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1. Korea - Culture Smart!: the essential
2. Culture Shock! Korea: A Survival
3. China, Japan, Korea: Culture and
4. Culture and Customs of Korea (Culture
5. The Culture of Fengshui in Korea:
6. Pop Goes Korea: Behind the Revolution
7. Culture and the State in Late
8. Divided Korea: Toward a Culture
9. Changing Korea: Understanding
10. Militarized Modernity and Gendered
11. The Northern Region of Korea:
12. Shamanism: The Spirit World of
13. Korea: Its History & Culture
14. Freud and the Far East: Psychoanalytic
15. Korea (Taste of Culture)
16. Truman and Korea: The Political
17. Perspectives on Christianity in
18. South Korea: Education, Culture,
19. Korea and Globalization: Politics,
20. The Hidden People of North Korea:

1. Korea - Culture Smart!: the essential guide to customs & culture
by James Hoare
Paperback: 168 Pages (2006-09-05)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$5.05
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1857333659
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Culture Smart! provides essential information on attitudes, beliefs and behavior in different countries, ensuring that you arrive at your destination aware of basic manners, common courtesies, and sensitive issues. These concise guides tell you what to expect, how to behave, and how to establish a rapport with your hosts. This inside knowledge will enable you to steer clear of embarrassing gaffes and mistakes, feel confident in unfamiliar situations, and develop trust, friendships, and successful business relationships.

Culture Smart! offers illuminating insights into the culture and society of a particular country. It will help you to turn your visit-whether on business or for pleasure-into a memorable and enriching experience. Contents include

* customs, values, and traditions
* historical, religious, and political background
* life at home
* leisure, social, and cultural life
* eating and drinking
* do's, don'ts, and taboos
* business practices
* communication, spoken and unspoken

"Culture Smart has come to the rescue of hapless travellers." Sunday Times Travel

"... the perfect introduction to the weird, wonderful and downright odd quirks and customs of various countries." Global Travel

"...full of fascinating-as well as common-sense-tips to help you avoid embarrassing faux pas." Observer

"...as useful as they are entertaining." Easyjet Magazine

"...offer glimpses into the psyche of a faraway world." New York Times
... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

1-0 out of 5 stars Outdated and Useless
I can't believe all the good reviews on this book. I recently moved to Korea from the US. I read this entire book and it really was a waste of my time.

South Koreans have progressed quite a bit since this book was first printed and I don't think the reprint really did too much editing. There are a lot of things that are inaccurate or over exaggerated. For instance flip flops, Koreans wear these very often and don't make comments to others who wear them. Drinking in groups of both men and women, again this happens quite often and doesn't seem to be a strange occurrence. The author also laments the fact that most of the deciduous forest have been wiped out. I'm not sure what country he visited, but all the hills around as far as the eye can see are covered in trees. Not reforested but native to the country. I'm not sure if he never left Seoul, but it might behove them to remove this particular comments as it doesn't apply.

Also bothersome was the Author's story about interfering in a domestic dispute. He contends that he should have just minded his own business and not tried to interfere. After all that is the country's culture and really who was he to intervene. So typical of an academic, care more about the keeping things pristine and allowing "nature" to flow than consider assisting another human being. His theory is flawed though. In the story he is obviously older than the instigator, as such, according to the culture, he had every right to intervene and attempt to assist as he is an elder and it is an age defined hierarchy. Just imagine if it was your daughter who was involved in such a situation, do you think the author is providing good advice in stating that we should just leave things alone, even if we know that another human being is possibly getting hurt? After all that's just the culture. At what point does human accountability fall by the way side or are we suppose to enable abuse and ill treatment?

It would behoove the publisher and the author to take another look at the country as it is now, not how it was 10 years ago. It might even help if they actually lived in the country for a while, instead of making generalizations from a brief visit and theory.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent travel guide
We acquired two DVDs and this pocket book in support of a young man deployed and stationed in South Korea.

Upon learning that Michael would be soon leaving us to travel to this beautiful country, we decided to acquire these items to learn where he would be spending the next year of his life.

We are glad to have shared this experience, we learned much about the country, its people, folkloric dance, foods and religion.

If you plan to travel to South Korea and want to arrive with a pocket book in hand that supports your awareness or if you simply want to learn about this country, then this is an excellent choice.

Culture Smart will provide information as to life in South Korea, manners, costumes, religious beliefs, and those little issues that could help you manage your relationships abroad.

5-0 out of 5 stars good and useful
This books talks a little bit about korean history at the begining, and then it talks about traditions and things to do/not to do in Korea. I really enjoyed reading it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Korea! Culture Smart
Daughter headed to Korea for a year and I purchased this book for her. Small and concise and full of great information on customs, traditions, do's and don't's for those unfamiliar with the Korean culture. Very informative yet small enough to tote aound and read whenever there were a few minutes. This book would be most helpful to anyone traveling to Korea and wanting to be sure to behave properly and not be offensive simply by doing whatever is done in the United States.

