Essay About Korea

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From the first century B.C.E until the seventh century CE, the Korean peninsula experienced an unprecedented era of immense wealth, political power, and cultural blooming. Although the kingdoms of ancient Korea are not familiar to many students in the world, the fields of early Korean history and archaeology remain as active and effective components of academic programs in East Asia, where it is recognized that an understanding and appreciation of the early historical periods are necessary for a decent grasp of Korea in the age of globalization.
In this exclusive interview, James Curry, head of De Rerum Natura’s history department, speaks with Dr. Chris Johnson, the Project Director of the Ancient Korea Project at the East Asia Institute,
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My engagement in early Korean history goes back to the 1980s, when I was staying in Korea as a part the U.S. Air Force in 1982-83, and then for several summers afterward during my college years, when I spent every other summer in Korea and China as a tourist. I was just so fascinated with the history and culture of Korea, and for some reason I was captivated very naturally toward the earliest historical periods. I do not remember exactly why I became so interested in early Korean history, but the interest grew significantly in my college years. I majored in computer science in Brown, but also had a minor in Asian Studies and took many demanding courses on Chinese history and culture. There were no Korea-related course offerings at that time, but by then, I had already studied Korean history on my own for a few years. I then worked for a number of years in the computer engineering field (my work involved getting IBM printers to print using East Asian character sets, so I spent a good portion of time in various parts of East Asia). I spent nearly all of my “free time” studying early Korean history, and I spent four years translating the early history text, Samguk sagi (History of the Three Kingdoms of ancient Korea) into English, which gave me some competence in ancient Chinese (Korean wasn’t invented back then). During these years, I also took courses in basic Chinese in Brown, and I traveled to China, Korea, and Japan to visit historical sites for my own private research (and at my own
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