Korea, Thy Name is Hell Joseon

by

One of the biggest scandals of 2010 involved Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan, whose own daughter was found to have mysteriously qualified for a plum job inside the ministry, presumably with the father’s backing.

This itself would not have been ordinarily such big news in South Korea, but the timing was most unfortunate for the minister-daughter duo: Only two weeks earlier then-president Lee Myung-bak had announced the launch of a campaign to make South Korea a more “Just Society.”

Yu was forced to resign in a bid by the Lee administration to contain the damage from the scandal, but it was already too late. A poll conducted in the aftermath of the scandal showed that more than 70 percent of South Koreans believed their country to be a place without justice.

Perhaps more importantly, the development underscored a certain truth of South Korea: a country where official rhetoric in service of a lofty ideal could scarcely be more distant from a reality controlled by self-serving figures in power.

That episode came to my mind a few days ago as I encountered the news that three out of four attorneys hired at the Board of Audit and Inspection — the government organ responsible for nothing less than monitoring the behavior of public officials — were children of high-ranking officials and lawmakers suspected of being hired not for their abilities but for their family backgrounds.

Five years after Yu’s resignation and the attempt to make South Korea fairer, the life of South Koreans continues to suffer from small injustices that reflect the existence of two realities here: one available only to those from the right backgrounds and another that is experienced by everyone else.

Though an exact number is hard to come by, it seems that more and more South Koreans in their 20s and 30s are calling this gap between the two realities proof of South Korea as “Hell Joseon” — an infernal feudal kingdom stuck in the nineteenth century — and this language is catching on, to much hand-wringing in the domestic media. There is even a website dedicated to exposing South Korea’s ostensibly hellish and backward reality — named Hell Korea — and each morning I find the Hell Joseon Facebook group with more likes than the previous night.

One illustration purporting to show this truth of South Korea as hell has captured the popular imagination, a map titled “Hell Joseon: An Infernal Hellfire Peninsula.”

"Hell Joseon: An Infernal Hellfire Peninsula"
“Hell Joseon: An Infernal Hellfire Peninsula” (Source: @iKaMuSuMe__)

According to this map, being born in South Korea is tantamount to entering hell, where one is immediately enslaved by a highly regulated system that dictates an entire course of life. Onerous education and service in the abusive military are the norm, and the only goal for the young is to become servants of the mighty corporations that rule the realm from its heart.

Politicians turn blind eyes to the plight of the people from the luxury of their throne afar. “Golden Spoons” — euphemism for those born into wealth and power — simply skirt the whole system by drawing on resources provided to them by their families. For commoners, however, failing to enter the corporate world means having to wallow in the Pool of Joblessness, though some take refuge in the Fortress of Bureaucrats by taking the civil servant examination.

Yet the ultimate destiny for the majority is to run one of South Korea’s ubiquitous fried chicken joints — considered the least prestigious and profitable form of business — whether because there is no other job or one has been forcibly retired in the 40s. Then at the end of this long, tortuous journey, one meets death at Tapgol Park, the symbol of elderly poverty in downtown Seoul frequented by crowds of seniors who gather to kill time and eat free lunch dispensed by charity organizations.

The only escape is to become self-employed and eke out a self-sustaining but disreputable bandit-like existence on the margin of society, or wade through the Forest of Emigration and leave South Korea altogether, finding freedom in countries beyond hell.

If we are to go by this depressing assessment of South Korea, what angers the young are obvious: having to sacrifice youth for interminable education, the state and a job one does not believe in; a narrow path to financial security and an even more narrowly defined path to success; growing inequality and hereditary privileges of the haves; lack of social welfare that might cushion the fall to poverty; and elite corruption.

In their response to South Korea’s myriad ills, the Hell Joseon camp share rage with the users on Ilbe, the notorious rightwing online discussion forum known for bashing women, minorities and leftist politics. As do Ilbe users, those who describe South Korea as hell ascribe the country’s problems to some innate character of the South Korean people — described as “slavish” (noye geunseong) or “primitive” (migae) — and take pride in their ability to identify such failings with the detachment of objective outsiders.

But if some Ilbe users are distinguished by a measure of political conviction — however wrongly motivated — that while the country may be heading in a wrong direction, it can be redirected and reformed perhaps, self-described inhabitants of Hell Joseon, on the other hand, find no hope for South Korea; they seek only to abandon and escape the system altogether. For what is hell if not a place that defies reform? Its laws are immutable and suffering is the way of being for all eternity; no one ever dreams of turning hell into heaven.

