»Koreans want to win the war«

brand eins special issue Korea –

Over the past 50 years, South Korea experienced rapid economic growth, which continues to grow above-average to this day. Social scientist Daniel Schwekendiek explains the reasons for this extraordinary development.

brand eins: Mr Schwekendiek, when did you first hear the Korean expression “ppalli ppalli” – “hurry, hurry”?

Daniel Schwekendiek: Very early on, when I was in South Korea for family reasons. But ppalli ppalli is not an age-old expression – it emerged much later as a result of Japanese cultural influences. Industrialisation arrived much earlier in Japan – for South Korea to catch up, they had to increase speed. At the time, no one had any idea that the country’s economy was to grow faster than anywhere else in the world. But in all honesty, I do not believe in reducing South Korean economic policy to mean just ppalli ppalli.

brand eins: But it does represent one of its most important characteristics, does it not?

Daniel Schwekendiek: It is more an expression of a short-lived trend and I am more interested in long-term cultural influences. Traditional achievements such as calligraphy and meditation seem to indicate a slowness of this culture. And in Confucianism, the slow path is seen as the better choice. Evidence of this can often be heard in the much more famous Korean expression “Annyeonghaseyo”, which literally translates as “Are you at peace?”


Read more … [in German only]

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Courtesy of business magazine brand eins, media partner of MCBW 2017
Published in 12/2015 issue, Focus: Speed

Author: Sören Kittel
currently lives in Berlin and works for Funke media group (Berliner Morgenpost, Hamburger Abendblatt, WAZ, et al). His book about South Korea “On Good Days You Can See The North“ was recently published at DuMont.

Foto: Jun Michael Park
is a documentary photographer from Seoul, South Korea, represented by laif Photo Agency. Jun’s work “Sewol Aftermath” was selected for exhibition at the 5th Lumix Festival for Young Photojournalism in Hanover, Germany

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