May 3, 2009

South Korea branding itself

The LA Times reports:
In a campaign that has many scratching their heads, South Korea is convinced that it must match the efforts of companies such as Hyundai, LG and Samsung to promote its public identity. So it's taking part in an international ranking system to compete against other nations on first impressions of outsiders.

Early results are not encouraging. According to one recent Nation Brands Index, South Korea ranked 33rd among 50 nations -- behind countries that officials here whisper are lesser than their own, including Poland and the Czech Republic.

The United States ranked seventh. Germany was No. 1.

President Lee Myung-bak has formed a Presidential Council on Nation Branding and has announced the goal of moving to 15th place by 2013.

"Korea is the world's 13th-largest economy with some $20,000 in per capita income but ranks only 33rd in the global brand index," reporters here quoted Lee as saying. "This is a big problem."

Some find it refreshing that the nation cares about what others think about it. Others hint that it's a bit neurotic.

"Korea's problem is that it doesn't have an Eiffel Tower. Paris doesn't need a slogan -- it's Paris," said public relations executive Phillip Raskin, a branding committee advisor.

"Paris would be attractive even if its slogan was 'Go to hell.' In fact, it might actually be that."

... But the ambitious Lee wants to change that, introducing programs to promote the South Korean martial art tae kwon do and pitching the nation as an environmentally friendly "Green Korea." The centerpiece of his agenda is food. The government has announced a plan to globalize Korean cuisine, vowing to put it among the world's top five by 2017.

Every day, newspapers carry articles about image boosting: Should the nation build a robotics museum and compete with Japan in that emerging field? How about building some of the world's tallest skyscrapers, or opening a nude beach on a popular island?

The branding czar talks of a new volunteer program modeled after the U.S. Peace Corps and of "Rainbow Korea," a catchphrase for the nation's so-called expanding multiculturalism.

Perhaps South Korea should promote that they have the world's largest and best organized riots. Their amazing riots feature well-drilled protesters, with their color-coordinated cop-whacking sticks, and their myriad riot policeman in Orc-like gear. South Korean riot police are conscripts, so there is no shortage of them. As one reader explained to me, in most countries, the job of the riot police is to stop riots. In South Korea, in contrast, the job of the riot police is to confront the rioters and Do Battle.

P.J. O'Rourke once compared South Koreans to Northern Irishmen. The South Koreans don't have Northern Ireland's fundamental ethnic division, so their riots tend to be organized around more ad hoc pretexts, but what shines through is their mutual love of a good donnybrook.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

96 comments:

Anonymous said...

The big problem with 'brand Korea' is that the country is designed by Koreans for Koreans. That all fine of course, it's their country to do with as they please and I can see why Koreans themselves are happy with and proud of their country. However there is nothing there, beyond the basic competence you see in any rich country to give a visitor a good impression.

It is the most uniformly unfriendly country to visit in Asia. They aren't nasty and don't try to rob you or anything like that, but nobody really goes out of their way to help if you're foreign. Waiters will stand over somebody who's struggling with a Korean menu and not even try to help. I've never seen that happening in other countries. In China for example, it's more common for half the staff to gather around to try to help out. Regardless of the outcome, it's makes for a great story and leaves a good impression. That just doesn't happen in Korea.

There is also nothing of any sort of mainstream tourist interest there. They remind you of the age of their culture constantly, which is quite old by any standard, but for an extra hour on a plane you can make it to Beijing. There's just no contest between the Chinese and Korean versions of the forbidden city.

Korean BBQ is pretty good and fun to eat, but kimchi gets old after awhile- especially with virtually every meal (you can learn more about the dish at virtually any museum in Korea)

Basically it's the Toyota Corolla of countries with a rude customer service department. Nice enough place, but nothing to get excited about and they don't seem to go out of their way to make the experience any better.

rightsaidfred said...

Maybe they could start by cleaning the cosmic ghetto to the North.

bjdouble said...

The riot police are usually conscripted former rioters. So every riot is kind of like a reunion.

Anonymous said...

Shipbuilding. They build a lot of ships. (Did you know Asia now builds 90%+ of the world's ships?)

Anyways they are going to be third world again when reunification happens.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of "re-branding",

The NYT has found a "green memo" in which activists are recieving marching orders to change global warming to "climate change" and speak of "cap and cash back" instead of "cap and trade".
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/02/us/politics/02enviro.html



Spin doctors, that glorious form of life commiserate with pond scum, maggots, buzzards, suckerfish, dung beetles, and street pimp/crack dealers, can rename anything bad into something good. "Woe unto those who call good evil, and evil good".



Speaking of "calling one thing another", ever notice around election time corporate-prostitutes (politicians) always talk about helping "small business", and then go to Washington and do everything they can to disadvantage small business against Big Business, from patents-innovation-tax breaks-diversity-litigation-image infringement-environmental burdens, etc.?

Just as mean as I ever was, M

Stopped Clock said...

I think Korea is just too small to be widely admired around the globe. They should focus on keeping a healthy birthrate up and of course eventual reunification so that in the long run they might be able to outrgow Japan.

Anonymous said...

I believe Spain did this with some success in the 90s.

Jerry said...

It's about time for a Korea thread! I've lived here for a year and a half in 1996-1997, and now back again after a job offer I couldn't refuse.

The era of big riots is coming to an end, alas. I saw some great riots in the summer of 1997, apocalyptic gladiatorial contests stretching from Sincheon to Seoul Station. I was studying at Yonsei University (Korea's Yale) at the time, and in the daytime I'd see people bringing in crates of Molotov cocktails more or less openly through the back gates of the university... at night they'd throw them through the front gate (the police has no authority to enter the university grounds).

That's all over now. University transcripts actually count when you're trying to get a job, and more importantly, the North Korea-linked "movement leaders" have decided to focus on the teachers' union. That's the main struggle of the current right-wing administration, to break the teachers' unions, to push against lefty indoctrination in the textbooks, etc.

As to the main topic, Korea is a wonderfully successful country, and they became successful not least by being aggressive. If that makes them a bit less well-liked, that's too bad for the other guys. Crossing out "Sea of Japan" on every wall map I've ever seen in the States doesn't help.

At the same time, Korea is one of the world's least interesting countries for a tourist. Not much they can do about that--no good beaches, all the mountains look the same, the cities are mostly Commieblocks... their old capital, Kyongju, was the great travel disappointment of my life, and I've heard the same sentiment from others. A good place to life, safe and clean and efficient, better for its citizens than for tourists.

Korea is a 19th century Victorian England dealing in a post-modern world; the fact that they care about this kind of ranking is a good example of this. They do have a blind spot regarding technology, the idea they would regard Czecho or Poland as "lesser nations" is laughable.

Here, btw, is the full ranking, with explanations:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nation_Brands_Index

Ross said...

"The government has announced a plan to globalize Korean cuisine, vowing to put it among the world's top five by 2017.".

Right I'm not letting my dog out the garden from now on.

Guts Strongman said...

Korea has a lot going for it: stem cell research, barbecue, utraviolent movies, and Rain, to name a few. In terms of branding, they could do worse than barbecue.

Anonymous said...

The deeper message is that Koreans are a disciplined lot, whether in manufacturing, watching soccer or rioting.

The African parallels are also readily observable. Nothing new here.

Anonymous said...

Half Sigma recently wrote about the difference in quality between Japanese and Chinese products, which is mirrored by the difference in quality between Japanese and Chinese restaurants.

My perception of Korean products is that they're closer to Chinese than to Japanese ones in quality.

Some of the ideas mentioned in that article are truly awful. Green Korea? Rainbow Korea? Clearly, Germany is number one on that list mostly because people all over the world find German products reliable and well-made.

