Monthly Archives: October 2011

What Emanuel does not like about Korea

I have received numerous criticisms of late to the effect that I am too positive about Korea. Although I think my writings do contain numerous criticisms of Korean practice, it is certainly true that I go to great lengths to keep the tone constructive and positive. That said, I have decided to give a short list of serious issues with Korea that I have.

The white or brown sauce that is squirted on food at restaurants:

So many times we find at Korean restaurants that the cooks feel that they have to squirt a white or brown sauce in lines on top at the food at the last minute to make it look better.  The sauce does not add to the flavor and I wish we could just eat the food.

Not being able to see the name of the station from my seat on the subway 

How many times on the subway have a found that the sign indicating the station at which the train is stopping at is invisible from where I am sitting? The visibility of signs is clearly far worse in Seoul Metro than in other major subway systems I have ridden. Read more of this post

Korea Launches a Campaign against excessive drinking

Amazing to witness how quickly  new campaign to encourage people to drink less as part of their work has gained speed in Seoul. There are signs on the subway, in workplaces, government offices and on TV aggressively driving this point home.




The Korean Hangul script as a global phonetic system

A fascinating article by Professor Sin Buyong, Director of KAIST’s new “Hangul” Engineering Institute” in which he argues for the broad application of the Korean hangul script globally. Korea is starting to expand the concept of technology to include many new applications, and this concept of hangul as a universal script that can more accurately, and more simply, represent all languages is particularly striking.  What is new here is the Koreans are not merely proposing more people in the world should learn Korean, but also that they could better write their own languages using the hangul script.

Professor Sin presented in a previous article an input device employing hangul and demonstrates how hangul is better than the Roman script for inputting English. I am not sure how realistic this example is, but it does suggest a new self confidence and creativity which is most welcome.

Demonstration of the greater efficiency of Hangul script over Roman script for inputting English.

Two Cultural Challenges for Korea: Accepting the Richness of the Joseon Dynasty and Value of the Ideographs (essay)

Two Cultural Challenges for Korea: Accepting the Richness of the Joseon Dynasty and Value of the Ideographs

Emanuel Pastreich

October 21, 2011

There are two major cultural challenges that Korea faces today as it suddenly finds itself playing an international role on a scale that no one had imagined could happen so soon. Both challenges relate to Korea’s cultural identity, and both may seem somewhat obscure to internationals unfamiliar with the specifics of Korea’s cultural experience.

The first challenge is for Koreans to recognize for themselves, and introduce with confidence to the world, the full richness of the Korean cultural tradition. So often we see international visitors being treated to second-rate gayageum performances Read more of this post

“Defining Convergence” Asia Institute Seminar Featured in Korea IT Times (article)


Thursday, October 20th, 2011


“Wrestling with Convergence, Part 3: Defining the Convergence of Industries”


The Asia Institute recently held a round-table discussion on the topic of technology convergence. The discussion was led by Dr. Emanuel Pastreich, Professor of Humanities at the Humanitas College of Kyung Hee University. Also in attendance were Charlie Wolf, Director at the Social Impact Assessment Center in the Greater New York City Area; Paul Callomon, Collections Manager at the Academy of Natural Sciences in the Greater Philadelphia Area; Stephanie Wan, the YGNSS Project Co-Lead and the North, Central America & Caribbean regional Coordinator of the Space Generation Advisory Council; Daniel Lafontaine, Business Coach and Consultant at AMA Korea; Alan Engel, President at Paterra, Inc. in Japan; Matthew Weigand, founder of and former editor of the Korea IT Times; Tahir Hameed, Research Fellow and PhD Candidate at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology; and Vince Rubino, Global Team Leader of Business Development and AQ at the Korea Institute of Toxicology. In this third part of a five-part series, the experts discuss the true definition of the term convergence that is so easily thrown around these days.

Matthew Weigand: Personally I’ve always thought that the term Convergence was broad and generalized for political reasons – it encompasses the greatest possible meaning because people would like it to. Nailing it down to any one specific meaning would be marginalizing some segment of new technologies which want to claim the label for financial or political reasons. So I guess Emanuel’s take on breaking down convergence into sub-categories would be the only way to make any headway on discussing it.

