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Tue, February 27, 2024 | 14:08
1 vs. millions: private president vs. public protesters
In a 2014 book, I characterized Korea as a “Land of Extremes.” Currently, we are witnessing an ironic spectacle that is extreme even by Korean standards.
Resilience of the Kims
Last weekend, global eyes were glued to TV screens as North Korea's Workers' Party celebrated its 70th anniversary in depressingly predictable style. Many, viewing this bizarre mutation - a communist-polity-turned-monarchy - doubtless wondered: “How can such a brutal, backward-looking regime resist all modern trends and continue in its third-generation?”
Chairmen, cults and god kings
I recently attended a press event held by Amore Pacific, the leading Korean cosmetics company, to mark its 70th anniversary. Myself and colleagues were taken on a tour of the firm's "beauty campus," which features striking design elements, a wine cellar-style archive of cosmetics products and (naturally) a gift shop. We were then invited to a dinner, during which the company ...
South Korea shows its teeth
It is not easy for a democracy to deal with a dictatorship. Treat it reasonably, and it takes advantage. Push it too hard, and it might detonate Armageddon. What is an appropriate strategy? Where is the middle ground? These questions have been repeatedly mulled over by both South Korea and the United States since the 1953 armistice, for the Kimdom has felt confident enough to...
[century] Chaebol’s birth in 1961: prime movers of nation building
While North Korea’s only relevance in international society is as a military threat, South Korea boasts an increasingly diversified national portfolio. Yet at heart, the republic is an economic force: People across the world communicate over Korean-made cellphones, drive in Korean-made cars, and transport their products in Korean-made ships.
Free world allies fought for South Korea during war
On 29 August, 1950, a bright summer day, a startlingly alien sound blasted across Busan docks: A series of flatulent drones followed by a piercing wail.
New wave of pop culture redefines Korea
In 1990, the American academic Joseph Nye coined the term “soft power.” This referred to nations winning friends and influencing people through the attraction of their values, culture, institutions and policies, as opposed to “hard power,” based on coercion and payment. At the heart of soft power is the assumption that other people “want what you want.”
[century]Invasion! Breakout of Korean War on June 25, 1950
On the afternoon of Sunday, June 25, 1950, a fine, early summer day, a slight, cheerful-looking high-school student named Kim Song-hwan was sitting with several of his father’s friends on a hilltop
[century] 2002 World Cup gave Koreans joyful turbulence
The world’s greatest sporting event may, in and of itself, be considered an extraordinary event, but in the days leading up to the 2002 World Cup, there was, as yet, no indication of the truly extraordinary