Term Paper: Korean History: The Climate

Pages: 12 (4763 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: History - Asian  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] These changes and others mark a "golden age" in Korean history focusing on the ideals of a more progressive government, economy and science and arts. Ascension of Sejong to the throne in 1418 led to a series of technological and cultural changes that would see Korea through to the most recent past with an ideal as a historical model and a standard for scientific and social progress.

The Confucian expression "agriculture is the basis of government" was a practical fact of life in Choson and King Sejong and his scholars at the chiphyonjon paid particular attention to agricultural research. The government took an active role in improving the lot of Choson's farmers by investing in the development of new and better agricultural technology. It sponsored research that led to the development of new seed strains better adapted to Korea's climate. Acknowledging the differences between Korean and Chinese soils and climate, scholars compiled a manual in 1430 on agricultural techniques called, Straight Talk on Farming, a custom-designed manual that addressed the specific needs of Choson agriculture. (Korean History Project 2000 (http://www.koreanhistoryproject.org/Ket/KETIndex.htm)

Though far from finished the ancient history of Korea has recently become very well documented and the reality of the history of a challenged nation through the encroachment of European imperialist Portugal and later other nations and through the flagging power and alliances of other Asian island nations Korea and its people have withstood much.

Another Aspect of Korean History worth mentioning is their historical isolationism. Through history they have shown no interest in becoming a colonial power. They have determined to stay within their own means and borders and have sometimes been seen as benevolent eternally bound to their beautiful and beloved land.

Once known as the "Eastern Land of Courtesy," Korea seldom cultivated overseas interests, never invaded its neighbors, nor sought development outside given boundaries. The Korean's excessive adulation of their homeland and their aversion to coveting the territories of others eventually invited foreign invasion, subjugation, and a long period of colonial suffering. Koreans have preserved the Tan'gun legend and its psychological foundation through the centuries as a source of spiritual comfort in times of crisis. Koreans feel a solemn duty to pass on such beliefs and the pride of a people with a long history and ancient culture to succeeding generations. (Korean History Project 2000 (http://www.koreanhistoryproject.org/Ket/KETIndex.htm)

Korea's sense of isolationism left it a fertile ground for the 19th century colonial movement. Korea used many means to insulate itself from the encroachment of western thought on its culture, business and economy. Korea maintained its ancient tie with China, who was busy fighting its own battle against westernization.

Japan had learned to master the new tools of power by the second half of the nineteenth century and gradually assumed a new role in relations with its neighbors, that of an aggressive Eastern state. Until its eventual downfall in 1945, Japan acted toward East Asia in much the same way Western powers had acted toward Japan and other East Asian nations. The reawakening and growth of an active Japanese interest in the Asian continent coincided with the rise of Western expansionism in East Asia. (Korean History Project 2000)

After countless years of resistance Korea became one of the first regional acquisitions of modern Imperialist Japan through Japan's cunning ability to wade through the diplomacy of a more global world focus.

Both Britain and the United States allied with Japan believing that the imperialism of the east needed to be balanced in much the same ways they believed this of western style imperialism.

In 1910 after a centuries long repetitive invasions and power shifts modern Japan officially annexed Korea. Japanese occupation of Korea, lasting between 1910 and 1945 Japan increased the stability of Koreas infrastructure through the development of massive transportation projects and other foundational development that would enable the modernization of Korea.

Yet the Japanese imperial regime was ruthless in its attempt to eradicate Korean culture. "The Japanese ruled with an iron fist and attempted to root out all elements of Korean culture from society. People were forced to adopt Japanese names, convert to the Shinto (native Japanese) religion, and were forbidden to use Korean language in schools and business." (Life in Korea (http://www.lifeinkorea.com/information/history2.cfm)

