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FC: World Cultures Final Project: South Korea Zach Kallmeyer
1: Flag:Taegukki Represents the Universe | I think that this flag shows that even though Korea is very modernized, it still has a hint of tradition. The four symbols on the corners represent Heaven, Earth, water, and fire. These symbols were chosen because these are what the Koreans thought made up the universe, which the whole flag presents. The yin-yang symbol represents balance, because the universe requires balance to maintain stable. | 8
2: Religion | Confucianism widely practiced, although it is more of a philosophy than a religion. | Confucianism stresses being moral, respectful, honest, righteous, and loyal | All religions accept these teachings and apply them in their lives | Religion percentages: 26% Christian 23% Buddhist | 8, 1
3: Critical thinking | Religion, or in this case Confucianism, plays a big role in everyday lives of citizens. Many of the citizens use the teachings of Confucius and apply them, such as respect for elders. This has greatly influenced the culture by making them possibly greater people. If Americans could do that, we would most likely become better.
4: Currency | iforexnews.com | South Korean Won | 1 US Dollar is roughly 1136 South Korean Won | 8
5: Critical thinking | Just like we have our great leaders on our money, the Koreans have their leaders on theirs. These show important people in Korean history. Some were leaders in Confucianism, while others were great warriors. To the Koreans, these were very great people. On the backside, there are structures of great importance, such as shrines. Like the flag, this shows what tradition is left in the culture of South Korea.
6: Language | Spoken: Korean Written: Hangul | Hangul alphabet has 24 letters, 10 of them are vowels. | Hangul alphabet developed in 1446 because Chinese was hard to learn. | lifeinkorea.com | Phrases Hello: Anynghaseyo How are you?: Chal jinaeshssyo? Thank you: kamsahamnida Goodbye: Annynghi gaseyo | 5
7: Critical thinking | Hangul is an early example of South Korea becoming independent. South Korea use to use many things from China, such as currency and language. This shows South Korea becoming independent, becoming their own country with their own culture.
8: Trivia/fun facts | Population: Roughly 48.7 million, growing by roughly 0.23% each year | Families keep detailed genealogies because of Confucius's emphasis on family | Capital: Seoul | Official name: the Republic of Korea | The longest river in South Korea is the Hankang, at 321 miles long. | 8, 2
10: Economy | Over the past 50 years, the economy has grown tremendously. In the 1960's, the economy could be compared to lower countries, like those in Africa. In 2004, however, South Korea experienced rapid economic growth. It's current GDP per capita is $31,700. That is in the top 20 biggest economies! It got this success by having a close government and business ties. This shows that South Korea has become a more powerful country due to its independence. Developing its own culture has clearly paid off. Exports: Steel, ships, automobiles, computers, ect. From this you can infer that it has metal as a natural resource. | 8, 4
11: Current Issues | Since early 2000, South Korea has been having trouble with meat trade. At that point, many diseases Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and Avian Influenza broke out. It started just in cows, but chickens and pigs soon got an epidemic of their own. Meat trade was severely disrupted because of this. This was a major problem because South Korea is the main meat-importing country for many other countries. | 9
12: Music | Modern | K-Pop music is very popular in South Korea. It consists of pop, hip-hop, and rock music. | K-Pop is an American abbreviation for Korean Pop or Korean Popular music. | K-Pop has influenced a new subculture in teens. Like American teens, they follow fashion styles and other styles of popular singers. | asianinfo.org | 3, 6
13: Traditional | Traditional Korean music was known for its slow tempo, giving it a sophisticated sound. | Now called Chong-ak music, meaning for higher classes. | Greatly influenced Chinese and Japanese music. | blog.dramafever.com | Critical Thinking Unlike the flag and the currency, this shows what Korea used to be, but isn't anymore. This shows that Korea's culture has been greatly influenced by the rest of the world, possibly even America. This proves that any culture can be influenced by the rest of the world.
14: The Arts | Poetry, folktales, legends, and plays were passed down since ancient times. | Passed down either orally or in written Chinese until Hangul was developed | Ancient themes included Confucian principles, while modern art sometimes involves politics. | Calligraphy is very important and inspired traditional art. | Many types of dances, including masked and drum, are performed at festivals. | www.prepys.com | Critical thinking This is another example of culture influence. Just like America, this kind of art appears mainly in museums, and isn't celebrated much anymore. Not only are some countries becoming modernized, the world is. | 8
15: Government | Similar to America, South Koreans vote on their president (currently Lee Myung Bak); however, they elect their president directly. Each president then chooses a prime-minister(currently Kim Hwang-sik) who is technically the head of the government, but also ceremonial. The State Council then includes the president, the prime minister, and 15-30 ministry heads. There is also a 299-seat National Assembly who are voted on four-year terms. A citizen must be 19 to vote. This shows that the South Koreans believe in democracy, because that is what they think is fair. It has been built into their culture, unlike the culture of its neighbor to the North. They believe in Communism. | 8
16: Food | Generally very spicy. | Staple foods: Rice and kimchi (spicy pickled cabbage). | Combine rice with many other foods, such as vegetables, beans, meat, and even eggs. | Soju: a rice-based alcoholic drink | Dessert: Fruit | www.emagasia.com | Delicacies include forms of beef, pork, and marinated short ribs. | 8, 10
17: Critical Thinking | This shows that many different countries have influenced South Korea's culture. In this case, China may have been some influence because their staple food is rice. Koreans now put rice in many foods. In the future, this can even make traditional foods based on rice.
