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South Korea
Cultural Aspects of South Korea
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South Korea: Culture

 

Food:

            Korean food is typically the same in either North or South Korea.  The base of all the meals is always rice, either steamed or just plain.  Pekpan was the typical Korean meal.  Rice, of course, soup, and kimchi were all part of the meal.  Kimchi is the substitute for fresh vegetables when fresh vegetables are not available, mostly during the winter.  It is served at just about every Korean meal.  Kimchi consisted of fermented vegetables that, along with salted fish and other seasons, had the most unique taste of oriental food.  The good thing that kimchi could do was stay preserved for long periods of time.  The people would bury them underground in the fall until winter came.  There are literally hundreds of different kinds of kimchi, including stuffed cucumber, hot radish, stuffed radish, relish water, water, whole cabbage, wrapped, and white cabbage.

 

Art:

            Korean art is considerably different from most western art.  Sohwa is the Korean term for traditional art that joins painting and calligraphy together.  Unfortunate for us today, very few ancient traditional Korean paintings are left today.  With frequent invasions and attacks on the peninsula, artworks have destroyed.  China has greatly influenced the Korean paintings, and ancient paintings look almost just like that of Chinese paintings.  The Choson period, starting in the late 14th century in Korean is about the earliest time of in tack Korean artwork.  Artists chose to draw more of the Korean landscape during this time.  During the Choson period, artists created great masterpieces.  Art schools were opened to train new artists, yet the professionals would always come up with the new styles.  There were about six periods of art during the Choson period, each introducing a new type or style of painting.  Western painting and techniques where introduced into Korean around the 16th century and made yet another change in the styles.  Shading, perspective, and depth were all new to the Korean art.  Folk painting was not a unique Korean art, but was still used when it was introduced in the 20th century.  After World War II, the modern art trend came to Korea.  The modern art was made to be more appealing to the modern age, and to break free from the traditional Korean art.  Traditional art is still widely used though.

 

Literature:

            The literature of Korea is divided into classical and modern literature.  Classical literature is influenced more by the Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism.  Modern Literature has been influenced not by religion, but more on western thought and modernization ideas.  During the Choson period, Korean literature began to take form, starting with the creation of the Korean alphabet.  Chinese characters were used more than Korean ones till the 19th century, when Korean characters became popular.  Fiction was widely used in many stories starting from the Choson period.  Realistic fiction was first used during the Choson period, where the stories had real concepts, but fictional characters.  Modern Korean literature started at the fall of the Choson Dynasty when western ideas came into Korea during the 19th and 20th centuries.  This period starting after the Choson period is known as the Enlightenment period.  Western schools and teachings popped up all over Korea, changing the literature.  Professional writers began writing pieces on Enlightenment ideas.  Their works portrayed nothing of the old ways of life, but of the more contemporary ways of life.  But until the 1980s, Korean literature had no influence on the outside world.  No foreigner knew how to read it.  It wasn’t till then that translations began moving out of the peninsula.  Today, Korean pieces are now being used in many English-speaking nations, mostly for education at the universities.  Korean literature continues to be sent out to the world, so that readers around the globe could enjoy their stories.