• https://twitter.com/changjo_ftw Changjo, fighting!^^

    It would be interesting to know what happens to South Korea if it keeps on this course generations from now. It is already dealing with dropping birth rates which is major since having a big populace is basically key to increasing economic growth and power. If SK thinks it can balance out it’s low birth rates by increasing women’s rights and keeping out foreigners, it’s gonna subsequently find failure.

    And about that ascendent from a god gooblygook, at least they and Japan have something to share…might as well share Dokdo too as well as other things, huhuhu…but seriously, Koreans need to keep everything in perspective and abandon all those primordial beliefs at bay. Look at what’s happening to Japan if you want a picture of where SK is heading…

    • takasar1

      japan is different, it is still extraordinarily powerful with an economy only matched by china and the u.s. japan’s issues lie with the fact that their economy is barely growing, a factor influenced by several poor economic decisions in the last 20 years. with regards to an aging population, all countries that develop face this problem in the end, due to the change in ideology, meaning that people no longer want to have large families since they are more of a nuisance than an advantage. it does not really have much to do with primordial beliefs since no one (in the government) really regards these as factors when undertaking policies. immigration would not be good for south korea, it’s society cannot yet deal with such rapid and fundamental changes, for now, the government should do its best to try and encourage families to have more children. “since having a big populace is basically key to increasing economic growth and power”, no, take a look at Britain in the 19th and 18th centuries, its population was not large, yet it still was the premier economic power. a large population is only really required during the secondary stage of growth, afterwards, it can become a major hindrance (why else was the one child policy put in place). size of the labor force is merely one of many important factors that determine economic size and growth

      • https://twitter.com/changjo_ftw Changjo, fighting!^^

        Well, I’m speaking mainly of recent times since the number of nation-states that actually have a prime export which makes helps them grow economically have pretty much dwindled. The only big export i can think of that can give any small country any substantial economic growth is oil an maybe coffee beans, I don’t know. As I see it, these days the biggest export is human labor and a country with a huge population can attract the most business from overseas, for example China and India are prime examples. The labor in those countries are so expendable that the companies that do business there can afford not to pay higher wages, although that may be in large part due to the lack of workers’ rights.

        In any case, South Korea doesn’t have a prime export (is, uh, kpop their biggest export or maybe electronics?) so they’d have to rely on their labor force. To be honest, I don’t think that they can do much about dropping birth rates unless SK wants to suppress the freedoms of women since women having an education and working paying jobs means smaller families. I’ve heard that some Japanese companies do give perks to workers who began having families, but I’ve never checked up on that so I don’t know if I can even know if it’s working for them. If you ask me, it would really be hard for them to increase the birth rate by using that strategy alone. Working women generally don’t want to have that so many children if any at all and the costs of raising children generally gets more expensive as times progresses.

        The only way I see this to correct these problems to open their border to immigrants. This is mainly how the US was able to grow its population and strengthen it’s economic power. However, the US was very picky about who it would let in and people from certain countries were not even allowed in. I read a book a long while ago that explained that this practice assured that only the most productive to migrate would help the US grow economically stronger. While it may be a culture shock to Koreans to let in immigrants, in some way it would have to change policies at some point or risk losing at lot of that economic growth. Otherwise, they would need a prime export…and either kpop or something else would have to become their golden goose.

        • takasar1

          an export is a resource or material that can be traded outwards, labor is often classified as an asset, not an export. growing economies do need a ‘stimulus’ if you will, to begin long-term growth, but an export-oriented economy only works if you have resources people want/need. take a good long look at singapore’s economy and you will quickly realize that building a trade surplus is not the only way to grow. businesses prefer to relocate manufacturing to countries with low labor costs, not countries with large populations. that is the reason why china and india were picked as two optimal locations. yet now, as wages increase, many multinationals are outsourcing manufacturing to cheaper nations, such as vietnam. south korea’s economy did not grow as a result of cheap labour, theirs grew as a result of exports (and still does). they currently excel in electronics. korea’s population slump is expected and how they tackle this will test them greatly. korean society is not yet prepared for immigration, besides, korea is not a nation many people wish to live in (nothing wrong with it but their are better options available), people from south-east asia usually pick china or japan. it would be cruel to ultimately force women to have more children but using incentives can always change minds.

        • jesuis2

          A dwindling pop. base has more to do w/ having less people/workers than necessary to support an aged population and doesn’t have as much to do w/ the economy/exports.

