The Korean Mind: Understanding Contemporary Korean Culture

Tuttle Publishing
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The Koreans: understanding a people and their culture through key words and language.

Koreans have a unique character and personality that sets them apart from all other Asians. And although Korean attitudes and behavior may be influenced by the modern world, the Korean mindset is still very much shaped by ancient culture and traditions. As is the case with all ancient cultures created within highly refined and meticulously structured social systems over thousands of years, one of the keys to understanding traditional Korean attitudes and behavior is the language of the people—or more precisely, key words in the language. These key words provide access to the Korean mind—to core concepts and emotions, the attitudes and feelings that make up the Korean psyche. These key terms reveal both the heart and soul of Koreans and provide bridges for communicating and interacting with Koreans on the most fundamental level.

In The Korean Mind, Boye Lafayette De Mente explores the meanings and cultural context of the most important "code words" of the Korean language, terms whose significance goes well beyond their literal definitions, providing an insight into Korean culture and the personality of the Korean people.

Keywords include:
  • Aboji, Ah-boh-jee — The "Father Culture"
  • Anae, Ah-negh — Wives: The Inside People
  • Han Yak, Hahn Yahk — The Herbal Way to Health
  • Innae, Een-nay — A Culture of Enduring
  • Katun Sosuy Pap, Kaht-unn Soh-suut Pahp — Eating from the Same Rice Bowl
  • And over 200 more…
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About the author

BoyΘ Lafayette De Mente is an acknowledged authority on Asia and the author of more than 30 books, including Etiquette Guide to China, Instant Chinese and Survival Chinese.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Tuttle Publishing
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Published on
Nov 27, 2012
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Pages
480
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ISBN
9781462907700
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Business Etiquette
Business & Economics / International / Marketing
History / Asia / Korea
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / Asian American Studies
Travel / Asia / Far East
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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“I am most grateful for two things: that I was born in North Korea, and that I escaped from North Korea.”

Yeonmi Park has told the harrowing story of her escape from North Korea as a child many times, but never before has she revealed the most intimate and devastating details of the repressive society she was raised in and the enormous price she paid to escape.

Park’s family was loving and close-knit, but life in North Korea was brutal, practically medieval. Park would regularly go without food and was made to believe that, Kim Jong Il, the country’s dictator, could read her mind. After her father was imprisoned and tortured by the regime for trading on the black-market, a risk he took in order to provide for his wife and two young daughters, Yeonmi and her family were branded as criminals and forced to the cruel margins of North Korean society. With thirteen-year-old Park suffering from a botched appendectomy and weighing a mere sixty pounds, she and her mother were smuggled across the border into China.

I wasn’t dreaming of freedom when I escaped from North Korea. I didn’t even know what it meant to be free. All I knew was that if my family stayed behind, we would probably die—from starvation, from disease, from the inhuman conditions of a prison labor camp. The hunger had become unbearable; I was willing to risk my life for the promise of a bowl of rice. But there was more to our journey than our own survival. My mother and I were searching for my older sister, Eunmi, who had left for China a few days earlier and had not been heard from since.

Park knew the journey would be difficult, but could not have imagined the extent of the hardship to come. Those years in China cost Park her childhood, and nearly her life.  By the time she and her mother made their way to South Korea two years later, her father was dead and her sister was still missing. Before now, only her mother knew what really happened between the time they crossed the Yalu river into China and when they followed the stars through the frigid Gobi Desert to freedom. As she writes, “I convinced myself that a lot of what I had experienced never happened. I taught myself to forget the rest.”

In In Order to Live, Park shines a light not just into the darkest corners of life in North Korea, describing the deprivation and deception she endured and which millions of North Korean people continue to endure to this day, but also onto her own most painful and difficult memories. She tells with bravery and dignity for the first time the story of how she and her mother were betrayed and sold into sexual slavery in China and forced to suffer terrible psychological and physical hardship before they finally made their way to Seoul, South Korea—and to freedom.

Still in her early twenties, Yeonmi Park has lived through experiences that few people of any age will ever know—and most people would never recover from. Park confronts her past with a startling resilience, refusing to be defeated or defined by the circumstances of her former life in North Korea and China. In spite of everything, she has never stopped being proud of where she is from, and never stopped striving for a better life. Indeed, today she is a human rights activist working determinedly to bring attention to the oppression taking place in her home country.

Park’s testimony is rare, edifying, and terribly important, and the story she tells in In Order to Live is heartbreaking and unimaginable, but never without hope. Her voice is riveting and dignified. This is the human spirit at its most indomitable.
An eye-opening account of life inside North Korea—a closed world of increasing global importance—hailed as a “tour de force of meticulous reporting” (The New York Review of Books)
 
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST
 
In this landmark addition to the literature of totalitarianism, award-winning journalist Barbara Demick follows the lives of six North Korean citizens over fifteen years—a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il (the father of Kim Jong-un), and a devastating famine that killed one-fifth of the population.
 
Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive regime today—an Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, where displays of affection are punished, informants are rewarded, and an offhand remark can send a person to the gulag for life. She takes us deep inside the country, beyond the reach of government censors, and through meticulous and sensitive reporting we see her subjects fall in love, raise families, nurture ambitions, and struggle for survival. One by one, we witness their profound, life-altering disillusionment with the government and their realization that, rather than providing them with lives of abundance, their country has betrayed them.

Praise for Nothing to Envy

“Provocative . . . offers extensive evidence of the author’s deep knowledge of this country while keeping its sights firmly on individual stories and human details.”—The New York Times

“Deeply moving . . . The personal stories are related with novelistic detail.”—The Wall Street Journal

“A tour de force of meticulous reporting.”—The New York Review of Books

“Excellent . . . humanizes a downtrodden, long-suffering people whose individual lives, hopes and dreams are so little known abroad.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“The narrow boundaries of our knowledge have expanded radically with the publication of Nothing to Envy. . . . Elegantly structured and written, [it] is a groundbreaking work of literary nonfiction.”—John Delury, Slate

“At times a page-turner, at others an intimate study in totalitarian psychology.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
Farewell to faux pas!

Minding your manners is an acquired skill, but what serves you well elsewhere could trip you up in Japan. Save yourself possible embarrassment with Etiquette Guide to Japan. An inside look at Japanese social graces, it answers all the questions of the thoughtful traveler. Extensive, specific information on Japanese business etiquette assists readers traveling to Japan for business.

Although often overshadowed by a modern facade, long–standing traditional aspects of Japan's culture still influence the country and almost everyone in it. Concrete evidence of this traditional culture can be seen everywhere—in the ancient arts and crafts that are still important parts of everyday life, in the many shrines and temples that dot the nation, and in the modern comeback of traditional fashions such as kimono and yakata robes.

To many Western visitors, however, the most obvious example of this traditional culture's strength is the unique etiquette of the Japanese. Like many nations, Japan has experienced vast political, social, and economic change over the past century. But enough of Japan's traditional etiquette remains to set the Japanese apart socially and psychologically and to make success in socializing and doing business with them a special challenge for Westerners.

About this new version:
This updated and expanded edition of the best-selling Japanese etiquette guide addresses not just the puzzling protocols relating to name cards, bowing or shaking hands, bathrooms and public baths—but also what to do when entertaining Japanese dinner guests, attending a Japanese tea ceremony, taking the subway, and much more! It also provides the latest etiquette in mobile phone manners, texting, social media and other forms of digital communication.

The glossary at the back of the book has been revised to include the latest technology-related words and expressions used by Japanese today. Two new chapters address the changing role of foreigners in the workplace and the contemporary business style and etiquette used by the younger generation of Japanese who are now increasingly cosmopolitan—but still very Japanese!
With a New Foreword

The heartwrenching New York Times bestseller about the only known person born inside a North Korean prison camp to have escaped. Blaine Harden's latest book, King of Spies, will be available from Viking in Fall 2017.

North Korea’s political prison camps have existed twice as long as Stalin’s Soviet gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. No one born and raised in these camps is known to have escaped. No one, that is, except Shin Dong-hyuk.

In Escape From Camp 14, Blaine Harden unlocks the secrets of the world’s most repressive totalitarian state through the story of Shin’s shocking imprisonment and his astounding getaway. Shin knew nothing of civilized existence—he saw his mother as a competitor for food, guards raised him to be a snitch, and he witnessed the execution of his mother and brother.

The late “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il was recognized throughout the world, but his country remains sealed as his third son and chosen heir, Kim Jong Eun, consolidates power. Few foreigners are allowed in, and few North Koreans are able to leave. North Korea is hungry, bankrupt, and armed with nuclear weapons. It is also a human rights catastrophe. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people work as slaves in its political prison camps. These camps are clearly visible in satellite photographs, yet North Korea’s government denies they exist.

Harden’s harrowing narrative exposes this hidden dystopia, focusing on an extraordinary young man who came of age inside the highest security prison in the highest security state. Escape from Camp 14 offers an unequalled inside account of one of the world’s darkest nations. It is a tale of endurance and courage, survival and hope.

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