Tahir Hameed: Thanks for a quite agreeable stance, and rightly pointing the only way forward. My intention was to just to establish a perceived weakness before carrying it on. Coming to the next question, there should be at least two aspects to discuss this; the possibility of development of S&T, innovation or industry, and the benefits that brings for society in general. There can be several issues in each. For now, I share my thinking about how the term convergence is useful to Korea in general. Will try to contribute on specifics and possible growth projections later. Read more of this post

The Function of Literature and the Byeung-ju Lee (이병주) International Literary Festival

Emanuel was invited as a speaker at the Byeung-ju Lee International Literary Festival in Seoul on September 29, 2011. The Festival brings together important writers and literary critics to discuss contemporary literature and its significance. Emanuel was on a panel with the Chinese novelist Dong Xi (東西) and the Japanese horror writer Kishi Yusuke (貴志祐介). We also spent a day in Hadong, at the base of Jili san Mountain. Hadong was the long term resident of Lee Byung-ju, author of many novels on the social conflicts of Korea in the 20th century.  His most famous novel Jili san is the epic of a family torn apart by ideological conflicts.

Emanuel spoke about the function of literature in contemporary society, arguing that literature is the most effective means to address social issues Read more of this post

Op Ed by Vice President Strobel of Yale University

Professor Scott Strobel, Vice President for West Campus at Yale University, has taken a deep interest in Korea of late. He recently wrote this very thoughtful article about Korea’s possible future role in science and technology.


“Korea’s Potential in Scientific Discovery: A Strategy for Realization”

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Scott Strobel

Vice President for West Campus

Yale University

The Growing Trend towards Asia in Science and Technology

Korea has a tremendous opportunity to play a central role in the future of discovery in science and technology if it takes advantage of some emerging trends. We can already see the growing sophistication of science in Asia in terms of the quality of its Read more of this post

Professor Jung Min’s Study of the awareness of a “common realm” in pre-modern East Asia

I had the opportunity to meet with Professor Jung Min (정민 교수) of Hanyang University on September 28, 2011. I have the ultimate respect for Professor Jung, one of the most careful and insightful scholars of the classical Chinese tradition in Korea. He has also worked on Park Jiwon’s writings at length and we have shared notes before. He gave me a pile of intriguing articles and books, but one article in particular seized my attention. The title is

“Awareness of a “Common Realm” among 18th and 19th Century Korean Intellectuals” Read more of this post

“The Intellectual ‘Korean Wave'” (知的한류) in Korean (Munhwa Ilbo 문화일보)


‘知的 한류’시대

이만열/경희대 후마니타스 칼리지 교수

2011년 10월 11일(火)

한류(韓流)가 세계를 휩쓸고 있다. 한국발 사랑 노래, 스릴 넘치는 영화, 시선을 떼지 못하게 하는 TV 드라마가 새로운 세대는 물론 기존 세대의 상상력까지 사로잡고 있다. 이렇듯 한류가 한국의 이름을 알리는 데 널리 공헌하고 있다지만 궁극적 의미에서 진정한 지적(知的) 한류는 아직 시작되지 않았다.
미국과 유럽, 일본에서조차 최고의 지성들이 한국의 작가 이름을 한번도 언급하지 않고, 한국 주요 지성들의 글을 읽은 적이 없으며, 한국 역사의 깊이에 대해 무지한 것이 현실이다. 버락 오바마 미국 대통령이 한국의 교육에 대해 찬사를 보낼 때조차 한국 전문가들의 이름이 언급되지는 않았다. 한국에 살면서 한국어로 된 서적과 저널을 읽고 한국의 미술관을 찾아 한국 지성들과 대화를 하는 외국인으로서 이러한 분야에서 세계에 널리 소개돼야 마땅한 부분이 많다고 단언한다. Read more of this post

Lecture on Reception of Chinese Vernacular Narrative in Japan

October 7, 2011

Emanuel delivered a lecture in Korean to the “Korea Society of East Asian Comparative Literature” (동방문학비교연구회) on the response of Japanese intellectuals to Chinese vernacular narrative in the 18th century. The talk placed stress on the important role that exposure to Chinese vernacular narrative played in stimulating an active debate on the significance of vernacular language in general in Japan. Read more of this post