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Seeking Affiliation
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
South Korea is probably the most centralized major country in the world (excluding city-states like Singapore).

Points of my argument:
1. Nearly Half of South Koreans live in Metro Seoul
Of the 48 million South Koreans, 22 million of them live within Seoul's urban sprawl.

2. What's in a Surname?
Forty-percent of South Koreans have either one of the three major surnames in the country (Kim, Park, and another surname...I forgot).

3. Mid-rise Housing Paradise
Most mid-rise housing (Most South Koreans live in these mid-rise commie blocks--well...for most of Seoul for that matter) is provided or operated by either one of the big South Korean Conglomerates or "Chaebols": Samsung, Hyundai, Daewoo, LG, Lotte.

*The most startling among the three points of argument is the third one. Where else can one see a sea of mid-rise commie apartment blocks with names of the big "Chaebols" like Samsung, Lotte or Hyundai stamped on their sides plus numbers like: 101, 505, 515...etc.

*This startled me in positive as well as in negative ways:

Positive
Wow! South Korea's infrastructure is extremely efficient and overwhelmingly compact over a large tract of land.

Negative
These mid-rise commie blocks not only have dehumanizing names (living in buildings with names like Lotte Castle, Lotte Galaxy, Hyundai Prime, Seonsa Hyundai with additional numbers like 505, 114, etc) but also half-hazardly designed (they look very generic and boring--living in commercially constructed commie blocks with lack in personal character by its residents).

So, what do you guys (those who are South Korean or those who have visited S.K.) think about this assessment? :) Feel free to give your comments and violent reactions:D.
 

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I agree. South Koreans are extremely concentrated into Seoul and a handful of other cities. This makes broadband and other internet infrastructure easy to install. It also means that people have very little space. It's a sign of status in Korean society to own a place "out in the country," so you can go there and get away from the city.
 

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South Korea is amzingly connected, more than anywhere in the world. Part of that is the fact that since the DMZ went up, South Korea became more or less an island.

Everything is focused on Seoul, much more than Tokyo's influence in Japan.

It's hard to describe the energy here. there is simply no place like it.
 

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Tears of Buddha
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Not only South Korea but also North Korea is extremely centralized. In a sense, both Koreas are city-states.

From historical angle. unlike Western Europe and Japan, the Korean peninsula has never experienced the age of feudalism or the decentralization of authority.
 

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coldstar said:
Not only South Korea but also North Korea is extremely centralized. In a sense, both Koreas are city-states.

From historical angle. unlike Western Europe and Japan, the Korean peninsula has never experienced the age of feudalism or the decentralization of authority.

well, there was the 3 Kingdoms Period




But you are right about Korea never having devolved into pure feudalism as did Japan, China, and much (most of?) Europe.

It will be interesting to see what a unified Korea will be like.
 

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"It will be interesting to see what a unified Korea will be like."

Yes, but I fear that North Korea is so backwards, that it will be a huge economic drain on South Korea. Think of East and West Germany. East Germany was relatively developed by communist bloc standards, and yet, it still hasn't recovered, even after 1.5 trillion euros worth of aid from West Germany.

North Korea is much, much poorer than East Germany was. Parts of it are probably military or nuclear toxic waste dumps. The people are poorly educated and have very strange ideas about how the world works. Unification would be a long, painful process, and I think South Korea would need to prevent the free flow of immigrants for a long time in order to prevent a massive refugee crisis in its own cities.
 

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^^ yeah i remember seeing one of those space shots of Korea at night. South Korea was very lit up while North Korea was dark as closet.
 

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The Cebuano Exultor said:
2. What's in a Surname?
Forty-percent of South Koreans have either one of the three major surnames in the country (Kim, Park, and another surname...I forgot).
As Sen mentiond, the second most common last name is Lee (which sometimes is spelled differently when written using Roman alphabet.) The most common surname, Kim, is used by 22% of the population, the second most common, Lee, is used by 15% of the population, and the third most common surname, Park, is used by 9% of the population. These add up to 45% of entire population. (Isn't it amazing that three surnames make up almost the half of the population?) When adding 4th most common to 10th most common, (which are Choi, Chung, Kang, Cho, Yoon, Chang and Lim respectively, you should've knownsomeone by one of these last names :) ), the figure add up to something like 60~70% of entire Korean population.

There are only 270 kinds of surnames in Korea. This is due to several reasons.

