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Korea (kôrēˈə, kə–), Korean Hanguk or Choson, region and historic country (85,049 sq mi/220,277 sq km), E Asia. A peninsula, 600 mi (966 km) long, Korea separates the Sea of Japan (called the East Sea by Koreans) on the east from the Yellow Sea (and Korea Bay [or West Korea Bay], a northern arm of the Yellow Sea; the latter is called the West Sea by Koreans) on the west. On the south it is bounded by the Korea Strait (connecting the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea) and on the north its land boundaries with China (c.500 mi/800 km) and with Russia (only c.11 mi/18 km) are marked chiefly by the great Yalu (Korean Amnok) and Tumen (Korean Duman or Tuman) rivers.
Land and People
The Korean peninsula is largely mountainous; the principal series of ranges, extending along the east coast, rises (in the northeast) to 9,003 ft (2,744 m) at Mt. Paektu (Baekdu), the highest peak in Korea. Most rivers are relatively short and many are unnavigable, filled with rapids and waterfalls; important rivers, in addition to the Yalu and Tumen, are the Han, the Geum, the Taedong (Daedong), the Nakdong, and the Seomjin. Off the heavily indented coast (c.5,400 mi/8,690 km long) lie some 3,420 islands, most of them rocky and uninhabited (of the inhabited islands, about half have a population of less than 100); the main island group is in the Korean Archipelago in the Yellow Sea. The climate of Korea ranges from dry and extremely cold winters in the north to almost tropical conditions in parts of the south.
Many Koreans are Buddhists or Confucianists, although the people tend to be eclectic in their religious practices. Korean Confucianism, for example, has developed into more of an ethical system than a religion, and its influence is wide and pervasive. Of the various indigenous religions, Chondogyo (a native mixture of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism) is the most influential. South Korea has a large number of practicing Christians, roughly a quarter of the population. (Roman Catholicism was introduced in the late 18th cent., and Protestantism in the late 19th cent.) The North Korean government has actively suppressed religion as contrary to Marxist belief. Korean is spoken in both countries, and English is widely taught in South Korean schools.
Korea once had large timber resources. In the North, reforestation and conservation programs have helped reverse the effects of excessive cutting during the Japanese occupation (1910–45). Predominant trees are larch, oak, alder, pine, spruce, and fir. Forests in the South were depleted as a result of illegal cutting after 1945 and damage during the Korean War (1950–53), but reforestation programs have helped to remedy the loss.
Korea has great mineral wealth, most of it (80%–90%) concentrated in the North. Of the peninsula's five major minerals—gold, iron ore, coal, tungsten, and graphite—only tungsten and amorphous graphite are found principally in the South. South Korea has only 10% of the peninsula's rich coal and iron deposits. Its minerals are widely scattered, and mining operations are generally small scale, although tungsten is an important export item. North Korea is especially rich in iron and coal and has some 200 different minerals of economic value. Some of the other more important minerals that are produced are lead, zinc, copper, uranium, manganese, gold, silver, and tungsten.
Because of the mountainous and rocky terrain, less than 20% of Korean land is arable. Rice is the chief crop, with wet paddy fields constituting about half of the farmland. Paddies are found along the coasts, in reclaimed tidal areas, and in river valleys. Barley, wheat, corn, soybeans, and grain sorghums are also extensively cultivated, especially in the uplands; other crops include potatoes, pulses, cotton, tobacco, vegetables, fruits, and sweet potatoes. Cattle, pigs, and chickens are raised. Before the country was divided (1945), the colder and less fertile north depended heavily upon the south for food. Agricultural self-sufficiency became a major goal of the North Korean government, and mechanized methods were introduced there in and in the South. Both governments expanded irrigation facilities, constructed numerous dams, and initiated land reclamation projects; however, the North has suffered severe food shortages. Livestock previously played a minor role in Korean agriculture, especially in the North, where the steep and often barren hills are unsuitable for large-scale grazing, but since the end of the Korean War beef has become a significant component of the diet in the South.
The fishing waters off Korea are among the best in the world; the long coastline and numerous islands, inlets, and reefs provide excellent fishing grounds, and the presence of both a warm and a cold current attracts a great variety of species. Korean deep-sea fishing ships range into the Atlantic and Arctic oceans, and species are also raised in aquaculture facilities.
The Korean economy was shattered by the war of 1950 to 1953. Postwar reconstruction was abetted by enormous amounts of foreign aid (in the North from Communist countries and in the South chiefly from the United States) and intensive government economic development programs. The greatest industrial advances were made during the 1960s; in that decade the South experienced an 85% increase in productivity and a 250% rise in per capita gross national product. Economic development throughout Korea has been uneven, with the South showing significantly greater gains. The per capita gross domestic product of the South is more than 15 times that of the North. In the South such consumer goods industries as textiles, garments, and footwear have given way to heavy industry, consumer electronics, and information industries. A great variety of products are now manufactured; these include electrical and electronic equipment, automobiles, chemicals, ships, steel, and ceramic goods. South Korea exports semiconductors, wireless telecommunications equipment, motor vehicles, computers, steel, ships, and petrochemicals. Imports include machinery, electronics, oil, steel, transportation equipment, organic chemicals, and plastic. The main trading partners are China, Japan, and the United States.
The North, too, has changed from a predominantly agricultural society (in 1946) to an industrial one. With abundant mineral resources and hydropower, 70% of its national product is now derived from mining, manufacturing, and services; about 30% still comes from agriculture. Development was impeded, however, by the rigid economic system, and the economy severely affected by a loss of trading partners after the collapse of East European Communism. The amount of resources devoted to the military, one of the world's largest, has been a burden on the economy as well. In 2002 the government instituted a series of limited economic reforms, including letting markets set prices of many goods and services and permitting private traders; since 2010 the importance of these reforms to the economy has increased, leading to gradual economic growth. Major North Korean industries include mining (coal, iron ore, limestone, magnesite, graphite, copper, zinc, lead, ocean sand, and precious metals), food processing, and the manufacture of military products, machines, electric power, chemicals, and textiles (synthetics, wool, cotton, silk). Exports include minerals (especially coal), metallurgical products, armaments, textiles, and seafood, though sanctions against the country for its nuclear and missile programs have limited or made illegal trade in some of these items. Petroleum, coal, machinery and equipment, textiles, and grain are the main imports. The chief trading partners are China, South Korea, and Thailand. Also important to the country's income are illegal trading in drugs, cigarettes, ivory, and other items; profits from cybercrime, especially from ransomware and the hacking of the international banking system and cryptocurrency trading; counterfeiting; and skimmed wages from North Koreans working overseas.
The industrialization of both North and South has been accompanied by improved transportation. By the end of the Korean War the rail system had been destroyed, and paved highways were almost nonexistent. The railroads have been extensively rebuilt, and in the South high-speed lines connect Seoul with Daegu and Busan in the southeast and Gwangju in the southwest. The South Korean government also has completed a series of superhighways connecting Seoul with numerous major cities. There is domestic air service, and international airports are located at Seoul, Busan, and Pyongyang. The expansion of port facilities at Busan and Incheon has vastly increased their capacity.
South Korea is governed under the constitution of 1987. The president, who is head of state, is popularly elected for a single five-year term. The government is headed by the prime minister, who is appointed by the president. The unicameral legislature consists of the 299-seat National Assembly, whose members are popularly elected (245 directly, 54 on a proportional basis) for four-year terms. Administratively, South Korea is divided into nine provinces and seven metropolitan cities.
North Korea is governed under the constitution of 1948, which has been extensively revised. The chairman of the National Defense Commission is the nation's head of state; the title of president was reserved for Kim Il Sung after his death. The premier, who is the head of government, is elected, unopposed, by the Supreme People's Assembly. The unicameral legislature consists of the 687-seat Supreme People's Assembly, whose members are popularly elected to five-year terms. Although nominally a republic governed by the Supreme People's Assembly, North Korea is ruled by the Korea Workers party, the North Korean Communist party. The ruling party approves a list of candidates who are generally elected without opposition. Administratively North Korea is divided into nine provinces and four municipalities.
Early History to Japanese Rule
The Koreans, descended from Tungusic tribal peoples, are a distinct racial and cultural group. According to Korean legend, Tangun established Old Choson in NW Korea in 2333 B.C., and the Korean calendar enumerates the years from this date. Chinese sources assert that Ki-tze (Kija), a Shang dynasty refugee, founded a colony at Pyongyang in 1122 B.C., but the first Korean ruler recorded in contemporaneous records is Wiman, possibly a Chinese invader who overthrew Old Choson and established his rule in N Korea in 194 B.C. Chinese forces subsequently conquered (c.100 B.C.) the eastern half of the peninsula. Lolang, near modern Pyongyang, was the chief center of Chinese rule.
Koguryo, a native Korean kingdom, arose in the north on both sides of the Yalu River by the 1st cent. A.D.; tradition says it was founded in 37 B.C. By the 4th cent. A.D. it had conquered Lolang, and at its height under King Kwanggaet'o (r.391–413) occupied much of what is now Korea and NE China. In the 6th and 7th cent. the kingdom resisted several Chinese invasions. Meanwhile in the south, two main kingdoms emerged, Paekche (traditionally founded 18 B.C., but significant beginning c.A.D. 250) in the west and Silla (traditionally founded 57 B.C., but significant beginning c.A.D. 350) in the east. After forming an alliance with T'ang China, Silla conquered Paekche and Koguryo by 668, and then expelled the Chinese and unified much of the peninsula. Remnants of Koguryo formed the kingdom of Parhae (north of the Taedong River and largely in E Manchuria), which lasted until 926.
Under Silla's rule, Korea prospered and the arts flourished; Buddhism, which had entered Korea in the 4th cent., became dominant in this period. In 935 the Silla dynasty, which had been in decline for a century, was overthrown by Wang Kon, who had established (918) the Koryo dynasty (the name was selected as an abbreviated form of Koguryo and is the source of the name Korea). During the Koryo period, literature was cultivated, and although Buddhism remained the state religion, Confucianism—introduced from China during the Silla years and adapted to Korean customs—controlled the pattern of government. A coup in 1170 led to a period of military rule. In 1231, Mongol forces invaded from China, initiating a war that was waged intermittently for some 30 years. Peace came when Koryo accepted Mongol suzerainty, and a long period of Koryo-Mongol alliance followed. In 1392, Yi Songgye, a general who favored the Ming dynasty (which had replaced the Mongols in China), seized the throne and established the Choson dynasty.
The Choson (or Yi) dynasty, which was to rule until 1910, built a new capital at Hanseong (Seoul) and established Confucianism as the official religion. Early in the dynasty (15th cent.) printing with movable metal type, which had been developed two centuries earlier, became widely used, and the Korean alphabet was developed. The 1592 invasion by the Japanese shogun Hideyoshi was driven back by Choson and Ming forces, but only after six years of great devastation and suffering. Manchu invasions in the first half of the 17th cent. resulted in Korea being made (1637) a tributary state of the Manchu dynasty. Subsequent factional strife gave way, in the 18th cent., to economic prosperity and a cultural and intellectual renaissance. Korea limited its foreign contacts during this period and later resisted, longer than China or Japan, trade with the West, which led to its being called the Hermit Kingdom.
In 1876, Japan forced a commerical treaty with Korea, and to offset the Japanese influence, trade agreements were also concluded (1880s) with the United States and European nations. Japan's control was tightened after the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–95) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904–5), when Japanese troops moved through Korea to attack Manchuria. These troops were never withdrawn, and in 1905 Japan declared a virtual protectorate over Korea and in 1910 formally annexed the country. The Japanese instituted vast social and economic changes, building modern industries and railroads, but their rule (1910–45) was harsh and exploitative. Sporadic Korean attempts to overthrow the Japanese were unsuccessful, and after 1919 a provisional Korean government, under Syngman Rhee, was established at Shanghai, China.
A Country Divided
In World War II, at the Cairo Conference (1943), the United States, Great Britain, and China promised Korea independence. At the end of the war Korea was arbitrarily divided into two zones as a temporary expedient; Soviet troops were north and Americans south of the line of lat. 38°N. The Soviet Union thwarted UN efforts to hold elections and reunite the country under one government. When relations between the Soviet Union and the United States worsened, trade between the two zones ceased; great economic hardship resulted, since the regions were economically interdependent, industry and trade being concentrated in the North and agriculture in the South.
In 1948 two separate regimes were formally established—the Republic of Korea in the South, and the Democratic People's Republic under Communist rule in the North. By mid-1949 all Soviet and American troops were withdrawn, and two rival Korean governments were in operation, each eager to unify the country under its own rule. In June, 1950, the North Korean army launched a surprise attack against South Korea, initiating the Korean War, and with it, severe hardship, loss of life, and enormous devastation.
After the war the boundary was stabilized along a line running from the Han estuary generally northeast across the 38th parallel to a point south of Kosong (Kuum-ni), with a “no-man's land” or demilitarized zone (DMZ), 1.24 mi (2 km) wide and occupying a total of 487 sq mi (1,261 sq km), on either side of the boundary. The western border in the ocean, though, was not defined, and fighting has occasionally occurred at sea. Throughout the 1950s and 60s an uneasy truce prevailed; thousands of soldiers were poised on each side of the demilitarized zone, and there were occasional shooting incidents. In 1971 negotiations between North and South Korea provided the first hope for peaceful reunification of the peninsula; in Nov., 1972, an agreement was reached for the establishment of joint machinery to work toward unification.
The countries met several times during the 1980s to discuss reunification, and in 1990 there were three meetings between the prime ministers of North and South Korea. These talks have yielded some results, such as the exchange of family visits organized in 1989. The problems blocking complete reunification, however, continue to be substantial. Two incidents of terrorism against South Korea were widely attributed to North Korea: a 1983 bombing that killed several members of the South Korean government, and the 1987 destruction of a South Korean airliner over the Thailand-Myanmar border. In 1996, North Korea said it would cease to recognize the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas, and North Korean troops made incursions into the zone. In 1999 a North Korean torpedo boat was sunk by a South Korean vessel in South Korean waters following a gun battle, and another deadly naval confrontation following a North Korean incursion in 2002.
In early 2000, however, the North engaged in talks with a number of Western nations, seeking diplomatic relations, and South and North agreed to a presidential summit in Pyongyang. The historic and cordial meeting produced an accord that called for working toward reunification (though without specifying how) and for permitting visits between families long divided as a result of the war. Given the emotional appeal of reunification, it is likely that the North-South dialogue will continue, despite the problems involved; however, the tensions that developed in late 2002 have, for the time being, derailed any significant further reunification talks. Economic contacts continued to expand, however, and South Korea became a significant trade partner for the North. The North also received substantial aid from the South.
In 2007 a rail crossing through the DMZ was symbolically reopened when two trains made test runs on the rebuilt track; regular rail service, over a short line, began late in the year. A second North-South presidential summit in Pyongyang occurred in Aug., 2007; both leaders called for negotiations on a permanent peace treaty to replace the armistice that ended the Korean War. Relations between the two nations subsequently soured, as a result of the election (2007) of Lee Myung Bak as president of South Korea and the sinking (2010) of a South Korean naval vessel by the North. Most joint projects came to an end, and trade between the two nations greatly decreased by 2010. Kim Jong Un's succession in the North in 2011 further worsened relations, which were increasingly strained by the North's ongoing development of missile and nuclear technology. Many U.S. troops still remain in the South, though their numbers have decreased since the 1960s and the number of U.S. bases has been greatly reduced.
North Korea, officially Democratic People's Republic of Korea (2015 est. pop. 25,244,000), 46,540 sq mi (120,538 sq km), founded on May 1, 1948, has its capital at Pyongyang, the largest city. North Korea is divided into nine provinces and three special cities.
North Korea, although nominally a republic governed by a representative assembly, is actually ruled by the Communist party (known in Korea as the Korea Workers' party). Until his death in 1994, all governmental institutions were controlled by Kim Il Sung (widely known as “The Great Leader”), who had been premier and then president since the country's inception in 1948. A personality cult had glorified Kim, but by the mid-1990s the rapid economic growth of North Korea's early years had given way first to stagnation and then to hardship, and there was widespread dissatisfaction with the repressive totalitarian regime. Increasingly, Kim's son, Kim Jong Il, had assumed the day-to-day management of the government and, at Kim Il Sung's death in 1994, the son took over leadership of the country and, like his father, became the object of a personality cult. He was named secretary of the Communist party in 1997 and consolidated his power with the title of National Defense Commission chairman in 1998. Under Kim Jong Il, diplomatic relations were established with a number of Western nations.
After the Korean War, the Communist government of North Korea used the region's rich mineral and power resources as the basis for an ambitious program of industrialization and rehabilitation. With Chinese and Soviet aid, railroads, industrial plants, and power facilities were rebuilt. Farms were collectivized, and industries were nationalized. In a series of multiyear economic development plans, the coal, iron, and steel industries were greatly expanded, new industries were introduced, and the mechanization of agriculture was pushed. By the mid-1990s more than 90% of the economy was socialized and 95% of the country's manufactured products were made by state-owned enterprises. A serious postwar population loss, resulting from the exodus of several million people to the South, was somewhat offset by the immigration of Chinese colonists and Koreans from Manchuria and Japan.
North Korea maintained close relations with the Soviet Union and China (military aid treaties were signed with both countries in 1961) but preserved a degree of independence; the Sino-Soviet rift facilitated this. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, China became North Korea's most important ally. The country's large expenditures on its military and centralized control have been drags on the economy, as has been the nation's inability (since the 1990s) to produce or import enough food to feed its people, which has resulted in chronic malnutrition and, at times, famine. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps as many as two million, are believed to have died from starvation in the mid-1990s.
Relations with the United States remained tense throughout the late 20th cent. because of the U.S. military presence in Korea and its economic assistance to South Korea. In 1968, North Korea seized the U.S. intelligence ship Pueblo and imprisoned its crew for 11 months, and in 1969 it shot down an American reconnaissance plane. More recently, the United States imposed (1988) sanctions on North Korea for alleged terrorist activity and expressed concern over reports that North Korea was building a nuclear weapons plant. In 1991 both Koreas joined the United Nations after the North dropped its opposition to such a move.
New tensions mounted on the peninsula in 1994 after confirmation that the country had developed a nuclear program. After direct talks with the United States, North Korea agreed to freeze its nuclear program in return for shipments of oil and the construction of two new light-water reactors for power (the latter were not built, however). North Korea launched a medium-range missile over Japan in 1998; in 1999, the United States agreed to ease trade sanctions against the country in exchange for North Korea's agreement to suspend its missile testing. In a further easing of tensions, high-level visits by U.S. and North Korean officials were exchanged during 2000, and the South's president, Kim Dae Jung, paid a visit to the North. Relations were slow to improve, however, as the North increased its demands for economic aid while failing to fulfill its own pledges.
Continuing economic deterioration in the North led in 2002 to a number of reforms and plans for the establishment of special economic zones in Sinuiju and Kaesong. The North also was accused of attempting to earn hard currency through the illegal drug trade, the counterfeiting of U.S. currency and cigarettes, and (later) insurance fraud. In 2003 a North Korean cargo ship was seized by Australia after the crew was observed unloading heroin. Moribund negotiations with South Korea and the United States were also revived, while talks with Japan led to an agreement to began normalizing diplomatic relations. Late in 2002, however, oil shipments under the 1994 agreement were halted after revelations that North Korea had a nuclear weapons program; food aid was also reduced. An economically desperate North ended UN supervision of its nuclear facilities, withdrew from the nonproliferation treaty, and made other moves toward the development of nuclear weapons.
Tensions and concerns over the North's pursuit of nuclear weapons continued into 2005. Meanwhile, the United States indicated that it believed that the North had sold enriched uranium to Libya when the latter had been attempting to develop nuclear weapons, while Korea publicly acknowledged that it had nuclear weapons and later stated that it would increase its nuclear arsenal. In Sept., 2005, talks involving the Koreas, the United States, Japan, China, and Russia produced an agreement in which the North said it would abandon its nuclear programs and weapons in return for aid and security commitments. Ambiguities in the agreement, however, led the parties to contest its terms almost immediately when North Korea demanded that it be given a light-water reactor, but U.S. officials said that they had agreed only to discuss doing so (and only after the North had done what it had committed to do).
Also in 2005, the U.S. government imposed sanctions on a Macau bank accused of laundering North Korean earnings from illegal activities, including counterfeiting U.S. money. The move, which came after a four-year investigation and appeared to have been undertaken in part in attempt to force North Korea to make nuclear concessions, led other international banks to limit their transactions with North Korea. In 2006 North Korea called for the sanctions to be lifted before it would engage in further six-party negotiations.
In July, 2006, the North again launched several tests missiles, provoking international condemnation and drawing strong reactions from both the United States and Japan; the UN Security Council adopted some limited military sanctions in response. Then, in October, the North conducted a small underground nuclear test. Widely and strongly condemned internationally, including by China, the North's closest ally, the test resulted in additional, largely military sanctions. Japan and a number of other nations adopted more extensive sanctions, but China and South Korea, the North's largest trade partners, both largely avoided placing restrictions on trade, out of concern over a possible military confrontation or economic and political collapse in North Korea.
In Feb., 2007, resumed six-party negotiations led to an agreement that called for the North to shut down its reactor in 60 days in exchange for aid; implementation of the agreement was held up, however, by the North's insistence on regaining access to its funds in Macau, which did not occur until June. The agreement also called for additional aid when further denuclearization steps were achieved. Japan was not a party to the aid agreement because of issues relating to the North's kidnapping of its citizens in the past. In July, the shutdown of the North's main nuclear facilities was confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Flooding in the North in Aug., 2007, left some 300,000 homeless and ruined a tenth of the nation's farmland. Kim and South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun held a summit in Pyongyang in Oct., 2007. In addition to the facility shutdown, North Korea agreed to supply a declaration of its nuclear facilties and activities by the end of the 2007; it asserted it had done so, but the United States said that the declaration was not complete. Relations with the South became strained in 2008 when newly elected President Lee Myung Bak insisted that the North show progress on human rights and nuclear disarmament as a condition for aid and improvements in relations.
In May, North Korea released documents relating to its nuclear programs; also that month the United States announced that it would resume food aid to North Korea. The following month North Korea finally submitted a declaration of its nuclear weapons activities to the participants in the six-party talks, and the talks resumed in July. The next month, however, North Korea said it was stopping its disabling of its nuclear facilities because the United States had not removed it from a list of state sponsors of terrorism. After an agreement relating to verification in Oct., 2008, however, the North was removed from the list and resumed the disabling process. By the end of the year, however, there were again contentions over the verification process.
North Korea continued its provocative actions against the South in 2009. It declared its agreements with South Korea to be scrapped, and it temporarily closed access to South Korean–run factories in Kaesong. In April it launched a rocket that it claimed put a satellite into orbit, but the United States said nothing had been placed in orbit. South Korea, the United States, and Japan denounced the launch, seeing it as a thinly disguised missile test that was a violation of UN resolutions, and the UN Security Council condemned the launch. The North responded by saying it would end talks on its nuclear program and restart its disabled reactor, and it ordered international nuclear inspectors to leave the country. In subsequent months it conducted several short-range missile tests, a second nuclear test (May), and called for renegotiating the Kaesong industrial park agreement. The nuclear test was condemned by the Security Council, which imposed additional sanction on North Korea. Since 2009 the North also has been accused of a number of cyberattacks against South Korean government and commerical computer systems and other targets.
Relations with South Korea and the United States thawed some in Aug., 2009, after former U.S. president Clinton visited to obtain the release of two U.S. journalists who had been seized for crossing the North's border with China; a North Korean delegation also attended the funeral of former South Korean president Kim Dae Jung. In September severe limitations on South Korean travel to Kaesong were eased and other moves were taken, but during the same month an unannounced dam release by the North caused a flood that killed several people in the South, provoking an angry response.
In Dec., 2009, the North revalued its currency and limited the amount of old currency that could be converted, leading to panic buying and inflation as the North Koreans sought to use up as much of their unconvertable savings as possible; there were also reports of unrest in areas as a result of the change. Tensions subsequntly increased between North and South, as the two failed to reach an agreement on Kaesong. The North later (Apr., 2010) said it would take control of the South Korean–built resort at Mt. Kumgang, but it did not seize it until Aug., 2011.
North Korea shelled near a disputed maritime border in Jan., 2010, and in March a South Korean warship was sunk near the same border; an investigation determined a North Korean torpedo was the cause. As a result of the sinking, the South severely reduced its links with the North, though it continued minimal humanitarian aid. In June a number of changes were made in the North's government that appeared to be intended to assure the Kim family's control over the government and secure the leadership succession for Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Il's youngest son. The younger Kim was subsequently (September) made a general and vice chairman of the Communist party's central military commission. Relations with the South worsened further in November when the North shelled a South Korean island off its SW coast (and near the disputed border).
Kim Jong Il died in Dec., 2011, and his son was named as his successor. Kim Jong Un assumed the party leadership and other ranking posts in 2012. He made improving the country's economy (mainly through tolerance of limited market-oriented changes) and developing nuclear weapons his main goals. In Apr., 2012, the North attempted a satellite launch that other nations condemned as a cover for a banned test of a ballistic missile; the rocket failed shortly after launch. The launch led to tightened UN sanctions against the North. In July, the army chief was removed from office and Kim was promoted to marshal in a move that appeared intended to secure Kim's control over the military. North Korea achieved a successful rocket launch in Dec., 2012, although the satellite appeared to be tumbling in orbit. This launch also led to the imposition of additional UN sanctions.
In Feb., 2013, the North carried out its largest nuclear test to date, which was widely condemned and led to a new round of sanctions. In response, the North engaged in an escalating series of actions, voiding the armistice, cutting all communications channels with the South, announcing the restart of its nuclear reactor, and closing the Kaesong industrial zone. In June, however, the North reopened its hotline with the South, and moves toward talks began; Kaesong was reopened in September. Kim Jong Un's uncle and most prominent adviser, Jang Song Thaek, was accused of acts of treachery, purged, and executed in Dec., 2013, in what was regarded by many observers as a consolidation of Kim's power; in the following years there were reports of the executions of a number of senior officials. A UN report in 2014 accused North Korea of human rights abuses and atrocities including systematic murder, abduction, and torture.
In early 2016 the North claimed to have tested a hydrogen bomb, an assertion that was met with skepticism internationally; observers believed that the nuclear explosion that took place was too small to be thermonuclear. A second nuclear test was conducted in September; both tests were widely denounced. The North also continued to conduct missile tests into 2017. In response, the South ended its operations at the Kaesong industrial facility in North Korea, and the United States placed additional sanctions on the North, including sanctions on Kim Jong Un and other senior officials for human-rights violations. In late 2016 the UN imposed new sanctions on North Korea that limited or banned its coal and mineral exports.
Kim Jong Nam, Kim Jong Un's estranged brother, was murdered in Malaysia in Feb., 2017, in what was believed to have been an assassination orchestrated by North Korea. In July, 2017, the North successfully tested intercontinental ballistic missiles for the first time, and it subsequently tested a much stronger nuclear weapon, possibly a hydrogen bomb, in September, and made a third such missile test in November. The events led to additional UN economic sanctions and increased tensions, particularly with the United States.
In 2018, however, tensions eased after direct North-South talks resumed. Subsequently, U.S. President Trump met with Kim in Singapore in June, and the North agreed to work toward total denuclearization. What that included and how it would be achieved was not specified, and subsequent nuclear negotiations with the North yielded little progress, and talks between Trump and Kim in Feb., 2019, ended with no agreement. They briefly met again in June, when Trump crossed the DMZ into the North; meanwhile in May, the North resumed its missile tests. In the first half of 2020, the North made several moves that worsened relations with the South.
South Korea, officially Republic of Korea (2015 est. pop. 50,594,000), 38,022 sq mi (98,477 sq km), formally proclaimed on Aug. 15, 1948, has its capital at Seoul, the largest city. Busan, the second largest city, is the country's chief port, with an excellent natural harbor near the delta of the Nakdong River. Other important cities are Daegu and Incheon. South Korea is divided into nine provinces and seven independent metropolitan cities. Syngman Rhee, who had established a provisional Korean government in exile in 1919, was elected South Korea's first president in 1948.
Traditionally the agricultural region of the Korean peninsula, South Korea faced severe economic problems after partition. Attempts to establish an adequate industrial base were hampered by limited resources, particularly an acute lack of energy resources; most industry, prior to 1948, had been located in the North. War damage and the flood of refugees from North Korea further intensified the economic problem. The country depended upon foreign aid, chiefly from the United States, and the economy was characterized by runaway inflation, highly unfavorable trade balances, and mass unemployment.
The increasingly authoritarian rule of President Syngman Rhee, along with government corruption and injustice, added to the discontent of the people. The elections of Mar., 1960, in which Rhee won a fourth term, were marked by widespread violence, police brutality, and accusations by Rhee's opponents of government fraud. A student protest march in Apr., 1960, in which 125 students were shot down by the police, triggered a wave of uprisings across the country. The government capitulated, and Rhee resigned and went into exile.
Under the leadership of Dr. John M. Chang (Chang Myun), a new government was unable to correct the economic problems or maintain order, and in May, 1961, the South Korean armed forces seized power in a bloodless coup. A military junta under Gen. Park Chung Hee established tight control over civil freedoms, the press, and the economy, somewhat relaxing restrictions as its power solidified. Park was elected president in 1963, reelected in 1967, and, following a constitutional amendment permitting a third term, again in 1971.
Park's government was remarkably successful in fighting graft and corruption and in reviving the economy. Successive five-year economic development plans, first launched in 1962, brought dramatic changes. Between 1962 and 1972 manufacturing was established as a leading economic sector and exports increased dramatically. At the same time however, significant industrial control was concentrated in a number of family-run conglomerates that came to be known as chaebols. In Oct., 1972, President Park proclaimed martial law and dissolved the national assembly, asserting that such measures were necessary to improve South Korea's position in the reunification talks with North Korea. In Dec., 1972, President Park was elected to a new six-year term, under a revised constitution, by a national conference. In 1974, a Korean resident of Japan unsuccessfully attempted to assassinate Park in Seoul, fatally wounding Park's wife.
A second assassination attempt on Park, in 1979, was successful, and he was succeeded by Choi Kyu-hah, who instituted military rule. After a period of internal turmoil, Chun Doo-hwan was elected president (1980). Reforms were made to shift power to the national assembly, and the country's dynamic, export-oriented economy continued to grow. Labor unrest and general dissatisfaction with the government, however, led South Korean leaders to draw up a new constitution in 1987, which mandated popular election of the president and a reduction of the presidential term to five years.
Roh Tae-woo, who was elected president and took office in 1988, fought rising inflation rates brought on by South Korea's growing economy. Roh attempted to improve relations with opposition politicians and with the North, also establishing diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union (1990) and China (1992). In 1992, Kim Young Sam, a former opposition leader who had merged his party with Roh's, was elected president, becoming the first civilian to hold the office since the Korean War. President Kim launched a campaign to eliminate corruption and administrative abuse and began to encourage economic cooperation with the North.
In 1996 former presidents Chun and Roh were put on trial on corruption charges and also tried, with 14 former generals, on charges in connection with the 1979 coup following Park's death and the 1980 massacre of prodemocracy demonstrators in Gwangju (Kwangju). Both received prison sentences. Along with other Asian countries, South Korea experienced a financial crisis in late 1997, forcing it to seek assistance from the International Monetary Fund.
In December, voters elected Kim Dae Jung, who had been a prodemocracy dissident during the country's period of military dictatorship, as South Korea's new president. The economy began to recover slowly from the effect of the 1997–98 Asian financial crisis in 1999, and economic reforms promoted sustained growth. Kim worked to open relations with the North, and in 2000 he traveled there for a historic meeting with Kim Jong Il. Subsequent progress in inter-Korean relations, however, was slow, leading many in the South to feel that too many concessions had been made.
Kim Dae Jung's government was hurt by a series of corruption scandals in 2001 and 2002, some of which involved the president's family. The government suffered further embarrassment in 2002 when two nominees for prime minister were rejected by the national assembly. Despite these setbacks, the ruling party's candidate for president, Roh Moo Hyun, won the election in Dec., 2002. Following the election, when North Korea moved to resume its nuclear weapons program, the South pursued a more conciliatory course than that of the United States, and strongly opposed any military action against the North.
A political party funding scandal in 2003 implicated the main South Korean parties and many businesses, but it was overshadowed in early 2004 by the impeachment of the president over a relatively minor election law violation, which involved his public support for the new Uri party (the president is required be politically neutral). The impeachment, which also accused Roh of incompetence, was reversed by the Constitutional Court, which restored him to office in May. In the meantime, Prime Minister Goh Kun was acting president, and the Uri party gained a majority of the National Assembly seats in an April election that amounted to a repudiation by the public of the impeachment. The election was the first in which a liberal party had won control of the South Korean legislature. Roh officially joined the party in May.
In Aug., 2004, Roh announced that executive and administrative functions of the government would be moved to a new capital carved from portions of Yeongi co. and Gongju city in South Chungcheong prov., with construction to begin in 2007 and the relocation to be completed by 2030. Intended to reduce Seoul's economic dominance and overcrowding, the proposal provoked constitutional challenges from its opponents. In October the constitutional court ruled that a referendum or a constitutional amendment would be required before the move could be made. Construction of Sejong City continued, however, as a government center, and the city was officially inaugurated in 2012.
The South revealed in Aug. and Sept., 2004, that its scientists had twice conducted experiments to enrich nuclear materials. Although the amounts of enriched plutonium and uranium were small, the admissions were embarrassing internationally and did not help the campaign against the North's nuclear program. Relations with Japan were strained in early 2005 over the ownership of the Liancourt Rocks (a perennial source of friction) and over Japanese school history textbooks that downplayed Japan's actions during World War II.
The Uri party, which had been hit by a number of scandals and ministerial resignations since winning control of parliament, lost its narrow majority in that body in Mar., 2005. In Apr., 2006, Han Myung-Sook, a member of the Uri party, became the first woman to be elected prime minister of South Korea; real power in the South Korean government, however, resides with the president. Local elections in May, 2006, resulted in significant losses for the Uri party. After the North's nuclear test in Oct., 2006, South Korea imposed some sanctions and supported the UN-adopted military sanctions, but remained committed to its policy of engagement with the North and the significant economic trade involved.
In early 2007, after the Uri party had suffered significant defections in the National Assembly Roh resigned from the party in an attempt to avoid further losses. Prime Minister Han resigned in March, and in April a free-trade agreement was reached with the United States. In October the leaders of the North and South met in a second summit in Pyongyang. The Dec., 2007, presidential election was won easily by Grand National party candidate Lee Myung Bak, the conservative former mayor of Seoul. Lee pursued a harder line than his predecessor in relations with the North, calling for it to make progress on human rights and nuclear disarmament. As a result, the North escalated tensions with South Korea.
In Apr., 2008, Lee's party won a majority in the parliamentary elections. That month South Korea agreed to resume imports of U.S. beef, banned five years before over concerns about mad cow disease. The news provoked weeks of antigovernment protests, which forced Lee to reconstitute his government and to renegotiate the agreement. The killing of a South Korean tourist by the North Korean military at Mt. Kumgang in North Korea led South Korea to suspend tourist visits to the site and increased tensions with the North, and by the end of 2008 the North had reacted to Lee's tougher approach to relations by closing the rail line between the two nations.
Tensions with the North continued into 2009, aggravated by actions that included the North's temporary closure of access to South Korean factories in the North and subsequent demands for wage and rent increases for those factories, the launches of a number of rockets by the North including a long-range missile, and a second nuclear test. Lee's government also was confronted by the opposition, whose legislators occupied the parliament for two weeks at the turn of the year to prevent passage of government bills and ratification of the free-trade treaty with the United States, and the suicide of former president Roh (May, 2009) after the government began investigating him for corruption.
Relations with the North improved a little in Aug., 2009, but Lee emphasized that the North must adhere to the 2007 six-party agreement, and relations generally remained difficult. The Mar., 2010, sinking of a South Korean warship near a maritime border disputed by the North led to new tensions between the two nations. A multinational investigation determined that the ship was sunk by a North Korean torpedo, and South Korea cut trade links with the North and took other action; unofficial food shipments to the North did not resume until mid-2011. In Nov., 2010, the unprovoked shelling of Yeonpyeong island, Southern territory off the SW coast of North Korea and near the same maritime border, further escalated tensions, and the failure of the government to respond more forcefully than it did led to the resignation of the defense minister.
A new free-trade agreement was signed with the United States in Dec., 2010 and was finally ratified in Nov., 2011. In the Apr., 2012, parliamentary elections the ruling New Frontier party (the former Grand National party) narrowly won a majority of the seats; both major parties had been tainted by corruption scandals. The December elections for president resulted in a narrow victory for Park Geun Hye, the New Frontier party candidate and the daughter of former president Park Chung Hee. She became South Korea's first woman president.
In Jan., 2013, the South successfully launched a satellite; it was the third launch attempt since 2009. Park's government was hit by a series of scandals involving allegations concerning several prime minsterial selections in 2015, and her reputation was also damaged by the government's handling of a ferry sinking in 2014 in which more than 300 people died and a MERS outbreak in 2015 (see coronavirus). In early 2016, in response to North Korea's revived rocket launchings and nuclear tests led the South to suspend operations at the jointly run industrial complex at Kaesong, and in July, 2016, it and the United States agreed to deploy a missile defense system against a missile attack from the North.
In the Apr., 2016, parliamentary elections, New Frontier lost its majority, due in part to discontent with the president's conservative economic policies, and the opposition Democratic (Minjoo) party, a successor of the Uri party, narrowly won a plurality. President Park faced a political crisis beginning in October when it was revealed that a friend and spiritual adviser had also advised Park on government policies and solicited foundation donations that allegedly were then embezzled. Park was named by prosecutors as a criminal suspect and accomplice in the affair, and was impeached by the National Assembly in Dec., 2016. Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn became acting president; Park was removed from office after the constitutional court upheld her impeachment in Mar., 2017, and she was later convicted (2018) of corruption and abuse of power. In the May presidential election, Moon Jae-in, a former human rights lawyer and the candidate of the Democratic party who had lost to Park in 2012, won with 41% of the vote. Tensions between North and South eased in 2018 after direct talks resumed, and subsequently the two sides agreed to a number of measures to reduce tensions and improve relations, but in the first half of 2020 the North made several moves that worsened relations.
In 2019 increasing tensions between South Korea and Japan, sparked when South Korea's supreme court ordered Japanese companies to compensate Koreans who were forced to work for Japanese companies during World War II, resulted in a trade war that began in July when Japan placed export restrictions on chemicals important to South Korea's semiconductor. Both nations subsequently revoked each other's trusted trading nation status. In 2020, South Korea responded aggressively to cases of COVID-19 early in the year, and largely controlled the spread of the disease, though there was a significent outbreak at year's end. The Democratic party won a legislative majority in the Apr., 2020, elections.
See W. E. Henthorn, A History of Korea (1972); I. L. Bird, Korea and Her Neighbors (2 vol., 1986); K.-B. Lee, A New History of Korea (tr. 1988); J. Woo, Race to the Swift: State and Finance in Korean Industrialization (1991); M. Deuchler, The Confucian Transformation of Korea (1992); B. Cumings, Korea's Place in the Sun (1997); P. H. Lee et al., ed. Sources of Korean Tradition (2 vol., 1997–2000); D. Oberdorfer, The Two Koreas (1997); J. B. Duncan, The Origins of the Choson Dynasty (2000); B. K. Martin, Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty (2006); B. Demick, Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea (2009); R. Hassig and K. Oh, The Hidden People of North Korea: Everyday Life in the Hermit Kingdom (2009); B. R. Myers, The Cleanest Race (2010); V. Cha, The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future (2012); J. Kim, A History of Korea (2012).
(in Korean, Choson).
Korea is a country in East Asia, occupying the Korean Peninsula and the adjoining continental area and numerous islands. To the east is the Sea of Japan (in Korea it is called the Eastern Sea), to the west is the Yellow Sea, and to the south is the Korea Strait, which separates Korea from Japan. The length of its maritime borders is approximately 8,700 km. In the north the country borders on China and the Soviet Union. The length of its land borders is 1,300 km. Area, 220,800 sq km (including the 1,100 sq km of the demilitarized zone), with about 150,000 sq km on the peninsula and about 6,000 sq km on the islands. Population, 46.2 million (according to a 1971 UN estimate).
After Korea’s liberation from Japanese colonial domination in 1945 its territory was temporarily divided into two zones of military responsibility: the Soviet zone north of the 38° N lat. and the American zone south of that latitude. In each of these zones the Soviet and American commands accepted the surrender of the Japanese troops stationed on the Korean Peninsula. Despite international agreements and the wishes of the Korean people, a puppet regime was established in South Korea in August 1948. This is the so-called Republic of Korea, which strengthened the split of the country (see the sections “Korea Before 1948” and “South Korea”). In September 1948 the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (PDRK) was established (see the sections “Korea Before 1948” and “People’s Democratic Republic of Korea”). In accordance with the truce agreement concluded during the 1950–53 war between North Korea and South Korea, a demarcation line has been established that runs approximately along the parallel 38° N lat. (in the west the demarcation line dips to the south of this latitude, south of the city of Kaesong; in the east it passes to the north of it).
Population. Korea is a country of a single nationality; more than 99 percent of the population consists of Koreans. Religions include Buddhism and the syncretic Chongdogyo and Sichongyo sects; an insignificant number are Christians.
The official calendar is the Gregorian. In the south, along with the Gregorian calendar, a native calendar is used that calculates time from the birthdate of Tangun, the legendary founder of Korea (2333 B.C.).
Natural features. COASTLINES. The eastern coast is mostly mountainous and only slightly indented. The most suitable bays for navigation are located in its northern part. Natural harbors are also found on the southern shore. The western coast is primarily level and heavily indented; navigation here is hindered by the action of strong tidal currents. Along the southern and western shores there are numerous islands (Koje-do, Cheju-do, Chin-do).
TERRAIN. Most of Korea is mountainous. Located in the north are the North Korea Mountains, consisting of a series of ranges (Hamgyong, Pujol-lyong, and Nangnim) and broad plateaus (Kaema). The highest mountain reaches 2,744 m (the volcano Paitou Shan, or Paektu-san, on the Chinese border). In the eastern Korean Peninsula rise the East Korea Mountains, a system of parallel ranges extending from north to south (the Taebaek and Kyongsang ranges, among others). In the southern Korean Peninsula there extend the southwestern spurs of these mountains (the Sobaekand Noryong ranges), which south of 36° N lat. are named the South Korea Mountains. Lowlands and plains, which occupy about one-fourth of Korea’s territory, are located primarily along the western coast of the Korean Peninsula.
GEOLOGICAL STRUCTURE AND MINERALS. Korea is situated in the eastern part of the Sino-Korean Platform, composed primarily of Precambrian granites, gneisses, and metamorphic schists. The sedimentary mantle of this platform, represented by Proterozoic deposits, is found for the most part between 38° and 40° N lat. and in the southern part of the peninsula. It is touched by fold deformations, fractured, and in a number of places broken into by Mesozoic intrusions of igneous rocks, with which numerous ore deposits are associated (for the most part, in the PDRK).
There are about 100 iron-ore deposits. The largest of these are in the Musan basin in Hamgyong-pukto (North Hamgyong Province). There are also important deposits of polymetallic ores containing lead, zinc, copper, and other metals. The principal deposits of lead-zinc ores are located in the Komdok, Hwapyong, and Munchon regions. The chief deposits of copper ores are in the Kapsan, Sangdong, Huchang, Tanchon, lonsan, and Songhung regions; of tungsten ores, in the Sangdong and Mangnyong regions; of molybdenum ores, in the Kumgang-san region; of chromium, in the Yon-chon region; of cobalt, in the Hoeryong region; and of nickel, in the Pugo-ri region. Many regions in North Korea have deposits of gold and silver ores. The PDRK also has at its disposal reserves of nonore minerals, including graphite (Chagang-do), magnesite (in the Mangdok and Yong-yang regions), anthracite coal (in basins to the north and east of Pyongyang), and lignite, or brown coal (in the northeastern regions).
CLIMATE. The peninsula has an oceanic, monsoonal climate; in the north there is a transition from an oceanic to a continental climate. In most of Korea the climate is temperate; the extreme south has a subtropical climate. The winter continental monsoon brings dry, cold air from the north and northwest. The average temperature in January varies from –21°C in the north to 4°C in the south; in the northern mountains temperatures drop to as low as – 30° to – 40°C. The average temperature in the warmest month (August, or in some places July or June) ranges from 22°C in the north to 26°C in the south. The summer monsoon brings abundant precipitation (approximately two-thirds of the annual total). The average annual precipitation varies from 700 mm to 1,500 mm; it increases from north to south and from west to east. Snow cover exists only in the mountains of northern Korea.
RIVERS AND LAKES. Korea has a dense river network, but the rivers, especially those flowing into the Sea of Japan, are small and mountainous; they are fed by rain or by a combination of snow and rain, with their maximum water discharges during the summer. The most important rivers are the Amnok-kang (Yalu River) in the north, which borders on China, and the Taedong-gang and Han-gang in the west. The sole major river of the basin of the Sea of Japan is the Tumang-gang (Tumen Chiang), which forms the border with China and the USSR. Located in the southern Korean Peninsula is the important Naktong-gang, which flows into the Korea Strait. These rivers are used for irrigation, navigation (in their lower reaches), and electric power; reservoirs have been constructed on many of them.
SOILS AND FLORA. The soils are primarily brown forest soils and mountain brown forest soils. In the north mountainous podzolic and gray forest soils have developed; in the south red-brown forest soils occur. Regions with a moist subtropical climate at the southern extremity of the Korean Peninsula have red and yellow podzolic soils. Widespread in the lowlands and river valleys are fertile alluvial soils used extensively in field cultivation. Vegetation is characterized by great abundance and variety; there are representatives of the flora of Siberia, northeastern and eastern China, and Japan. About three-fourths of the surface is covered by forests and scrub. The lower zones of the mountains are covered with broad-leaved forests of oak, ash, and chestnut; higher, there are widespread coniferous and broad-leaved forests with an admixture of fir, pine, and Korean cedar, which in the northern mountains give way to coniferous forests (primarily fir and spruce). In the south, at elevations of up to 300 m, there are subtropical evergreen forests and scrub. The forests have been extensively cut down, especially in the plains, which are almost completely under cultivation.
FAUNA. Large mammals include tigers, leopards, Himalayan black and Ussuri brown bears, lynx, spotted deer, Manchurian red deer, and musk deer. Among the birds are pheasants, black ducks, and Chinese mandarin ducks. Of the fish inhabiting the rivers and coastal waters, some 75 species have commerical significance (pollack, mackerel, tunny, herring). Crabs, shrimp, sea urchins, shellfish, and trepang are also important commercially.
NATURAL REGIONS. The shoreline of northeastern Korea is a narrow, indented coastal plain with very few protected bays. The northern Korean mountains are medium-elevation mountains, covered with coniferous, mixed, and broad-leaved forests. On the northwestern coast there is a predominance of densely populated lowland plains. The western plains are hilly, cultivated plains, intersected by strips of low mountains, with a heavily indented coastline. The eastern Korean mountains, including the Kum-gang-san (Diamond Mountains), are covered with mixed forests, scrub, and meadows; this region is well known for tourism. The southern coast and islands form a mountainous area with heavily indented coasts, a subtropical climate, and evergreen forests and scrub.
REFERENCESZaichikov, V. T. Koreia [2nd ed.]. Moscow, 1951.
Pak Tae-hun and Chong Hack. Ocherk geografil Korei. Pyongyang, 1957.
Kolbin, L. M. Koreiskaia Narodno-Demokraticheskaia Respublika. Moscow, 1957.
Geologiia Korei. Moscow, 1964. (Translated from Korean.)
Sovremennaia Koreia. Moscow, 1971.
V. T. ZAICHIKOV (physical geography) and P. N. KROPOTKIN (geological structure and minerals)
Historical survey. THE ANCIENT PERIOD (BEFORE THE FIRST CENTURIES A.D.). The oldest traces of man on the Korean Peninsula have been dated by Korean scholars to the Late Paleolithic period. The widespread occurrence of artifacts of the kungsang Neolithic culture (late third to early second millennium B.C.) testifies to the occupation of the population in hunting and fishing and to the beginnings of agriculture, crafts, and livestock raising. It may be assumed that Korean tribes already had a clan-type commune. The initial appearance of bronze in Korea is dated by Korean archaeologists to the late second millenium B.C. With the development of productive forces brought about by the adoption of iron implements (from the mid-first millennium B.C.), primitive communal relations disintegrated, inequality of property came into being, and the state emerged.
In the opinion of some Korean historians (Yi Chi-rin and others) the first state formations arose among the ancient Korean tribes long before the Common Era. Choson, for example, constituted a powerful, slaveholding state as early as the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. Ancient Chinese sources tell of wars between Choson and the Chinese states of Yen, Ch’in, and Han. In 109 B.C., after a bloody war, troops of the Han Dynasty conquered Choson. During the struggle against the Chinese invaders several early feudal Korean states were formed at the beginning of the Common Era: Koguryo in the north, Paekche in the southwest, and Silla in the southeast.
EARLY FEUDALISM (FIRST-SEVENTH CENTURIES A.D.). The period of the Three Kingdoms was marked by advances in productive forces, such as the adoption of iron implements, the use of teams of cattle in harness, the development of irrigated farming, rice-growing, the introduction of sericulture and weaving, and the improvement of smelting and metalworking. Along with the consolidation of state ownership of land, there also arose various forms of large-scale landowning, for example, tax-farming districts, or sigup, distributed by the wang (ruler) to the warriors who served under him, together with the right of collecting the land tax (rent). Confucianism and Buddhism became widespread. (Buddhism became the official religion in Koguryo and Paekche during the fourth century and in Silla during the sixth century.)
As these states expanded, they struggled for dominance over the entire Korean Peninsula. The feudal rulers of China attempted to use this conflict for their own aggressive purposes. In 612 the Sui emperor Yang-ti organized a campaign to conquer Koguryo; he outfitted a huge army but suffered defeat. Beginning in 644 the T’ang Dynasty undertook a number of unsuccessful campaigns against Koguryo. In alliance with Silla, the T’ang invaders smashed the army of Paekche in 660 and that of Koguryo in 668. The T’ang Dynasty had hoped to consolidate for itself all the lands of Koguryo and Paekche, but it encountered a stubborn liberation struggle by the popular masses. The state of Silla supported this struggle and entered into conflict with its former ally’the T’ang dynasty’for dominance over the Korean Peninsula. As a result the T’ang invaders were expelled from Koguryo and Paekche in 676, and by the eighth century Silla had succeeded in uniting all the territory of the Korean Peninsula south of the river Taedong-gang.
DEVELOPED AND LATE FEUDALISM (EIGHTH TO EARLY 20TH CENTURY).Middle Ages (to the mid-17th century). In the united state of Silla the characteristic traits of Korean feudal structure took shape. The end of decade-long wars had a favorable effect on economic development. Achievements in irrigated farming and an upswing in crafts (whose principal form was the work of government-sponsored dependent artisans) made possible the growth of trade. Products of the artisans and small crafts industry found a market far beyond the borders of Silla. In the form of state ownership of land, the feudal lords ruled the entire peasantry. There were both peasant plots (chong-jon) and large-scale feudal holdings (officials’ and tax-farming fiefs). State peasants were enserfed, becoming nobi (serfs). With the increase of land grants to officials and clergy, and with the consolidation of other feudal holdings, the centralized state grew weaker. During the ninth century there ensued a period of feudal fragmentation.
In 935 the country was unified by Wang Kon, who had founded the state of Koryo in 918. (According to tradition, the modern European name for Korea is derived from Koryo.) Wang Kon succeeded in limiting the independence of the feudal lords. By the late tenth century (during the reigns of the rulers Kyongjong and Songjong) a centralized feudal state had finally taken shape, which ensured a successful struggle against the incursions of the Khitans (in 993, 1010–11, and 1018–19) and had a beneficial influence on economic growth. Sown areas were extended; the increase was encouraged by exemptions for tilling abandoned fields and by state loans in regions that had suffered from incursions. Crafts developed (paper, porcelain, fabrics, metal products, and other goods) as well as trade; both were controlled by the feudal state. The broad scope of domestic trade is testified to by the large marketplaces in the capital of Koryo (Kaegyong, now Kaesong) and in the provincial centers. Metal coins were introduced. Koryo carried on a brisk trade with Sung China, the northern tribes, and Japan. Even Arab merchants traveled to Koryo.
From the first half of the 12th century the state of Koryo grew noticeably weaker. Armed feudal civil strife (1126, 1135, 1170, 1196) and the continuing enserfment of state peasants provoked a number of peasant uprisings (from 1176 to 1178 in the Kongju region under the leadership of Mangi; in the south and the northwest under the leadership of Kim Tang). The invasion by Mongol troops in 1231 complicated the situation. For several decades the popular masses waged a stubborn struggle against the Mongol invaders, and they did not cease even after the rulers of Koryo surrendered in 1259 and acknowledged the authority of the Mongol Khan. In the mid-14th century Koryo ceased its vassal relationship with the Yuan Empire established by the Mongols. Between 1359 and 1362 Koryo repulsed the incursions of Chinese detachments.
In 1392 Yi Song-gye, one of Koryo’s military leaders, became king and founded the Yi dynasty (which reigned from 1392 to 1910). The Koryo state took the name of Choson in memory of the ancient state of Choson, and the capital was transferred from Kaegyong to Hansong (which in the late 19th century was renamed Seoul). Under the new dynasty, especially during the reign of the wang Sejong (who ruled from 1419 to 1450), a considerable economic and cultural upswing took place. Sown areas were expanded by means of new land plots, the system of planting rice seedlings was introduced (which increased the yield), and a new crop—cotton (imported from China in the late 14th century)—gained widespread use.
The consolidation of the feudal structure under the Yi dynasty led to the further intensification of feudal exploitation. The distribution of official and “reward” lands to the new aristocracy expedited the growth of large-scale private land ownership, and an increasing number of state peasants fell into serf dependence on individual feudal lords. There were peasant uprisings, such as the one in 1467 under the leadership of Yi Si-ae in the province of Hamgir-do (now Hamgyong-do). Conflicts within the ruling class itself also grew more acute.
The position of the state grew worse during the invasions of the Japanese in the late 16th century and of the Manchus in the first half of the 17th century. From 1592 to 1598 the Korean people waged a liberation war and drove out the Japanese aggressors in the Imdin War. An outstanding role in this war was played by the Korean admiral Yi Sun-sin, who used new naval tactics and “turtle ships” (kobuksong). However, the Japanese invaders inflicted enormous losses on the Korean people. As a result of the invasions by the Manchus in 1627 and 1636, which led to new devastation, the Korean king became a vassal of the Manchu dynasty (1637), which soon established control over China. The Korean king was bound by degrading conditions of vassalage’to pay tribute to the Manchus and to furnish hostages. It was not until the second half of the 17th century that Korea recovered from these incursions, during which Hansong and other major cities had been plundered. By this time relations between the Manchu dynasty and the Korean king had been normalized’the annual tribute had come to assume a symbolic character.
THE CRISIS OF FEUDAL RELATIONS AND THE BEGINNING OF COLONIAL ENSLAVEMENT BY CAPITALIST STATES; THE STRUGGLE OF THE KOREAN PEOPLE AGAINST FOREIGN OPPRESSORS (FROM THE MID-17TH CENTURY TO 1910). During the 17th and 18th centuries noticeable shifts were observed in the socioeconomic development of Korea. New crops were introduced (tobacco, pepper, sweet potatoes, tomatoes), as well as new methods of agriculture. The cultivation of ginseng was begun; such industrial crops as cotton became widespread; and green vegetables were grown. The urban population increased; in Han-song, for example, from 1657 through 1807 the number of inhabitants increased by more than 150 percent. The role played by free crafts increased in the cities and villages. Numerous local markets and major trade centers of national importance sprang up’Pyongyang, Hansong, Kaesong, and Taegu. Commercial capital began to penetrate into production (privately owned gold, silver, and copper mines). The development of commodity-money relations led to an intensification of feudal exploitation: the state established new taxes and expanded moneylending.
In a number of regions peasant uprisings flared up, as in the province of Cholla-do. The danger of a peasant war compelled the ruling class to seek ways of diminishing internecine strife and, at the same time, to mitigate the feudal yoke through certain reforms, including a partial regulation of the tax system and personal liberation of the nobi. The increasingly acute contradictions of feudal society gave rise within the milieu of the progressive yangbans (the aristocratic class) to an ideological current of social thought opposed to Confucian scholasticism and known as the Movement for Practical Learning, or Sirhak. The movement reflected the growing democratic tendencies in Korean society; its most important representatives were Yu Hyong-won, Yi Ik, Pak Chi-won, Pak Che-ga, Hong Tae-yong, and Chong Yak-yong.
Signs of the disintegration of feudal relations appeared around the end of the 18th century, manifested in the undermining of the subsistence economy and in the incipient decay of the estate structure. In the opinion of several scholars in the PDRK capitalist production was emerging (primarily in the mining industry). Antigovernment uprisings became more frequent. Isolated disturbances in the early 19th century grew into a major peasant uprising in the province of Pyongan-do in 1811–12. After its suppression antifeudal outbreaks did not cease. In 1833 a rebellion of city dwellers in the capital flared up because of high grain prices. In the early 1860’s the Tonghak religious sect was established; it expressed the antifeudal sentiments of the popular masses. In 1862 there were more than 20 peasant uprisings.
The crisis of the feudal order was deepened by the efforts of the foreign capitalist powers to open Korea as a market. Beginning in the 1830’s foreign ships sailed to Korea’s coasts on several occasions. In 1863 the government of Yi Ha-ung came to power. He was known as the taewongun (prince regent) and was the father of the underage king Kojong. The government strove to preserve the feudal order by isolating the country and by reforms designed to strengthen the royal power. Korea successfully repulsed attacks by warships of France (1866) and the USA (1871), which had attempted the opening by force of Korean ports. In 1875, Japanese warships were sent to Korea. By threatening war, Japan demanded the conclusion of a commercial treaty. Japan’s success was facilitated by the overthrow of the taewongun in 1874, when Kojong came of age. The Min family, relatives of Kojong’s wife, advocated the establishment of contacts with Japan. This support allowed the Japanese government to bind Korea earlier than other powers by means of the unjust Kanghwa Treaty of 1876. Subsequently Korea concluded analogous treaties with the USA (1882), Great Britain and Germany (1883), and, later, Russia, France, and Austria-Hungary. By granting foreigners the right to trade and settle without hindrance, along with other privileges, these treaties created the conditons for the country’s economic and political enslavement. In Korea antifeudal outbreaks increased; they were combined with the struggle by the popular masses against the penetration of the foreign powers into Korea. On July 23, 1882, a major anti-Japanese and antigovernment uprising by soldiers and city dwellers flared up in Seoul. The insurgents attacked the homes of officials and smashed the Japanese diplomatic mission. The king’s family and high officials fled from Seoul. The taewongun, taking advantage of the situation, again seized power. Kojong and his supporters appealed for aid to China, which sent 3,000 soldiers to Korea. The uprising was crushed, Chinese troops were concentrated in Seoul, the taewongun was transported to China, and the Min family again came to power. Japan bound Korea by a new treaty (the Treaty of Inchon, August 1882).
Under the guise of gaining compensation for the losses suffered during the uprising, China, to consolidate its own position, signed with Korea in September 1882 the Rules Governing Trade. The agreement provoked dissatisfaction among the Koreans, especially the young yangbans who advocated the country’s independent development and modernization according to the capitalist model. Despite the difficult conditions created by China’s military intervention into Korean domestic affairs, a group of yangbans led by Kim Ok-kyun, which opposed the archaic feudal institutions and advocated progressive reforms, prepared for a political revolution. In early December 1884 the conspirators seized the palace, executed prominent ministers of the ruling clique, and formed their own government, which, however, lasted only two days. Chinese troops who had remained in Korea after the events of 1882 smashed the reformers. Kim Ok-kyun and other rebels fled from the country. In April 1885, Japan and China signed the Tientsin Treaty (or Li-Ito Convention), which formally granted both countries equal rights in their claims to Korea; in fact it merely intensified their rivalry. According to the Tientsin Treaty, Chinese and Japanese troops were withdrawn from Korea, but the possiblity was allowed for their further armed intervention in Korean affairs.
The economic and political development of Korea acquired traits typical of semicolonial countries. Foreign merchants (primarily Japanese) flooded the market with their goods, particularly cotton fabrics; during this period, however, they were still unable to displace articles of domestic production. There was intensive export of farm produce (for example, rice and beans) and of gold and silver. Feudal exploitation also intensified, as did bribery of officials. The intrusion of foreigners, feudal exploitation, and abuses of power provoked a mighty peasant uprising, the Peasant Uprising of 1893–94, or Tonghak Revolt. It was used as a pretext by feudalist China to send troops into Korea; the introduction of Chinese troops served as an excuse for an invasion of Korea by Japanese troops and the beginning of the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–95. After suffering defeat, China abandoned its suzerainty over Korea and recognized its independence (in accordance with the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki). After this victory Japanese influence in Korea became stronger. In the late 19th and early 20th century Russo-Japanese conflicts in Korea became acute. In an agreement reached in 1896 between Russia and Japan, Korea’s independence was recognized, but privileges for both Russia and Japan in Korea were stipulated.
During the second half of the 1890’s the USA, Japan, Great Britain, France, Germany, and Russia compelled Korea to conclude a number of agreements granting them various concessions (gold mines, construction of railroads, lumbering, iron-ore extraction and other mining operations, fishing, shipping). Japanese imperialists owned the banks as well as the first factories (rice-milling and other enterprises). In Korea’s foreign trade in 1904, Japanese capital accounted for 70.9 percent of imports and 82.2 percent of exports.
Capitalism in Korea developed under the dominance of foreign capital. The competition of foreign goods disrupted the local traditional production of fabrics and further ruined peasants and craftsmen. Nevertheless, with the intensive growth of domestic trade (especially after the abolition of the nobi institution in 1894, which made possible more extensive use of hired labor) many small Korean industrial enterprises of the manufacturing type came into being: the production of everyday articles such as metal products and dishes and the processing of foodstuffs. However, Korean capital was very insignificantly represented in factory industries, and its percentage of the total greatly lagged behind that of Japanese capital. In 1911, out of 164 joint-stock companies, Korean national capital owned only 29 (17.6 percent).
During the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05, Japanese imperialists occupied Korea, and by a series of “agreements” with the Korean government (dated Feb. 24 and Aug. 24, 1904) they established control over its finances and foreign and domestic affairs. The defeat of tsarism and the deals made by the Japanese imperialists with British and American imperialists (the 1905 Anglo-Japanese Alliance; the July 27, 1905, agreement between Japan and the USA) made it possible for the Japanese militarists to seize de facto control of Korea. In accordance with a treaty establishing a protectorate (dated Nov. 17, 1905), Korea lost the right to maintain relations with foreign states and became subordinate to the authority of the Japanese resident-general.
In the late 19th century the national liberation movement began to acquire a primarily anti-Japanese character. The armed struggle of peasant partisan detachments, led by native yangbans, was inspired, as a rule, by monarchist ideas. Following a historical precedent, the detachments were named the Righteous Army (they had appeared in Korea as far back as the 16th century, during the Japanese invasion). In 1900 the Hwalbindang movement (Party for the Protection of Poor People) originated in the central regions. A number of imperialist states, especially the USA, attempted to subordinate to their own influence the cultural-educational movement, which was bourgeois-nationalist in character (as was shown, for example, by the activity of the Tongnip Hyophoe, or the Independence Club, 1896–98). A new upsurge of the national liberation movement was linked with the Russo-Japanese War and the influence of the Revolution of 1905–07 in Russia. Characteristic of this stage was the dissemination of bourgeois-democratic ideas on national revival, which were propagandized through a network of educational societies, schools, and numerous printed publications. The most influential political, cultural, and educational organizations were the Taehan Chaganghoe (Society for the Strengthening of the Korean State), Taehan Hyophoe (Korean Society), Sou Hakhoe (Educational Society of Western Friends), and Sobuk Hakhoe (Northwestern Educational Society). The colonialists attacked the educational movement. Schools in which Korean language and history were being taught were closed, patriotic societies were disbanded, and anti-Japanese publications were prohibited. A universal armed struggle against the protectorate regime by peasants, workers, and student youth developed under the leadership of the patriotic part of the aristocracy. In the partisan movement of the northern provinces leaders came to the fore who were representatives of the lower classes, such as Hong Pom-do, who subsequently became a Korean national hero, and Cha To-song. The partisan ranks were filled by insurgent soldiers, especially after the authorities dissolved the Korean Army in August 1907. Efforts were made to unite the partisan detachments for a campaign against the capital and to create a single command. Only after defeating the main partisan forces and driving them out of the country did the Japanese imperialists carry out the annexation of Korea in August 1910.
COLONIAL DOMINATION BY JAPANESE IMPERIALISM (1910-45).Establishment of the Japanese colonial regime (1910–17). The annexation of Korea and its inclusion in the Japanese empire led to Korea’s transformation into a market for Japanese goods and into Japan’s most important source of raw materials. The colonial authorities expropriated a considerable portion of the lands owned by peasants and most state lands. Japanese land companies were established on the seized lands. In 1910 their land ownership amounted to 87,000 chongbo (1 chongbo = 0.99 hectare), and in 1916 it exceeded 200,000 chongbo. The Japanese colonialists did not touch the foundations of feudal relations. Some 90,000 landed estates (3.4 percent of all farms) in 1919 possessed 50.4 percent of all the tilled land. More than 76 percent of the peasants were renters with either small amounts of land or no land at all. The overwhelming mass of the peasantry was subjected to cruel feudal exploitation (their rent payments averaged 50 to 70 percent of the harvest), and they fell into indebtedness to Japanese or native moneylenders, banks, and land companies. The formation of a working class continued. Korea’s richness in mineral resources (and the limited amounts in Japan itself) compelled the colonialists to develop mining production in Korea, along with transport construction. They also had to create various auxiliary enterprises to turn out semimanufactured goods for the mother country. In 1913, Japanese capitalists owned 383 major enterprises, and Korean national capital owned 139 minor ones. In 1918 the total number of workers reached 126,000, of whom 47,000 were employed in processing industries; the remainder worked in transportation, mining, and other branches. This proletariat was subjected to colonial exploitation. The national bourgeoisie also experienced the colonial yoke. A law concerning companies passed by the Japanese colonial authorities in December 1910 provided for the strict regulation of their activity and was directed against national capital; the Japanese administration could at any time close down a Korean enterprise. The Japanese imperialists established in Korea a military-police system of violence and oppression.
Growth of the national liberation struggle (1918–45). The victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia exerted a great revolutionizing influence on Korea. There was a broadening of the democratic movement, combining national-liberation and class demands. Workers struck (50 strikes in 1918 alone). There were rent conflicts, especially in those regions where the colonial companies were operating, and demonstrations by students; Chongdogyo and other religious organizations became more active. In March and April 1919 there was a nation-wide uprising involving more than 2 million persons, in which workers, peasants, and the national bourgeoisie took part (it is known as the March 1919 Uprising). The popular movement was led by the national bourgeoisie, since the working class was still weak and small in number and did not have its own organizations. The bourgeois nationalist leadership strove to direct the movement along a peaceful course, but when, despite its intentions, the popular masses switched to insurgent forms of struggle, it dissociated itself from the revolutionary people. The defeat of the 1919 uprising brought the problem of the proletarian leadership of the national liberation movement to the fore.
Frightened by the events of 1919, the Japanese imperialists in August of that same year announced a sweeping program of reforms, the beginning of the so-called era of cultural rule and the introduction of a “system of self-government.” However, these reforms were limited to the creation of limited advisory bodies under the jurisdiction of Japanese administrative boards; they were filled with pro-Japanese elements. The only area in which the colonial authorities made certain concessions to the national bourgeoisie was in entrepreneurial activity. In 1920 the law on companies was abolished, which led to the expansion of commercial and industrial activity by the national bourgeoisie. Between 1919 and 1928 Korean joint-stock capital doubled (from 23 million to 48 million yen). At the same time Japanese capital had recourse to the creation of “mixed” Japanese-Korean joint-stock associations, within which the key positions belonged to the Japanese. Between 1919 and 1928 the capital of such associations grew from 17.8 million to 125 million yen.
The increase in industrial production brought about a growth of the working class. In 1920 the first nationwide workers— organization was formed’the Korean Workers’ Cooperative (which had more than 17,000 members in 1921). In the early 1920’s trade unions and other mass public organizations emerged. In industrial centers circles were established for the study of Marxism-Leninism; for the most part, members of these groups belonged to the intelligentsia. On Apr. 17, 1925, the Communist Party of Korea was established on the basis of existing communist groups within the country; it organized a number of anti-imperialist demonstrations that took on a mass character (for example, in the June 1926 demonstration there were more than 200,000 participants). From 1925 through 1928 there were some 349 strikes, which in a number of instances ended in victory for the workers. At the same time the peasant movement was growing. Its most widespread form was rent strikes (2,063 were recorded from 1926 to 1928); the conflicts often boiled over into open uprisings. Under the influence of the workers’ and peasants’ movements student youth became active in the struggle (55 outbreaks in 1926, 83 in 1928), as did the progressive intelligentsia.
During the upswing of the anti-imperialist struggle the Communist Party in 1927 founded a mass patriotic organization, the Singanhoe, or New Korea Society, for combating the colonialists (it remained in existence until 1931). However, sectarian and right-wing opportunistic errors prevented the party from extending its influence among the masses. The Japanese secret police used refined methods for combating the Communists. Repression, as well as continual factional strife within the party, led in 1928 to the dissolution of the Communist Party as an organized force. After its dissolution underground communist groups, which had been established in most industrial regions, continued to operate.
The worldwide economic crisis of 1929–33 had a great impact on Korea. Japanese imperialism strove to extricate itself from the crisis by intensifying the exploitation of the working people and broadening the colonial plunder of Korea and by reckless adventures in foreign policy. After attacking Manchuria on Sept. 18, 1931, the Japanese imperialists undertook military and industrial construction in Korea to convert it into their most important logistical base of operations on the mainland. There was a sharp increase in mining production and metallurgical, power-engineering, chemical, and other branches of industry that served the Japanese military machine. Between 1931 and 1936 more than 1,300 industrial enterprises were put into operation (including a chemical combine in Hungnam); in 1941 construction was completed on the Supung Hydroelectric Power Plant (located on the Amnok-kang [Yalu River] in the province of Pyongnan-pukto), which became the electric power base for the war industry in Korea. Shortly before and during World War II, Korea produced more than 1 million tons of cast iron, 800,000 tons of steel, 3 million tons of iron ore, 8 million tons of coal, more than 15 billion kilowatt-hours of electric power, and a considerable amount of chemical materials. The total number of workers increased from 1 million in 1929 to 2 million by the end of the war.
There was an increase in the impoverishment and ruination of the peasant masses. Between 1929 and 1934 the number of rented farms increased by 280,000. The status of the petite and middle bourgeoisie worsened. During the crisis and in the ensuing period the anti-Japanese struggle was intensified. Between 1930 and 1932 there were 517 workers’ strikes, with 60,000 participants, and 237 peasant uprisings, with more than 22,000 participants. The largest class outbreaks by the working people, such as the Wonsan strike of 1929, the miners’ uprising in Sinhung District in 1930, and the armed peasant outbreak in the Tanchon District in 1930, were marked by stubborn persistence and good organization and encountered a warm response and support from the working people of the USSR, China, Japan, France, and other countries. Anti-Japanese demonstrations by the student youth took place throughout Korea as a sign of solidarity with the anti-Japanese outbreak of students in the city of Kwangju (in the province of Cholla-namdo) in 1929. The students were demanding a democratization of educational institutions and guarantees of political liberties, but they were harshly suppressed by the Japanese authorities.
Based on the growing workers’ and peasants’ movement, the anti-Japanese national liberation forces during this period began an armed struggle. In Manchuria (Northeast China), where more than 1 million Koreans were living, and in northern Korea a partisan movement developed; it was directed by the Communists, led by Kim Il-sung. In 1932 he organized a partisan detachment that subsequently grew into the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army and that fought against the Japanese colonialists. In the regions liberated from the Japanese occupation forces the Communists directed the establishment of party, Komsomol, and mass anti-Japanese organizations. In cooperation with the Chinese people’s revolutionary forces the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army carried out a series of operations against the Japanese invaders in northeastern China.
In February 1936 a conference of the military and political leaders of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army was held in the city of Liaoingkou. Based on the tactic of creating a broad anti-imperialist front, as put forth at the Seventh Congress of the Comintern, a course was adopted that provided for the unification of all patriotic forces into a united anti-Japanese national front. With this goal in mind the Choguk Kwangbokhoe (Society for the Revival of the Fatherland; also known as the League for the Revival of the Motherland) was founded. Its program set itself the goals of eliminating Japanese rule, establishing an independent democratic Korean state, forming a people’s government, confiscating all enterprises, banks, railroads, and land belonging to Japanese imperialists and their Korean accomplices, and carrying out political, socioeconomic, and cultural transformations. The Society for the Revival of the Fatherland used both legal and illegal forms of struggle, and it conducted wide-scale agitational and propaganda activity. Preparation was made for the re-establishment of the Korean Communist Party. After the society’s formation military operations were conducted in Korea, including an attack on the Japanese garrison in the small town of Pochongbo in June 1937. The Japanese authorities sent punitive expeditions against the popular armed forces.
The anti-Japanese armed struggle of the Korean people was an important contribution to the general struggle of freedom-loving peoples against the aggression of Japanese imperialism. The victories of the USSR in the fight against German fascism during World War II inspired the Korean people in their further struggle against the colonialists. In Korea various forms of the Resistance Movement developed.
LIBERATION OF KOREA; ESTABLISHMENT OF AN ANTIPOPULAR REGIME IN SOUTH KOREA; FORMATION OF THE PDRK (1945–48). In August 1945 the Soviet Armed Forces smashed the crack troops of Japanese militarism’the Kwangtung Army; this action played a decisive role in Japan’s defeat in World War II and put an end to Japanese imperialist rule in Korea. The revolutionary armed forces of the Korean people took part in the battles of the Soviet army and navy for the liberation of Korea. The elimination of the Japanese colonial regime inflicted a blow against the entire front of domestic reactionary forces, including those Korean traitors who had long collaborated with the colonial authorities. The presence of the Soviet Army in North Korea assisted the democratic forces of Korea, led by the working class, in their struggle against the forces of reaction.
Acting as the vanguard in the Korean people’s revolutionary struggle was the Communist Party of Korea, which was reestablished after the country’s liberation in August 1945. Under its guidance mass democratic organizations were founded. Their program demands included the establishment of a democratic republic; the confiscation of all the lands belonging to the Japanese state, companies, and individual legal persons, as well as lands belonging to Korean landowners and their transfer to the peasants; the nationalization of factories and plants belonging to the Japanese and to domestic traitors; and the implementation of other democratic transformations. In August and September 1945, on the initiative of the popular masses, there began the process of creating the organs of people’s power’people’s political committees, preparatory committees for the organization of state administration, and other bodies. The people’s democratic revolution that developed set as its goal the elimination of the vestiges of the colonial regime, the abolition of all feudal vestiges, and the creation of conditions for Korea’s development along the socialist path.
In September 1945, US troops landed in South Korea. To enforce the Allied agreements signed in Yalta (February 1945) and Potsdam (July-August 1945) and the resolutions of the Moscow Conference of the Foreign Ministers of the USSR, the USA, and Great Britain (December 1945), the US Army had the duty of accepting the surrender of the Japanese troops in South Korea and assisting the democratic forces to prepare and establish an independent, democratic state, as the Soviet Army had in North Korea. As subsequent events showed, the US Army strove to thwart the incipient popular democratic revolution in South Korea.
The revolution developed successfully only in North Korea, where the new organs of power functioned normally, on the basis of the free manifestation of the people’s will. They represented the bloc of the democratic forces, led by the working class. An important milestone in the consolidation of the guiding role of the working class was the formation on Oct. 10, 1945, of the North Korean Organizational Bureau of the Communist Party of Korea. October 10 stands out as the date when the Labor Party of Korea was formed. Under the leadership of Communists mass democratic organizations were established, including the Democratic Youth Union, trade unions, the Peasants of Korea Union, and the Democratic Women’s Union of North Korea. In February 1946 at a congress of representatives of the local people’s committees the Provisional People’s Committee of North Korea was established’the supreme body of people’s power, founded on the alliance of the working class with the peasantry and other patriotic strata of the population and headed by the working class.
On March 23 the political program put forth by the Communist Party in February 1946 (containing 20 points) was promulgated. In accordance with it a number of radical democratic transformations were soon carried out in North Korea: land reform (March 1946) that completely abolished property ownership by landlords as well as the rent system (more than 1 million chongbo of estate owners’ land was confiscated and then distributed among 720,000 peasant households who owned little or no land); the nationalization of industry (August 1946), as a result of which 80 percent of all the means of production was transferred to state ownership; and progressive social legislation’a labor law (June 1946) and a law providing equal rights for women and men (July 1946). As a result of these revolutionary transformations the vestiges of colonialism and feudalism were eliminated, and North Korea entered upon the path of building socialism. The national economy was restored and developed.
During these revolutionary transformations the alliance between the working class and the peasantry was strengthened. This alliance became the basis of the Democratic National United Front, which was organized under the leadership of the Communist Party of Korea in July 1946 on the basis of a bloc of all the democratic parties and public organizations of North Korea. In August 1946, as a result of the unification of the Communist Party of Korea with the New People’s Party (founded in February 1946), the North Korean Workers Party was formed. In February 1948 the Korean People’s Army was established.
Democratic forces consistently struggled for the creation of a united, democratic Korea. In this struggle they relied on the comprehensive aid and support of the USSR, which defended the fundamental interests of the Korean people. However, the ruling circles of the USA, having violated the resolution of the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers, embarked upon a path of dividing Korea, establishing a separate, anti-popular regime in South Korea. In May 1948, despite the aspirations of the Korean people for nationhood, elections were staged in South Korea. In August the so-called Republic of Korea was established, led by reactionary proimperialist elements, headed by Syngman Rhee (Yi Sung-man).
Under such conditions the democratic forces adopted a course of establishing a revolutionary base in North Korea that would become a powerful bulwark for all the revolutionary forces in the country (resolutions of the Second Congress of the Workers Party of North Korea in March 1948). In August 1948 universal elections to the Supreme People’s Assembly were organized. (In North Korea they were direct, while in South Korea, where the elections were held illegally, they were indirect.) The Supreme People’s Assembly worked out a constitution for a people’s democratic state, proclaimed the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (Sept. 9, 1948), and formed a government headed by Kim Il-sung. The government of the PDRK set forth as its most important task the peaceful unification of the country on democratic principles.
REFERENCESLenin, V. I. “Probuzhdenie Azii.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 23. Page 146.
Lenin, V. I. “Pervonachal’nyi nabrosok tezisov po natsional’nomu i kolonial’nomu voprosam.” Ibid., vol. 41.
Lenin, V. I. “Doklad o mezhdunarodnom polozhenii i osnonykh zadachakh Kommunisticheskogo Internationala 19 iulia [II Kongress Kommunisticheskogo Interaatsionala 19 iulia—7 avgusta 1920 g.].” Ibid.
Lenin, V. I. “Doklad komissii po natsional’nomu i kolonial’nomu voprosam 26 iulia [II Kongress Kommunisticheskogo Internatsionala 19 iulia—7 avgusta 1920 g.].” Ibid.
Lenin, V. I. “Tetradi po imperializmu.” Ibid., vol. 28. Pages 659, 667.
Kim Il-sung. Izbr. proizvedeniia, vols. 1–5. Pyongyang, 1970–72.
Kim Pu-sik. Samguk sagi (Historical Records of the Three Kingdoms), vols. 1–2. Pyongyang, 1958–59. (Russian translation: Istoricheskie zapisi trekh gosudarstv, vol. 1. Moscow, 1959.)
Opisanie Korei, vols. 1–3. St. Petersburg, 1900.
Opisanie Korei, condensed ed. Moscow, 1960.
Koreiskaia Narodno-Demokraticheskaia Respublika. Moscow, 1954.
Koreia: Istoriia i ekonomika. Moscow, 1958.
Istoriia Korei, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1973.
Podjio, M. A. Ocherki Korei. St. Petersburg, 1892.
Choson tongsa (History of Korea), vols. 1–2. Pyongyang, 1956–58. (Russian translation: Istoriia Korei, vol. 1. Moscow, 1960.)
Istoriia stran Azii i Afriki v srednie veka. Moscow, 1968. Pages 37–45, 180–95, 383–91.
Istoriia stran zarubezhnoi Azii v srednie veka. Moscow, 1970.
Vanin, Iu. V. Feodal’naia Korea v XIII-XIV vv. Moscow, 1962.
Tiagai, G. D. Ocherk istorii Korei vo vtoroi pol XIX v. Moscow, 1960.
Tiagai, G. D. Krest’ianskoe vosstanie v Koree 1893–1895. Moscow, 1953.
Shabshina, F. I. Ocherki noveishei istorii Korei (1918–1945). Moscow, 1959.
Shabshina, F. I. Narodnoe vosstanie 1919 g v Koree, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1958.
Mazurov, V. M. Antiiaponskaia vooruzhennaia bor’ba koreiskogo naroda (1931–1940). Moscow, 1958.
Shipaev, V. I. Kolonial’noe zakabalenie Korei iaponskim imperializmom (1895–1917). Moscow, 1964.
Shipaev, V. I. Koreiskaia burzhuaziia v natsional’no-osvoboditel’nom dvi zhenii. Moscow, 1966.
Kim, G. F., and G. D. Tiagai. Sovetskaia literaturapo istorii i ekonomike Korei. Moscow, 1960.
Sovremmenaia Koreia:Spravochnoe izdanie. Moscow, 1971. Pages 56–139.
McKenzie, F. A. Korea’s Fight for Freedom. London-New York, 1921.
Hulbert, H. B. History of Korea, vols. 1–2. New York, 1962.
Since the mid-15th century applied sciences have been developing in Korea. In a study entitled Nongsa chiksol (Book of Agriculture) Korean scholars summarized the agronomic knowledge of their times. The rain gauge was used for meteorological observations as early as 1441. Yang Song-ji and other scholars compiled a historical and geographical description of Koryo and a map of Korea in 1451.
Major achievements occurred in medical science. In 1432 the compilation was completed of a Korean pharmocopoeia entitled Hyangyak chipsongbang; in 1445 the medical encyclopedia Ui-bang Yuchui was published. From the 15th to the 17th century there appeared significant works on natural science, among which were the encyclopedia Tongguk yoji sungnam (A Survey of the Noteworthy Sites of the Eastern State) in 55 volumes (1487) and the medical encyclopedia Tonguipogam (Treasury of Oriental Medicine) in 25 books, compiled by Ho Chun (1610).
During the 15th and 16th centuries great achievements were attained in military engineering. In 1450 the major study Tonguk pyongam (Military History of the Eastern State) was published. Well-known for his improvements in the design of warships and artillery was Admiral Yi Sun-sin (16th century). In accordance with his design a warship was built, armed with regular and fire-throwing cannons, gigantic bows, and ramming apparatus.
Isolation in foreign policy from the 17th to the mid-19th century retarded the economic and cultural growth of Korea. However, even during this period research in natural science and technology continued. The results were expressed in the encyclopedia Tongguk Munhon pigo (100 books, 1770) and in the agricultural encyclopedia Sinpyon nongso (1798). A certain revival of natural science began in the mid-19th century. At this time the works of Nam Pyong-gil and Nam Pyong-chol in mathematics and astronomy became famous. In 1861 the works of Hwang Hae-am on therapy were published. Research in geography was conducted by Kim Chong-ho, who compiled a detailed map of Korea in 1861. Of great importance for the development of natural science in the country were the works of the scholars who supported the Sirhak movement’Hong Tae-yong and Yi Su-gwang. Their works were devoted to many subjects and often were encyclopedic in nature.
The annexation of Korea by Japanese imperialists retarded the development of the natural sciences. After the Japanese punitive suppression of the March 1919 Uprising, many scholars were compelled to emigrate.
After the liberation of Korea in 1945 favorable conditions were created in North Korea for the development of science. In 1946 the Kim Il-sung University was established in Pyongyang. In 1947 the first scientific institutions were established.
PHILOSOPHY. In ancient Korea the systems of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism developed uniquely. Prominent representatives of Mahayana Buddhism were Wonhyo (seventh century) and Uichon (llth century). Confucian theoreticians included Sol Chong in the seventh century and Choe Chi-won, Choe Chung, and Kim Pu-sik between the ninth and 12th centuries. Assigning the primary role in the moral education of individual subjects to Buddhism, they considered Confucianism the basis of state administration. In the late 13th and 14th centuries the neo-Confucian doctrine of the Chinese philospher Chu Hsi became widespread (An Hyang, Yi Saek, Chong Mong-ju, and Chong To-jon). Having become the state ideology in the late 14th century, neo-Confucianism subsequently developed various ideological currents and philosophical schools (Kim Chong-jik, Cho Kwang-jo, and other philosophers of the 15th and 16th centuries). During the 16th and 17th centuries the most important idealist philosophical school of Korea was that of Chu Hsi’s followers, the Songnihak or Yihak (the yi school, or the school of natural law and the nature of things): Yi Hwang, Yi I, and Kim In-hu.
Representing the materialist tradition were Kim Si-sup and So Kyong-dok. During the 17th century the Korean followers of the theories of the Chinese philosopher Wang Yang-ming (the Yangmyonghakpa) opposed neo-Confucianism. From this group came Im Song-ju (18th century), who defended the primacy of the material principle, or ki; his teachings were continued by Choe Hang-gi (19th century). From the 17th through the 19th century a considerable contribution to the development of the materialistic tradition in Korean social thought was made by the philosophical and sociological ideas of members of the Sirhak movement (Yi Su-gwang, Pak Chi-won). Efforts at consolidating neo-Confucianism from the late 18th to mid-19th century (Ki Chong-jin) were carried out under the principle of “protecting the truth and rooting out false doctrines”; such doctrines included Catholicism, which was brought to Korea in the late 18th century, Yangmyonghakpa, Sirhak, and the teachings of the Tonghak sect. The religious teachings of the Tonghak sect, which had been founded in the early 1860’s by Choe Che-u, contained pantheistic elements and ideals of the universal equality of mankind.
With the opening up of Korea to foreign states the social and political theories of the West began to penetrate into Korea. In the late 19th and early 20th century a bourgeois cultural and educational movement developed that was of a patriotic tendency (Chu Si-gyong). After the March 1919 Uprising the ideas of Marxism-Leninism became widespread. With the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule in 1945 the ideas of Marxism-Leninism became predominant in North Korea.
From the late 16th to the early 17th century Korean historiography was enriched by educational works by writers of the progressive Sirhak movement (Yi Su-gwang, Han Paek-kyom, Yu Hyong-won, Yi Ik, An Chong-bok, Pak Chi-won, and Chong Yak-yong), who had a critical attitude toward the old Confucianist tradition and its explanation of history. One of the characteristics of these scholars was an interest in sociopolitical problems. They developed a number of Utopian theories of an ideal future society, whose establishment they linked with the accomplishment of reforms in science, education, and economics (for the most part, in agrarian relations’in land ownership and use).
In the early 20th century progressive historians who were active in the bourgeois cultural enlightenment movement (Pak Un-sik, Sin Chae-ho) published works filled with democratic, anti-Japanese, patriotic ideas. During the 1930’s progressive bourgeois historiography, in contrast to the official pro-Japanese historiography, which falsified the history of Korea by representing it as lacking in any traits whatsoever of independence and progressive qualities, strove to provide an objective explanation of the national history. During this same period the first attempt was made (by Paek Nam-un and other scholars) to present the development of the sociohistorical process in Korea from the viewpoint of Marxist theory of changing socioeconomic formations.
After 1945, Marxist historical science rapidly developed in North Korea. In 1947 a committee was established to compile a history of Korea; a periodical publication was established’the journal Yoksa chemunje (published until 1950).
The victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia and the development of the anti-imperialist movement in Korea after the March 1919 Uprising facilitated the introduction of Marxist economic ideas. Also characteristic of this time was the spread of the ideas of national reformism, such as the harmony of labor and capital.
During the 1930’s, Marxist economic views found expression in the economic program of the anti-Japanese national liberation struggle, developed by the Korean Communists, as in the economic section of the Action Program of the Korean Communists (1934) and the program of the Society for the Revival of the Fatherland (1936).
Marxist economic science has been developing in North Korea since 1945. The goals for the economic section of the program of 20 points set forth by the Korean Communists in 1946 were established on its basis.
Among the founders of modern Korean linguistics (in the late 19th and early 20th century) were Chu Si-gyong and Chi Sokyong. At this time linguists established the fundamental morphological principles of Korean orthography and the theory of the word that became traditional in Korean linguistics. The Korean Language Study Group was founded in 1921 (known as the Korean Linguistics Society from 1931 to 1935). The group concerned itself with the standardization of orthography and scientific and technical terminology, establishing standards for the literary language, studying dialects, and compiling dictionaries’for example, Mun Se-yong’s dictionary (1940) and the dictionary begun in 1929 and published in six volumes in 1957. During the 1930’s and 1940’s several works were written, including Our Grammar (1937) and A Study ofHangul (1942) by Choe Hyonbae, The History of Korean Literature and Language (1938) by Kim Yun-gyong, and A Study of Ancient Korean Poetry (1942) by Yang Chu-dong. In contrast to the progressive linguists, a number of scholars joined in the Korean Language Research Society, which served the interests of the Japanese colonial authorities. Beginning in 1938 the Japanese colonial administration forbade the teaching of Korean in the schools. In 1943 many progressive Korean linguists were persecuted. The journal Hangul (published since 1927) was closed down. After the liberation of Korea in 1945 the study of the Korean language was greatly expanded. In North Korea the Society of the Korean Language and Literature was formed in 1947.
L. R. KONTSEVICH
REFERENCESIstoriogrqfiia stran Vostoka. Moscow, 1969. Pages 180–208, 222–305.
Sovremennaia istoriografiia stran zarubezhnogo Vostoka. Issue 3: Oktiabr’ i natsional’no-osvoboditel’naia bor’ba. Moscow, 1969. Pages 168–85.
Tiagai, G. D. Obshchestvennaia mysl’ Korei v epokhu pozdnego feodal’izma. Moscow, 1971.
Chong Chin-sok, Chong Song-chol, and Kim Chang-won. Istoriia koreiskoi filosofii, vol. 1. Moscow, 1966. (Translated from Korean.)
Choson kyongje sasang sa. (The History of Economic Thought in Korea.) Pyongyang, 1963.
Jang, Key P., and G. Handerson. An Outline of the History of Korean Confucianism. [Washington, D.C., 1956.]
Mazur, Iu. N. Koreiskii iazyk. Moscow, 1960.
Choe Hyon-bae. Hangul kal (A Study of Hangul.) Seoul, 1942.
Ogura Shimpei and Kono Rokuro. Chosen gogaku shi. (The History of Korean Philology.) Tokyo, 1965.
Literature. The origins of Korean literature date back to the ancient Korean folklore of the beginning of the Common Era. Before the late 19th century Korean literature was bilingual and was written both in Korean and in the official literary language, hanmun—a koreanized form of wenyen, the Chinese literary language.
The oldest examples of literature in Korean, written down before the mid-15th century with modified Chinese characters using the idu method, are 25 short hyangga poems (”songs of one’s homeland”), which derive from the seventh through 11th centuries. During the 12th, 13th, and 14th centuries the traditions of the hyangga were continued in the Koryo kayo (”songs of Koryo”). An outstanding role in the emergence of poetry in hanmun was played by Choe Chi-won (born 857), while its highest flowering was reached in the lyrics of Yi In-ro (1152–1220), Yi Kyu-bo (1168–1241), and Yi Che-hyon (1288–1367). Early prose is represented by Hyong-nyong Chong’s Buddhist Life ofKyunyo (1075), written in hanmun, as well as the official chronicle Historical Records of the Three Kingdoms (1145) by Kim Pu-sik (1075–1151), permeated with Confucian ideas, and the Buddhistic Lives of the Outstanding Monks of the Country Lying to the East of the Sea (1215). Gradually literary prose became distinct from historical literature. The yasa (unofficial histories) appeared’for example, The Reliques of the Three Kingdoms (late 13th century) by Iryong (1206–89); paesol, or prose in short forms, was also written. The foundation of the short story was laid by Kim Si-sup (1435–93), for example, his collection entitled New Tales, Heard on the Mountain of the Golden Tortoise. In 1478, So Ko-jong (1420–88) compiled his extensive Eastern Anthology (130 books), which included the best examples of prose and poetry in hanmun. The satirical writer Im Che (1549–87) published his allegorical novellas The Mouse on Trial, Flower History, and The City of Sadness.
The first work written in the Korean alphabet was the “Ode to a Dragon Flying Into the Heavens” (1445). Predominant in literature during the 16th and 17th centuries were nature lyrics (the “poetry of rivers and lakes”) permeated with Taoist motifs: retreat from the world and the celebration of nature and of wine. The outstanding masters of the sijo (a three-line poem) and the kasa (a long narrative poem) in Korean were Chong Choi (1536–94) and Yun Son-do (1587–1671). A direct response to the events of the liberation Imjin War of 1592–98 was the patriotic lyricism of Pak In-no (1561–1642). Korean poetry was collected in the anthology entitled The Eternal Word of the Country of the Green Hills (c. 1727) and The Songs of the Country Lying East of the Sea (1763). Love lyrics reached their high point in the work of Sin Chae-hyo (1812–84), who also deserves much merit for the development of the national music drama (changguk).
From the 17th through the 19th century, widespread acceptance was gained by the Korean novella form known as the sosol: the heroic epic Imjin Chronicle (17th century), the social Utopian Tale of Hong Kil-dong by Ho Kyun (1569–1618), the lyrical Tale of Sim Chong (18th century), Tale of the Loyalty ofChunhyang (18th century), the satirical Tale of a Hare (18th century), and other anonymous works as well as those by known authors. The first novels appeared: The Cloud Dream of the Nine by Kim Man-jung (1637–92) and The Dream of the Jasper Harem (18th century).
Sirhak ideas found expression in the satirical stories in hanmun by Pak Chi-won (1737–1805). The last brilliant representatives of poetry in hanmun were the Sirhak ideologist Chong Yak-yong (1762–1836) and the wandering folk poet Kim Sak-kat (1807–64).
In the late 19th century there was a transition from medieval to modern literature. The novels of Yi In-jik (1862–1916) and Yi Hae-jo (1869–1927), permeated with cultural-enlightenment ideas, marked the stage of the “new prose” (sinsosol). In the emergence of the contemporary Korean novella a large role was played by the writer and ideologist of bourgeois nationalism Yi Kwang-su (1892–1951) and the naturalist writers Yom Sang-sop (1897–1963), and Kim Dong-in (1900–51). Pioneers of free verse were Choe Nam-son (1890–1957) and Kim Ok (born 1896).
The annexation of Korea by Japan in 1910 temporarily retarded the development of Korean literature; many writers were persecuted. After the suppression of the March 1919 Uprising various decadent tendencies became widespread. At the same time, under the influence of Marxism, a proletarian literature was taking shape. Its predecessor was the New Direction School (singyonghyangpa), which included the literary groups Spark (1922) and Paskyula (1923). Among the prominent members of this school were the poet Yi Ik-sang (1895–1932) and the novella writer Choe So-hae (1901–32), whose realistic works were characterized by a vividly expressed patriotic and sociological tendency. Realistic traits are also characteristic of the prose of Na To-hyang (1902–27) and the poetry of Kim So-wol (1903–35)— a singer of peasant life. In 1925 the Korean Federation of Proletarian Art was founded (it was dissolved in 1935). It included the prose writers Song Yong (born 1903), Yi Ki-yong (born 1895), Cho Myong-hi (1894–1942), Yi Puk-myong (born 1908), the poets Yi Sang-hwa (1900–43), Pak Se-yong (born 1902), Pak Par-yang (born 1905), the critics Han Sik (1907–50), Yun Se-pyong (born 1911), and others. Realistic novels appeared, such as Homeland (1934) by Yi Ki-yong and Problems of Humanity (1934) by the woman writer Kang Kyong-ae (1906–44). Beginning in the second half of the 1930’s, when the Japanese reaction intensified, the genre of the historical novel became popular: The Biography of Im Kok-chong (1939–40) by Hong Myong-hi (born 1888) and historical canvases by Yi Kwang-su, Kim Tong-in, Yom Sang-sop, and Pak Chong-hwa (born 1901). Between 1930 and 1940 military and revolutionary verses, songs, and one-act plays were written in anti-Japanese partisan detachments.
REFERENCESEremenko, L., and V. Ivanova. Koreiskaia literatura: Kratkii ocherk. Moscow, 1964.
Nikitina, M. I., and A. F. Trotsevich. Ocherki istorii koreiskoi titeratury do 14 v. Moscow, 1969.
Koreiskaia literatura: Sb. stateL Moscow, 1959.
Nikitina, M. I., and A. F. Trotsevich. “Periodizatsiia srednevekovoi koreiskoi titeratury.” Narody Azii i Afriki, 1964, no. 1.
Eliseev, D. D. Koreiskaia srednevekovaia literatura pkhesol’ (Nekotorye problemy proiskhozhdeniia i zhanrd). Moscow, 1968.
Li, W. “Koreiskaia assotsiatsiia proletarskikh pisatelei i proza 20–30 gg.” In the collection Natsional’nye traditsii i genezis sotsialisticheskogo realizma. Moscow, 1965.
Yun Se-pyong. Haebangjon Choson munhak. (Korean Literature Before Independence.) Pyongyang, 1958.
Kojon chakka non (Essays on Classical Korean Literature), vols. 1–2. Pyongyang, 1958–59.
Choson munhak tongsa (History of Korean Literature), vols. 1–2. Pyongyang, 1959.
Kin Tae-jun. Choson sosol sa. (History of Korean Prose.) Seoul, 1939.
Yang Chu-dong. Koga yongu. (The Study of Ancient Korean Poetry.) Seoul, 1954.
Cho Yon-hyon. Hanguk hyondae munhak sa. (The History of Contemporary Korean Literature.) Seoul, 1956.
The high artistic culture of Korea, which had a significant influence on the art of Japan while, in turn, receiving the influence of China, evidently took shape at the beginning of the Common Era, during the Three Kingdoms period (Koguryo, Paekche, and Silla). On the territory of Koguryo tombs from the third through the seventh century have been preserved at Anak (near Pyongyang) and elsewhere, often in the form of imposing underground structures covered with wood (during the fourth century) or formed of stone slabs and bricks (from the fifth to the seventh century). The interior of burial structures consists of one or several chambers with monolithic columns and benched squared-off ceilings; the walls and ceilings are covered with wall paintings (using mineral pigments on a dry ground), including portraits and scenes from everyday life. Among the buildings dating from the Three Kingdoms period that have been preserved on the territory of Silla is the astronomical observatory of Chomsongdae near Kyongju (seventh century), shaped like an enormous bottle and made of granite blocks. The decorative art of this period is represented by unglazed clay vessels (sometimes in the form of horsemen or houses), metal articles (bronze mirrors, gold crowns of rulers), and decorative bricks with stamped images of demonic masks, birds, and landscape elements.
The unification of Korea into the state of Silla in the eighth century facilitated a new upswing of culture. A great deal of urban construction went on (including the capital Kyongju), in which the methods of regular building, the consideration of the local terrain, and the skillful use of the surrounding landscape was close to the principles of Chinese city building. The spread of Buddhism (which became the official religion of Silla in the sixth century) led to the construction of stone temple ensembles and pagodas, such as the Sokkuram Cave Temple (742–764), the complex of Pulguksa (751, reconstructed in 1350) with its pagodas of Tabotap (751) and Sokkatap (761)—all near Kyongju. These structures are characterized by a simplicity and laconic quality of form. The sculpture of the seventh through the tenth centuries expressed the canons of the Buddhist plastic arts of India and China, which were combined in Korea with a unique spirituality of the figures and a softness of the forms (for example, the gilded bronze statue of Maitreya, the Buddha of the future, the early seventh century; the granite statue of Buddha and the high relief of the bodhisattva Kwanum from the Sokkuram Temple, eighth century). An imposing quality of roughly generalized forms is typical of the stone statues of warriors and animals found near burial sites in Kyongju. Decorative applied art during this period was represented by diverse genres: working in stone and metal, silk weaving, the production of lacquer articles, and goods woven of bamboo fiber and grass.
During the Koryo period (918–1392) pagodas of complex forms were built (the Hyomyotap pagoda of the Popchong temple in Hansong [now Seoul], 1085); also constructed were complexes of a religious nature (the Sogwangsa monastery in the Anbyon region of the province of Hamgyong-namdo, 1386; destroyed between 1950 and 1953) and those of a secular nature (the palace of the Manwoldae rulers in Songdo [now Kaesong], 918; destroyed in 1361). Characteristic of the architecture of this period is the richness of decorative furnishings. Considerable development was attained by large-scale sculpture (the stone statue of Buddha Maitreya, tenth century, in Pongsan District, the province of Chungchong-namdo); drawing with ink and watercolors on scrolls became widespread. A high point was reached in the famous stoneware artifacts (decorated with inlays of black and white clay, covered by a bluish green glaze) and in porcelain (decorated with reliefs and painted designs).
During the Yi Dynasty (1392–1910) splendid palace ensembles were built (Kyongbokkung in Hansong, 1394; destroyed in the 16th century, restored in the 19th century but again destroyed between 1950 and 1953), which consisted of medium-sized buildings connected by courtyards and adorned with carvings in wood and stone; the picturesque terrain of the locality was used, and the color scheme was polychromatic. Splendor and luxury also marked religious buildings: the Tongdosa monastery (16th century, in the district of Yangsan, the province of Kyongsang-Namdo), and the pagoda of the Wongaksa monastery in Hansong (1467). The national dwelling of Korea is a single-story house (made of stone, clay, and wood) with a terrace and a unique heating system under the floor (ondol).
In the development of painting an important role was played by the founding at the court in the late 14th century of the Tohwaso, which served as an academy of painting. Between the 15th and 17th centuries many important landscape painters came to the fore: An Kyon, Kang Hui-an, Kim Sik, Chong Son, the genre painter Yun Tu-so, and the master of the “birds-and-flowers” genre Yi Am. During the 18th century the genre, landscape, and portrait painters Kim Hong-do, Kim Tuk-sin, and Sin Yun-bok, who were representatives of the democratic trend, were active, as were the painters of animals Sim Sa-jong and Pyon San-byok. Important 19th-century masters working in the traditional “birds-and-flowers” genre were Chang Sung-op and Nam Ke-u. In the late 19th century oil painting was introduced. Between the 15th and 19th centuries the production of porcelain continued to improve, as did that of ceramics (with cobalt decorations).
During Japanese colonial rule (1910–45) buildings were constructed under the influence of the European architectural styles of that time, as well as of Japanese architecture. Working during this period were the sculptor Kim Pok-chin (one of the first directors of the Korean Federation of Proletarian Art, 1925–35) and other progressive artists who truthfully reflected in their works the Korean people’s struggle for independence.
REFERENCESKim Chong-hui. “Arkhitektura koreiskogo naroda.” In the collection Sovetskaia arkhitektura, no. 2. Moscow, 1952.
Glukhareva, O. N. “Iskusstvo Korei.” In Vseobshchaia istoriia iskusstv, vol. 2, book 2. Moscow, 1961.
Glukhareva, O. N. “Arkhitektura Korei.” In Vseobshchaia istoriia arkhitektury, vol. 9. Leningrad-Moscow, 1971.
Koreiskoe klassicheskoe iskusstvo: Sb. st. Moscow, 1972.
Kim Yong-yun. Hanguksohwa inmyong sajon. (Biographical Dictionary of Korean Calligraphers and Artists.) Seoul, 1959.
Forman, W., and J. Bafinka. Alte koreanische Kunst. [Prague, 1962.]
McCune, E. The Arts of Korea: An Illustrated History. Tokyo, 1962.
Kim Chae-won and Kim Wol-lyong. The Arts of Korea: Ceramics, Sculpture, Gold, Bronze, and Lacquer. London, 1966.
In the second half of the 16th century there began a period of decline caused by wars and foreign invasions. Development took place in the folk-song genres. The rebirth of music during the 17th and 18th centuries was linked with the chanted tale (pansori), the outstanding performers of which were Ha Hong-dam, Choe Song-dal, and Kwon Sam-dok. By the mid-19th century a system of handling the voices (in accordance with the pansori melodies) had been developed. During the second half of the 19th century the pansori gave rise to the folk music drama known as the changguk, which subsequently developed into the national opera. Its creator was Sin Chae-hyo, who set classical folk dramas and his own plays to music. Renowned among the musicians of this period were the conductor Mun Cha-dok and Kim Chang-jo, a performer on the kayagum. In the early 20th century European music was gradually introduced. Nevertheless, Japanese colonial rule, which began in 1910, sharply retarded the development of musical culture until 1945.
REFERENCESKeh, Ch. S. Die koreanische Musik. Strasbourg, 1935.
Boots, J. L. “Korean Musical Instruments and an Introduction to Korean Music.” Transactions of the Korean Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1940, vol. 30.
During Japanese colonial rule national theaters were limited and strictly controlled by the Japanese censorship.
General information. The PDRK is a socialist state situated on the northern Korean Peninsula and partially on the Asian continent itself. Area, 121,200 sq km; population, 14.3 million (1971, estimate). Pyongyang is the capital. The country is divided administratively into the provinces of Pyongan-namdo, Pyongan-pukto, Chagangdo, Yanggangdo, Hamgyong-pukto, Hamgyong-namdo, Hwanghae-namdo, Hwanghae-pukto, and Kangwon-do; cities under central jurisdiction’Pyongyang, Chonggjin, Hamhumg, and Kaesong’are divided into special province-level administrative units.
Constitution and government. The constitution in force was adopted on Dec. 28, 1972. The highest body of power and the sole legislative body is the unicameral Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA), elected by the population for terms of four years, and, between its sessions, the Permanent Council (Presidium) of the SPA, elected by the assembly. The right to vote is granted to all citizens who have reached the age of 17. The highest guiding body of state power is the Central People’s Committee (CPC), headed by the president of the PDRK. The SPA elects the premier, who heads the administrative-executive body of the highest state power’the Administrative Council.
Local bodies of state power are the people’s assemblies of the provinces and cities under central jurisdiction (elected by the population for terms of four years), districts, cities, and regions under provincial jurisdiction (elected by the population for two years).
The judicial system includes a Central Court, provincial courts, courts of the cities under central jurisdiction, and specialized courts (military tribunals). The Central Court is elected by the Permanent Council of the Supreme People’s Assembly; local courts are elected by their respective local people’s assemblies. The judges of the military tribunals are appointed by the Central Court. A system of procurators’ offices is headed by a Central Procurator’s Office. The chairman of the Central Procurator’s Office is appointed by the Supreme People’s Assembly; the office appoints all the other procurators.
Population. The average annual population growth in the PDRK between 1961 and 1970 was 2.6 percent. Approximately 6 million people were employed in the national economy (1970); of these more than 30 percent were in industry, and about 40 percent in agriculture. In the general composition of the population (1963), 48.7 percent were men, and 51.3 percent women. Hwanghae-namdo is the most densely populated province. By 1963 the urban population had increased to 45 percent, from 18 percent in 1953. The major cities are Pyongyang (with its suburbs, 1 million inhabitants, 1969), Chongjin (210,000, 1962), Hamhung (200,000, 1961), Kaesong (139,900. 1961), Sinuiju (128,000, 1955), Wonsan (122,000, 1955), Kimchaek, and Hungnam.
Historical survey. The PDRK was established in 1948 on the basis of the freely expressed will of the entire Korean people. The lengthy colonial domination by Japanese imperialism left a difficult heritage in all spheres of economic and social life. An acute lack of trained personnel was felt. In 1949 the PDRK adopted a two-year national economic plan that provided for the restoration of the national economy and its further development. In March 1949 an agreement on economic and cultural cooperation was signed between the Soviet Union and the PDRK. By 1949 the gross industrial output had increased by more than 200 percent as compared to that in 1946, and the volume of agricultural production by 50 percent. Along with the growth of the economy there was a rapid development in the national culture and education; the formation of a national working people’s intelligentsia was going forward.
In June 1949, by resolution of a joint plenary session of the Central Committee of the Workers Parties of North and South Korea, both parties merged into the Korean Workers Party (KWP), which headed political and economic construction. Founded in June 1949, the United Democratic Fatherland Front (UDFF) advanced proposals in 1949 and 1950 for peaceful unification. They were rejected, however, by the South Korean authorities, who attempted to annihilate by arms the people’s democratic system in the North. On June 25, 1950, the South Korean military clique launched a military action against the PDRK. The USA immediately intervened in this domestic Korean conflict. Several other countries also took part in the intervention, carried out under the mask of “UN forces.” More than half of the armed forces fighting in the Korean War were American (American ground forces amounted to 50.3 percent, naval forces’85.9 percent, and air forces-93.4 percent).
Called upon by the KWP, the working people of the PDRK arose to take part in the Fatherland Liberation War of 1950–53. The PDRK, with the support of the USSR, the People’s Republic of China (from which detachments of people’s volunteers came to Korea), and other socialist countries, as well as progressive forces from all over the world, rebuffed the aggressors, who were compelled to sign a truce on July 27, 1953. (The agreement was signed by the supreme commander in chief of the Korean People’s Army and the commander of the Chinese people’s volunteers, on one hand, and by the commander in chief of the so-called UN troops, on the other.)
The war inflicted heavy damage to the national economy of the PDRK. Suffering especially badly were the leading branches of industry, as well as electric-power production and agriculture. The three-year plan for the restoration and development of the national economy (1954–56), ratified by a session of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the PDRK in April 1954, provided not only for the restoration of industry and agriculture to prewar levels (1949) but also for a considerable modernization of the national economy. Great aid in the successful fulfillment of this plan was rendered by the USSR and other socialist countries. In 1953 the KWP embarked upon a course of organizing agricultural cooperatives along socialist lines. In 1958 the cooperativization of peasant farms was completed. Private entrepreneurs, craftsmen, and traders were also organized into various forms of cooperatives. By 1958 socialist production relations had been consolidated in all spheres of the national economy, leading to a radical change in the class structure of society, which now included workers, peasants in cooperatives, and a working people’s intelligentsia.
The Third Congress of the KWP in April 1956 adopted a program for creating the material and technological basis for socialism, whose principal goals were fulfilled during the five-year plan beginning in 1957 and the seven-year plan beginning in 1961. Of great importance for the economic and cultural development of the PDRK was international cooperation with the countries of the socialist community. On July 6, 1961, the Korean-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance was signed. The growth of industry was accompanied by the further development of agriculture. Beginning in 1964, the cooperatives were freed from expenditures on capital construction, the costs of which the state took upon itself. In 1966 a session of the Supreme People’s Assembly adopted a law abolishing the agricultural tax in kind from cooperatives. Housing and other projects were constructed at government expense on the cooperatives. These measures facilitated the increase of farm production and the labor activity of the peasants and raised their standard of living. Since 1958 the mass patriotic movement known as Chollima has developed; its goals are to increase labor productivity, work rates, and innovation. Cultural construction has been carried out, and science and technology have been developed. In the early 1960’s, in connection with the further militarization of South Korea, the KWP undertook a “policy of the parallel achievement of economic and defense construction.”
The Fifth Congress of the KWP in November 1970 summed up the results of the development of the PDRK since the Fourth Party Congress in 1961. As a result of the fulfillment of the seven-year plan for developing the national economy the PDRK has been transformed into a socialist industrial state. The material status of the working people improved considerably (see below: Economic geography). The Fifth Congress of the KWP adopted a resolution for a six-year plan (1971–76) for the development of the PDRK’s national economy, providing for further industrialization, the implementation of the technological revolution at a higher level, and the strengthening of the material and technological basis of socialism.
The session of the Supreme People’s Assembly held in December 1972 adopted a new constitution for the PDRK, which has consolidated the country’s socialist victories. In 1975 the working people of the PDRK fulfilled ahead of schedule the six-year national economic development plan (1971–76).
The PDRK conducts a peace-loving foreign policy and supports the peaceful settlement of the problem of unifying Korea on a democratic basis in accordance with the will and the desire of the Korean people themselves. Proposals by the PDRK on the settlement of Korean problems provide for the evacuation of foreign troops from South Korea, mutual reduction of armed forces in the North and South, conclusion of a mutual nonaggression pact and a peace treaty, carrying out free, democratic elections, eliminating tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and introducing confederative relations while still retaining for a certain period the political systems now existing in the North and South. Upon the PDRK’s initiative, negotiations were held in 1972 (in Pyongyang and Seoul) between official representatives of the PDRK and South Korea. On July 4 the Joint Declaration was signed by the North and the South concerning the understanding reached on the principles of unifying the country, which according to the proposal will be carried out independently, without any reliance on external forces, without any outside interference, by peaceful means, without the use of armed force by one side against the other, in the attainment of national consolidation. To resolve the question of the country’s unification on the basis of the principles agreed upon, the Coordinating Committee was formed to settle problems between the North and South. The Soviet Union assists the PDRK in the international arena, including the UN, in the struggle for a peaceful settlement of the Korean question. As of early 1975 the PDRK had established diplomatic relations with 78 states (diplomatic relations between the PDRK and the USSR were established on Oct. 12, 1948). The PDRK maintains contacts and business ties with some 100 international organizations.
REFERENCESKim Il-sung. Izbrannye stat’ i rechi. Moscow, 1962. (Translated from Korean.)
Kim Il-sung. Izbrannye proizvedeniia, vols. 1–5. Pyongyang, 1970–72.
Kim Il-sung. “Uri nara sahoejuui chedorul touk kanghwahaja.” (Let Us Further Strengthen the Socialist System in Our Country: A Speech by Kim Il-Sung at the First Session of the Fifth Convocation of the Supreme People’s Assembly on Dec. 25, 1972.) Nodong sinmun, Dec. 26, 1972.
Konstitutsiia i osnovnye zakonodatel’nye akty KNDR. Moscow, 1952. (Translated from Korean.)
“Choson minjujuui inmin konghwaguk sahoejuui honppop.” (The Socialist Constitution of the PDRK.) Nodong sinmun, Dec. 28, 1972.
Istoriia Korei, vol. 1. Moscow, 1973.
Kim, G. F. Bor’ba koreiskogo naroda za mir, natsional’noe edinstvo i demokratiiu. Moscow, 1957.
Kim, G. F. Rabochii klass novoi Korei. Moscow, 1960.
Shabshina, F. I. Ocherki noveishei istorii Korei (1945–1953 gg.). Moscow, 1958.
Shabshina, F. I. Sotsialisticheskaia Koreia. Moscow, 1963.
Korei: Sever i lug. Moscow, 1965.
Kim, G. F., and F. I. Shabshina. Proletarskii internatsionalizm i revoliutsii v stranakh Vostoka. Moscow, 1967. Pages 239–97.
The United Democratic Fatherland Front (UDFF), established in 1949, includes more than 70 political parties and mass organizations of North and South Korea. The guiding force of the UDFF is the KWP.
TRADE UNIONS AND OTHER PUBLIC ORGANIZATIONS. The General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea, founded in 1945, has a membership of more than 2.4 million. The Agricultural Workers’ Union of Korea was founded in 1965 as a successor to the Peasants’ Union, which had been established in 1946. It has a membership of 2.6 million. The Socialist Working Youth League (before 1964, the Korean Democratic Youth League), established in 1946, has 2.8 million members. The Korean Democratic Women’s Union, founded in 1945, has a membership of 2.7 million. The Korean-Soviet Friendship Society was founded in 1945. The Committee for the Peaceful Unification of the Fatherland was established in 1961.
Economic geography. GENERAL STATE OF THE ECONOMY. During the years of the people’s power the PDRK has been transformed from a backward colonial country into an industrial-agrarian socialist state. The socioeconomic transformations carried out in the northern part of Korea, such as the land reform of 1946, the nationalization of industry in 1946, and the cooperative movement in agriculture from 1953 to 1958 (see the sections “Korea Before 1948” and “PDRK, Historical Survey”) have led to a rapid upswing in productive forces.
The creation of the material and technological basis of socialism was accomplished in several stages. In the first stage provision was made to rebuild the economy, upon which enormous damage had been inflicted by the war of 1950–53. The second phase was the modernization of the principal branches of the economy and laying the foundations of socialist industrialization, which produced a new industrial-agrarian economic structure (see Table 1 for the changes in the economic structure).
|Table 1. Structure of the overall social product (percent)|
|Industrial and agricultural production.................||100||100|
The program of the third stage, directed at creating the material and technological basis of socialism, was carried out during the seven-year plan (1961–67), whose term of fulfillment was extended to 1970 (in connection with the intensified military provocations against the PDRK). The average annual growth rates of industrial output between 1957 and 1970 amounted to 19.1 percent; the proportion of industry in the national income by the end of 1969 had increased to 65 percent (as contrasted with 25 percent in 1956).
The economy of the PDRK has been developing in close cooperation with the USSR and other socialist countries.
INDUSTRY. In 1970 the volume of industrial output exceeded by 21-fold the prewar level of 1949. There has been a change in the structure of industry. During the period of colonial dependency in northern Korea, unlike southern Korea, the branches of the mining, metallurgical, and electric-power production industries were more developed than the branches of light industry and the food-processing industry. During the years of the people’s power, machine building, branches of organic chemistry, a building-materials industry, and other new enterprises have been created. Power engineering has grown considerably, as have light industry and the food-processing industry.
EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRY. About 90 percent of all the mining of anthracite coal is carried out in the Northern Coal Basin (in the province of Pyongan-namdo); two-thirds of the lignite is extracted from the Tuman-gang coal basin in the northeast. Special attention has been devoted to extracting iron ore, concentrated in the Musan deposit (in the province of Hamgyong-pukto), with an annual capacity of approximately 2 million tons of iron-ore concentrate (having an Fe content of 60 percent). The largest producer of lead and zinc concentrate is the Komdok mine (Hamgyong-namdo). Tungsten-containing minerals are extracted from the ore deposits of Mannyon (Hwanghae-pukto) and Kyongsu (Hamgyong-namdo). The principal center for extracting copper ores is the Kapsan mine (Yangang-do); for gold and silver ores, the mines of Songhung (Pyongan-namdo), Holdong (Hwanghae-pukto), and Suan (Hwanghae-pukto). Also mined are manganese (Kangwon-do), chromium (Hamgyong-pukto), cobalt-containing ores (Hamgyong-pukto and Hamgyong-namdo), magnesite (Hamgyong-namdo), and graphite (Hamgyong-pukto and Pyongan-pukto).
POWER ENGINEERING. Hydraulic resources provide about three-quarters of electric-power production. In the basin of the Amnok-kang (Yalu River) hydroelectric power complexes have been constructed: the Supung Hydroelectric Power Plant (700,-000 kilowatts [kW]); the cascades of the diversion hydroelectric power plants on the Chang-jin-gang (350,000 kW), Hochon-gang (400,000 kW), and Pujon-gang (200,000 kW) and in Kanggye (246,000 kW); and the hydroelectric power plants at dams in Unbong (400,000 kW) and on the Tongno-gang (90,000 kW). In the basin of the Tuman-gang the first stage has been completed on the Sodusu Hydroelectric Power Plant (with a planned capacity of 450,000 kW). Among the steam power plants (operating on local fuels) the largest are the Pyongyang (500,000 kW) and the Pukchang steam power plants (600,000 kW).
MANUFACTURING. Ferrous metallurgy is concentrated in the northeast (Chongjin, Kimchaek, and Puryong) as well as along the lower course of the Taedong-gang (Songnim and Kangson). The centers of nonferrous metallurgy are Nampo, Munpyong, and Hamhung.
The leading branch of industry is machine building: machine-tool construction, tool-making, motor-vehicle and tractor manufacture, shipbuilding, instrument production, the electrical-engineering industry, and the production of machinery for mining, metallurgy, the chemical industry, and farm work. The principal industrial centers are the Taedong-gang (Pyongyang, Kiyang, Nampo, Taean, Tokcon), the northwestern (Sinuiju and Kusong), the northern (Huichon and Unsan), and the eastern (Chongjin, Hamhung, and Wonsan).
The chemical industry has also been developed: there is large-scale production of mineral fertilizers, caustic soda, dyestuffs, synthetic fibers, plastics, pharmaceuticals, and chemical poisons. The principal center of the chemical industry is Hungnam, near which are located a chemical-fertilizer combine (with an annual capacity of about 500,000 tons), the Ponggun Chemical Complex, a synthetic-fiber plant (with an annual capacity of 20,000 tons), and a vinyl-chloride plant. There are also enterprises producing reinforced-concrete structural components, bricks, and articles of porcelain and faience; the chief centers in the west are Pyongyang, Pongsan, Haeju, and Nampo; in the east they are Chongrae, Hungnam, and Chongjin. The country also has wood-products and cellulose-and-paper industries.
The most important center of the textile industry is the Pyongyang Textile Combine (with an annual capacity of about 200 million m of cloth); there is another textile combine in Sinuiju (with a capacity of 100 million m of staple cloth annually), cotton mills in Kusong, Kaesong, Sariwon, and Kanggye, silk-weaving mills in Anju, Yongbyon, and Pakchon, and a linen mill in Hyesan (with a capacity of 10 million m of cloth annually). The footwear industry is located principally in Pyongyang, Sinuiju, and Sunchon.
The food-processing industry is found throughout the country. There are numerous rice-milling enterprises as well as enterprises for processing corn, soybeans and other agricultural products. The country’s largest meat-packing combine is located near Pyongyang, which is an important center of the tobacco industry. Sugar is produced in Hoeryong. Also developed is the processing and canning of fish and other marine products. (For the production of major industrial products, see Table 2.)
|Table 2. Production of major industrial products|
|Electric power (billion kilowatt-hours)..................||5.9||9.1||16.5|
|Coal (anthracite and lignite; million tons)..................||4.0||10.6||27.5|
|Cast iron (tons)..................||200,000||900,000||2,400,000|
|Metal-cutting tools (units)..................||–||2,900||6,400|
|Motor vehicles (units)..................||–||3,100||6,400|
|Mineral fertilizers (tons)..................||400,000||600,000||1,500,000|
|Cloth (million m)..................||12.8||189.7||400|
Cultivated lands occupy only 16 percent of the territory, or about 2 million hectares (ha), because of the predominance of mountainous terrain; approximately one-third of the cultivated lands are irrigated (700,000 ha). Frequently two successive crops are produced on the same fields during a single growing season. The tractor pool in agriculture increased 250 percent between 1960 and 1970 and reached 22,000. The average annual consumption (as of 1969) for mineral fertilizers per ha of irrigated land amounted to 680 kg; it was 480 kg per ha of unirrigated lands.
More than two-thirds of the sown area is occupied by grains, about one-fifth by industrial crops (including soybeans), and the remainder by green vegetables, potatoes, and fodder crops. Rice is grown in the irrigated fields; crops raised on the unirrigated lands include corn (second among the grain crops) and millet. The PDRK is one of the largest producers of soybeans; cotton is cultivated (in the provinces of Hwanghae-namdo and Pyongan-namdo), as well as flax (Yanggang-do), hemp (Cha-gang-do and Hamgon-pukto), tobacco (Pyongan-namdo and Pyongan-pukto), and sugar beets (Hamgyong-pukto and
|Table 3. Harvest of principal agricultural crops (tons)|
|1 Annual average|
|Table 4. Livestock population|
Special attention has been devoted to livestock raising and poultry farming (poultry factories have been built) as well as sericulture (cocoons; Asiatic and castor silkworms). M#st cattle are draft animals. Sericulture has been developed in the provinces of Pyongan-pukto, Pyongan-namdo, and Hamgyongnamdo. The annual collection of cocoons amounts to about 8,000 tons.
An important role in supplying the population with food products is played by the catching and processing of marine products. The fish caught in the Sea of Japan include the pollack mackerel, sand launces, swordfish, humpback salmon, tunny, goby, and gray mullet; also taken are squid and oysters and other shellfish. In the Yellow Sea, bass, herring, crabs, and trepang are caught. Seaweed is also collected (green seaweed, kelp, and red algae).
Centers of fishing and of the processing of fish and other marine products on the eastern coast are Chongjin, Sinpo, Toejo, and Munchon; on the western coast are Sinuiju and Nampo. In 1970 the catch of fish and other marine products amounted to more than 1 million tons.
There are about 9 million hectares under forests. Each year about 5 million cu m of wood products are finished, including 4 million cu m of commercial lumber and 1 million cu m of firewood. The lumbering regions are the upper reaches of the Amnok-kang and Tuman-gang.
TRANSPORTATION. Railroad transport handles nine-tenths of all freight turnover and more than two-thirds of the passenger traffic. The operational length of the railroads is about 4,500 km, of which about 2,000 km have been electrified. As of 1965 the length of automobile roads was 20,000 km. There is navigation in the lower reaches of the Amnok-kang, Chonchongan, Taedong-gang, and Tuman-gang. The tonnage of the merchant fleet is not large. The principal seaports are Chongjin, Hungnam, and Wonsan on the east coast and Nampo on the west coast. Air transport is being developed.
FOREIGN TRADE. The economic ties of the PDRK with the socialist countries include foreign trade relations and economic, scientific, and technological cooperation, as well as various types of assistance. In accordance with the agreement of Mar. 17, 1949, the USSR supplied the PDRK with about 300 million rubles without recompense for restoration and new construction during the first ten postwar years (1953–63). With the assistance of the Soviet Union many enterprises were either restored or built: the Supung Hydroelectric Power Plant (1957–58), a metallurgical complex in Chongjin, a steel mill in Kimchaek, and a nonferrous metallurgical plant in Nampo (1955–59). Also built (in 1956) were the Pyongyang Textile Complex, a fish cannery in Sinpo, and the Yonsan Meat-packing Plant (near Pyongyang). Technical assistance from the USSR was likewise used in the construction of the nitrogenous fertilizer plant in Hungnam (1961), the Madong Cement Plant in Pongsan (1959), a silk-weaving factory in Pyongyang (1959), the Haesan Linen Factory (1963), and the Pyongyang and Pukchang steam power plants (1968–71). Under construction (as of 1973) is an oil refinery in Unggi; a metallurgical combine in Chongjin is being expanded, as are other production facilities. Bulgaria assisted the PDRK in building plants for producing wooden boxes, parquet, and bricks; Hungary has helped with plants making tools and dyes and paints; the German Democratic Republic with plants making electrical equipment and reinforced concrete structures, as well as a printing combine. The People’s Republic of China has rendered assistance in rebuilding railroad bridges and tracks, railroad stations, and a plant for enamel dishes; Poland’in building the Pyongyang and Wonsan Steam Locomotive and Railroad Car Repair Shops, as well as in reconstructing coal mines; Rumania’in building plants producing pharmaceuticals and construction materials; Czechoslovakia’in the reconstruction and modernization of the Changjin-gan Hydroelectric Power Plant Cascade, the construction of the Huichon Machine-tool Plant, and other projects.
By 1971 the amount of the PDRK’s foreign trade had increased by more than 400 percent over the prewar level of 1949.
The principal export items include mineral raw materials, building materials, and foodstuffs. The greatest share of the imports is machinery and equipment, fuel, and cotton. In the total volume of foreign trade (1970) the socialist countries constitute more than 80 percent (including about one-half with the USSR); they supply the PDRK with liquid fuel, coking coal, cotton, profile iron, and machine-building products. The PDRK exports to these countries ferrous and nonferrous metals, chemical products, cement, tobacco, apples, and other goods. Its principal foreign trading partner among capitalist countries is Japan. The monetary unit is the won; at the USSR Gosbank (State Bank) rate of exchange for August 1973, 100 won were worth 74 rubles 93 kopeks.
An increase in the working people’s standard of living has been accomplished by increasing wages and peasants’ incomes and by lowering retail prices and by the rapid growth of public consumption funds. The average monetary wage of industrial workers and office personnel employed in the national economy after the 31.5 increase in 1970 amounted to 70 won. The incomes of farm laborers have been increased: between 1961 and 1969 the income in kind of a peasant family grew by 80 percent, and its monetary income by 100 percent. During this same period the peasants in cooperatives received 1.7 billion won from the state because of the complete abolition of the tax in kind, an increase in purchase prices, and other measures.
The amount of supplementary benefits received by the population from public consumption funds, due to low prices on the principal food products, special-discount prices on clothing for students, free medical services, low apartment rents, and so forth is almost equal to the total wage funds of industrial workers and office personnel and constitutes one-half of the peasants’ total income.
Housing construction is also being carried out at rapid rates and on a large scale, entirely by the state, both in the city and in the country. Between 1961 and 1969 some 800,000 apartments were built; working people receive apartments free of charge; the apartment payment (including the cost of electricity, water, and heat) on an average does not exceed 3.3 percent of the living wage.
There is a system of state social security and social insurance for the working people; pensions are paid to industrial and office workers who have reached the age of 60 for men and 55 for women (provided that they have the length of labor service time established by law), and there are also disability pensions. Paid leaves are granted for temporary inability to work and 77-day paid leaves to women who are giving birth. Approximately two-thirds of preschool children are cared for in kindergartens and nurseries at state expense.
An eight-hour working day and six-day workweek have been established. For women workers who have three or more children the working day has been reduced by two hours without any reduction in wages.
IU. D. FADEEV
REFERENCESKoreia: Sever i lug. Moscow, 1965.
Martynov, V. V. Koreia. Moscow, 1970.
Sovremennaia Koreia. Moscow, 1971.
Armed forces. The Korean People’s Army consists of ground forces, an air force, and a navy. The president is the supreme commander in chief. The direct administration of the armed forces is carried out by the minister of defense and the General Staff. Party political work in the People’s Army is directed by the General Political Bureau. The armed forces are recruited on the basis of a law providing for compulsory and universal military service. The term of active military service is two years. Command staffs are trained at military schools. Ground forces are equipped with rockets, modern tanks, artillery, engineering equipment, radar, and other military hardware. The air force includes combat, reconnaissance, transport, and other aircraft, including helicopters. The navy has at its disposal combat and auxiliary ships of various classes and types.
The origin of the Korean People’s Army dates back to the struggle against the Japanese occupation forces during the early 1930’s, when Korean communists led by Kim Il-sung organized the first partisan detachment. In 1932 the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army was formed from partisan detachments. In 1945 it fought jointly with Soviet Army troops in battles against imperialist Japan. The first regular military units (regiments and separate battalions) were established in North Korea in early 1946. In February 1948 the Korean People’s Army was finally formed. During the war of the Korean people against imperialist aggression from 1950 to 1953 the Korean People’s Army became a regular army. The title of Hero of the PDRK was awarded to 481 soldiers, and more than 718,000 were given orders and medals. February 8 is celebrated as Korean People’s Army Day.
Health and social welfare. DEMOGRAPHY AND PUBLIC HEALTH. There are no precise official data on birth and mortality rates. As a result of the lengthy colonial rule and its heavy heritage, there have been instances of infectious and parasitic diseases (leprosy, tuberculosis, dysentery, ascaridosis, ankylostomiases, clonorchiases, tsutsugamushi disease, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria). Especially dangerous diseases have been eliminated, and considerable successes have been achieved in the struggle against tuberculosis, malaria, typhoid fever, and polio.
Medical care is provided to the population free of charge. From 1945 to 1949 the number of physicians increased by 340 percent; the number of middle-level medical personnel was 18.2 times greater, the number of institutions for treatment 13 times greater, and the number of hospital beds 5.8 times greater. As a result of the 1950–53 war the PDRK lost 95.6 percent of its treatment and prevention institutions. By the end of 1957 more than 2,100 institutions had been reconstructed or newly built. The number of hospital beds, in comparison with the 1949 prewar number, increased 200 percent and averaged 2.3 beds per 1,000 persons; the number of maternity and child-care institutions was 22.2 times greater; and the number of hygiene and disease prevention centers 3.3 times greater. In 1964 there were 5,300 hospitals and polyclinics and 51,100 hospital beds.
Great assistance in restoring the hospital network was rendered by the socialist countries: the USSR built a 600-bed hospital and 23 polyclinics; Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland rebuilt and completely equipped three hospitals (with 400 beds each) and 20 polyclinics; and the German Democratic Republic equipped the Central Dermatological and Venereological Health Center. Antituberculosis and dermatological and venereological health centers in Pyongyang and the provincial centers have been supplied with up-to-date equipment. By the end of 1967 there were 22,100 physicians and physicians’ assistants (not counting those in military service)—one physician per 380 inhabitants. In addition, there were more than 1,000 physicians practicing Oriental medicine.
In 1964 there were three medical institutes and the Academy of Military Medicine, as well as the Academy of Medical Science. Middle-level medical personnel are trained at seven technicums, 12 midwives’ schools, and 58 nursing schools. VETERINARY SERVICES. During the years of the people’s power, swine plague and swine erysipelas have been basically eliminated, along with fowl pox, fowl pest, and leptospirosis; other infectious diseases among animals have been successfully combated. The state veterinary service is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Public Health; the Central Veterinary Station has been organized under the ministry. Local stations have been established in the provinces, and veterinary treatment centers in the villages. The training of staff personnel is carried out at the Institute of Veterinary Science, at veterinary faculties of agricultural institutes, and at agricultural schools. The principal veterinary research center is the State Research Institute of Veterinary Science of the Academy of Agricultural Science; the institute publishes the journal Veterinary Medicine and Animal Husbandry.
Education. During the Japanese occupation of Korea a policy was conducted that was aimed at limiting the education and suppressing the culture of the Korean people. Instruction in the schools was carried on in Japanese, and neither Korea’s history nor its geography was studied. In 1945 there were 2.3 million illiterates in North Korea, and there were no secondary specialized or higher educational institutions. After liberation in 1945 all the old schools were abolished, and new people’s four-year schools were established; instruction was conducted in the native language under new programs.
In 1948 the government of the PDRK adopted a resolution providing for the introduction in 1950 of universal compulsory four-year elementary education. However, its implementation was hindered by the 1950–53 war. This goal was completed only during the 1956–57 academic year. In April 1958 tuition for all types of educational institutions was abolished. During the 1958–59 academic year the PDRK first introduced universal compulsory seven-year schooling. The law on the restructuring of the public education system, adopted in 1959, provided for instruction in elementary school for a period of four years, in middle school for three years, in technical school for two years, and at a higher technical school for two years. After the compulsory seven-year general-education instruction the pupils would enter technical schools specializing in various branches of the national economy, where along with general-education and technical knowledge they would acquire practical production skills. Higher technical schools provided a general secondary and a specialized secondary education. Their graduates acquired the right to work as technicians and to continue their education at higher educational institutions.
In the 1967–68 academic year universal compulsory nine-year education was introduced, and the entire public education system altered: the three-year middle school was combined with the two-year technical school to create a five-year secondary school, or a secondary school of the first level. The second-level secondary school is the “two-year school,” providing a complete secondary education and preparing its students to enter higher educational institutions. In 1967 there were 9,165 schools of all types including 4,064 people’s schools, 3,335 secondary schools, and 467 higher technical schools (as compared with 1,372 elementary schools, 50 middle schools, and nine vocational schools in 1945). Between 1961 and 1970, 376 technical schools were opened. The first specialized secondary educational institutions (19 technicums and nine teachers colleges) were opened in 1946. During the 1959–60 academic year there were 336 day and evening technicums and higher technical schools. According to the reform of the public education system carried out in 1967, three- and four-year higher technical schools carried out the functions of secondary specialized educational institutions. In 1970 all types of instruction encompassed about 3 million persons. In April 1973 a law was adopted introducing universal compulsory ten-year education as well as one year of preschool education.
The first higher educational institution in the PDRK’the Kim Il-sung State University in Pyongyang’was opened in 1946 (during the 1970–71 academic year it had an enrollment of about 16,000 students). In the postwar period particular attention has been devoted to technical specializations in colleges. In 1959, 15 higher educational institutions were opened, primarily technical. In 1960 the higher technical educational institutions had an enrollment of 53.4 percent of the total number of students. In accordance with a resolution of a plenary session of the Central Committee of the KWP in 1960, higher technical educational institutions (day and evening) were opened at major industrial enterprises, construction sites, and farm cooperatives. Correspondence education has been greatly developed.
During the 1964–65 academic year there were 98 higher educational institutions with 185,000 students; by 1970 there were 129 higher educational institutions, and new ones have been and are being opened in the provinces to satisfy the need for specialists. (Each province has agricultural and medical institutes, institutes for training preschool, elementary-school, and secondary-school teachers, and a communist university.) The largest institutions of higher learning are the Kim Il-sung State University and the Kim Chaek Polytechnical College in Pyongyang, the Hungnam Polytechnical College, and the Wonsan Agricultural College.
Also located in Pyongyang are the State Central Library (founded in 1945; 1.5 million volumes), the Library of the Academy of Sciences of the PDRK (founded in 1952; about 2 million volumes), the Central Historical Museum (founded in 1928), the Museum of the Korean Revolution (founded in 1948), the Central Liberation Struggle Museum (founded in 1953), the Ethnographic Museum (founded in 1956), and the Central Fine Arts Museum (founded in 1954).
Periodical scientific publications of the PDRK include the journals Chayon kwahak, Kwahak sege, and Taejung kwahak.
PHILOSOPHY. In the PDRK conditions for the study of Marxist-Leninist philosophy have been created. F. Engels’ Anti-Dühring and Dialectics of Nature have been published in Korean, as have the collected works of V. I. Lenin. Problems of Marxist-Leninist philosophy have been studied, bourgeois philosophical views have been exposed, and the history of Korean sociopolitical and philosophical thought is being studied. A work on the history of Korean philosophy by Chong Chin-sok, Chong Songchol, and Kim Chang-won was published in 1960, as was a general work on the history of philosophy. Problems of historical materialism have been developed in the works of Kim Il-sung. The centers for the study of philosophy are the Kim Il-sung State University, the Philosophy Institute of the Academy of Social Science (founded in 1964), and departments of Marxism-Leninism at higher educational institutions. The journal Cholhak yongu (Pyongyang, 1962–67) was devoted to philosophy. Philosophical works are published in the journal Kulloja (Pyongyang, since 1952).
In 1952 the History Institute was established under the Academy of Sciences of the PDRK (since 1964 it has been within the system of the Academy of Social Science); its publication Yoksa kwahak was issued from 1955 to 1967. An important contribution to the development of Korean history has been made by the Kim Il-sung State University. There are the Historical Museum and the Museum of the Korean Revolution (both in Pyongyang).
L. R. KONTSEVICH
REFERENCESKim Il-sung. Izbrannye proizvedeniia, vols. 1–5. Pyongyang, 1970–72.
Ustiuzhaninov, I. N. “O sostoianii ekonomicheskoi nauki v KNDR.” Vestnik MGU: Seriia ekonomiki, filosofii, prava, 1957, no. 2.
Kiselev, I. N. “Sotrudnichestvo Akademii nauk SSSR i KNDR.” Narody Azii i Afriki, 1970, no. 1.
Press, radio, and television. As of 1974 more than 20 newspapers and journals were being published, including those in English, French, Spanish, Japanese, Russian, and Chinese. The principal publications issued in Pyongyang are Nodong sinmun (Worker’s News), since 1945, a daily newspaper and an official publication of the Central Committee of the KWP; Kulloja (The Worker), since 1946, a monthly theoretical and political journal, an official publication of the Central Committee of the KWP; Minju Choson (Democratic Korea), since 1945, a daily; Tongil sinbo (News of Unification), since 1972, a newspaper; Pyongyang sinmun (Pyongyang News), since 1957, a daily newspaper, an official publication of the Pyongyang City Committee of the KWP and the City People’s Committee; Nodong chongnyon (Working Youth), since 1946, a daily newspaper, an official publication of the Central Committee of the Socialist Working Youth League; The Pyongyang Times, since 1965, a daily newspaper in English; and Les Nouvelles de Pyongyang, since 1971, a daily newspaper in French.
In the PDRK there is the Central News Agency, founded in 1946. Radio broadcasts are presented in Korean, Russian, English, French, Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese. A television center has been in operation in Pyongyang since 1967, and since 1971 there has been a relay television broadcasting station in Kaesong.
Literature. Since 1945 in North Korea (since 1948, the PDRK) a socialist literature has emerged that has continued the traditions of progressive, and especially proletarian, Korean literature. In 1946, Korean writers were united in the Association of North Korean Writers and Artists. A development of all literary genres has been observed. Along with such poets of the older generation as Pak Pal-yang, Min Pyong-gyun, and Pak Se-yong, young writers have devoted their creative work to building the new life. Great popularity was enjoyed by the poet and public figure Cho Ki-chon (1913–51), the author ofPaektusan (1947), an epic poem about the anti-Japanese partisan movement of the 1930’s. The democratic transformations in the countryside are reflected in the short stories and sketches of Choe Myong-ik and Chon Se-bong and in Yi Ki-yong’s novel The Earth (1948–60). Yi Puk-myong, Hwang Kon, and Yun Se-jun are writing about the working class. The Fatherland Liberation War of 1950–53 brought about the appearance of heroic and patriotic themes. Important contributions to the cause of the fatherland’s defense were made by the wartime journalism of Kim Sa-ryang, the short stories of Hwang Kong, Yung Se-jung, and Chon Se-bong, and verses from the front by Cho Ki-chon, Pak Pal-yang, and Min Pyong-gyung. In 1953 the Korean Writers Union was established.
In postwar literature the theme of peaceful, creative work remains predominant. New forces have joined poetry: Yi Ho-il, Pack In-jun, and others. The poets write about the happiness of peaceful labor, the struggle for the country’s unification, and the partisan movement during Japanese colonial rule. The contemporary novel continues to develop: Yung Se-jung’s In the Fire of Experiences (1957), about the working class; Chon Se-bong’s New Spring in Sokkaeul (1958–63), about the cooperative movement in rural areas; and Om Hong-sop’s The Dawn (1960), about the life of the people in South Korea. During the 1960’s large historical canvases appeared: The Tuman-gang (1954—61) by Yi Ki-yong, Father So San (1956) by Choe Myong-ik, A Story of the Taiga (1962) by Pak Se-yong, A Story of Misfortunes (1964–65) by Chon Se-bong, and The Young Guard (1963–66) by Im Chunchu.
Reflected in the literature of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s are the successes of socialist construction, the organizing role of the KWP, and the struggle to unify the country; great attention is paid to the anti-imperialist theme, as in the novels At The Front(1969) by Kim Cho-gyu and The Stars of the Underground Cave (1970) by Pyong Hui-gyun. Since the mid-1960’s memoir literature has become popular, most of it dealing with the struggle against the Japanese colonialists. Works have been written by authors’ collectives.
REFERENCESIvanova, V. I. Li Gi En: Zhizn’ i tvorchestvo. Moscow, 1962.
Li, V. “O periodizatsii sovremennoi koreiskoi titeratury.” Narody Azii i Afriki, 1963, no. 4.
Hyondae chakkaron (Contemporary Writers), vols. 1–2. Pyongyang, 1961–62.
Since the mid-1960’s new structural components and materials have been widely used, and structures have been built that are characterized by efficiency of planning and laconism and clarity of architectural form (the Kim Il-sung State University, Phase Two, 1972). Standard-design housing construction is being carried out on a large scale (multistory buildings with clustered apartments, including high-rise apartments and five- and six-story apartment buildings with entrances from balconies); it retains the national characteristics of planning (in particular, the heating system under the floors). Health resort construction has developed (including the resort in Yonggang) and residential construction in rural areas (single-family dwellings, one- and two-story semidetached houses, and four-story buildings with clustered apartments).
The revival and extensive development of the national traditions of artistic creativity (including painting with ink and water-colors) has been facilitated by the General Federation of North Korean Literature and Arts Unions founded in 1946, which includes the Artists’ Union. During the war years of 1950–53 agitational leaflets and posters were made. Working in the traditional technique of painting with ink and watercolors are the artists Yi Chong, Choe Kyong-gung, Yi Sok-ho, and Chong Yong-man, who addressed traditional themes (for example, the “birds-and-flowers” genre as well as contemporary ones (depicting the people’s sacrifices in war and work). Oil painting (for the most part, on everyday and historical themes) is represented by Kim Chong-nam, Pak Myong-hun, Pyon Se-yon, and Mun Haksu. Graphic arts have been developed (illustration, engraving, and posters by Kim Kong-jun, Pae Un-song, and Pak Sung-hui); the various forms of sculpture (Mun Sok-o, Han Yong-sik, Cho Kyu-bong) often combine the traditions of European and Oriental art. Ancient traditions have been preserved in the decorative and applied arts: pottery, carving in bone and wood, weaving from bamboo fiber and grass, weaving and embroidery of cloth, and lacquered articles.
In 1953 the Korean Artists’ Union was founded in Pyongyang, and in 1954, the Korean Architects Union.
REFERENCEVinogradova, N. “Iskusstvo Koreiskoi Narodno-Demokraticheskoi Respubliki.” In Vseobshchaia istoriia iskusstv, vol. 6, book 2. Moscow, 1966.
G. B. MINERVIN (architecture) and O. N. GLUKHAREVA (art)
Music. After the liberation of Korea in 1945 favorable conditions were created for all types of music. During the first few years the greatest development was attained by the popular song (the composers Yi Myon-sang, Sin To-son, Kim Ok-song, Kim Won-gyun, and Pak Han-gyu). Much attention was also paid to the folk song, to which professional musicians frequently turned: Hwang Hak-kun (”Song of the Fishermen of Pongsongpo”) and Kim Chae-song (”Maiden’s Song” and “The Cuckoo”). In 1946 an organization uniting musicians was established, which subsequently became a part of the General Federation of North Korean Literature and Arts Unions. Educational institutions for music were opened in the major cities (in 1949, the Pyongyang Conservatory), as were concert halls and musical theaters. Com-position in various genres was resumed. Within the musical theater two leading genres developed: the changguk (musical folk drama) and kaguk (modern opera). The emergence of the kaguk is linked with the composers Yi Myon-sang and Hwang Hak-kun.
Between 1947 and 1949 the State People’s Art Theater and the State Art Theater opened in Pyongyang, and music and dramatic troupes were formed in all the provinces. The State Art Theater was the most important center for disseminating musical culture. In contrast to the State People’s Art Theater, which stages primarily pieces from the traditional repertoire, the State Art Theater strove to create new, contemporary operas and ballets, based on the creative assimilation of the national music heritage and the achievements of the progressive musical art of European countries (the operas Story of Chun Hyang and The Colored Slipper by Yi Myon-sang and Chirisan by Kim Won-gyun and the ballet Flowers of the Field by Hwang Hak-kun). During the Fatherland Liberation War of 1950–53 this theater continued to operate in Pyongyang (performances were given in an under-ground hall of the mountain Moran-bong). Patriotic works were presented: the operas My Growth by Yi Kong-u and Admiral Yi Sun-sin by Pak Tong-sil, based on the play by Song Yong, and the ballet In the Name of the Party by Kim Yong-gun. The theater’s orchestra performed the oratorio Han-gang by Yi Kong-u and the cantata On to Victory! by Yi Che-rok. Patriotic songs became very popular.
After the conclusion of the truce the restoration and subsequent development of music was systematically planned. In 1953 the Composers Union of the PDRK was established. By 1955 new, modern theater buildings and a concert hall had been built in Pyongyang. In the same year a philharmonic society, a large symphony orchestra, and other musical groups were organized. Korean composers have written their first symphonies’the First Symphony by Sin To-son and the symphonic poem For the Motherland by Cho Kil-sok. The State Art Theater remains the leading theater in Pyongyang, and among its most popular works are Tell Us a Story, Taiga by Yi Myon-sang and Sin To-son, Kyonu and Chinnyo by Yi Myon-sang, and The Moon in the Kumgangsan by Ham Hong-gun. An important place in the musical life of Korea is occupied by the Ensemble of Korean Folk Instruments and the Song and Dance Ensemble of the Korean People’s Army, which includes a large choral group.
Considerable successes have been attained by the ballet studio established in Pyongyang in 1946 (since 1952, the State Ballet Studio). Its repertoire includes the Legend of the Sadosong Fortress by Choe Ok-san and Under the Bright Sun by Choe Ok-san, Yi Sok, and Kim Mun-song.
REFERENCELatov, V. S. Iskusstvo v svobodnoi Koree. Moscow, 1957.
During the war years of 1950–53 the theaters of the PDRK restructured their operation. Troupes were divided into brigades, which formed small, mobile theaters. These groups carried on agitation and propaganda work at the front and in the rear. The repertoire included one-act plays, popular songs, and readings. From the late 1950’s the Korean theater continued its search for new paths of development. The anti-Japanese struggle of the Korean partisans during the 1930’s and early 1940’s has become a major topic in the repertoire. The shows put on by the theater reflected the development and reevaluation of the nation’s his-tory (Admiral Yi Sun-sin, 1960, and Pak Yon-am by Song Yong, 1962). In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, along with historical works, plays devoted to the national liberation movement during Japanese colonial rule were staged more and more frequently: Above Sea Level at the State Dramatic Theater, and Pusan, The Torch ofPochongbo, Green Pine, and Our Mother by Kim Song at the Chollima State Dramatic Theater.
REFERENCESovremennaia Koreia. Moscow, 1971.
South Korea occupies the southern Korean Peninsula. Area, 98,500 sq km; population, 31.9 million (1971). The capital is Seoul. The country is divided administratively into provinces: Kyonggi-do, Chungchong-pukto, Chungchong-namdo, Chollapukto, Cholla-namdo, Kyongsang-pukto, Kyongsang-namdo, Kangwon-do, and Cheju-do; the cities of Seoul and Pusan are treated as separate administrative units.
The annual population growth rate from 1961 to 1971 averaged 2.3 percent. The economically active population is 10.2 million (1971), of which 49 percent are employed in agriculture. According to official UN data (1971) there are about 500,000 unemployed and more than 3 million partially unemployed. South Korea has a high population density; on the average it reaches more than 320 persons per sq km. In 1970 the urban population was 43 percent of the total. Major cities (with more than 100,000 inhabitants) are Seoul (5.5 million inhabitants in 1970), Pusan (1.8 million), Taegu (1.1 million), Inchon (646,-000), Kwangju, Taejon, Chonju, Masan, and Mokpo. South Korea formally is a republic. The constitution in force, adopted in December 1972, contains declarations of the political and personal rights of the citizens, but it really ensures the de facto dictatorial authority of the chief of state’the president, who is elected for a term of six years. The highest legislative body is a unicameral parliament’the National Assembly; two-thirds of its members are elected to six-year terms, and one-third are elected by the National Conference for Unification to three-year terms. The right to vote is enjoyed by persons who have reached the age of 20. The government of South Korea is the State Council, consisting of the president (its chairman), the prime minister, and from 15 to 25 other members. Local administration is completely dependent on the central authority. The heads of local administration (the provincial governor and the district and county administrators) are appointed by the minister of home affairs. There are local assemblies with sharply delimited areas of competence; in essence their functions are of a purely advisory nature.
The judicial system of South Korea includes the Supreme Court, appellate courts in Seoul, Taegu, and Kwangju, and local courts in provincial centers with branches in 28 major cities’.
Historical survey. In South Korea after the establishment of the dictatorship of the big bourgeoisie and landowners, the leading position was occupied by those circles of the bourgeoisie who were oriented toward the USA. From 1948 to 1960 the South Korean regime was headed by the dictator Syngman Rhee (Yi Sung-man). The conclusion of American-South Korean agreements on finances and property in 1948, on economic aid in January 1950 and on mutual defense in August 1953 ensured preferential privileges for the USA. The expansion of the military-industrial complex and the growth of militarization in South Korea have imposed a heavy burden on the working masses. Economic instability, growing inflation, and steady increases in prices of necessities all have a negative effect on the position of the working class. Harsh labor legislation in effect abolishes all the economic and democratic rights of the workers. The number of unemployed is increasing because of the growing militarization of the national economy and the curtailment of national civilian enterprises. The army of the unemployed is constantly growing as more and more ruined peasants, craftsmen, and small-scale traders join its ranks.
Between 1948 and 1951 an agrarian reform was carried out in two phases; it limited landlord property rights and strengthened the well-to-do peasant strata. After the reform, differentiation among the peasantry advanced at a rapid pace. In 1970 more than 1.6 million (72 percent) peasant households owned less than 900,000 chongbo, or 44 percent of the arable lands. There are more than 1 million peasant households with small plots of land’less than half of a chongbo. The ruin of the poor-peasant farms has been sharply increased. Industrial development has been carried out primarily through the capital investments ($656 million in 1971) of the largest imperialist powers (the USA, Japan, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, and Italy). The dominance in the economy of the big bourgeoisie, who are dependent upon foreign capital (primarily that of the USA), impinges upon the interests of the petite bougeoisie and part of the middle-level national bourgeoisie. The intelligentsia experiences deprivations, especially students, who frequently remain without work after graduation from secondary school.
The growing acuteness of internal contradictions led to the April 1960 Uprising. On March 15 students in the city of Masan, protesting against the rigged presidential elections, organized a demonstration that was dispersed by the police. These bloody reprisals provoked a wave of indignation throughout the country. On April 19 an uprising began in Seoul and other cities, in which workers, small-scale entrepreneurs, traders, and clerks joined the students. Among the popular masses of the South there was an intensified striving for national reunification and for the establishment of cultural and economic contacts with the North.
Under the influence of the popular movement, opposition to the regime on the part of the national bourgeoisie grew rapidly, and under the pressure of this mass democratic movement throughout the country the Rhee dictatorship collapsed. However, despite the selflessness of the insurgents and the broad participation of the popular masses, the April Uprising ended with a coup at the top. The foundations of the reactionary regime, its social and class basis, remained intact. After the fall of the Rhee dictatorship two bourgeois-landowner governments followed in succession: the provisional government of Ho Chong from May to August 1960 and the government of Chang My on from August 1960 to May 1961. With the deepening crisis within the ruling upper circles and the growth of the mass opposition movement, a military coup took place on May 16, 1961. Power was seized by a military junta led by General Chung Hee Park (Pak Chong-hi). In 1963, Park assumed the office of civilian president. Elections to the National Assembly were held, in which the dominant position was taken by the ruling Democratic Republican Party (founded in 1963). In attempting to lessen the acuteness of the domestic crisis, the Park government embarked upon foreign policy adventures. South Korean troops fought in the war in Vietnam.
In South Korea a mass protest movement has developed against the reactionary policies of the Park government. In late 1963 and early 1964 the struggle of the workers erupted with new force. In 1964 there were 126 labor conflicts, in which 207,400 persons participated. The workers demanded an increase in wages and payment on time, lower taxes, an eight-hour workday, and an expansion of trade-union rights. During the summer of 1969 the internal political situation grew more acute when Park’s supporters attempted to push through constitutional amendments allowing him to be a candidate for president for the third time. Stormy student demonstrations were directed against a revision of the constitution in late June and early July 1969 in Seoul and several other cities. During street clashes dozens of students were wounded and hundreds were arrested. The ruling circles succeeded in introducing amendments to the constitution. In December 1972 a new constitution was adopted, considerably expanding the powers of the president and limiting the functions of the National Assembly.
During the growing struggle, increasingly broader circles of the population in the South have come to the conclusion that only negotiations and the establishment of ties and contacts with the North will achieve the unification of Korea and economic and social progress. Prior to 1972 the ruling circles of South Korea rejected all constructive proposals by the PDRK concerning the peaceful unification of the country. During the summer of 1972 negotiations were held in Pyongyang and Seoul between official representatives of the PDRK and South Korea. As a result of these talks, the Joint Declaration of the North and South was signed, setting forth the principles for independent, peaceful unification.
From 1973 through 1975 there were mass actions of students and other opposition forces demanding the abrogation of the constitution of 1972. In their struggle against the opposition movement the Seoul authorities often resorted to emergency measures and set up special military tribunals. The Seoul regime has pursued an inflexible policy in negotiations with the PDRK on the unification of the country.
REFERENCESIuzhnaia Koreia: Ekonomicheskoe i politicheskoe polozhenie (1945–1958 gg.). Moscow, 1959.
Mazurov, V. M., and B. V. Sinitsyn. luzhnaia Koreia: Dramaticheskoe pereput’e. Moscow, 1963.
Mazurov, V. M. Sozdanie antinarodnogo rezhima v Iuzhnoi Koree (1945–1950). Moscow, 1963.
Mazurov, V. M. luzhnaia Koreia i SShA (1950–1970). Moscow, 1971.
Sovremennaia Koreia: Spravochnoe izdanie. Moscow, 1971. Pages 122–39, 307–16.
McCune, G. M. Korea Today. Cambridge, Mass., 1950.
(See also the references for the section “PDRK: Historical Survey.”)
Economy. South Korea is an agricultural, economically backward country with a mixed economy. There is a predominance of private capitalist relations with vestiges of money-lending feudalism in the rural areas. There is extensive development of small-scale commodity and private capitalist production (which accounts for half of the country’s national income); it is completely controlled by state-monopoly capital. The economic development of South Korea is subordinated to the interests of foreign, primarily American, capital, which has free and open access to the country. South Korea’s indebtedness to foreign states, particularly to the USA, Japan, and the Federal Republic of Germany, had reached approximately $3 billion by the beginning of 1972. The destruction caused by the 1950–53 war and the disruption of the traditional economic ties between South and North Korea had a negative impact on economic growth.
In the gross national product (for 1969, not including services), the major role belongs to agriculture, with 35 percent; industry accounts for 28 percent, construction for 8 percent, transportation and communications for 8 percent, and trade for 18 percent.
AGRICULTURE. The total area under cultivation in 1971 was 2.3 million hectares (ha)—less than one-fourth of the total area. More than half of the fields are irrigated, and in these a third of the arable land has steady irrigation from reservoirs. Rice is the main crop in the irrigated fields; the rice is preceded by crops of barley, wheat, or green vegetables. Approximately two-thirds of the dry (nonirrigated) lands yield two harvests a year, mostly barley and wheat, with some legumes. Industrial crops include soybeans, cotton, tobacco, hemp, and ramie. Cotton growing has experienced a crisis caused by the import of American cotton. The principal cotton crops are grown in the province of Chollanamdo. About 70 percent of the tobacco harvest is in the provinces of Chungchong-pukto, Kyongsang-pukto, and Chungchong-namdo. Vegetable gardening is found throughout the country. About 2 percent of agricultural land is planted with fruits (apples and peaches). Approximately three-fourths of the total apple harvest of 220,000 tons comes from the province of Kyongsang-pukto, around the city of Taegu; peaches (78,000 tons in 1970) are harvested primarily in the provinces of Kyong-sang-namdo, Kyongsang-pukto, and Kyonggi-do. (See Table 5 for the yield of the principal agricultural crops.) Livestock raising has been poorly developed. The most common livestock are cattle, used mostly as draft animals (1.2 million head; 1970–71), and swine (1.4 million); there is also poultry farming (24.2 million).
|Table 5. Yield of principal agricultural crops (tons)|
The forested area is 6.7 million ha. Lumbering is carried on, mostly in mountainous regions (producing 10.4 million cu m in 1971).
The maritime industry has been developed, particularly fishing (the total catch in 1971 amounted to 727,000 tons).
INDUSTRY. South Korean industry has an unbalanced branch structure. Foreign capital investments (about 158 million dollars between 1962 and 1970) have stimulated the development of branches primarily oriented toward export. Most needs for finished industrial products are satisfied by imports. Branches that would provide for the technological modernization of the economy have been poorly developed. Mineral resources are used inefficiently; most high-quality ores are exported.
About two-thirds of the coal mined is concentrated in the Eastern Basin (the Chongson, Tongyang, Hambaek, Yongwol, and Samchok mines) and one-third in the Southern Basin (the Hwasun Mine in the province of Cholla-Namdo). The most important mineral is tungsten, in the production of which South Korea occupies one of the leading places in the world. The most important center of the tungsten-mining industry is the Sangdong Mine (in Kangwon-do). The gold-mining industry is of great importance (the Chokche, Kubong, Samgwan, and other mines). Also extracted are lead, zinc, and ores of molybdenum, tin, manganese, monazite, and uranium. The principal centers for iron ore are the mines of Yangyang and Mulkkum. Among the nonmetallic minerals, amorphous graphite is extracted. In 1971 imported petroleum provided 45 percent of the total volume of the primary energy sources, anthracite coal 30 percent, firewood 20 percent, and hydroelectric power 5 percent.
Manufacturing enterprises are mostly of the semicottage type, and crafts play an important role in industrial production. Modern factories, as a rule, are owned by foreign firms. There are three distinct industrial zones: Seoul-Inchon (in the province of Kyonggi-do), Samchok (Kangwon-do), and Pusan-Ulsan (in the southeast).
Most of the output in manufacturing is produced by branches of the food-and-condiment industry and light industry, primarily textiles. Rice-cleaning, flour-milling, sugar-refining, soybean-processing, wine-making, tobacco-processing, and fish-processing enterprises are common. Predominant in the textile industry is cotton production. Regions of South Korea have long been famous for their production of natural silk fabric (9.9 million sq m in 1970). Most of the cotton products are turned out in Seoul, Inchon, Taegu, Kwangju, and Pusan; silk articles are produced in Chonju, Seoul, Taegu, Kwangju, and Taejon. The chemical industry produces nitrogenous fertilizers, sulfuric acid, pharmaceutical products, and such rubber articles as tires and footwear (mostly komushins—traditional Korean footwear). Chemical processing of imported petroleum is done in Ulsan and Yosu.
The metallurgical base is very limited (the smelting of steel amounted to only 500,000 tons in 1970). There is a conversion plant in Inchon and several small steel foundries in the Seoul region. A metallurgical complex was being built in 1973 with foreign capital in Pohang. Nonferrous metallurgical enterprises include the Changhong Plant, a plant in Tongjin, and an aluminum plant in Ulsan. Metalworking is represented by enterprises for the repair of automobiles, trucks, steam locomotives, railroad cars, and ships and for the assembly of radio receivers (900,000 sets in 1970), television sets, bicycles, motorcycles, automobiles, electric and diesel motors, electrical-engineering equipment, and sewing machines; these enterprises use imported components and spare parts. Household items and simple farm tools are made. There are two centers of paper production (Taejon and Seoul; 295,000 tons of paper and cardboard in 1970). Production of building materials is expanding. (For the output of major industrial products, see Table 6.)
|Table 6. Industrial output of major products|
|Electric power (billion kilowatt-hours).................||3.9||7.7||10.5|
|Coal (million tons).................||11.6||10.3||12.8|
|Iron ore (tons).................||807,000||734,000||442,000|
|Tungsten (60 percent concentrate of WO3; tons).................||4,700||3,800||4,000|
|Zinc concentrate (tons).................||23,400||40,300||60,200|
|Lead concentrate (tons).................||13,900||24,000||26,500|
|Cement (million tons).................||1.9||4.8||6.9|
|Cotton fabrics (million sq m).................||173.5||191.7||230.4|
FOREIGN TRADE. The foreign-trade balance shows a chronic deficit (in 1971 exports amounted to only 45 percent of the value of imports). The share of foodstuffs in the total volume of imports rose from 8 percent in 1960 to 17 percent in 1971. Raw cotton has become an important article of import; the domestic needs for this product were previously satisfied by domestic production. South Korea exports tungsten and other raw minerals, and the proportion of finished products has increased— fabrics, knitted goods, and products of the electronics industry. The principal foreign-trade partners of South Korea are Japan, the USA, and the Federal Republic of Germany. The monetary unit is the won.
REFERENCESKoreia: Sever i Iug. Moscow, 1965.
Martynov, V. V. Koreia. Moscow, 1970.
Sovremennaia Koreia. Moscow, 1971.
Ground forces (about 570,000 men) consist of two army and five corps administrations. There are 19 infantry divisions, ten reserve divisions, two tank brigades, and various special forces, including engineering, communications, and logistic troops. Their weaponry includes tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery, mine-throwers, and other up-to-date military equipment that is mostly of American manufacture. Small-arms parts, light artillery, and mine-throwers are produced in South Korea. The air force (with about 23,000 men) consists of one operational command, five air wings, and one antiaircraft brigade. In addition, there are one battalion of Nike-Hercules antiaircraft guided missiles and two Hawk battalions. The air force’s weaponry includes more than 215 combat and 160 auxiliary airplanes of American manufacture, including some up-to-date models. The navy (which has about 49,000 men, including approximately 33,000 marines) consists of one squadron, three divisions of patrol boats, and several divisions of mine-sweepers, landing craft, and auxiliary vessels’a total of three destroyers, 13 patrol boats, more than 17 small antisubmarine and 20 landing craft, and more than 20 auxiliary vessels.
Health and social welfare. No systematic statistics on the birth rate, death rate, or infant mortality are kept in South Korea, and published data do not reflect the real situation. The basic pathology is composed of infectious and parasitic diseases. In 1967 the most prevalent diseases were tuberculosis, gonorrhea, leprosy, typhoid fever, and children’s diseases; polio and dysentery were also widespread. In the cities the incidence of venereal diseases has assumed massive proportions. The most common parasitic diseases are ascariasis (with an incidence in the provinces ranging from 46.9 percent to 81 percent of the population), ancylostomiasis, and tsutsugamushi disease; in the southern part of the country clonorchiasis is endemic (in the Kum-gang Delta it has an incidence of as much as 50 percent) and paragonimiasis (with an incidence of 47 percent). In its number of patients suffering from tuberculosis, cholera, typhus and typhoid fever, and leprosy, South Korea occupied first place in Asia in 1971. Japanese encephalitis and malaria are encountered regularly, and cholera and smallpox are periodically recorded. Predominant among noninfectious diseases are those related to protein and vitamin deficiencies.
In 1969 there were 219 hospitals with 16,300 beds (0.5 per 1,000 inhabitants). Medical services are provided mostly by physicians in private practice. One-fifth of the population is unable to make use of hospitals and the services of physicians because of poverty and the high cost of treatment. The cost of various types of medical service in state and community hospitals in 1971 had risen 20–60 percent in comparison with 1966. Mass epidemics every year carry off thousands of people. Nevertheless, expenditures on medical services are cut every year. In 1968 there were 13,500 physicians at work (one physician for every 2,500 inhabitants), about 5,000 physicians’ assistants, 1,900 dentists, 13,800 pharmacists, and about 19,500 middle-level medical personnel. Some 33 percent of all physicians and 37 percent of all dentists are concentrated in Seoul.
Physicians are trained at eight medical colleges. Employees of the public health service are given part-time training at the National Institute of Public Health. At Seoul National University courses have been established to improve the qualifications of physicians.
Education. In accordance with the 1949 law on education a school system was established consisting of six years of elementary school, three years of middle school, and three years of high school. In the mid-1960’s compulsory elementary education was introduced formally, but in fact every year 150,000–170,000 children leave elementary school without completing their basic education. In 1967 there were about 4 million school-age children who were unable to continue their education.
Along with the state and municipal schools there are many private schools (chiefly those owned by religious societies and communities), which form the largest category in the educational system. In schools of all categories the pupils pay tuition and various “contributions” (in 1967 there were more than 20 different fees). During the 1969–70 academic year there were 5.6 million pupils enrolled in elementary schools. High schools are divided into general-education (humanities) and vocational schools. During the 1969–70 academic year there were 1.7 million pupils enrolled in middle and high schools. The vocational high schools, three-year technical schools, and advanced technical schools form a network of vocational educational institutions. During the 1969–70 academic year there were 259,000 pupils enrolled at secondary vocational-education institutions.
The system of higher education includes universities and four-year colleges. In addition, there are colleges with two-year courses of instruction, occupying an intermediate position between secondary schools and colleges; South Korean statistics also include seminaries among higher educational institutions. In 1966 more than 71 percent of all higher educational institutions were private.
During the 1969–70 academic year there were 69 universities and four-year colleges and 59 two-year colleges, with a total enrollment of 186,600 students. Major higher educational institutions include Seoul National University (founded in 1946) and the private universities Yongsei University (1885) and Ewha Women’s University (1886), all in Seoul. South Korean students receiving their higher education abroad usually study in the USA, France, or the Federal Republic of Germany.
All educational institutions have introduced drill instruction, and twice as many hours are spent on it as on any other subject.
Major libraries and museums located in Seoul include the National Central Library (416,000 volumes), the Seoul National University Library (779,900 volumes), the National Museum (founded in 1916), and the Art Gallery of the Kyong-bok-kun Palace (founded in 1916).
Press, radio, and television. In 1974, more than 40 newspapers and more than 300 magazines were published. The progressive press is persecuted. Nearly all the press is controlled by large enterprises closely linked to the South Korean regime. The principal dailies, published in Seoul, are Tonga ilbo (East Asia News), since 1920; Choson ilbo (Korean News), since 1920; Hanguk ilbo (Korean News), since 1954; Chungang ilbo (Central News), since 1965; Seoul sinmun (Seoul News), since 1945; The Korea Times, since 1950; and the Korea Herald, since 1953.
There are several news agencies, including Hapdong Tongsinsa (founded in 1945), Tongyang Tongsinsa (1952), and Tonghua Tongsinsa (1956)—all in Seoul. Radio and television stations are in operation.
Literature and art. In the first years after the expulsion of the Japanese colonialists (1945–48) many writers expressed in their works hopes for the country’s independence, as in the poetry collections of Yi Ha-yun (born 1902), Kim Kwang-sop (born 1906), and Yu Chi-hwan (1897–1967). Since 1948 anticommunist tendencies in literature have grown stronger. The older generation of prose writers (Yom Sang-sop, Chu Yo-sop, Kim Tong-in, Yi Mu-yong) have continued the traditions of naturalism and decadent literature. Since 1954 a new generation of prose writers has emerged, heavily influenced by French existentialism, the views of the “new criticism,” the theory of the antinovel, and so forth. Themes of war, the absurd, and loneliness dominate the problem-oriented prose of Kim Song-han (born 1919), Chang Yong-hak, and Songu Hwi (born 1922). The influence of T. S. Eliot is reflected in the poetry of Kim Ki-rim and Cho Pyong-wa. Mysticism and the search for a distinctive “oriental way of thought” are reflected in the works of Yi Tong-ji and Yi Hyon-ji. After the April 1960 Uprising a certain revival of progressive trends in literature has been noted. The “literature of participation” has developed, which contains a criticism of South Korean reality.
From 1950 through the 1970’s public buildings in South Korea have been constructed mostly in Western European styles (including functionalism: the Korean Air Lines Building in Seoul, 1969); also encountered are efforts to combine elements of national architecture (roofs whose ends curve upward slightly, carved decoration) with contemporary structural elements (the Walker Hill Amusement Center near Seoul). Housing construction is carried out, for the most part, using standard designs. Many trends have existed in the representational arts of South Korea from the 1950’s to the 1970’s. The realistic trend under European influence (which does not enjoy the support of official circles) is represented by the painters Kim In-sung and Yi Chung-sop. Working in imitation of 20th-century European modernism are the painters Kim Hwan-gi and Nam Kwan and the sculptors Kim Yong-hak and Chong Sang-bom. The painter Ho Paeng-nyon and the sculptor Kim Kyong-sung follow national traditions. Kim Ki-chang and Pak Nae-hyon combine techniques of national tradition and 20th-century European painting. Traditional articles of the decorative applied arts are still being made.
Traditional music has been preserved by the efforts of individual enthusiasts. Progressive musicians have been persecuted, and many have been compelled to emigrate. The major musical center is Seoul, where an opera company that stages works of the European repertoire, five symphony orchestras, and musical colleges at six universities are all in operation.
After 1945 many theater troupes were disbanded. As a result of repression by the authorities and the establishment of an antihumanist atmosphere, a large group of progressive leaders in the theater arts have left South Korea (beginning in the second half of 1946) to work in North Korea. The National Theater of Contemporary Drama was formed in 1948, but before the 1950–53 war it failed to realize its potential. After the war the theatrical arts encountered competition from film-makers: American motion pictures crowded out the legitimate theater. However, in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s several theaters were open: the Minjung Theater, the Tongyang Theater, and the Experimental Theater. Small theatrical companies were also performing. The number of productions has been small, and their artistic and ideological level has not been high. Progressive presentations have been subjected to sharp attacks. The theater has been influenced by Western modernist art. Efforts by a small group of men prominent in the theater to preserve national traditions have not brought about the desired results.
Cinematography began to develop in 1946. The subject matter of films made during the late 1940’s was connected, for the most part, with liberation from the Japanese yoke. Since the war of 1950–53 two fundamental trends have become visible: a reactionary tendency, which is opposed to the socialist countries, and a moderately liberal trend, whose supporters attempt to show the inadequacies of South Korean bourgeois society. Only a few films meet the requirements of genuine works of art: Nightmare Night (1953) and A Superfluous Man (1965). Despite the considerable number of films released (in 1966, 120 feature films), the film industry is experiencing a profound crisis, caused by the harsh censorship, competition from foreign films, and the financial difficulties of the film studios. Among the leading film figures are Sin Sa-rok, Yu Hyon-rok, Yun Pong-chun, Yi Kyu-hwan, An Chong-hwa, Sin Yong-gyun, Han Hyong-mo, Yang Chunam, Kim Song-chun, Chon Chang-gun, Yi Kyong-sun, and Yi Yong-min. In 1968 nine film studios were in operation.
REFERENCESNamjoson munhak yesur-ui pandongjok ponjil. Pyongyang, 1969.
Sovremennaia Koreia. Moscow, 1971. [13–450–2; updated by Soviet editors]
Lantern Festival (Korea)
Although many types of lanterns are used, some of the most popular resemble a tortoise, duck, ship, drum, lotus flower, heron, carp, watermelon, or sun and moon.
Monks began the custom of hanging lanterns for Buddha's birthday during the middle of the Silla dynasty (seventh-eighth century). As Confucianism took stronger hold during the Yi dynasty (1392-1910), it fell into decline. Later in the 20th century many Koreans revived the tradition, though nowadays it is not as widespread. Still, temples all over South Korea hold celebrations in honor of the Buddha on this day with elaborate lantern displays, particularly in Seoul, where there are festivals at major temples with special religious services, other spiritual activities, games, crafts, and a huge lantern parade.
See also Vesak
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AnnCustKorea-1983, p. 97
FestWrld: SouthKorea-1998, p. 12
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 305
Lantern Festival (Yuan Hsiao Chieh)
In China, it's traditional for merchants to hang paper lanterns outside their shops for several days before the full-moon day. On the night of the festival, the streets are bright with both lanterns and streamers, and people go out in throngs to see the displays. The most popular lanterns are cut-outs of running horses that revolve with the heat of the candles that light them. Other customs include eating round, stuffed dumplings and solving "lantern riddles"—riddles that are written on pieces of paper and stuck to the lanterns. In many areas, children parade with lanterns of all shapes and sizes. It's also thought to be a good night for young women to find husbands. In Penang, Malaysia, single women in their best dresses stroll along the city's promenade, and some parade in decorated cars followed by musicians.
Tibetan Buddhists celebrate the day as Monlam, or Prayer Festival, and in Lhasa, the butter sculptures of the monks are famous ( see Butter Sculpture Festival). In China's Gansu Province, the Lhabuleng Monastery is the site of sculptured butter flowers made by the lamas and hung in front of the main scripture hall. On the day before the full moon, a dance is performed by about 30 masked lamas to the music of drums, horns, and cymbals. The protagonists are the God of Death and his concubines; they dance with others who are dressed as skeletons, horned stags, and yaks.
In 1990, the Taipei Lantern Festival was first held in Taiwan's capital city. It's held at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and features high-tech lanterns with mechanical animation, dry-ice "smoke," and laser beams. In recent years, theme lanterns were modeled after the Chinese zodiacal animals for those years. Sculptor Yuyu Yang has produced elaborate structures for the festival, including a dragon that was 40 feet high with a skin of a stainless-steel grid and 1,200 interior light bulbs that shone through to make it look like a gigantic hand-made paper lantern. Laser beams shot from the dragon's eyes, and red-colored smoke spewed from the mouth. Another year, he created three 33-foot-high goats made of acrylic tubes with colored lights shining from the inside.
The festival also offers musical and folk art performances, a procession of religious and folk floats, and troupes of performers entertaining with martial arts demonstrations, stilt-walking, and acrobatics.
In Hong Kong, anyone who has had a son during the year brings a lantern to the Ancestral Hall, where the men gather for a meal.
The Lantern Festival is supposed to have originated with the emperors of China's Han dynasty (206 b.c.e.-221 c.e.), who paid tribute to the universe on that night. Because the ceremony was held in the evening, lanterns were used to illuminate the palace. The Han rulers imposed a year-round curfew on their subjects, but on this night the curfew was lifted, and the people, carrying their own simple lanterns, went forth to view the fancy lanterns of the palace.
Another legend holds that the festival originated because a maid of honor (named Yuan Xiao, also the name of the sweet dumpling of this day) in the emperor's household longed to see her parents during the days of the Spring Festival. The resourceful Dongfang Shuo decided to help her. He spread the rumor that the god of fire was going to burn down the city of Chang-an. The city was thrown into a panic. Dongfang Shuo, summoned by the emperor, advised him to have everyone leave the palace and also to order that lanterns be hung in every street and every building. In this way, the god of fire would think the city was already burning. The emperor followed the advice, and Yuan Xiao took the opportunity to see her family. There have been lanterns ever since.
Hong Kong Tourism Board
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Taiwan Government Information Office
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BkFestHolWrld-1970, p. 9
BkHolWrld-1986, Feb 27
DictFolkMyth-1984, p. 603
EncyRel-1987, vol. 3, p. 325
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 91
GdWrldFest-1985, p. 63
HolSymbols-2009, p. 479
RelHolCal-2004, p. 231