Honjok - Hermit
Do you know what ‘Honjok’ is? A ‘Honjok’ is a person who lives alone.
There is no English word for this but the word ‘hermit’ is probably the closest word to ‘Honjok’.
‘Hon’ is a abbreviation of ‘Honja’ and this is a Korean word that means ‘alone’. Plus ‘Hon’ is prefix word like ‘pre’, ‘in’, and ‘un’. We have a lot of words with ‘Hon’. ‘Honbap’, ‘Honnol’, and ‘Honsul’ are very similar words with ‘Honjok’, that uses ‘Hon’.
First, ‘Honbap’ is a person who eats alone. They enjoy eating by themselves without being conscious of other people’s eyes, and feel satisfied by themselves while visiting a restaurant.
Secondly, ‘Honnol’ is the person who has fun alone, and feels happy rather than lonely even they are alone.
Lastly, ‘Honsul’ is a person who drinks alone without being conscious of other people’s attentions. The inclusion of these words are ‘Honjok’, ‘Hermit’. It means that people who have hobbies working alone, such as eating alone, enjoying leisure life, shopping, and going on trips alone. The number of ‘Honjoks’ began increasing in 2010, and created the word concept.
As ‘Honjok’ grows, the number of single-person households is increasing. Also the perception of Korea is changing. People say, ‘it’s better to do what I like alone than what I do with my friends.’ because it makes them stressed out. The program about single households are also on the rise. For example, there are ‘I live alone,’ and ‘My ugly baby.’ The TV shows reasons why ‘Honjoks’ increase is the youth unemployment and stress increase. They don’t think they need to maintain human relationships under such stress.
Korea is changing because of ‘Honjoks’. We can see them in our daily lives. As the number of ‘Honjok’ continues to grow, we have to understand them, and respect them. We should think and respect that it is a part of our culture, and that it is because they are just different.