Nikki Planet, “The blue and red circle at
Nikki WongM. PuleloaHonors English HPWLJanuary 15, 2018South Korea: Korea is both metaphorically and visually seen as a tiger. The tiger-shaped peninsula believes the tiger to be a symbol of the nation’s courage, strength, and dignity. Korea is also known to resemble a rabbit. The contrast between these animals indicate the aggression and submission of the Korean history. After the creation of the two independent nations, South Korea rebuilt its nation form one of the poorest nations to one of the richest nation and is continually on the rise. In contrast to South Korea’s “evil twin nation”, North Korea, which is known as the “Hermit Kingdom” due to its isolated, secure, and rouge nature; South Korea’s playful innovativeness and vibrancy is complimented by Korea’s rich culture and ancient history. This unique nation is a perfect blend of nature’s tranquility and city bustle that is filled with fascinating history, interesting political and social issues, and rich literary history to keep people captivated into South Korea.Although Korea has become a dream destination for its current modern vibe and technological benefits, South Korea would not have been the nation it is today without its rich history. According to the website Lonely Planet, “The blue and red circle at the heart of the South Korean flag neatly symbolises the divided Korean Peninsula, but also the fluid mix of the ancient and the modern in the country officially called the Republic of Korea (ROK).” In the first century CE, three Korean kingdoms existed: Silla, Goguryeo, and Baekje. Goguryeo was the most powerful of the three kingdoms and stood where North Korea currently is. Baekje was a retreat place in the south to avoid the aggressive warriors of Goguryeo. The people of Baekje occupied the land that is the current South Korea. Silla was the most cultured and richest of the three kingdoms was influenced by the Tang dynasty from China in 618 CE. Jill Dubois writes in South Korea, “Capitalizing on hostilities among the three Korean Kingdoms, the Tang dynasty helped Silla gain control over the peninsula, hoping to eventually control the expanded Silla” (24). Successful Silla was able to unite the three kingdoms into one nation. The united nation did not last long until Japan claimed war on Korea. In 1592 the Imjin War was waged on Korea by Japan. Japanese military leader, Toyotomi Hideyoshi desired rule over all of Asia. Korea became a prized piece of land to other nations. Korea became a toss up and had its fair share of battles. South Korea by Dubois reads, In 1598, after six devastating years of war, the Koreans finally forced the Japanese out with help from China. Were it not for the brilliance of Admiral Yi Sunsin, the inventor of an ironclad ship called a turtle boat, Korea’s efforts might have failed. In the early 1600s, faced with Chinese aggression, Korea paid large amounts of money to war. After it’s unfortunate encounters with foreign powers,Korea isolated itself from all nations except China, and became known as the Hermit Kingdom. China kept its stranglehold on Korea until Japan defeated China in the Sino-Japanese War (1894-95). Then in 1904, Russia fought Japan for Korea in the Russo-Japanese War, which Japan won in 1905. That victory resulted in the Japanese annexation of Korea in 1910; and Japan stripped Korea of its rights as an independent nation.When the Japanese took over Korea, Korean culture became oppressed. The Allies defeated Japan in WWII , Korea’s fate fell into different hands. In 1950, the opposing Soviet forces in North Korea and US forces in South Korea clashed during the Korean War. The war caused many casualties, and even after the Korean War effects continue to take place according to a website History.com, “The Korean peninsula is still divided today”. The war solidified the separation between nations and pushed the north to become more into the characteristic of “Hermit Kingdom”. Although South Korea had been through its trials and tribulations, the nation is moving towards modernization to leave the war-torn nation behind. The nation of South Korea still has to work through its current political and social issues before become the perfect nation. POLITICAL ISSUES…Literature in Korea includes mythology and folklore told to the children of South Korea. According to the website Encyclopedia Britannica, “Korean prose literature can be divided into narratives, fiction, and literary miscellany. Narratives include myths, legends, and folktales found in the written records”. The cite continues, “The most important myths are those concerning the Sun and the Moon, the founding of Korea by Tangun, and the lives of the ancient kings. The legends touch on place and personal names and natural phenomena. The folktales include stories about animals; ogres, goblins, and other supernatural beings; kindness rewarded and evil punished; and cleverness and stupidity”. A well known Korean prose among the youth in Korea tells the story about the creation of the sun and moon. The website Telling Tales from Southeast Asian and Korea tells the story. The story focus on a mystical tiger and a village women and her family. When the tiger eats the children’s mother, the tiger goes after the children by tricking them. The story reads, He pretended to be the children’s mom. “Open the door, dear,” said the tiger. “You are not my mom. Your voice is too hoarse. Her voice is soft,” said the brother. “Oh, is it? Hmm, I have a cold.””Then, show me your hands,” said the Sister. The tiger showed his hands to them. “Your hands are too hairy and dark. Her hands are white,” said the brother. The tiger covered his hands with flour. And he showed his white hands to the children. Then the children opened the door. The children discovered the tiger’s secret the children ran in fear. The climed up a tree and hid from the tiger. When the tiger approached them the reached out to the heavens for help.The children were frightened so they prayed to God. “If you want us to live, please hand down a rope,” pleaded the children as they looked up towards God. Then a rope came down from the sky. The children held onto it and went up to the sky. The tiger could not catch the children. The tiger prayed to God, too. “If you want me to catch them, please hand down a rope.” Then another rope came down from the sky. The tiger held onto it and went up to the sky. But the rope was rotten. The tiger fell down. The children went up to the sky. The brother became the sun. And the sister became the moon. “I am scared of the night,” said the sister. “I will be the moon for you instead,” said the brother. So the brother became the moon. And the sister became the sun.