Extra! Korea

May 17, 2010

Timely columns about General Park Chung-hee by Michael Breen and Gusts of Popular Feeling

Filed under: history — extrakorea @ 7:22 am

You should read this timely article about General Park Chung-hee by Michael “Trod Underfoot by Samsung” Breen.

Edit/Update:

Gusts of Popular Feeling also has a great post on the same topic.

March 23, 2010

(Updated) Slowly, painfully, Korean and Japanese scholars work on joint history textbook

Filed under: history — extrakorea @ 1:32 pm

A committee comprised of 17 historians each from South Korea and Japan have recently convened a 30-month study. Their purpose is to hammer out a history of their two countries that they can agree with. As you might imagine, the going is slow and painful. They failed to find consensus on 17 issues. However, they were able to agree upon one point:

The most tangible result of the study was that both South Korean and Japanese researchers agreed to reject the existence of a Japanese base, previously known as “Imnailbonbu,” on the Korean Peninsula from the 4th-6th century, a claim often used to justify Japan’s colonization of Korea in the early 20th century.

“Such a claim has been around since the final years of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) and it was sometimes described in some of Japan’s history textbooks,” Cho told the press conference.

“We (South Korean researchers) raised the need to review the claim that there existed a foreign territory on the Korean Peninsula and that foreigners were able to undertake massive military activities here. The researchers of both countries came to agree that the term ‘Imnailbonbu’ should not be used any more,” he said.

Edit/Update:

The Joongang Daily now has an article. There isn’t much new information, though.

January 15, 2010

Sarah Palin, North and South Korea, and semantics

Filed under: education, history, North Korea, politics — extrakorea @ 2:00 pm

You might recall this from a previous post.

In the days leading up to an interview with ABC News’ Charlie Gibson, aides were worried with Ms. Palin’s grasp of facts. She couldn’t explain why North and South Korea were separate nations and she did not know what the Federal Reserve did.

(emphasis mine)

Sarah Palin has responded.

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R) said Tuesday night that it was “a lie” that she didn’t know the difference between North Korea and South Korea during the 2008 presidential campaign.

[ snip ]

Her appearance on “The O’Reilly Factor” was Palin’s first on a Fox News show since Monday’s announcement that she would join the cable network as a contributor. She was asked by host Bill O’Reilly to respond to several claims cited in the book “Game Change,” which was the subject of a segment Sunday on CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

(emphasis mine)

Notice the slight difference in wording. I found the source of this quote, the interview with Bill O’Reilly, and tried to make a transcript of the important part, which begins at around 0:32 of the video.

(news clip of an interview with John Heilemann, author of the book “Game Change”)

John Heilemann: She still didn’t really understand why there was a North Korea and a South Korea.

[ snip ]

(interview between Bill O’Reilly and Sarah Palin)

Bill O’Reilly: Is this [indistinct] kind of lie, that you didn’t know the difference between North and South Korea?

Sarah Palin: That surprised me. [ snip ]

Bill O’Reilly: Is that a lie, though?

Sarah Palin: Yes, that is a lie.

(emphasis mine)

Notice the difference. It’s possible that both are telling the truth. Palin could be speaking truthfully when she says that she knew that North and South Korea are separate countries, and Heilemann could also be factually correct when he says that Palin did not know the reasons why Korea was separated into two different countries.

January 11, 2010

Sarah Palin didn’t know why North and South Korea are separate countries

Filed under: education, history, North Korea, politics — extrakorea @ 4:18 am

The following quote is from a New York Times article about the 2008 presidential campaign that I found thanks to this great website. There are other interesting facts but this is the only one related to Korea.

In the days leading up to an interview with ABC News’ Charlie Gibson, aides were worried with Ms. Palin’s grasp of facts. She couldn’t explain why North and South Korea were separate nations and she did not know what the Federal Reserve did.

To be fair to Ms. Palin, neither do these people:

The Korea Academy for Educators is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Los Angeles, dedicated to informing American educators about Korean history and culture and the general Korean-American experience in order to promote cross-cultural understanding.

[ snip ]

For instance, Koreans should work to educate Americans about the Japanese colonial period, the role of the U.S. in Korean history and the fact that we divided a country that had been unified for centuries,” said Connor.

June 24, 2009

57% of Koreans in their 20s are ignorant about the Korean War

Filed under: education, history — extrakorea @ 2:33 pm

According to a recent poll of Koreans in their 20s, 56.6% didn’t know when the Korean War started.

“This is a very serious problem that more and more people, especially youngsters, are not well aware of or not interested in the Korean War, where millions of South Koreans were killed,” an official of the Ministry of National Defense said. “Pan-governmental efforts are required to make people understand properly about the Korean War and, in particular, educate youngsters about the war and history.”

The official referred to a survey last year, suggesting that more than 35 percent of elementary school students misunderstood that the Korean War had broken out following the South’s invasion into the North.

In related news, another poll hinted that 79% of Koreans know only five or fewer of the sixteen countries that fought alongside South Korea during the Korean War. Five percent of respondents didn’t know any of the countries or were not interested, and of that five percent, 82% were 20 years old or younger.

May 20, 2009

New 50,000-won note to debut in June, small face and all

Filed under: celebrities, gender equality, history — extrakorea @ 7:05 am

The Korea Times and Chosun Ilbo report that the new 50,000-won note is set to debut by the end of June.
It will feature Shin Saim-dang, a noted writer, calligrapher, and mother of Yulgok, a Yangban (Korean aristocrat) scholar of the Chosun dynasty. (He’s the guy on the 5,000-won note.)
She died over 450 years ago, and yet, like many Korean women, she has benefited from modern Korean plastic surgery technology, and will appear with a stylishly smaller face.

May 11, 2009

Interesting article about Jongno

Filed under: history — extrakorea @ 11:21 am

The Joongang Daily has an interesting piece about Jongno* and its history, with several accompanying black-and-white photographs from the old days. Check it out.

* In case you don’t know, Jongno is a major street in Seoul, and has been important for a long time.

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