Parasite, the stealth hit by legendary director Bong Joon-ho, is a twisted tale of the haves and have-nots. The
extreme disparity between the two families - the affluent Parks and the poor Kims - is shown through their two homes.
One a gleaming mansion up on the hills above Seoul; the other a dingy semi-basement. In real-life Seoul, though,
banjihas are where thousands of young people end up living, while they work hard and hope for a better future.
The banjihas are not just a quirk of Seoul architecture, but a product of history. These tiny spaces actually trace their
roots back decades, to the conflict between North and South Korea. In 1968, North Korean commandos slipped into
Seoul on a mission to assassinate South Korean President Park Chung-hee. The raid was thwarted, but the tension
between the two Koreas intensified. That same year, North Korea also attacked and captured a US Navy spy ship, the
USS Pueblo. Armed North Korean agents infiltrated South Korea, and there were a number of terrorist incidents. Fearing
an escalation, in 1970 the South Korean government updated its building codes, requiring all newly built low-rise
apartment buildings to have basements to serve as bunkers in case of a national emergency. Initially, renting out such
banjiha spaces was illegal. But during the housing crisis in the 1980s, with space running short in the capital, the
government was compelled to legalize these underground spaces to live in. In 2018, the UN noted that despite having the
world’s 11th largest economy, South Korea’s lack of affordable housing was a substantial barrier - particularly for young
people and poorer people.
For under-35s, the rent-to-income ratio has remained at around 50% during the last decade. So the semi-basement
apartments have become an affordable response to rapidly-growing housing prices. Monthly rents are around 540,000
Korean won ($453), with average monthly salaries for people in the 20s around 2m won ($1,679). Nevertheless, some
banjiha dwellers struggle to overcome the social stigma. But not all.
【題組】46. Which of the following titles best describes the passage?
(A) Introduction to Parasite, the Oscar winning movie.
(B) Banjihas that help decrease the rent-to-income ratio.
(C) On-going tension between North Korea and South Korea.
(D)Reasons that people still live in banjihas in the 21st century.