4-0 out of 5 stars Handy!
This little book has helped me prepare to move to Korea.It is pocket-sized and easy to whip out while waiting in the passport line at the post office (haha).The author tried to balance information between the 2 Koreas, and you definitely get the feeling that he knows what he is talking about. ... Read more

2. Culture Shock! Korea: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette (Culture Shock! Guides)
by Sonja Vegdahl, Ben Seunghwa Hur
Paperback: 262 Pages (2008-07)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$10.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0761454896
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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With over three million copies in print, CultureShock! is a bestselling series of culture and etiquette guides covering countless destinations around the world.For anyone at risk of culture shock, whether a tourist or a long-term resident, CultureShock! provides a sympathetic and fun-filled crash course on the do's and don'ts in foreign cultures.Fully updated and sporting a fresh new look, the revised editions of these books enlighten and inform through such topics as language, food and entertaining, social customs, festivals, relationships, and business tips. CultureShock! books are packed with useful details on transportation, taxes, finances, accommodation, health, food and drink, clothes, shopping, festivals, and much, much more.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

4-0 out of 5 stars Based on what I know so far
Since I may be going to Korea I thought I would learn a little bit more about the country. This book has been very helpful, providing a thumbnail sketch of the culture and providing good, easy-to-understand background info which puts it in context. Keep in mind I have not actually gone to korea yet so i can't necessarily vouch for its accuracy on current cultural trends.

5-0 out of 5 stars Need To Know Basis
This is a great book with a lot of information you need to know if you are going to Korea, or even if you're just interacting with a Korean here at home.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great guide to Korea's culture
I am currently on route to my destination in Korea (have just landed in Seoul) but I have read most of this boook during the 12 hour flight here. I found it very user friendly and informative. I'm not sure how up to date it is (many cultural changes have taken place in Korea in the last 15 years) but it is very helpful in explaining cultural norms and how to make a good impression as a foreigner. Highly recommend if you are travelling to Korea for a long period of time (I am going for a year)

4-0 out of 5 stars 2008 edition
For being an introductory read, this book rocks my socks. I highly recommend this book for beginners of the language, expatriates, Koreanists, people with Korean travel plans, and anyone doing business in any form with Koreans. It's that good. I've read my share of culture books and resources but I feel that this book (namely, this edition) demystifies several Korean cultural idiosyncrasies in a clear way that is easy for anyone to understand.

I applaud the authors for including a do-and-don't list. I feel that this helps clear up some questions left by other resources. It's true, most things Korean-related (as with any culture) usually aren't cut-and-dry and objective enough to make a list but I still feel that the authors were tasteful and appropriate in their advice.

This book kind of reminds me of a cross between Moon Handbooks - Korea and Culture Smart! Korea rolled into one. There's useful info on holidays, work ethic, psyche, travel destinations, and living abroad. This book deserves a look. It's a quick read with pleasing aesthetics and well-divided topics.

You'll thank yourself later for this one.

4-0 out of 5 stars Shedding Light on the Korean Enigma
I have a lot of Korean friends and I wanted to better understand them so my search for a more knowledge of their culture led me to this book. I was fascinated by it. However, since my copy of the book was last revised in 2000 I wondered if some of the material might be out of date. Some of it didn't seem to agree with the images shown in most Korean television soap operas and popular music shows I also watch. After finishing the book I decided to ask some of my Korean friends if the material I had questions about was indeed out of date. One such question was whether most of South Korea still has public restrooms shared by men and women at the same time. The book said women walk nonchalantly past the backs of men using the urinals on their way to use a stall with a door. Once inside a public restroom's bathroom stall there will often be no toilet, simply a hole in the tile floor over which to squat like I've often found in Paris and other regions of France.
I asked several of my Korean friends and was surprised to learn that the book is perfectly accurate on both those facts. Other of my doubts included the almost universal adherence to Korean shaman fortunetellers (Mudands) and their advice (kuts and kosas). And the fact that most dining is done in near silence with everyone paying close attention to just eating and not talking. That's still very much the case according to my friends from South Korea. Heavy drinking is also a universal fact among Korean men. It's part of all social and business dealings.
That said I found this book very, very helpful. It was more helpful than a couple of the travel guides I own that are more recent because it goes into depth about why things are done the way they are in modern Korea. People act differently and it often takes a lifetime to understand the proper ways Korea citizens treat each other and why. Business relationships are often permanent and based more on which grade school a person attended with his associates than skill at performing a certain job. Family, school and military connections are more important to business relationships than performance. Saving face is of majorimportance in Korea. Friendships are formal and a normal part of business and networking. Relationships between different social and business classes are very structured. One doesn't have to study much of the language to understand why the Korean word for "yes" sounds like "no" in most other languages and the method of saying "no" requires several phrases. Saying "no" in Korean is a major skill requiring much diplomacy and practice. We Americans would consider the way "no" is used in Korea as "beating around the bush" and avoiding answering the question.
For any Westerner who hopes to understand modern day Korea this book is a good primer. Just watching Korean television doesn't give a true picture of the nation. The Korean Soap Operas go out of their way to show the most modern, most perfect image of a booming Modern Korea. Korean television's popular music shows give no hint of the standard of living and are every bit as slick as the same kind of shows shown in the USA. The plots of the soap operas still reflect the history and cultural ways of Korea. Reading this book greatly increased my ability to understand much of what I watch on Korean television and why some of the plots and humor seem so convoluted.
Kipling said something to the effect that "East is east and west is West and Never Do The Two Meet." His advice is still right on the mark. You can take the Koreans out of Korea, but you can't take Korea out of the Koreans. Korea has a rich and fascinating history. It had invented and was using movable type to print more than two centuries before Guttenberg introduced his movable type printing press to the western world. ... Read more

3. China, Japan, Korea: Culture and Customs
by Ju Brown PhD., John Brown
Paperback: 192 Pages (2006-10-09)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1419648934
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This book takes an unprecedented comparative approach in examining East Asia. Part in-depth reference, part handy guidebook this manual serves both travelers and students of Mainland China, Japan, and South Korea. Blending detailed maps with history and contemporary cultural similarities and differences, this book provides the most up-to-date information on the pulse of East Asia. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars China, Japan, Korea Culture & Customs
Great read, provides a real world present day knowledge of Eas Asia, from a hands on perspective of a person who has lived there, without any political agenda.This book is perfect for those yearning for more indepth knowledge of what East Asis is really like and how it got to be this way, as well as for those planning to travel to the region.Finally, a book that can serve as a handy reference and a guide that is an easy and enjoyable read that will keep you turning pages. Highly recommended. ... Read more

4. Culture and Customs of Korea (Culture and Customs of Asia)
by Donald N. Clark
Paperback: 232 Pages (2008-10-30)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$19.80
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Asin: 031336091X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Culture and Customs of Korea is an excellent introduction to the Korean people and their religion, arts and literature, daily life, and customs. It presents the most important experiences that have shaped life in both North and South Korea today. These include the migration of the people from farms in the countryside to crowded city apartments, the effects of rapid industrialization, and the continuing trauma of the country's division. Accessible and highly authoritative, Culture and Customs of Korea will be the ultimate source for students and other interested readers to learn about an important Asian society and the homeland of the many Korean Americans.

For centuries, although strongly influenced by the Chinese, Koreans have maintained a unique civilization with their own language, social organization, food, national costume, political institutions, and customs. The disruptions of the 20th century have included a long and difficult period of foreign rule and a devastating civil war. However, Koreans continue to prize their traditional culture, and the younger generations have embraced Koreanness with a determination to assert Korea's place in the world. Culture and Customs of Korea artfully depicts the past and present in North and South Korea with chapters on the story of the Korean people, thought and religion, arts and literature, performing arts, daily life and folkways, life in a Korean village, life in urban Korean, and gender, marriage, and the lives of Korean women. A chronology and glossary supplement the text.

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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Basics on Korea
A great book! It covers the basics for an introduction to Korea, past and present. If only it were available in PAPERBACK it would be the perfect textbook for any class on Korean culture or East Asian culture! ... Read more

5. The Culture of Fengshui in Korea: An Exploration of East Asian Geomancy
by Hong-Key Yoon
 Paperback: 350 Pages (2008-05-06)
list price: US$37.95 -- used & new: US$33.00
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Asin: 0739113496
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Hong-Key Yoon's book explores the nature of geomantic principles (fengshui) and the culture of practicing them in Korean cultural contexts. He clearly analyzes the nature and historical background of geomancy, the principles for selecting auspicious sites, and provides an extensive interpretation of geomantic principles as practiced in Korea. The impacts of geomancy on traditional cartography, religion, urban development, and finally iconographical warfare are all discussed in great detail. ... Read more

6. Pop Goes Korea: Behind the Revolution in Movies, Music, and Internet Culture
by Mark James Russell
Paperback: 260 Pages (2009-01-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$10.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1933330686
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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"Mr. Russell's book is the first by a non-Korean to explain the rise of Korea's entertainment industries....the book could hardly be more approachable."—Wall Street Journal

“For a country that traditionally received culture, especially from China but also from Japan and the United States, South Korea finds itself at a turning point in its new role as exporter.”—The New York Times

From kim chee to kim chic! South Korea came from nowhere in the 1990s to become one of the biggest producers of pop content (movies, music, comic books, TV dramas, online gaming) in Asia—and the West. Why? Who’s behind it? Mark James Russell tells an exciting tale of rapid growth and wild success marked by an uncanny knack for moving just one step ahead of changing technologies (such as music downloads and Internet comics) that have created new consumer markets around the world. Among the media pioneers profiled in this book is film director Kang Je-gyu, maker of Korea’s first blockbuster film Shiri; Lee Su-man, who went from folk singer to computer programmer to creator of Korea’s biggest music label; and Nelson Shin, who rose from North Korea to the top of the animation business. Full of fresh analysis, engaging reportage, and insightful insider anecdotes, Pop Goes Korea explores the hallyu (the Korean Wave) hitting the world’s shores in the new century.

Mark James Russell has been living in Korea since 1996. His articles about Korean and Asian cultures have appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, International Herald-Tribune, and many other publications. He is currently the Korea/Japan Bureau Chief for Asian Movie Week magazine.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great introduction
So you want to know about the phenomenal growth of the Korean film industry without getting your feet wet and actually watching any Korean films? Want to know how K Pop is taking over Asia- well teenage Asia anyway? Want to know how Super Junior can possibly work with 13 members? Want to hear how Sean Yang killed the music business and then resurrected it? This is the book for you. I don't know that I'l be listening to any more K Pop but I do think I'll try and watch a few more Korean films.
At times its repetitive, and could have done with stronger editing - its as though the author didn't expect anyone to read ALL the chapters so he keeps making the same points particularly about Korean history, filial piety etc /But a great introduction to Korean Pop culture. And whatever you think of The Korean Wave, it is remarkable that in 15 years Korea has changed from mainly consuming Western film and music to mainly consuming its own and exporting it. And it didn't do it through protection. A lesson their for us all

4-0 out of 5 stars One of a kind
For an English language resource, this is a gem of a book. Keeping in mind that Korea has a relatively short (but very interesting) pop culture, this book covers all the bases quite nicely. It features a variety of tidbits and little known facts sprinkled throughout the book.

I applaud the author for pioneering an English language legitimate published text - a fresh break from the bloggers who dominate this field of interest. The information is as up-to-date as a book can be (pub 2008) but a slight out-of-date-nessis to be expected for a text about the ever-changing pop culture. However, since the majority of the book covers the upstarts of each industry, the lack of 2009 material is easily forgiven (and unavoidable).

