During the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–45), and later World War II. Koreans were conscripted as laborers and later soldiers in the Japanese Imperial Army, and a period of unprecedented repression followed. Japan established assimilation policies forbidding use of the Korean language, shut down Korean-language newspapers, and built Shinto shrines throughout the country. Koreans were encouraged to take Japanese names, acknowledge the divinity of the emperor, and otherwise deny their own long and rich heritage. The “36 years” of occupation, as they came to be known, remain an obstacle in Korean-Japanese relations, and the subject of Korean collaboration with the occupying Japanese forces remains extremely sensitive. [Source: Library of Congress, May 2005]
The South Korean government estimated 160,000 Koreans were forced to join the Japanese army. Some who died were enshrined as Shinto dieties in Yasukuni Shrine, where some Japanese war criminals were enshrined, in Tokyo. The dead commemorated at Yasukuni includes 21,000 Koreans and 28,000 Taiwanese. Most were colonial conscripts. Koreans also died at Hiroshima. [Source: The Times of London]

Coal, forests and other resources were harvested to feed the Japanese war-time economy. Industry was developed in Korea with Japan’s interests in mind not Korea’s. The Imperial Japanese government built roads, ports, dams, power plants, roads, hospitals and schools, improved agricultural output, created an industrial infrastructure and improved health care.

Donald N. Clark wrote in “Culture and Customs of Korea”: “During the war Koreans were forced to make great material sacrifices, enduring food rationing and contributing pots and pans and even their jewelry as the war gobbled up every bit of metal that could be located in the Japanese empire. When clothing wore out it simply was patched and patched again until the Koreans were wearing rags. When shoes wore out people made straw shoes or went barefoot.” [Source: “Culture and Customs of Korea” by Donald N. Clark, Greenwood Press, 2000]

Korea Before World War II

In the 1930s, the ascendancy of the military in Japanese politics reversed momentum towards the change and reform in Korea. Particularly after 1937, when Japan launched the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-45) against China, the colonial government decided on a policy of mobilizing the entire country for the cause of the war. Not only was the economy reorganized onto a war footing, but the Koreans were to be totally assimilated as Japanese. The government also began to enlist Korean youths in the Japanese army as volunteers in 1938, and as conscripts in 1943. Worship at Shinto shrines became mandatory, and every attempt at preserving Korean identity was discouraged. [Source: Andrea Matles Savada and William Shaw, Library of Congress, 1990]

Japanese rule was harsh, particularly after the Japanese militarists began their expansionist drive in the 1930s. Internal Korean resistance, however, virtually ceased in the 1930s as the police and the military gendarmes imposed strict surveillance over all people suspected of subversive inclinations and meted out severe punishment against recalcitrants. Most Koreans opted to pay lip service to the colonial government. Others actively collaborated with the Japanese. The treatment of collaborators became a sensitive and sometimes violent issue during the years immediately following liberation.

To rationalize their actions in China and Korea, Japanese officers invoked the concept of "double patriotism" which meant they could "disobey moderate policies of the Emperor in order to obey his true interests." A comparison has been made with religious-political-imperial ideology behind Japanese expansion and the American idea of manifest destiny. [Source: "History of Warfare" by John Keegan, Vintage Books]

Impact of World War II on Korea

Japan declared war on China in 1937 and on the United States in 194l. As this war took on global dimensions, Koreans for the first time had military careers opened to them. Although most Koreans were conscripted foot soldiers, a small number achieved officer status and a few attained high rank. The officer corps of the South Korean army during the Rhee period was dominated by Koreans with experience in the Japanese army. At least in part, the Korean War became a matter of Japanese-trained military officers fighting Japanese-spawned resistance leaders. [Source: Andrea Matles Savada, Library of Congress, 1993]

Japan's far-flung war effort also caused a labor shortage throughout the empire. In Korea this situation meant that bureaucratic positions were more available to Koreans than at any previous time; thus a substantial cadre of Koreans received administrative experience in government, local administration, police and judicial work, economic planning agencies, banks, and the like. That this occurred in the last decade of colonialism created a divisive legacy, however, for this period also was the harshest period of Japanese rule, the time Koreans remember with the greatest bitterness. Korean culture was quashed, and Koreans were required to speak Japanese and take Japanese names. The majority suffered badly at the precise time that a minority was doing well. This minority was tainted by collaboration, and that stigma was never lost. Korea from 1937 to 1945 was much like Vichy France in the early 1940s: bitter experiences and memories continued to divide people, even within the same family. Because it was too painful to confront directly, the experience became buried history and continued to play on the national identity.

