Korea

Korea is a region in East Asia.[5] Since 1948, it has been divided between two distinct sovereign states: North Korea and South Korea. Korea consists of the Korean Peninsula, Jeju Island, and several minor islands near the peninsula. Korea is bordered by China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and neighbours Japan to the east by the Korea Strait and the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

During the first half of the 1st millennium, Korea was divided between the three competing states of Baekje, Goguryeo, and Silla, together known as the "Three Kingdoms of Korea". In the second half of the 1st millennium, Baekje and Goguryeo were conquered by Silla, leading to the "Unified Silla" period. Meanwhile, Balhae formed in the north following the collapse of Goguryeo. Unified Silla eventually collapsed into three separate states due to civil war, ushering in the Later Three Kingdoms. Toward the end of the 1st millennium Goryeo, which was a revival of Goguryeo, defeated the two other states and unified the Korean Peninsula as one single state. Around the same time, Balhae collapsed and its last crown prince fled south to Goryeo. Goryeo (also spelled as Koryŏ), whose name developed into the modern exonym "Korea", was a highly cultured state that created the world's first metal movable type in 1234.[6][7][8][9][10][11] However, multiple invasions by the Mongol Empire during the 13th century greatly weakened the nation, which eventually agreed to become a vassal state after decades of fighting. Following military resistance under King Gongmin which ended Mongol political influence in Goryeo, severe political strife followed, and Goryeo eventually fell to a coup led by General Yi Seong-gye, who established Joseon in 1392.

The first 200 years of Joseon were marked by relative peace. During this period, the Korean alphabet was created by Sejong the Great in the 15th century and there was increasing influence of Confucianism. During the later part of the dynasty, Korea's isolationist policy earned it the Western nickname of the "Hermit Kingdom". By the late 19th century, the country became the object of imperial design by the Empire of Japan. After the First Sino-Japanese War, despite the Korean Empire's effort to modernize, it was annexed by Japan in 1910 and ruled by Imperial Japan until the end of World War II in August 1945.

In 1945, the Soviet Union and the United States agreed on the surrender of Japanese forces in Korea in the aftermath of World War II, leaving Korea partitioned along the 38th parallel. The North was under Soviet occupation and the South under U.S. occupation. These circumstances soon became the basis for the division of Korea by the two superpowers, exacerbated by their inability to agree on the terms of Korean independence. The Communist-inspired government in the North received backing from the Soviet Union in opposition to the pro-Western government in the South, leading to Korea's division into two political entities: North Korea (officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea), and South Korea (officially the Republic of Korea). Tensions between the two resulted in the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950. With involvement by foreign troops, the war ended in a stalemate in 1953, but without a formalized peace treaty. This status contributes to the high tensions that continue to divide the peninsula. Both governments of the two Koreas claim to be the sole legitimate government of the region.

Korea
조선/朝鮮 (North Korean)
한국/韓國 (South Korean)

Flag of Korea
Location of Korea (green)
Location of Korea (green)
Largest citySeoul
Language(s)Korean
Demonym(s)Korean
Sovereign states North Korea
 South Korea
Leaders
Kim Jong-un
Moon Jae-in
Area
• Total
219,155 km2 (84,616 sq mi)[1][2]
• Water (%)
2.8
Population
• 2017 estimate
~77 million
• Density
349.06/km2 (904.1/sq mi)
GDP (nominal)2019 estimate
• Total
$1.7 trillion[3]
• Per capita
$22,000
CurrencyNorth Korean won (₩)
South Korean won ()
Time zoneUTC+9[4] (KST)
ISO 3166 codeKP

Etymology

"Korea" is the modern spelling of "Corea", a name attested in English as early as 1614.[12] Korea was transliterated as Cauli in The Travels of Marco Polo,[13] of the Chinese 高麗 (MCKawlej,[14] mod.Gāolì). This was the Hanja for the Korean kingdom of Goryeo (Hangul고려; Hanja高麗; MRKoryŏ), which ruled most of the Korean peninsula during Marco Polo's time. Korea's introduction to the West resulted from trade and contact with merchants from Arabic lands,[15] with some records dating back as far as the 9th century.[16] Goryeo's name was a continuation of Goguryeo (Koguryŏ) the northernmost of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, which was officially known as Goryeo beginning in the 5th century.[17] The original name was a combination of the adjective go ("high, lofty") with the name of a local Yemaek tribe, whose original name is thought to have been either *Guru (溝樓, "walled city," inferred from some toponyms in Chinese historical documents) or *Gauri (가우리, "center"). With expanding British and American trade following the opening of Korea in the late 19th century, the spelling "Korea" appeared and gradually grew in popularity[12]; its use in transcribing East Asian languages avoids the issues caused by the separate hard and soft Cs existing in English vocabulary derived from the Romance languages. The name Korea is now commonly used in English contexts by both North and South Korea.

In South Korea, Korea as a whole is referred to as Hanguk (한국, [haːnɡuk], lit. "country of the Han"). The name references Samhan, referring to the Three Kingdoms of Korea, not the ancient confederacies in the southern Korean Peninsula.[18][19] Although written in Hanja as , , or , this Han has no relation to the Chinese place names or peoples who used those characters but was a phonetic transcription (OC: *Gar, MCHan[14] or Gan) of a native Korean word that seems to have had the meaning "big" or "great", particularly in reference to leaders. It has been tentatively linked with the title khan used by the nomads of Manchuria and Central Asia.

In North Korea, China, Vietnam and Japan, Korea as a whole is referred to as (조선, Joseon, [tɕosʰʌn], (朝鲜), Jīusīn, Cháoxiǎn, (朝鮮), Chōsen, Triều Tiên (朝鮮) lit. "[land of the] Morning Calm"). "Great Joseon" was the name of the kingdom ruled by the Joseon dynasty from 1393 until their declaration of the short-lived Great Korean Empire in 1897. King Taejo had named them for the earlier Kojoseon (고조선), who ruled northern Korea from its legendary prehistory until their conquest in 108 BC by China's Han Empire. This go is the Hanja and simply means "ancient" or "old"; it is a modern usage to distinguish the ancient Joseon from the later dynasty. Joseon itself is the modern Korean pronunciation of the Hanja 朝鮮 but it is unclear whether this was a transcription of a native Korean name (OC*T[r]awser, MCTrjewsjen[14]) or a partial translation into Chinese of the Korean capital Asadal (아사달), [20] whose meaning has been reconstructed as "Morning Land" or "Mountain".

History

Prehistory and Gojoseon

The Korean Academy claimed ancient hominid fossils originating from about 100,000 BC in the lava at a stone city site in Korea. Fluorescent and high-magnetic analyses indicate the volcanic fossils may be from as early as 300,000 BC.[21] The best preserved Korean pottery goes back to the paleolithic times around 10,000 BC and the Neolithic period begins around 6000 BC.

According to legend, Dangun, a descendant of Heaven, established Gojoseon in 2333 BC. In 108 BC, the Han dynasty defeated Gojoseon and installed four commanderies in the northern Korean peninsula. Three of the commanderies fell or retreated westward within a few decades, but the Lelang commandery remained as a center of cultural and economic exchange with successive Chinese dynasties for four centuries. By 313, Goguryeo annexed all of the Chinese commanderies.

Proto–Three Kingdoms

The Proto–Three Kingdoms period, sometimes called the Multiple States Period, is the earlier part of what is commonly called the Three Kingdoms Period, following the fall of Gojoseon but before Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla fully developed into kingdoms.

This time period saw numerous states spring up from the former territories of Gojoseon, which encompassed northern Korea and southern Manchuria. With the fall of Gojoseon, southern Korea entered the Samhan period.

Located in the southern part of the Korean Peninsula, Samhan refers to the three confederacies of Mahan, Jinhan, and Byeonhan. Mahan was the largest and consisted of 54 states. Byeonhan and Jinhan both consisted of twelve states, bringing a total of 78 states within the Samhan. These three confederacies eventually developed into Baekje, Silla, and Gaya.

Three Kingdoms

7th century painting of Koreans
7th century Tang dynasty painting of envoys from the Three Kingdoms of Korea: Baekje, Goguryeo, and Silla

The Three Kingdoms of Korea consisted of Goguryeo, Silla, and Baekje. Silla and Baekje controlled the southern half of the Korean Peninsula, maintaining the former Samhan territories, while Goguryeo controlled the northern half of the Korean Peninsula, Manchuria and the Liaodong Peninsula, uniting Buyeo, Okjeo, Dongye, and other states in the former Gojoseon territories.[22]

Goguryeo was a highly militaristic state;[23][24] it was a powerful empire and one of the great powers in East Asia,[25][26][27][28] reaching its zenith in the 5th century when its territories expanded to encompass most of Manchuria to the north, parts of Inner Mongolia to the west,[29] parts of Russia to the east,[30] and the Seoul region to the south.[31] Goguryeo experienced a golden age under Gwanggaeto the Great and his son Jangsu,[32][33][34][35] who both subdued Baekje and Silla during their times, achieving a brief unification of the Three Kingdoms of Korea and becoming the most dominant power on the Korean Peninsula.[36][37] In addition to contesting for control of the Korean Peninsula, Goguryeo had many military conflicts with various Chinese dynasties,[38] most notably the Goguryeo-Sui War, in which Goguryeo defeated a huge force said to number over a million men.[39][40][41][42][43] In 642, the powerful general Yeon Gaesomun led a coup and gained complete control over Goguryeo. In response, Emperor Tang Taizong of China led a campaign against Goguryeo, but was defeated and retreated.[44][45] After the death of Tang Taizong, his son Emperor Tang Gaozong allied with the Korean kingdom of Silla and invaded Goguryeo again, but was unable to overcome Goguryeo's stalwart defenses and was defeated in 662.[46][47] However, Yeon Gaesomun died of a natural cause in 666 and Goguryeo was thrown into chaos and weakened by a succession struggle among his sons and younger brother, with his eldest son defecting to Tang and his younger brother defecting to Silla.[48][49] The Tang-Silla alliance finally conquered Goguryeo in 668. After the collapse of Goguryeo, Tang and Silla ended their alliance and fought over control of the Korean Peninsula. Silla succeeded in gaining control over most of the Korean Peninsula, while Tang gained control over Goguryeo's northern territories. However, 30 years after the fall of Goguryeo, a Goguryeo general by the name of Dae Joyeong founded the Korean-Mohe state of Balhae and successfully expelled the Tang presence from much of the former Goguryeo territories.