After nearly 20 years of social control at the hands of the Japanese government there was a Korean uprising in 1919, the failure of which lead to worse conditions that before bordering on a Korean genocide. "The Independence Movement on March 1, 1919, was brutally repressed, resulting in the killing of thousands, the maiming and imprisoning of tens of thousands, and destroying of hundreds of churches, temples, schools, and private homes." (Life in Korea (http://www.lifeinkorea.com/information/history2.cfm) As imperial Japan came under increasing pressure through the coming years the threat to Korean culture was unflagging and possibly the worst occurrences to date occurred during World War II when Japan's great need for resources drained the Korean country of even its people. Many of the forced laborers were never repatriated to Korea. (Life in Korea (http://www.lifeinkorea.com/information/history2.cfm)

The Japanese surrender in World War II led to the present state of governmental divide in Korea. Though the Koreans had fought long and hard for their independence the state that developed was hardly the one they had hoped for. When the surrender occurred on August 15, 1945 the nation was divided in to its present North Korea or the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK), to be managed and occupied by the communist USSR and South Korea or the Republic of Korea to be managed and occupied by the United States.

The 38th parallel was established for the sake of convenience by the two powers, the U.S. And Russia, to facilitate the removal of the Japanese occupying the Korean peninsula. However, it has become an eternal dividing line. Communist North Korea made clear their intentions by refusing to hold general elections commanded by UN resolution. The U.S. withdrawal from South Korea in 1948 prompted a Northern attempt at reunification begun by a bloody invasion of South Korea. "On June 25, 1950, the North Korean Army invaded the South, starting the Korean War. UN forces helped the South while Communist Chinese volunteers sided with the North, resulting in a three-year war which left millions dead on both sides." (Life in Korea (http://www.lifeinkorea.com/information/history2.cfm) The final outcome of The Korean War is still debated today as North Korea continues to threaten South Korea with another communist reunification attempt and most recently North Korea has begun to threaten the world with the announcement of attempts to develop a nuclear weapons system. (American City Business Journals Inc. February 11, 2003)

If there is any one theme that rules the thoughts and mind of all Koreans in both the North and the South it is an independent and unified sovereign nation of Korea. Both parties with the help of the respective advocates have made attempts, and considerable progress has of coarse been made. Yet the tide seems forever changing. In one moment terms of accord seem to be within sight and hope springs anew as when the communism lost power in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and the Berlin Wall fell and reunification of Germany was realized. Yet, in the next as is the case today's very recent fearful and real the threat by the DPRK of nuclear armament.

Through the years of threats from North Korea and some assistance from increased foreign trade and national pride South Korea has defied the odds and prospered to such a degree that they have developed a seemingly endless exponential growth. Since the end of the Korean War in 1953, the Republic of Korea has achieved astounding economic growth, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as the "Miracle of the Han-gang River." The areas of strongest development continue to be shipbuilding, semiconductors and consumer electronics, although the Korean automobile industry is rapidly gaining a foothold in overseas markets. (Library of Congress Country Studies 1990, (http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r-frd/cstdy:@field (DOCID+kr0007)

Annual trade in 1988 more than U.S.$100 billion; first time world's tenth largest trading nation. Major trading partners United States and Japan. Main exports textiles, clothing, electronic and electrical equipment, footwear, machinery, steel, ships, automobiles and automotive parts, rubber tires and tubes, plywood, and fishery products. Main imports machinery, electronics and electronic equipment, petroleum and petroleum products, steel, grains, transport equipment, raw materials, chemicals, machinery, timber and pulp, raw cotton, and cereals. Balance of payments affected by oil imports and raw materials needs; surplus of U.S.$4.6 billion in 1989, but deficit of U.S.$1.9 billion, 1990. (Library of Congress Country Studies 1990, (http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r-frd/cstdy:@field (DOCID+kr0007)

Korea is aiming to enter the twenty-first century with a restructured industrial model that will allow her to compete successfully in the free world markets.

For example South Korean Gross National Income, which include the income of foreigners as well as Koreans has seemingly unceasing exponential growth, though recently proven touchable by the downtrend… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Korean History: The Climate.  (2003, February 12).  Retrieved April 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/korean-history-climate/5149211

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"Korean History: The Climate."  Essaytown.com.  February 12, 2003.  Accessed April 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/korean-history-climate/5149211.