From an article about the Mets' two South Korean pitchers- old friend Jae Seo and new friend Dae Sung Koo
Barring injuries, Seo has no chance to make the rotation and only a slim hope of becoming a long reliever. Seo has a name for his struggle - han.
Translated to mean "unresolved bitterness," han is known in the Far East as an anguish inherent to Koreans that often leaves them feeling overshadowed and ignored. The notion of han started when Korea was colonized by Japan early in the 20th century, but it lingers in many natives.
"It's hard to describe," said Seo, who spoke about han in an interview with The New Yorker near the end of last season. "Han is something you have in your heart. It is mental and it is passed down from older generations, from grandparents to parents. It makes me want to fight. It makes me stronger."
Elaine Kim, professor of Asian-American studies at the University of California-Berkeley, said: "You will see Korean athletes who have this burning desire to win, and that is sometimes attributed to han. It's like a heartache that makes you really want to accomplish something and assuage your han. It has to do with getting retribution or resolution with being requited. But the old-timers talk about it a lot more than the young people."
Koo is just as familiar with the idea of han but says it does not affect him as it does many of his countrymen. "A lot of people have something deep inside them that makes them want to succeed or want to play better than other guys," Koo said. "I don't have that. I just play for myself. I don't care what other people say about me."