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Webtoons becoming a way for the disabled to communicate with the world
Updated: 2021-09-10 18:29:17 KST
It's Friday, and that means our culture correspondent Kim Bo-kyoung is here in the studio for our regular weekly segment "Life With Culture". Bo-kyoung, this week is of course filled with a plethora of cultural events, but I hear there's one exciting event involving comics?

That's right Ji-yeon, I love comics -- especially webtoons, which are comics you can read on your smartphone. They're really popular these days, with one research institute valuing the domestic industry at more than 8-hunred-50 million U.S. dollars.
This year's Bucheon International Comics Festival has highlighted the webtoon industry, which shared stories of people with disabilities who are pushing the boundaries to become successful webtoon artists. Let's take a look.

"Fans of comics could be interested in the 24th Bucheon International Comics Festival ? held online until this Sunday. This year, the festival focuses on the increasingly popular mobile comics, or webtoons.

There's plenty to see if you love "manhwa", or Korean comics. But a lot of the attention is on webtoons, especially popular ones like "Navillera" and "Yumi's Cells", which have been turned into drama series.
Webtoons are not just entertainment though.
They can also serve as a way for those with disabilities to unleash their creative talents.

"I love comics and drawing pictures so I decided to learn how to draw webtoons. I want to become a webtoon artist who shares Korea's culture."

One artist who teaches disabled students, and also talks about developmental disabilities in his webtoons says the artform can serve a great role in helping those with disabilities show their identity.

"Making webtoons is a complex art where artists write and draw, and it's also a popular one that people can see through the Internet. Webtoons about or drawn by the disabled could play a communicative role between the disabled and those who are not."
One policymaker who herself is visually impaired says much support is needed for the disabled to show more of their artistic talent.

"Living support is a welfare aspect, which is different from supporting their activities in culture and the arts. For students with disabilities trying to become artists, educational and infrastructural aid is needed and accessibility for performance halls and exhibitions should be improved."

Amid the fast-increasing webtoon trend, if proper support is made for those who are disabled, the webtoon industry could broaden its themes further and enhance diversity.

Reporter : reina5467@gmail.com