South Korea's amazing rise from the ashes: the inside story of an economic, political, and cultural phenomenon
Long overshadowed by Japan and China, South Korea is a small country that happens to be one of the great national success stories of the postwar period. From a failed state with no democratic tradition, ruined and partitioned by war, and sapped by a half-century of colonial rule, South Korea transformed itself in just fifty years into an economic powerhouse and a democracy that serves as a model for other countries. With no natural resources and a tradition of authoritarian rule, Korea managed to accomplish a second Asian miracle.
Daniel Tudor is a journalist who has lived in and written about Korea for almost a decade. In Korea: The Impossible Country, Tudor examines Korea's cultural foundations; the Korean character; the public sphere in politics, business, and the workplace as well as the family, dating, and marriage. In doing so, he touches on topics as diverse as shamanism, clan-ism, the dilemma posed by North Korea, the myths about doing business in Korea, the Koreans' renowned hard-partying ethos, and why the infatuation with learning English is now causing massive social problems.
South Korea has undergone two miracles at once: economic development and complete democratization. The question now is, will it become as some see Japan, a prosperous yet aging society, devoid of energy and momentum? Or will the dynamism of Korean society and its willingness to change—as well as the opportunity it has now to welcome outsiders into its fold—enable it to experience a third miracle that will propel it into the ranks of the world's leading nations regarding human culture, democracy, and wealth?
More than just one journalist's account, Korea: The Impossible Country also draws on interviews with many of the people who made South Korea what it is today. These include:
- Choi Min-sik, the star of "Old Boy."
- Park Won-soon, Mayor of Seoul.
- Soyeon Yi, Korea's first astronaut Hong Myung-bo, legendary captain of Korea's 2002 FIFA World Cup team.
- Shin Joong-hyun, the 'Godfather of Korean Rock.'
- Ko Un, poet.
- Hong Seok-cheon, restaurateur, and the first Korean celebrity to 'come out.'
And many more, including a former advisor to President Park Chung-hee; a Shaman priestess ('mudang'); the boss of Korea's largest matchmaking agency; a 'room salon' hostess; an architect; as well as chefs, musicians, academics, entrepreneurs, homemakers, and chaebol conglomerate employees.
Related collections and offers
|Edition description:||1st Edition, Hardcover with Jacket|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 4.10(d)|
About the Author
Daniel Tudor has lived in Seoul for many years and served as Korea Correspondent for The Economist from 2010u2013. His book, North Korea Confidential (with James Pearson), was selected by The Economist as one of the best books of 2015. He holds degrees from Oxford University and Manchester University in England and has worked in finance in both Korea and Switzerland.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments, Caveats, and a Note on Names 7
A Brief History of Korea 12
Part I Foundations
Chapter 1 Shamanism and the Spirit World 24
Chapter 2 Buddhism 34
Chapter 3 Confucianism 42
Chapter 4 Christianity 54
Chapter 5 Capitalism with a Korean Face 66
Chapter 6 Democracy: Beyond Asian Values 78
Part II Cultural Codes
Chapter 7 Jeong-The "Invisible Hug" 92
Chapter 8 Competition 101
Chapter 9 Chemyon, or Face 112
Chapter 10 Han and Heung 120
Chapter 11 From Clan to Nuclear Family 128
Chapter 12 Neophilia 139
Part III Hyun-Shil: Cold Reality
Chapter 13 North Korea: Friend, Foe, or Foreigner? 148
Chapter 14 Politics and the Media 158
Chapter 15 Onward, Industrial Soldiers 170
Chapter 16 "More Important than the Business Itself" 182
Chapter 17 Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Perfect 192
Chapter 18 English Mania 202
Part IV In The Hours Not Spent Working
Chapter 19 Living Space: From Hanok to Apartment Houses and Back Again 212
Chapter 20 Four Seasons at the Dinner Table 220
Chapter 21 Cinema: Boom, Bust, and Brilliance 229
Chapter 22 More Than K-Pop 240
Chapter 23 Work All Day, Stay Out All Night 250
Part V More of "Us," Less of "Them"
Chapter 24 Defensive Nationalism 260
Chapter 25 Multicultural Korea? 271
Chapter 26 "Its Our Turn" 279
Chapter 27 "We Are Not Aliens, From Another Cosmos" 291
Chapter 28 A Woman's Place Is in the Office 298
Epilogue: Where Is the Champagne? 309