258 Pages
    by Routledge

    Host country to the 1988 Olympic Games, the Republic of Korea (‘South Korea’) became prominent in world affairs but surprisingly little was known about the general public. First published in 1988, Korea provides a complete picture of the country and its people. The authors reveal the continuing importance of the country’s economic development, which enabled it to develop almost overnight from a starvation economy into an international force and offer an insight into the distinct and under-appreciated cultural tradition of the Republic of Korea. They set the Korean peninsula in its Asian context and give a fascinating description of the Korean people—their society, language, customs, and religions (both old and new), the role of the family and of women, and the aspirations of ordinary Koreans as their country emerged into the international limelight. This book is a must read for students of Asian studies and history, and general readers interested in the topic.

    Introduction  Section One: The Land and the People  1. The geographical framework  2. The Korean people  Section Two: Historical Background  3. Ancient Korea  4. Yi dynasty Korea, 1392–1910  5. Korea under Japanese rule, 1910–1945  Section Three: Development since 1945  6. War and politics  7. The economic miracle  Section Four: Korean Values   8. Social structure and values  9. Education  10. Cultural heritage  11. The world of the spirit  Section Five: The Wider World  12. Security and foreign affairs  13. Koreans overseas  14. North Korea since 1945  Section Six: The Future  15. Whither Korea? 


    James Hoare has a PhD in Japanese history and was for 33 years a Research Analyst in the British Diplomatic Service. After postings to Seoul (1981–85) and Beijing (1988–91), he opened the British Embassy in Pyongyang in 2001. After retirement, he taught at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) University of London and has been a regular radio and TV commentator, mainly on Korea. He has published widely on aspects of East Asian politics and history. His most recent work is East Asia Observed: Selected Writings 19732021 (2023).

    Susan Pares worked for a number of years in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and had several postings to East Asia, either singly or accompanying her husband, James Hoare.  Her subsequent career was in research, editing and writing, in particular on East Asian subjects.  This interest has given way in recent years to family history.  She is a trustee of the Elizabeth Heyrick Society and of the Friends of the Women’s Library at the London School of Economics.

    Review of the first publication:

    ‘… [the authors] have produced a thorough yet inexpensive introduction to a country that had to wait until 1988 to be taken seriously on the world stage.’

    Keith Howard