|Place of origin||Korea|
|Associated national cuisine||North Korea, South Korea|
|Main ingredients||Various vegetables including napa cabbage and Korean radish|
|Variations||Baek-kimchi, dongchimi, kkakdugi, nabak-kimchi, pa-kimchi, yeolmu-kimchi|
|Cookbook: Kimchi Media: Kimchi|
Kimchi (English pronunciation: /ˈkɪmtʃi/, from Korean: 김치; gimchi [kim.tɕʰi]), a staple in Korean cuisine, is a traditional banchan (side dish) made from salted and fermented vegetables, most commonly napa cabbages and Korean radishes, with a variety of seasonings including gochutgaru (chili powder), scallions, garlics, ginger, and jeotgal (salted seafood) among others.<ref="Britannica">"Kimchi". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 October 2008. Retrieved 23 March 2017.</ref> There are hundreds of varieties of kimchi made with different vegetables as the main ingredients. In traditional preparations, kimchi was stored underground in jars to keep cool, and unfrozen during the winter months. These days, kimchi refrigerator is used instead.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Kimchi contents
- 4 Varieties
- 5 Nutrition and health
- 6 Dishes made with kimchi
- 7 Recent history
- 7.1 1996 Japanese kimchi dispute
- 7.2 1998 to 2007 motherland tours
- 7.3 2010 kimchi ingredient price crisis
- 7.4 2012 effective ban of Korean kimchi exports to China
- 7.5 Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
- 7.6 2014 kimchi-making class for Vietnamese brides
- 8 Gallery
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
- dihi (디히) > di (디) > ji (지)
The Middle Korean form dihi is found in several books from Joseon (1392–1897). In Modern Korean, the word remains as the suffix -ji in the standard language (as in jjanji, seokbak-ji), and as the suffix -ji as well as the noun ji in Gyeongsang and Jeolla dialects. The unpalatalized form di is preserved in P'yŏngan dialect.
Gimchi (김치) is the accepted word in both North and South Korean standard languages. Earlier forms of the word include timchɑi (팀), a Middle Korean transcription of the Sino-Korean word 沈菜 (literally "submerged vegetable"). Timchɑi appears in Sohak Eonhae, the 16th century Korean rendition of the Chinese book, Xiaoxue (in Korean, Sohak). Sound changes from Middle Korean to Modern Korean regarding the word can be described as:
- timchɑi (팀; 沈菜) > dimchɑi (딤) > jimchɑi (짐) > jimchui (짐츼) > gimchi (김치)
The aspirated first consonant of timchɑi became unaspirated in dimchɑi, then underwent palatalization in jimchɑi. The word then became jimchui with the the loss of the vowel ɑ (ㆍ) in Korean language, then gimchi, with the depalatalized word-initial consonant. In Modern Korean, the hanja characters 沈菜 are pronounced chimchae (침채), and are not used to refer to kimchi, or anything else. The word gimchi is not considered as a Sino-Korean word. Older forms of the word are retained in many regional dialects: jimchae (Jeolla, Hamgyŏng dialects), jimchi (Chungcheong, Gangwon, Gyeonggi, Gyeongsang, Hamgyŏng, Jeolla dialects), and dimchi (P'yŏngan dialect).
The English word "kimchi" perhaps originated from kimch'i, the McCune–Reischauer transcription of the Korean word gimchi (김치).
Origin of kimchi dates back to the early period of Three Kingdoms (37 BCE‒7 CE). Fermented foods were widely accesible, as the Records of the Three Kingdoms, a Chinese historical text published in the 289 AD, mentions that "The Goguryeo people [refering to the Korean people] are skilled in making fermented foods such as wine, soybean paste and salted and fermented fish" in the section named Dongyi in the Book of Wei. Samguk Sagi, a historical record of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, also mentions the pickle jar used to ferment vegetables, which indicates that fermented vegetables were commonly eaten during this time.
Pickled radish slices make a good summer side-dish,
Radish preserved in salt is a winter side-dish from start to end.
The roots in the earth grow plumper everyday,
Harvesting after the frost, a slice ct by a knife tastes like a pear.— Yi Gyubo, Dongguk isanggukjip (translated by Michael J. Pettid, in Korean cuisine: An Illustrated History)
However, kimchi was not red until the early 17th century, when the chili peppers were introduced to Korea. The first record of chili pepper is found in Jibong yuseol, an encyclopedia published in 1614. Sallim gyeongje, a 17‒18th century book, mentions kimchi with chili peppers. An enlarged edition published in 1766, Jeungbo sallim gyeongje, reports varieties such as chonggak-kimchi (kimchi made with chonggak raddish), oi-sobagi (with cucumber), seokbak-ji (with jogi-jeot), and dongchimi.
A 2006 article in the journal called The Korean Journal of International Relations said that the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–98) was the period when chili peppers were introduced to Korea from the Japanese, and the article said that the usage of chili peppers only became widespread in the 1800s. The article said that the end of the 19th century was the time when Chinese cabbage was introduced.
A 2012 book about pickles said that a long time ago kimchi was viewed as salted vegetables created with only cabbage and beef stock. The book said that chili peppers were introduced to Koreans from Japan during the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–98), and the book said that this was the time when chili peppers became a component of kimchi.
A 2015 book made by South Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said that neither garlic nor chili peppers were mentioned in the early historical records of kimchi, and the book said that the various spellings of kimchi all meant vegetables soaked in salt water. The book said that Portuguese based in Nagasaki, Japan, introduced chili peppers to Koreans in the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century. The book said that the first time kimchi was mentioned with chili pepper was in a cookbook from 1765.
Kimchi is Korea's national dish. During South Korea's involvement in the Vietnam War its government requested American help to ensure that South Korean troops, reportedly "desperate" for the food, could obtain it in the field; South Korean president Park Chung-hee told U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson that kimchi was "vitally important to the morale of Korean troops". It was also sent to space on board Soyuz TMA-12 with Yi So-yeon after a multimillion-dollar research effort to kill the bacteria and lessen the odor without affecting taste.
Kimchi varieties are determined by the main vegetable ingredients and the mix of seasoning used to flavor the kimchi.
The Kimchi Field Museum in Seoul has documented 187 historic and current varieties of kimchi. Ingredients can be replaced or added depending on the type of kimchi being made. The most common seasonings include brine, scallions, spices, ginger, chopped radish, garlic, saeujeot (새우젓, shrimp sauce), eoriguljeot (어리굴젓, oyster sauce), and aekjeot (액젓, fish sauce).
A 2017 book about fermentation referenced various authors about the microorganisms present in kimchi. The book referenced Lee et al. (2005), Cho et al. (2006), Chang et al. (2008), Jung et al. (2013), Jeong et al. (2013a, b) and Yeun et al. (2013). The book listed the microorganisms in kimchi as: B. subtilis, B. mycoides, B. pseudomycoides, Lc. carnosum, Lc. gelidum, Lc. lactis, Lb. sakei, Lb. brevis, Lb. curvatus, Lb. parabrevis, Lb. pentosus, Lb. plantarum, Lb. spicheri, Ln. carnosum, Ln. citreum, Ln. gasicomitatum, Ln. gelidum, Ln. holzapfelii, Ln. inhae, Ln. kimchii, Ln. lactis, Ln. mesenteroides, W. koreensis, W. cibaria. W. confusa, W. soli, W. kandleri and Se. marcescens.
Kimchi can be categorized by main ingredients, regions or seasons. Korea's northern and southern sections have a considerable temperature difference. There are over 180 varieties of kimchi. The most common kimchi variations are
- baechukimchi (배추김치) napa cabbage kimchi
- baechugeotjeori (배추겉절이) unfermented napa cabbage kimchi
- bossam kimchi (보쌈김치)
- baekkimchi (백김치) white kimchi
- dongchimi (동치미) and nabak kimchi (나박김치) water-based kimchis
- chonggakkimchi (총각김치) chonggak radish and kkakdugi (깍두기) Korean radish kimchis
- oisobagi (오이소박이) cucumber kimchi
- pakimchi (파김치) green onion kimchi
Kimchi from the northern parts of Korea tends to have less salt and red chili and usually does not include brined seafood for seasoning. Northern kimchi often has a watery consistency. Kimchi made in the southern parts of Korea, such as Jeolla-do and Gyeongsang-do, uses salt, chili peppers and myeolchijeot (멸치젓, brined anchovy allowed to ferment) or saeujeot (새우젓, brined shrimp allowed to ferment), myeolchiaekjeot (멸치액젓), kkanariaekjeot (까나리액젓), liquid anchovy jeot, similar to fish sauce used in Southeast Asia, but thicker.
Saeujeot (새우젓) or myeolchijeot is not added to the kimchi spice-seasoning mixture, but is simmered first to reduce odors, eliminate tannic flavor and fats, and then is mixed with a thickener made of rice or wheat starch (풀). This technique has been falling into disuse for the past 40 years.
White kimchi (baek kimchi) is baechu (napa cabbage) seasoned without chili pepper and is neither red in color nor spicy. White radish kimchi (dongchimi) is another example of a kimchi that is not spicy. The watery white kimchi varieties are sometimes used as an ingredient in a number of dishes such as cold noodles in dongchimi brine (dongchimi guksu).
This regional classification dates back to 1960s and contains plenty of historical facts, but the current kimchi-making trends in Korea are generally different from those mentioned below.
- Pyongan-do (North Korea, outside of Pyongyang) Non-traditional ingredients have been adapted in rural areas due to severe food shortages.
- Hamgyeong-do (Upper Northeast): Due to its proximity to the ocean, people in this particular region use fresh fish and oysters to season their kimchi.
- Hwanghae-do (Midwest): The taste of kimchi in Hwanghae-do is not bland but not extremely spicy. Most kimchi from this region has less color since red chili flakes are not used. The typical kimchi for Hwanghae-do is called hobakji (호박지). It is made with pumpkin (bundi).
- Gyeonggi-do (Lower Midwest of Hwanghae-do)
- Chungcheong-do (Between Gyeonggi-do and Jeolla-do): Instead of using fermented fish, people in the region rely on salt and fermentation to make savory kimchi. Chungcheong-do has the most varieties of kimchi.
- Gangwon-do (South Korea)/Kangwon-do (North Korea) (Mideast): In Gangwon-do, kimchi is stored for longer periods. Unlike other coastal regions in Korea, kimchi in this area does not contain much salted fish.
- Jeolla-do (Lower Southwest): Salted yellow corvina and salted butterfish are used in this region to create different seasonings for kimchi.
- Gyeongsang-do (Lower Southeast): This region's cuisine is saltier and spicier. The most common seasoning components include myeolchijeot (멸치젓) which produce a briny and savory flavor.
- Foreign countries: In some places of the world people sometimes make kimchi with western cabbage and many other alternative ingredients such as broccoli.
Different types of kimchi were traditionally made at different times of the year, based on when various vegetables were in season and also to take advantage of hot and cold seasons before the era of refrigeration. Although the advent of modern refrigeration — including kimchi refrigerators specifically designed with precise controls to keep different varieties of kimchi at optimal temperatures at various stages of fermentation — has made this seasonality unnecessary, Koreans continue to consume kimchi according to traditional seasonal preferences.
After a long period of consuming gimjang kimchi (김장김치) during the winter, fresh potherbs and vegetables were used to make kimchi. These kinds of kimchi were not fermented or even stored for long periods of time but were consumed fresh.
Summer radishes and cucumbers are summer vegetables made into kimchi, yeolmu kimchi (열무김치) which is eaten in several bites. Brined fish or shellfish can be added, and freshly ground dried chili peppers are often used.
Baechu kimchi is prepared by inserting blended stuffing materials, called sok (literally inside), between layers of salted leaves of uncut, whole Napa cabbage. The ingredients of sok (속) can vary, depending on the different regions and weather conditions. Generally, baechu kimchi used to have a strong salty flavor until the late 1960s, before which a large amount of myeolchijeot or saeujeot had been used.
Gogumasoon Kimchi is made from sweet potato stems.
Traditionally, the greatest varieties of kimchi were available during the winter. In preparation for the long winter months, many types of kimjang kimchi (김장 김치) were prepared in early winter and stored in the ground in large kimchi pots. Today, many city residents use modern kimchi refrigerators offering precise temperature controls to store kimjang kimchi. November and December are traditionally when people begin to make kimchi; women often gather together in each other's homes to help with winter kimchi preparations. "Baechu kimchi" is made with salted baechu filled with thin strips of radish, parsley, pine nuts, pears, chestnuts, shredded red pepper, manna lichen (Hangul: 석이 버섯; RR: seogi beoseot), garlic, and ginger.
A 2004 book about vegetable preservation said that the preference of kimchi preparation in Korean households from the most prepared type of kimchi to less prepared types of kimchi was: baechu kimchi, being the most prepared type of kimchi, then kaktugi, then dongchimi and then chonggak kimchi. The book said that baechu kimchi comprises more than seventy percent of marketed kimchi and radish kimchi comprises about twenty percent of marketed kimchi.
Nutrition and health
A 2003 article in the Los Angeles Times said that South Koreans consume 40 pounds (18 kg) of kimchi per person annually. A 2015 book cited a 2011 source that said that adult Koreans eat from 50 grams (0.11 lb) to 200 grams (0.44 lb) of kimchi a day.
Some credit Korea's industrious energy as a people, and their nation's rapid economic growth, in part to eating the dish. Kimchi is made of various vegetables and contains a high concentration of dietary fiber, while being low in calories. One serving also provides over 50% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C and carotene. Most types of kimchi contain onions, garlic, ginger, and chili peppers, all of which are salutary. The vegetables used in kimchi also contribute to its overall nutritional value. Kimchi is rich in vitamin A, thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), calcium, and iron, and contains lactic acid bacteria, among those the typical species Lactobacillus kimchii.
During the 2003 SARS outbreak in Asia, many people believed that kimchi could protect against infection. While there was no scientific evidence to support this belief, kimchi sales rose by 40%.
|Nutrients||per 100 g||Nutrients||per 100 g|
|Food energy||32 kcal||Moisture||88.4 g|
|Crude protein||2.0 g||Crude lipid||0.6 g|
|Total sugar||1.3 g||Crude fiber||1.2 g|
|Crude ash||0.5 g||Calcium||45 mg|
|Phosphorus||28 mg||Vitamin A||492 IU|
|Vitamin B1||0.03 mg||Vitamin B2||0.06 mg|
|Niacin||2.1 mg||Vitamin C||21 mg|
||44.0 (35.4)b||41.6 (40.1)||47 (54)||0.09 (0.09)||781 (747)||25.0 (25.3)|
||32.0 (30.4)||70.9 (61.9)||110 (99)||0.19 (0.20)||928 (861)||27.8 (28.5)|
||26.6 (26.9)||79.1 (87.5)||230 (157)||0.25 (0.33)||901 (792)||23.6 (22.3)|
||21.0 (25.3)||62.7 (70.8)||35 (95)||0.20 (0.26)||591 (525)||16.7 (16.0)|
||24.2 (20.1)||53.3 (49.1)||40 (37)||0.10 (0.16)||
|aNaturally fermented baechu kimchi
bAverage levels of four different kimchis; common kimchi +3 different starter inoculated kimchis
|Crude protein (g)||2||1.6||3.9||3.4||0.7||3.1||0.7||0.8|
|Crude lipid (g)||0.5||0.3||0.9||0.8||0.1||0.6||0.1||0.1|
|Crude ash (g)||2.8||2.3||3.5||3.3||1.5||3.2||2||1.5|
|Dietary fiber (g)||3||2.8||4||5.1||1.4||3.3||0.8||1.5|
|Vitamin A (RE)||48||38||390||352||9||595||15||77|
|Vitamin B1 (mg)||0.06||0.14||0.15||0.14||0.03||0.15||0.02||0.03|
|Vitamin B2 (mg)||0.06||0.05||0.14||0.14||0.02||0.29||0.02||0.06|
|Vitamin C (mg)||14||19||48||19||10||28||9||10|
|Vitamin B6 (mg)||0.19||0.13||
|Folic acid (μg)||43.3||58.9||74.8||
|Vitamin E (mg)||0.7||0.2||1.3||
|Not detected: vitamin A (retinol), pantothenic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin K|
Dishes made with kimchi
Kimchi can be made with radishes, mustard greens, scallions, or cucumbers. Kimchi is known to be a traditional side dish as it is almost always served along with other side dishes in most Korean family households and restaurants. Kimchi can be eaten alone or with white rice, but it is also included in recipes of other traditional dishes, including porridges, soups, and rice cakes. (Jung, C.) Kimchi is also the basis for many derivative dishes such as kimchi stew (김치찌개; gimchijjigae), kimchi pancake (김치전; gimchibuchimgae), kimchi soup (김칫국; gimchiguk), and kimchi fried rice (김치볶음밥; gimchibokkeumbap).
