Samsung Chairman’s mother-in-law, the late Kim Hye-Seong, reportedly passed away on Wednesday at the age of 90. The picture published with the news shows a younger and very posed lady that is most likely not a very recent photo of late Kim Hye-Seong.
In Korea, it is common for individuals to take posed portraits (young-jung sah-jin) in preparation for their future funeral. Most of the elderly taking these portraits dress in the traditional Korean costume, also known as the hanbok. However, what was unique about Samsung chairman’s mother-in-law’s photo was her Won Buddhist dress.
Won Buddhism is an indigenous Korean religion that “is considered to be an amalgamation of Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism that emphasizes moral self-development, but also self-reliant economic activity.” Doesn’t this sound a lot like Samsung? Some have considered the religion authentically Korean and true while others have considered it a cult or with cult-ish tendencies. Even Andrei Lankov mentions Won Buddhism in his Korean cult worship article.
Whatever the case may be, with Samsung chairman’s mother-in-law a devout Won Buddhist, there is a powerful clout behind this organization much like Tom Cruise is for the Church of Scientology.