          Manufacturing and assembly is increasingly mechanized/done by robots.

          Right now, there isn’t enough jobs in Korea for all those who have university degrees, so many grads are working service jobs.
          As for exports – Korea’s biggest exports are electronics (TVs, smartphones), household appliances (refrigerators, washers), autos, shipbuilding and engineering/construction.

        • Black_Plague

          Foreign immigrants doesn’t necessarily result in a stronger economy (looking at China) and no, Kpop is not the biggest export of South Korea – in fact, in terms of revenue, I’d even go as to say it’s rather tiny compared to other industries. Electronics aside, Korea is also the world’s largest shipbuilder and then there’s also the automobile industry to take into account. Hell, even the SK gaming industry brings in more than 10 times the revenue in exports than K-pop does – something which isn’t exactly widely known in general.

          Additionally, there’s other concerns to worry about – social issues. South Korea already has a lot to deal with as of now with its own homogeneous population and frankly, adding another pile related to immigrants is going to make things look far more messy.

          Adding in the (ethno)nationalist attitude and homogeneous nature of the country, the culture shock is simply not worth it.

          You can’t just change society so quickly, otherwise you’re content with seeing potentially and massively increased discrimination that could last for God-knows-how-long (especially when anti-foreigners are particularly vocal and get wide attention from the public there) and possibly even a sharp rise in crime and poverty – just as how parts of America got itself into especially when large numbers of Italians immigrated there during the late 19th and early 20th century, where Italians were generally of lower class, many lived in poverty and resulted in the creation of some ruthless and notorious criminal outfits that made their own pages in history.

          Overall, a rather too-optimistic view. Even if South Korea’s economy weakens due to population decline, it’s not like it’ll going to lead straightly to a much poorer population in general. Hell, look at Australia – it’s nowhere an economic powerhouse in a global scale like Korea is yet you can still find a fair number of Koreans who immigrated there as living standards are much better in Aussie than Korea itself.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1240283540 Jenna Nelson

        Ultranationalism is what has helped countries like Japan and Korea rebound so strongly after such dire states, but unltra nationalism is also the cause of the war between Japan and the US. There are ao many paralelles between Korea and Japan when it comes to nationalism and opinions on foreigners, that I can’t help but think Korea is headed down the same path, and hope nothing serious starts over those islands . It takes time for mentality to change yes, and Korea might not be ready for immigration, but unless someone tries to encourage change, it won’t happen. Just look at Japan. Foreigners living in Japan are also offerd very little rights by the government and even foreigners with Japanese passports are never excepted as true members of society. Cultural misunderstandings are frequent, and usually the Japanese response is just to avoid working with foreigners.

        And yes, workers who’s wives are unemployed get extra cheques from the government (or company, I can’t remember which) as “aide”. Japan’s society favours men in power, having women in the work field is still seen as threatening.

  • http://twitter.com/babih57 Bárbara Lima

    Aren’t you going to review the new album and mv from Jaejoong? I am really anxious to know what you guys think about it, I love your interpretations! Kisses from Brazil!

  • http://dvqd92.tumblr.com/ Elizabeth

    great article Dana :)

  • jesuis2

    OK – while Koreans exhibit nationalism, at its core, it’s no different than anywhere else, esp. for a county that has been subjugated by a larger neighbor (see Scotland or Ireland and their continued animosity towards England – Scotland wouldn’t let their soccer players play for team Great Britain during the Olympics) – and don’t ever call a Welshman an Englishman.
    Now a bit more insidious – look at the anti-Hispanic and anti-Muslim attitude in the US, not to mention anti-Chinese sentiment (before that, there was anti-Japanese sentiment which led to the death of Vincent Chin, b/c you know, all Asians look alike).

    Look at countries in Europe – where black soccer players get bananas thrown at them and mocked w/ ape/monkey noises.

    In countries like Greece, Germany and Russia – there have been foreign non-whites who have been murdered by ultra-nationalists.

    When has these things happened in Korea?

    In Greece, the police are in on anti-foreigner crusade, taking and beating foreigners in their custody.

    Recently, an American w/ a desi background was in Greece was a tourist and was beaten up by the police.

    A Korean who was backbacking the world was also beat up – and he had no problems in the other countries he visited.

    Yes, there are things that need to improve – but things are improving.

    Remember, Korea has had about 4 decades of experience w/ non-Koreans living in Korea in significant nos. – as opposed to Europe, much less the Americas.

