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Korean Culture

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Transcript of Korean Culture

KOREA The Culture The Place &
The Koreans are one ethnic family speaking and writing one ethnic language
Strong national identity

Family Values Family is the most important part of Korean life...
Family well-being is much more important than the individual The father is the head of the family and it is his responsibility to provide food, clothing and shelter, and to approve the marriages of family members The eldest son has special duties: first to his parents, then to his brothers from older to younger, then to his sons, then to his wife, and lastly to his daughters Members of the family are tied to each other because the actions of one family member reflect on the rest of the family The central circle is divided in two halves. The top red part is yang, the positive cosmic force meaning fire, day, and light. The bottom blue half represents the passive side of existence - water, night, and death. Yet the two are joined perfectly into a whole. Heaven Earth Water Fire The bars in the four corners of the flag are also about harmony and balance. The three lines at the top left means "heaven." The broken lines opposite it at the bottom right are "earth." The bars at the top right, two broken and one solid, mean "water," while the lines opposite mean "fire." According to this theory all life, and even the cosmos, is balanced in this way . Christianity 26% Buddhism 26% Confucianism 1% Kibun No literal translation (pride, mood, feelings, state of mind)
Relationships are based on harmony
It is important to maintain a peaceful, comfortable atmosphere at all times, even if it means telling a white lie or not letting your true emotions show
If you hurt someone's kibun, you hurt their pride and dignity, and disrupt the harmony
Korean culture is much about the feelings of others
One must protect other people's kibuns while also protecting their own
Nunchi Translation: eye measure
The ability to judge one's kibun or tell how a person is feeling
Read body language and tone in one's voice
This is crucial since social harmony is so important to the culture

To hurt someone's kibun is a terrible thing to do
Tolerance for foreigners, though it's easy for them to hurt someone's kibun (being argumentative, ignoring Korean social rankings, giving bad news)
If someone's kibun is hurt, they may be less likely to help you
As a foreigner, if you do not ignore kibun, you will get more respect
Those of higher status do not have to worry about hurting the kibun of someone of lower status (father to daughter)
Eg: Are you hungry? The Art of the Unsaid Korean culture is still based on 600 year-old Confucian principles...the willingness to work hard at any task and, devotion to the family. These family values are best observed during their major holiday called Ch'usok. Each year, about the time of the harvest moon, Koreans memorialize their ancestors with food and prayer. In this and many other ways the Korean peoples' basic cultural values remain vital. Korea is about 85,500 square miles...almost the same size as Utah
South Korea is about 38,600 square miles...almost the same size as Oregon
Population 50 million (Oregon has 3 million)
70% mountains and hills

Order and authority are the hallmarks of Confucian thought
Male-centered society
Fathers are responsible for their families and must be both obeyed and revered by everyone. Even ancestral fathers are honored.
Older people are accorded honor.
For instance, at dinner the eldest person sits first and eats and drinks before anyone else can begin.
No one would think of calling an older person by their first name, much less a grandfather or grandmother. Bowing to them is really the traditional way of greeting.
Hard work, obedience to family, protection of the family Confucian Culture In traditional Korean society, women were expected to stay at home, raise their children, keep house and prepare meals.
In farming villages they also worked in the fields.
When women married they came to live in their husbands' houses, but always kept their own family names. Once in their husbands' homes, they became part of the extended families. Not only were they to obey the eldest males in the family and their husbands, but to take commands from the eldest woman.
As in many traditional societies, the oldest women within the household, a grandmother, for instance, had great power over the rest of the women and children.
Today, women are in every occupation, from government officials to business persons and professors. Women Village Life The idea of cooperation based on a system of authority worked in the old villages.
Villagers often banded together to help one another in times of need and for important events.
If a member might need help in a harvest or perhaps house repairs all the rest would gather to help.
When a village needed a new well or a bridge, for example, everyone pitched in to build them.
For important occasions such as funerals, weddings, or major birthday party (usually when a man reached the age of 60), villagers often pooled their moneys to make a grand party.
That sense of solidarity with one's neighbors and even one's nation still flows through Korean life today. History Prehistoric Times
- Hunter-gatherers lived in villages and made pottery

5500 years ago
- Millet, beans, soy

2700 BCE
- Rice...borrowed from China

1500 BCE
- Bronze-making technology from China

500 BCE
- Iron-making technology form China

Better tools and agriculture led to more crops and more people!

400 BCE
- Migrations to southern Japan

668-935 CE
- Rich Korean kingdoms
-Buddhism becomes official religion
- Confucian ideas enter Korea

1100s CE
- "Koreanizing" Chinese inventions
- Metal moveable type
- Celadon pottery
- Many inventions passed on to Japan

Early 20th Century
- Japan becomes industrial power and takes over Korea
- Japan imposes culture & language on Korea, and Korea must fight to maintain cultural identity

- WWII - Japan leaves Korea but many Koreans were already "westernized"
- North Korea was occupied by Russia and South Korea was occupied by the U.S.
- Cold War tensions (Communism vs. Democracy)

- 2 separate governments set up, Communist North Korea under the influence of the Soviet Union and a republic in South Korea allied with the United States

- North Korea attacked South Korea leading to the Korean War

- Stalemate followed by two years of armistice negotiations
- 50,000 American and millions of Koreans died in the fighting

- Ceasefire
- Line a demarcation at the 38th Parallel

South Korea's industry and agriculture was devastated but they rebuilt a strong industrial state with a high standards of living.

- Economic development
- Democratic, western style government

- President Kim Dae Jung won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in building peaceful relations with North Korea Ch'usok Harvest Moon Festival, which is held on the 15th day of the Eighth Moon according to the lunar calendar, usually in September or October and is marked by the rising of a full "Harvest Moon."
Ch'usok is usually described as a kind of Thanksgiving for a good harvest, but it is really an ancient holiday dedicated to the ancestors.
Families gather from all over the country and from overseas for the great holiday.
Visitors to Korea are always warned to stay where they are at Ch'usok time because almost everyone is on the road going back their ancestral homes: journeys that by car would normally take two hours might take fifteen! Burial Traditions The eldest sons of the family will clean and prepare the burial mounds of their most recently deceased ancestor.
Koreans traditionally buried the dead under mounds standing upright in coffins made from six planks of wood. These represent the four cardinal points on the compass plus a plank for heaven and the other for earth.
Corpses either face south or toward some important spiritual part of the landscape such as mountains because these are said to be the homes of the spirits of the land and sky. In many homes, memorial shrines are set up to honor an ancestor.
Special dishes are prepared and set out on tables in front of the shrine. For instance, fresh chestnuts gathered from the forests are cut into jewel-like shapes, for easy stacking.
Stacking things, whether stones or food, is a form of prayer.
Food is offered to the ancestors and every dish must be passed over burning incense before it is acceptable.
The memorial service table has a set order of dishes: five rows of different kinds of foods and sometimes cups of ch'ongju, a famous rice wine. The number five is important in Confucian thought. And fish are placed on the eastside with their heads also facing east. Fish always mean good fortune and the east signifies eternal life. Honoring the Ancestors Everyone bows to the ancestral shrine, including the women of the family. Until fairly recently only men were permitted to carry out this ceremony, but times have changed and women now have equal access to religious rites. The whole ceremony is called Jesa, or "ceremony to the dead."
After the ceremony in the home, the family will walk to their ancestors' burial mound. There they bow again 2 1/2 times and offer the spirit food and drink. Some of the food is set out around the tomb facing certain directions in conformity with the Confucian belief that cardinal points on the compass have mystical powers. Food and stones are once again piled up as signs of good fortune for the family and for the spirits of the ancestors. Food Food is directly related to Korea's environment - the country's location, its geography, and climate. Korea is a peninsula with a climate that resembles the north central region of the United States: cold winters, warm summers and long, pleasant autumns. Because the land is composed mostly of mountains and extends from the North Asian landmass into warmer seas in the south, Korea has many microenvironments.
Rice, beans, and vegetables are grown in the valleys while in the mountains mushrooms and many wild plants such as bracken and bellflower are either collected or cultivated.
Each region has its own dishes unique to its climate. In the mountainous northeastern part of the country, for instance, the most famous dishes have plenty of wild ferns and native roots in them.
In the rice-growing valleys of the south, in the region of Chonju city, the best known dish is a large bowl of rice covered in a variety of finely sliced vegetables, meats, and a spicy sauce called Pibimpap.
Koreans eat lots of seafood. Fish from the Yellow Sea differs from those of the Eastern Sea (Sea of Japan) and those of the south coast differ from the others. Koreans are seafood connoisseurs and seek out the specialties of each region.
All Koreans eat three types of seafood all the time.
One kind is a small dried sardine. Bowls of these appear at every meal, including breakfast. They're used not as a main dish but as condiments to be eaten with others.
Another is dried cuttlefish. Drive along any road or street near fishing ports and you will see lines of these cephalopods hanging out to dry. Dried cuttlefish is Korea's most popular snack food and is even sold in vending machines. Seaweed is also a seafood, of the plant variety. There are several kinds that Koreans routinely eat.
Seaweeds are nutritious and useful in a country that endures long winters. Babies are fed seaweed soups and traditional birthday celebrations include seaweed soup on the menu. Religions Variety of belief systems
A fundamental Korean ideal; a sense of harmony and balance in everything The Language Large families have been prized and over many centuries families intermarried within the regions of Korea to form large clans. Family names reflect this. A dozen family names predominate, especially Kim, Park, Lee, Kang, and Cho Custom forbids people marrying within their own clan, no matter how distant the cousin might be Many people can recite the glorious history of their clans and take pride in them Four Noble Truths

Life is filled with suffering

Suffering is caused by people's wants.

Suffering can be ended if people stop wanting things, like more pleasure or more power.

To stop wanting things, people must follow 8 basic laws, called the Eightfold Path.
Eightfold Path

To know the truth

To intend to resist evil

To not say anything to hurt others

To respect life, property, and morality

To work at a job that does not injure others

To try to free one's mind from evil

To be in control of one's feelings and thoughts

To practice appropriate forms of concentration
Montheistic religion started in Rome

Jesus believed to be the savior

Based on the Old Testament and Jesus's teachings in the New Testament

Life After Death: Christianity promised life after death in heaven. In the Roman religion, only gods went to heaven. Emperors were considered gods. Everyone else went to the underworld.

Equality: Christianity promised equal opportunity. You had to be born into the nobility. You could join Christianity and be equally a Christian.
Confucianism is not, properly speaking, a religion; it's a way of behaving, so you'll do the right things.

Social code of behavior, a very set and rigid code of behavior, that honored ancestors and ancient rituals.
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