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Why is Korea, of all civs, constantly portrayed as super science civ in civ series?

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Krajzen, Feb 17, 2018.

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  1. Pythakoreas

    Pythakoreas Chef Tain

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    That just proves how Hangul is a powerful invention, you don't even need to rely on Hanja. You don't know how the Japanese have it worse in their written language...

    I know essentially... pretty close to zero Hanja myself. I can write my name in Hanja and that's it. Staying fluent in English and French alone can be a job hard enough, don't pester me with those Chinese written language! :cry:

    Glory to Sejong the Science king!
     
  2. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ Supporter

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    I’d say there were significant problems before 1592.

    The elite were not in favour of Hangul which King Sejong, being a Buddhist, was hoping would give literacy to the masses. Hangul was banned shortly after the death of King Sejong because a letter was penned in Hangul insulting the King. I often wonder if it was a member of the elite that created this letter. The elite were not at all in favour of universal education nor universal literacy. Not to mention that they mocked Sejong as having adopted barbaric script. A barbaric script that went against their traditions and threatened their power base. Not to mention the fact that Sejong was Buddhist and Confucianists were fierce rivals.

    There was very little social mobility before and after 1592. While the system may have been open to this, in actual fact and practice, it was very rare.
    ————
    “In a modern world, stagnating social mobility is a grave problem and is prone to bring out anger and disenchantment toward the establishment. Some even attribute the lack of social mobility as a more serious issue than inequality. Metaphorically, social class is often described as a ladder.

    Those who aspire to climb to the highest rung of society overcomes the difficulty of climbing, because the incentive of the higher rung is so appealing that it outweighs the sweat it takes to get ahead. However, it takes a more than sheer will or intelligence of an individual to get ahead. If the rungs are too far apart, what will be the use of an effort made by individuals?

    The Kingdom of Joseon ruled the unified Korean peninsula till 1897. Like other pre-modern societies, it was where the social order was determined at birth and governed the way a man is set to live. It was a society where the rungs were simply too far for an average individual to overcome. However, when that rare upward social movement did happen, it was either for a state’s urgent need to supplement its income or the talent of exceptional individuals which the administration found useful.

    Also, toward the end of Joseon Dynasty, the power of money and accumulated wealth dwarfed the old mandate that people should live a life according to their given rank. Nouveau riches who acquired wealth through trade falsified their family lineage through the purchase of genealogy books .“

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/social-mobility-korea-old-new-kate-jung-hyun-lee

    I’m not trying to say that Korea was unique in this regard. Many countries have suffered from a caste system and some still do to this day. :(

    As to the modern incarnation of Confucianism, I can agree with you there. :(
     
  3. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ Supporter

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    It is a significant challenge for the Japanese people and yet they still have a higher literacy rate than Korea. Well, not North Korea apparently. Lol.

    Hangul is a fascinating script. I am very interested in scripts and writing systems, to be honest.

    Hangul was adapted from Phags-pa, the old seal script.

    Phags-pa was a brilliant invention by its namesake scholar monk.

    Credit to Sejong for taking the invention and adapting it for Korean use, especially when he went against the Yangban elite in doing so. It was a noteworthy accomplishment.

    It’s sad that his accomplishment was largely ignored for the next 450 years. :(

    BTW, this is a fascinating book:

    'Phags-pa Chinese is the earliest form of the Chinese language to be written in a systematically devised alphabetic script. It is named after its creator, a brilliant thirteenth-century Tibetan scholar-monk who also served as political adviser to Kublai Khan. 'Phags-pa's invention of an alphabet for the Mongolian language remains an extraordinarily important accomplishment, both conceptually and practically. With it he achieved nothing less than the creation of a unified script for all of the numerous peoples in the Mongolian empire, including the Central Asian Turks and Sinitic-speaking Chinese.

    http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu/p-9780824830007.aspx

    Interestingly enough, through Phags-pa, Hangul is distantly related to the English alphabet. Cool, huh?
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
  4. Pythakoreas

    Pythakoreas Chef Tain

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    My point is, why are you talking about social mobility in 1592? It's a pre-modern, pre-Enlightenment, pre-Industrial world. Our democratic standards do not apply, if you played Civ6, the choice is Theocracy, Monarchy, or Merchant Republic and Democracy is far away at this point. Is there any country before and after 1592 that didn't practice class system or oligarchy of sorts?

