South Korea Culture

South Korea Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in South Korea

Newspaper distribution in South Korea is large (393 newspaper excl. Per 1,000 inv., 1996). Since the 1980s, a strong expansion has taken place in the press, primarily in Seoul. The number of newspapers increased from 25 1984 to 97 1994. The largest ones with an edition of about 2 million copies. each is Choson Ilbo, Chung’ang Ilbo and Han’guk Ilbo, which also publishes English-speaking Korea Times (about 100,000 copies). The newspapers are usually privately owned. Since the late 1980s, government restrictions on the press have diminished, but in some matters control is still strict.

Radio and TV are partly state-owned. Han’guk Pangsong Kongsa is the state company for radio and television and Munhwa Pangsong Kongsa the commercial. In addition, there are the private broadcasters Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS, founded 1991) and Jeonju Television Corporation (JTV, founded 1997). There are also a number of religious radio channels, as well as a radio and a TV channel for the US troops stationed in South Korea. There are 1,033 radio and 364 TV receivers per 1,000 residents (2000).


According to ANIMALERTS, South Korea’s culture is largely characterized by the country’s history as a link between China and Japan. In connection with the liberation from China in the 300s after Christ, Korea experienced a cultural golden age with aesthetic impulses from Buddhism. The finds from this period mainly include stoneware and jewelery.

A new cultural flourishing period began at the end of the 6th century. Then the Chinese influence was great in sculpture and architecture. During the Koryo dynasty (918–1392), a number of Buddhist temples were erected, some of which remain today. Also famous is the stoneware with celadon glaze, a porcelain-like ceramic with pale gray-green surface.

The painting had a great time during the beginning of the Choson dynasty from the late 1300s. The paintings are, as in China, mainly done in ink and colors on paper or silk. At the same time, a national literature was also developed. Since the Korean alphabet Hangul became widely known, literary works could also be distributed to social groups that did not master Chinese writing characters. During the 16th century, the most famous of the Korean poetry forms, Sijo, flourished with three-part verses constructed according to very strict rules. Sijo is still a popular poem form today.

In the early 1900s, Korean literature was strongly influenced by Western currents.

A traditional drama form is Pansori, where a soloist together with a drumming musician tells a story with song, speech, dance and pantomime. Drums, like the hourglass-shaped changgon, feature Korean music.

After the end of the Korean War in the early 1950s, the work of the cultural workers by the National Security Act was circumvented (see Political system). Artists and writers were imprisoned for works that were considered North Korea friendly or leftist. When the military regime ceased in the late 1980s, however, the cultural workers were given more freedom.

Modern popular culture is active. Korean pop musicians are popular in much of Asia and internationally known under the collective term K-pop. South Korean soap operas have also been widely distributed abroad.

At the end of the 2010s, a South Korean film received a lot of attention worldwide. Thriller comedy Parasite by Bong Joon-ho won both the Gold Palm from the Cannes Film Festival 2019 and four Oscars, including for best film in 2020.



First female president

Park Geun-Hye from the Saenuri Party wins the presidential election. For the first time ever, a woman becomes South Korea’s president.


Development of missile systems

South Korea agrees with the US to extend the range of the ballistic missile system to 800 km in response to North Korea’s missile test in April.


Visit to disputed island

President Lee is the first South Korean president to visit the small archipelago of Dokdo (in Japanese Takeshima). Japan, which also claims the archipelago, responds by bringing home its ambassador to South Korea. Dokdo is located between South Korea and Japan.


Move to Sejong City

Some ministries are moving to the new city of Sejong City twelve miles south of Seoul. A number of ministries and government agencies will be based in Sejong City over the years while some will remain in Seoul.


Park Geun-Hye is in the election

Park Geun-Hye of the Saenuri Party confirms that she will run for office in December.


Disappointment for the NFP

The ruling Saenuri Party (NFP) goes back in the parliamentary elections but retains its majority in parliament.


Party name change

Big National Party (GNP) changes name to Saenuri Party.

South Korea Culture

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