‘Gapjil’ and the rage of Korean Air’s daughters

by KnowingKorea

A recent ‘water rage’ incident involving the executive director (and daughter of the Chairman) of Korean Air,, Cho Hyun-min, mistreating an employee of an advertising agency by throwing a glass of water at them during a business meeting has brought ‘Gapjil’ back to the forefront of national conversation.

Gapjil is a Korean word referring to the arrogant and authoritarian attitude of people holding positions of power over others. It is a combination of the words Gap (갑; 甲), originated from the word meaning Buyer or Employeer in a legal contract, and -jil (-질), a suffix referring negatively to particular actions. In Korea, where society and work culture in particular are very hierarchical, there has been a growing phenomenon of the elites benefiting from the country’s booming economy escaping punishment for poor behavior.

Cho’s sister, Cho Hyun-ah, also made headlines back in 2014 after her own ‘nut rage’ incident directed at a flight attendant over the way they served her nuts.