    About Hangul, it was never really despised because it was considered a sacred invention passed down by one of the most successful kings of Joseon.

    Good evening, I won't argue for hours because I have to sleep.

    It's based on body dissection data...how vocal systems move to make sounds.
     
  5. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ Supporter

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    Uhh..the Opening post?

    Why I am talking about social mobility is that the Seowon is depicted as being this massive scientific institution.

    It wasn’t. It was a Confucian academy that the Yangban elite attended and got the education they needed to stay in power. They studied tradition and ritual more than anything.

    There were very few graduates from these Confucian academies every year.

    So, it is ahistorical in its depiction.

    Hangul was despised by the elite who didn’t desire the masses to be literate. It would break their monopoly on power. It isn’t too hard to understand. It’s like how the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages banned the laity from reading the Bible.

    In conclusion, Korea has had modest scientific contributions in its 2,000 year history and to have it be this scientific powerhouse in Civ VI is ahistorical and hopefully will be changed in Civ VII.

    I am hoping for a cultural Korea with diplomatic bonuses in Civ VII. Being the “Shrimp between two Whales” and surviving is a noteworthy accomplishment. Also, loyalty bonuses if that mechanic is retained. There is a lot of ways they could go about it. :)
     
  6. Annarres

    Annarres Chieftain

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    I agree with that. I'd also expect them to be more commerce oriented country rather than science.
    As you can see, this is the first thing about her that comes up at wikipedia. I think Firaxis saw that Korea is one of the few countries with a potential Female leader from Asia and they thought, okay, she was into culture and science lets make her scientific and cultural.
     
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  7. nzcamel

    nzcamel Nahtanoj the Magnificent

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    Definitely fair comments...yet if you look at what Admiral Yi Sun-sin had to fight through it is apparent that Korea had a pretty bad case -even by world standards of the day- of class system over any hint of allowing meritocracy.
     
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  8. Morningcalm

    Morningcalm Keeper of Records

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    Korea was commerce-oriented in Civ IV, and defensive too (Wang Kon's leader traits). I wouldn't mind a commerce oriented Korea but that would be a bit at odds with say Sejong, who is more known for science. So I think it depends on what leader they choose. Historically Korea wasn't as such wealthy--that's more the modern Korea, which has among the world's highest GDPs, a remarkable feat for such a small country that only decades ago was ravaged by civil war (and decades before that, World War II). But Korea both in ancient times and modern times has had scientific advancements, so that's also not off-kilter either.

    As far as Seondeok, the Ancient Encyclopedia https://www.ancient.eu/Queen_Seondeok/ cites a number of Western and Korean sources to point out Seondeok was invested in education--creating schools, creating Cheomseongdae, cited as the oldest observatory in east Asia (both in the Ancient Encyclopedia and at least two English books which are available in Google books), and Seondeok is cited as leading Silla during a Golden Age of culture and science, even though at war with other Korean kingdoms in the Three Kingdoms period. Silla astronomers achieved government rank and made hundreds of astronomical observations, and Gyeongju became an artistic and scientific center with advances in mathematics and astronomy. (Koreans attributed great weight to the stars--Bidam's rebellion against Seondeok relied in part on a falling star as a symbol of Seondeok being unfit for rule, and Seondeok had a kite flown to show the star was still in its place. Rebellion aside, agriculture and various calendrical matters also revolved around astronomy in the Silla kingdom.)

    For Seondeok I was also expecting religious bonuses though--she's also well known for advancing Buddhism and constructing Hwangnyongsa. But cultural and science bonuses for her are fitting. She was the Queen Elizabeth I of Korea of sorts--occasional military failures (with the notable exception of the Silla-Tang alliance which later overpowered the other Korean kingdoms and resulted in Silla ruling a unified Korea), mixed with a strong cultural legacy.
     
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  9. Disgustipated

    Disgustipated Deity

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    So what traits would Korea have if they choose Kim II-Sung (probably not Kim Jong-un as he's still alive and in power) as the leader? :D
     
  10. Morningcalm

    Morningcalm Keeper of Records

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    Military bonuses. He wouldn't be a popular choice though, and I don't think he has much to do with Korea as a science power.
     
  11. Scaramanga

    Scaramanga Brickhead

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    There is a dark age policy called Rogue State that basically sums them up.
    Korea has an interesting history of science but why it's an obsession in Civ I do not know exactly.
     
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  12. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ Supporter

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    Hmmm...some people have brought up Hangul as a significant scientific achievement . Let’s take a look at that, shall we?

    “This phenomenon is good news for Koreans, since it offers and opportunity to announce this hidden treasure of Korea to the world. As you know, hangul is the only scientifically designed letter-system in the world, and this fact is recognized by most philologists. However if a foreigner were to ask you "What makes hangul a scientific letter-system?", would you be prepared to answer?

    Why is hangul so scientific? An excellent response to this question has been supplied by Paek Do-hyun, professor of Kyungpook National University, who has posted a comprehensive explanation of hangul on his homepage. Firstly, hangul is a totally original letter-system, famous for its creator and its manner of creation (though there is some evidence of its origin in Semitic writing and Chinese characters). Secondly, the most significant distinguishing mark of hangul is its basis on the vocal organs. For example, the "ㄱ" shape indicates a tongue touching the roof of the mouth, while "ㅁ" shows the mouth, and "ㅇ" is patterned on the shape of a throat.”

    http://www.knutimes.com/news/article.html?no=474

    Sounds impressive. Only scientifically designed letter system in the world, eh? :eek: King Sejong, who is credited with inventing Hangul, must have been an absolute genius. Or at least that’s what we are told.

    Actually, there was another scientifically created script circulating in Korea in the late 13th Century and half way through the 14th Century. This was Phags-pa.

    Phags-pa script
    In 1260 Kublai Khan commissioned a Tibetan Lama called Blo-gros rGyal-mtshan, who is better known by the title Phags-pa Lama, to create a new national script to replace the Uighur-based script, which was devised in 1208. An edict was issued in 1269 requiring the use of the new script in all official documents, along with the local script as appropriate.

    The old Mongolian script was thought unsuitable because it was borrowed from the Uighurs rather than being a unique Mongol creation; and because it didn't do a very good job of representing the sounds of Mongolian, let only other languages such as Chinese. It is probable that Kublai Khan hoped that the new script would be used to write all the languages spoken within his empire, and he ordered the establishment of schools to teach the new script.

    The script was originally called "Mongolian new letters" - 蒙古新字 (měnggǔ xīnzì) in Chinese, a name still used in Tibetan. However the script is now known as dörbelǰin üsüg, square script, in Mongolian and as 八思巴字 (bāsībā zì), Phags-pa letters, in Chinese. In English the script is referred to as the Mongolian Quadratic Script, or more commonly, the Phags-pa scipt, a name with many variant spellings.

    https://www.omniglot.com/writing/phagspa.htm

    Where did Phags-pa Lama get this idea from?

    Well, Phags-pa was from Tibet so he drew his inspiration from the Brahmi scripts of India. Brahmi scripts or Indic scripts were scientifically created, as well. As in, the shapes of the various letters correspond to the various tongue positions in the mouth or the shape of the mouth when vocalizing them. Pretty cool.

    The Brahmic scripts are a family of abugida or alphabet writing systems. They are used throughout the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia and parts of East Asia, including Japan in the form of Siddhaṃ. They are descended from the Brahmi script of ancient India, and are used by languages of several language families: Indo-European, Dravidian, Tibeto-Burman, Mongolic, Austroasiatic, Austronesian, and Tai. They were also the source of the dictionary order of Japanese kana.[1]

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahmic_scripts

    Sorry for the wall of text. I am sort of a geek about language scripts. Hee hee. I have studied Thai and it’s written script as well as Korean and it’s written script, Hangul. I never dreamed that they were related but for some reason, I always had that thought in the back of my mind.

    Anyway, this is a really cool video. Watch this so you don’t have to read any more. It’ll explain the connection between Hangul, Phags-pa and the various Indic scripts including Thai. It’s absolutely fascinating. :thumbsup: Well...for language script geeks anyway.

    Note: He spelled Hangul as Hadgul. He admits this in the comments.



    Edit: Added a link.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
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  13. the343danny

    the343danny Emperor

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    While yes, it seems weird to characterize Korea as a scientific superpower, what else would you classify them as? All countries must have some sort of specialty in this game.

