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name of South Korea in the country itself is simply known as the Republic of Korea;
south is only used by foreigners in comparison to North Korea, although both nations
claim the entire peninsula. The name Korea is derived from the name "Goryeo,"
which was a kingdom on the peninsula that ruled beginning in 37 BC, but only came
to control most of the peninsula in the early 900s.
The earliest remnants of today's Korean culture
begin with the mountainous landscape as well as the long coastlines. These mountains
isolated the people for thousands of years with their only true influences coming
from China, the only place with true access to the Korea
Peninsula (although today Russia also borders
Among the most important and lasting impacts that arrived via China
were Buddhism and Confucianism. These philosophies ingrained a sense of honor, pride,
respect, and a willingness and obligation to do what is right to others. This is
even recognized on their flag as the yin and yang are shown on
their flag as the people have a strong sense of karma and balance between
right and wrong.
Later in history the Korean Peninsula was taken over by numerous foreign powers,
including the Chinese and Japanese.
This led to a strong and ever-growing sense of ethnic, and later, national pride.
Even today the South Koreans are extremely proud
people as they have turned that pride to competition with both themselves and others.
It becomes clear rather quickly that they seek to not only compete, but to seek
This drive towards perfection allows the people to adapt quickly and willingly as
they seek any new path to gain a step ahead of their competition and progress beyond
others, both on an individual level as well as a national level. This is ever apparent
today as the country is extremely modern and technological advancements are a regular
and accepted part of daily life in the country.
With the competitiveness also comes hard and constant work, which can at times alter
priorities to work first. The people regularly lose relaxation and leisure time
at the expense of work and a constant social pressure to success in business and
sports always hangs over the heads of the people.
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