Portal:South Korea

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Introduction

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South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula and lying to the east of the Asian mainland. The name Korea is derived from Goguryeo which was one of the great powers in East Asia during its time, ruling most of the Korean Peninsula, Manchuria, parts of the Russian Far East and Inner Mongolia, under Gwanggaeto the Great. South Korea lies in the north temperate zone and has a predominantly mountainous terrain. It comprises an estimated 51.4 million residents distributed over 100,363 km2 (38,750 sq mi). The capital and largest city is Seoul, with a population of 10 million.

Archaeology indicates that the Korean Peninsula was inhabited by early humans starting from the Lower Paleolithic period (2.6 Ma–300 Ka). The history of Korea begins with the foundation of Gojoseon in 2333 BC by the legendary king Dangun. Following the unification of the Three Kingdoms of Korea under Unified Silla in AD 668, Korea was subsequently ruled by the Goryeo dynasty (918–1392) and the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910). It was annexed by the Empire of Japan in 1910. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided into Soviet and U.S. zones of occupations. A separate election was held in the U.S. zone in 1948 which led to the creation of the Republic of Korea (ROK), while the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) was established in the Soviet zone. The United Nations at the time passed a resolution declaring the ROK to be the only lawful government in Korea.

Selected article

Iris is a South Korean espionage television drama series broadcast by KBS in 2009. With a budget in excess of 20 billion won (17 million USD), it, along with its spin-off Athena: Goddess of War, share the record for the most expensive Korean dramas ever produced. Premiering in October 2009, the series was a critical and commercial success, with an average viewership of over 30% in addition to ranking as the top program consistently every week after its debut. The series also took home many of the highest honors at the 2009 KBS Drama Acting Awards, including Lee Byung-hun winning the top recognition, the Daesang Award. The plot revolves around two friends from the 707th Special Mission Battalion recruited into a secret South Korean black ops agency known as the National Security Service. Of the pair, recruit Kim Hyun-jun begins to uncover evidence that his foggy past may not be so irrelevant to his joining of the secret organization after all. As the two friends find their loyalties tested and forge new, unlikely alliances, the journey takes them from their home country to Hungary, Japan, and China where they find themselves at the center of an international conspiracy.

Selected image

Geography of South Korea
Credit: original taken from NASA's Visible Earth

South Korea is located in East Asia, on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula jutting out from the far east of the Asian land mass. The only country with a land border to South Korea is North Korea, lying to the north with 238 kilometres (148 mi) of border running along the Korean Demilitarized Zone. South Korea is mostly surrounded by water and has 2,413 kilometres (1,499 mi) of coast line along three seas; to the west is the Yellow Sea, to the south is the East China Sea, and to the east is the East Sea. Geographically, South Korea's land mass is approximately 100,032 square kilometres (38,623 sq mi). 290 square kilometres (110 sq mi) of South Korea are occupied by water. The approximate coordinates are 37° North, 127° 30 East. Notable islands include Jeju Island (Jejudo), Ulleung Island (Ulleungdo), and Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo).

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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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