    Military? Korea is not known for its military prowess.
    Cultural? Asides from 21st century pop culture, Korea's cultural influence is limited to being the bridge between Japan and China. Not appropriate.
    Industrial? Samsung is a juggernaut but thats too recent.
    Diplomatic? Don't see how this is appropriate.
    Commercial? More appropriate, but IIRC Korea also went through an isolation period and reduced trade for a long time.

    On the other hand, a scientific Korea has historical precedence and it also aligns with its modern image. Even if its just by elimination, Korea being a scientific nation makes the most sense. Scientific traits being always OP in Civ is a balance issue, not a characterization issue.
     
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  14. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ Supporter

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    Not sure about traits but agenda wise...

    Well, an obsession with nukes is already taken. :p

    Maybe Million Man Army? Have the largest army in the world?

    Of course, having Korean friends, and having lived in South Korea, I hope they never have Kim Il Sung or any of the Kim clan in Civ. Those murderous despots have caused untold misery and suffering for the Korean people. :(

    Incidentally, I had a chance to visit North Korea for $400 on a tour back when Kim Jong Il was in power. I did not go because I didn’t want to put even a penny in that evil regime’s pocket.

    The process of elimination makes the most sense. If you reject the others, you are really left with Science as none of the others really work.

    Diplomatic actually works, though. The very fact that Korea could survive as an independent nation (sometimes as a vassal to China but still for all intents and purposes independent) for so long is remarkable. Koreans have a saying that they are, “The Shrimp between two Whales.” The idea being that they are the tiny nation between the powerful Chinese and Japanese.

    Through adept maneuvering and diplomacy, they’ve managed to survive. Sort of the Civ equivalent of a tall nation. I would hope that Firaxis would focus on this in Civ VII as it is now too late for Civ VI. Well, other than for mods. :)

    I would argue for cultural, as well. To be next to the cultural behemoth that is China and yet remain distinct is quite an accomplishment. While Korea has imported many things from China such as Buddhism, Confucianism, various customs and many different technologies, not to mention that Korean has up to 70% of its vocabulary derived from Chinese, they’ve always managed to adapt them or change them enough to suit their purposes and make them truly Korean.

    So, I think that a cultural and diplomatic Civ would work for Korea. If they continue to characterize Confucianism as a religion, religious as well. Korea is perhaps the most Confucian country in the world.

    Anyway, you are right in that a scientific Civ has traditionally been OP due to balance issues in the game. They are slowly making progress in nerfing science and hopefully they’ll continue that trend in Civ VII. :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2018
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  15. Pythakoreas

    Pythakoreas Chef Tain

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    The primary source you have to dig into would be the Hunminjeongeum Haerye. When there's a surviving document from the very creators of Hangul why look into secondary sources?

    And Sejong had a habit of hoarding books and constantly expanding his field of knowledge, so it wouldn't surprise me that he might have known Phags-Pa script, but to say that Hangul had its consonants derived from it is a weak argument. Before the unveiling of the Haerye modern scholars have much considered different possibilities of its origin, but the primary source detailed us that ㄱ and ㄴ came from the shape of the tongue, ㅁ from the shape of the lip, ㅅ that of the teeth,ㅇthat of the breathing canal.

    Furthermore, correlation does not equal causation even after scarce similarities between these two scripts.

    You could say the similar things about the English Royal Navy Dockyard securing wealth and power for the very few Victorian era elite, about French Chateaux being a place for nobility. Nevertheless the district and the improvement do represent the British prowess in navigation and French artistic/romantic/Ancien Regime culture.

    About Hangul being despised, it's only the elite which did this, and what's known of their refusal is often exaggerated. It is similar to how the Catholic Church didn't translate the Bible from the Latin, but the biggest reason was because they wanted to keep to traditions, and not lose anything in translation. This mentality still survives to S.Korea today. But still you can do everything in Hangul if you don't care about tradition :D
     
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  16. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ Supporter

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    Sejong had to be a bit secretive about what he was doing. The Yuan Dynasty had collapsed and the Ming Dynasty was not favourable towards the Mongols and their legacy. Sejong knew this and knew that he would have to be careful to not damage the relationship with Ming China by being more straightforward about where the inspiration came from.

    Anyway, there is more than scarce similarities and it's pretty cool that Hangul is a part of a large family of scripts including English, when you get right down to it. :hug:

    If you think that Sejong came up with this idea all on his own, that's simply not likely at all. Occam's razor applies here.