In the mid-1930s, Japan's colonial policy entered a phase of heavy industrialization that embraced all of Northeast Asia. Unlike most colonial powers, Japan located heavy industry in its colonies and brought the means of production to the labor and raw materials. Manchuria and northern Korea got steel mills, automotive plants, petrochemical complexes, and enormous hydroelectric facilities. The region was held exclusively by Japan and tied together with the home market to the point that national boundaries had became less important than the new transnational, integrated production. To facilitate this production, Japan also built railroads, highways, cities, ports, and other modern transportation and communication facilities. By 1945 Korea proportionally had more kilometers of railroads than any other Asian country save Japan, leaving only remote parts of the central east coast and the wild northeastern Sino-Korean border region untouched by modern means of conveyance. These changes were externally induced and served Japanese, not Korean interests. Thus they represented a kind of overdevelopment.

Impact of World War II on Korean Society

The same exogenous changes fostered underdevelopment in Korean society as a whole. The Korean upper and managerial classes did not develop; instead their development was retarded or swelled suddenly at Japanese behest. Among the majority peasant class, change was advanced. Koreans became the mobile human capital used to work the new factories in northern Korea and Manchuria, mines and other enterprises in Japan, and urban factories in southern Korea. From 1935 to 1945, Korea began its industrial revolution with many of the usual characteristics: uprooting of peasants from the land, the emergence of a working class, urbanization, and population mobility. [Source: Andrea Matles Savada, Library of Congress, 1993]

In Korea the process was telescoped, giving rise to comparatively remarkable population movements. By 1945 about 11 percent of the entire Korean population was abroad (mostly in Japan and Manchuria), and 20 percent of all Koreans were either abroad or in a province other than that in which they were born, with most of the interprovincial movement being southern peasants moving into northern industry. This was, by and large, a forced or mobilized movement; by 1942 it often meant drafted, conscripted labor. Peasants lost land or rights to work land only to end up working in unfamiliar factory settings, doing the dirty work for a pittance.

Perhaps the most important characteristic of Korea's colonial experience was the manner in which it ended: the last decade of a four-decade imperium was a pressure cooker. The colonial situation built to a crescendo, abruptly collapsed, and left the Korean people and two opposing great powers to deal with the results.

When the colonial system was abruptly terminated in 1945, millions of Koreans sought to return to their native villages from these far-flung mobilization details. But they were no longer the same people: they had grievances against those who had remained secure at home, they had suffered material and status losses, they had often come into contact with new ideologies, and they had all seen a broader world beyond the villages. It was these circumstances that loosed upon postwar Korea a mass of changed and disgruntled people who deeply disordered the early postwar period and the plans of the United States and the Soviet Union.

Korean Forced Laborers

In 1945 2.5 million Koreans were serving abroad in the Japanese Empire. Scholars have estimated that 1.2 millions Koreans were forced to work in Japan (the Japanese government says only 80,000 were required to do so. [Source: The Times of London]

An estimated 4 million Koreans were forced to work as slave laborers between 1910 and 1945 in mines, factories, construction sites and battle zones in Korea, Japan and elsewhere in Asia and the Pacific. During World War II they dug trenches and tunnels, cleared mines and performed other duties, and were often the victims of Allied bombing raids.

The forced laborers lived in squalid camps, were poorly fed and were often beaten by brutal guards. They were promised meager wages which were deposited in postal saving accounts but many of the laborers never saw the money. Hundreds of Korean forced laborers in Japan were slaughtered in 1923 after Korea was blamed for causing the great Tokyo earthquake.

World War II Experience of One Young Korean Forced Laborer

Chong Chansu, a student from North Cholla Province born in 1923, said: Because our family was poor I paid for my own schooling, doing odd jobs to earn money. From fourth grade, I delivered the newspaper to pay for tuition and school supplies. I went up to Seoul for middle school, and because I had already paid for my own schooling, going up to Seoul did not faze me at all. I lived with my elder brother who was married and working in Seoul. [Source: “From Under the Black Umbrella: Voices from Colonial Korea, 1910-1945", by Hildi Kang (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001), 117-118, Asia for Educators Columbia University ^^^ ]

My draft call came on the first of October, 1944, when I was I wanted to run away, but my elder brother said, if that happens the Japanese will give the rest of the family a hard time. So for the good of the family, he begged me to stay put and go when I was called up. The authorities said it would only be for one year. I told my brother, even one year is too long. I will run away. But he persisted.

