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ASIAN HISTORY & MODERN SOCIETY
(Updated Tuesday, Apr 1, 2008, 04:25:34 PM to reflect the 100 most recent valid responses.)

Who has had the biggest historical influence on the culture of modern Asia?
Mongols | 13%
Americans | 26%
Coreans | 11%
Chinese | 36%
Japanese | 12%
Europeans | 2%

Which Asian nation has created the most promising and dynamic modern society?
Corea | 35%
Japan | 34%
China | 4%
Taiwan | 27%


This poll is closed to new input.
Comments posted during the past year remain available for browsing.

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WHAT YOU SAY

[This page is closed to new input. --Ed.]
Curious-

Christianity is pretty pervasive in Korean society now. They say there are as much Christians as Buddhists, so depending on where you get the numbers, around a third of Koreans identify themselves as "Christians." Of course some are going to be what mainstream people call "cults" such as Unification Church, Mormon, Jehovah's witness, etc. Some are going to be "holiday" christians, and others might be a christians with buddhist sympathies or someone who believe that those two religions are not mutually exclusive. But this is obvious, and I assume you guess this far.

But if you go to Korea now, you can literally see churches on every city block when you ride around in Seoul's public buses. During Christmas times, you might find a lot of people who try to spread the "real" meaning of Christmas. Korean Christians, unlike say Japanese Christians(there are like less then 1% in Japan) are politically powerful due to their size--and cash. Of course in the U.S., an atheist who claims to be one has a snowball's chance in hell of becoming president. This is less likely in Korea.

I think Christianity and Korean confucianism meld well into each other, which is probably the reason why it's so successful.

I don't really understand this question, "What is now typically Christian within modern Korean culture and society?" sorry.
ka    Thursday, December 26, 2002 at 08:48:14 (PST)    [168.103.180.35]
Is Taiwan an Asian nation?!?! Such a silly mistake!!!!
DBS    Tuesday, December 17, 2002 at 05:39:37 (PST)    [193.129.27.233]
ka,

how deeply does Christianity influence Korean society, now? What is now typically Christian within modern Korean culture and society?
curious    Sunday, December 15, 2002 at 23:44:22 (PST)    [62.227.110.106]
Thomas,

Elsewhere in the world, "Christianity" represented the "white men's burden" and therefore, was harshly resisted. Even in Korea, when the catholics first entered Korea, they were all put to death--and of course now, many catholics call them martyrs, but back in those days, religious people didn't come only with a bible and a cross--but also with western muskets and cannons.

When protestant missionaries started working in Korea in the early part of the 20th century, Korea was already colonized by Japan and therefore, there was very less xenophobia about the west then hostility about Japan that "answer" was writing before. These missionaries began building hospitals, schools, universities, and orphanages, which would leave a very positive impression on Chrisitanity--it was the force of modernization--unlike how we in the west often characterize christianity as a religiou that oppose scientific methods. Back in those days, Imperial Japan made an edict which required all Koreans to adopt Japanese names and partake in Shinto rites and engage in the cult of the Japanese emperor. Christian Koreans resisted these efforts on a religious ground--as Christian can not have more than one God--but many Koreans saw this as defiance against Japan. Christianity became a patriotic institution. Meanwhile protestant Christian missionaries succeeded in forming local native leadership--making Christianity more legitimately "Korean" religion.

Of course many Buddhists also protested against Japanese occupation--but they didn't bring with them "modern" thoughts such as democracy. To illustrate this, consider the religious backgrounds of 5 of the most recent Korean leaders. Democratically elected presidents Kim Dae Jung(devout catholic) and Kim Yong Sam(presbyterian) versus military dictators No Tae Woo, Chun Doo Hwan and Park Chung Hee were all buddhists. I'm not saying Buddhists are by nature autocrats--just simply stating where each leaders established their philosophical training.