The southwestern Korean kingdom of Baekje was founded around modern-day Seoul by a Goguryeo prince, a son of the founder of Goguryeo.[50][51][52] Baekje absorbed all of the Mahan states and subjugated most of the western Korean peninsula (including the modern provinces of Gyeonggi, Chungcheong, and Jeolla, as well as parts of Hwanghae and Gangwon) to a centralised government; during the expansion of its territory, Baekje acquired Chinese culture and technology through maritime contacts with the Southern Dynasties. Baekje was a great maritime power;[53] its nautical skill, which made it the Phoenicia of East Asia, was instrumental in the dissemination of Buddhism throughout East Asia and continental culture to Japan.[54][55] Historic evidence suggests that Japanese culture, art, and language were influenced by the kingdom of Baekje and Korea itself;[28][56][57][58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65][66] Baekje also played an important role in transmitting advanced Chinese culture to the Japanese archipelago. Baekje was once a great military power on the Korean Peninsula, most notably in the 4th century during the rule of Geunchogo when its influence extended across the sea to Liaoxi and Shandong in China, taking advantage of the weakened state of Former Qin, and Kyushu in the Japanese archipelago;[67] however, Baekje was critically defeated by Gwanggaeto the Great and declined.[68]

Three Kingdoms of Korea Map
The Three Kingdoms of Korea, at the end of the 5th century

Although later records claim that Silla was the oldest of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, it is now believed to have been the last kingdom to develop. By the 2nd century, Silla existed as a large state in the southeast, occupying and influencing its neighboring city-states. In 562, Silla annexed the Gaya confederacy which was located between Baekje and Silla. The Three Kingdoms of Korea often warred with each other and Silla was often dominated by Baekje and Goguryeo. Silla was the smallest and weakest of the three, but it used cunning diplomatic means to make opportunistic pacts and alliances with the more powerful Korean kingdoms, and eventually Tang China, to its great advantage.[69][70] In 660, King Muyeol ordered his armies to attack Baekje. General Kim Yu-shin, aided by Tang forces, conquered Baekje after defeating General Gyebaek at the Battle of Hwangsanbeol. In 661, Silla and Tang attacked Goguryeo but were repelled. King Munmu, son of Muyeol and nephew of General Kim Yu-shin, launched another campaign in 667 and Goguryeo fell in the following year.

North-South States Period

Beginning in the 6th century, Silla's power gradually extended across the Korean Peninsula. Silla first annexed the adjacent Gaya confederacy in 562. By the 640s, Silla formed an alliance with the Tang Dynasty of China to conquer Baekje and later Goguryeo. After conquering Baekje and Goguryeo, Silla repulsed Tang China from the Korean peninsula in 676. Even though Silla unified most of the Korean Peninsula, most of the Goguryeo territories to the north of the Korean Peninsula were ruled by Balhae. Former Goguryeo general[71][72] or chief of Sumo Mohe[73][74][75] Dae Jo-yeong led a group of Goguryeo and Mohe refugees to the Jilin and founded the kingdom of Balhae, 30 years after the collapse of Goguryeo, as the successor to Goguryeo. At its height, Balhae's territories extended from southern Manchuria down to the northern Korean peninsula. Balhae was called the "Prosperous Country in the East".[76]

Unified Silla and Balhae (8th Century) (4261052261)
Unified Silla and Balhae in the 8th century AD

Later Silla carried on the maritime prowess of Baekje, which acted like the Phoenicia of medieval East Asia,[77] and during the 8th and 9th centuries dominated the seas of East Asia and the trade between China, Korea and Japan, most notably during the time of Jang Bogo; in addition, Silla people made overseas communities in China on the Shandong Peninsula and the mouth of the Yangtze River.[78][79][80][81] Later Silla was a prosperous and wealthy country,[82] and its metropolitan capital of Gyeongju[83] was the fourth largest city in the world.[84][85][86][87] Later Silla was a golden age of art and culture,[88][89][90][91] as evidenced by the Hwangnyongsa, Seokguram, and Emille Bell. Buddhism flourished during this time, and many Korean Buddhists gained great fame among Chinese Buddhists[92] and contributed to Chinese Buddhism,[93] including: Woncheuk, Wonhyo, Uisang, Musang,[94][95][96][97] and Kim Gyo-gak, a Silla prince whose influence made Mount Jiuhua one of the Four Sacred Mountains of Chinese Buddhism.[98][99][100][101][102]

Later Silla fell apart in the late 9th century, giving way to the tumultuous Later Three Kingdoms period (892–935), and Balhae was destroyed by the Khitans in 926. Goryeo unified the Later Three Kingdoms and received the last crown prince and much of the ruling class of Balhae, thus bringing about a unification of the two successor nations of Goguryeo.[103]

Goryeo dynasty

Goryeo was founded in 918 and replaced Silla as the ruling dynasty of Korea. Goryeo's land was at first what is now South Korea and about 1/3 of North Korea, but later on managed to recover most of the Korean peninsula. Momentarily, Goryeo advanced to parts of Jiandao while conquering the Jurchens, but returned the territories due to the harsh climate and difficulties in defending them. The name "Goryeo" (高麗) is a short form of "Goguryeo" (高句麗) and was first used during the time of King Jangsu. Goryeo regarded itself as the successor of Goguryeo, hence its name and efforts to recover the former territories of Goguryeo.[104][105][106][107] Wang Geon, the founder of Goryeo, was of Goguryeo descent and traced his ancestry to a noble Goguryeo clan.[108] He made Kaesong, his hometown, the capital.

During this period, laws were codified and a civil service system was introduced. Buddhism flourished and spread throughout the peninsula. The development of celadon industries flourished in the 12th and 13th centuries. The publication of the Tripitaka Koreana onto more than 80,000 wooden blocks and the invention of the world's first metal movable type in the 13th century attest to Goryeo's cultural achievements.[6][7][8][9][10][11]

History of Korea-1374
Goryeo in 1374

Goryeo had to defend frequently against attacks by nomadic empires, especially the Khitans and the Mongols. Goryeo had a hostile relationship with the Khitans, because the Khitan Empire had destroyed Balhae, also a successor state of Goguryeo. In 993, the Khitans, who had established the Liao dynasty in 907, invaded Goryeo, demanding that it make amity with them. Goryeo sent the diplomat Seo Hui to negotiate, who successfully persuaded the Khitans to let Goryeo expand to the banks of the Amnok River, citing that in the past the land belonged to Goguryeo, the predecessor of Goryeo.[109] During the Goryeo–Khitan War, the Khitan Empire invaded Korea twice more in 1009 and 1018, but was defeated.

After defeating the Khitan Empire, which was the most powerful empire of its time,[110][111] Goryeo experienced a golden age that lasted a century, during which the Tripitaka Koreana was completed, and there were great developments in printing and publishing, promoting learning and dispersing knowledge on philosophy, literature, religion, and science; by 1100, there were 12 universities that produced famous scholars and scientists.[112][113]

Goryeo was invaded by the Mongols in seven major campaigns from the 1230s until the 1270s, but was never conquered.[114] Exhausted after decades of fighting, Goryeo sent its crown prince to the Yuan capital to swear allegiance to the Mongols; Kublai Khan accepted, and married one of his daughters to the Korean crown prince,[114] and the dynastic line of Goryeo continued to survive under the overlordship of the Mongol Yuan dynasty as a semi-autonomous vassal state and compulsory ally. The two nations became intertwined for 80 years as all subsequent Korean kings married Mongol princesses,[114] and the last empress of the Yuan dynasty was a Korean princess.[115]

In the 1350s, King Gongmin was free at last to reform the Goryeo government when the Yuan dynasty began to crumble. Gongmin had various problems that needed to be dealt with, which included the removal of pro-Mongol aristocrats and military officials, the question of land holding, and quelling the growing animosity between the Buddhists and Confucian scholars. During this tumultuous period, Goryeo momentarily conquered Liaoyang in 1356, repulsed two large invasions by the Red Turbans in 1359 and 1360, and defeated the final attempt by the Yuan to dominate Goryeo when General Choe Yeong defeated a Mongol tumen in 1364. During the 1380s, Goryeo turned its attention to the Wokou threat and used naval artillery created by Choe Museon to annihilate hundreds of pirate ships.

Joseon dynasty

In 1392, the general Yi Seong-gye overthrew the Goryeo dynasty after he staged a coup and defeated General Choe Yeong. Yi Seong-gye named his new dynasty Joseon and moved the capital from Kaesong to Hanseong (formerly Hanyang; modern-day Seoul) and built the Gyeongbokgung palace.[116] In 1394, he adopted Confucianism as the country's official ideology, resulting in much loss of power and wealth by the Buddhists. The prevailing philosophy of the Joseon dynasty was Neo-Confucianism, which was epitomized by the seonbi class, scholars who passed up positions of wealth and power to lead lives of study and integrity.

Joseon was a nominal tributary state of China but exercised full sovereignty,[117][118] and maintained the highest position among China's tributary states,[119][120] which also included countries such as the Ryukyu Kingdom, Vietnam, Burma, Brunei, Laos, Thailand,[121][122][123] and the Philippines, among others.[124][125] In addition, Joseon received tribute from Jurchens and Japanese until the 17th century,[126][127][128] and had a small enclave in the Ryukyu Kingdom that engaged in trade with Siam and Java.[129]

During the 15th and 16th centuries, Joseon enjoyed many benevolent rulers who promoted education and science.[130] Most notable among them was Sejong the Great (r. 1418–50), who personally created and promulgated Hangul, the Korean alphabet.[131] This golden age[130] saw great cultural and scientific advancements,[132] including in printing, meteorological observation, astronomy, calendar science, ceramics, military technology, geography, cartography, medicine, and agricultural technology, some of which were unrivaled elsewhere.[133] Joseon implemented a class system that consisted of yangban the noble class, jungin the middle class, yangin the common class, and cheonin the lowest class, which included occupations such as butchers, tanners, shamans, entertainers, and nobi, the equivalent of slaves, bondservants, or serfs.[134][135]

In 1592 and again in 1597, the Japanese invaded Korea; the Korean military at the time was unprepared and untrained, due to two centuries of peace on the Korean Peninsula.[136] Toyotomi Hideyoshi intended to conquer China and India[137] through the Korean Peninsula, but was defeated by strong resistance from the Righteous Army, the naval superiority of Admiral Yi Sun-sin and his turtle ships, and assistance from Wanli Emperor of Ming China. However, Joseon experienced great destruction, including a tremendous loss of cultural sites such as temples and palaces to Japanese pillaging, and the Japanese brought back to Japan an estimated 100,000–200,000 noses cut from Korean victims.[138] Less than 30 years after the Japanese invasions, the Manchus took advantage of Joseon's war-weakened state and invaded in 1627 and 1637, and then went on to conquer the destabilized Ming dynasty.

