Portal:Korea

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Introduction

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Korea is a region in East Asia; since 1948 it has been divided between two distinct sovereign states: North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and neighbours Japan to the east by the Korea Strait and the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

Korea emerged as a singular political entity in 676 AD, after centuries of conflict among the Three Kingdoms of Korea, which were unified as Unified Silla to the south and Balhae to the north. Unified Silla divided into three separate states during the Later Three Kingdoms period. Goryeo, which had succeeded Goguryeo, defeated the two other states and united the Korean Peninsula. Around the same time, Balhae collapsed and its last crown prince fled south to Goryeo. Goryeo (also spelled as Koryŏ), whose name developed into the modern exonym "Korea", was a highly cultured state that created the world's first metal movable type in 1234. However, multiple invasions by the Mongol Empire during the 13th century greatly weakened the nation, which eventually agreed to become a vassal state after decades of fighting. Following military resistance under King Gongmin which ended Mongol political influence in Goryeo, severe political strife followed, and Goryeo eventually fell to a coup led by General Yi Seong-gye, who established Joseon in 1392.

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Chong Chul Rhee, one of the twelve original masters of taekwondo, founded Rhee Taekwon-Do in the mid-1960s

Rhee Taekwon-Do is a martial art school in Australia and New Zealand teaching the Korean martial art of taekwondo. Chong Chul Rhee, one of the original masters of taekwondo, founded the school in the mid-1960s. Two of Rhee's brothers, Chong Hyup Rhee and Chong Yoon Rhee, later came to assist him in the 1970s. C. C. Rhee claims the title 'Father of Australian Taekwondo' and Rhee Taekwon-Do is widely publicised as being Australia's first and biggest taekwondo school. It has at least 294 publicly-listed dojang (training halls) in Australia (and at least five such dojang in New Zealand), with perhaps around 1,400 dojang in total at its peak. Several Australian martial art school founders received their foundational taekwondo training in Rhee's school. Rhee Taekwon-Do is an independent martial art organisation. It was once affiliated to the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF), but has had no relation to the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF).

Selected image

Wongudan, Seoul
Credit: Burton Holmes; Restoration: Lise Broer

A 1925 photo of Wongudan, an altar site in Seoul built in 1897 as a location for the performance of the rite of heaven. King Seongjong of the Goryeo Dynasty was the first to perform the rite, designed to ensure a bountiful harvest, in the tenth century. The practice was discontinued by later Goryeo kings, revived briefly in the mid fifteenth century by Sejo of the Joseon Dynasty, then reinstated with the founding of the Korean Empire in 1897. Much of the altar complex was destroyed during the Japanese occupation, and the gate and fountain seen here were also subsequently removed, leaving only the three-storey Hwangungu pagoda remaining.

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Selected biography

Kim Ki-young (October 1, 1922 – February 5, 1998) was a South Korean film director, known for his intensely psychosexual and melodramatic horror films, often focusing on the psychology of their female characters. Kim was born in Seoul during the Japanese occupation, raised in Pyongyang and spent time in Japan, where he became interested in theater and cinema. In Korea after the end of World War II, he studied dentistry while becoming involved in the theater. During the Korean War, he made propaganda films for the United States Information Service. In 1955, he used discarded American equipment to produce his first two films. With the success of these two films Kim formed his own production company and produced popular melodramas for the rest of the decade. Kim Ki-young's first expression of his mature style was in his The Housemaid (1960), which featured a powerful femme fatale character. It is widely considered to be one of the best Korean films of all time. After a "Golden Age" during the 1960s, the 1970s were a low-point in the history of Korean cinema because of governmental censorship and a decrease in audience attendance. Nevertheless, working independently, Kim produced some of his most eccentric cinematic creations in this era. Films such as Insect Woman (1972) and Iodo (1977) were successful at the time and highly influential on the younger generations of South Korean filmmakers both at their time of release, and with their rediscovery years later. By the 1980s, Kim's popularity had gone into decline, and his output decreased in the second half of the decade. Neglected by the mainstream during much of the 1990s, Kim became a cult figure in South Korean film Internet forums in the early 1990s. Widespread international interest in his work was stimulated by a career retrospective at the 1997 Pusan International Film Festival. Kim's films, previously little-known or totally unknown outside South Korea, were shown and gained enthusiastic new audiences in Japan, the United States, Germany, France and elsewhere. He was preparing a come-back film when he and his wife were killed in a house fire in 1998. The Berlin International Film Festival gave Kim a posthumous retrospective in 1998, and the French Cinémathèque screened 18 of Kim's films, some newly rediscovered and restored, in 2006. Through the efforts of the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), previously lost films by Kim Ki-young continue to be rediscovered and restored. Many current prominent South Korean filmmakers, including directors Im Sang-soo, Kim Ki-duk, Bong Joon-ho and Park Chan-wook, claim Kim Ki-young as an influence on their careers.

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Announcement of the Sōshi-kaimei policy issued by the Taikyu court, written bilingually in Japanese and Korean, in a special parallel style in which hanja/kanji were printed only once and were "shared" by the hangul and kana texts

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