1996 Japanese kimchi dispute
In 1996, Korea protested against Japanese commercial production of kimchi arguing that the Japanese-produced product (kimuchi) was different from kimchi (in particular, Japanese kimuchi was not fermented so it was salted but sweet cabbage). Korea lobbied for an international standard from the Codex Alimentarius, an organization associated with the World Health Organization that defines voluntary standards for food preparation for international trade purposes. In 2001, the Codex Alimentarius published a voluntary standard defining kimchi as "a fermented food that uses salted napa cabbages as its main ingredient mixed with seasonings, and goes through a lactic acid production process at a low temperature", but which neither specified a minimum amount of fermentation nor forbade the use of any additives.
1998 to 2007 motherland tours
2010 kimchi ingredient price crisis
Due to heavy rainfall shortening the harvesting time for cabbage and other main ingredients for kimchi in 2010, the price of kimchi ingredients and kimchi itself rose greatly. Korean and international newspapers described the rise in prices as a national crisis. Some restaurants stopped offering kimchi as a free side dish, which The New York Times compared to an American hamburger restaurant no longer offering free ketchup. In response to the kimchi price crisis, the South Korean government announced the temporary reduction of tariffs on imported cabbage to coincide with the Kimjang season.
2012 effective ban of Korean kimchi exports to China
Since 2012, the Chinese government has effectively banned Korean kimchi exports to China through government regulations. Ignoring the standards of Kimchi outlined by the Codex Alimentarius, China defined kimchi as a derivative of one of its own cuisines, called pao cai. However, due to significantly different preparation techniques from pao cai, kimchi has significantly more lactic acid bacteria through its fermentation process, which exceeds China's regulations. Since 2012, commercial exports of Korean kimchi to China has reached zero, the only minor amounts of exports accounting for Korean kimchi exhibition events held in China.
Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Kimchi-related items have been inscribed on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by both South and North Korea. This makes kimchi the second intangible heritage that was submitted by two different countries, the other one being the folk song "Arirang", also submitted by the Koreas.
Submitted by South Korea (inscribed 2013)
Kimjang, the tradition of making and sharing of kimchi that usually takes place in late autumn, was added to the list as "Kimjang, making and sharing kimchi in the Republic of Korea". The practice of Kimjang reaffirms Korean identity and strengthens family cooperation. Kimjang is also an important reminder for many Koreans that human communities need to live in harmony with nature.
Submitted by North Korea (inscribed 2015)
North Korean kimchi-making was inscribed on the list in December 2015 as "Tradition of kimchi-making in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea". North Korean kimchi tends to be less spicy and red than South Korean kimchi.
2014 kimchi-making class for Vietnamese brides
A 2014 article in Tuổi Trẻ said that around 40 Vietnamese brides who had already married or who were going to marry Korean men spent two hours in a class in 2014 to make kimchi and kimbap at the Kim & Kim Company’s factory in the Tân Bình Industrial Zone of Ho Chi Minh City. The event was arranged by the Kim & Kim Company and the Korean Language Education Center in Ho Chi Minh City. The class is a free class that has been taught to 30 to 35 women once a month. Han Ji-sook, the director of the Korean Language Education Center in Ho Chi Minh City, said, "Kimchi is important for Korean people, so anyone who visits the country will experience kimchi or kimchi-making. Especially for the wives of Korean men, it's important to know how to make kimchi." Kim Tae-kon, director of the Kim & Kim Company, said, "All of these Vietnamese women who are going to live in Korea must eat kimchi every day, three meals a day. I'm pleased to give them the chance to learn how to make kimchi."