    The Mongol Empire brought together many groups of people and learning flourished through the exchange of ideas. Korea, who likely had very little to no contact with India, did so through the Mongols and Tibet in helping formulate their written script.

    I love the Civ VI quote:

    “That’s the positive aspect of trade I suppose. The world gets stirred up together.”

    – Isabel Hoving
     
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  17. Pythakoreas

    Pythakoreas Chef Tain

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    Very much known for clever tacticians defeating foreign invaders often in outnumbered situations. Could use a Great General bonus.

    We have a primary source called Hunminjeongeum Haerye.
    We don't have to be making artificial lines out of Phags-Pa, later research is secondary source.

    The only striking similarity I see is the ㄷ one.
    And even if you do see similarity correlation does not imply causation.
     
  18. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ Supporter

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    Notable Korean scholars such as Gari Ledyard see a lot more than that. :)

    There is a definite link there.

    On the origin of Hangul:

    Although the Hunmin jeong-eum haerye (hereafter Haerye) explains the design of the consonantal letters in terms of articulatory phonetics, it also states that Sejong adapted them from the enigmatic 古篆字 " Seal Script". The identity of this script has long been puzzling. The primary meaning of the character 古 is "old", so 古篆字 gǔ zhuānzì has traditionally been interpreted as "Old Seal Script", frustrating philologists, because Hangul bears no functional similarity to Chinese 篆字 zhuānzì seal scripts. However, Gari Ledyard, Sejong Professor of Korean History Emeritus at Columbia University, notes that the character 古 also functions as a phonetic component of 蒙古 Měnggǔ "Mongol". Indeed, records from Sejong's day played with this ambiguity, joking that "no one is older (more 古 gǔ) than the 蒙古 Měng-gǔ". Ledyard deduces from palace records that 古篆字 gǔ zhuānzì was a veiled reference to the 蒙古篆字 měnggǔ zhuānzì "Mongol Seal Script", that is, a formal variant of the Mongol ’Phags-pa alphabet of the Mongolian-origin Chinese Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) that had been modified to look like the Chinese seal script, and which had been an official script of the empire. There were ’Phags-pa manuscripts in the Korean palace library from the Yuan Dynasty government, including some in the seal-script form, and several of Sejong's ministers knew the script well. If this was the case, Sejong's evasion on the Mongol connection can be understood in light of the political situation in the contemporary (ethnically Chinese) Ming Dynasty. The topic of the recent Mongol domination of China, which had ended just 75 years earlier, was politically sensitive, and both the Chinese and Korean literati regarded the Mongols as barbarians with nothing to contribute to a civilized society.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_Hangul
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
  19. Pythakoreas

    Pythakoreas Chef Tain

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    Wikipedia is not a reliable academic source.

    Also from the page you linked, from professor Ledyard:
    I have devoted much space and discussion to the role of the Mongol 'phags-pa alphabet in the origin of the Korean alphabet, but it should be clear to any reader that in the total picture, that role was quite limited. [...] The origin of the Korean alphabet is, in fact, not a simple matter at all. Those who say it is "based" in 'phags-pa are partly right; those who say it is "based" on abstract drawings of articulatory organs are partly right. [...] Nothing would disturb me more, after this study is published, than to discover in a work on the history of writing a statement like the following: "According to recent investigations, the Korean alphabet was derived from the Mongol 'phags-pa script" [...] 'phags-pa contributed none of the things that make this script perhaps the most remarkable in the world.
     
  20. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ Supporter

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    You can check out Ledyard's work in his book if you like. It's all there. :)

    Ledyard, Gari K. (1998). The Korean Language Reform of 1446. Seoul: Shingu munhwasa.

    * Note that that quote came from his doctoral thesis that was never published. He lost the copyright to it and stated that he wished to make revisions to it but could not due to losing the copyright. The 1998 book contains at least some of the revisions that he wanted to do. So that would be a good place to start. A fascinating read.

    Sejong created Hangul through a fusion of Phags-pa, Indic Phonology and Chinese Phonology. He blended these together and adapted it for Korean. Each of these was a part of the puzzle. It wasn't a simple matter, as Ledyard said. You can follow the bread crumbs, though.

    This doesn't diminish Sejong's achievement in any way but simply shines more light on the matter. It'd be nice if more Korean historians looked more into this but considering the echo chamber that is Korean academia due to nationalism, this is not likely. :(
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
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