The author's writing style is both a pro and a con. The writer seems to be comfortable in his knowledge of the subject but sometimes has too much of a conversational tone - almost to a fault of sounding uneducated. However, I really don't want that to sound too harsh because I believe one of his strengths is his ability to both inform and also entertain. He's got a great sense of Western humor that appears amongst this Eastern pop culture history.

I was also disappointed by the lack of photos throughout the book. The beginning has plenty of color pictures to prepare for the in-depth look that's coming ahead but the book itself is lacking accompanying photos. It would have made the biographies of Lee Byung-Hun and Lee Soon-Man more easy to follow.

My biggest complaint is the lack of Korean text. How hard would it have been to include Hanguel in the chapters? All movies, songs, TV dramas, and actors have either transliterated or romanized names which is frustrating when searching for the original source material. The least that could have been done is to include the original Korean names in parenthesis. A careless oversight.

However, I do want to conclude with saying that the author knows his stuff and has written an excellent primer on all things Korean. His background history on the PIFF (Busan International Film Festival) is impressive as is his approach to Korean movies in general (and why there is so much more to the Korean wave than 1999's Shiri). All in all, this book is well worth your time.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great All-in-One Intro ... with Insight and Wit
For someone like me, who knows that there are a lot of interesting movies made in Korea, but who also doesn't speak the language very well, this book is great -- it's a primer not just on which actor or director did what, but a lot of the history behind it.In fact, Mark Russell covers the whole entertainment spectrum -- from TV to movies to music to internet.What makes the book especially enjoyable is his style.Normally books about Korea are quite cheerleader-esque, perhaps echoing the country's more-than-occasional "with us or against us" stance.However, Russell is able to show his colors as a true fan without beating us to death, because in addition to platitudes he's also willing to criticize and point out ironies, which makes the book a richer read.And actually an even stronger endorsement of the modern Korean culture that so fascinates him.Completely entertaining even if you don't know Rain from Snow or Lee Byung-hyun from Lee Hyori.And really useful if you do. ... Read more

7. Culture and the State in Late Choson Korea (Harvard East Asian Monographs, 182)
Paperback: 328 Pages (2002-02-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$12.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0674007743
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Investigating the late sixteenth through the nineteenth century, this work looks at the shifting boundaries between the Choso'n state and the adherents of Confucianism, Buddhism, Christianity, and popular religions. Seeking to define the meaning and constitutive elements of the hegemonic group and a particular marginalized community in this Confucian state, the contributors argue that the power of each group and the space it occupied were determined by a dynamic interaction of ideology, governmental policies, and the group's self-perceptions. Collectively, the volume counters the static view of the Korean Confucian state, elucidates its relationship to the wider Confucian community and religious groups, and suggests new views of the complex way in which each negotiated and adjusted its ideology and practices in response to the state's activities.JaHyun Kim Haboush is Professor of East Asian History and Culture at the University of Illinois. Martina Deuchler is Professor of Korean Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.Harvard East Asian Monographs, 182Harvard Hallym Series on Korean StudiesOctober 6 x 9 3 tables 325 pp. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Insight Into the Past
CULTURE AND THE STATE IN LATE CHOSON KOREA is a collection of six essays, edited by JaHyun Kim Haboush and Martina Deuschler, about the middle and late period of the Yi Dynasty in Choson (now North and South Korea) between the 16th and 19th Centuries. Hidden beneath its academic exterior are some exquisite gems for scholars and students of Korean history. Recently, the study of Korean culture and history has started to improve and attract international attention. This volume is one of the best to date.

The scope of the book and the collective researches of the scholars puts Korean history in a better light vis-a vis Chinese, Japanese, and other national histories. The editors begin with the intention to approach the factional quarreling over Confucian doctrine as a legitmate area of study, instead of dismissing it as negative. These debates about Confucian orthodoxy, Buddhism, shamanism, and Christianity are treated for their impact on living Korean culture. Also, these debates are discussed in their international context and future relevance.

One point discussed is the effect the fall of the Ming Dynasty in China to the Mongols had on Choson and the Confucian, Buddhist, and Christian scholars involved. Because Choson had derived its legitimacy from the Chinese Emperor and conducted itself as a vassal, the fall of the center of civilization to barbarians caused great concern to the Choson elite. Choson Confucian scholars had to search the canonical texts and find legitimacy for Choson again.

The volume also discusses Buddhism and Christianity. the work of men, like Hyujong, Tasan, and Christian matyrs, like Peter Yun and his family, are treated in the context of Choson's Neo-Confucian elite searching for legitimacy. The last essay concerning Christianity and Neo-Confucianism provides a great service to students of philosophy and the history of philosophy, by delineating the differences between Thomism and Confucianism, and, in the process, gives insight into the conflicts between modern Korea's culture and that of the West.

The essays, concerning shamanism and Confucianism, and the rise of Confucian academies, also puts modern Korean culture in perspective. Current debates, concerning government reform, education, and gender relations, all appear different.

Although this volume, due to the six different styles of the authors, is technically difficult, it is never dry or irrelevant. The serious student of Korean and Asian studies will appreciate this volume for its depth of information, analytic acumen, and its cast of characters.