The Hell Joseon discourse embodies despair and hopelessness of the most extreme variety, the idea that the South Korean state cannot be redeemed through effort. In fact, “effort” — noryeok in Korean — is one of the most hated words in the Hell Joseon lexicon, seen as part of an insidious tactic of the ruling class to trick the population into continuing to believe that work is meaningful, mobility possible, and justice alive.

In some ways young South Koreans are already taking revenge on a society that they believe has failed them and is beyond redemption. The falling rates of birth and marriage; one of the highest percentages of youth between 15 and 29 who eschew education, employment or training in the industrialized world; not to mention the rising suicide rate among teenagers: All this may partly correlate with worsening economic circumstances but nonetheless serves to punish the state by withholding greater productivity and children the officialdom desperately seeks for the goal of maintaining and growing the nation.

Self-destruction is not only a form of escape; it ensures the death of the system one so despises. To the South Korean state demanding life, denizens of Hell Joseon answer: “The best thing for a South Korean is never to be born; the second best is to die as soon as possible.” And in dying or running away to a foreign country, they gleefully watch the nation they leave behind burn and succumb to ruin.

For the young South Koreans who have grown to detest their nation, the Republic of Korea — Daehan Min’guk — already ceased to exist some time ago. They now call this land Daehan Mangguk: the Failed State of Korea.

Comments

comments

Se-Woong Koo earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University and taught Korean studies at Stanford, Yale, and Ewha Women's University. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, Foreign Policy, and Inside Higher Ed among other publications.

32 Comments

  1. It is pretty sad…Korea’s younger generation is losing faith
    in their country…not that I can blame them, of course.

    But this is a serious issue…when you see no hope with
    the present, it’s one thing…

    but when the next generation loses hope in the future…
    supposedly ‘their time”…well, it means the country has
    no future.

    • Koreans traditionally have been down about their country, esp. the ones who aren’t so fortunate. I’ve seen polls saying the majority of Koreans wish they were born in another country and such, and given the privileges the well-connected and rich receive over the general populace, it’s not hard to see why. The country also cannot hold on to talented expat staff because of a horrible corporate culture and racism, and ethnic Koreans who’ve lived abroad bear the brunt of this.

  2. Very sad to see that young Koreans losing faith in Korea. But I can’t blame them, the ultra intense school system and military service (2 years !?) are very inhuman.

    And the nepotism of the “Golden spoons” and apparently streams of corruption in the society (the terrible Sewol tragedy is a recent example).
    As for a westerner that came in contact with Korea from learning Taekwondo (as many non Koreans) and then learning some Korean, discovering the fantastic food, amazing mountains , some great friends etc. I kinda fell in love with Korea

    But one can’t turn a blind eye to that the young Koreans are not feeling well (and probably many older Koreans as well).
    I think Korea has many possiblities the wonderful mountain landscape, the terrific healthy food (personally like the organic veggie dishes), fantastic organic farming especially in Boseong-Gwangju area and of course amazing people that tries to get by in a tough society. I think underneath the corruption and nepotism there is something great, hidden but it’s there and I hope one day it will bloom out to a more fair, balanced and beautiful Korea.

    • One thing about “terrific healthy food” in Korea. There is a theory called “Bando-ilche-ssul” which means the Korean peninsula and China are one. The reason why I mention this is because even though Korean food is full of veggies, you cannot not be sure of the origin of the veggie and sanitary food handling in Korea is very hard to find, kind of like China. From veggies to meat, they may say they are from Korea but there are so many distributors and suppliers that mix certain level of Korean produce with other cheaper and lower quality produce from other origins to cut down their cost and deceive the consumers where the actual produce comes from. There are government efforts to cut this but its actually ineffective. I’m glad to hear you like Korea, but as a Korean myself, I’m okay with Korea but I would much rather live somewhere else which I’m already planning to do. I also have very low hopes (this may even be an overstatement) in the future of this country. But it is also interesting to see that this nation is still “surviving” despite all the things mentioned in the article. And for Korea to become more fair and balanced, my only hope is for a generation or two to pass by and have a whole new generation that thinks differently about humanity and happiness. Soogohasaeyo.

