South Korea Sociocultural Report
South Korea is a country in East Asia, on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula. To the north, it is bordered by North Korea, with which it was united until 1945 (Oberdorfer, 1997).To the west, across the Yellow Sea, lies China, and to the southeast, across the Korea Strait, lies Japan. By far the largest city is the capital, Seoul; approximately one-third of the country’s population lives in or near the capital (Cordesman, 2002).The population is overwhelmingly ethnic Korean; roughly half are non-religious, with the remainder divided between Christians and Buddhists. The history of South Korea has seen five major constitutional changes since the country was founded in 1948 (Cordesman, 2002).
After passing through a series of autocratic regimes prior to 1987, South Korea is now a multi party democracy (Oberdorfer, 1997). However, it continues to struggle with aspects of its 20th-century history, under both Japanese and military rule. Despite numerous efforts at reform, allegations of corruption and human rights abuses continue. The South Korean economy has advanced rapidly since the end of the Korean War, when it was one of Asia’s poorest countries. It is now the 11th largest economy in the world, and one of the most technologically advanced (Cordesman, 2002).
South Korea brands such as Samsung, LG, and Hyundai have gained worldwide recognition. The country’s culture is largely secular, oriented toward consumption and technology. The South Korea entertainment industry has grown explosively since the 1990s, and has produced a number of musical and cinematic sensations. Many of these have gained considerable popularity around east and Southeast Asia, in a phenomenon known as the “Korean Wave” (Oberdorfer, 1997).At the end of World War II, Korea was divided at the 38th parallel into the Soviet Union occupied northern half and the United States occupied southern half, each forming its own government in 1948 (Cordesman,...
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