It has not escaped even the most casual observer that things in South Korea are booming. As H.G. Wells said of Britain in the Industrial Revolution, “Queen Victoria was like a great paperweight that for half a century sat upon men’s minds, and when she was removed their ideas began to blow about all over the place haphazardly.” During the Japanese occupation (1895-1945) and the strict anti-communist regimes since then, ideas in Korea have been strictly controlled and the country still shows traces of the Hermit Kingdom outlook.

As is evident from the recent demonstra- tions, students have been in the forefront of the movement for more democracy and openness. They have a great tradition of leading Korean opinion having, since the Declaration of Independence of March 1, 1919, fought for a new society. “Fought” is a real description and not a metaphor, as the graves of the 208 students...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!