      • I’m very sad to see that we both have little hope for our respective countries (france) but aren’t we under the effect of the “greener garden next door” ? Sometime, countries change for the better thanks to one huge socialquake (look at north africa’s countries)

      • Indeed there are many dodgy food distributor/manufacturers out there, marking Korea products as China and non organic with organic seal. When I lived in Korea I tried to get rice and other produce (always made my own kimchi) direct from farmers that can show their crops and growing procedures etc. It’s not easy and it take some effort to find clean organic produce.

        Personally since eating Korean food my health has been improving, loosing weight and more vitality. And I can’t stop eating that kimchi ㅋㅋㅋ

        Here In Sweden we had some meat scandal some years ago with horse meat marked as beef (lucky me as a vegetarian). So it gets harder and harder to know what one really is eating.

        Yeah, many of my Korean friends have either gone abroad or at least thinking of it.

        But I see some younger Koreans starting to question and thinking differently (especially around the universities). So one can hope for some change in the future.

        As they say hope is the last thing ever lost. 수고하세요!

  3. Normally I would be the first guy with large ass banner in front of demonstration for justice in Korea but this is just pathetic.

    Sure Korea got problem and must do serious reform but young Koreans think new smart phones are growing on the magical tree and they deserve everything without effort.

    Our grandfather’s generation made Korea rich with nothing but their blood and sweat and our father’s generation made democratic Korea. Now it’s our job to make rich, democratic and better Korea but No No No, It’s too hard and these brats want things happen for them now without effort and all they can think is escape to some mystical land.

    What a entitled brats.

    Fortunately, they are extreme minority and there are legion of young, ambitious young Korean who is ready to do what has to be done with effort. Go ahead you whinny losers, LEAVE. Korea will march on without you whinny little shits. You are dismissed.

    Oh and Mr, Koo. Shame on you.

    You’re bragging expensive oversea education but your best news source is….Ilbe ? Seriously ?
    that lunatic loser site is best you can do for this issue ? I know your type. I met guys like you in Korea. Your types of guys can’t make it in other countries so you crawl back to Korea but you found out quickly, your fancy oversea diploma doesn’t make you king in Korea- we had our share of so called “westernized Koreans” those guys think they are better than ordinary Korean but in reality ? they are useless. They like bitching and moaning but don’t know how to do real work.

    Go back to write for your fellow HBC hipster and Itaewon haters. If you wrote this in Korean and show to other Koreans , I could respect that but this ? this is just another so many “true Korean news” written by LBH expat.

    I wanna call you a fruit name which monkeys like to eat in cartoon.

    • Hey. Mr Sir!

      I cannot claim that I know who you are. However, I would like to point out few things. First of all, no one should not holds any authority to justify what can be a news and not. If one thinks the opposite, such as you, it means you are perfectly fit for an authoritarian regime rather than democracy. If you only want to see the beautiful and dynamic Korea watch Arirang TV. Second, if you hold a better argument or a criticism please do so without a personal attack. An insult often occur when someone lacks in their reasoning skill. Lastly, I agree with you on that how much our father and grandfather sacrificed to build what we have now. What I cannot agree though, your perception of youngsters who “want things happen for them now without effort and all they can think is escape to some mystical land”. Can’t you see how many ours they are studying form early age? Can’t you not see how many free labour they are giving for this country to earn the so called SPECs? Begging to become a cooperate’s slave they have sacrificed personal desires; dating, socializing and fun in life. If all those suffer can’t be seen as efforts in your eyes what about giving up marriage and children. In such a degree of misery what is wrong with dreaming about the wonderland? Can’t you not have that little tolerance to permit their wishful imagination? I suggest you one thing. Before even marching for justice, show a bit of effort to understand those “brats”.

  4. Korea’s problems is not because young people are prevented from becoming successful by the chaebol and corrupt politicians. They simply lack the imagination to find alternative paths to success other than the limited choices offered to them. This is true of Koreans coming back to Korea with fancy US degrees. The reason why Koreans with fancy US degree have trouble is not because Korean society discriminates against those who return to Korea. The problem is that Koreans with fancy US degrees try to get into the same elite society that they criticize. The hypocrisy generally escapes them, yet they actually demand respect from the same people they despise. Wasn’t that the entire point of leaving Korea? To come back with a different answer?

    Korean society has many problems, true enough. Yet Korean society also has the energy and willingness to embrace changes in ways that you find in few places in the world today. This kind of critique sounds so much more convincing if it comes from someone who can actually offer a real alternative.

