Facts and Statistics
Location: Eastern Asia, southern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the East Sea and the Yellow Sea
Climate: temperate, with rainfall heavier in summer than winter
Population: 48,598,175 (July 2004 est.)
Ethnic Make-up: homogeneous (except for about 20,000 Chinese)
Religions: no affiliation 46%, Christian 26%, Buddhist 26%, Confucianist 1%, other 1%
The Korean Language
The Koreans are one ethnic family speaking one language. They share certain distinct physical characteristics which differentiate them from other Asian people including the Chinese and the Japanese, and have a strong cultural identity as one ethnic family.
The Korean language is spoken by more than 65 million people living on the peninsula and its outlying islands as well as 5.5 million Koreans living in other parts of the world. The fact that all Koreans speak and write the same language has been a crucial factor in their strong national identity. Modern Korea has several different dialects including the standard one used in Seoul and central areas, but they are similar enough that speakers/listeners do not have trouble understanding each other.
Korean Society & Culture
Korean Family Values
* The family is the most important part of Korean life.
* In Confucian tradition, the father is the head of the family and it is his responsibility to provide food, clothing and shelter, and to approve the marriages of family members.
* The eldest son has special duties: first to his parents, then to his brothers from older to younger, then to his sons, then to his wife, and lastly to his daughters.
* Family welfare is much more important than the needs of the individual.
* Members of the family are tied to each other because the actions of one family member reflect on the rest of the family.
* In many cases the family register can trace a family's history, through male ancestors, for...