Circles and Squares

Insights into Korea's Sudden Rise

High school student leaves school in protest against meaningless competition

Kim Taun, a sophomore at Jinju Girl’s High School, decided to drop out of her school in protest. On her Facebook Page

She posted a picture of herself (dated July 2, 2015) with a sign reading:

“I cannot remain in a school which leaves me only competition and offers no learning. I am leaving this school”
경쟁만 남은 배움 없는 학교에 있을수 없어 저는 학교를 그만 둡니다.


경쟁만 남은 배움 없는 학교에 있을수 없어 저는 학교를 그만 둡니다.


The incident parallels the resignation in protest from Joongang University by an undergraduate two years ago.

“Breaking Out of the Rut: Broadening the Spectrum for Engaging North Korea” Seok-Hyun Hong (Global Asia)


GLOBAL ASIA SUMMER 2015 (Vol. 10, No. 2)

Breaking Out of the Rut:

Broadening the Spectrum for Engaging North Korea

By Seok-Hyun Hong


ALTHOUGH THERE was much speculation that a breakthrough in North-South relations might be in the offing after high-ranking North Korean officials made an impromptu visit to the Asian Games at Incheon in October 2014, tensions of late have ratcheted up again, especially after the United States imposed further sanctions in response to allegations that North Korea was behind the hacking of Sony Pictures. Now, with talk of designating North Korea again as a spon­sor of terrorism, there is concern that another period of heightened tensions is about to begin.

But might it not be a smarter strategy to create a virtuous rather than a vicious cycle, one that could turn this all-too-predictable process around? The true lesson of the recent uptick in tensions is not that we should increase pressure on Pyongyang, but rather that we have to move beyond the current approach to engagement with North Korea.

For the last 20 years, South Korea and its partners have engaged North Korea through a variety of limited forums such as the Six-Party Talks, reunions for family members separated on either side of the DMZ and limited humani­tarian activities by non-governmental organi­zations (NGOs). As the world is rapidly trans­formed by globalization, the tremendous poten­tial of East Asia is being slowed down by this inability to fully integrate North Korea into the international community. The time has come for a creative and broad approach to engaging North Korea that can move beyond the current stalemate and open up new vistas for a peaceful and integrated Northeast Asia.

As China emerges as a truly global power and the US tries to define its rebalancing in Asia, this is a critical moment for creating a broad dia­logue with Pyongyang that includes more actors, and offers more potential directions for future development. This essay provides an overall analysis of the current situation and presents a few concrete proposals for innovative engage­ment that can change the way current problems are perceived. By changing these perceptions, the foundation can be laid for a more fundamen­tal institutional integration of the region that reflects the economic realities of this century. The first step is to change the manner in which we engage North Korea. Read more of this post

“1000万ウォンのサムスン「ギャラクシー」を作ろう” (中央日報 2015年 6月 29日 )




20156月 29








“制作价值1000万韩元的三星Gallaxy吧” (中央日报 2015年 06月 27日)





2015年 06月 27日






技术、艺术与行政如果能融合在一起,就能开发出具备革新技术与极致美、并获得有效营销效果的最顶级手机产品。韩国的手机虽然是世界一流的,但法拉利级别的手机要定位在1000万韩元,才能配得上世界最顶级的知名名牌这一荣誉。 Read more of this post

“1000만원짜리 삼성 갤럭시 만들자” (중앙일보 2015년 6월 27일)


“1000만원짜리 삼성 갤럭시 만들자”

2015년 6월 27일


임마누엘 페스트라이쉬





페라리는 최고급 자동차 브랜드다. 한 대 가격이 3억원 전후. 준수한 중형 세단 10대, 웬만한 소형차 20대 가격이다. 그래도 페라리를 사려는 사람이 줄을 선다.

삼성 갤럭시는 세계적으로 유명한 휴대전화 브랜드다. 가격은 100만원 정도. 갤럭시는 자동차로 보면 페라리 등급일까. 그렇지 않다. 보급 규모를 보면 중형 세단이다. 의문이 제기될 수 있다. 왜 1000만원짜리 최고급 모델은 생산하지 않는가. 이탈리아에는 페라리 외에도 비슷한 사례가 쌓여 있다. 마세라티·람보르기니·구찌·프라다·페라가모 등 끝이 없다. 이탈리아에 비해 기술력이 더 뛰어난 한국은 왜 주력 생산품인 휴대전화 분야에서 최고급 브랜드를 만들어 내지 않는 것일까.

문제는 융합이다. 이탈리아는 패션과 인체공학 분야에서 강점이 있다. 미적 감각과 고급 공예 전통 덕분이다. 비결은 이런 장점들이 개별적으로 존재하는 것이 아니라 통합적으로 기능하면서 다른 나라에서 발견할 수 없는 매력이 넘치는 강력한 제품을 만들어 낸다는 데 있다.

