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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. Alexander's Hetaroi

    Alexander's Hetaroi Deity

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    Seondeok herself has just as much cultural bonuses from her own leader ability as science, so I don't think it's as big of a deal as to where the in the previous game Korea's abilities were 100% focused on Science.
    I was always assuming that they would get a unique Campus anyway, so it's not a very big shock.
     
  2. steveg700

    steveg700 Deity

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    Well, here's the big thing: Korea is a small civ. Small civ's have to be good at something, even though most of them weren't. So, some feature gets exaggerated.
     
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  3. Scaramanga

    Scaramanga Brickhead

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    I don't think it's so much that Korea has ALL the science, it's just that it's science is all it HAS. There science was very unique. At best this offers the unique playstyle of being so far ahead in science that they lack the production and gold to do anything with it.
     
  4. leif erikson

    leif erikson Game of the Month Fanatic Administrator Supporter GOTM Staff

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    Moderator Action: Deleted 8-posts. If a troll appears, then report the troll and move on. Answering the troll or commenting about their trolling only derails the thread and causes more problems. Please remember that to call someone a troll is to be one yourself. Please come back to topic or this thread will be locked.
    Please read the forum rules: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=422889
     
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  5. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ Supporter

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    Interesting read here and it speaks to what I was commenting on before, in regards to a lack of class mobility and a parasitic elite combined with poor government/leadership.

    The Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910) survived more than 500 years, a long period in world history, leaving a legacy on the modern face of Korea. “Behead the King” written by historian Baek Ji-won living in the United States unveils the unknown, mostly ugly side of Joseon history through the eyes of commoners. / Korea Times

    Some snippets here. (*)

    * The author asks the question, ``Why did the Joseon Kingdom collapse?'' and then puts the conclusions first ― Joseon fell because of the strong entrenchment of Neo-Confucian ideals and doctrines, and the factional strife they engendered causing the killing sprees that took the lives of countless scholars and politicians.

    He says that Neo-Confucianism whose metaphysical concepts were not related to the practical lives of people blocked productive ways of thinking that could have improved the quality of the lives of the people. It also created class discrimination.

    The book describes the Joseon hierarchy system as ``the worst in the world,'' along with India's castes.

    Joseon was a state for only about 10 percent of the population, the ``yangban,'' or the noble and literati class who continuously exploited the lower classes.

    It was inevitable that those who specialized in the study of Neo-Confucianism would assume leading roles in government affairs. The required study subjects included literature, history and philosophy, along with liberal arts instruction in poetry, calligraphy and painting, which were not actually related to the real lives of the people.

    * The book says that Joseon only flourished for 100 years and then began to wane without any change after wars with Japan and China. ``The Joseon Kingdom survived for about 500 years, a rare case in the world history. But it's because Joseon easily lived under the umbrella of China's Ming Dynasty and didn't have to be competitive. There was no need for the rulers to have reformative minds and the state without aspiring for progress was on the road to collapse,'' the book says.

    * Concerning the kings, except the two great kings ― Sejong and Jeongjo ― only seven kings narrowly saved face and 18 kings were stupid and unable.


    It sounds like Neo-Confucianism was extremely detrimental to society and was the main cause for Joseon Dynasty Korea becoming so incredibly backwards. Neo-Confucianism was anti-science and pro status quo. Being extremely conservative, they desired to retain their power and shunned any new ideas, progress or technology that would threaten that.

    https://koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/art/2009/02/135_40420.html
     
  6. hunteratmaw

    hunteratmaw Chieftain

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    I don't have RnF expansion yet, but from what I've learned is that Seowon is what causes Korea to be a massive scientific powerhouse in the game, so I went to the civ wikia and read the civilopedia entry for the Seowon :

    "The preponderance of aristocratic children attending made the seowon ideal for discussing politics. This blend of Neo-Confucianism and topical matters created an ideal setting to explore new ideas about Korea’s contemporary culture and government."

    Based on this description, wouldn't Seowon makes much more sense to generate culture instead of science ? You know, civics and stuff

    And the fact that Korea has its own unique and preserved culture while being pitted between China and Japan should be a good inspiration for Korea's cultural based ability instead of a scientific one.

    But we cannot ignore Seondeok's and Sejong's scientific inventions too, so my take on designing Korea would be that Seowon should be more centered on culture and then give Seondeok/Sejong (as an alt leader) a science bonus (which Seondeok already has). I'm not really creative so I can't really think of a good bonus, but I just want to give my two cents because I've been wondering why Korea is portrayed as a super science civ for a while as well :D
     
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  7. Morningcalm

    Morningcalm Keeper of Records

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    While I think it's fair to say the Joseon dynasty didn't have all that much openness to ideas under some rulers, under Sejong at least, it did enjoy great leaps in scientific and civic advancement. https://books.google.ch/books?id=-x...AQ#v=onepage&q=sejong astronomy paper&f=false https://asiasociety.org/education/king-sejong-great

    As with many civs Korea had a rise and fall in science throughout history, but under Sejong and Seondeok science had both state support and became one of the key successes of the respective rulers. Hence my point that while Korea having cultural, commercial flavor or defensive flavor wouldn't be unwelcome, at least while Korea is led by Seondeok or Sejong, science bonuses make sense.