    • I always thought that Koreans who opt for elite US universities was because those schools had more resources in terms of research, and also in the false hope of honing the Korean student’s English and deepening her immersion into American culture. But ironically, I hear that approximately 1/2 of Korean students who manage to get accepted to elite US universities drop out because the English they learn via rote memorization in Korean high schools was inadequate.

      I detest how chaebols use shallow stats such as one’s alma mater, GPA, and an attached picture of oneself (enhanced via plastic surgery of course) to get a sliver of chance of getting an offer. But it’s not that much different in the US if you want to work at a blue-chip company on Wall St., some big tech firm in Silicon Valley, or some white shoe law firm.

      But you’re right. Koreans lack open minds. They don’t know how to think outside the box, and it’s due to Korean culture.

      • You hit the nail on the head, especially your last statement! It’s also because the children have poor examples to follow. These Korean English academy directors are in love with themselves and won’t cut the foreign teachers loose and let them teach.

      • thinking outside the box is frowned upon in their education system. They can spend up to 18hrs a day in school, cram schools and study time so that they have a chance at passing a test to hopefully get into one of 10 colleges that those conglomerates and other businesses hire from. The top corporate jobs only hire from the top 3 colleges. IF you don’t make that test, you can’t advance. period. Where in all of that is originality and creativity encouraged?

      • Thank you for preaching to the choir. Korea’s education system is based on rote memorization, and copious amounts of it. If you didn’t get into a SKY university, then your future is F’d…Yes, I already knew that. Thanks.

        Plus, what does it matter when these same Korean students get into top US colleges like Harvard, but end up dropping out at a 50% rate? Their English is inept; their grasp of Western culture/mannerisms is lacking….Yeah, book smarts isn’t always propitious. In many cases it can work against you in the real world, but alas, chaebols in Korea hold it in such high esteem, like it’s the only thing that matters.

        Korean culture is shallow, dictated on ridiculous extremes, and counterproductive.

    • Great comment. What is the alternative, as you ask?

      You make a good point in that Korean society has changed very much over the past few decades. I mean, drastically changed! From a non-industrialized nation into a high-tech capitalist nation. But, this changed has not served many people, only the few of the elite. From a cultural standpoint as well, South Korea has seemed to become more “westernized” as well. All of these aren’t necessarily good.

      But, to go back to the point, South Korea is now a wealthy nation. It’s economy is one of the strongest in the world. But, again, that wealth is only going to the “1%” elites of South Korea: the chaebols, golden spoons and so forth.

      So, an alternative needs to be fought for. All of the resources to turn South Korea into a fair and prosperous society are there. It has the education, infrastructure, technology, etc etc. How can change come about then? Governmental reform, resistance, revolution? The same questions concerning change in any other part of the world. So, let’s have more productive conversations like this and more honest media (such as Korea Expose) to think of a solution together.

      • I have been working on that solution for years now…and it takes the
        partial form of http://www.mondragon-corporation.com, the largest and most
        successful worker-owner cooperative in the world. iCoop.co.kr, a
        consumer cooperative, is best example of a real life South Korean
        company that’s walking this talk and doing its best to emulate
        Mondragon. I actually traveled for ten days on a tour to Mondragon via
        the Praxis Peace Institute in 2011 and was impressed. They have 70,000+
        ownekers (“owner-workers”, now called associates) their own bank, the
        Caja Laboral, their own schools, insurance companies, R&D
        facilities, and have physical presence in over 20 nations worldwide,
        doing business in 75+ nations. They do about 20 Billion Euros of
        business annually. While capital is very much valued (unlike in most
        labor unions), labor is valued more in its sense of solidarity for
        working people. See Roy Morrison’s book, We Build the Road as We
        Travel, and anything you can get your hands on. If you want more info, I
        have taught a one credit seminar on Democratic Capitalism at my uni in
        Seoul. Friend me on FB by searching “Greg Brooks-English”. Kim
        Dae-jung was the closest to this business model than anyone with his
        book, Mass-participatory Economics. Too bad he passed away before
        learning about Mondragon. Cheers!

  5. I have to say from personal experience, trying to have this conversation with a young to middle-age Korean more often than not ends up going circular, even at times passive-aggressive. It’s no secret Koreans covet a western university education, but who do they mostly hang with when they arrive at these institutions? Other Koreans! (Yes.There’s always an exception) Truth of the matter, they often in most cases are unwilling to entirely let go of their “backwards” culture, especially when they return home. Anyone who has worked in the hagwan industry has some idea of what I’m talking about. The common cliche we all have heard at these hagwans is that they want to “immerse” their students in the English language and culture, Yeah right! Maybe 1 in 10; that might even be generous. Truth be told when you arrive at these academies you soon find out they’re not as ethical as they proclaimed on their website, nor are they all that open minded, you will find out just how few liberties you have in the classroom on top of lousy curriculum you have to work with, not to mention the price parents pay to send their “precious darlings” to these overpriced institutions. When these little darlings, no matter how young, decide they’re not happy with their “English experience,” guess whose fault that is? Not the director, not the K teachers, not the misbehaving brat, but the waegukin seonsaengnim, the foreigner teacher that is.

    What was discussed in this article, it’s obvious the children are already being indoctrinated into at an early age, in of all places an English academy. Wow, they do have exposure to a foreigner and his native language, maybe even grow to like this teacher, but respect? Different story entirely. Will these same kids complain about their director, the way they complain about their foreign teacher, absolutely NOT! The director will be about 99.8% of the time, the oldest person at the academy, which makes him the boss and everything he says “gospel” no matter how idiotic it might be and the same can be said for any business in Korea. Even the K teacher who might be a good friend, don’t look for that person to have your back when the almighty director loses interest in you and/or worse yet spreads lies about you.

    In its purest form, western culture we’re taught to respect authority, but not unconditionally. If the authority figure is not setting a solid example, we sound the alarm. Koreans are taught not to question the hierarchy in their culture which is why they’ll forever remain on a plateau in their cultural and economic development because it’s about age and status, not qualification and integrity. This so-called “fed up” generation will never make any impact if they themselves don’t acknowledge the problem and be willing to stand up and fight it, in other words they need to stop holding their ears and closing their eyes and stop shouting “no no it’s not true!” to every outsider who dares to point out the problems in Korea, for example the many unreported rapes that occur in that country. First step in solving a problem is to acknowledge there is a problem which in Korea’s case means they’re going to have ignore their long time cultural norm of being non-confrontational, and dare to question their rigid social structure, plain and simple!

    • I wonder if Korean teachers are also blamed when the students are unhappy or not meeting parent expectations. I suspect this situation has less to do with being a foreigner and more to do with the job.

      • They probably are blamed too. I would say that in most cases the foreigner will be fired before the Korean teachers, plus the foreign teacher then has to decide do I scrape up some money and fly back or do I stay and look for another job? Meanwhile the Korean teacher can go across the street and apply at another Hagwan if their situation “goes south.”

  6. As a Korean in late twenties living Seoul I am completely familiar with this notion of Hell Joseon – people are just NOT happy. However I want to point out other than attributing everything to “korean culture that lacks creativity” or “corrupt chaebol” we also have to look at macroeconomic trends and societal changes this small peninsular has come to face in the recent decade. The period starting from late 60s to mid 90s was not called Hell Joseon, the country was prosperous and a college degree without any SPECs was good enough to get a job and sound social security plan. The opening of the hell gate is more like a sign that the chaebol directed economy is at its saturation point – since so called korean export goods and services are not competitive at the global market (or, not increasing any added value since mid 90s) – there is less incentives for companies to hire young people. The worse is that how things are run in these companies are directed by those in their 50s, which relies on 80s style which again leaves young people unhappy with their lives.
    I am not saying that we should completely refrain from criticizing chaebol CEOs or workers in their 50s but that there are also more significant economic reasons and consequential societal changes that has led to the opening of the Joseon Hellgate, other than culture, educational system, nepotism, etc.

  7. Mr Koo, I really love reading your articles. I hope Korea could change by the time I finish uni because I might go back to Korea to find a job. Anyways, keep up the good work! Fighting!