I don't know if the Korean auto industry is capable of competing with Mercedes and Lexus and I don't know if that would even make economic sense for them. Perhaps that market is already saturated. But if they wanted to improve their image, that would be one way to go.

And what about quality electronics? Cameras that aren't made out of thin plastic, for example? Stuff that looks attractive and sturdy. Stuff that would last a few times longer than what their competitors are producing. That may be a bad business move (planned obsolescence pays), but it would probably move them up a few spots on that list they're obsessing about.

jeppo said...

For a South Korea branding slogan, how about "We've got an average IQ of 106 and we're 99.9% Korean. Take that, multicultural Western morons!"

bg said...

a crucial component of the Polish and Czech brands is the hotness of their women.

Argent Paladin said...

But if they did that, foreign rioters would come in and mess up the careful choreography and then someone could really get hurt!

SFG said...

Germany ranked first? Not surprising in view of their economic strength and relative lack of naughty actions in the past 60 years. But you can't blame the Jews for that one...

Thrasymachus said...

The decay and collapse of Asia is inevitable, regardless of what the numerous Sinophiles say, and I think we have seen the first crack. General Motors talked endlessly about branding, Toyota just concentrated on making really good cars, and that became the brand. When the president of the country is talking about branding, societal collapse is well underway.

Lucius Vorenus said...

15th place by 2013... the world's top five by 2017...This is what has happened to South Korean fertility in the last eight or ten years:

List of countries and territories by fertility rateSouth Korea 2000, CIA: 1.72
South Korea 2008, CIA: 1.20

South Korea 2000-2005, UN: 1.24
South Korea 2005-2010, UN: 1.21

At this rate, by "2017", South Korea will be effectively extinct - the nation will be populated by grisly, wizened, raisiny old pensioners, with barren wombs and flaccid members, just biding their time on this earth before they disappear once and for all.

And don't think that the problem is limited to the "consumerist" capitalists of the south:

North Korea 2000, CIA: 2.30
North Korea 2008, CIA: 2.00

North Korea 2000-2005, UN: 1.92
North Korea 2005-2010, UN: 1.85

As far as I can tell, North Korea is simply trailing the South by ten or twelve years - and that's even assuming that the North Koreans release honest statistics in the first place, which is probably a very bad assumption [a point which Derbyshire recently made about Chinese fertility numbers].

The problem is that "Kimist" marxism is no different from "consumerist" capitalism - they're both just two of myriad varying forms of nihilism, and eventually they both will deliver the same result.


******************************
******************************
******************************


tae kwon do... environmentally friendly "Green Korea"... Korean cuisine... robotics museum... world's tallest skyscrapers... nude beach... "Rainbow Korea"... expanding multiculturalism... This is nothing more than a laundry list of idolatries for nihilists who are desperately hoping to discover & cling to the tiniest sliver of meaning in their lives.

And from the glass beads & chicken bones & rune stones of these laundry lists, the nihilists will invariably create a new pagan religion for themselves - some new set of beliefs to try to ward off the horror of Life [and the tortuous sentence of being forced to live it] - even if what they eventually settle upon is nothing more than the pagan religion of atheism.

But every pagan religion is just another form of nihilism, and so the course of events will continue to circle around and around and around upon itself, tightening and contracting and constricting and collapsing until the whole thing is swallowed up into the vortex and vanishes forever.

And several thousand years hence, the archaeologists will be left scratching their heads and wondering just what it was that could have happened.



[Which, in turn, assumes that literate, civilized human beings even survive the coming Dark Ages and, in the next several millenia, are able to repopulate the world with budding young archaeologists to wonder about these things - again, not necessarily a good assumption to be making at this point.]

Lucius Vorenus said...

"tortuous" should be "torturous" [although, in a pinch, tortuous would do]

Anonymous said...

Pic Related.

AmericanGoy said...

Hey steve-o.

AIPAC starts today.

And as a gift, the US government re-affirmed its slave status to the Lobby by dropping the Weissman/Rosen spy case (in which the two, er, Americans were caught red handed, on film, passing secrets to their Israeli citizen spy masters.

To really rub our noses in the s**t, the featured speaker at AIPAC is (yep) Jane Harman.

I really look forward to your take on this issue (since I don't see you NOT writing about it).

Sincerely,
AG


http://americangoy.blogspot.com/2009/05/aipac-conference-lets-celebrate-treason.html

Anonymous said...

"Paris would be attractive even if its slogan was 'Go to hell.' In fact, it might actually be that."A PR guy with a sense of humor!

Anonymous said...

Yeh that's right, we are smart, homogenous, and do not have social problems. We don't wear our baseball hats backwards and we are not into violent crime.

TomV said...

LA Times: "so-called expanding multiculturalism"

So called by whom? The House of Windsor is more multicultural than Korea. And Koreans I know are proud of that.

steve wood said...

Funny story. It suggests a basic insecurity in the South Korean national character. That's what distinguishes them from the French, not the beauty of Paris.

I've never been to South Korea, but when I think of the place, I imagine a country that's cold and gray and slightly run down, with a lot of ugly utilitarian buildings and people who are brusque with strangers. I have no idea where that image came from. Is it totally off base?

The funny thing is, I know quite a few Koreans and Korean-Americans in the US, and they're all perfectly nice people, so it's not like I've had bad experiences or anything. Still, my long-distance impression of South Korea is not good.

They may be onto something with the food. Korean food - at least as interpreted by Korean restaurants in the US - is good. More substantial and flavorful than Japanese food but less greasy than Chinese (-American) food. Hey, maybe they could get the actors who play Jin and Sun on Lost to lead a national campaign to get people to try bulgogi.

Anonymous said...

They've cornered the tart froyo market...

http://springwise.com/food_beverage/korean_froghurt_frenzy/

and Korean BBQ tacos are all the rage via twitter...

L.A. phenomenon: Korean BBQ taco truck
http://www.mercurynews.com/restaurants/ci_12246087

http://kogibbq.com/

clem said...

This is nothing more than a laundry list of idolatries for nihilists who are desperately hoping to discover & cling to the tiniest sliver of meaning in their lives.As opposed to what--believing in Mesopotamian death-and-resurrection fertility myths, and an Imaginary Friend in the Sky?

Thanks, but I'll take the "pagan religion" of atheism instead. It's called having the courage to face reality, rather than clinging to childish fairy tales which have absolutely zero chance of being true, even if they do have a lot of cultural survival value.

Anonymous said...

"The decay and collapse of Asia is inevitable."

Obviously. The decay and collapse of everything is inevitable.

Anonymous said...

When I think of South Korea, I think of cloning and video game addiction. They could do a lot worse. Kekekeke.

Anonymous said...

Lucious:

I think that the low Korean and Japanese birth rates are less of a problem for Korea and Japan than low Western birth rates are for us. Koreans and Japanese aren't being replaced by foreigners. Interracial marriage is only common among them in the West, not at home.

One can make a convincing case that Japan is actually overcrowded right now. They tried solving that problem without dropping their birth rate during the 20s and 30s, but we all know how that ended.

Who knows, maybe they'll make another grab for it in the distant future.

This got me thinking: there is probably something special about the Japs vis-a-vis their neighbors. They found it easy to overrun both Korea and China in the first half of the 20th century. They beat both of them in that very important index cited here. Their products are better. Their culture is considered cool by millions of Western geeks, and not in a multi-culti way, either. Neither Korean nor the older Chinese culture fascinate smart foreigners to such an extent. It's not even close.

For whatever reason (no Mongolian invasion in their history?), the Japanese seem to be somewhat ahead of their neighbors in the human capital department.

