongst other things, control the weather with his feelings. He was a style icon too, apparently …

Some people will believe anything. Yes, like the British in the 1950s who believed the Panorama TV show (a serious current affairs programme) about spaghetti farmers in Switzerland harvesting their crop from spaghetti trees and worrying about spaghetti weevils. This  is thought to be the first time TV got involved with fooling the public and it was very successful. Well, spaghetti was new and exotic in Britain at the time…




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