Monday, August 12, 2002

A most interesting aspect of Korean history is the turn around in social conventions that occured during the time of the Chosun dynasty (1392-1910). Prior to this period, in Silla and Koryo periods, society was well known for being open, and forward thinking. Trade between China and Japan and further afield was well established and many Korean ideas and shcolars travelled far and wide spreading Korean culture and bringing back foreign ideas. Then, during the Chosun period the Hermit Kingdom emerged. Cut off from the world, Wary and xenophobic the Koreans became well known for their harsh treatment and killings of foreign missions. Not just to foreigners but also to other members of society, such as slaves, women, and notable Korean men found being unfaithful with a married woman. Reading from Korea's Place in the Sun by Bruce Cumings this point was emphasised when he pointed out that a Korean man found cheating with another Man's wife was sentenced to death with the Criminal's Father being the executioner. That reminds me of he practice whereby the family of the victim is the one to administer punishment of death such as I've read aobut occuring in the Middle East. But the parent of the criminal....imagine having to kill your own son and how you could live your life after that. Seems that the Father's punishment for having raised an immoral son could be worse than death itself.

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui