Content

  1. Contemporary Korea
    1. Economic development
      1. The miracle on the Han river
      2. Democratisation of Korea and first world opening in years 1987-1997
      3. Asian financial crisis of 1997
      4. Global Korea in XXI century
    2. Building of positive image  – political and public diplomacy
      1. Soft power of Korea
      2. Strategy of building of Korean soft power
      3. Political diplomacy
      4. Public democracy
    3. Building of positive image of Korea cultural diplomacy
      1. Hallyu Korean wave
      2.  K -pop
      3. Hallyuwood–Korean cinematography
      4. K-touristic
      5. K-cosmetics
      6. K-food
    4. Development of Korean society in XX and XXI centuries
      1. Unique way of Korean societyin the fight of its rights
      2. Workers movement –strikes on massive scale in years 1987-1990
      3. Labour issues in XXI centuries
      4. Wealth disparity in Korean society
      5. Decreasing middle class
      6. Disappearing equality of Koreans
      7. Happiness of Korean society
  2. Korean society
    1. Koreanness– symbols
      1. Korean anthem -Taegeukgi
      2. Kimchi – Koreans identity
      3. Gochujang – salsa of red paperchilli
      4. Hangeul –Korean language
      5. National flower – Mugunghwa
    2. Koreanness – features of characters and values
      1. Emotionality and dynamism
      2. Creativity and innovation mind
      3. Patriotism of citizens
      4. Institutional patriotism
      5. Religioustolerance
    3. Social relations
      1. Nunchi, kibun, chemyonmeansinhwa
      2. Collectivism
      3. Regionalism
      4. Confucianism
      5. Confucian values in Korean emigration
      6. Is Confucianism still valid in XXI century?
  3. Changes in Korean society
    1. Women and family
      1. The women fight for gender equality at work
      2. The women fight for equality in social relations
      3. Family
      4. Being single – not a shame any more
      5. Living together without being married
      6. Older Koreans emancipated themselves
    2. Young and older generations
      1. Generation of Joseon hell
      2. Honjok means being alone and YOLO
      3. Life active and more indipendend older generation
    3. LGTB in Korean society
      1. Law situation
      2. Koreans attitude upon LGBT
      3. Ant discriminatory activities
    4. Global society of Korea
      1. From homogenous to multicultural society
      2. The reason for openness to theworldof Korea
      3. Regulatory role of the government in migration policies
      4. Migrant groups
      5. Perception of migrants by Koreans?
      6. Korea –a state realising a multicultural policy or multicultural society?
    5. Mixed marriages of Korean
      1. State and intercultural marriages
      2. Situation of migrant women in mixed marriages
    6. The change of success paradigm

Conclusion  – What do I admire in Korea and in Koreans?

 

Introduction

„The more you learn Korea, the more you love it” such a sentence at the poster in the shop in Seoul has caught my eyes.When reading it I smiled, as the claim was true in my case, as the more I immersed in Korean culture and learned its society, discovered incredible Seoul and Busan and other cities during my stay in Korea in 2019, the more I got interested in it and the more admiration I found for Korea and the bigger was my desire to share my knowledge and experience of the country.In this way an idea to write a book on contemporary Korea, seen from an outsider observer was born. Since years I am working as intercultural business consultant with Korean managers working in Poland and Polish companies working with Korean companies, collecting my experience in Korean culture.

My economic education as well in the field of cultural psychology and experience in research of cultural business’ and societal behaviour, have brought me to show Korean society through aspects they influence it – that is economy and changes occurred in minds and souls of Koreans. Non having education from political field, I present political evens in the book only when they explain societal exchanges in the country. The book has scientific character –I present and analysethe results of the cultural studies and economic data from scientific literature and current media, quoting the sources of them when it is relevant. I share my observations of phenomenon and trends going on in the Korean society. The book consists from three chapters. In the first chapter on economy I present the way the country achieved the first economic miracle called „Miracle on the Han river”. In the first subchapter the economic development of Korea is presented; in the second subchapter political and public diplomacies of soft power of Korea are characterized, and in the third subchaptercultural diplomacy. In the forth subchapter I analysehow economic development has influenced and shaped on Korean society.

