Portal:Korea

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Korea, called Hanguk (Korean: 한국; Hanja: 韓國) in South Korea and Bookhan (Korean: 조선; Hanja: 朝鮮) in North Korea, is a civilization and geographical area situated on the Korean Peninsula in East Asia, bordering China to the northwest and Russia to the northeast, with Japan situated to the southeast across the Korea Strait. It is often called the "Land of the Morning Calm", a term first used during the Joseon dynasty.

One of the oldest civilizations in the world, Korea's history began with the founding of Gojoseon, dating back to approximately 2,333 B.C. After the Three Kingdoms period, Korea enjoyed long periods of peace during which its culture, science and technology flourished. Despite this relative tranquility, Korea was often a target for invasion and had to defend itself in many wars. As a result, starting in the 17th century, Korea's leaders cut off almost all interaction with the outside world. Because of this, Korea was annexed in 1910 and became divided after the Korean War into two political entities, North Korea and South Korea.

North Korea declares itself to be a self-reliant socialist state that is often described by international outlets as Stalinist and isolationist. It is currently ruled by the Kim dynasty, under which the country has become the world's most militarized society with a total of 9,495,000 active, reserve, and paramilitary personnel. North Korea has often emerged as a subject of controversy due to alleged human rights abuses and its unsanctioned nuclear weapons program, the latter of which makes it a threat to regional security.

South Korea on the other hand is a capitalist liberal democracy, and by 1995, became the world's 11th largest economy. It is also currently the world's fifth largest exporter and seventh largest importer, all feats achieved during South Korea's miraculous economic growth after the Korean War. South Korea also maintains a large military due to strained relations with the North, with 650,000 active troops and 3.2 million reserve troops. Due to both its economic and military prowess, South Korea is a regional power, also enjoying membership in the United Nations, G-20 major economies and the OECD.

Korea is populated by a relatively homogeneous ethnic group, the Koreans, who speak Korean, a distinct language not known to be related to any other language, and which uses a unique script, known as Hangul in South Korea, and as Chosongul in North Korea.

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Chong Chul Rhee, one of the twelve original masters of taekwondo, founded Rhee Taekwon-Do in the mid-1960s

Rhee Taekwon-Do is a martial art school in Australia and New Zealand teaching the Korean martial art of taekwondo. Chong Chul Rhee, one of the original masters of taekwondo, founded the school in the mid-1960s. Two of Rhee's brothers, Chong Hyup Rhee and Chong Yoon Rhee, later came to assist him in the 1970s. C. C. Rhee claims the title 'Father of Australian Taekwondo' and Rhee Taekwon-Do is widely publicised as being Australia's first and biggest taekwondo school. It has at least 294 publicly-listed dojang (training halls) in Australia (and at least five such dojang in New Zealand), with perhaps around 1,400 dojang in total at its peak. Several Australian martial art school founders received their foundational taekwondo training in Rhee's school. Rhee Taekwon-Do is an independent martial art organisation. It was once affiliated to the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF), but has had no relation to the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF).

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Taepyeongmu
Credit: Ddol-mang

Taepyeongmu (태평무), a Korean dance wishing a great peace for Korea. Its origin is unknown but the late Han Seungjun (한성준 韓成俊 1875-1941), a known dancer and drummer, rearranged it in the early 20th century. It is assumed to have been a court dance occasionally performed by kings during the Joseon dynasty of Korea. Therefore, the costumes used for dancers are almost similar to a king and queen's gwanbok (관복, official clothing). Taepyeongmu is designated as one of the Important Intangible Cultural Properties of South Korea.

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Choe Bu (1454–1504) was a Korean official during the early Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910). He is best known for the account of his shipwrecked travels in China from February to July 1488, during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). He was eventually banished from the Joseon court in 1498 and executed in 1504 during two political purges. However, in 1506 he was exonerated and given posthumous honors by the Joseon court. Choe's diary accounts of his travels in China became widely printed in the 16th century in both Korea and Japan. Modern historians also utilize his written works, since his travel diary provides a unique outsider's perspective on Chinese culture in the 15th century and valuable information on China's cities and regional differences. The attitudes and opinions expressed in his writing represent in part the standpoints and views of the 15th-century Confucian Korean literati, who viewed Chinese culture as compatible with and similar to their own. His description of cities, people, customs, cuisines, and maritime commerce along China's Grand Canal provide insight into the daily life of China and how it differed between northern and southern China during the 15th century.

Did you know...

  • ...that the Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang was built in 1982 to commemorate the "victory" of Korea over Japan in World War II?
  • ...that Shin Sang-ok, a South Korean film director was kidnapped in 1978 under orders from future North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il and forced to direct a giant-monster film, Pulgasari?
  • ...that the Chonma-ho is a little known, indigenously produced North Korean tank; information on which has proven to be elusive even to the U.S. government?

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Korea gyeongbokgung.jpg You are invited to participate in WikiProject Korea, a WikiProject dedicated to developing and improving articles about Korea.
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  • Korea Blog Aggregator
  • Korea Tourism Organization's Travel & Culture Guide
  • Information about Korea, China and Japan Economy - Samsung Economic Research Institute
  • Korea.net
  • The Korean Peninsula at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
  • Country study South Korea, North Korea
  • CIA Factbook South Korea, North Korea
  • Met Museum Timeline of Korean art
  • Korea Journal online
  • Korea Herald
  • Korea Times English
  • Korean language Wikipedia
  • Galbijim Wiki
  • WorknPlay - Korea One Stop Portal

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