Hubert Tran, Contributing Photographer

On Friday, April 12, Korean American Students at Yale — or KASY — held their annual cultural show, a common production directed by several cultural groups on campus to highlight the diverse beauty of the University student population.

This year’s showcase was centered around the theme of in-yeon (Hangul: 인연). While the term is usually translated as simply “fate,” it is not one that translates directly into English, as KASY Cultural Chair Andrew Lee ’27 described.

“In-yeon is one such word that holds such a nuanced, beautiful definition,” Lee said.

“In-yeon” is a commonly used phrase in Korean culture that lacks a proper translation into English and demands more than a mere one-word translation. In-yeon is the concept that every interpersonal relationship is built upon bonds created across thousands of years in past lives, according to Lee.

Most recently, Celine Song’s directorial debut “Past Lives” centered around in-yeon through the reuniting of the two Korean characters whose love had been preserved even through decades of separation by national borders and the Pacific Ocean — only destiny could describe this miraculous feat of human love. 

“The millions of decisions I made throughout my nineteen years of life coalesced and offered me the opportunity to find community here at Yale … [D]iscovering kinship, no matter how simple and short-lived, is magical in and of itself,” Lee told the News.

Lee, having been inspired by Song’s work and his own life experiences, told the News that he programmed the KASY Cultural Show in a way “that truly brings all of us together –– Korean or not, East Asian or not.”

The cultural show included various exhibitions of Korean culture from traditional samulnori (Hangul: 사물놀이), Korean percussion music, to modern K-Pop dances and a parody of “Past Lives” directed and produced by KASY’s board, dubbed “KASY Lives.” 

For audience member Caleb Xiao ’27, he said: “It was enlightening to be able to verbalize the invisible bonds and fates within KASY and the broader community.”

This varied programming was a direct result of Lee’s desire to illustrate the concept of in-yeon. He told the News that the theme of the show emphasized entanglement and bridging “unlikely people” together.

This year’s cultural show marks the third annual show since its in-person revival in 2022, following a two-year sabbatical due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Matthew Cheng ’23, former co-president of KASY, hoped that the 2022 showcase would set a stage for how first years, sophomores and juniors remember the cultural show.

“We want to make sure that this show leaves a lasting impression and that it continues the strong tradition of cultural shows that has been integral to KASY for many years,” he said.

The students who were part of the 2022 showcase helped pass down the tradition today. 

Korean and non-Korean Yalies alike attended the nearly two-hour-long show.

“My heart was glued to the stage watching the KASY’s community’s command of music from drumming to belting to dancing to rapping, KASY Board’s kdrama-reminiscent humor-packed skit, Yale Taekwondo’s awe-inspiring heights, Ryan and Phil’s Jegichagi skills — the in-yeon of it all,” Xiao said.

This year’s KASY Cultural Show was held in Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall.