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Korea: The Impossible Country – tekijä:…
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Korea: The Impossible Country (vuoden 2012 painos)

– tekijä: Daniel Tudor (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut
913230,315 (3.91)-
South Korea's amazing rise from the ashes: the inside story of an economic, political, and cultural phenomenon Long overshadowed by Japan and China, South Korea is a small country that happens to be one of the great national success stories of the postwar period. From a failed state with no democratic tradition, ruined and partitioned by war, and sapped by a half-century of colonial rule, South Korea transformed itself in just fifty years into an economic powerhouse and a democracy that serves as a model for other countries. With no natural resources and a tradition of authoritarian rule, Korea managed to accomplish a second Asian miracle. Daniel Tudor is a journalist who has lived in and written about Korea for almost a decade. In Korea: The Impossible Country, Tudor examines Korea's cultural foundations; the Korean character; the public sphere in politics, business, and the workplace as well as the family, dating, and marriage. In doing so, he touches on topics as diverse as shamanism, clan-ism, the dilemma posed by North Korea, the myths about doing business in Korea, the Koreans' renowned hard-partying ethos, and why the infatuation with learning English is now causing massive social problems. South Korea has undergone two miracles at once: economic development and complete democratization. The question now is, will it become as some see Japan, a prosperous yet aging society, devoid of energy and momentum? Or will the dynamism of Korean society and its willingness to change--as well as the opportunity it has now to welcome outsiders into its fold--enable it to experience a third miracle that will propel it into the ranks of the world's leading nations regarding human culture, democracy, and wealth? More than just one journalist's account, Korea: The Impossible Country also draws on interviews with many of the people who made South Korea what it is today. These include: Choi Min-sik, the star of "Old Boy." Park Won-soon, Mayor of Seoul. Soyeon Yi, Korea's first astronaut Hong Myung-bo, legendary captain of Korea's 2002 FIFA World Cup team. Shin Joong-hyun, the 'Godfather of Korean Rock.' Ko Un, poet. Hong Seok-cheon, restaurateur, and the first Korean celebrity to 'come out.' And many more, including a former advisor to President Park Chung-hee; a Shaman priestess ('mudang'); the boss of Korea's largest matchmaking agency; a 'room salon' hostess; an architect; as well as chefs, musicians, academics, entrepreneurs, homemakers, and chaebol conglomerate employees.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:Firons2
Teoksen nimi:Korea: The Impossible Country
Kirjailijat:Daniel Tudor (Tekijä)
Info:Periplus Editions (2012), 288 pages
Kokoelmat:Aion lukea
Arvio (tähdet):
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Korea: The Impossible Country (tekijä: Daniel Tudor)

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näyttää 3/3
Clearly written, even if it's not linear or logical in its composition. The author freely moves between history, religion, morals, politics, culture. Wide ranging so perfect for someone like me who didn't know anything about Korea. It's also quite personal, including author's musical tastes and personal opinions on ethics but this doesn't distract too much. ( )
  TeaTimeCoder | Dec 23, 2020 |
Nice insight to get to know a culture beyond their Kdrama/Kpop and technology; though it did help with some cultural actions(?) in the dramas and films.
  VeritysVeranda | Sep 29, 2013 |
The attraction of this book is that Daniel Tudor covers all the bases in explaining modern South Korea. He evaluates all aspects of Korean history and society regardless of whether they conflict with preconceived ideas about "Asian values" , "Asian inscrutability" etc.

The book is a genuine exploration of Korean society and provides a rather surprising picture of an "Over the Top" attitude permeating the whole country, with the many examples including the following:

Extremist education with students working the longest hours in the world combined with a hyper-competitive examination system. The result is a very educated population in technical subjects, a degree of youth alienation, a high youth suicide rate, high status teachers, a high financial burden on families and a surprisingly low return (productivity) for the effort expended.

The desire for physical perfection resulting in cosmetic surgery being desirable for all ages, and even going as far as tongue surgery to supposedly enable the better pronunciation of English words.