The Japanese crowded us into a school ground in Seoul and then took us to Pusan. There were thousands of us, from all over the country, some in old-fashioned Korean clothes, some in modern dress. They put us on a ship. We had no idea where we were going. We ended up in Kobe, Japan, where two large companies, Mitsubishi and Kawasaki, had their shipyards. The guards herded us into long barracks, located in a suburb of Kobe. Our group had six thousand Korean, three thousand for Mitsubishi and three thousand for Kawasaki. All in those barracks. Can you imagine? For meals we ate beans, beans, and more beans. No white rice, ever. It just didn’t exist.

Sometimes they gave us a small bowl of soup. Even at that, they doled out small portions. We were young and hungry and full of appetite. How can you get by with that food when you are only In desperation some tried to sneak more food, and then they were severely beaten. Severely! I just couldn’t bear it. …

Korean Forced Laborer in the Pacific

John Glionna wrote in the Los Angels Times: “For most of his life, Kim Hui-jong has kept what he considers a shameful secret. In 1944, as a teenager, he was abducted from his village in northern Korea by Japanese soldiers and forced to dig tunnels at a World War II military camp on the island of Saipan [near Guam in the northern Pacific Ocean]. It would take him a decade of marriage to tell his wife about his past. Kim, 86, still often dreams of the battlefield shelling that severely damaged his hearing and the taunts of his captors: "You Koreans are like canned meat; we can take you anywhere and use you as we see fit."” [Source: John Glionna, Los Angels Times, August 14, 2011]

His story began: “One morning in 1944, during a walk in his village outside Pyongyang” when “Kim had a life-changing run-in with the occupying military. A Japanese soldier waved him over, barking commands. A Japanese-language student in his youth, Kim said, he immediately grasped what had befallen him. He was being conscripted. Kim was ordered to join tens of thousands of other young Koreans to assist the Japanese military. He was soon aboard a flotilla of ships heading toward Saipan.

:Never issued a gun, he dug ditches and tunnels, he recalled, adding that he escaped torture by guards because he quickly understood their orders. During one U.S. attack, Kim recalled, the conscripts were ordered to run for nearby caves to avoid capture by the Americans. "One conscript stopped me," he said. "He said: 'Don't go there. The Japanese are going to lock you all in and dynamite the cave.' " But in the fog of battle, the Korean workers were spared. In another U.S. attack, a shell exploded near Kim's head, shattering his eardrums. On June 19, 1944, he and hundreds of other Koreans were captured as noncombatant prisoners.

“For two years, Kim served as a U.S. prisoner of war. He showed his "Individual P.O.W. Labor Record" with the amount of pay for his labors in U.S. internment camps. One day at a camp in Hawaii, he recalled, a U.S. soldier told him to go home. When Kim questioned him, the American held up his arms in the symbol of surrender, saying the Japanese had given up. The U.S. government flew him back to Seoul, where he carved out an ordinary life, though scarred by his wartime suffering. He worked as a low-level government employee until his retirement in 1973."He could never get promoted — his hearing always held him back," said his wife, Hui-boon, 79, who communicates with her husband by shouting in his ear.

Koreans on Sakhalin Island

Around 40,000 Koreans were taken to Sakhalin island in present-day Russia as part of slave labor force that worked in Japanese coal mines there. One man who was dragged from his home while having dinner with his parents in 1943 told TIME, the last thing he said to his family was, "I don't know where I'm going but I'll be back."

At the end of World War II, the Soviet Army invaded Sakhalin. Ethnic Koreans were separated from ethnic Japanese and the Japanese were allowed to return home while the Koreans got stranded because they were not covered by repatriation programs and Stalin needed coal miners. Many never returned home and many of those that did didn't get the opportunity until after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990. The man who was dragged from dinner didn't return until 1998.

