In chapter seven Young-sup is commanded by the King to talk to him as if they were brothers. But for Young-sup this is a very uncomfortable command to follow because in Korea, even today, you speak to people differently depending on their age, seniority in relation to yours, and their job position. You may speak informally with people your same age and to those younger, but to show respect you use a formal way of speaking (honorifics) when talking to those who are older or who hold a higher position.
For example here are three different ways to say “hello”:
Anyong Ha Shim Neeka:
Highest degree of formality, used at Taekwondo Way, in the military, to the president, etc.
Anyong Ha Seyo:
Respectful, friendly, spoken to those who are older, to strangers, teachers, etc., it’s the most common form of hello
Informal, spoken to those who are close friends or younger than you