After normalizing relations with the new Qing dynasty, Joseon experienced a nearly 200-year period of peace. Kings Yeongjo and Jeongjo led a new renaissance of the Joseon dynasty during the 18th century.[139][140]

In the 19th century, the royal in-law families gained control of the government, leading to mass corruption and weakening of the state, with severe poverty and peasant rebellions spreading throughout the country. Furthermore, the Joseon government adopted a strict isolationist policy, earning the nickname "the hermit kingdom", but ultimately failed to protect itself against imperialism and was forced to open its borders, beginning an era leading into Japanese imperial rule.

Korean Empire

Taegukgi
The earliest surviving depiction of the Korean flag was printed in a US Navy book Flags of Maritime Nations in July 1889.

Beginning in 1871, Japan began to exert more influence in Korea, forcing it out of China's traditional sphere of influence. As a result of the Sino-Japanese War (1894–95), the Qing dynasty had to give up such a position according to Article 1 of the Treaty of Shimonoseki, which was concluded between China and Japan in 1895. That same year, Empress Myeongseong of Korea was assassinated by Japanese agents.[141]

In 1897, the Joseon dynasty proclaimed the Korean Empire (1897–1910). King Gojong became an emperor. During this brief period, Korea had some success in modernizing the military, economy, real property laws, education system, and various industries. Russia, Japan, France, and the United States all invested in the country and sought to influence it politically.

In 1904, the Russo-Japanese War pushed the Russians out of the fight for Korea. In Manchuria on 26 October 1909, An Jung-geun assassinated the former Resident-General of Korea, Itō Hirobumi, for his role in trying to force Korea into occupation.

Japanese occupation and Japan-Korea Annexation

March 1st movement
The memorial tablet for the March 1st movement in Pagoda Park, Seoul

In 1910, an already militarily occupied Korea was a forced party to the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty. The treaty was signed by Lee Wan-Yong, who was given the General Power of Attorney by the Emperor. However, the Emperor is said to have not actually ratified the treaty according to Yi Tae-jin.[142] There is a long dispute whether this treaty was legal or illegal due to its signing under duress, threat of force and bribes.

Korean resistance to the brutal Japanese occupation[143][144][145] was manifested in the nonviolent March 1st Movement of 1919, during which 7,000 demonstrators were killed by Japanese police and military.[146] The Korean liberation movement also spread to neighbouring Manchuria and Siberia.

Over five million Koreans were conscripted for labour beginning in 1939,[147] and tens of thousands of men were forced into Japan's military.[148] Nearly 400,000 Korean labourers died.[149] Approximately 200,000 girls and women,[150] mostly from China and Korea, were forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese military.[151] In 1993, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono acknowledged the terrible injustices faced by these euphemistically named "comfort women".[152][153]

During the Japanese annexation, the Korean language was suppressed in an effort to eradicate Korean national identity. Koreans were forced to take Japanese surnames, known as Sōshi-kaimei.[154] Traditional Korean culture suffered heavy losses, as numerous Korean cultural artifacts were destroyed[155] or taken to Japan.[156] To this day, valuable Korean artifacts can often be found in Japanese museums or among private collections.[157] One investigation by the South Korean government identified 75,311 cultural assets that were taken from Korea, 34,369 in Japan and 17,803 in the United States. However, experts estimate that over 100,000 artifacts actually remain in Japan.[156][158] Japanese officials considered returning Korean cultural properties, but to date[156] this has not occurred.[158] Korea and Japan still dispute the ownership of the Dokdo, islets located east of the Korean Peninsula.[159]

There was a significant level of emigration to the overseas territories of the Empire of Japan during the Japanese occupation period, including Korea.[160] By the end of World War II, there were over 850,000 Japanese settlers in Korea.[161] After World War II, most of these overseas Japanese repatriated to Japan.

Division

Flag of North Korea
Flag of North Korea
Flag of South Korea
Flag of South Korea

In 1945, with the surrender of Japan, the United Nations developed plans for a trusteeship administration, the Soviet Union administering the peninsula north of the 38th parallel and the United States administering the south. The politics of the Cold War resulted in the 1948 establishment of two separate governments, North Korea and South Korea.

Korea at night
Satellite image of the Korean peninsula taken at night showing the extent of the division between the Koreas; note the difference in light emitted between the two countries

The aftermath of World War II left Korea partitioned along the 38th parallel, with the north under Soviet occupation and the south under US occupation supported by other allied states. Consequently, North Korea, a Soviet-style socialist republic was established in the north and South Korea; a Western-style regime, was established in the South.

North Korea is a one-party state, now centred on Kim Il-sung's Juche ideology, with a centrally planned industrial economy. South Korea is a multi-party state with a capitalist market economy, alongside membership in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Group of Twenty. The two states have greatly diverged both culturally and economically since their partition, though they still share a common traditional culture and pre-Cold War history.

Since the 1960s, the South Korean economy has grown enormously and the economic structure was radically transformed. In 1957, South Korea had a lower per capita GDP than Ghana,[162] and by 2008 it was 17 times as high as Ghana's.[a]

According to R.J. Rummel, forced labor, executions, and concentration camps were responsible for over one million deaths in North Korea from 1948 to 1987;[164] others have estimated 400,000 deaths in concentration camps alone.[165] Estimates based on the most recent North Korean census suggest that 240,000 to 420,000 people died as a result of the 1990s famine and that there were 600,000 to 850,000 unnatural deaths in North Korea from 1993 to 2008.[166] It's misleading, however, to hold that North Korea was the sole or primary perpetrator of human rights abuses. As guerrilla activities expanded everywhere in South Korea, the South Korean government used strong measures against peasants, such as forcefully moving their families from guerrilla areas. The losses incurred from that terror were: 36,000 people killed; 11,000 people wounded; and 432,000 people displaced.[167]

Korean War

KoreanWar recover Seoul
Urban combat in Seoul, 1950, as U.S. Marines fight North Koreans holding the city.

The Korean War broke out when Soviet-backed North Korea invaded South Korea, though neither side gained much territory as a result. The Korean Peninsula remained divided, the Korean Demilitarized Zone being the de facto border between the two states.

In June 1950 North Korea invaded the South, using Soviet tanks and weaponry. During the Korean War (1950–53) more than 1.2 million people died and the three years of fighting throughout the nation effectively destroyed most cities.[168] The war ended in an Armistice Agreement at approximately the Military Demarcation Line, but the two governments are officially at war. In 2018, the leaders of North Korea and South Korea officially signed the Panmunjom Declaration, announcing that they will work to end the conflict.

List of heads of state (since 1897)

Korean Empire (1897 ~ 1910)
Emperor Gojong 1897 October 12 ~ 1907 July 20
Emperor Sunjong 1907 July 20 ~ 1910 August 29
Republic of Korea (1948 ~)
President Syngman Rhee 1948 July 24 ~ 1960 April 26
President Yun Posun 1960 August 13 ~ 1962 March 23
President Park Chung-hee 1963 December 17 ~ 1979 October 26
President Choi Kyu-hah 1979 December 6 ~ 1980 August 16
President Chun Doo-hwan 1980 September 1 ~ 1988 February 24
President Roh Tae-woo 1988 February 25 ~ 1993 February 24
President Kim Young-sam 1993 February 25 ~ 1998 February 24
President Kim Dae-jung 1998 February 25 ~ 2003 February 24
President Roh Moo-hyun 2003 February 25 ~ 2008 February 24
President Lee Myung-bak 2008 February 25 ~ 2013 February 24
President Park Geun-hye 2013 February 25 ~ 2017 March 10
President Moon Jae-in 2017 May 10 ~
  • The name "Korea" is written as it started from 1897.

Demographics

The combined population of the Koreas is about 76 million (North Korea: 25 million, South Korea: 51 million). Korea is chiefly populated by a highly homogeneous ethnic group, the Koreans, who speak the Korean language.[169] The number of foreigners living in Korea has also steadily increased since the late 20th century, particularly in South Korea, where more than 1 million foreigners reside.[170] It was estimated in 2006 that only 26,700 of the old Chinese community now remain in South Korea.[171] However, in recent years, immigration from mainland China has increased; 624,994 persons of Chinese nationality have immigrated to South Korea, including 443,566 of ethnic Korean descent.[172] Small communities of ethnic Chinese and Japanese are also found in North Korea.[173]

Language

Hunmin jeong-eum
Hunminjeongeum, afterwards called Hangul.

Korean is the official language of both North and South Korea, and (along with Mandarin) of Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in the Manchuria area of China. Worldwide, there are up to 80 million speakers of the Korean language. South Korea has around 50 million speakers while North Korea around 25 million. Other large groups of Korean speakers through Korean diaspora are found in China, the United States, Japan, former Soviet Union and elsewhere.

The classification of Korean is debated. Some linguists place it in the Altaic language family; others consider it to be a language isolate. Korean is agglutinative in its morphology and SOV in its syntax. Like Japanese and Vietnamese, Korean has borrowed much vocabulary from the Chinese or created vocabulary on Chinese models.

Modern Korean is written almost exclusively in the script of the Korean alphabet (known as Hangul in South Korea and Chosungul in China and North Korea), which was invented in the 15th century. Korean is sometimes written with the addition of some Chinese characters called Hanja; however, this is only occasionally seen nowadays. While Hangul may appear logographic, it is actually a phonemic alphabet organised into syllabic blocks. Each block consists of at least two of the 24 hangul letters (jamo): at least one each of the 14 consonants and 10 vowels. Historically, the alphabet had several additional letters (see obsolete jamo). For a phonological description of the letters, see Korean phonology.

