Eight Things You Might Not Know About Korea

One of Asia’s most affluent countries since the partition of 1948.

When I first wrote this, President Obama was in Korea as part of an eight day tour of Asia. One of his goals had been a trade agreement to stave off a trade war with this economic powerhouse. The trip itself is an acknowledgement of the rising economic influence of Asia.

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Young Korean Woman. Painting by the author.

Eight Things You Might Not Know About Korea

1. My father, who served in the army after the conclusion of World War II, was stationed for a time in Korea.

2. Korea was divided into North and South Korea in 1948 as a consequence of the Cold War. The Soviet Union occupied the north, the south being occupied by the Allies. The dividing line is the 38th parallel.

3. While South Korea prospered, North Korea languished economically, experiencing a famine so severe that 2.5 to 3 million people starved to death from 1995–98.

4. The population of Korea, if united again, would be approximately 73 million people. Currently there are about 23 million in North Korea, 50 million in South.

5. The official language of Korea is…. Korean. The written script which Koreans use today was invented in the 15th century.

6. The primary religions in Korea have historically been Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism and Korean Shamanism. Due to Westernization, Christianity is also widely practiced in South Korea, more than 29% claiming this religious persuasion. (Possibly the world’s largest Christian church — in members, not building size — was located in Seoul.) Religion is repressed in North Korea.

7. Korea is one of the Four Asian Tigers. The term “Asian Tigers” refers to the highly developed economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, all four of which have a highly educated and skilled workforce. In addition, all four were at one time or another under Chinese rule.

8. Korea is the world’s largest ship builder and the fourth largest auto maker.

Related Links

The Korean War Was More Brutal Than We Remember
More paintings of mine can be found at The Many Faces of Ennyman

Originally published in 2009 at

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon

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