4-0 out of 5 stars Philosophical and historical book,very difficult...
This book introduce on the 17c's Korean custum. Prof. Martina Deuchler teaching in London University. Late Choson dynusty, very changing stream priod. Korean's philosophical background also changing. This book is very special book on Korean history and philosophy. ... Read more

8. Divided Korea: Toward a Culture of Reconciliation (Borderlines)
by Roland Bleiker
Paperback: 240 Pages (2008-02-18)
list price: US$22.50 -- used & new: US$18.40
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Asin: 0816645574
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In 2002, North Korea precipitated a major international crisis when it revealed the existence of a secret nuclear weapons program and announced its withdrawal from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Earlier in the year, George W. Bush had declared North Korea part of the “axis of evil,” and soon afterward his administration listed the country as a potential target of a preemptive nuclear strike. Pyongyang’s angry reaction ensured the complete deterioration of relations on the Korean peninsula, where only two years before the leaders of North and South Korea had come together in a historic summit meeting.
Few international conflicts are as volatile, protracted, or seemingly insoluble as the one in Korea, where mutual mistrust, hostile Cold War attitudes, and the possibility of a North Korean economic collapse threaten the security of the entire region. For Roland Bleiker, this persistently recurring pattern suggests profound structural problems within and between the two Koreas that have not been acknowledged until now. Expanding the discussion beyond geopolitics and ideology, Bleiker places peninsular tensions in the context of an ongoing struggle over competing forms of Korean identity. Divided Korea examines both domestic and international attitudes toward Korean identity, the legacy of war, and the possibilities for-and anxieties about-unification.
Divided Korea challenges the prevailing logic of confrontation and deterrence, embarking on a fundamental reassessment of both the roots of the conflict and the means to achieve a more stable political environment and, ultimately, peace. In order to realize a lasting solution, Bleiker concludes, the two Koreas and the international community must first show a willingness to accept difference and contemplate forgiveness as part of a broader reconciliation process.

Roland Bleiker is professor of international relations at the University of Queensland. From 1986 to 1988 he served as chief of office for the Swiss delegation to the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission in Panmunjom.
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Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Review of a review
I actually fact-checked for a scholarly book review on this book, and in doing so read the book as well.As someone with only vague knowledge of the history of the two Koreas, it was an informative book on the history of the divide and the various policies the countries have faced, including the somewhat intrusive role of the U.S.I read this book just as North Korea tested its first nuclear weapons in October of 2006.I highly recommend this book not only to those interested in North Korea or East Asian politics, but to everyone.According to the book, the situation is not one that will easily be resolved. ... Read more

9. Changing Korea: Understanding Culture and Communication (Critical Intercultural Communication Studies) (Critical Intercultural Communication Studies)
by T. Youn-ja Shim
Paperback: 207 Pages (2008-03-06)
list price: US$32.95 -- used & new: US$20.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1433101939
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In the last fifty years, Korea has transformed itself from an agrarian, Confucian-based culture into a global and technological powerhouse, and one of the most important political and economic forces in the world. Based on previous research and face-to-face interviews, the book shows how contemporary Koreans negotiate traditional Confucian values and Western capitalistic values in their everyday encounters-- particularly in business and professional contexts. This is a useful companion book for courses in international business, intercultural communication, and Asian studies. ... Read more

10. Militarized Modernity and Gendered Citizenship in South Korea (Politics, History, and Culture)
by Seungsook Moon
Paperback: 272 Pages (2005-01-01)
list price: US$23.95 -- used & new: US$19.14
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Asin: 0822336162
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This pathbreaking study presents a feminist analysis of the politics of membership in the South Korean nation over the past four decades. Seungsook Moon examines the ambitious effort by which South Korea transformed itself into a modern industrial and militarized nation. She demonstrates that the pursuit of modernity in South Korea involved the construction of the anticommunist national identity and a massive effort to mold the populace into useful, docile members of the state. This process, which she terms “militarized modernity,” treated men and women differently. Men were mobilized for mandatory military service and then, as conscripts, utilized as workers and researchers in the industrializing economy. Women were consigned to lesser factory jobs, and their roles as members of the modern nation were defined largely in terms of biological reproduction and household management.

Moon situates militarized modernity in the historical context of colonialism and nationalism in the twentieth century. She follows the course of militarized modernity in South Korea from its development in the early 1960s through its peak in the 1970s and its decline after rule by military dictatorship ceased in 1987. She highlights the crucial role of the Cold War in South Korea’s militarization and the continuities in the disciplinary tactics used by the Japanese colonial rulers and the postcolonial military regimes. Moon reveals how, in the years since 1987, various social movements—particularly the women’s and labor movements—began the still-ongoing process of revitalizing South Korean civil society and forging citizenship as a new form of membership in the democratizing nation.

... Read more

11. The Northern Region of Korea: History, Identity, and Culture (Center for Korea Studies Publication)
Paperback: 415 Pages (2010-09-20)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$32.40
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Asin: 0295990414
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For many centuries the residents of the three northern provinces of Korea have long had cultural and linguistic characteristics that have marked them as distinct from their brethren in the central area near the capital and in the southern provinces.Contributors to this book address the problem of amnesia regarding the subjectivity of the northern region of Korea in contemporary, historical, and cultural discourses, which have largely been dominated by grand paradigms, such as modernization theory, the positivist perspective, and Marxism. Through the use of storytelling, linguistic analysis, and journal entries from turn-of-the-century missionaries and traveling Russians in addition to many varieties of unconventional primary sources, they creatively explore unfamiliar terrain while examining the culture, identity, and regional distinctiveness of the northern region and its people.