Culture and arts

Location of World Heritage Sites in Korea.[174][175]
Note: Seoul is home to three separate properties; Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty locate throughout the country, only one site is shown on map.
Korea south kangnung kyongpodae
Korean Buddhist architecture
Korean sword dance-Jinju geommu-03
Traditional Korean dance (Jinju geommu)

In ancient Chinese texts, Korea is referred to as "Rivers and Mountains Embroidered on Silk" (금수강산, ) and "Eastern Nation of Decorum" (동방예의지국, ).[176] Individuals are regarded as one year old when they are born, as Koreans reckon the pregnancy period as one year of life for infants, and age increments increase on New Year's Day rather than on the anniversary of birthdays. Thus, one born immediately before New Year's Day may only be a few days old in western reckoning, but two years old in Korea. Accordingly, a Korean person's stated age (at least among fellow Koreans) will be one or two years more than their age according to western reckoning. However, western reckoning is sometimes applied with regard to the concept of legal age; for example, the legal age for purchasing alcohol or cigarettes in the Republic of Korea is 19, which is measured according to western reckoning.

Literature

Korean literature written before the end of the Joseon Dynasty is called "Classical" or "Traditional." Literature, written in Chinese characters (hanja), was established at the same time as the Chinese script arrived on the peninsula. Korean scholars were writing poetry in the classical Korean style as early as the 2nd century BC, reflecting Korean thoughts and experiences of that time. Classical Korean literature has its roots in traditional folk beliefs and folk tales of the peninsula, strongly influenced by Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism.

Modern literature is often linked with the development of hangul, which helped spread literacy from the aristocracy to the common people. Hangul, however, only reached a dominant position in Korean literature in the second half of the 19th century, resulting in a major growth in Korean literature. Sinsoseol, for instance, are novels written in hangul.

The Korean War led to the development of literature centered on the wounds and chaos of war. Much of the post-war literature in South Korea deals with the daily lives of ordinary people, and their struggles with national pain. The collapse of the traditional Korean value system is another common theme of the time.

Music

Traditional Korean music includes combinations of the folk, vocal, religious and ritual music styles of the Korean people. Korean music has been practiced since prehistoric times.[177] Korean music falls into two broad categories. The first, Hyangak, literally means The local music or Music native to Korea, a famous example of which is Sujechon, a piece of instrumental music often claimed to be at least 1,300 years old.[178] The second, yangak, represents a more Western style.

Religion

Goryeo Buddhist painting
Amitabha and Eight Great Bodhisattvas, Goryeo scroll from the 1300s

Confucian tradition has dominated Korean thought, along with contributions by Buddhism, Taoism, and Korean Shamanism. Since the middle of the 20th century, however, Christianity has competed with Buddhism in South Korea, while religious practice has been suppressed in North Korea. Throughout Korean history and culture, regardless of separation; the influence of traditional beliefs of Korean Shamanism, Mahayana Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism have remained an underlying religion of the Korean people as well as a vital aspect of their culture; all these traditions have coexisted peacefully for hundreds of years up to today despite strong Westernisation from Christian missionary conversions in the South[179][180][181] or the pressure from the Juche government in the North.[182][183]

According to 2005 statistics compiled by the South Korean government, about 46% of citizens profess to follow no particular religion. Christians account for 29.2% of the population (of which are Protestants 18.3% and Catholics 10.9%) and Buddhists 22.8%.[184]

Islam in South Korea is practiced by about 45,000 natives (about 0.09% of the population) in addition to some 100,000 foreign workers from Muslim countries.[185]

Cuisine

Tteokbokki
Tteokbokki, rice cakes with spicy gochujang sauce.

Koreans traditionally believe that the taste and quality of food depend on its spices and sauces, the essential ingredients to making a delicious meal. Therefore, soybean paste, soy sauce, gochujang or red pepper paste and kimchi are some of the most important staples in a Korean household.

Korean cuisine was greatly influenced by the geography and climate of the Korean Peninsula, which is known for its cold autumns and winters, therefore there are many fermented dishes and hot soups and stews.

Korean barbecue and side dishes
Bulgogi and side dishes

Korean cuisine is probably best known for kimchi, a side dish which uses a distinctive fermentation process of preserving vegetables, most commonly cabbage. Kimchi is said to relieve the pores on the skin, thereby reducing wrinkles and providing nutrients to the skin naturally. It is also healthy, as it provides necessary vitamins and nutrients. Gochujang, a traditional Korean sauce made of red pepper is also commonly used, often as pepper (chilli) paste, earning the cuisine a reputation for spiciness.

Bulgogi (roasted marinated meat, usually beef), galbi (marinated grilled short ribs), and samgyeopsal (pork belly) are popular meat entrees. Fish is also a popular commodity, as it is the traditional meat that Koreans eat. Meals are usually accompanied by a soup or stew, such as galbitang (stewed ribs) or doenjang jjigae (fermented bean paste soup). The center of the table is filled with a shared collection of sidedishes called banchan.

Other popular dishes include bibimbap which literally means "mixed rice" (rice mixed with meat, vegetables, and red pepper paste) and naengmyeon (cold noodles).[186][187]

Instant noodles or ramyeon are a popular snack food and Koreans also enjoy food from pojangmachas (street vendors), where customers can buy tteokbokki (rice cake and fish cake with a spicy gochujang sauce), gimbap made of steamed white rice wrapped in dried laver seaweed as well as fried squid and glazed sweet potato. Soondae, a sausage made of cellophane noodles and pork blood, is widely eaten.

Additionally, some other common snacks include "Choco Pie", shrimp crackers, "bbeongtwigi" (puffed rice grains), and "nurungji" (slightly burnt rice). Nurungji can be eaten as it is or boiled with water to make a soup. Nurungji can also be eaten as a snack or a dessert.

Korea is unique among Asian countries in its use of metal chopsticks. Metal chopsticks have been discovered in archaeological sites belonging to the ancient Korean kingdoms of Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla.

Education

The modern South Korean school system consists of six years in elementary school, three years in middle school, and three years in high school. Students are required to go to elementary and middle school, and do not have to pay for their education, except for a small fee called a "School Operation Support Fee" that differs from school to school. The Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the OECD, ranks South Korea's science education as the third best in the world and being significantly higher than the OECD average.[188]

South Korea ranks second on math and literature and first in problem solving. Although South Korean students often rank high on international comparative assessments, the education system is criticised for emphasising too much upon passive learning and memorization. The South Korean education system is rather notably strict and structured as compared to its counterparts in most Western societies. Also, the prevalence of non-school for-profit private institutes such as academies or cram schools (Hagwon [학원]), which too emphasise passive memorisation, as opposed to conceptual understanding, in students are criticised as a major social problem. After students enter university, however, the situation is markedly reversed. In Korea, university is hard to enter, and graduation is comparatively easier than entry.

The North Korean education system consists primarily of universal and state funded schooling by the government. The national literacy rate for citizens 15 years of age and above is over 99 percent.[189][190] Children go through one year of kindergarten, four years of primary education, six years of secondary education, and then on to universities. The most prestigious university in the DPRK is Kim Il-sung University. Other notable universities include Kim Chaek University of Technology, which focuses on computer science, Pyongyang University of Foreign Studies, which trains working level diplomats and trade officials, and Kim Hyong Jik University, which trains teachers.

Outside the formal structure of schools and classrooms in the north is the extremely important "social education". This education includes not only extracurricular activities but also family life and the broadest range of human relationships within society. There is great sensitivity to the influence of the social environment on the growing child and its role in the development of his or her character. The ideal of social education is to provide a carefully controlled environment in which children are exposed only to pro-Juche and anti-south influences. According to a North Korean official interviewed in 1990, 'School education is not enough to turn the rising generation into men of knowledge, virtue, and physical fitness. After school, our children have many spare hours. So it's important to efficiently organise their afterschool education'.

Science and technology

Korean book-Jikji-Selected Teachings of Buddhist Sages and Seon Masters-1377
Jikji, Selected Teachings of Buddhist Sages and Seon Masters, the earliest known book printed with movable metal type, 1377. Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris.

One of the best known artifacts of Korea's history of science and technology is the Cheomseongdae (첨성대, ), a 9.4-meter high observatory built in 634.

The earliest known surviving Korean example of woodblock printing is the Mugujeonggwang Great Dharani Sutra.[191] It is believed to have been printed in Korea in 750–51, which if correct, would make it older than the Diamond Sutra.

During the Goryeo Dynasty, metal movable type printing was invented by Choe Yun-ui in 1234.[192][8][193][194][11][6] This invention made printing easier, more efficient and also increased literacy, which observed by Chinese visitors was seen to be so important where it was considered to be shameful to not be able to read.[195] The Mongol Empire later adopted Korea's movable type printing and spread as far as Central Asia. There is conjecture as to whether or not Choe's invention had any influence on later printing inventions such as Gutenberg's Printing press.[196] When the Mongols invaded Europe they inadvertently introduced different kinds of Asian technology.

During the Joseon period, the Turtle Ship was invented, which were covered by a wooden deck and iron with thorns,[197][198][199] as well as other weapons such as the bigyeokjincheolloe cannon (비격진천뢰, ) and the hwacha.

The Korean alphabet hangul was also invented during this time by King Sejong the Great.

Sport

North Korea and South Korea usually compete as two separate nations in international events. There are, however, a few examples of them having competed as one entity, under the name Korea.

While association football remains one of the most popular sports in South Korea, the martial art of taekwondo is considered to be the national sport. Baseball and golf are also popular.

Taekwon-Do

Taekwon-Do is Korea's most famous martial art and sport. It combines combat techniques, self-defence, sport and exercise. Taekwon-Do has become an official Olympic sport, starting as a demonstration event in 1988 (when South Korea hosted the Games in Seoul) and becoming an official medal event in 2000. The two major Taekwon-Do federations were founded in Korea. The two are the International Taekwon-Do Federation and the World Taekwondo Federation.

Hapkido

Hapkido is a modern Korean martial art with a grappling focus that employs joint locks, throws, kicks, punches and other striking attacks like attacks against pressure points. Hapkido emphasizes circular motion, non-resisting movements and control of the opponent. Practitioners seek to gain advantage through footwork and body positioning to employ leverage, avoiding the pure use of strength against strength.

Ssireum

Ssireum is a traditional form of wrestling that has been practiced in Korea for thousands of years, with evidence discovered from Goguryeo of Korea's Three Kingdoms Period (57 BC to 688). Ssireum is the traditional national sport of Korea. During a match, opponents grip each other by sash belts wrapped around the waist and the thigh, attempting to throw their competitor to the sandy ground of the ring. The first opponent to touch the ground with any body part above the knee or to lose hold of their opponent loses the round.