Anonymous said...

I've never been to South Korea, but when I think of the place, I imagine a country that's cold and gray and slightly run down, with a lot of ugly utilitarian buildings and people who are brusque with strangers.

See for me, what always strikes me when I visit Seoul is how much better everything works than in, say, New York, or DC -- where the public transit employees have never learned how to use a timetable, the pedestrians are disorderly and vulgar, and there are homeless madmen on every streetcorner etc. etc. Arriving in Seoul (or Tokyo) is like returning to civilisation. When I get out into the countryside, things are better now than they were 10 years ago, but I can still see the ugly run-down Stalinist block thing. And trash isn't always kept properly out of sight when you get into the boonies.

Seoul, though? It doesn't have glorious old buildings, like Paris or London. But if you were trying to build Paris or London today, you'd get something ugly and modern, full of showy and pretentious modern architecture (like Shanghai, I suppose). In most cities, the attractive bits are the bits that were built before WWII, or before the Great War, for that matter. Seoul, doesn't have much of that, and what it does have is not particularly grand -- Korea has been a poor country for most of history. Seoul may not have an imperial patrimony like Paris or London, but as modern cities go -- compared against the modern bits of cities -- I think it's actually fairly nice. Not I-would-spend-15-hours-in-economy-to-see-this nice, but not an eyesore, which is more than can be said of most modern architecture.

That said, I think the attempt to turn Korea into a tourist attraction is 100% guaranteed to fail. The efforts to beautify Korea are worthwhile -- the Chonggyechon stream in Seoul (which had been paved over, then reopened and turned into a park by the President, when he was Mayor of Seoul) is really quite a nice addition. And that big park they have put in Seoul is good too. Out in the countryside, trash is better controlled and the roads are spruced up from time to time. But these efforts are worthwhile to make Korea more attractive to Koreans, not foreigners. And that's as it should be.

Neither Korean nor the older Chinese culture fascinate smart foreigners to such an extent. It's not even close.

Korean culture may not be making waves in the United States, but it's actually quite popular across East Asia. And it's not just individual actors (e.g. "Yon-sama") who are becoming popular, but the entire industry of Korean TV dramas and singers and so on. I suspect, though, that this is a low-hanging fruit issue -- the actors are more attractive than actors in Western TV shows, the production values are much higher than you get in Chinese or Southeast Asian TV shows, and the actors are a lot more passionate and demonstrative than in Japanese TV dramas (which sometimes play like Edwardian comedies of manners -- they probably don't translate across cultures nearly as well as people wailing and screaming).

Mr. Anon said...

Korea - Albania of the East!

Korea - Lone Mass-Murderer capitol of the World!

Stopped Clock said...

OK, so they aren't going to outgrow Japan. By the way, I think the Japanese/Korean reputation for racial purity is going into decline because of all of the men marrying foreign women.

Marriage brokers in Vietnam cater to Korean bachelors14% of all marriages in South Korea are between a Korean and a foreigner. In some cases this just indicates Koreans living overseas, but many many of these marriages are to people who are not of Korean ancestry.

I'll bet you all that in a decade or so we'll be hearing about school performance gaps in Japan and Korea as these two countries belatedly enter the wonderful world of multiculturalism.

testing99 said...

The Japanese were all deeply shocked by the power of Perry's Black Fleet in Tokyo Bay and knew that they made the wrong choice in the 1600's -- isolation and rejection of technology to preserve the feudal structure of Japan.

Even so, they had a number of bloody, ugly rebellions in the 1860's and 1870's by Samurai led forces trying to prevent the modernization and Westernization of Japan.

Japan forged ahead of China and Korea because it most enthusiastically embraced Westernization. Deeper than the others. It was defeated in WWII because it did not embrace Westernization enough, time after time "fighting spirit" was presumed to be enough to overcome logistical, technological, and material superiority of America. The Japanese also seriously underestimated and had contempt for American forces early in the war, a critical mistake that led to over-caution where daring was called for.

Korea's problem of course is not branding but the nuclear armed Kim to the North, failing, erratic, prone to schisms and various coup attempts and under shaky at best Chinese control. Kim and his successor could be nutty enough to simply "go for it" and launch a massive wave of attacks, basically unstoppable as the South Koreans have neither men nor equipment to stop it and the terrain is not favorable for collapsing forces to re-assert themselves, maneuver on the peninsula is limited.

Anonymous said...

clem said:

"It's called having the courage to face reality, rather than clinging to childish fairy tales which have absolutely zero chance of being true, even if they do have a lot of cultural survival value."

I agree with your assessment of the facts, but not with the conclusion you drew from them. Whether or not these stories are fairy tales is incredibly unimportant compared with their cultural survival value. If, like me, you're unable to believe in them literally, you'll still do well for yourself by thinking of them as allegories and useful life lessons. If you substitute the word fate for the word God, a lot of it makes good sense. Certainly better sense than modern PC morality does.

No one has ever improved his or anyone else's life in any way by convincing himself that there is no afterlife. And so what if it's true? Not all truths are useful to us. This particular truth has a huge potential to harm and no potential whatsoever to help anyone do anything. If I ever have kids, I will never admit to them that I don't believe in heaven and hell. I can think of a thousand ways in which believing in heaven and hell would help them go through life. I can't think of any ways at all in which the truth about this will help them.

kudzu bob said...

If South Korea wants to brand itself, the government should hire the Seoul airport equivalent of those nightclub doormen who only let in hot chicks and well-dressed guys. The SK gatekeeper will point at this new arrival with a white-gloved hand and say, "Welcome to our bautiful country," and to that one he will sneer and say, "Get lost, buster. You want a tricket refund, take it up with the airline."

In a year they will triple their tourism.

Anonymous said...

"That's the main struggle of the current right-wing administration, to break the teachers' unions, to push against lefty indoctrination in the textbooks, etc."


Can we please PLEASE get a "right-wing" in America which understands this? Instead of the current crop of corporate toadies posing as a right-wing?

Kai Carver said...

Wow there's a lot of patronizing about Korea here. My impression is that Korea is one of the hottest countries in one of the hottest places in the world for economic, technological, and cultural progress. In pretty much any area, sorry Poland and the Czech Republic, you're great, but Korea matters a lot more than you do. The condescension about Korea reminds me a bit of the European attitude towards the US 100 years ago: "Sure, they're incredibly successful, work hard, bla bla bla, but really, they're a bunch of hicks." At least they know how to design and build cars people might actually want to buy.

bibby said...

"This got me thinking: there is probably something special about the Japs vis-a-vis their neighbors. They found it easy to overrun both Korea and China in the first half of the 20th century. They beat both of them in that very important index cited here. Their products are better. Their culture is considered cool by millions of Western geeks, and not in a multi-culti way, either. Neither Korean nor the older Chinese culture fascinate smart foreigners to such an extent. It's not even close."

"For whatever reason (no Mongolian invasion in their history?), the Japanese seem to be somewhat ahead of their neighbors in the human capital department."

The Japanese adopted Western technology, science, business practices, etc. long before Korea or China. Japan's victory over Russian in 1905 obviously had nothing really to do with human capital, rather geography, strategy, and other reasons had much more to do with it. Their overrunning Korea and China can't be chalked up to "human capital." They had a modern, Westernized military and technology. They didn't develop this on their own. Korea was at that time a hermit kingdom, and constantly kicked out foreign visitors, and was sealed off, much like North Korea today. And China was backward and in a stagnant, bureaucratic, stasis.