    Modern Korea is popularly associated with science (high literacy, internet access, and R and D spending probably help that reputation) as well as culture (Hallyu) and commercial power (11th or 12th in world GDPs last I saw). But Korea was also frequently (in ancient times) known as a land of scholars. Hence Toyotomi Hideyoshi's derogatory reference to Koreans in his time as "long sleeves". http://www.samuelhawley.com/imjinarticle2.html

    Education being largely for the elite is nothing new--many ancient societies, including Egypt, China and Babylon, were rather exclusive in who was allowed education and who wasn't. That being said, modern Korea enjoys immensely high literacy rates, and in ancient times under Sejong and before him (with the metal movable type in the 13th and 14th centuries), there were moves to disperse knowledge to a wider audience.
     
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  8. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ Supporter

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    Sejong was a bright spot among a group of mainly mediocre to bad rulers and was more the exception than the rule. He also happened to ascend to the throne at the exact right time. New ideas and technology had recently flooded into Korea with the collapse of the Yuan Dynasty. Also, while Korea did suffer greatly under the Mongol yoke, there were some positive aspects to it. Being part of a massive empire, they were opened up to traders from the Arab world and they benefited from the exchange of ideas. It’s basically how the Renaissance in Europe happened. A meeting of different cultures and an exchange of ideas and technologies. However, in the case of Korea, the Korean Renaissance didn’t last long at all due to poor government and leadership. It’s a shame Sejong died so young due to diabetes. :(

    While Sejong’s dream was universal literacy, it was not to be for well over 500 years due to an entrenched elite that was more interested in protecting their own interests and lining their own pockets. While the innovation of metal movable type was great, what did they do with it? Not much, sadly. In Europe, however, it created an absolute firestorm.

    Korea’s current high literacy rate is impressive but it is amongst many nations with high literacy rates. Japan, for example, has a higher literacy rate and with a much more difficult script to learn. Still, to come from a literacy rate in the single digits in 1900, you’ve come a long way baby, so to speak. So, credit there. When given a proper educational system (introduced by Western missionaries and sorry to say, the Japanese who had learnt Western education) that didn’t just cater to the elite as had been the case for over 1,000 years with the rigid, mostly inflexible social structure, things finally turned around. Not that Western education is perfect, mind you.

    Anyway, Civ doesn’t model things that accurately all the time(still love the series, of course) but I just can’t agree with Korea being pegged the go to Science Civ. Personally, I’d like to see the take no prisoners, Gwanggaeto the Great as their leader. If they won’t go for a cultural, diplomatic or religious Korea then I’d like to see a military focused one. Bring on the beats!
    Perhaps they could go through the three kingdoms. Silla, Goguryeo and then Baekje as a rotation.

    Well, there were actually four but that’s another story. ;)

    I agree with you. The Seowon wasn’t really a place for science but more for Confucian thought. In fact, the Confucian Academy in cIV generated culture. So that makes sense.

    I think they started Korea in the series with a scientific flavour and they’ve been pigeonholed ever since. There is so much more to explore with them, though. A cultural, diplomatic or militaristic Korea sounds good to me. :)

    Anyway, seeing as this is your first post, welcome to the forums! :thumbsup:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2018
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  9. Lily_Lancer

    Lily_Lancer Deity

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    It's just like Gandhi--nuke thing.

    Gandhi--nuke
    Korea--science

    They are both features of Civ games. Nothing about reality.
     
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  10. Morningcalm

    Morningcalm Keeper of Records

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    The seowon was an educational institute, so science makes sense. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seowon Scholars are typically associated with science in Civ rather than culture, and as such seowons giving science is how Civ has portrayed them since Civ IV, which had a Civilopedia entry more directly alluding to science, including modern Korea's obsession with education. http://civilization.wikia.com/wiki/Seowon_(Civ4)

    The Mongolian invasion interrupted the Koreans from making more of the metal moveable type after the 13th century, but certainly King Taejong in 1403 (with the printed Sipchilsachonkogumtongyo, using kyemi), and Sejong in 1418 and 1449 (with Sokbosangjol, or Episodes from the Life of Buddha) did use metal movable type to create important texts. I think aside from invasion another reason why it didn't take off in Korea as much was because of the complexity of combined Chinese characters, where multiple characters form a word in a single block rather than having discrete letters that apply more widely--Gutenberg had a much easier time with Western languages, which allowed for more rapid dissemination and popularity.