In the second chapter different aspects of Koreanness are presented: the symbols in first subchapter, characteristics of Koreans and their values in the second subchapter, and social relations in third subchapter. I regard the collectivistic way of organizing the society and the way of thinking derived from collectivism, then regionalism and Confucianismas factors influencing social relations in Korea the most. I focused special attention to the latter as Korea among Confucians’countries as China, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore and Vietnam is regarded to be a country, where Confucians values and behaviour is exhibited the most.

The third chapter is on societal changes – new trends, which occur in the society. In the first subchapter are discussed the changes of way of thinking and behavingof Korean women and how thisinfluence family.In the second subchapter the changes of an attitude to life of young and old generations are presented, not by coincidence together as in traditional Korean society was expected that young people should take care of the elderly. In the forth subchapter I shed the light on the situation of LGBT, in the fifth subchapter the way Koreans underwent from a homogenous to multicultural society is presented. As the mixed marriages in Korea constitute a great importance, this subject was analysed in next subchapter. I am aware of the fact that my choices of societal trends presented in the book may not explore all the problematic, but they seem to be most important and of great impact and constitute a mainstream of social discourse in Korea.

Because Korea and Koreans caused in me feeling of delights and admiration, I share my personal reflections and emotions in the final chapter called „What do I admire in Korea and Koreans”. This chapter also presents the facts on Korea, but their interpretation is flavoured by my subjectiveemotion, that is why I have separated it from previous chapters, written only on „evidence based”. I attach my photos, done during my visit in August and September 2019 illustrating the subjects discussed in the book. To grasp the changes occurring in contemporary Korea on „one sight” I have collected economic and political factsand main social trends in the attachment „Data and facts on Korea”at the end of the book. I hope the they help readers to gain systemic picture of phenomenon and changes occurring in Korea. The Korean names cited in the book are written in the Korean way that is: first a family name than a given name, due to it origin writing from the source. When writing Korea, I mean South Korea.

The bookis aimed fortravellers, interested in the world, who get inspired by history and development of other societies and tobusinessmen having contacts with Korea which have in Poland 116 companies (data from 2016 from KOTRA). This makes Poland, after Germany second biggest business partner in Europe. The knowledge of the economic development and social trends in society of Korea, their causes and consequencesmay be for readers an inspiration, may constitute a good practice or create a moment for reflection on the contemporary world.The knowledge about the Korean culture and how are Koreans may help travellers when being to Korea, but all readers may get deeper insight to the Korean soul. Korea is regarded as the secret of Asia, and I hope that my book will contribute to better discovery of the country.

Warsaw, January 2020

WiolettaMałota

Conclusion – What do I admire in Korea and Koreans?

I admire many aspects of Korea – starting from the society, its feature of characters and behaviours through democratic government consequentlyrealizingstrategy of country development, the architecture of Seoul and Busan to Korean approach to nourishment and health.

It is said that the nation is as good as good are people who shape it. I have a lot of respect and admiration to Koreans for that who they are and what they do. I value the Korean society first of all that it learns on experience and mistakes and develop in the quick way often breaking hundreds years pattern of thinking and taboo.

Women emancipation in professional environment and consequent striving to realize a life up to their aspiration and desires and not fulfilling the roles expected by the long centuries traditions is worth of admiration.

Young women, who do not want only realize a role of a mother because they feel that psychological burden is to high, elder women who take a courage to divorce (an imaginable act till recent years) when they regard their marriage, such behavioursas empty and hollow or elderly who stay longer active and realize sometimes eccentric dreams, – such behaviours are more common and they evoke my respect.

Due to me such behaviour let people realize their life’s dreams and be happy. I wonder how these new trends influence the position of Korea in Happiness Ranking in the future.

I value pragmatism of Koreans, which make them to occur the changes in the way of thinking and behaving following in the higher and higher degree their personal aims. And the saying about Korean that they do everything pali, pali what means quick, it seems to be true as the changes in the society I have presented in the book happen very quickly.