Back in the 1300's(i might be off by a century) when the Mongol hord was eyeing Korea as the next pit stop to loot/murder/rape, the Korean king made significant contribution to the development of Buddhism including the famed Tripitaka-Koreana in hopes that Buddha would protect Korea from this national calamity. Korea turning to Christianity was not very different. When the Buddhist Koryo dynasty fell, Confucian Chosun dynasty ridiculed Buddhism for all it's failures. Now in modern Korea, some has chosen Christianity as the new ideology. (in north Korea, Juche ideology)

To put it into perspective, it was America that dropped two atom bombs on Japan and won the Korean independence. From that perspective, this is what a Korean saw-- the most powerful, wealthy, and advanced country was a christian country. Buddhism and Confucianism were not originally Korean religion either, but borrowed from India and China. Some Koreans felt that those two philosophies have "failed" Korea while the "Christian" God brought America victory--(Christianity never billed itself as a white men's religion)

But what about China? China became a communist country and suppressed all religions. Then of course, Korea would compare how China is fairing to the "christian" nations. Japan on the other hand, lost their state religion. There was really no good catalyst to take on the religion of their enemy. Today there are many Japanese who turned to various "cults" in search of spiritual englightenment, but many Japanese remain skeptical of religions--afterall, emperor worship brought them one of the greatest disaster in japanese history.

South Korea sort of became the "poster boy" for "how-to-evangelize" for protestant missionaries. Unlike India, whose Hindu identity is distinctly nationalist, confucianism and buddhism, like christianity was borrowed, and therefore allowed itself to be adapted into Korean consciousness. Who knows? If something happens, Koreans might adopt a new philosophy for itself--Korea remains dynamic.

Of course, what I say is highly debatable, but I stand by my words.

p.s. Unlike in the west where Christianity is seen as an impediment to women's liberation, opposite is true in Korea, where Christians would build women's school's like Ewha university, and catholic nuns would become politically vocal. In a country where Confucianism represents staid conservatism, Christianity represents progressive liberalism.
ka    Friday, December 13, 2002 at 10:55:17 (PST)    [168.103.180.35]
Thomas,

the influence of Christianity in Korea has to do with the Japanese occupation. There was a gap of power which was filled by the churches. Since those times the churches have supported Korean nationalism.

Christianity might have worked as an instrument of resistance against the "giants" Japan and China, but it's definitely alien to Asian people. Christianity won't support the Koreans against white enemies or opponents. Christianity has not helped the whites to protect their own cultures from decay. So why should it work in Korea?
answer    Monday, December 09, 2002 at 16:14:58 (PST)    [62.227.111.182]
Why is Christianity so much more popular in Korea than other East Asian countries such as China and Japan?
Thomas    Saturday, December 07, 2002 at 16:01:05 (PST)    [172.146.49.191]
i believe Japan is very good. but i think singapore is the BEST. how come this poll does not include singapore?????
nationaleez    Thursday, November 07, 2002 at 23:19:08 (PST)    [202.156.2.90]
I think that all people of most age groups have some type of 'rite of passage' test that they have to go through to be accepted whether it be from teachers, media, strangers, peers, parents, friends, or sometimes even themselves. we think that in america we allow poeple and children to choose how they live their lives and in some ways thats true. we usually are allowed to pick our religon, clothes, extra activities but never without some sort of promting, bribery or threat. rarely ever are we allowed to just say our own minds decision without others such as friends telling you to go one way or another. also parents and media greatly influence what we decide. what shoes to wear for example, we arent forced into wearing painfull shoes but the media or our parents are always dropping hints that arent always so subtle. wether or not the shoes are comfortable it doesnt matter just that they are in. also would you rather be forced to wear uncomfortable shoes for something big like getting a husband or for something little like school?
EST1    Thursday, October 10, 2002 at 21:09:03 (PDT)    [152.163.189.232]
China will have the new "tallest building in the world" title when they complete their Shanghai World Financial Center. Its currently under construction, and its expected to be done around 2005 or something.

Add to that China's rivals to Russian Cosmonauts, and US astronauts... the Chinese Taikonaut!
Philippine_War_Machine    Wednesday, October 02, 2002 at 08:53:22 (PDT)
Japan definitely has the most modern asian society of today. However within about 30-50 years from now China will be having great technological gains and standard living will improve. So far China has the highest growth for GDP, and will surpass the American equivilant in about 15 years.
^-^    Friday, August 16, 2002 at 08:17:55 (PDT)
Where are the world's tallest buildings???

1 Malaysia Kuma lumpur
2 China Shang Hai

Who has the highest GDP growth?