In the film “A Forgotten People: the Sakhalin Koreans”, one Korean forced laborer, who was taken to Sakhalin in 1943, said "The Japanese worked us like horses. Then they went away, leaving us like worn out shoes. We were abandoned people. So the Russians grabbed us." One Korean woman was still on Sakhalin in the early 2000s told the New York Times, “We saw all the Japanese children grow up. I never imagined that we would have to stay here for such a long tome. We were not Russians. We were not Japanese. We were stateless.”

Over the years many of the Koreans became comfortable on Sakhalin and learned to wash down their kimchi with vodka. Many Koreans on Sakhalin found work with Korean and Japanese companies involved in the exploration of oil. Others have taken advantage of liberal work-visa rule to go to work in South Korea. South Korea is sponsoring Korean language classes in places where ethnic Koreans live and paying for children of Korean descent to come to South Korea for summer camp.

Korea at the End of World War II

In the final weeks of World War II, as the Red Army of the Soviet Union easily advanced through Manchuria from several positions, the American suddenly realized they had to do something about Korea. In Cairo in November, 1943. Roosevelt, Churchill and Chiang Kai-shek decided: “In due course Korea shall be free and independent.” In a late night, 11th hour meeting, a group of senior uniformed American war planners decided among other things to divide the Korean peninsula at the 38th parallel. While this was going on Japanese announced that the Soviets had invaded Korea and retaken the southern half of Sakhalin island. [Source: S. Kang, Hartwick College]

On August 8, 1945, during the final days of World War II, the Soviet Union declared war against Japan and launched an invasion of Manchuria and Korea. By then, Japan had been depleted by the drawn-out war against the United States and its Allies and Japanese forces were in no position to stave off the Soviets. The dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and August 9, respectively, had led the Japanese government to search for ways to end the war. On August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered unconditionally. [Source: Andrea Matles Savada and William Shaw, Library of Congress, 1990*]

The Japanese surrender and the Soviet landing on the Korean Peninsula totally altered the history of contemporary Korea. At the Cairo Conference of December 1943, the Allies had decided to strip Japan of all the territories it had acquired since 1894, the beginning of Japan's expansionist drive abroad. The United States, China, and Britain had agreed at Cairo that Korea would be allowed to become free and independent in due course after the Allied victory. The Soviet Union agreed to the same principle in its declaration of war against Japan.

Although the United States president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Marshal Josef V. Stalin of the Soviet Union had agreed to establish an international trusteeship for Korea at the Yalta Conference of February 1945, no decision had been made on the exact formula for governing the nation in the aftermath of Allied victory. The landing of Soviet forces, however, compelled the United States government to improvise a formula for Korea. Unless an agreement were reached, the Soviets could very well occupy the entire peninsula and place Korea under their control. Thus, on August 15, 1945, President Harry S Truman proposed to Stalin the division of Korea at the thirty-eighth parallel. The next day Stalin agreed. Evidently Stalin did not wish to confront the United States by occupying the entire peninsula. He may also have hoped that the United States, in return, would permit the Soviet Union to occupy the northern half of the northernmost major Japanese island, Hokkaido.

The Allied foreign ministers subsequently met in Moscow on December 7, 1945, and decided to establish a trusteeship for a five-year period, during which a Korean provisional government would prepare for full independence; they also agreed to form a joint United States-Soviet commission to assist in organizing a single "provisional Korean democratic government." The trusteeship proposal was immediately opposed by nearly all Koreans, especially the Korean right under Syngman Rhee, who used the issue to consolidate his domestic political base. The Korean communists objected at first, but quickly changed their position under Soviet direction.

The joint commission met intermittently in Seoul from March 1946 until it adjourned indefinitely in October 1947. The Soviet insistence that only those "democratic" parties and social organizations upholding the trusteeship plan be allowed to participate in the formation of an all-Korean government was unacceptable to the United States. The United States argued that the Soviet formula, if accepted, would put the communists in controlling positions throughout Korea.