Ssireum competitions are traditionally held twice a year, during the Dano Festival (the 5th day of the fifth lunar month) and Chuseok (the 15th day of the 8th lunar month). Competitions are also held throughout the year as a part of festivals and other events.

Comparison of the two countries of Korea

Indicator North Korea South Korea
Capital Pyongyang Seoul
Official languages Korean
Official scripts Chosŏn'gŭl Hangul
Government Juche single-party state Representative democracy
Formal declaration 9 September 1948 15 August 1948
Area 120,540 km2 100,210 km2
Population (2014/2013 est.) 24,851,627 50,219,669
GDP total (2011/2014 est.) $40 billion $1.755 trillion
GDP/capita (2011/2014 est.) $1,800 $34,777
Currency Korean People's won (sign: ₩, ISO: KPW) Korean Republic won (₩, KRW)
Calling code +850 +82
Internet TLD .kp .kr
Drives on the right
Active military personnel 1,106,000 639,000
Military expenditure (2010/2012) $10 billion $30 billion

Notable public holidays in South Korea

Independence Movement Day, March 1st

Samiljeol, Independence Movement Day, commemorates Korea's declaration of independence from Japanese occupation on March 1, 1919. The name is derived from Korean 삼 "sam" 'three', 일 "il" 'one,' and 절 "jeol" 'day', the date of the uprising in 1919. Korea was annexed to the Empire of Japan on August 29, 1910 following the imposed Japan-Korea Treaty. On March 1, 1919, Korean presented their resistance towards Japan and Japanese occupation with a declaration of independence. Following the conclusion of World War II, Korea was liberated from Japan and its independence restored. The newly established Korean government set aside March 1 as a national holiday to commemorate the sacrifices borne in the long struggle for Korean independence.

Memorial day, June 6th

Hyunchoongil is the national holiday in Korea commemorating those who fought and died for the nation. In August 1948, only a few years after Korea achieved its independence from Japan, the Korean War, in Korea also known as the 6.25 war, broke out between North and South Korea. During this war, approximately 400,000 soldiers and some one million citizens were killed or injured. In 1953, North and South Korea agreed to a cease-fire, and three years later the Korean government established Hyungchoogil to commemorate the soldiers who fought in the Korean War. Subsequent to its establishment, Hyungchoogil was reinterpreted as a day of remembrance for those who died defending Korea in all conflicts, not only during the Korean War.

National Liberation Day, August 15th

Gwangbokjeol is the day for celebrating liberation of the country from Japan in 1945 as well as celebrating the establishment of Korean government in 1948. Gwangbok means "returned light" representing gaining national sovereignty from Japan. It was first declared to be national holiday in 1949 October 1. On this date every year, the president of Korea visits Independence Hall, and invites diplomatic envoys from many countries and all social standings in countries to Cheongwadae (the Blue House, the Korean presidential residence).

Hangul Day, October 9th

Hangul Day (also spelled as Hangeul Day) is a day that celebrates the creation of the Hunminjeongeum (Hangul, Korean alphabet), which was inscribed to the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in 1997.[200] Hangul was created by Sejong the Great in 1443 and proclaimed in 1446. Before the creation of Hangul, people in Korea (known as Joseon at the time) primarily wrote using Classical Chinese alongside native phonetic writing systems that predate Hangul by hundreds of years, including idu, hyangchal, gugyeol, and gakpil.[201][202][203][204] However, due to the fundamental differences between the Korean and Chinese languages, and the large number of characters needed to be learned, there was much difficulty in learning how to write using Chinese characters for the lower classes, who often didn't have the privilege of education. To assuage this problem, King Sejong created the unique alphabet known as Hangul to promote literacy among the common people.[205] Hangul Day was founded in 1926 during the Japanese occupation by members of the Korean Language Society, whose goal was to preserve the Korean language during a time of rapid forced Japanization.[206] Today, both South Korea and North Korea celebrate Hangul Day as a national holiday.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ $26,341 GDP for Korea, $1513 for Ghana.[163]

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  74. ^ Solitary Cloud 孤雲集(Gounjip): ... 其酋長大祚榮, 始受臣藩第五品大阿餐之秩
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Further reading

  • Chun, Tuk Chu. "Korea in the Pacific Community". Social Education 52 (March 1988), 182. EJ 368 177.
  • Cumings, Bruce. The Two Koreas. New York: Foreign Policy Association, 1984.
  • Oberdorfer, Don (2001). The Two Koreas: a Contemporary History. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0465051625. OCLC 47831650.
  • Focus On Asian Studies. Special Issue: "Korea: A Teacher's Guide". No. 1, Fall 1986.
  • Shin, Gi-Wook (1999), Robinson, Michael (ed.), Colonial modernity in Korea, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, Asia Center, ISBN 978-0-674-14255-8.
  • Hart, Dennis. From Tradition to Consumption: Construction of a Capitalist Culture in South Korea. Seoul: Jimoondang, 2003.
  • Jager, Sheila Miyoshi (2013). Brothers at War – The Unending Conflict in Korea. London: Profile Books. ISBN 978-1-84668-067-0.
  • Joe, W.J. & Choe, H.A. Traditional Korea: A Cultural History, Seoul: Hollym, 1997.
  • Joungwon, A.K. Divided Korea: The Politics of Development, Harvard University Press, 1975.
  • Lee Ki-baik. A New History of Korea. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1984.
  • Lee Sang-sup. "The Arts and Literature of Korea". The Social Studies 79 (July–August 1988): 153–60. EJ 376 894.
  • Pratt, Keith L (2006). Everlasting Flower: A History of Korea. London: Reaktion. ISBN 9781861892737. OCLC 63137295.
  • Tae-Jin, Y. "The Illegality of the Forced Treaties Leading to Japan's Annexation of the Great Han Empire", In the Korean National Commission for UNESCO, Vol. 36, No. 4, 1996.
  • The Gloucestershire Regiment and The Battle of the Imjin River, Korean War, UK: Glosters, archived from the original on 13 May 2008.
  • "How Does Korea Compare", OECD Health Data (PDF) (briefing note), Organisation For Economic Co-operation and Development, 2009.

External links

Coordinates: 38°19′N 127°14′E / 38.317°N 127.233°E

2002 FIFA World Cup

The 2002 FIFA World Cup was the 17th FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial world championship for men's national football teams organized by FIFA. It was held from 31 May to 30 June 2002 at sites in South Korea and Japan, with its final match hosted by Japan at International Stadium in Yokohama.

A field of 32 teams qualified for this World Cup, which was the first to be held in Asia, the first to be held outside of the Americas or Europe, as well as the first to be jointly-hosted by more than one nation. China, Ecuador, Senegal and Slovenia made their World Cup debuts.

The tournament had several upsets and surprise results, which included the defending champions France being eliminated in the group stage after earning a single point and second favourites Argentina also being eliminated in the group stage. South Korea managed to reach the semi-finals, beating Spain, Italy and Portugal en route. However, the most potent team at the tournament, Brazil, prevailed, winning the final against Germany 2–0, making them the first and only country to have won the World Cup five times. The victory qualified Brazil for the 2003 and subsequently 2005 FIFA Confederations Cups, its fourth and fifth Confederations Cup appearance in a row. In the third place play-off match against South Korea, Turkey won 3–2, taking third place in only their second ever FIFA World Cup.The 2002 World Cup was also the last one to use the golden goal rule.

BTS (band)

BTS (Hangul: 방탄소년단; RR: Bangtan Sonyeondan), also known as the Bangtan Boys, is a seven-member South Korean boy band formed by Big Hit Entertainment in 2013. The name became a backronym for Beyond the Scene in July 2017. The band won several New Artist of the Year awards for the track "No More Dream" and gained prominence with their subsequent albums Dark & Wild (2014), The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 2 (2015) and The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever (2016). The latter two entered the U.S. Billboard 200, and The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever won the Album of the Year award at the 2016 Melon Music Awards. The band has been named by various media outlets as "the biggest boy-band in the world". Their second full Korean album, Wings (2016), sold more than 1.5 million copies, making it BTS's first "million seller". BTS made their debut on the Billboard Hot 100 with the track "DNA" from the EP Love Yourself: Her, which peaked at #67. Another track from the EP, the remix version of "Mic Drop", peaked at #28 on the Billboard Hot 100. Both tracks are certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, a first for any Korean group and the second Korean act overall after Psy. Their third album, Love Yourself: Tear, debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 making them as of 2019 the first and only Korean act to achieve this. Love Yourself: Answer sold over 1.9 million copies on Gaon Album Chart in August 2018, breaking the chart's all-time monthly record previously set by Love Yourself: Tear. On November 9, 2018, Love Yourself: Answer became the first Korean album certified Gold and the single "MIC Drop" became the first track by a Korean group certified Platinum in the United States. In Korea they have sold over ten million albums, with five million sold in 2018.

Known for their large social media presence, BTS were the most retweeted celebrities in the world for 2017 and 2018. In October 2016, Billboard placed BTS #1 on their Social 50 chart, another first for a Korean group. In May 2017, they won the Top Social Artist Award at the Billboard Music Awards, becoming the first Korean group to win a BBMA. Guinness World Records noted that BTS had earned a spot in their 2018 edition for "having the world's most Twitter engagements for a music group". In 2018, BTS became #1 on the Forbes Korea Power Celebrity list, which ranks South Korea's most powerful and influential celebrities. They also became the youngest ever recipients of the Order of Cultural Merit from the South Korean government. In September 2018, BTS gave a speech at the United Nations as ambassadors for UNICEF and announced "Generation Unlimited", a new campaign focused on "youth development with empowering messages".They were also featured on the cover of Time magazine's international edition as 'Next Generation Leaders'. A December 2018 study conducted by the Hyundai Research Institute concluded that BTS are worth more than $3.6 billion USD to South Korea's economy each year, and were the reason one in every 13 foreign tourists visited the country earlier that year. In April 2019, they were named one of Time 100's most influential people of 2019.The septet co-writes and produces much of their output, to which some media outlets have attributed their success. Their music often features references to literature, paintings, and psychological concepts. In addition, there is an alternative universe storyline running through their music videos, called the BTS Universe, or BU. Some of the recurring themes that appear in their albums include mental health, the troubles of school-age youth, loss, the journey towards loving oneself, and individualism.

