Ending shamanism in politicsOpposition People Power Party (PPP) presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol’s weakness for superstition is stoking concerns as he is said to have a shaman adviser on his campaign team to oversee his campaign schedule, appointments and speeches. The daughter and nephew of the shaman teacher surnamed Chun have also been active on the campaign team. The PPP and Yoon deny the allegations. But footage shows Yoon visiting Chun’s network headquarters of the campaign team and Chun tapping Yoon’s shoulders as if they were close.
Chun is said to be practicing shamanism at his home, worshipping “Grandma Mago.” The PPP said he is a not a shaman but a planning member of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. The Jogye Order rejects the claim. The PPP also said that such an attack is not right as Chun has no title on the campaign team. But such a misunderstanding is itself a problem.
Yoon was suspected to have a shaman mentor when he joined the primary in the party. During a TV debate with other contestants, he appeared with the letter “King” written on his palm. In a controversial taped conversation with a reporter, Kim Keon-hee, Yoon’s wife, said she liked to be surrounded by “spiritual” people. The PPP has disbanded a network of supporters Chun was involved with. There are allegations that Yoon has more than 20 shamans around him.
A penchant for superstitions and spiritual beliefs can lead to clandestine influencers. Former President Park Geun-hye was impeached because she let herself be guided by Choi Soon-sil. Yoon’s network headquarters is said to be a group that existed from the time he joined politics. Chun is said to have been telling others that he had advised Yoon on various affairs since Yoon was appointed prosecutor general. Whether it is true or not, the actions raise suspicion of a skeleton in the closet.
Shamanism often gets involved in Korea’s presidential race. There had been rumors that a candidate was elected to presidency after moving the tombs of ancestors or the party seeking advice from shamanic practitioners. But no other candidate or family members caused so much controversy for a penchant for superstitious rituals. A president who commands the administration and military must be knowledgeable in all state and foreign affairs and have reliable judgement and farsightedness. Magic has no place in state affairs. Yoon is unqualified to command state leadership if he cannot cut off his habit and connection with shamans.