On the whole, Japanese products are probably better than Chinese and Korean ones. But certain products from Korea, such as some electronics from Samsung, have caught up and even surpassed Japanese quality. Sony is nowhere near as dominant in quality as it used to be.

By "smart foreigners" here you mean Westerners. It's true, Japanese culture has become popular in certain respects and among certain people in the West. In Asia, Korean pop culture has been pretty popular for quite some time in China, Japan, Hong Kong, and SE Asia as well. Western pop culture was dominant in Asia until the 90s, and still is popular, particularly Hollywood blockbuster films. However, the dominance has waned, and indigenous and other Asian pop culture is often more popular than Western pop culture. For example, in Thailand, South Korean pop music is more popular than Western, and often more popular than native Thai pop. This happens in Japan as well.

Nilesh said...

I do not know why S.Koreans care so much about their image abroad? Their products get sold like hot cakes around the world. The Koreans rule the Indian consumer goods market (a major market in the long term) as far as I know.
S. Korea just like other East Asian nations is going to come out better after the coming depression (unlike the U.S.A and many European nations).
They should concentrate on bring up their birth rate, preserving their traditional culture among its younger generations, the eventual reunification with the North and thus getting rid of American troops from its soil.

Bloviator said...

Regarding contemporary Korean culture, it's almost impossible to get into or navigate if you don't speak Korean or live there or otherwise are connected/involved with Korea somehow. It's nowhere near as accessible as Japanese culture is these days, or even Hong Kong or Chinese for that matter.

I believe the one thing culturally that's been pretty good recently in South Korea is film. The past 10 years have been kind of a cinematic renaissance of sorts in Korea, although the past couple years, personally, I think the quality has leveled off. But there are some really good films from the past 10 years, and some very good directors. Japanese film has a kind of cult following in the US by film buffs, and I enjoy Japanese films as well, but I think the Koreans have made much better movies in the past 10 years.

In fact, remaking Korean films in the US has become something of a niche industry, although I don't think any of those remade films are any good.

One thing that stands out, I've noticed, in East Asian (Jap, Kor, Chn, HK) cinema, is the visual artistry and style. It's usually very impressive, and often much better than the story/plot/substance of the movie. I've always wondered if this has anything to do with strong visuo-spatial ability, and relatively weaker verbal ability. Hollywood cinema, of course, was created and has been dominated by verbally strong Jews.

Svigor said...

To really rub our noses in the s**t, the featured speaker at AIPAC is (yep) Jane Harman.Don't sweat it. Maybe in a half century it'll be the new Dreyfuss case.

keypusher said...

Is it not extraordinary that one of the most homogenous countries on earth, and moreover a country that might be said to showcase all the benefits of homogeneity, should nevertheless try to brand itself as diverse?

Diversity is a magical word, not just in the USA, but around the world. I wish I understood why.

Anonymous said...

"Mr. Korean President, how long have you and I known each other?"

"Oh, many, many years, blogger-san."

"OK, then, I have two words for your future (in branding),

Computer chips,

No, wait that was 20 years ago, I mean,

Hot Korean Chicks"

"That's three words, blogger-san."

"Dude, shut the f__k up! OK, yeah, it's three words; I'm tryin to help you here, ya grammar freak."


Seriously, Korean girls are beautiful, unless they have started getting fatter while I was not paying attention.

I think a good calendar of Korean girls that can be given out at the G-20 conferences, UN Human Rights meetings, anti-globalization rallies, hell, anywhere, is what will do the trick.

OK, no charge this time, branding dudes.

John Seiler said...

Here's a brand they could cultivate: "Neighbor to impish totalitarian Kim Jong Il." \

They could turn it into an adventure-ride like Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland. And charge $30 for a batch of kimchi. Then make some movies based on the ride.

Hacienda said...

Steve on Korean branding.

The impetus of the branding is not so vain as it may seem. I believe it was some national level department that did a study on branding and it's effect of corporate profits. The discovery was that a national brand can be responsible for a large percentage of profits. For example Apple has brand at the company level AND national level as it is an
American company. The national portion is responsible for 30% increase in profit than were Apple a Korean company. This actually makes a lot of sense. Compare Samsung products vs. Apple. There's actually not much to different the two, but it's Apple that gets a double premium by this two level branding.

Im Myung Bak was a corporate head at Hyundai during its hey day this kind of biz-think is not only his cup of coffee, but probably initiated by him.

When Poland is compared to Korea, it's done not at the gross national level, but with hard business math in mind. Hard math, kids. Remember that.

Anonymous said...

bibby wrote:

"The Japanese adopted Western technology, science, business practices, etc. long before Korea or China."

But Japan also invaded Korea in the 16th century, long before any Western technology got to Asia. The reverse (Korea invading Japan) never happened. And WHY was Japan more open to positive Western influences in the late 19th and early 20th century than its neighbors? At that point the Chinese had been dealing with Westerners for just as long, yet it's Japan that became the early adopter.

MacSweeney said...

"But Japan also invaded Korea in the 16th century, long before any Western technology got to Asia. The reverse (Korea invading Japan) never happened."

Are you an idiot? That was called the Imjin War, Japan lost. Does simply invading make them smarter? It's also worth nothing that during the Imjin War, Korean Turtle Ships and their allies, the Ming Chinese warships were MUCH more advanced than the crappy little boats the Japanese used. It was the Japanese that had to resort to large numbers of low quality boats to make up for it. Yes, see how much things can change with good or bad government policies?

Anonymous said...

Hey, they just had another riot this weekend!

http://briandeutsch.blogspot.com/2009/05/protests-against-us-beef-disrupt.html

historian said...

Steve, regarding your point about South Korea having no ethnic divisions and therefore being organized around more ad hoc pretexts, there's actually more to it than meets the eye (I suppose literally, as there are no physical or ethnic differences). The following is probably more than you care to know about S.Korea, but its useful for understanding some of the rioting in Korea.

The organized demo's and riots these days are organized around all kinds of reasons and issues, but much of the rioting culture has its roots in regional divisions. The military dictator Park Chung Hee, the military top brass, and many of the big business oligarchs involved in Park's state-capitalist corporatist economic growth program were from the southeast province in Korea (called Gyeongsang, GS for short). During the military dictatorships, which lasted until the 90s basically, the southeast province was heavily favored, with lots of state money, infrastructure, jobs, etc., directed there. You can imagine how much native Confucian/E. Asian nepotism, cronyism, corruption aggravated all of this. The southwest province (Jeolla, J for short), was a traditional rival of GS province, and was especially neglected by the national elite, heavily drawn from the GS province.

There are some big differences between these two provinces, I guess as big as you can get in a racially homogeneous society. Their dialects, cuisines, and even personalities and characters are very different. There's even a large mountain range between the two provinces that limited travel and contact between the two. And the rivalry goes back a long time. Until they were united in 660 A.D., the two provinces were two different rival kingdoms, and they warred with each other constantly. The Silla kingdom was the southeast GS province, and they took over the Baekjae kingdom, the southwest J province.

Well, as you might've guessed, the pro-democracy movement and anti-military authoritarianism became very popular in the J province and riots protesting the regime were very big there. Pro democracy and anti regime sentiments and movements were present all over the country, but were especially strong in the J province, no doubt heightened by regionalism.

In May of 1980, in the capital city of the J province, Gwangju, the citizens rose up against the military regime, established a militia, and actually took over the city. And this inspired even more uprisings throughout the J province. The military dictator at the time and successor to Park Chung Hee was Chun Doo Hwan, a general from the GS province. He sent in the military, attacked the militias, and fired upon and killed civilians, defeating the uprising.