The cult of the new (Neophilia - Love of the new) whereby perfectly good equipment is dumped in favour of a new model. South Korea is the country where mostly only foreigners drive older cars and where product cycles have become maniacally short, with anything new automatically being viewed as superior.

Obligatory high level English language learning although only a minority will ever require it. This ties in with entrance to Seoul's four prestigious universities where candidate levels are so high that fluency in English becomes an added factor.

Extreme emotions, Han & Heung. So much for inscrutable Orientals! The author shows that Korean wear their hearts on their sleeve and revel in extremes of sadness and joy as reflected in their films and music that has a big following throughout Asia (Korean popular singers and actors regarded the most attractive in Asia).

Extreme nationalism that is rooted in Korea's history of subjugation by the Japanese and Chinese. Korean society is unified as probably no other and can undertake large scale projects with astounding determination, regardless of whether they are launched at a national level by a dictator such as Park Chung-hee or at a company level by for example Samsung. He doesn't make the point, but the contrast with US is remarkable (see "The Big Sort" by Bill Bishop).

The list continues and even includes their social binge drinking and their extreme spicy food (pickled vegetables with pepper and garlic - Kimchi, that apparently accompany everything - even pizza.

In the last chapters, the author show that things are changing at the margin, with some degree of openness to multiculturalism, gay rights and women's rights but that these issues in no way define society as they do in the United States.

In my opinion this is a great book and the author suggests that South Koreans try and relax and enjoy themselves by following the advice of Soyeon Yi (2008 Korean "Woman of the Year" and first Korean in space), when she says, "Korean are very good at being unsatisfied. Sometimes we need to have a break, and some champagne to cheer us up".

Aren't they drinking enough soju already? ( )
  Miro | Jun 9, 2013 |
näyttää 3/3
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (2)

South Korea's amazing rise from the ashes: the inside story of an economic, political, and cultural phenomenon Long overshadowed by Japan and China, South Korea is a small country that happens to be one of the great national success stories of the postwar period. From a failed state with no democratic tradition, ruined and partitioned by war, and sapped by a half-century of colonial rule, South Korea transformed itself in just fifty years into an economic powerhouse and a democracy that serves as a model for other countries. With no natural resources and a tradition of authoritarian rule, Korea managed to accomplish a second Asian miracle. Daniel Tudor is a journalist who has lived in and written about Korea for almost a decade. In Korea: The Impossible Country, Tudor examines Korea's cultural foundations; the Korean character; the public sphere in politics, business, and the workplace as well as the family, dating, and marriage. In doing so, he touches on topics as diverse as shamanism, clan-ism, the dilemma posed by North Korea, the myths about doing business in Korea, the Koreans' renowned hard-partying ethos, and why the infatuation with learning English is now causing massive social problems. South Korea has undergone two miracles at once: economic development and complete democratization. The question now is, will it become as some see Japan, a prosperous yet aging society, devoid of energy and momentum? Or will the dynamism of Korean society and its willingness to change--as well as the opportunity it has now to welcome outsiders into its fold--enable it to experience a third miracle that will propel it into the ranks of the world's leading nations regarding human culture, democracy, and wealth? More than just one journalist's account, Korea: The Impossible Country also draws on interviews with many of the people who made South Korea what it is today. These include: Choi Min-sik, the star of "Old Boy." Park Won-soon, Mayor of Seoul. Soyeon Yi, Korea's first astronaut Hong Myung-bo, legendary captain of Korea's 2002 FIFA World Cup team. Shin Joong-hyun, the 'Godfather of Korean Rock.' Ko Un, poet. Hong Seok-cheon, restaurateur, and the first Korean celebrity to 'come out.' And many more, including a former advisor to President Park Chung-hee; a Shaman priestess ('mudang'); the boss of Korea's largest matchmaking agency; a 'room salon' hostess; an architect; as well as chefs, musicians, academics, entrepreneurs, homemakers, and chaebol conglomerate employees.

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