18: Family Life | Generally live with extended family. | Have much respect for family because of Confucius's teachings. | Father = head of house, he and oldest son get most respect. | Women use to watch the house, but are now expected to work. | Women's status are lower than men's | www.eslsouthkorea.net | 8
19: Critical Thinking | Family life is a significant part of South Korea's culture. Thanks to Confucius, it is now their culture to respect their family, especially the older members. This and living with extended family can make their family stronger, and strong families make a strong nation. If no one had any respect for their family, it would be a short step to elders, then to leaders. Eventually, that would cause the nation to fall apart.
20: Dress | Modern | Really not much to say, they wear modern western-style clothing. | www.aliexpress.com | freenewfashiondesign.com | Critical Thinking This is yet another example of influence by other countries. What use to be formal and traditional is now very casual. If people start to wear slobby clothes, they might develop a slobby personality. That is not what a strong country wants in its culture. They want nice personalities.
21: Dress use to reflect social status | Traditional | Dress called Hanbok worn by women. | Hanbok still worn on formal occasions. | Hanbok consists of a shirt, a skirt, and a traditional hat. | Rich wore costumes, masks, and jewelry. | Common people would wear plain, uncolored clothes. | 10
22: History | Kingdoms established over 2 millennia ago 57 BC: Shilla Dynasty 37 BC: Goguryeo Dynasty 18 BC: Paekche Dynasty 935: Koryo kingdom established (word Korea comes from Koryo) 1392: Yi dynasty established (towards the end of this dynasty, Japan gained control of Korea) 1910: Japan gave up Korea 1945: Soviet union invades Northern Korea, this created the borders. | 1950-1953: Korean war (2 states had already been established, but this was a major event in the split.) 1992: Kim Young Sam won presidential elections, first civilian to win in more than 30 years. 1997: Asian economic crisis, during which the Hanbo Steel Industry Company went bankrupt (one of South Korea's most important companies) | 8
23: Critical Thinking | Some of these events, such as dynasties, show that China may have influenced their culture. However, because of Japan's control over Korea, this shows that their culture was most likely somehow influenced by Japan. This also shows that South Korea, at least at the time, had a strong military to keep the Soviets from invading them and just Northern Korea.
24: Architecture | Ancient architecture has only a few main types of buildings, such as palaces, temples, and common houses. | Ancient architecture greatly influenced by nature, such as bird feather and deer antler inscriptions. | Ancient buildings had small rooms, but large courtyards to make up for it because the outdoors were more important. | Modern architecture somewhat of a blend between ancient and modern, still has cultural history. | Modern architecture comes from much experimentation. | www.wikipedia.com | 10
25: Critical Thinking | This is sort of a mixture between the music and the currency situation. While they are becoming very modernized, they are still keeping a little bit of tradition. However, this is a very prominent example of keeping tradition. South Korea is still trying to keep the culture of the ancient times, and this shows it.
26: Climate | Temperate climate, but very humid, making temperatures seem more extreme. | Experiences all four seasons, although spring and fall are the most comfortable. | Winter average temp: -5 to -2.5 degrees C. | Summer average temp: 22.5 to 25 degrees C. | Rainfall usually over 100 cm. per year. | Roughly every 8 years, droughts occur. | 7
27: Critical Thinking | In some aspects, climate can influence culture. For example, it can influence the way people dress, and that is a part of culture. It can also influence if this country has enough rain to become a farming country, which in this case has more than enough. A country's natural resources can influence culture because it can create jobs and change the way people use things. They use rice in many foods, so rice must be abundant, and rice in foods is becoming part of their culture.
28: Geography | 65% forested, 20% can be used as farmland. | Hills and mountains in the east, while plains in south and west. | 38,502 square miles | 123 miles from Japan | wikitravel.org | Critical Thinking | A country's geography can influence climate, which like I said before, can influence culture. Its natural structures can influence it, too. For example, people in the east may enjoy downhill skiing, whereas people in the west may enjoy cross-country skiing. Land structures can influence recreational activities, which can become part of culture. | 10, 8
30: Gestures/Manners | Instead of waving, beckon with fingers with palm down. | Beckoning with index finger is rude. | When laughing, yawning, etc., it is polite to cover your mouth. | Maintaining eye contact is casual, but may not to be polite. | May laugh if embarrassed or unsure how to respond. | Confucius says to be kind, so South Koreans usually are. | www.embassyces.com | 8
31: Critical Thinking | Manners can greatly influence culture because they change the way people act. If people act differently, then the culture changes. Since people in South Korea want to cover their mouth when they laugh, it is now part of their culture. When they beckon with their palms down, that becomes part of their culture. If people act kind, that becomes part of their culture.