All that rioting/demonstrating, and the democracy movements continued even after the violent crackdown. They kept on trucking into the 80s, and they played a big role in finally ousting the military dictatorship in the 90s and establishing democracy, elections, etc. So it wasn't all for naught, and you gotta hand it to them for being persistent.

Nowadays, the riots and demonstrations are highly organized, but much of the physical confrontation and violence is highly ritualized. It's more about going through the motions than trying to harm and defeat the riot police. But the roots of this demonstrating and rioting culture goes back to actually physical, violent battles that were commonplace during the military dictatorships.

On a side note, the most incredible video footage I've ever seen of a riot/demonstration anywhere was of a violent/physical 'battle' between Buddhist monks and riot police in Korea. It's from the 90's, and I saw it on one of those "Most Incredible..." shows, and I've searched for it on Youtube but haven't been able to find it. It's pretty incredible. The riot police were blockading and surrounding what looked to be about a 5 story Buddhist temple, and Buddhist monks with shaved heads, wearing their robes were throwing molotov cocktails and literally jumping off the roof and doing ninja style flying kicks into the riot police. It's really one of those videos you have to see to believe.

Anonymous said...

Searching Korea Beat for multicultural turns up a host of interesting information, including:

http://koreabeat.com/?p=2946 "Foreign Mothers Who Don’t Know Hangul"

http://koreabeat.com/?p=3594 "Biracial children accepted, shunned by classmates"

http://koreabeat.com/?p=1525 "Korean Kids With Foreign Moms 'Struggle With Language'"

there's also this:

http://askakorean.blogspot.com/2008/03/special-advisory-to-ladies-from.html (Korean guys who're marrying Vietnamese/Filipino women are probably losers)

rast said...

"I've never been to South Korea, but when I think of the place, I imagine a country that's cold and gray and slightly run down, with a lot of ugly utilitarian buildings and people who are brusque with strangers. I have no idea where that image came from. Is it totally off base?"

I've never been either, but I'm pretty sure you're thinking of the Soviet Union. this is what I think of when I think of SK:

night picture of seoul

ironrailsironweights said...

Korean women are said to dominate the massage parlor industry in the United States, both the rub 'n' tug and full service varieties.

Peter

Argent Paladin said...

When I think of Korea, I think of hot and crowded, but then the last time I was there was for the Taejon World Expo in the summer of 1996.

One thing that hasn't been much mentioned is how absolutely insane Koreans are in the realm of international competition. I can't say that it is more than China and Japan, but it is off the charts in comparison to the US or Europe.

The entire country watches whenever a Korean competes at the international level, whether the national soccer team or the current figure skating champ. After the 2006 Superbowl, the headlines all over Korea were Hines Ward, Korean, wins MVP. Koreans by and large have no idea of what football is, but they all were so proud when Ward--Korean!-- won. Koreans really want to be #1 and when one Korean wins, all of Korea wins and vice versa.

Anonymous said...

The South Koreans are some of the nicest people I know, whether in their own country, or visiting the States. The only exception in my experience was a prostitute in a Seoul brothel who tried to pickpocket me. But that's to be expected in any country.

Anonymous said...

Stopped Clock - that 14% outmarriage. As you say a big part of that is ethnically Korean Chinese girls. But read the article, Vietnamese and other SE Asian girls are the others being imported. They are not seeking out brides from Africa or India, ethnically speaking these foreign brides are coming from much closer to home.

Furthermore its not families that are being brought in. There seems to be no chain migration involved, the girls come in on an individual basis. Hard to see them forming separate communities or ghettos in S. Korea.

Hard to see this as bringing about the multicultural meltdown. Its not very problematical from an ethnic standpoint and the nature of this migration seems designed to avoid setting up too many cultural issues.

AZ said...

"One thing that stands out, I've noticed, in East Asian (Jap, Kor, Chn, HK) cinema, is the visual artistry and style. It's usually very impressive, and often much better than the story/plot/substance of the movie. I've always wondered if this has anything to do with strong visuo-spatial ability, and relatively weaker verbal ability."

I'd agree that Asian movies display greater visual flair and panache, but not about any deficiencies with regard to screenplays or plots. I find the storylines and dialogue in your average Hong Kong crime story potboiler or Korean tragedy to be far more engaging and intelligent than most high-standard Hollywood movies, which are generally undistinguished and non-descript.

As regards disparity between the product quality of Japanese, Korean and Chinese products, I think this is just an ephemeral phenomonon resulting from disparate levels of development. Deep-rooted cultural explanations fail to account for why Japan has been little more than China's poorer cousin for most of the common era.

And as regards the fascinationg exerted by older, Japanese high culture over "smart Westerners" - with the exception of Shintoism, it's primarily just Chinese-derived, with little fundamental alteration. Even Zen Buddhism in Japan, which arrived in the archaepeligo five hundred years after its heyday in China, is still remarkably true to its origins. The assertion has been made in some circles,probably exaggerated yet still harbouring a kernal of truth, that traditional Japanese culture is just a time capsule of Tang Dynasty Chinese culture (7th to 9th centuries AD) - so much of what we consider to be distinctively Japanese is just Tang Dynasty culture preserved unsullied and intact - from kimonos and kendo to the consumption of raw fish. Even Japanese traditional music is just Tang Dynasty music imported from Central Asia (the early Tang Dynasty rulers had more Turkic blood than Chinese) played slowly.

There's Bushido, the Samurai and Ninjutsu which is unique tot hem as well, but I think this kind of stuff appeals to mainly to puerile martial arts nerds and war fantasists. And even then, Bushido and the Samurai ethic were massively influenced by Confucianism and Chan (Zen Buddhism). The number of distinguished and accomplished Sinologists in the West vastly, vastly outnumbers the number of Western scholars who have turned their attention to Japanese culture.

Japan was not just the only Eastern Asian country - it was the only non-Western country - to make the smart, prescient move in the 19th century, and adopt industralization from the West. I think the reason why they were able to do this - and the Chinese didn't, was the fact that the Japanese suffered from less civilization hubris, because their own culture was itself derivative, and this was something that many of their leading intellectual figures at the time were quite ambivalent about. Western culture gave them something distinctive which distinguish them from the imported Chinese culture which comprised the preponderence of their own traditions and customs.

Anonymous said...

There are two symptoms at display here. One is South Korea's neurotic quest for status. The other is the pointless money wasting of SWPL European surveys.

South Korea is a relatively small nation of modest cultural cachet wedged between China and Japan. The quintessential middle child. All of the nonsense uttered by the South Korean government is emblematic of South Korea's search for a foreign certifying agency to validate their own narcissism. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

The Nation Brand Index is a money wasting project by SWPL status obsessed Europeans who's singular talent is wealth transfer from productive elements to themselves. The entire project is a basically nothing more than a high school popularity contest writ large. The only element that bears any relation to reality is in the governance category.

Anonymous said...

"Korean women are said to dominate the massage parlor industry in the United States, both the rub 'n' tug and full service varieties."

The current Korean President Lee Myung Bak actually said to the press a few years ago that "It's better to get a massage from an ugly girl, because she'll try harder to please you."

Now imagine an American President saying that.

historian said...

"Hey, they just had another riot this weekend!

http://briandeutsch.blogspot.com/2009/05/protests-against-us-beef-disrupt.html"

The funny thing about this riot is that they're having it IN COMMEMORATION of the anti-US beef imports riots/protest from a year ago!

One year ago, groups of professional rioters and some Left wing groups seized the US beef imports issue to organize riots. The new President Lee wanted to resume US beef imports to expand trade between the US and Korea, and to show that he's pro-US in contrast with the previous anti-US Korean presidential administration. US beef imports had been suspended several years before following the mad cow outbreak.

