Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I think it is interesting that there is really no set date for the founding of Korea, but that there are so many stories that could potentially be the "true" beginning of the country. As Americans, we know our country declared its independence on July 4, 1776. We know George Washington was our first President. Etc, etc. We have a certain story about the birth of our country, and many of our values are based on these stories (honesty and the cherry tree story, John Hancock's name becoming an eponym for the word "signature...). It makes me wonder if Korea's lack of such a solid notion of the country's origins has had some psychological/subconscious effect on its people. Kirk told us a slew of stories that could be "the" beginning of Korea. I found myself getting confused trying to follow them all. But luckily, good ol' Wikipedia has them all collected. I originally was searching for more information on the story of Han'gun, and the page has links to a lot of the other stories (on the right side of the article). Check it out if you want to review some of them:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tan%27gun_Myth

1 comment:

mweimer said...

I think you make a good point, however I would argue that Korea has though similar beginnings: Both North and South have dates where they were officially created, just as the Fourth of July here. However I think the point of not knowing the true beginning is reflected in the U.S. as well. Sure we can say July 4, 1776 is our starting point, but in reality, it was not. Historians, students, and citizens would all argue differently as to when The United States began. Some might look at the history of the Native Americans- was it when the first people came to the continent, or when great civilizations were born? Or was it when settlers "claimed" territory that had belonged to indigenous populations, including Mexican populations in the west? Or was it when the Pilgrims landed, or when Europeans/ New Americans began to think of themselves as superior to all others who inhabited the area. Discussion could be made for each, and I feel that July 4th serves as a focal point for identity, just as the independence dates for the Koreas probably do as well.