East Asia

East Asia is the eastern subregion of Asia, defined in either geographical or ethno-cultural terms. China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam belong to the East Asian cultural sphere. Geographically and geopolitically, the region includes China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, and South Korea.The region was the cradle of various ancient civilizations such as ancient China, ancient Japan, ancient Korea, and the Mongol Empire. East Asia was one of the cradles of world civilization, with China, an ancient East Asian civilization being one of the earliest cradles of civilization in human history. For thousands of years, China largely influenced East Asia as it was principally the leading civilization in the region exerting its enormous prestige and influence on its neighbors. Historically, societies in East Asia have been part of the Chinese cultural sphere, and East Asian vocabulary and scripts are often derived from Classical Chinese and Chinese script. The Chinese calendar preserves traditional East Asian culture and serves as the root to which many other East Asian calendars are derived from. Major religions in East Asia include Buddhism (mostly Mahayana), Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism, Taoism, Ancestral worship, and Chinese folk religion in Greater China, Buddhism and Shintoism in Japan, and Christianity, Buddhism, and Sindoism in Korea. Shamanism is also prevalent among Mongols and other indigenous populations of northern East Asia such as the Manchus.East Asians comprise around 1.6 billion people, making up about 38% of the population in Continental Asia and 22% of the global population. The region is home to major world metropolises such as Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei, and Tokyo. Although the coastal and riparian areas of the region form one of the world's most populated places, the population in Mongolia and Western China, both landlocked areas, is very sparsely distributed, with Mongolia having the lowest population density of any sovereign state. The overall population density of the region is 133 inhabitants per square kilometre (340/sq mi), about three times the world average of 45/km2 (120/sq mi).

Exo (band)

Exo (Korean: 엑소; stylized as EXO) is a South Korean–Chinese boy band based in Seoul, with nine members: Xiumin, Suho, Lay, Baekhyun, Chen, Chanyeol, D.O., Kai and Sehun. The band was formed by SM Entertainment in 2011 and debuted in 2012. Their music incorporates genres like pop, hip-hop, and R&B, alongside electronic dance music genres like house, trap, and synth-pop. Exo releases and performs music in Korean, Mandarin, and Japanese. The band ranked as one of the top five most influential celebrities on the Forbes Korea Power Celebrity list each year from 2014 to 2018, and have been named "the biggest boy band in the world" and the "kings of K-pop" by the media.The band debuted with twelve members separated into two sub-groups: Exo-K (Suho, Baekhyun, Chanyeol, D.O., Kai, and Sehun) and Exo-M (Xiumin, Lay, Chen, and former members Kris, Luhan, and Tao). Exo-K and Exo-M performed music in Korean and Mandarin, respectively, until 2014. Exo has been a single group since then, while continuing to release and perform music in multiple languages. After the departures of Kris, Luhan, and Tao amid legal battles in 2014 and 2015, the band continued with the remaining nine members. Since 2016, Chen, Baekhyun, and Xiumin have also released music and performed as a sub-unit named Exo-CBX. All of Exo's members also maintain solo careers in fields including music, film, and television.

Exo's first album XOXO (2013), which contains the breakthrough hit "Growl", was a critical and commercial success. It sold over one million copies, making Exo the best-selling Korean artist in twelve years. Subsequent albums and EPs have also had strong sales, with all studio albums each selling more than one million copies. Studio albums XOXO (2013), Exodus (2015) and Ex'Act (2016), along with Exo's third EP Overdose (2014), won Exo multiple awards including four consecutive wins each of the Disc Daesang at the Golden Disc Awards, of Album of the Year at the Mnet Asian Music Awards and of the Daesang award at the Seoul Music Awards. Their fourth album The War (2017) became the band's best-selling album upon its release, selling over 1.6 million copies in South Korea and winning Exo a second consecutive Artist of the Year award at the Melon Music Awards, as well as a record fifth consecutive Album of the Year award at the Mnet Asian Music Awards. Exo's fifth album Don't Mess Up My Tempo (2018) is their highest-charting album on the US Billboard 200, debuting at number 23. It is also their best selling album with over 1.9 million copies sold in South Korea.Since Exo's first headlining tour in 2014, the band has performed over 100 concerts across four tours and has participated in multiple joint tours. Exo is also known for its work beyond music, which includes endorsement deals with brands such as Nature Republic and Samsung, and philanthropic efforts such as Smile For U, a joint SM Entertainment and UNICEF project that began in 2015, and in which Exo continues to participate.

Girls' Generation

Girls' Generation (Hangul: 소녀시대; RR: Sonyeo Sidae), also known as SNSD, is a South Korean girl group formed by SM Entertainment. The group is composed of eight members: Taeyeon, Sunny, Tiffany, Hyoyeon, Yuri, Sooyoung, Yoona, and Seohyun. Originally a nine-piece group, Jessica later departed from the group in September 2014. Deemed one of the prominent figures of the Korean Wave and one of the most popular K-pop acts internationally, the group's immense popularity in their native country South Korea has earned them numerous accolades and the honorific nicknames "The Nation's Girl Group" and "The Nation's Singers".

Girls' Generation debuted in August 2007 with the single "Into the New World" from their Korean eponymous debut album. Though the album gained some attention, it was not until 2009 that the group rose to fame with the single "Gee", which claimed the top spot on KBS' Music Bank for a record-breaking nine consecutive weeks and was named the most popular song of the 2000s in South Korea by Melon. Girls' Generation further consolidated their popularity on the South Korean music scene with the follow-up singles "Genie", "Oh!", and "Run Devil Run", which were released in mid-2009 and early 2010. Their second Korean studio album, Oh! (2010), won the Golden Disc award for Album of the Year and the group became the only female artist to win the grand prize in the 2010s.

In mid-2010, Girls' Generation signed with Nayutawave Records (present-day EMI Records Japan) to venture into the Japanese music scene. Their 2011 eponymous Japanese debut album peaked atop the Japanese Oricon Albums Chart and became the first album by a non-Japanese girl group to be certified "Million" by the RIAJ. The group's third Korean studio album, The Boys, was released in October 2011 and became the best-selling album of 2011 in South Korea with sales of over 380,000 copies. An English version of the single "The Boys" was released by Interscope Records in an attempt to expand the group's endeavor to the global music scene. The group's fourth Korean studio album, I Got a Boy (2013), was supported by the single "I Got a Boy", which was subjected to major attention from Western media following its winning the Video of the Year award at the inaugural YouTube Music Awards. Their fifth Korean studio album, Lion Heart, was released in 2015 and they became the first artist to accumulate over 100 wins on all of the music programs in South Korea. In 2017, Girls' Generation released their sixth Korean studio album, Holiday Night, to commemorate the group's tenth anniversary.

The group's signature musical styles are characterized as electropop and bubblegum pop, though their sounds have varied widely, incorporating various genres including hip hop, R&B, and EDM. In 2017, Billboard honoured Girls' Generation as the best "K-pop Girl Group of the Past Decade". They are the first Asian girl group to achieve five music videos with over 100 million views on YouTube: "Gee", "I Got a Boy", "The Boys", "Mr. Taxi", and "Oh!". In Japan, they became the first non-Japanese girl group to have three number-one albums on the Japanese Oricon Albums Chart, and their three Japanese concert tours attracted a record-breaking 550,000 spectators, more than any other Korean girl group.

Joseon

Joseon dynasty (also transcribed as Chosŏn or Chosun, Korean: 조선; officially the Kingdom of Great Joseon, Korean: 대조선국) was a Korean dynastic kingdom that lasted for approximately five centuries. It was founded by Yi Seong-gye in July 1392 and was replaced by the Korean Empire in October 1897. It was founded following the aftermath of the overthrow of Goryeo in what is today the city of Kaesong. Early on, Korea was retitled and the capital was relocated to modern-day Seoul. The kingdom's northernmost borders were expanded to the natural boundaries at the rivers of Amnok and Tuman through the subjugation of the Jurchens. Joseon was the last dynasty of Korea and its longest-ruling Confucian dynasty.

During its reign, Joseon encouraged the entrenchment of Chinese Confucian ideals and doctrines in Korean society. Neo-Confucianism was installed as the new dynasty's state ideology. Buddhism was accordingly discouraged and occasionally faced persecutions by the dynasty. Joseon consolidated its effective rule over the territory of current Korea and saw the height of classical Korean culture, trade, literature, and science and technology. However, the dynasty was severely weakened during the late 16th and early 17th centuries, when the Japanese invasions of Korea in the 1590s and the first and second Manchu invasions nearly overran the Korean Peninsula, leading to an increasingly harsh isolationist policy, for which the country became known as the "hermit kingdom" in Western literature. After the end of invasions from Manchuria, Joseon experienced a nearly 200-year period of peace.

However, whatever power the kingdom recovered during its isolation further waned as the 18th century came to a close, and faced with internal strife, power struggles, international pressure and rebellions at home, the Joseon dynasty declined rapidly in the late 19th century.

The Joseon period has left a substantial legacy to modern Korea; much of modern Korean culture, etiquette, norms, and societal attitudes towards current issues, and the modern Korean language and its dialects derive from the culture and traditions of Joseon.

Kim Il-sung

Kim Il-sung (officially transcribed Kim Il Sung; English pronunciation: ; Chosŏn'gŭl: 김일성; Korean pronunciation: [kimils͈ʌŋ]; born Kim Sŏng-ju (김성주); 15 April 1912 – 8 July 1994) was the first leader of North Korea which he ruled from the country's establishment in 1948 until his death in 1994. He held the posts of Premier from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to 1994. He was also the leader of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) from 1949 to 1994 (titled as Chairman from 1949 to 1966 and as General Secretary after 1966). Coming to power after the end of Japanese rule in 1945, he authorized the invasion of South Korea in 1950, triggering an intervention in defense of South Korea by the United Nations led by the United States. Following the military stalemate in the Korean War, a ceasefire was signed on 27 July 1953. He was the second longest-serving non-royal head of state/government in the 20th century, in office for more than 48 years.