    That being said, the Korean moveable type revolutionized information dissemination in Japan following the Imjin Wars (1592, 1598). After Hideyoshi's invasion the Japanese looted Korean printed books and moveable metal type and brought it to Japan, where it changed the entirely printing industry, according to scholars including Donald Shively. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_influence_on_Japanese_culture (scroll down to "Cultural transfers during Hideyoshi's invasions of Korea" and "Printing and technology"). The amount of looting of Korean moveable type was fairly extraordinary--one Japanese commander, Ukita Hideie, is said to have looted 200,000 printing types and books from Gyeongbokgung Palace. The result? Eighty percent of Japanese book printing between 1593 and 1625 was done with moveable type.

    Korea went through both World War II and the Korean War with much destruction to Korean culture and language (among other things) so it's entirely possible literacy rates suffered enough during that period (and then reconstruction thereafter) to hamper developments in that regard. For literacy to be as high as it is now is extraordinary. Whether Korea has or doesn't have the highest literacy rate in the world is less relevant than the fact they do have among the highest literacy rates and among the most educated workforces in the world now. Whereas in the 1950s and 1960s they were a poor, devastated country. This is why Korea is one of the Four Asian Tigers. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Asian_Tigers (Note that Korea is named as a leader in information technology)

    The difference is that there is historically background for Korea's science bonuses, during Seondeok and Sejong's reign and also in terms of the heavyweight Korean scientific output and development now.

    Gandhi's nuke thing was never presented as anything other than a hilarious and knowing historical inaccuracy (and never reflected in Gandhi's bonuses), whereas Korea led by Sejong and Seondeok did have science bonuses with a basis in reality (Sejong's "Scholars of the Jade Hall" references the Jiphyunjun, while Seondeok's "Hwarang" ability name and "Cheomseongdae" agenda name reference her interest in education and astronomy respectively).
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
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  11. Scaramanga

    Scaramanga Brickhead

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    I don't think it works like that. Korea at least appears to have a high literacy rate throughout history.
     
  12. nzcamel

    nzcamel Nahtanoj the Magnificent

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    The country with the most to loose in that scenario (China) will never let it happen.
     
  13. Krajzen

    Krajzen Deity

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    That wikipedia article https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_influence_on_Japanese_culture blew my mind so much. Japanese civilisation seems to be essentially based on the technological and cultural transfer from Korea (and China, with Korean innovations to Chinese ways). This is one of the best responses in the thread so far.
     
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  14. nzcamel

    nzcamel Nahtanoj the Magnificent

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    I wouldn't say that civics/culture isn't an educational thing (liberal arts anyone?) so I'd say it is fair for that to be a bonus area for them. I see civic arrangements as more important to the progress of humanity than technical advancements...most of the time ;)
     
  15. GlobalTree

    GlobalTree Chieftain

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    i mean not every civ has history like arabia,india and china so yeah
     
  16. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ Supporter

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    Korea acted as a conduit for technology transfer from China to Japan, that's true.
     
  17. NukeAJS

    NukeAJS King

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    I got excited when I saw that Korea was back in the game and they were adding golden ages and dark ages. Korea has a ridiculously long history. So, of course they would have made an interesting civ that could interact with the era mechanics.

    I feel like it might have been a missed opportunity.
     
  18. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ Supporter

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    The Seowon, as has been amply demonstrated, was primarily a center for the dissemination of Confucianism. Attendance was restricted to the elite. Consequently a very small percentage of the population. cIV depicted it correctly with Confucian Academies giving a bonus to culture and not science.

    Confucian Academy

    Spoiler Confucian Academy in cIV :



    300
    Requirements Music & Confucianism
    Effect


    As to literacy rates, they were always low until the 20th century. Learning Hanja isn't easy and was restricted to very few people who had the money and time to invest. aka the elite. Hangul was discouraged and suppressed by the Confucian elite who saw widespread literacy as a challenge to their powerbase. It was only with a destruction of the old social order that things changed. For most of Korea's history, education was extremely limited and a literate and educated Korea is only a recent phenomenon. Ultimately, Koreans can't blame anyone but themselves for this.

    Japan did greatly benefit from Korea's innovation of China's invention, that's true. Korea was a conduit for technology transfer from China to Japan. That's the nature of geography as Japan was isolated geographically.

    After Korea fell hopelessly behind due to bad and corrupt government and leadership, Japan became the conduit for transferring Western Technology to Korea. I would say that most Koreans wouldn't give much credit to Japan for acting as a conduit for Western Technology, in any case. Lol.