한국 역시 다양한 장점을 갖고 있다. 한국에는 창조적이고 모험적이며 개성이 강한 예술가, 세계 최고 수준을 자랑하는 엔지니어, 머리 좋고 국가에 대한 봉사의식으로 무장한 관리들이 축적돼 있다. 그러나 이들은 각자 영역에서 별도로 활동할 뿐 통합적 작업에 참여하는 사례는 찾아보기 어렵다. 그런 작업을 통합적으로 주도하는 사람도 드물고 그런 노력을 쏟는 이들은 ‘이상한 사람’ 취급을 받기도 한다.

기술과 예술과 행정이 융합되면 혁신적인 기술과 극도의 아름다움을 갖추고 효율적인 마케팅 지원을 받는 최고급 휴대전화를 개발할 수 있다. 한국의 휴대전화는 지금도 세계 최고지만 페라리 등급의 휴대전화는 세계 최고의 명품 브랜드라는 평가 속에 1000만원에 팔리게 될 것이다.

1000만원짜리 갤럭시는 어떤 모습일까. 우선 외양에서 매력이 넘칠 것이다. 최고급 목공예 기술과 보석과 금은 세공 기술이 적용돼 이것이 기계장치인지, 보석상자인지 구분하기 어려울 것이다. 성능을 보면 기본적으로 통화 기능이 탑재돼 있지만 다양한 애플리케이션은 질과 양에서 세계 최고다. 새로운 앱이 나오거나 업데이트 버전이 나오면 즉시 적용하도록 설계돼 있다. 사용방법이 아주 쉽고 저장공간이 매우 커서 사용자는 인생 전체를 휴대전화에 저장해 놓고 휴대전화를 통해 일을 하게 될 것이다. 1000만원이 아니라 5000만원을 내겠다는 사람이 줄을 서게 될 것이다. Read more of this post

“Unveiled, Inclusive Korean Culture Needed in Korean Multinationals” Business Korea

Business Korea

“Unveiled, Inclusive Korean Culture Needed in Korean Multinationals”  

18 June 2015


Emanuel Pastreich


Korean multinational corporations have reached a level of global prominence that positions them well as pacesetters for the future of business. Yet we find that often Korean companies have tremendous trouble attracting and retaining the best global talent. Although the best and the brightest can be recruited to work at Korean firms, often their loyalty is not much deeper than the competitiveness of their compensation package.

Having spoken with many internationals who work at Korean multinationals, I can say with certainty that the essential problem that they encounter is clear. There is a fundamentally different culture for Korean employees than for international employees. The cultural divide is clear, so clear that I even know a Korean who lived many for many years in the United States as a child and has become a priceless member of his company, serving as a bridge between the Korean and the international groups in his firm. This role should not be necessary within one company’s culture.

Most Koreans explain this odd state of affairs as a consequence of the immaturity of Korean companies. They tell me that Koreans are simply not sufficiently global in their thinking to create a truly world-class work environment.

Although I certainly would not deny that Koreans have a long way to go to develop a corporate culture that is welcoming to employees from different cultures and experiences, I disagree with the common assumption that Korean companies need to become just like Western multinationals if they want to attract and retain international talent.

If anything, the challenge for Korean firms is not to give up the Korean culture, which has served as the core of their remarkable growth an innovation, for some bland and predictable Western corporate culture. Rather, the challenge is to make that same Korean corporate culture readily accessible to everyone, universal in implication, and inspiring to people from every walk of life. Read more of this post

Don’t have a camel? Try a giraffe

Here is a poster that I saw today (June 13, 2015) at City Hall, Seoul.





It reads:

“Instead of a Camel, Ride a Giraffe”

1) the shape is similar

2) the feel of the ride is similar

3) the fuel they for both is similar

4) you will not get MERS.

We have prepared fuel efficient giraffes for you. Please email us at


Read more of this post

KBS 亲近KOREA 万烈先生的韩国之爱

KBS 亲近KOREA 万烈先生的韩国之爱



南黎明 (韩国外国语大学讲师)
李安东 (成均馆大学教授)
嘉 宾:贝一明 (庆熙大学教授)



Read more of this post

“沉醉于东方文化的美国人” KBS 亲近 KOREA 2015年 06月 05日


KBS 亲近 KOREA   2015年 06月 05日


南黎明 (韩国外国语大学讲师)

李安东 (成均馆大学教授)

嘉 宾: 贝一明(庆熙大学教授)









Emanuel’s talk at Doksan High School in Seoul

I led a discussion at Doksan High School in Seoul on June 3. I was invited by a group of about 30 high school students from Doksan High’s “Global Citizen’s Academy” (세계시민 아카데미). I introduced my own experience as a student and a professor and we talked about extremely practical issues. Students asked about how they can survive in this competitive environment in which they are required to master fields of knowledge for which they have no relationship and which have no application for them in their lives. I stressed the importance of a dream, or hope, as a means of giving all the experiences meaning. I also touched on the importance of one’s own personal strategy.


Emanuel addresses the global citizens of Donsan High School.

Emanuel addresses the global citizens of Doksan High School.

Emphasis on one's own dream.

Emphasis on one’s own dream.

End of the talk.

End of the talk.

Two winners of copies of my book.

Two winners of copies of my book.


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