“A Republic of Korea Greater than Koreans imagined” book by Emanuel Pastreich

Emanuel Pastreich’s new book from Redwood Books


“A Republic of Korea Greater than Koreans imagined”

August, 2017

(Hangukin man morratteon deo ggeun daehanminguk)

한국인만 몰랐던 대한민국



Chapter one discusses the sad “candlelight revolution” that promised so much but has not delivered the transformation that it promised. What went wrong and what will it take to create a truly healthy and effective political culture in Korea?

Chapter two considers the geopolitical position of Korea today, suggesting that the only way for Korea to survive is to start making proposals for what the world can be and acing on those proposals. Following the suggestions of famous international figures of questionable ethics offers no future for Korea.

Chapter three considers how we can start to establish new values and priorities in Korea starting with our daily lives and experiences. How can we change our habits to reduce waste, use technology in a positive manner and make sure that those of us who have special skills contribute to the greater good.

Chapter four provides a harsh critique of the inability of Koreans to establish a Korean perspective, or a Korean approach to scholarship or art, despite Korea’s tremendous educational advantage. Specific assets of Korea, like the tradition of filial piety, traditional architecture, and traditional cuisine are brought up as examples of how Koreans can start to create a Korean cultural space in our daily life.

The final chapter five suggests that Korea does not need some massive policy declaration where overfed politicians clap as they cut a ribbon, but rather that the efforts of all Koreans to think about how a life based on consuming disposable goods, playing online games, and blindly pursuing technology for the sole reason of securing markets is dangerous. The conclusion is that ultimately citizens require a real bravery to act, and to break out of the mold. Without such commitment and such bravery, efforts at innovation will be but slogans posted at corporate headquarters.



Chapter 1 “A political culture that engages citizens”

Advice to candlelight demonstrations: just changing governments is not nearly enough

A political culture in Korea that enables a national policy debate

Why do voters end up expecting a messiah?

Unification is not a matter of choice

We need a politics grounded in habits

Is a “strong government” what the citizens need?

Why science should be paired with education, and technology with industry

How to establish a truly Korean journalism

How to make plans for cities that extend for a hundred years

What is the “soul” of Seoul?

Chapter 2 “A geopolitics that is for Korea and by Korea”

Korea faces the simultaneous terminus of six separate cycles

Korea must be able to make up the rules of the game now

An honest dialog on security between China, the United States, Korea and Japan

There is nothing more critical than a joint response to climate change

How Korea’s sarangbang could become a global social network platform

Setting up a safe Republic of cyberspace

Bringing back the ancient tradition of “written discourse” in the IT age

The spread of deserts in North Korea is more dangerous than its nuclear program

Chapter 3 “Let active citizens establish new values”

Consumption on impulse which never asks “why?”

Let us live in accord with nature

Strict rules do not mean a loss of freedom

Making Korea’s smart phones smart

Can the professor serve a role in society as an intellectual?

An obsession with appearances is dangerous

This is the age of women

Thinking seriously about China

My experience, and my children’s experience, with Korean education

Chapter 4  “The potential of Koreans and the culture left us by our ancestors”

Why can’t Koreans develop their own way of thinking?

How the Republic of Korea is controlled by mathematics

Filial piety and Korea’s original identity

Finding Korea’s potential in the culture of our ancestors

Getting back to the local cuisines of rural Korea

The modesty and delicacy of Korean palaces should be a source of pride

Could hanok architecture be Korea’s greatest product?

Let us create a Seoul based on Seoul, not Manhattan

Finding the code to transform Korea in its past

Chapter 5 “Nothing massive is required to save our economy”

Modern life has become a disposable life

A creative economy must start with a revolution in the nature of work

How can we assure Korea’s future?

What will Korea export in the future?

Korean manufacturing has collapsed into mannerism

Does Korea need innovation, or perhaps rather bravery?


Statement of author:

Emanuel Pastreich

I published “A Republic of Korea which only Koreans do not know” in 2013, four years ago, because I felt that Koreans underestimate the potential in within Korea itself, and its culture. I felt that Koreans unnecessarily dismiss Korea’s own strengths and hold high the rather questionable merits of other nations.

But this time, I felt that Korea faces such a tremendous crisis in its society and its economy, but also in its diplomacy and security, that I much more strongly worded argument was needed. Too many educated Koreans have fallen into patterns of denial and thoughtless ritual and they are not focused on what Korea actually needs to respond to a dramatically shifting climate, a rapidly aging society and an economy being turned upside down by advances in technology.

I did not write this book to be a best seller and I selected a small publisher that would let me write what I think without editing it for the purpose of marketing. The book is meant as a challenge to educated Koreans to tell me what part of this vision is wrong, and why Korea is not addressing these problems. But it is also meant to be an inspiration for young Koreans. I want Korean youth to feel confident that they are as competent as anyone to suggest which direction should go and the future is ultimately their future.


For sale online at KYOBO BOOKS.


2 responses to ““A Republic of Korea Greater than Koreans imagined” book by Emanuel Pastreich

  1. Craig September 17, 2017 at 9:15 am

    So now you need to tell us show to get a copy.

  2. Emanuel Pastreich September 17, 2017 at 9:42 am

    How? Thanks for your kind comment, Craig, and also, do forgive me for being so difficult of late. It has been more than a bit stressful.

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