So Far from the Bamboo Grove

“So Far from the Bamboo Grove” by Yoko Kawashima Watkins (Harper Collins, 1986) is a book about a young Japanese girl and her family in Korea at the end of World War II, trying to make their way back to Japan. According to the Yomiuri Shimbun: “In 1945, an 11-year-old Japanese girl named Yoko left her bamboo-surrounded home in Nansam in northern Korea, with her mother and sister, her family had heard a rumor that the Soviet army was about to invade the city so they decided to flee to Japan. The family made their way on a two-month, 1,000 kilometer journey to Pusan. Along the way, they witnessed Korean men sexually attacking Japanese women. The three shaved their heads to look like men and avoid attacks. [Source: Yomiuri Shimbun

The book’s publisher Harper Collins reports: “In the final days of World War II, Koreans were determined to take back control of their country from the Japanese and end the suffering caused by the Japanese occupation. As an eleven-year-old girl living with her Japanese family in northern Korea, Yoko is suddenly fleeing for her life with her mother and older sister, Ko, trying to escape to Japan, a country Yoko hardly knows. Their journey is terrifying — and remarkable. It's a true story of courage and survival that highlights the plight of individual people in wartime. In the midst of suffering, acts of kindness, as exemplified by a family of Koreans who risk their own lives to help Yoko's brother, are inspiring reminders of the strength and resilience of the human spirit.

Excerpt: “It was almost midnight on July 29, 1945, when my mother, my elder sister Ko, and I, carrying as many of our belongings as we could on our back, fled our home in its bamboo grove, our friends, and our town, Nanam, in northern Korea, forever.” [Source: Time magazine, October 1, 2007]

The book was the center of a controversy in Massachusetts: According to Time magazine: “The novel, part of the state’s recommended reading list, was removed from the sixth-grade English curriculum at Dover-Sherborn Middle School in Massachusetts in 2006 due to scenes hinting at rape, violence against women by Korean men, and a distorted presentation of history. The book is based on the real-life experiences of Kawashawa Watkins, whose father was a Japanese government official. In a reversal of its decision, the Dover-Sherborn Regional School Committee voted unanimously to keep the book as part of a sixth-grade language arts unit on survival. The school decided to also explore other texts to bring balance to the unit in response to the criticism leveled against the book by some parents and community members.”

Compensation, Anger and Recognition of Japanese Occupation of Korea

The wounds of World War II and the Japanese occupation have large been healed in Southeast Asia but not in Korea and China. Koreans feel that Japan needs to apologize for the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1912 to 1945 and the comfort women issue.The Japanese government paid the South Korean government some compensation for war damage. Individual Koreans were unable to press claims because they weren't allowed to leave Korea to go to Japan.

Japanese junior high school textbooks now include a passage that admits "few Japanese made any attempt to understand the outlook and circumstances of the Korean people who sought freedom and independence." It also has an excerpt from a speech by former Korean president Roh Tae Woo in which he described "the suffering of Korean children who had just entered elementary school to find out that they would have to undergo a whipping by their teachers if...they used their own name instead of a Japanese name, or used the native language their mothers had taught them."

In June 1995, after Japanese Foreign Minister Michio Watanabe characterized the repressive and brutal Japanese occupation of Korea as "peaceful," students in Korea responded by rioting, burning effigies, throwing eggs at the Japanese embassy and hurling Molotov cocktails at the Japanese cultural center in Seoul, burning out the inside of the building.

In August 2001, a group of 20 young Koreans in Seoul protested the glossing over of Japanese war crimes in World War II in school textbooks and the visit by Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi to the Yasukuni War shrine by cutting off the tips of their little fingers while shouting, "Apologize! Apologize!." The wounds were bandaged with pieces of the Korean flag and the tips were collected and folded in another flag.

August 2010 marked the 100th anniversary of the annexation of South Korea by Japan. A few days ahead of the anniversary, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan apologized to South Korea for the annexation, expressing “deep remorse” and “heartfelt apology: for “the tremendous damage and suffering caused during the period of colonial rule”—the statement was similar to an apology made by in 1995 by Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama to all Asian nation. Kan then went a step further saying that the Korean people's “ethnic pride was deeply scarred by the colonial rule which was imposed against there will” and then went on to say that the focus of the future should be on building good relations between South Korea and Japan. After making the statement Kan called South Korea President Lee Myung Pak to explain his statements. At rallies in South Korea, protesters called on Japan to truely repent for what it had. Among those who not happy about what Japan had done so far was a 47-year-old traditional medicine shop owner that told Kyodo, “Japan's apology is seen like a formality that comes out when the need arises." An apology from Japan is “nothing but empty words” unless Japan relinquishes it claim to Dokdo islands and compensates former comfort women.

