Korean arts include traditions in calligraphy, music and pottery marked by the use of natural forms, surface decoration and bold colors or sounds. The earliest examples of Korean art consist of stone age works dating from 3000 BC; these consist of votive sculptures and more petroglyphs, which were rediscovered. This early period was followed by the art styles of dynasties. Korean artists sometimes modified Chinese traditions with a native preference for simple elegance, an appreciation for purity of nature; the Goryeo Dynasty was one of the most prolific periods for a wide range of disciplines pottery. The Korean art market is concentrated in the Insadong district of Seoul where over 50 small galleries exhibit and occasional fine arts auctions. Galleries are cooperatively run and with curated and finely designed exhibits. In every town there are smaller regional galleries, with local artists showing in traditional and contemporary media. Art galleries have a mix of media. Attempts at bringing Western conceptual art into the foreground have had their best success outside of Korea in New York, San Francisco and Paris.
Professionals have begun to acknowledge and sort through Korea’s own unique art culture and important role in not only transmitting Chinese culture, but assimilating and creating a unique culture of its own. "An art given birth to and developed by a nation is its own art". Humans have occupied the Korean Peninsula from at least c. 50,000 BC. Pottery dated to 7,000 BC has been found; this pottery was made from clay and fired over open or semi-open pits at temperatures around 700 degrees Celsius. The earliest pottery style, dated to circa 7,000 BC, were flat-bottomed wares were decorated with relief designs, raised horizontal lines and other impressions. Jeulmun-type pottery, is cone-bottomed and incised with a comb-pattern appearing circa 6,000 BC in the archaeological record; this type of pottery is similar to Siberian styles. Mumun-type pottery emerged 2000 BC and is characterized as large, undecorated pottery used for cooking and storage. Between 2000 BC and 300 BC bronze items began to be made in Korea.
By the seventh century BC, an indigenous bronze culture was established in Korea as evidenced by Korean bronze having a unique percentage of zinc. Items manufactured during this time were weapons such as swords and spearheads. Ritual items such as mirrors and rattles were made; these items were buried in dolmens with the cultural elite. Additionally, iron-rich red pots began to be created around circa 6th century. Comma-shaped beads made from nephrite, known as kokkok have been found in dolmen burials. Kokkok may be carved to imitate bear claws. Another Siberian influence can be seen in rock drawings of animals that display a "life line" in the X-ray style of Siberian art; the Iron Age began in Korea around 300 BC. Korean iron was valued in the Chinese commanderies and in Japan. Korean pottery advanced with the introduction of the potters climbing kiln firing; this period began circa 57 BC to 668 AD. Three Korean kingdoms, Goguryeo and Silla vied for control over the peninsula. Buddhist missionaries introduced Buddhism to Goguryeo in 372 CE, which covered the central and southern parts of Manchuria and the northern half of modern-day Korea.
As Buddhism infiltrated the culture, Goguryeo kings began commissioning art and architecture dedicated to Buddha. A notable aspect of Goguryeo art are tomb murals that vividly depict everyday aspects of life in the ancient kingdom as well as its culture. UNESCO designated the Complex of Goguryeo Tombs as a World Heritage Site. Goguryeo painting inspired the creation of similar works in other parts of East Asia, like Japan; this can be seen in the wall murals of Horyu-ji. Mural painting spread to the other two kingdoms; these murals reveal valuable clues about the Goguryeo kingdom including the importance of Buddhism, its architecture, the clothing worn at the time. These murals were the beginnings of Korean landscape paintings and portraiture. However, because the tombs were accessed, its treasures were looted leaving few physical artifacts. Baekje is considered the kingdom with the greatest art among the three states. Baekje was a kingdom in southwestern Korea and was influenced by southern Chinese dynasties, such as the Liang Dynasty.
Baekje was one of the kingdoms to introduce a significant Korean influence into the art of Japan during this time period. Baekje Buddhist sculpture is characterized by its naturalness and harmonious proportions exhibits a unique Korean style. Another example of Korean influence is the use of the distinctive "Baekje smile", a mysterious and unique smile, characteristic of many Baekje statutes. While there are no surviving examples of wooden architecture, the Mireuksa site holds the foundation stones of a destroyed temple and two surviving granite pagodas that show what Baekje architecture may have looked. An example of Baekje architecture may be gleaned from Horyu-ji temple because Baekje architects and craftsmen helped design and construct the original temple; the tomb of King Muryeong held a treasure trove of artifacts not looted by grave robbers. Among the items were flame-like gold pins, gilt-bronze shoes, gold girdles, swords with gold hilts with dragons and phoenixes; the Silla Kingdom was the most isolated kingdom from the Korean peninsula because it was situated in the southeastern part of the peninsula.
The kingdom was the last to adopt foreign cultural influences. The
Korea under Japanese rule
Korea under Japanese rule began with the end of the short-lived Korean Empire in 1910 and ended at the conclusion of World War II in 1945. Japanese rule over Korea was the outcome of a process that began with the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1876, whereby a complex coalition of the Meiji government and business officials sought to integrate Korea both politically and economically into the Empire of Japan. A major stepping-stone towards the Japanese occupation of Korea was the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1905, in which the then-Korean Empire was declared a protectorate of Japan; the annexation of Korea by Japan was set up in the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1910, never signed by the Korean Regent, Gojong. Japanese rule over Korea ended in 1945, when U. S. and Soviet forces captured the peninsula. In 1965 the unequal treaties between Joseon-ruled Korea and Imperial Japan those of 1905 and 1910, were declared "already null and void" at the time of their promulgation by the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea.