Under his leadership, North Korea became a communist state with a publicly owned and planned economy. It had close political and economic relations with the Soviet Union. By the 1960s, North Korea enjoyed a standard of living higher than the South, which was fraught with political instability and economic crises. The situation reversed in the mid-1970s, as a newly stable South Korea became an economic powerhouse fueled by Japanese and American investment, military aid and internal economic development while North Korea stagnated. Differences emerged between North Korea and the Soviet Union, central among them Kim Il-sung's philosophy of Juche, which focused on Korean nationalism and self-reliance. Despite this, the country received funds, subsidies and aid from the USSR (and the Eastern Bloc) until the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. The resulting loss of economic aid adversely affected the North's economy, causing widespread famine in 1994. During this period, North Korea also remained critical of the United States defense force's presence in the region, which it considered imperialism, having seized the American ship USS Pueblo (AGER-2) in 1968. He outlived Joseph Stalin by four decades and Mao Zedong by almost two and remained in power during the terms of office of six South Korean Presidents, ten U.S. Presidents and the rule of British monarchs George VI and later his daughter Elizabeth II. Known as the Great Leader (Suryong), he was the focus of a personality cult which dominated domestic politics in North Korea.

At the 6th WPK Congress in 1980, his oldest son Kim Jong-il was elected as a Presidium member and chosen as his heir apparent to the supreme leadership. Kim Il-sung's birthday is a public holiday in North Korea called the "Day of the Sun". In 1998, Kim Il-sung was declared "eternal President of the Republic". During his rule, North Korea was widely characterized as a totalitarian state with widespread human rights abuses, including mass executions and prison camps.

Kim Jong-il

Kim Jong-il (officially transcribed Kim Jong Il; Chosŏn'gŭl: 김정일; Korean pronunciation: [kim.dzɔŋ.il]; 16 February 1941 – 17 December 2011) was the second leader of North Korea. He ruled from the death of his father Kim Il-sung, the first leader of North Korea, in 1994 until his own death in 2011. He was an unelected dictator and was often accused of human rights violations.Kim was born in Vyatskoye, Russia, then part of the Soviet Union. By the early 1980s, Kim had become the heir apparent for the leadership of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and assumed important posts in the party and army organs. Kim succeeded his father and DPRK founder, Kim Il-sung, following the elder Kim's death in 1994. Kim was the General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), WPK Presidium, Chairman of the National Defence Commission (NDC) of North Korea and the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army (KPA), the fourth-largest standing army in the world.

During Kim's rule, the country suffered famine and had a poor human rights record. Kim involved his country in state terrorism and strengthened the role of the military by his Songun ("military-first") politics. Kim's rule also saw tentative economic reforms, including the opening of the Kaesong Industrial Park in 2003. In April 2009, North Korea's constitution was amended to refer to him and his successors as the "supreme leader of the DPRK".The most common colloquial title given to Kim was "Dear Leader" to distinguish him from his father Kim Il-sung, the "Great Leader". Following Kim's failure to appear at important public events in 2008, foreign observers assumed that Kim had either fallen seriously ill or died. On 19 December 2011, the North Korean government announced that he had died two days earlier, whereupon his third son, Kim Jong-un, was promoted to a senior position in the ruling WPK and succeeded him. After his death, Kim was designated the "Eternal General Secretary" of the WPK and the "Eternal Chairman of the National Defence Commission", in keeping with the tradition of establishing eternal posts for the dead members of the Kim dynasty.

Kim Jong-un

Kim Jong-un (officially transcribed Kim Jong Un; Chosŏn'gŭl: 김정은; Korean pronunciation: [kim.dzɔŋ.ɯn]; born 8 January 1983) is a North Korean politician serving as Supreme Leader of North Korea since 2011 and also serving as the Chairman (previously called first secretary) of the Workers' Party of Korea since 2012. Kim is the second child of Kim Jong-il (1941–2011) and Ko Yong-hui (1952–2004). He is the grandson of Kim Il-sung, who was the first leader of North Korea from 1948 to 1994. Kim is the first North Korean leader who was born after the country's founding.From late 2010, Kim Jong-un was viewed as heir apparent to the leadership of the DPRK, and following the elder Kim's death, North Korean state television announced him as the "Great Successor". Kim holds the titles of Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea (as First Secretary between 2012 and 2016), Chairman of the Central Military Commission, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and member of the Presidium of the Politburo of the Workers' Party of Korea, the highest decision-making body in North Korea. Kim was promoted to the rank of Marshal of North Korea in the Korean People's Army on 18 July 2012, consolidating his position as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and is often referred to as Marshal Kim Jong-un, "the Marshal" or "Dear Respected" by state media.Kim obtained two degrees, one in physics at Kim Il-sung University, and another as an Army officer at the Kim Il-sung Military University.Forbes magazine ranked Kim the 46th most powerful person in the world in 2013 and the third highest amongst Koreans after Ban Ki-moon and Lee Kun-hee. On 12 December 2013, North Korean news outlets reported that Kim Jong-un had ordered the execution of his uncle Jang Song-thaek due to "treachery". On 9 March 2014, Kim was unopposed when he was elected to the Supreme People's Assembly. He is widely believed to have ordered the assassination of his half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, in Malaysia in February 2017.Despite tense relations, North Korea agreed to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Following the Olympics, Kim Jong-un and President Moon Jae-in conducted the April 2018 inter-Korean summit, which marked the first time since the end of the Korean War in 1953 that a North Korean leader entered the South's territory. On 12 June 2018, Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump met for a summit in Singapore, the first-ever talks held between a North Korean leader and a sitting US President, to discuss the North Korean nuclear program.

Korea under Japanese rule

Korea under Japanese rule began with the end of the short-lived Korean Empire in 1910 and ended at the conclusion of World War II in 1945. Japanese rule over Korea was the outcome of a process that began with the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1876, whereby a complex coalition of the Meiji government, military, and business officials sought to integrate Korea both politically and economically into the Empire of Japan. A major stepping-stone towards the Japanese occupation of Korea was the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1905, in which the then-Korean Empire was declared a protectorate of Japan. The annexation of Korea by Japan was set up in the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1910, which was never actually signed by the Korean Regent, Gojong.Japanese rule over Korea ended in 1945, when U.S. and Soviet forces captured the peninsula. In 1965 the unequal treaties between Joseon-ruled Korea and Imperial Japan, especially those of 1905 and 1910, were declared "already null and void" at the time of their promulgation (i.e. "dead on arrival", implicitly a declaration of their illegality) by the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea.The Japanese administration of the Korean Peninsula was directed through the General Government.

After the surrender of Japan to the Allied forces at the end of World War II, Korea returned to self-government, albeit under two separate governments and economic systems backed (in the north) by the Soviet Union and (in the south) by the United States.

The industrialization of the Korean Peninsula began with the Joseon dynasty (in particular with King, and later Emperor, Gojong) while Korea was still independent but accelerated under Japanese occupation. The manner of the acceleration of industrialization under Japanese occupation, especially the use of industrialization solely for the purposes of benefiting Japan, the exploitation of the Korean people in their own country, the marginalization of Korean history and culture, the environmental exploitation of the Korean Peninsula, and its long-term negative repercussions for modern-day North and South Korea are among the most provocative aspects of the controversy.

Korean Broadcasting System

Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) (Hangul: 한국방송공사; Hanja: 韓國放送公社; RR: Han-guk Bangsong Gongsa; MR: Han'guk Pangsong Kongsa) is the national public broadcaster of South Korea. It was founded in 1927, and operates radio, television, and online services, being one of the biggest South Korean television networks.

Korean War

The Korean War (in South Korean Hangul: 한국전쟁; Hanja: 韓國戰爭; RR: Hanguk Jeonjaeng, "Korean War"; in North Korean Chosŏn'gŭl: 조국해방전쟁; Hancha: 祖國解放戰爭; MR: Choguk haebang chŏnjaeng, "Fatherland: Liberation War"; 25 June 1950 – 27 July 1953) was a war between North Korea (with the support of China and the Soviet Union) and South Korea (with the support of the United Nations, with the principal support from the United States). The war began on 25 June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea following a series of clashes along the border.As a product of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, Korea had been split into two sovereign states in 1948. A socialist state was established in the north under the communist leadership of Kim Il-sung and a capitalist state in the south under the anti-communist leadership of Syngman Rhee. Both governments of the two new Korean states claimed to be the sole legitimate government of all of Korea, and neither accepted the border as permanent. The conflict escalated into warfare when North Korean military forces—supported by the Soviet Union and China—crossed the border and advanced south into South Korea on 25 June 1950. The United Nations Security Council authorized the formation and dispatch of UN forces to Korea to repel what was recognized as a North Korean invasion. Twenty-one countries of the United Nations eventually contributed to the UN force, with the United States providing around 90% of the military personnel.After the first two months of war, South Korean and U.S. forces rapidly dispatched to Korea were on the point of defeat, forced back to a small area in the south known as the Pusan Perimeter. In September 1950, an amphibious UN counter-offensive was launched at Incheon, and cut off many North Korean troops. Those who escaped envelopment and capture were forced back north. UN forces rapidly approached the Yalu River—the border with China—but in October 1950, mass Chinese forces crossed the Yalu and entered the war. The surprise Chinese intervention triggered a retreat of UN forces which continued until mid-1951.

In these reversals of fortune, Seoul changed hands four times, and the last two years of fighting became a war of attrition, with the front line close to the 38th parallel. The war in the air, however, was never a stalemate. North Korea was subject to a massive bombing campaign. Jet fighters confronted each other in air-to-air combat for the first time in history, and Soviet pilots covertly flew in defense of their communist allies.

The fighting ended on 27 July 1953, when an armistice was signed. The agreement created the Korean Demilitarized Zone to separate North and South Korea, and allowed the return of prisoners. However, no peace treaty was ever signed, and according to some sources the two Koreas are technically still at war, engaged in a frozen conflict. In April 2018, the leaders of North and South Korea met at the demilitarized zone and agreed to work towards a treaty to formally end the Korean War.

Korean language

The Korean language (South Korean: 한국어/韓國語 Hangugeo; North Korean: 조선말/朝鮮말 Chosŏnmal) is an East Asian language spoken by about 77 million people. It is a member of the Koreanic language family and is the official and national language of both Koreas: North Korea and South Korea, with different standardized official forms used in each country. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture and Changbai Korean Autonomous County of Jilin province, China. It is also spoken in parts of Sakhalin, Ukraine and Central Asia.Historical and modern linguists classify Korean as a language isolate; however, it does have a few extinct relatives, which together with Korean itself and the Jeju language (spoken in the Jeju Province and considered somewhat distinct) form the Koreanic language family. The linguistic homeland of Korean is suggested to be somewhere in Manchuria.