1 China
2 Vietnam
3 Malaysia

Who has been telling the truth

1 CHINA !

Rest of you liars can go crawl back to propagandist-hell with your anglo puppetmasters
the truth    Sunday, July 28, 2002 at 19:17:23 (PDT)
The success of a nation has to do with its children. Children must not be spoilt. That would always result in bad habits, equally in which time we live.

Scientist have found out that the modern nations depending on service industries need less interhuman relationships. In Japan or in the USA there are many urban areas, now, where nobody knows his neighbor -because it isn't necessary. Families haven't got that important role for teenagers and adults which they would have in countries like the rural Mongolia. So why do the nostalgic scientist preach still that people needed intimate relationships on the same level like extremely rural people in undeveloped countries?-I believe that humans will even be able to adjust to this challenge: a life with less intimate relationships... But only if we raise our children without nostalgia. We cannot look backwards and say: "Oh,it was so nice with all the family around, people whom we are used to and whom we like therefore." Especially Confucianism provides attitudes of nostalgia which is extremely impractical in our times. Children must now learn how to be creative without imitating people whom they like.It sounds hard but I think it must be like that.S ince Christianity with their caring/loving everyone attitude keeps most Westerners apart from achieving this goal to educate their children in a manner that they won't need that deep relationships it is the choice of us Asians to educate our children in a mode so that they can succeed in a society with less intimate relationships. Sadly the trend is vice versa : the Japanese have had their chance to learn directly from their situation but now they are under under Western influence, spoil their children... Now, even a poor Apache has more endurance and toughness than a Japanese of the new generation! And I think that this is the main reason for Japan's economical crisis. Exchange young people of a rural country with those of a modernized country and you'll earn success for the modern country if there weren't the lack of knowledge among the third world people.
rare stuff    Friday, July 05, 2002 at 17:02:01 (PDT)
I think that in the ancient Asian people were more individualistic than people of the Western world could be nowadays. Modern society is so commercial that people try to consume identity.This can only be possible because of a lack of identity among the "modern" people who just care about their fashions during their free time.People who don't have a certain identity cannot be more individualistic than those who share their identity with others in a small community like in ancient times.

One big problem today is that many Asians fail to translate their traditional behavior patterns into the context of modern societies.The consequence is that they get white-washed by Westerners who claim to be the only people being able to create modern identities.I know some white-washed people who have problems with the control of their aggressions because they are trying to IMITATE both Western and Asian behavior patterns. They think they would be either Western or both Asian or Western. In reality they have sparse identity and lack individualism.
rare stuff    Thursday, June 20, 2002 at 05:56:30 (PDT)
let's see it from the big picture--

You are interpreting history in a very odd way. For most of the history of the West, the "whiteman" had a very much of a fondness for China to an extremist bent, that there were tons of fetishists who misunderstood China.

You only talk about modern Chinese history, but if you look at Western poetry hundreds of years back, "Xanadu" was pictured as a surreal utopian paradise. Even modern poets like Ezra Pound loved Chinese culture, and modern artists try to reinvigorate Western civillization thorugh Chinese culture.

For your information, Koreans are not the only Tunguzic race to be "significant". As I remember my history correctly both the Mongols and the Manchus conquered China and became Chinese--leaving their mark in the overall Chinese culture. Also what the modern Japanese, despite Japanese nationalists say, can trace a significant part of their lineage to Tunguzic people including Koreans.

The "West" or modern Europeans don't seem to have any particular bad will towards the CHinese, but America does get into some scuffles with China--but both of these nations have been heading towards cooperation.

yes yes yes, the whitemen has screewed up in the past. but I think it's not very good to demonize white people. and I think it's especially bad to pit the "whitemen" against "China". I see this theme recurring over and over, I'm getting sick of it.

Chinese people should feel proud of themselves without comparing themselves to other people.
ka    Tuesday, May 28, 2002 at 09:19:58 (PDT)
"whywhy",

for me it's no problem to call Middle Easterners and even Russians (who are close relatives of the Middle Easterners) Asians. Nevertheless especially the Christians among the more Western located Asians want to be sort of European. If they have too less self-esteem to call themselves Asians it will already be their problem to be endangered by Westernization (in the negative sense of this word).
After all even people like Lee Kuan Yew should admit that traditional Muslims are rather Asian than white-washed.
rare stuff    Monday, May 27, 2002 at 06:43:46 (PDT)

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