Sun Joo Kim is a professor of Korean history at Harvard University. She is the author of Marginality and Subversion in Korea. ... Read more

12. Shamanism: The Spirit World of Korea (Studies in Korean Religions and Culture 1)
by Richard W. I. Guisso
Paperback: 190 Pages (1988-02-01)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$25.00
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Asin: 0895818868
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A series of psychological and anthropological studies about the oldest and the most fascinating religious tradition of Korea. ... Read more

13. Korea: Its History & Culture
Paperback: 137 Pages (1996-01-01)
-- used & new: US$6.39
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Asin: 8973753029
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Bad for a General Reference
(Part 1)
The emergence of a nation from pre-history to 668
The nation:its community and identity from 668 to mid-17th century
Movements for change:mid-17th century to 1864
Korea and the international stage:1864-1910
Japanese colonization:1910-1945
Division and the establishment of the republic of korea:1945-present

Review:Part 1 covers about 90 pages of the book and are well arranged by topic and time period. Each section contains a brief (and well edited) summary of the key historical points. An effort is made to tie in religious/philosophicalinfluences, foreign influences, and key events' influences into the narrative for a bit "deeper" exploration of each topic. The text is fairly non-biased and doesn't shy away from negative representations of Korea. Overall, for a book available from the Korea Overseas Information Service (free) or secondary sources (cheap), this is a real good general guideline of Korean history which covers the very beginnings to the 1990s in a general, non-biased way. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in a general survey of Korean history.

(Part 2)
Philosophy and religion
Language and literature
Fine art
Performing arts

Part 2 Review: The remaining 50 pages or so spotlight some key Korean cultural developments and their impact on Korea in general. The focus is mainly on ancient remains but these are contrasted with contemporary examples as well. The depth of this section is much less than the preceding section is more akin to a travel book description than a history text. Regardless, it does supplement the "history" part well and is lavishly illustrated. ... Read more

14. Freud and the Far East: Psychoanalytic Perspectives on the People and Culture of China, Japan, and Korea
by Salman Akhtar
Hardcover: 338 Pages (2009-07-16)
list price: US$80.00 -- used & new: US$64.11
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Asin: 0765706938
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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This book is a lexical ambassador with the dual responsibility of bridging the West and East and enhancing psychoanalytic conceptualization in the course of such an encounter. Distinguished psychoanalysts from East and West provide meticulous historical accounts of the development of psychoanalysis in Japan, Korea, and China and familiarize the reader with interesting personages, quaint phrases, cultural nuances, founding of journals, and emergence of groups interested in psychoanalysis. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars An interesting book but...
The book editor is pretty creative to put together the materials from several Asian cultures (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean) and Freudianism together. Apparently, there has been a trend in psychoanalytic field to expand their market and territory to China (who wouldn't want to earn more money there these days?). Unfortunately, here among the authors who wrote about Chinese, the two who reported about psychoanalysis in China as well as the status of Chinese American pursuing psychoanalysis in the US are apparently not Chinese and know little about it. To begin with, what the Chapter authors wrote about Chinese from The Mainland China not having opportunity to study psychoanalysis in the US is absolutely false - Chinese like all other foreign scholars who are in the US have the opportunity to go to schools again or get in psychiatry residency training after passing graduate medical exams; from there, there are good opportunities to study psychoanalysis as they wish. Thus, the opportunity isn't an issue as it says in that book chapter. The critical issue here is not only Chinese immigrants but also American born Chinese physicians or psychologists have little interest in studying psychoanalysis as a profession and few get involved in the field.Part of the reason is that it's not practical in the society anymore from cost and benefit point of view. But nobody seems to really care if other reasons among them.Secondly, the authors of that particular chapter disregarded a serious debate in their field on safety issue (and potential ethics) of practicing psychoanalysis in China using Skype. The debate was reflected in two issues of The American Psychoanalysts in 2008 (Vol. 42) [see American Psychoanalytic Asso. publication on the web]). One side of the debate basically has concerns for Chinese government censorship over internet, including through Skype program, just as the Skype company admitted itself that its technology is not completely infallible ([...]). Interestingly, those who insist on pursuing the practice (CAPA), including that chapter authors vowed for Skype safety much more strongly than Skype company itself. ... Another big shortcoming of this book is that it omits HongKong Chinese and Taiwan Chinese, not to mention Singaporean Chinese that consists its over 80% population, as if only The Mainland China has Chinese and only those Chinese has psychology that's worth mentioning. Little do they know that Chinese traditions are far better preserved in Taiwan and Hong Kong than those in The Mainland. Therefore, in terms of Chinese culture and psychology, there is a big hole in this book.

However, overall, it's an interesting read from anthropology and psychology point of view. It is intellectually stimulating. I hope that the editor will be more careful with regard to publishing materials from other authors - check evidence instead of one's claimed title. ... Read more

15. Korea (Taste of Culture)
by Barbara Sheen
Hardcover: 64 Pages (2010-12-03)
list price: US$28.75 -- used & new: US$28.75
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Asin: 0737751150
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16. Truman and Korea: The Political Culture of the Early Cold War
Hardcover: 280 Pages (1999-03-04)
list price: US$49.95 -- used & new: US$48.24
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Asin: 0826212069
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Detailing for the first time the story of America's homefront during the Korean War, Truman and Korea fills an important gap in the historical scholarship of the era. Paul Pierpaoli analyzes the political, economic, social, and international ramifications of America's first war of Soviet containment, never losing sight of the larger context of the Cold War. He focuses on how and why the Truman administration undertook a bloody, inconclusive war on the Korean peninsula while permanently placing the nation on a war footing. Based upon extensive research in the papers and official presidential files of Harry S. Truman, as well as many manuscript collections and records of wartime and government agencies, Truman and Korea offers a new perspective on the Korean War era and its inextricable ties to broader Cold War decision making. ... Read more

17. Perspectives on Christianity in Korea and Japan: The Gospel and Culture in East Asia
 Hardcover: 230 Pages (1995-12)
list price: US$109.95 -- used & new: US$109.95
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Asin: 0773488685
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This volume aims to put into sharp relief the shape and contour of the Christian religion in contemporary Japan and Korea. The essays collected here resulted from a project on "Christianity in East Asia" co-sponsored by Meiji Gakuin University's Institute for Christian Studies and the Global Mission Unit of the Presbyterian Church (USA), and are written by scholars who are themselves mainly from East Asia. The papers, using an intraregional approach (ie; Christianity in Japan from a Korean perspective and vice-versa) deal with various aspects of the transplantation and historical development of Christianity, explore various aspects of the Christian encounter with indigenous religions and societies, and consider some of the major difficulties faced by the transplanted religion. The perspectives offered here should be useful to scholars in Asian studies and religion, to those engaged in theological education and mission studies, as well as to church administrators responsible for policy and direction in mission planning. ... Read more

18. South Korea: Education, Culture, and Economy
by Georgie D. M. Hyde
 Hardcover: 287 Pages (1988-09)
list price: US$55.00
Isbn: 0312016662
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19. Korea and Globalization: Politics, Economics and Culture
Hardcover: 256 Pages (2002-03-28)
list price: US$195.00 -- used & new: US$133.20
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Asin: 0700715126
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Korea faces two challenges in the twenty-first century: unification and globalization. Both entail problems of economic, political and cultural integration. In the past, Koreans successfully 'unified' in various forms, and 'globalized' in many ways. This book is a study of the theme of globalization, addressing various aspects of Korea's integration into the global community from a social scientific or humanistic perspective. This investigation begins with a focus on contemporary South and North Korea: the 'globalized' southern daily life, South Korean labour as a global player, the southern development state, and the cultural division that poses the greatest threat to reunification.
Moving outwards in concentric circles, chapters address Korea's connections with its region and Koreans' contributions to the wider world. Relations with Japan, Korea's most difficult bi-lateral relationship, are surveyed to identify both patterns and images. The thirteenth century Tripitaka Koreana is the most complete collection of Buddhist scripture in Chinese and its recent digitization points towards a renaissance of this world religion. South Korea's pursuit of a Nobel Prize in Literature is put in perspective when one considers Korean contribution to the pre- modern Sinitic literary world. South Korea may owe its existence to the United Nations, but since entering the UN in 1991, it has taken to heart the altruistic urge of global peacekeeping.
The collection presents scholars from 4 continents, and precludes the dominance of any particular regional perspective or narrow national concern. Most of the contributors are little known in English but are prominent in their respective countries. The collection is multi-disciplinary. It seeks to explain Korea in holistic terms, as a people with history, culture, politics and economic concerns in the contemporary world. It should appeal to anyone who is interested in contemporary East Asia and Korea in particular. ... Read more

20. The Hidden People of North Korea: Everyday Life in the Hermit Kingdom
by Ralph Hassig, Kongdan Oh
Hardcover: 296 Pages (2009-11-16)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$33.06
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Asin: 0742567184
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This unique book provides a comprehensive overview of all aspects of life in North Korea today. Drawing on decades of insider knowledge and experience, noted experts Ralph Hassig and Kongdan Oh explore a world few outsiders can imagine. In vivid detail, the authors describe how the secretive and authoritarian government of Kim Jong-il shapes every aspect of its citizen's lives, how the command socialist economy has utterly failed, and how ordinary individuals struggle to survive through small-scale capitalism. North Koreans remain hungry and oppressed, yet the outside world is slowly filtering in, and the book concludes by urging the United States to flood North Korea with information so that its people can make decisions based on truth rather than their dictator's ubiquitous propaganda. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

1-0 out of 5 stars Interesting anecdotes, but filled with lots of vague numbers
I thought I would have a read as I work in applied economics.I have to say I hardly write reviews.The Hidden People of North Korea book had so many generalizations and was so one sided that I could not not write a review ....

Quite a few of the numbers are vague and without reference ' 'arms exports contribute tens or hundreds of millions of dollars a year as well...'' (p90)and the passages where like from a story book and not a non-fiction book 'One of the largest cases of North Korean smuggling was revealed on a and stormy night in April 2003..." (p91). Tens of millions as in 20M to hundreds of millions as in 900M, 20M to 900M that is a huge magnitude.There is no reference to a source even to ground their estimation in.'Stormy night' is a cliche that broke away from the tone of the book. The more I read the more painful it was. "... North Korean presents the appearance of a large cult..." (p190) or "The members of the privileged class of three million (the upper half of the core class) appear to support the regime actively on the premise that they would not otherwise have a good a life".I find it hard to look at the book as a soundly researched, academic work with hard facts and a balanced view of North Korea after off handed comments like that.You can't just call a country a cult or say just because 3M people (where did this 3M come from) 'have a good life' they support regime (maybe you could say 3M are members of the party, actively registered in pro regime activities, or a host of other things, but just say on the basis that they are living well they support the regime is hard to connect the dots on that assumption).I thought this book needed more balance...

To be fair, I did find some interesting anecdotes about individuals in North Korea.

Harvard Political Review has written a review on the book as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars Understanding a Closed Society
This is the most authoritative and complete report yet available outside the hermit kingdom on life in North Korea. I have known "Katy" Oh for some years as a top American analyst of Korean issues, and this husband and wife product is a tour de force indeed considering how difficult the subject. With this deeper understanding at hand, perhaps we will hear fewer simplistic assumptions about the North in the future. The Hassigs persuasively suggest that the foreign aid we and South Korea have provided actually served to help prolong the regime. As one of those who predicted Kim Chong-il's reign would be short after the death of the Great Leader, it is clear to me now why so many of us were wrong, and why this anachronistic closed totalitarianism may well even survive his own death. Highly readable, thorough, and well written.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Reference Book
North Korea comes to the world's attention only in connection with nuclear and missile programs and its recurring humanitarian crises. The rest of the time, thanks in large part to the Kim regime's policy of secrecy and isolation, North Korea is a hidden country.

