The Koreans: Who They Are, What They Want, Where Their Future Lies
Dramatic, Passionate people, survived so many 20th century issues—
“thrashed around with colonialism, communism, political violence, war,
industrial development, democracy, human rights”. They are true survivors,
“learned to roll up into a ball and let themselves be kicked in order to
Mid size country/same as Britain: 70 million, but feel small—
Korea has a combined population of 70 million, same size as Britain, but
they feel small in comparison to the neighbors around them and their
Giant Neighbors: China, Japan, Russia, and America—
Koreas powerful neighbors, who have severely mistreated and bullied
Korea due to its having less power.
Rose out of poverty--from dictatorship to democratic capitalism—
“Ancient and complex people” who have survived much and have become
One of the world’s oldest nations--668 AD—
Their history is a very old one, and records even stretch back to almost
2000 years before that 668 AD.
First to use metal movable type for printing books—
Several achievements include book printing, “a civilizing influence on
Japan”, beautiful ceramic art, etc.
Modest about achievements—
Despite their achievements, they are not boastful
Want to forget past/bitter history, move to future—
They would rather focus on the present and future, what lies ahead is
hopeful and the past is painful.
World’s 11th largest economy—
They have created much and risen from devastation, “becoming democrats,
without having taken any advice.”
North: food shortages/South: recovering financial system—
At the time the book was written this was the state of things. The author,
Michael Breen, believed the South would overcome their problems and the
North would need help. Admiring the Koreans, the author felt that their
“vigour” would “probably propel them even more to the global centre stage
in the next generation.”