  8. HellChosen/HellKorea saying is a fad in Korea. Korean have nasty habit of function primary on hate. NS Korea have been at war for over 60 years and no sight in settling peacefully, in fact in 2013 armistice was canceled. Politically, both north and south probably need to be at war to survive. Maybe S korea does not want peace because prostitutes will earn less foreign currency if US military in S Korea get reduced.
    Koreans are racist and discriminate on basis of skin, region, job, clan, etc. S koreans are highly educated but even college graduate find job 50% of time thus 2nd highest suicide rate in world.
    Lots Koreans have Hwabyeong/화병/火病/fire disease(hot temper mental disorder) which are more serious than others. I think some of it is genetic(perhaps cause by inbreeding of bone/clan(relative) type marriages before Japan banned it), some from excessive pepper, high level of natural radiation, toxoplasmosis parasite, some from schools teaching hate and false history, some are due to bad culture since korea was tributary states and used to send decent looking virgin girls as sex slave to china/qing. Koreans in Japanese armies were known as brute. Of course in Korean/Vietnam war, koreans were very brutal too. S korea have 7 times serious crime rate and 14 times rape rate compare to japan. Koreans also tend to be self centered too. Many Asian country bans marriage to koreans.
    Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at Virginia Tech, shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 others.
    Lots of things in korea are unsafe. Chaebol tyrant korean elites don’t care and often cut corners, disregard rules, disregard safety, bribe,corruption etc. and get away. “nut rage” type incidents are not isolated outside airplane. 300 people died in ship accident in 2014 due to chaebol overloading and disregarding safety over profit. 1336 people sued korean nuclear plants since it is leaky and causing cancer. Recently 3 people died in nuclear plant construction and they found lots substandard components.
    Atrocities did happen in just about all wars. Korea was part of japan and koreans were known as brute(meaning committed most atrocities). Similarly during vietnam war, koreans roundup everyone including babies and gun down whole village at time after raping. Sometimes they did just rape(estimated over 200,000 times) and 20-33,000 kids were born. During korean war, USA and S koreans used “kill’em all” including gunning down children atrocity.
    Even popular PSY rapper had “kill Yankee and kids” song.
    google “real7777 apology” or “real7777 Atrocity USA” or “real7777 comfort” or “real7777 pearl harbor” “real7777 china communist”
    Main thing N korea fear is china. Only nukes will save N korea from china and exploration of off shore energy.
    “Miracle on the Han River” S Korean economic growth came from Japanese money,technology transfer, and sacrifice of Korean War prostitutes earning foreign currency from USA troop . These prostitutes were the Korean hero, not chaebol greedy elites got rich off these money. In 1965, Japan gave S Korea us$500 million(us50$billion adjusting for inflation) since S Korean President Park Chung-hee asked for help/settlement. Park Chung-hee father of current Korean president) was born poor, but became officer in JAPANESE elite army and became South Korean leader in1961 until he was assassinated by korean in 1979. He managed Korean War prostitutes(yankonju) and took all foreign currency and gave prostitute very little. What’s unbelievable is these broke korean war hero ex-prostitutes are being evicted from base town.
    Japan further helped S korea in 1965,1983,1997,2006,2006 with worth hundred of billions in aid, loan, swap etc.
    Explicit “Paid Comfort Prostitute” should be used since world don’t understand Japanese subtlety. Japanese/korean/taiwan solders had to pay about 1 week worth of wage. In “1944 USA war report” ,prostitute ate good and “were able to buy cloth, shoes, cigarettes, and cosmetics” luxury items.
    Japan apologized many times because today’s sentiment considers paid prostitution tragic.
    I seriously want to spread the TRUTH, so take a look at my blogs and point out errors so that I can correct it.
    google my “real7777 apology” or “real7777 Atrocity USA” or “real7777 comfort” or “real7777 pearl harbor” “real7777 china communist” for details, pictures,wiki, youtube link etc.
    Korean Scholars google “scholarsinenglish blogspot jp”