For me Koreans constitute a good example of consciouscitizenshipsociety engaged in the development of their country, ready to scarify much for it, but also fighting for their rights and expressing their objections against injustice and exhibiting resistance in fight for good purpose.

Not discussing the rightness of any side, I admire Koreans for theirengagement, that „they care”, even young people, students who very often first initialize protest, while in may societies young people are indifferent and passive. What has put me in delight is the citizen’s’ attitude of Koreans who have donated their private art collection to the public museums -for example to Korean National Museum, claiming that the art belongs to the common cultural heritage and that is why art should be accessible for all. Similarly amassive action to donate the family gold by Koreans on government’s appeal during the financial crisis is next example for spirituality of Korean people.

I admire Koreans for their sense of judgement of public issues, especially in the case when in July 2019 a wave of protests against Japanese products has started as the objection to Japan’s policyagainst Korea that was moved away from the list of preferredtrade partners. Korean where wise enough to make clear that theirprotest is directed against the Japanese governmental policy but not against the common Japanese citizens. I liked conciliatory approach in Social media exhibited by Koreans who did not undergo the spiral of reluctance and hate and clearly differentiated the behaviour of politicians form the common Japanese. This is very valuable approach in time of common hate, deriving fromaanonymity in Internet and impunity.

What surprises me and what I like much, is a lack of graffiti on the buildings, what is the confirmation of respect of Koreans for common good and confirms the citizens’’ attitude of them.

What evokes my admiration is the way of governance of the country, setting the developmental strategies and consequence in their realization. When I read in the press about the plans announced by the government in 2019 for cosmetics industry till 2022, there are not general claims, done for political reasons, but specific financial goals and results. The Korea aims to jump from forth to third position as world cosmetic exporter and presence of seven Korean cosmetic companies on the list of 100 biggest producers (for the moment there are four on it) and rise in a number of local producers by 80per cents. The government presents alsoan impact of these activities for citizens, what de facto is the most important for them, that means the increase of new 76 000 new jobs.

The strategy of development of touristic industry was realized in the same pattern- specific goals were settled regarding Korean position in the ranking of the touristic destination.

As economist I appreciate very much the approach perused by the Koreans – setting goals and assessing results evaluating them mostly by external measures as for examples different rankings. This isan example of action and communication based on evidence, whichgains the trust and is an expression of professionalism, and additionally for politicians create a form of concretecommitment to citizens, which they may evaluate.

The strategy of development of the soft power of Korea presented in the book is the best example of planned and implemented activities and achieved results, which may subject of admiration as well.

As I like cinema, architecture and art (the sculpture the most) that is why with a great pleasure I follow the activities of Korean institutions in this area, what I have expressed in chapters presenting Korean wave that means Hallyu.

I admire the activities of metropolitan governments of Seoul who since years create positive image of the capital in the world. Seoul, a city called once megacity, now as a global city takes in many world rankings high positions; for example – 6th place in business cities, 7th place in 2016 in ranking of cities with sustainable development and 1st place in 2016 as the best quality transportation and mobility. The city delights with friendly open public space, nature and architecture. In Seoulmodern buildings are accompanied by traditional Buddhist temples and Koreans royal palaces, harmoniously coexisting, what allows to immerse either in modern life or tradition.

I am delighted by the city architecture, which in 2007 was awarded a title of World Design Capital, second such award since it was established. And Seoul fully has deserved it, as such architects as Rem Koolhaas, Jean Vivel, Mario Botta, RafaelVinolsky, Daniel Liebeskindor ZahaHadid have designed extraordinary buildings creating contemporary art masters. Seoul isalso a city full of parks and places to recreation, especially along the banks of Han river. Soeulhaving a flair of a global city and enjoying such image is at the same time very local, with many places where one can experience Koreanness. Seoul has managed to cultivate a culture of beauty and harmony, which is expressed in respect of nature and building harmonious spaces. A sensational phenomenon is an eleven kilometres long stream

Cheonggyecheon Stream flowing through the city centre, which till 2003 was cover with highways.Due to the strategy of reshaping Seoul in a green and sustainable city, the highways were removed, to show off the stream. Along it green recreation space was created becoming favourite meeting place for Seoulaners and tourists.