The professional rioters/Left wingers/Korean ranchers hit the internet and scared average Koreans into believing that there was a good chance there'd be mad cow in the imports. They even convinced a popular newsmagazine show to report that not only was mad cow probably in the imports, Koreans were genetically more liable to contract mad cow.

Well, the organizers were able to get a few million average people worked up enough to hold massive protests and candlelight vigils in downtown Seoul for a few days, shutting down traffic.

After a few days though, the protests/vigils died down. The US beef imports resumed, and US beef has sold very well in Korea ever since.

So now, even though the riots/protests failed in their aims, and even though Koreans haven't stopped buying US beef and don't seem worried about it, these rioters are holding a riot to remember the riot from a year ago.

Anonymous said...

Little known fact:

The largest known incident of spree killing in the modern world was perpetrated by a Korean in Korea:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woo_Bum-kon

Choi Seung Hui. Deadliest peacetime shooting incident by a single gunman in US history.

Coincidence?

theindubitables said...

After searching for some articles on the current Korean riots, I came across an article that I just thought had a funny headline:

"Protesters, police clash in beef deal anniversary"

http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/NEWKHSITE/data/html_dir/2009/05/04/200905040008.asp

I just find the idea of the police and protesters clashing over the anniversary of some sort of "beef deal" hilarious. I just picture a country where the state and the people "clash" over beef deals, cheese scandals, dairy quality, etc.

Kai Carver said...

> Korean girls are beautiful

So Hot!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xR5JOp_jO0&fmt=18

Korean men aren't bad either
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/30/AR2006083002985.html

> The South Koreans are some of the nicest people

agreed

Watson said...

I don't know how anyone can honestly claim that Korean girls are, on average, "hot". Compared to other Asian chicks, they are moon-faced, big-boned, chunky, and usually have an unpleasant disposition.

I can distinguish a Korean chick from other Asian chicks with ease.

Dienekes has posted some interesting facial composite comparisons between Koreans and Japanese, etc., and Koreans come out on the losing end, IMO. He's also posted some body-mass-index comparisons, with the same results.

Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I don't condemn Kai for his preferences.

Anonymous said...

With t99's comments I always find myself asking after reading them: "so what now?". Its as if he's God and basically everybody should just accept his dictum and get f.ed.

Reg Cæsar said...

...South Korea having no ethnic divisions ... there's actually more to it than meets the eye (I suppose literally, as there are no physical or ethnic differences). --Historian

I was only in Seoul for two days, so this is anecdotal, but I was struck by the dichotomy of two very different-looking types of Koreans. One was what we normally would expect: a kind of close sibling resemblance to the Chinese and Japanese.

In among those, though, was a bigger, darker, more windblown type, which seemed to have just ridden in from the Mongolian steppes. Hard, as opposed to soft, Koreans.

Was I just imagining things, or has anyone else noticed this about Koreans?

Anonymous said...

SFG sed:
"Germany ranked first? Not surprising in view of their economic strength and relative lack of naughty actions in the past 60 years."

OK, I purposely left out your last sentence. No need for unnecessary controversy. Seriously though, the reason why Germany is doing well is because its economic programme was planned during WWII and is a continuation of it. People don't realise this. Albert Speer built up a formidable technology and industry bureaucracy which handled the infamous war production and weapons programmes. He was busted for running this ministry. The young men in that ministry came from leading families and often had excellent technical (engineering, sciences, economic) education. All had been to the officer schools. These guys already planned post-war Germany whilst the cities were being bombed. The idea was that Germany would become a world power through industrial might. I think they achieved their aim. Basically the rules changed after the end of WWII, at the latest after the invention of the ICBM's. From there on conventional vicious warfare, as practised during WWI and WWII was no longer feasible. So the modern warfare is industrial. You need a token army to discourage an invasion, but apart from that your weapons are technological prowess and knowledge. The US is wasting away its edge on maintaining a huge army and a military presence all around the world, in places where there would otherwise only be fish, birds a few animals and some local savages. It's not sustainable.

Truth said...

"> Korean girls are beautiful"

Geez, none of those girls weighs over 100lbs.

Anonymous said...

Reg Caesar,

"In among those, though, was a bigger, darker, more windblown type, which seemed to have just ridden in from the Mongolian steppes. Hard, as opposed to soft, Koreans."

This is one of the prominent types you find in Korea.

hyperlid said...

Koreans have promoted stranger things than "image boosting".

Prominent businessmen and certain politicians have even advocated recently making English the official language in Korea. The idea never really took off, but I think a small part of the reason why the idea never had any traction was that Koreans realize how bad they are at English. They know that nobody would be able to communicate with each other!

Koreans have an almost national obsession with learning English, and parents spend thousands on after school tutoring, cram schools, etc., all in an effort to get them to speak and know English well. It really is like a collective neurosis, and it's hard to understand because there's nothing really comparable to it in the US. You'll see adults taking classes, studying on their own with drill books. Perceived stronger English ability will often help one get a job or position over another person who is equal in qualifications, experience, etc., even though they may never have to use English.

Despite all this effort, they are pretty awful at English. Partly because they never really converse in it. Often times if they get that rare chance to meet an American or Westerner, they really want to practice their English, but they are very self conscious and shy and will have trouble initiating anything. They themselves will admit that Koreans are a naturally shy people. Their shyness is similar to that of the Japanese. The Chinese are more outgoing and bold for the most part relative to the Koreans and Japanese, although the Koreans and Japanese will describe it as the Chinese being loud, or aggressive, or obnoxious.

Anonymous said...

Kim and his successor could be nutty enough to simply "go for it" and launch a massive wave of attacks, basically unstoppable as the South Koreans have neither men nor equipment to stop it and the terrain is not favorable for collapsing forces to re-assert themselves, maneuver on the peninsula is limited.testing99,

As usual, you do not know what you are talking about.

Just in case someone is taking you seriously, though, I'll point out that North Korea hasn't engaged in much of the way of military operations since the 1950s (terrorist attacks did not involve many personnel and are a poor practice for a real fight, anyway), has antiquated equipment, poorly trained (at anything except Communist propaganda and marching past reviewing stands) troops who mostly grew up in starvation, an extremely centralized command and control structure, and terrible logistics.

In theory, they can mobilize 8 million people. In practice, it's probably a lot less-and they'll have a tough time feeding and supplying them if they try to send them South.

One of the major complications of the last Korean War, guerrilla infiltration, is going to be less of an issue, since there are now big differences between the North Korean and South Korean populations due to poor nutrition and very insular education in the North.

South Korea has about 4 million it can mobilize. Most of the ones on active duty are in areas the North has to cross to do anything in the South and are heavily dug in. They are well trained and equipped with modern weaponry.

In the event of a North Korean attack on South Korea, Seoul could be heavily damaged by artillery for the first few days, until the North Korean guns ran out of ammunition or were overrun by South Korean counterattacks-although that kind of ruins a major gain North Korea would get by attacking. North Korean attacks would bog after the South Korean air elements cut off PROK command and control. A few of the No Dong and Taepo Dong rockets would be fired at Japan-some of them might even land within a mile of their target or not explode on the launch pad. At that point, Japanese aviation and naval forces would come into play.

Small US forces would be involved very early on, but major forces wouldn't arrive until after the South Koreans had basically won the war.

Fighting would drag on for a while, until China makes it obvious they will not bail out North Korea, and some of the lesser PROK commanders launch a coup, waxed Kim Jong Il and his family, and then surrender.

South Korea would get a lot of aid to rebuild Seoul, because the rest of the world needs Seoul up and running, and very little to rebuild the North. They'll spend the next two decades doing that on their own.