The Hidden People of North Korea lifts the veil on the everyday life of ordinary citizens in this most secretive state. The two authors, as they make clear, are not welcomed in Pyongyang, and they have no sympathy for the Kim regime. But they are compassionate about the Korean people, and they believe the world should know more about their ordeal. They base their analysis on a vast array of written sources, quoting from books, articles, and weblog entries written in English, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, French and German. The book's second author also conducted interviews with about two hundred North Korean defectors who made their way to South Korea since the late 1990s. They also quote frequently from domestic North Korean sources, as a mean of illustrating the information environment in which the North Korean people live.

The one reservation that I have about the wealth of information that went into this book is that the authors do not discriminate between sources. They quote equally from the draft manuscript written by Kim Jong-il's adopted daughter, who defected to France in 1992, or from the detailed accounts of Andrei Lankov, a respected Russian scholar trained at Kim Il-sung University, and from colorful characters who wrote popular accounts of their experience in North Korea with titles such as "I was Kim Jong-il's Bodyguard" or "The Most Revered General, Lover of Nukes and Women". For instance, the testimony of Kim's former Japanese cook, according to whom every grain of rice destined for the Great Leader's table is handpicked and inspected for quality and shape, must be taken with a pinch of salt. To be true, the authors are aware of some of these biases, and they note for instance that "because defectors are usually paid for giving interviews, they may be tempted to exaggerate their experiences in North Korea to make their testimony more marketable."

But again, strange things happen in North Korea, and dispatches from the local media range from the frightening to the bizarre. Consider the following:

- "On the seventh anniversary of Kim's death in 2001, 'three beautiful birds' landed on the windows of an apartment in the port city of Nampo and perched there for one hour and forty minutes, blinking at the wall portrait of Kim Il-sung."

- When forest fires threatened trees covered with slogans carved by Kim Il-sung's band of revolutionary fighters back in the 1930s and 1940s, "seventeen soldiers did not hesitate to throw themselves into the fire, in the flower of their youth, to protect a slogan tree that is the treasure of the years to come."

- Newsprints with photographs of the Kims must never be torn or crumpled. In October 1997, North Koreans discovered a copy of Nodong Sinmun with a photograph of Kim Il-sung in the wastebasket of a dormitory where South Korean workers were staying while building the KEDO lightwater nuclear reactor; as a consequence, they were confined to their quarters for several days.

The book is especially strong at analyzing the information environment, defined as the "range of information available to North Koreans and how that information challenges and shapes their beliefs". Information processing involves selective exposure, selective attention, selective understanding, and selective remembering. As the country opens itself slightly to foreigners, it has erected a mosquito net of censorship to let some information in while preventing unwanted influences from turning people's heads.

The authors' policy recommendation is to work on this information environment by targeting the North Korean people with information about their government and the outside world, and to let them choose how to act on that information. They suggest that humanitarian aid should be offered to the North Korean government contingent on its acceptance of strict foreign monitoring, preferably by Korean-speaking aid workers, and clear labeling of the aid's origin. In this way the foreign aid will become part of the foreign information program.

It will be hard for this book to find its public. Government officials won't find a discussion on ongoing diplomatic negotiations under the framework of the six-party talks. Intelligence people are, one hopes so, already familiar with the information contained in the book, or they don't deal with North Korea. Business people are invited to follow the "first rule of investing in North Korea": don't. Human right activists often prefer to turn their attention away rather than deal squarely with the last remnants of the communist ideology on earth.

In fact, the problem is that very few people want to know more about North Korea. The country comes in the spotlight only intermittently and only in conjunction with international developments. It may not always be the same. So my advice to busy people is that they don't need to read this book now. Put it on the shelf, save it for the future. And next time North Korea hits the news and people start asking questions, go back to it, and use it as a reference.

5-0 out of 5 stars Authors Hassig and Oh hit it out of the park again: a must read on North Korea
The ever-growing community of government officials, scholars, and ordinary citizens concerned about North Korea has cause to celebrate the issuance of "The Hidden People of North Korea" by Ralph Hassig and Kongdan Oh.A decade ago, in publishing "North Korea through the Looking Glass," this husband and wife team established themselves as leading observers of North Korea."The Hidden People" reaffirms that status by showcasing their superb ability to synthesize a vast amount of information without policy bias.At the same time, the strengths of Hassigand Oh in sorting out signs of change and training a powerful light on the fault lines between illusion and reality provide the raw material for othersto judge whether North Korea can long survive as we currently know it.

"The Hidden People" is divided into nine chapters.Chapters 2 through 8 focus on Kim Chong-il, his family, and his leadership style; the economic system as it operates in theory and is lived by people on an every day basis; the government's crumbling control of the information environment; human rights issues; and the growing number of defections.Neither the final chapter, "The End Comes Slowly," nor any other offers a significant focus on the strategic questions with which policymakers most often grapple.In this regard, there is very limited attention paid to the country's dependence on weapons of mass destruction, its willingness to proliferate WMD technology, and its inclination (or lack thereof) to abide by disarmament agreements.This matters little, however, because numerous other authors have addressed these issues. ... Read more

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