I appreciate the metropolitan government for having a vision of the city development and for its consequent implementation, what was not always easy especially in case of outstanding, innovating projects, as above mentioned. At the beginning the citizens were not very fond of the project as they have felt deprived of the quick transportation, but now they are proud of one of the hallmark of the city.

I have exclaimed many time „wow” when walking in the parks in Seoul and Busan, admiring both the trees and sculptures. In many cases trees have a plaque with the name, the sculpture besides the name also explain the intention of the artists. The first contact with Korean at the international airport in Incheon may put a person in a delight when seeing the green are between the runways. Even the drinking water taps are in form of artwork.

I was especially very fond of the cultivation of traditional cuisine and medicine by Korean, although conducting modern life.

My delight evokes the Korean cuisine as using natural products supporting health enhancement – starting from kimchi, gochujangred chilli salsa through many kinds of mushrooms, seaweeds, fruits and vegetables.I like the way Koreans promotetheir cuisine while conducting the research of health benefits ofkimchi andgochujang, and lately even the Korean alcoholic beveragemakgeoliiand disseminating it. Using in the kitchen ingredients such as flower of chrysanthemum; leaves of fern;seeds of lotus, gingko, chestnuts, or roots of ginseng are best examples that that Korean kitchen stillusestraditionalrecipes and products.

I am found ofsweets made from natural ingredients- from sea buckthorn, ginseng, blackberry or chips from seaweeds, jojoba or shrimps. Typical Korean kitchen does not uses bread ordairy, almost not uses sugar. Korean cakes are made form rice and are not sweet. The Korean cuisine is than not only healthy but also universal as it is appropriatefor people who do not eat gluten and lactose.

I admire Korea for cultivating traditional medicine, using herbs in the cuisine as well in medical therapy.in the official treatment. I was delighted to have opportunity to buy at the herbs market but also in regular shops micronized powder from many fruits like aronia, noni, pomegranate, green parsley, medical herbs, or collagen in very accessibleprices. The herbs can be bought in many forms as stalk, bark, and pieces of wood or dried flowers.

Summing up my admirations – I values Koreans for their pragmatism ofbehaving, the courage to change themselves and their rooted believes, for their spiritual generosity, artistic sense, dynamism and creativity, and last but not least for nunchi.

I admire Korea for economic successes, democratisation of the country and its soft power. I hope that my book shed a light to Korean economyand society and its uniqueness, and reading it was intellectual and spiritual adventure.

In the book following phenomenon will be presented

Bi-hon, Chebol, Chemyon, Gochujang, Gapjil, Hagwon, Han, Hangeul, Hallyu, Hojuje, Hallyuwood, Honbap, Honjok, Honsul, Han, Hanbok, Hoesik, Inhwa, Jangseung, Jeong, Jiyeokgamjeong, Jokbo, Joseon hell, Jangseung, Kibun, Kimchi, Kimjang, Kkondae, Makgeolii, Mi-hon, Mugunghwa, Nunchi, Pogisedae, Sampo, Seollal, Segyehwa, Seawon, Sinpparam, Sipjangsaengdo, Taegeukgi, Tamunhwasahoe, Waygookin, Woori, Worabel, YOLO

Wioletta Małota has PhD from Organizational Behaviour,she is expert of management in intercultural environment. She has worked as marketing manager for many years in global corporations now as intercultural consultant sheadvises manager show to work – communicate and manage multicultural teams. Her passions are Asian cultures- Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Indian and European – Italian, French, Ukrainian and Scandinavian. She teachessubjects on intercultural management and communication at Collegium Civitas in Warsaw, as well as international universities in Korea, China and Italy. She likes travelling, which is for her an opportunity to immerses in the given culture and in the way people are thinking and living. She has visited most European and Asian countries. She likes modern architecture, nature and photographing and is a fun of socially engaged films. Dr Malota conducts research in the intercultural psychology and shares her knowledge form the filed at conferences in Korea, China, India, Australia and Italy. She is the author of the blog crossculturemanagement.com