- Foods containing tyramine
- Kimchi burger
- Korean radish
- Korean sea salt
- Korean-style carrot – a carrot salad of koryo-saram made the same way as kimchi
- List of cabbage dishes
- List of English words of Korean origin
- List of pickled foods
- Pao cai
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- "TreeLight". Ultimate Kimchi. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
- "High-tech kimchi refrigerators keep Korea's favorite food crisp". Hong Kong Trade Development Council. 14 March 2002. Retrieved 14 February 2008.
- McDonald, Mark (14 October 2010). "Rising Cost of Kimchi Alarms Koreans". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
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- Magnier, Mark (17 June 2003). "In an Age of SARS, Koreans Tout Kimchi Cure". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
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- Jung-Sook Leea, Gun-Young Heoa, Jun Won Leea, Yun-Jung Oha, Jeong A Parka, Yong-Ha Parka, Yu-Ryang Pyunb and Jong Seog Ahn (15 July 2005). "Analysis of Kimchi Microflora Using Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis". International Journal of Food Microbiology. Volume 102, Issue 2. pp. 143–150.
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- from Korea Food Research Institute
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- In a video that was published to YouTube on July 29, 2013, Eleana J. Kim who is Assistant Professor of Anthropology as the University of Rochester talked about the international adoption of South Korean children. Kim's name and title appear at the 35:11 mark of the video. From the 26:56 mark of the video to the 28:09 mark of the video, Kim said, "Another aspect of the Korean adoptee experience that I explore in my book is their relationship to South Korea, and the South Korean state, and, uh, one of the things that the South Korean government, um, was, in a way, uh, um, compelled, to do, in the late nineteen nineties was to, recognize, adoptees, overseas adoptees, as Koreans, in some way. So, um, by nineteen ninety eight, adult Korean adoptees, who were living in Korea, petitioned the South Korean state to recognize them as overseas Koreans, Hanguggye dongpo, so that meant that they would be, uh, eligible for a special visa status, that would allow them to return to South Korea for extended periods of time, and, in line with this, this is an image from the overseas Korean foundation, uh, summer cultural program for overseas adoptees, and so, they developed these programs to help adult adoptees return to Korea and learn something about what it means to be Korean, so these programs are typically focused on traditional Korean culture, um, you know, adoptees dressing up in hanbok and learning how to make kimchi, um, such as these images here."
- "Of cabbages and Kims". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
- "South Korea's Kimchi Crisis". The Economist. 7 October 2010.
- "對중국 수출 '0'... 한국 김치가 운다". seoul.co.kr.
- "수입만 하고 수출 못하는 韓·中 '김치무역' 바꿀 것". Hankyung.com. 15 January 2014.
- "UNESCO Adds N. Korea's Kimchi-Making to Cultural Heritage List". KBS. 3 December 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
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- "Tradition of kimchi-making in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea". Culture Sector - UNESCO. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
- North Koreans Want UNESCO Recognition for Their Kimchi Variation. YouTube. Voice of America. 2 December 2015. Event occurs at 1:10. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
- Pham, T. & Nguyen, D. (2014). Vietnamese brides learn to make kimchi. Tuổi Trẻ. Retrieved March 26, 2017, from link.
- Park, Kun-Young; Cheigh, Hong-Sik (2003). Handbook of Vegetable Preservation and Processing. CRC Press. pp. 189–222. ISBN 0-8247-4301-6. Retrieved 18 May 2008.
- Gannon, Martin J. (2004). Understanding Global Cultures. Sage Publications. pp. 123–130. ISBN 0-7619-2980-0. Retrieved 18 May 2008.
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