32: Information Technology | 39.4 million Internet users as of 2009. | Has 2 of the 3 largest publicly operated TV networks. | Owns largest privately owned network: Seoul Broadcasting Service (SBS) | Cell phone users: 50.767 million as of 2010 | www.utkusa.com | 4
33: Critical Thinking | This shows that America isn't the only country with technology built into its culture. This may have been influenced by other countries, but technology is now in the culture of South Korea. While technology is a good thing, with stats like this, it can be a problem. Too many people might be becoming antisocial because of this. That is something you don't want in a culture. You want citizens to know each-other well.
34: Global Contributions | Taekwondo: A South Korean martial art and a sport. Was at the summer Olympics in 2000. Would spar(fighting with taekwondo winning by points scored by hitting opponent. | Kimchi: A staple food of Korea, over 187 different kinds, made from vegetables. | K-Pop: abbreviation for Korean pop music. Music genre consisting of rock, pop, hip-hop, and many other genres. | www.pcdesktopwallpaper.com | 10
35: Critical Thinking | Some of these contributions are widely known, like Taekwondo. Others, like Kimchi, are not. Either way, they can let the world experience different culture. I have taken Taekwondo before, and I thought it was very fun. It let me experience a new sport with a different set of key elements. While it required power, like many sports, it also required much spirit, and you had to be very dedicated to it. This may come from the culture of South Korea.
36: Traditions/Holidays | Some holidays are similar to America's (Christmas and New Years), but some are different, like Korean Language Day (Oct. 9) | Some holidays are the same, but celebrated on different days, like Memorial day (June 6) and Independence Day (Aug 15). | For New Years, to honor their ancestors, a family takes a table with incense and a bowl on it and the father pours alcohol into the bowl. | For Thanksgiving, or Chuseok, on August 15, they visit graves of their ancestors to clean the graves and leave food. | On Memorial Day, sirens go off and everyone stops what they are doing and pays a moment of silence for the soldiers who died in the Korean War. | newshopper.sulekha.com | 8
37: Critical Thinking | Some Americans may think that only we celebrate Thanksgiving. Other countries celebrate it too, but not on the same day or for the same reason. South Korea doesn't celebrate thanksgiving because of native Americans, they celebrate it just to give thanks. Another holiday, like New Years, they may celebrate differently. They celebrate it by honoring their ancestors. We celebrate it by staying up and partying. If we swapped traditions, we would both be in for quite a culture shock. They celebrate it differently because that is how they believe it should be celebrated in their culture.
38: Demographics | Life expectancy: (male): 76.12 (female): 82.7 | Population: 48,860,500 Growth rate: 0.204% | Median age: average: 38.4 years male: 37 years female: 39.8 years | Languages: While they speak Korean, English is taught in middle school. | Literacy rate (ages 15+) average:97.9% male: 99.2% female: 96.6% | 4
39: Critical Thinking | These statistics show evidence of a strong and intelligent country. In their culture, it seems that it is expected to be smart and healthy. This is shown because they have a high literacy rates and life expectancies. This is probably because Confucianism has been built into their culture. Many other teachings that are built into culture lead to this, which is what we want.
40: Education | Greatly valued because it is an aspect of Confucianism. | Enter elementary school at age 6 or 7. | Elementary school is 6 grades, and middle school and high school are each 3 years. | Almost everyone completes primary school, very many go on to college. | College can either be 2 years or 4 years. | Stressed subjects: English, Korean, and math; little pressure on arts and phys. ed. | www.zimbio.com | 8
41: Critical Thinking | As I said before, education is an aspect of their culture because of Confucius (boy, this Confucius guy really did a lot of critical thinking). The South Koreans clearly see that you can lead a good future with good education. That aspect of culture has made a strong and smart nation. If you build these things into your culture, something great will come out of it.
42: Entertainment | Variety of sports including baseball, basketball, soccer, volleyball, tennis, and golf. | Many children enjoy Taekwondo. | www.123rf.com | Jokgu is a mixture of volleyball, tennis, and soccer (low net, using only feet or head) is introduced during military and is often played years after. | sirom is a form of wrestling unique to Korea, wrestlers hold onto pieces of cloth tied to opponents legs. | Karaoke, or noraebang, is enjoyed by all. | 8
43: Critical Thinking | The culture of South Korea is clearly better than America's, because their recreation, is better than America's: Video games and the Internet. Their culture has built in healthy recreation. This is another thing where adding something in your culture can make a big, and great, difference.
44: Critical Thinking (overall)
45: Overall, the culture of South Korea is different in some ways, and similar in others to the culture of America. However, while they do have similar aspects, like sports and technology, it is more different than it is similar. Honestly, I liked being experienced to a new culture. It got me thinking how we could change the culture of America to make it better. We could learn a thing or to from Confucius, because it seems that he is the reason that their culture seems so well developed.