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Lesson 8: Korean Popular Culture in the United States
Activity 8.2: Oscar Winners:  A Closer Look at Minari


Students view and analyze a Korean American film, Minari,  and explore impacts on Korean American identity.

Oenanthe javanica, commonly minari, Java waterdropwort, water celery,[water dropwort, Chinese celery, and Japanese (flat leaf) parsley. (Source: Wikipedia)


Activity Questions

  • How have movies directed by or starring Koreans and Korean Americans made an international impact?

  • How does the film, Minari, shape your understanding of yourself as Korean American?

  • How might the increasing popularity of films by and about Koreans and Korean Americans impact the lives of Korean Americans today?

Instructional Strategies

  • To support this activity, use the Lesson 8 Teachers' Guide and Lesson 8: Presentation found at Lesson 8.

Introducing Minari

  • Use the presentation to introduce the film and discussion questions before viewing.

Viewing Minari

Movie Analysis

  • ​With at least one partner and no more than three others, have students choose and complete enough activities from the list below to earn a potential 90 points (example: one student team may choose to complete three Level 1 activities; another student team may chose to complete one activity from Level 1 and one activity from Level 2).

  • Make all the worksheets available to students (download below).

    •  ​Level 1 Activities (30 pt each)

      • Character Map

      • Story Map

      • Sequence Chart

    • Level 2 Activities (60 pt each)

      • Movie Critique Presentation/Video 

      • Movie Poster (digital or print)

Discussing Minari

  • Use the questions below to engage students in discussion.

Closing the Activity

  • End class with review and discussion of the activity questions.

  • If time permits, show the trailer for Parasite and encourage students to view the full movie.


Discussion Questions for Minari (Adapted from Minari Movie Guide and Lesson Plan)

  1. We are introduced to Minari through young David’s eyes. What do we see in the film because of this that we might not if it was told through the eyes of Jacob, or Monica?

  2. What does Jacob's decision to grow Korean vegetables in Arkansas say about culture and identity?

  3. Grandma sees David as an American kid and Monica asserts that he's a Korean kid. Who's right? Is there a "right"?

  4. This movie is deeply rooted in a place and in a time when Korean immigration was increasing by leaps and bounds. Yet it treats the question of belonging to a mostly-white community as an immigrant with a light hand. What did you notice about the Yi family’s experience as immigrants? 

  5. How were your family's immigrant experiences similar to or different from the Yi family?

  6. How does this film shape your identify as a Korean American?



Character Map Worksheet (PDF)

Story Elements Organizer Worksheet (PDF)

Story Events Sequence Chart Worksheet (PDF)

Movie Critique Presentation/Video Directions/Storyboard (PDF)

Movie Poster Directions (PDF)

YouTube Video:  Minari Official Trailer (2 minutes)

Minari: A Korean-American family moves to an Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream. Amidst the challenges of this new life in the strange and rugged Ozarks, they find the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.

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