No native Korean culture?

Feb 2011
All cultures had been influenced by others. Korean culture was very similar to Chinese culture but they were far from the same. Korea even developed its own written language and alphabet by King Sejong despite using Chinese for more than a thousand years previously.
Likes: arkteia


Ad Honorem
Sep 2011

That's misunderstanding how culture works. It's a kind of endless improvisation on given themes. Over time that changes, some things get dropped, other things get introduced. But culture is inherently promiscuous, so borrowing is a major aspect of cultural interaction. But since you still end up improvising, borrowings are tweaked and changed continuously and so immediately start diverging (both with the lending and the borrowing side too).

As a consequence, certainly Korea has included a lot of borrowed stuff from China – just like Japan ot Vietnam etc. – but the process of incorporation makes cultural borrowings go native. Korean ways of doing things, also things originally borrowed from China, still perceptibly differs from the Chinese, i.e. they are Korean.

"Once only barbarism was patriotic" as a Swedish 19th c. poet once observed. Considering society and culture has been developing over time, that's actually true for ALL societies. Just spool back far enough and you'll get there.
Likes: Haakbus


Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
United States
Chinese influence tended to be more prominent in the elite culture than in the general population.

Also the language is typologically similar to Paleosiberian languages like Nivkh and the Chukotko-Kamchatkan family. Far more than any influence from "Altaic" languages.
Likes: Richardrli
Native Chinese culture is the Huangha River valley civilization. Native Korean culture is the Liaohe River valley civilization (aka Liao civilization), in current day Liaodong area, which is now cold desert but scientific analysis shows it was warmer and more humid wetland 5000 years ago. Both influenced each other. Originally the people in Korean peninsula was less advanced than Liaohe River valley and worshiped the Bear Totem. But the Liaohe river people came East and mixed with the Bear worshipping tribes and founded Gojoseon. Archeological records show Liaohe river valley is distinct from Huanghua river valley cultures. In the beginning, both Chinese and Korean cultures shared Liaohe river valley culture, such as oracle bones, but as time passed, China abandoned the Liaohe aspects, while Korea retained more aspects of the Liaohe culture. However during Liaohe river valley era, there was no defined concept of China or Korea.

Liao civilization - Wikipedia

The extent of Liao civilization is in red, and the later Gojoseon is in green.
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Likes: arkteia
Aug 2013
United States
Every culture is constantly growing. Every culture draws from various traditions, adapting influence and innovating on its own. Korean culture has drawn heavily from the Chinese tradition, but they are fundamentally different cultures.