Firstly, because of the geneology system of Korea, Koreans have something more than last name, namely clan name and sect name. The clan name refers the name of the town that the progenitor of the Surname lived some hundreds to thousands years ago. Examples would be Kyungju Kim and Kimhae Kim. Although they are both Kim's, their clans are different, one from Kyungju is a descendent of Silla's ruler, and one from Kimhae is a descendent of Kaya's ruler. (The map is shown above.) Thus, those two Kim's are regarded as different surnames. Also, there's something called sect. which only applies when there's too many people of the same clan name. For instance, Jeonju Lee clan is the descendents of Choson's ruler. Now someone will say "I'm a Jeonju Lee, Hyoryongdaegun-pa". (pa means sect). The sect system came along because there are too many people in the same "clan" and people realized they needed to subdivide the clan, because basically person of the same clan is regarded as a "distant family member" in Korea and you don't want some 10 thousand people in your family. This complicated rule is all written in geneology book which each Korean family has.

Now, during the Japanese colonization period, Japanese people fucked up some of the systems by; enrolling the family slaves into the family by giving the slaves the slaveowner's last name, removing some clan names and putting several different clans together under a new clan name, etc.

Thirdly, throughout the history, people changed their last names. Famous ones would be Buyeo to Seo, and Wang to Ok or Jun. These people just created a new clan under an existing surnames in order to escape death. (Because everytime a new dynasty was formed a person having the surname of the last dynasty's ruler was killed for being the family member of the past royal family, etc.)


The Cebuano Exultor said:
3. Mid-rise Housing Paradise
Most mid-rise housing (Most South Koreans live in these mid-rise commie blocks--well...for most of Seoul for that matter) is provided or operated by either one of the big South Korean Conglomerates or "Chaebols": Samsung, Hyundai, Daewoo, LG, Lotte.

*The most startling among the three points of argument is the third one. Where else can one see a sea of mid-rise commie apartment blocks with names of the big "Chaebols" like Samsung, Lotte or Hyundai stamped on their sides plus numbers like: 101, 505, 515...etc.
Simply put, you can say your third argument was the result of your first one. Nearly half the country's population is concentrated in several metro areas, the biggest being Seoul, where some 22 million people live. The smaller metros, however, have the same issue. This is because 70% of Korea is mountainous, thus providing only a smaller amount of arable land to this already small country. Plus, Koreans put extreme importance to education which also could have drove people into cities where good schools are located.

About the sea of mid-rise commieblocks, well think about it first. SK faces NK to the north, and until 1970's SK was poorer than NK, had worse military and basically was one of the poorest countries in the world. Because of that, until recently, SK had the altitude limitation and couldn't build up high rises. (They couldn't afford to build ones either.) During the massive economic build-up from the late 1960's, Korea started to build its own companies like Samsung, Daewoo, Lotte, Hyundai, Lucky Goldstar (LG), SunKyung(SK) and others. These "chaebols" started to build up residential towers all across the cities. However, during the 70's and early 80's when these commieblocks were built, they didn't have the technology, Korea wasn't able to enduce funds from other countries, the military dictatorship was not careful enough to add aesthetics to the city, and SK was too poor a nation that nobody even bothered thinking about negative effects.

Anyways, thus these giant companies started to build up residential commieblocks instead of houses, and each of their project consisted of hundreds of buildings. Now, they needed to name these for mailing purposes, but they built too many buildings and other than giving them numbers, no other way was possible because numbers sort of give you the location on the map as well. (i.e. 101 is located in between 100 and 102).

Nowadays, I guess at least in big cities, they at least started to put focuses on the looks and residential towers built recently are not the old-style commie blocks nor are they consisted of hundreds of the same-looking buildings. But there are still too many residential buildings built some 20~30 years ago which overall hurt the view. Well.. things are improving at least.
 

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unoh
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Ha Ha Ha
interesting thread...

I think S.Korea is the most centralized nation in world
All are in seoul metro....
90% of big companies, 85% of money, 90% of Media, 100% of Television broadcasting stations. 100% of entertainers..
 

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^^ This is really an Endless Urbanity, man
 

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:eek: Great picture!!!!

About the centralizing... I am not sure if you can say that Korea is numbre one in this terms. There are other examples of primate city countries in the world: Thailand (though ethnically diverse), Hungary, France (although that one has a very diverse regional history and doesn't count therefore), Mongolia, Suriname, Ecuador, Libya, Senegal etc etc... are all examples for political, economical and historical centralized countries.
 

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Gross...those apartment blocks are so hideous. I hate them with passion and I want to play with them like dominos. They look really ugly outside but its not that bad inside. But who cares, they still suck.

Handsome said:
Seoul will have to build on the mountains.
Yes, its really pitty. This is why I agree with moving the capital to southern area so we can relocate the population.
 

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Seoul should build right up to the DMZ line, and build tall towers, so the people of southern North Korea can see the wealth and prosperity of the free world!
 
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