  9. Let me know if there’s errors so I can correct them.
    Japan–Korea Treaty of 1876 japan help modernize korea slowly.
    1895, Japan won sino-japan war and annexed taiwan and gave Joseon(old korea) independence from being a tributary state to china/qing.
    Joseon(old Korea) was nasty placed like N Korean prison camp or gang run mexican city with 40% slaves and life expectancy of 24. Josen sent castrated eunuch and young virgin girls as tributary gift to qing/china. Japan gave korea independence from qing and in few years annexed. Joseon literacy was 4% since rulers thought it will cause up rise. Elite koreans used chinese mostly. Japan revived Hangul for koreans and literacy went to 60%. Evil korean yanbans elites can do anything including killing and not punished.
    White cruelly colonized the world for hundreds of years (80% population reduction,slavery,chopping off hand for not bringing enough gold etc.)
    Japaneses are most polite and subtle people with safest low crime country. Annexation made Korea/Taiwan/Manchu part of Japan. Japan gave citizenship, brought DEMOCRACY, IMPROVED LIVES, modernized with huge investment LOSS(road,dam,water,sewage,1000 schools,rail,hospital,590million plants) and provided law: population 13 million to 26 million; literacy 4% to 60%; life expectancy 24 to 56; abolish slavery; reduced crime(reduced rape abduction etc too); elections; opportunity for a good jobs(doctor, dentist, governor,police etc);
    USA, Japan, Korea China etc. used a military prostitution and had atrocities, but vilified Japan by using distorted propaganda/lies were taught about japan to world and especially within Japan to hide white atrocity. Even after WW2, aggressive whites tried to recolonize SE Asia, but with courage gain from Japan and help from some ex-Japanese solders whites were kicked out.
    google “real7777 Annexation” “real7777 Atrocity USA””real7777 comfort” “real7777 china communist” for details, pictures,wiki, youtube link etc.
    Taiwan sent $200m for fukishima disaster(more than USA).
    Google “real7777 nemoto guningtou” to find out how japanese saved ROC/Taiwan from fake oppressive communist.
    Explicit “Paid Comfort Prostitute” should be used since world don’t understand Japanese subtlety. Japanese/korean/taiwan solders had to pay about 1 week worth of wage.
    “Miracle on the Han River” S Korean economic growth came from Japanese money,technology transfer, and sacrifice of Korean War prostitutes earning foreign currency from USA troop . These prostitutes were the Korean hero, not chaebol greedy elites got rich off these money. In 1965, Japan gave S Korea us$500 million(us50$billion adjusting for inflation) since S Korean President Park Chung-hee asked for help/settlement. Park Chung-hee father of current Korean president) was born poor, but became officer in JAPANESE elite army and became South Korean leader in1961 until he was assassinated by korean in 1979. He managed Korean War prostitutes(yankonju) and took all foreign currency and gave prostitute very little. What’s unbelievable is these broke korean war hero ex-prostitutes are being evicted from base town.
    Japan further helped S korea in 1965,1983,1997,2006,2006 with worth hundred of billions in aid, loan, swap etc.
    Explicit “Paid Comfort Prostitute” should be used since world don’t understand Japanese subtlety. Japanese/korean/taiwan solders had to pay about 1 week worth of wage. In “1944 USA war report” ,prostitute ate good and “were able to buy cloth, shoes, cigarettes, and cosmetics” luxury items.
    Japan apologized many times because today’s sentiment considers paid prostitution tragic.
    I seriously want to spread the TRUTH, so take a look at my blogs and point out errors so that I can correct it.
    google my “real7777 apology” or “real7777 Atrocity USA” or “real7777 comfort” or “real7777 pearl harbor” “real7777 china communist” for details, pictures,wiki, youtube link etc.
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  10. Wow! That’s a very bold idea about people’s view. I can only see that many people; not all are looking at the other side of the pasture which appear to be greener. Perhaps they should also try to turn around precisely 360 degrees and open their eyes wide enough in order to feel greatful and develop some love for their own native land. The good news is that there are still many of their kind who remain proud of what their country has become.

  11. Every nation has issues. What the ‘Hell Joseon’ label requires is an implicit comparison to ‘somewhere else’ that would be heaven, or maybe purgatory. To understand Hell Joseon we need to understand what it is being compared to.

    I doubt young Koreans are romantically thinking of living in the worlds’ 2nd or 3rd biggest economies. These places have far too much in common with Korea; perhaps better in some ways but definitely worse in others. Perhaps they are thinking of Singapore?

    I am sure they are not thinking about places where the economy is not good.

    I suspect they are primarily thinking about the world’s first biggest economy, or other Western democracies. But these nations have their own issues about reigning in authoritarianism, maintaining viable democracy, and dealing with racism and corruption. The world’s biggest economy is also heavily invested in war mongering, guns on the street, and incarcerating huge numbers of its citizens, which Korea is thankfully not interested in. Perhaps it is better to be stuck in Yeongkook Hagwon than Folsom Prison?

    Korea started down the democracy path later than most western democracies but is catching up quickly. Korea is doing better in most measures than many US southern states.

    Korea has lots to work on but modern Koreans have significant advantages that propel the nation forward. Strengths from one perspective tend to also be weaknesses from another. Korea’s rise will continue, but it will not be easy to navigate, because the issue is more about how we establish values and our own self worth than it is about solving physical needs. Hell Joseon is a great start to rethinking what is important and where the nation should be going.

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