Asian History: Final Exam Study Guide: Korea Fall 2010
Four of these questions will show up on your exam and you will answer one. There will also be multiple choice
questions on the exam. Half of the 100 points will come from the essay and half from the multiple choice questions.
Don’t forget to bring a green Scantron® form and a LARGE blank bluebook to exchange for the pre-stamped
bluebook I’ll give you
1. In pre-modern Korea (prior to the 1800s) two major world religious/philosophical traditions coexisted through
the several kingdoms and dynasties. What two traditions are they and what was their relationship with the
government and with each other? How did that change with dynastic cycles?
2. China, Japan, and Korea have each had to deal with a changing world since 1800 CE. In dealing with
international shifts of power and/or with shifts of technology, these three nations’ responses have often been
very distinctive. Pick a common challenge or threat faced by each of these three nations and show how each
nation’s response to the challenge was representative or typical of their national character. You may pick a
major shift in international power relationships OR a major change in world technology. The challenge does
not need to be exactly the same for all three countries, but should be very similar so that meaningful
comparisons and contrasts can be drawn.
3. Koreans and Japanese generally look with contempt and disdain on each other. Explain this mutual
antagonism with references to several major historical events and trends over the past millennium.
4. The Sa Dae principle is a theme in Korean international politics through most of the history we studied. What
does it mean? Why did it develop? How did it impact Korea in the period of Imperialism in Asia (1850-1945)?
How is it still influencing Korean politics?
5. Christian missionary efforts largely failed in China and Japan, but they were far more successful in Korea. How
can an historian (not a theologian or missionary) explain that divergence? (Note: a thorough answer here must
include comparisons between Korea and China or Japan.)
6. A major shift in the role of women in Korean society occurred with the rise of the Chosun dynasty. What
caused that shift? Be specific about the causes; references to things we studied in Chinese history are relevant
and will help clarify your answer. What is the effect on the role of women through that dynasty and into this
century? You may want to draw from the story of Chunhyang (movie) or the stories about Sim Chung or the
Patriotic Kisaeng (Korean folk tales) to make your point because all of those stories come from the Chosun
7. Why have religious groups been important in Korean politics since 1900 AD? Which religious groups have
been particularly noteworthy? What are some of the political and/or social roles they played in different periods
over the last century or so?
8. North Koreans, and some South Koreans, blame the United States for the tragedy of a divided Korea today.
Evaluate their claim with references to at least three relevant historical events since 1930 AD. At least one of
those events should be after 1949.
9. South Korea’s economic miracle of the 1960s-1990s has drawn a lot of positive attention from scholars and
political leaders the world over. Realistically, it was not an unmixed blessing. What were or are the most
important major costs or problems that have beset Korea as it took this path to rapid economic development?