North Korea's military is so unimpressive in reality that R. James Woolsey was advocating a preemptive conquest of the place not too long ago. They haven't improved since then.

The amount of time, talk, ink and electrons we spend talking about the North Korean threat to us says a lot about how paranoid and insecure we are as a nation. (As does the amount of time we spend on Iran-as long time readers of Steve will know.)

Planetary Archon Mouse

Anonymous said...

Planetary Archon Mouse,
I agree with your assertions. Another effect of this US domination is that all other military forces, past and present, are considered useless, paper tigers etc. For instance, both the German army of yore and the current one are regularly ridiculed. But why then did US and English WWII soldiers have such high regard for them? And why did the IDF of all institutions have to study the German WWII tactics? It's obvious. Also, why does Obama need Germany in Afghanistan and why was Bush disappointed the Germans did not join him in Iraq if they are so useless? Same with the current Japanese and Korean forces. I'm sure they're a lot better than generally assumed or described by avid US-Israel-world-domination fans. But of course it would not fit into the nice picture. So we have to act as if only the US Army and the IDF are up to any good and can save those have pledged allegiance to that centre of enlightenment. This US/Israeli obsession with power goes past the point of having an army anyway. The main purpose is to secure your turf, not to go strutting about telling everybody how great you are. That's reserved for bullies.

Anonymous said...

> a bigger, darker, more windblown type

You're absolutely right. A subset of Koreans tend to be darker, bigger and more muscular than other Asians. I've also noticed this.

In men, it's broader shoulders and a more martial artist build. In women, it manifests itself as more curves. Asian women with natural B+ and better racks are disproportionately Korean.

Also, regarding Korean girls, I suggest anyone who doubts how hot they can be should google "K-girl" in the vicinity of SF, LA, NYC. You will be amazed and awed. I have to say that Korean girls are probably my favorite of all the world's nations, with Italians and Persians running a distant #2 and #3. They just take care of themselves in a way that is foreign to American girls, with their jeans and feminism. The tradeoff is that they are intensely materialistic in an almost cartoonish way.

Anonymous said...

The Koreans still eat dogs.
This is a true and incontrovertible fact, however much the Koreans try to deny it and seep it under the rug.
- It is likely that the use of domestic dogs for food is very ancient and probably (in korea at least), has roots going back thousands of years.
Now, if there is one animal that has been elevated to almost sacred status by SWPL types in the USA and northern Europe it is the domestic dog - man's best friend, the cuddly, loveable pooch, best friend to the kids, confidante of the husband and comforter of the wife.
Seriously, if anyone wants to take a swing at Korea all they have to do is high-light Korean canophagy.
An effort to outlaw consumption of dog-flesh would do wonders for their international image.
How can a nation of dog-eaters (never mind the electronics), ever claim superiority to the Poles or Czechs?

steve wood said...

"In among those, though, was a bigger, darker, more windblown type, which seemed to have just ridden in from the Mongolian steppes. Hard, as opposed to soft, Koreans."

This is one of the prominent types you find in Korea.
And

I don't know how anyone can honestly claim that Korean girls are, on average, "hot". Compared to other Asian chicks, they are moon-faced, big-boned, chunky, and usually have an unpleasant disposition.These quotes describe very masculine qualities. Perhaps that's why ...

Korean men aren't bad eitherMy empirical observation is that Korean men seem to be, on average, more masculine in appearance (by Western standards) than other East Asian ethnicities.

Dog of Justice said...

No one has ever improved his or anyone else's life in any way by convincing himself that there is no afterlife. And so what if it's true? Not all truths are useful to us. This particular truth has a huge potential to harm and no potential whatsoever to help anyone do anything. If I ever have kids, I will never admit to them that I don't believe in heaven and hell. I can think of a thousand ways in which believing in heaven and hell would help them go through life. I can't think of any ways at all in which the truth about this will help them.There is, in fact, a very important way in which such knowledge helps you: it lets you avoid being manipulated by those making false claims about the afterlife. We can easily see that such manipulation happens on an industrial scale even today.

It may be rational to deliberately make your kids susceptible to one filtered group of manipulators which has a track record of using its powers responsibly. I may even do the same thing in the future. But I will carefully consider the decision rather than imagining that there's no drawback at all.

Anonymous said...

A South Korean riot was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen, easily beating out most of your standard tourist attractions elsewhere.

-ADam Greenwood

Anonymous said...

Not only are Korean women hot, but they are also the cutest on Earth. I've never seen any other culture's women devote themselves to the evolution of cuteness. American women (and probably a lot of men) would vomit at the behavior of Korean women.

Rent a few Korean romantic comdies and see what I mean. (Love So Divine, My Little Bride)

Which leads to my second point, Korean entertainment is conquering Asia with TV and music. Their movies are great too, among the most creative I've seen. Old Boy (not for the squeamish), Shiri, Taeguki, Sex is Zero.

David said...

"Is it not extraordinary that one of the most homogenous countries on earth, and moreover a country that might be said to showcase all the benefits of homogeneity, should nevertheless try to brand itself as diverse? [...] I wish I understood why."

Internationalists hold K. by the balls and want to "open it up."

Anonymous said...

I don't find Asian women particularly attractive in general, but I would point out that there is a lot more physical variation among Koreans than among Japanese. The later look like clones of each other(I can't really think of another ethnicity that comes close to Japanese in this regard). So I've seen more Korean girls I though were hot than Japanese girls. Once you've seen one Japanese girl, you've seen them all.

Anonymous said...

Korean Tourist Attraction-

Pirates of the Carribean- Admiral Li's Turtle Ship!

It's an ironclad 250 years before the Monitor and the Merrimack!! (Also a throwback to the late Roman Caracalla flamethrower ships in Hobson-Jobson)

I think Korea has a replica ship, which is also some kind of 'military secret' since it was built in them dick- tater days. They could set up a Pirates (of the South China Sea) tourist trap. Cruise ships could get rich farts to it, without getting downwind of kimchi farts.

why worry today said...

The Korean inferiority complex is a bit off-putting. Korea is like that kid down the street who otherwise was perfectly normal but so desperate for friends that you never wanted anything to do with him. Their media is not as popular in Asia as their boosters would claim (it's only popular amongst middle-age women), their women can be hot but also tend towards wide shoulders and moon faces, their biggest export is hookers, and their food is good but grilled meat + kimchee is not going to be a global sensation.

For more evidence of their inferiority complex, look at their efforts to get Sea of Japan renamed on western maps to the East Sea. This is not a culture with self-confidence.

Contrary to what one of the other commenters posted, China was not a bureaucratic state when Japan invaded, it was in the middle of a bloody civil war that threatened to spill into the rest of Asia. The Western colonial powers were at that point just trying to extract as much money from their Asian colonies as possible but for Japan, the consequences of instability were much more dire. Stopping the Chinese civil war and cleaning up the mess that was Korea put Japan at odds with Western military powers that were still interested in exploiting Asia themselves, if it hadn't been for that (and England's role in particular) the war in the pacific would have most likely been avoided.

David Davenport said...

Also, why does Obama need Germany in Afghanistan and why was Bush disappointed the Germans did not join him in Iraq if they are so useless?Why want Germans in Iraq or Afghanistan? Political cover.

Be even nicer if today's German army would actually fight.

Wim said...

"The later look like clones of each other(I can't really think of another ethnicity that comes close to Japanese in this regard). So I've seen more Korean girls I though were hot than Japanese girls. Once you've seen one Japanese girl, you've seen them all."

I suppose it's true about Japanese girls on average.

But the Japanese AV star girls are pretty nice.