    Historically, there is little basis for making Korea out to be this scientific powerhouse. They have made modest scientific contributions to the world. More than anything, they greatly benefited from being China's "elder son." As China went, so did Korea.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
  19. Morningcalm

    Morningcalm Keeper of Records

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    The seowon in Civ IV was a university replacement that gave an additional 10% science so that's not quite right. And they were basically preparatory schools first, even if steeped in Confucian ideals (which is true of modern Korean education anyway, not that it lessens the scientific or educational impact). Confucian Academies are exactly the same in Civ IV statwise as advanced religious buildings for the other ingame religions, and as we are discussing Korean seowons specifically I don't think that is quite the focus here.

    As far as literacy goes, again, that was true of ancient China and Babylon and Egypt as well. Education was generally for the scions of the wealthy and powerful. If we look to access to education among most advanced ancient societies you won't find pretty results. To me this whole access to education point is neither here nor there. A nation's scientific output isn't measured purely by literacy rates or access by commoners to education, if admiration for Babylonian mathematics (and the portrayal of them with science bonuses in Civ) is any indication.

    "Modest scientific contributions to the world"? I'm skeptical that if we restrict science-based civs to those that made massive contributions we would get anything other than China, Arabia and the US, among a few others. And I've already pointed out the huge Korean technological influence on Japan, particularly in the wake of the Imjin Wars. I would hardly call their contribution to Japanese printing popularity "modest". I also don't think a nation need be judged purely by whether inventions it made then are used now. Korea was not particularly great at science from the 16th-19th centuries, but it was great at science before and after, so I hardly see why we need fixate only on one period as a hallmark of Korea being somehow inappropriately scientific.

    Korea led by Sejong and Seondeok was definitely scientific, so your criticism of Korea being picked as scientific doesn't seem applicable to their Civ V and VI incarnations. Similarly, Spain is portrayed as focusing on conquests in the New World and religion in Civ VI, but that wasn't true of them throughout all history. Nor was Arabia always scientifically advanced (after the Golden Age came a darker age). Nor was Scotland particularly scientific except in the 18th-19th century, but that forms their major civ bonus anyway.

    Consider that Spain in Civ gets religious, gold, and religion-themed military bonuses under Philip II or Greece cultural and military bonuses under Pericles and Gorgo. Many of those bonuses tie to the leader and the nation *at that time* in history. Korea as portrayed in Civ VI is almost entirely medieval, from their theme song to their unique abilities, building and unit. So similar cohesiveness is found in their design revolving around Sejong or Seondeok. Also, you would get odd results if you had say a scientific US led by Washington (who was not known for his scientific contributions).

    I also take this opportunity to note again that Korea, in its precarious position between China and Japan, was also very innovative in military technology. And they are as known for this as anything else now. Consider that in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors expansion the Koreans had the weirdest unique units and were portrayed as "cunning". This is accurate. The hwacha and turtle ship were effective weapons used to devastating effect as a result of Korean theft of Chinese gunpowder secrets and innovative development of various rockets and cannons (like Choe Mu-son's gunpowder weapon development laboratory). See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_cannon for more on that.

    In Civ VI technological developments are tied to the military as much as to spaceships. Koreans had advanced cannon and gunpowder weapons that mowed down samurai and thrashed the Japanese navy despite being outnumbered. So Korean science bonuses in that sense are particularly accurate. IRL Korea had advanced cannons the Japanese generally lacked in the Imjin Wars, and the Koreans were able to beat them as a result, despite losing much land to veteran samurai.

    Glad you enjoyed it! I appreciate your compliments. And yes, Korean innovations had quite an impact on 16th and 17th century Japan. I guess an ingame representation of this is Japanese samurai looting Korean science buildings. (And indeed there is the historical example of Ukita Hideie doing just that by looting Korean printing technology.)
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
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  20. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ Supporter

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    Silla, like the other Korean kingdoms profited greatly from the transfer of Chinese technology in the first few centuries after Christ. The Korean peninsula was heavily Sinicized and reliant on Chinese technology. What remarkable scientific discoveries can Silla lay claim to? Architecture that was brought over from China? Astronomy and calendar making that was imported from China? A tower that hasn't fallen down yet and no one is really sure what it was used for?

    A brief interlude of a golden age where sciences flourished under Sejong was quickly snuffed out by poor government and a rigid and technology repressing social order. It was really just a blip on the radar, an exception to the rule.

    While Japan received a lot of its technology before the modern era from Korea via China, is that really an argument for a Scientific powerhouse Korea? By that logic, Japan should be a scientific powerhouse based on it bringing Western technology to Korea. Neither of those make sense. Being a conduit for technology is not a valid argument for scientific prowess. China brought Civilization to Korea, Korea brought civilization to Japan and Japan brought modern civilization to Korea.
     
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