North Korea

North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK or DPR Korea) (Korean: 조선민주주의인민공화국, Chosŏn Minjujuŭi Inmin Konghwaguk), is a country in East Asia constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula, with Pyongyang the capital and the largest city in the country. The name Korea is derived from Goguryeo which was one of the great powers in East Asia during its time, ruling most of the Korean Peninsula, Manchuria, parts of the Russian Far East and Inner Mongolia, under Gwanggaeto the Great. To the north and northwest, the country is bordered by China and by Russia along the Amnok (known as the Yalu in Chinese) and Tumen rivers; it is bordered to the south by South Korea, with the heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two. Nevertheless, North Korea, like its southern counterpart, claims to be the legitimate government of the entire peninsula and adjacent islands.In 1910, Korea was annexed by Imperial Japan. After the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II in 1945, Korea was divided into two zones, with the north occupied by the Soviet Union and the south occupied by the United States. Negotiations on reunification failed, and in 1948, separate governments were formed: the socialist Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the north, and the capitalist Republic of Korea in the south. An invasion initiated by North Korea led to the Korean War (1950–1953). The Korean Armistice Agreement brought about a ceasefire, but no peace treaty was signed.North Korea officially describes itself as a "self-reliant" socialist state, and formally holds elections, though said elections have been described by outside observers as sham elections. Outside observers also generally view North Korea as a Stalinist totalitarian dictatorship, particularly noting the elaborate cult of personality around Kim Il-sung and his family. The Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), led by a member of the ruling family, holds power in the state and leads the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland of which all political officers are required to be members. Juche, an ideology of national self-reliance, was introduced into the constitution in 1972. The means of production are owned by the state through state-run enterprises and collectivized farms. Most services such as healthcare, education, housing and food production are subsidized or state-funded. From 1994 to 1998, North Korea suffered a famine that resulted in the deaths of between 240,000 and 420,000 people, and the population continues to suffer malnutrition. North Korea follows Songun, or "military-first" policy. It is the country with the highest number of military and paramilitary personnel, with a total of 9,495,000 active, reserve and paramilitary personnel, or approximately 37% of its population. Its active duty army of 1.21 million is the fourth largest in the world, after China, the United States and India; consisting of 4.8% of its population. It possesses nuclear weapons.The UN inquiry into human rights in North Korea concluded that, "The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a state that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world". The North Korean regime strongly denies most allegations, accusing international organizations of fabricating human rights abuses as part of a smear campaign with the covert intention of undermining the state, although they admit that there are human rights issues relating to living conditions which the regime is attempting to correct.In addition to being a member of the United Nations since 1991, the sovereign state is also a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, G77 and the ASEAN Regional Forum.

Samsung

Samsung (Hangul: 삼성; Hanja: 三星; Korean pronunciation: [samsʌŋ]; means "tristar" in English) is a South Korean multinational conglomerate headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul. It comprises numerous affiliated businesses, most of them united under the Samsung brand, and is the largest South Korean chaebol (business conglomerate).

Samsung was founded by Lee Byung-chul in 1938 as a trading company. Over the next three decades, the group diversified into areas including food processing, textiles, insurance, securities, and retail. Samsung entered the electronics industry in the late 1960s and the construction and shipbuilding industries in the mid-1970s; these areas would drive its subsequent growth. Following Lee's death in 1987, Samsung was separated into four business groups – Samsung Group, Shinsegae Group, CJ Group and Hansol Group. Since 1990, Samsung has increasingly globalised its activities and electronics; in particular, its mobile phones and semiconductors have become its most important source of income. As of 2017, Samsung has the 6th highest global brand value.Notable Samsung industrial affiliates include Samsung Electronics (the world's largest information technology company, consumer electronics maker and chipmaker measured by 2017 revenues), Samsung Heavy Industries (the world's 2nd largest shipbuilder measured by 2010 revenues), and Samsung Engineering and Samsung C&T (respectively the world's 13th and 36th largest construction companies). Other notable subsidiaries include Samsung Life Insurance (the world's 14th largest life insurance company), Samsung Everland (operator of Everland Resort, the oldest theme park in South Korea) and Cheil Worldwide (the world's 15th largest advertising agency measured by 2012 revenues).Samsung has a powerful influence on South Korea's economic development, politics, media and culture and has been a major driving force behind the "Miracle on the Han River". Its affiliate companies produce around a fifth of South Korea's total exports. Samsung's revenue was equal to 17% of South Korea's $1,082 billion GDP.

Seoul

Seoul (, like soul; Korean: 서울 [sʰʌ.ul] (listen); lit. "Capital"), officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. With surrounding Incheon metropolis and Gyeonggi province, Seoul forms the heart of the Seoul Capital Area. Seoul is ranked as the fourth largest metropolitan economy in the world and is larger than London and Paris.Strategically situated on the Han River, Seoul's history stretches back over two thousand years, when it was founded in 18 BCE by the people of Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. The city was later designated the capital of Korea under the Joseon dynasty. Seoul is surrounded by a mountainous and hilly landscape, with Bukhan Mountain located on the northern edge of the city. As with its long history, the Seoul Capital Area contains five UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Changdeok Palace, Hwaseong Fortress, Jongmyo Shrine, Namhansanseong and the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty. More recently, Seoul has been a major site of modern architectural construction – major modern landmarks include the N Seoul Tower, the 63 Building, the Lotte World Tower, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Lotte World, Trade Tower, COEX, and the IFC Seoul. Seoul was named the 2010 World Design Capital. As the birthplace of K-pop and the Korean Wave, Seoul received over 10 million international visitors in 2014, making it the world's 9th most visited city and 4th largest earner in tourism.Today, Seoul is considered a leading and rising global city, resulting from the South Korean economic boom - commonly referred to as the Miracle on the Han River - which transformed it into the world's 7th largest metropolitan economy with a GDP of US$635.4 billion in 2014 after Tokyo, New York City and Los Angeles. International visitors generally reach Seoul via AREX from the Incheon International Airport, notable for having been rated the best airport for nine consecutive years (2005–2013) by the Airports Council International. In 2015, it was rated Asia's most livable city with the second highest quality of life globally by Arcadis, with the GDP per capita (PPP) in Seoul being $39,786. Inhabitants of Seoul are faced with a high cost of living, for which the city was ranked 6th globally in 2017. Seoul is also an extremely expensive real estate market, ranked 5th in the world for the price of apartments in the downtown center. With major technology hubs centered in Gangnam and Digital Media City, the Seoul Capital Area is home to the headquarters of 15 Fortune Global 500 companies, including Samsung, LG, and Hyundai. Ranked sixth in the Global Power City Index and Global Financial Centres Index, the metropolis exerts a major influence in global affairs as one of the five leading hosts of global conferences. Seoul has hosted the 1986 Asian Games, 1988 Summer Olympics, 2002 FIFA World Cup, and more recently the 2010 G-20 Seoul summit.

Son Heung-min

Son Heung-min (Hangul: 손흥민; Hanja: 孫興慜; [son.xɯŋ.min]; born 8 July 1992) is a South Korean professional footballer who plays as a winger or a forward for Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur and captains the South Korea national team.

Son finished his development at Hamburger SV, where he made his debut in the German Bundesliga in 2010. In 2013, he moved to Bayer Leverkusen for a club record €10 million, and played for the club in the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Champions League. Two years later, he signed for Tottenham for £22 million, becoming the most expensive Asian player in history. While at Tottenham, he became the top Asian goalscorer in Premier League history.A full international since 2010, Son has represented South Korea at the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cups and is South Korea's joint highest scorer at the World Cup alongside Park Ji-sung and Ahn Jung-hwan with three goals. He has also represented South Korea at the 2018 Asian Games where the team won gold as well as the 2011, 2015, and 2019 editions of the AFC Asian Cup, finishing runners-up in 2015.

South Korea

South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula. The name Korea is derived from Goguryeo which was one of the great powers in East Asia during its time, ruling most of the Korean Peninsula, Manchuria, parts of the Russian Far East and Inner Mongolia under Gwanggaeto the Great. Its capital, Seoul, is a major global city and half of South Korea's 51 million people live in the Seoul Capital Area, the fourth largest metropolitan economy in the world.The Korean Peninsula was inhabited as early as the Lower Paleolithic period. Its first kingdom was noted in Chinese records in the early 7th century BCE. Following the unification of the Three Kingdoms of Korea into Silla and Balhae in 668, Korea was subsequently ruled by the Goryeo dynasty (918–1392) and the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910). It was annexed by the Empire of Japan in 1910. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided into Soviet and U.S. zones of occupations, with the latter becoming the Republic of Korea. In 1950, a North Korean invasion led to the Korean War and after its end in 1953, the country's economy began to soar, recording the fastest rise in average GDP per capita in the world between 1980 and 1990. Authoritarian rule ended in 1987 and the country is now the most advanced democracy in Asia with the highest level of press freedom in the continent. South Korea is a member of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee, the G20 and the Paris Club.

South Korea is a highly developed country and the world's 11th largest economy by nominal GDP. Its citizens enjoy the world's fastest Internet connection speeds and the longest years of tertiary education in the world, along with the world's second most equal access to quality healthcare, resulting in the third highest health adjusted life expectancy in the world. South Korea is a global leader in many technology and innovation driven fields, being the world's 5th largest exporter and 8th largest importer. Since 2014, South Korea has been named the world's most innovative country by the Bloomberg Innovation Index for 6 consecutive years.

South Korea national football team

The Korea Republic national football team (Hangul: 대한민국 축구 국가대표팀) represents South Korea in international association football and is organised by the Korea Football Association.

Since the 1960s, South Korea has emerged as a major football power in Asia and is historically the most successful Asian football team, having participated in nine consecutive and ten overall FIFA World Cup tournaments, the most for any Asian country. Despite initially going through five World Cup tournaments without winning a match, South Korea became the first and currently only Asian team to reach the semi-final stages when they co-hosted the 2002 tournament with Japan. South Korea won the first two AFC Asian Cup tournaments (1956 and 1960), though they have been unable to win since, finishing as the runners-up in 1972, 1980, 1988, and 2015, and third in 1964, 2000, 2007, and 2011. They also took the gold medal at the 1970, 1978, and 1986 Asian Games. They have qualified for every FIFA World Cup since 1986.The team is commonly nicknamed "The Reds" by both fans and the media due to the color of their primary kit. The national team's supporting group is officially referred to as the Red Devils.

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