Reg Cæsar said...

Seriously, if anyone wants to take a swing at Korea all they have to do is high-light Korean canophagy.Good point, especially vis-á-vis the Anglosphere. During the 2002 World Cup, some Brits did. However, the word is cynophagy; -phagies, like -phobias and -manias, use Greek prefixes.

I have to say that Korean girls are probably my favorite of all the world's nations, with Italians and Persians running a distant #2 and #3. They just take care of themselves in a way that is foreign to American girls, with their jeans and feminism. Actually, Italian, French and other European girls have butched-up, American-style, over the past generation or two. They rarely have the old magic their grandmothers were famous for. (Though I'm basing this on the ones who visit America, not having been back to Europe in recent years. Selection bias?)

Funny you should mention Persians. I've noticed that femininity (as opposed to femaleness) survives in much of the periphery of the dar-al-Islam. Just stay away from Arabs and their neighbors. Indonesian ladies are, well, ladies. The more liberated, Euro-ish Turks are quite nice, too. And, most surprising, many of the young Somali women in my city show the same feminine electricity I was awed by in Europe a quarter-century or so ago.

NB: I am not advocating anyone cross racial, religious or civilizational lines to find a wife. I sure didn't. But couldn't we hire some of these retrograde (in a good way) ladies to give charm lessons to our own womenfolk?

Now there's a job Americans won't do!

Richard Hoste said...

"At this rate, by "2017", South Korea will be effectively extinct - the nation will be populated by grisly, wizened, raisiny old pensioners, with barren wombs and flaccid members, just biding their time on this earth before they disappear once and for all."

Oh, calm down. A nation of 70 million people isn't going extinct in 8 years, regardless of the birth rate.

That being said, the low birth rates of Asians is an argument against using Western-style feminism as the main or exclusive reason for this peculiarity of the modern world. Maybe it's capitalism, but then again the US has always beat more socialist Europe, even only counting Caucasians.

Affordable family housing? There's something there, but how much more affordable were things in the past?

I's like to hear what everybody else thinks. I'm pretty stumped. Is there any way to get high IQ people to breed in the modern world? What needs to be changed?

Anonymous said...

The Chinese director, Yang Zhimou, on being praised for the amazingly disciplined choreography of the performers at the opening of the Beijing Olympics, agreed that while they were good, Koreans would have been better.

Anonymous said...

steve you need to ban the horny loser/nerd commentary here. it's really revolting.

"...with their jeans and femininity"?!

"...the old magic"?!

ugh.

Anonymous said...

"I's like to hear what everybody else thinks. I'm pretty stumped. Is there any way to get high IQ people to breed in the modern world? What needs to be changed?"

Orthodox Jews are having something like 8 kids per family, and they're probably high IQ. The Mormons probably have around 2.5 kids per family, and they're high IQ. The answer appears to be traditional morality. Traditionally, the biggest purveyor of traditional morality has been religion.

Antonin Scalia went to Harvard Law and is scarily smart. He and his wife have 9 kids together. Unlike most scarily smart people, he's pretty religious.

I used to watch Tucker Carlson's TV program a lot. Whatever else you say about him, he's a very smart guy. 1 marriage, 4 kids, practicing Christian.

Mitt Romney has 6 kids.

The common thread uniting smart people who've had a lot of kids appears to be religiosity. Unfortunately in the modern world most smart people aren't religious.

Proofreader said...

Can we agree on a couple of phrases for the benefit of the Korean tourist industry?

"Korea is a riot"
"Koreans: we're no wimps unlike other Asians"
"Korea: our women have real curves; don't bother with the rest of Asia, sex-tourist!"
.........

Lucius Vorenus said...

Richard Hoste: Oh, calm down. A nation of 70 million people isn't going extinct in 8 years, regardless of the birth rate.

Au contraire.

After just a few short decades of sub-replacement-level fertility, it can take a CENTURY or more for a population to recover - and that's with wildly optimistic projections about a sudden, unanticipated increase in fertility.

An optimism so wild that, at least probabilistically speaking, the much more likely outcome is extinction.

Richard Hoste: Is there any way to get high IQ people to breed in the modern world?

Not so long as Nihilism is their state religion.

Richard Hoste: What needs to be changed?

There are a handful of places in the world where high IQ people are still breeding: Israel, Utah, Alaska, maybe Iceland.

See any pattern?

Anonymous said...

"steve you need to ban the horny loser/nerd commentary here. it's really revolting."

Yeah, I know, it's amazing how a post that had nothing to do with hotties generated a thread that quickly devolved into drooling fantasies about those luscious Asian women with their soft, silky black hair and creamy complexions, those lissome limbs and delicate birdlike breasts, quivering at the rough touch of manly white American men grateful at last to have finally found the kind of simpering submissive femininity that has long since vanished from America itself with its thug-loving feminazi harridans who deep in their cold castrating souls know that they could never hope to compete with the alluring coquettishness of oriental women schooled over millennia in the womanly arts of fulfilling their natural duties of pleasing the masterful men of America whose admirable qualities and noble deeds have gone so churlishly unpraised by their own women who will one day (and very soon!) come to rue their churlish neglect of their better halves, but it will be too late, for the manly uncomplaining men of America, who are the only ones keeping the light of civilization burning at home, will have assumed their rightful place on the throne in the palace that their raptly worshipful Asian brides will have created for them, yes, those succulent young Asian brides who will yield tremblingly, lubriciously to their men's every whim, that famous Oriental reserve melting away under the heat of manly white American musk and igniting into a sensual connubial fire that threatens to devour all with its sinful interracial flames.

Anyway, yeah, it's revolting.

quiet riot said...

I guess this topic is really old by now, but I found a good site with footage of the recent rioting.

http://www.jetsetzero.tv/2009/05/04/may-day-protests-seoul/

Funny quote from the site: "At this point the police swept in and started rounding up everyone they could see. It was just shocking to see hundreds of police in black armor running into a crowd that had been dancing to a song from a children’s cartoon moments before."

Anonymous said...

"steve you need to ban the horny loser/nerd commentary here. it's really revolting"

I don't think being horny and being a loser or nerd have been correlated in any way. This is the kind of statistical thing that Steve Sailer loves to work on, eh, Steve?

Besides, when you're right, you're right. My solution for the "Korean Branding Czar" (as he might be known if he were in America) is calendars of beautiful Korean girls. To repeat, these should be disseminated far and wide (the calendars, well, come to think of it, the girls too).

They are indeed cuter than cute, as a poster suggested. As to the poster who puts Japanese women above Korean ones on the beauty scale, I have two words for you, my mistaken friend:

Yoko

Ono


Case closed.

... with extreme prejudice, now get outta my courtroom, you big dummy.

Now, anyone with a better idea, besides "Korea - it's a riot" ;-) which is now number two? However, don't stop brainstorming, people; feel free to yank my chain when you come up with some action items. Keep me in the loop, as we corporate people like to say. We also like to say "why, hello Miss Kim - you can visit me in my office any time; no, after 6 is fine. Don't bother with the KimChi, just the Kim is might fine with me. Heh heh ...."

Anonymous said...

All those people who claim they can easily make out between Koreans, Chinese and Japanese must take this test.
http://alllooksame.com/exam_room.php
Simply choose the first exam (Faces), register yourself and you will get to see for yourself if can truly make out the difference between North East Asians.

And yes I agree, the Japanese do stand out above the mainland North East Asians in many ways (not much above just a little) in the same way Germans stand out above Slavs.

Ronduck said...

Lucius Vorenus, I would like to point out that there are Vietnamese in Iceland, so the fertility of the native Icelanders may be lower than reported.