Living Korean Forced Laborer Listed as Dead at Yasukuni Shrine

On Kim Hui-jong, the Korean man described above who was a forced laborer in Saipan, John Glionna wrote in the Los Angels Times: “He always considered his Japanese enslavement, and the two years he later spent as a U.S. prisoner of war, as a lifelong humiliation. Then, in 2005, Kim received a new insult he insists he still cannot bear: For decades, the former conscript learned, he has been counted among Japan's war dead and, because of an administrative error, his name is listed at Tokyo's controversial Yasukuni shrine. He could no longer remain silent. A slim man with delicate features, Kim recently sat on the bed of his home in a working-class Seoul neighborhood, furious over his inclusion at Yasukuni. "I never fought for the Japanese; I was a forced laborer," he said, his voice weak after recent heart surgery. "This has brought me so much shame. It's a personal and national dishonor. I am neither a war criminal nor a dead man." [Source: John Glionna, Los Angels Times, August 14, 2011]

“Many view Yasukuni as a symbol of Japanese militarist values that led millions to their deaths. Worse, Kim and other critics say, Shinto priests who control the shrine list Japanese leaders executed as war criminals in its ranks of the dead. Located in the center of Tokyo, the 142-year-old shrine — with its soothing lanterns and elegant rice-paper walls — each year draws millions of visitors who tour its temples and adjoining war museum. Over the years, Tokyo politicians paying their respects to the deceased soldiers have angered Chinese and South Koreans who suffered under Japanese occupation.

“But none, perhaps, more than Kim. In 2007, Kim filed a lawsuit against the Yasukuni shrine and the Japanese government, demanding they remove his name and those of four other forced laborers from Korea. Three times the men went to Tokyo to testify, always gathering at the shrine for protests. On one visit, a Japanese reporter asked Kim his opinion of the memorial. "I told her she wasn't going to like my answer," he said. "I said I wanted to light a truckload of gasoline there, that I'd feel satisfied if they dropped not one but two atomic bombs on the place."

“In 2005, a South Korean documentary film team informed him of his inclusion at Yasukuni and helped pay for several visits to the Japanese court and for the Yasukuni protests. Upon learning of his intent to see his name deleted, Kim said, workers wouldn't allow him to enter the temple to observe his nameplate among the 2.4 million listed there. Yasukuni officials did not respond to interview requests. But in the past, Shinto priests have insisted that they hold complete religious autonomy on who is enshrined at Yasukuni, where officials call the inclusion "permanent and irreversible."

“Kim Min-cheol, director of the Korea Council for Redress and Reparation for the Victims of World War II Atrocities, says the names of 21,000 Korean conscripts are included at Yasukuni, but that Kim is the only one still alive. Since the lawsuit was filed in 2007, the other four living conscripts listed there have died. "Yasukuni is a symbol of imperialism," he said. "To include conscripted Koreans is enslaving the spirit of the deceased. They won't be able to find peace, even in death."

“Last month, Kim's wait ended with a phone call from Korean activists. A Japanese court had rejected his request. Kim's inclusion at the shrine, a judge explained, "was an unavoidable mix-up by the shrine, and does not infringe upon his human rights and moral interests." Japanese press reports said Tokyo courts have dismissed similar lawsuits, ruling that the Japanese constitution guarantees religious freedom. Judges believed they had no jurisdiction over Yasukuni, which is a religious shrine, the reports said. One of Kim's Japanese lawyers blasted the ruling, telling reporters: "I feel ashamed as a Japanese citizen."Kim said he would appeal. Talking about the case, his soft eyes harden. "When I talked with the Japanese court, I said, 'I may be an old man, but I'm still alive,' " Kim said. "I asked, 'Why am I enshrined among the dead?' "

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons.

Text Sources: South Korean government websites, Korea Tourism Organization, Cultural Heritage Administration, Republic of Korea, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Library of Congress, CIA World Factbook, World Bank, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, “Culture and Customs of Korea” by Donald N. Clark, Chunghee Sarah Soh in “Countries and Their Cultures”, “Columbia Encyclopedia”, Korea Times, Korea Herald, The Hankyoreh, JoongAng Daily, Radio Free Asia, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, BBC, AFP, The Atlantic, Yomiuri Shimbun and various books and other publications.

Updated in July 2021

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