    And in some ways, it’s better in Korea than in the US. for bi-racial offspring, esp. males.

    There’s a reason why Asian-looking hapas like Daniel Henney, Dennis Oh, etc. had to come to Korea for a career in entertainment.

    The barrier in Hollywood is high for Asian-looking males, even if half- Caucasian.
    That’s why we see more hapa males in the Korean entertainment industry than hapa females – since it’s much easier for hapa (or full-Asian) females to get work in Hollywood.

    • lemon224

      I would have to disagree that Korea is a better place for bi-racial people than the US, sure when they get famous its all good, but biracial children who grow up in South Korea have a really tough time.

      • bd005

        Not saying that Korea is a better place for bi-racials (esp. half-blacks), but that in certain instances, it can be a better place – such as in the entertainment industry, esp. for male hapas.

        And it’s not exactly peachy growing up bi-racial in the US either.
        Daniel Henney kept getting taunted for his Asian look where he would plead w/ his tormentors – “but I’m WHITE, just like you!”

        And Hines Ward (former NFL receiver) stated that the one thing he regrets most is making his mother cry when he told her that he wished he wasn’t (part) Korean – since he was taunted for being part Asian as well (he even got called things like “Chink” on the playing field).

        • lemon224

          I agree with you that it isn’t easy growing up biracial in the US either.

    • Mer

      “There’s a reason why Asian-looking hapas like Daniel Henney, Dennis Oh, etc. had to come to Korea for a career in entertainment.”

      I don’t think them being bi-racial has anything to do with not being able to get parts in Hollywood. I think it may have been, in Daniel Henney’s case anyway, bad acting. In English or Korean, he couldn’t act his way out of a plastic bag.

      “And in some ways, it’s better in Korea than in the US. for bi-racial offspring, esp. males.” <——- Which ways?

      This statement could probably spawn multiple conversations. So, I'll just state that the above can be true (in Korea) depending on which race the child is mixed with. You know, there is one particular race that is more acceptable then others. As far as the U.S. goes… I'm not sure where you live, but I don't think bi-racial people have a hard time. Considering the numbers of mixed couples and children I see on a daily basis in my tiny little state. In fact, in certain parts of Ohio I think that's an option on for ethnicity on government forms.

      • bd005

        So – you don’t think there are bad actors in US shows who get hired primarily b/c they look good? (Look at all the former models who get hired as actors/actresses and are stiff as a board or a lot of “actors” on the WB or whatever it’s called nowadays).

        Uhh, one way is that hapas (esp. males) get more opportunities in Korea in the entertainment industry.

        Why do you think so many Korean-Americans (and even Asian-Americans who aren’t of Korean descent) end up in Korea as singers/dancers?

        Are you going to tell me that all of them don’t have talent as well?

        And if you think hapas – don’t have issues w/ race, as stated above, both Henney and Hines Ward were tormented as youngsters for being part Asian.

        And that’s for hapas.

        Asians-Americans as a group are the most BULLIED at school.
        Jeremy Lin has stated that he would get all these RACIST comments while he played BB for Harvard – the worst coming from students at other Ivy League schools (do you think these students would have made racist comments towards black players?).

        And speaking of bi-racials, adoptees and Asian-Americans who grow up in “white suburbia” – many don’t want to do anything that would associate them w/ being seen as “Asian.”

        When it comes to having pride in one’s racial/ethnic make-up, Asian-Americans have the lowest (and there’s a reason for that).

  • RC_RC

    A bit off topic…

    I don’t fully agree with people who say that South Korea is such an extremely ethnically homogeneous country. It is indeed not a racially mixed country but ethnicity is more than just race or complexion. South Korea is very mixed when it comes to religion, lots of Buddhists and lots of Christians, so it is ethnically mixed. It is not racially mixed but it is ethnically mixed.

    Religious diversity and religious conversions can create enormous tensions in a country and in a family, see for example Lebanon.

    I think that the nationalism/patriotism of the South Koreans keeps the country together despite the religious differences. It acts as a glue.

  • VipVip

    Interesting read. I’ve been aware of the strong nationalistic spirit Koreans have but didn’t have any background story for it. Their pride in their country and race is admirable but like it’s been stated, in the modern global world this mindset comes with many problems, especially if they still want foreigners to visit their country or are still eager to spread the “hallyu-wave”. It shall be interesting to see what kind of change (or if there shall be one) SK will go through in future generations.

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