The Japanese administration of the Korean Peninsula was directed through the General Government. After the surrender of Japan to the Allied forces at the end of World War II, Korea returned to self-government, albeit under two separate governments and economic systems backed by the Soviet Union and by the United States; the industrialization of the Korean Peninsula began with the Joseon dynasty while Korea was still independent but accelerated under Japanese occupation. The manner of the acceleration of industrialization under Japanese occupation the use of industrialization for the purposes of benefiting Japan, the exploitation of the Korean people in their own country, the marginalization of Korean history and culture, the environmental exploitation of the Korean Peninsula, its long-term negative repercussions for modern-day North and South Korea are among the most provocative aspects of the controversy. In South Korea, the period is described as the "Japanese forced occupation". Other terms include "Japanese Imperial Period", "The dark Japanese Imperial Period", "period of the Japanese imperial colonial administration", "Wae administration".
In Japan, the term "Chōsen of the Japanese-Governed Period" has been used. From the late 18th to late 19th centuries, Western governments sought to intercede in and influence the political and economic fortunes of Asian countries through the use of new approaches described by such terms as "protectorate", "sphere of influence", "concession", which minimized the need for direct military conflict between competing European powers; the newly modernized government of Meiji Japan sought to join these colonizing efforts and the Seikanron began in 1873. This effort was fueled by Saigō Takamori and his supporters, who insisted that Japan confront Korea's refusal to recognize the legitimacy of Emperor Meiji, as it involves the authority of the emperor, military intervention "could not be postponed"; the debate concerned Korea in the sphere of influence of Qing China, which certain elements in the Japanese government sought to separate from Chinese influence and establish as a puppet state. Those in favor saw the issue as an opportunity to find meaningful employment for the thousands of out-of-work samurai, who had lost most of their income and social standing in the new Meiji socioeconomic order.
Further, the acquisition of Korea would provide both a foothold on the Asian continent for Japanese expansion and a rich source of raw materials for Japanese industry. The arguments against such designs were outlined in Ōkubo Toshimichi's "7 Point Document", dated October 1873, in which he argued that the action against Korea was premature, as Japan itself was in the process of modernization and an expedition would be far too costly for Japan to sustain. Okubo's views were supported by the antiwar faction, which consisted of those returning from the Iwakura Mission in 1873. Iwakura Tomomi, the diplomat who had led the mission, persuaded the emperor to reconsider, thus putting an end to the "Korean crisis" debate; the destabilization of the Korean nation may be said to have begun in the period of Sedo Jeongchi whereby, on the death of King Jeongjo of Joseon, the 10-year-old Sunjo of Joseon ascended the Korean throne, with the true power of the administration residing with his regent, Kim Jo-sun, as a representative of the Andong Kim clan.
As a result, the disarray and blatant corruption in the Korean government in the three main areas of revenues – land tax, military service, the state granary system – heaped additional hardship on the peasantry. Of special note is the corruption of the local functionaries, who could purchase an appointment as an administrator and so cloak their predations on the farmers with an aura of officialdom. Yangban families well-respected for their status as a noble class and being powerful both "socially and politically", were seen as little more than commoners unwilling to meet their responsibilities to their communities. Faced with increasing corruption in the government, brigandage of the disenfranchised (such as the mounted fire brigands, or Hwajok, the boat-borne water bri
Silla or Unified Silla is the name applied to the Korean kingdom of Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, after it conquered Baekje and Goguryeo in the 7th century, unifying the central and southern regions of the Korean peninsula. Silla was a prosperous and wealthy country, its metropolitan capital of Seorabeol was the fourth-largest city in the world at the time. During its heyday, the country contested with Balhae, a Goguryeo–Mohe kingdom, to the north for supremacy in the region. Throughout its existence, Later Silla was plagued by intrigue and political turmoil by the rebel groups in conquered Baekje and Goguryeo territories, leading to the Later Three Kingdoms period in the late 9th century. Despite its political instability, Later Silla's culture and arts flourished. Through close ties maintained with the Tang dynasty and Confucianism became the principal philosophical ideologies of the elite as well as the mainstays of the period's architecture and fine arts, its last king, ruled over the state in name only and submitted to Wang Geon of the emerging Goryeo kingdom in 935, bringing the Silla dynasty to an end.
Although traditionally considered the first unified Korean state, modern Korean historians argue that the subsequent Goryeo kingdom was in fact the first unified state of the Korean nation. Modern Korean historians began to criticize the traditional view of Unified Silla as the unification of Korea. According to this perspective, Goryeo is considered the first unification of Korea, since Balhae still existed after the establishment of "Unified Silla", despite occupying territory north of the Korean peninsula. In 660, King Munmu ordered his armies to attack Baekje. General Kim Yu-shin, aided by Tang forces, conquered Baekje. In 661, he was repelled. King Munmu was the first ruler to look upon the south of the Korean Peninsula as a single political entity after the fall of Gojoseon; as such, the post-668 Silla kingdom is referred to as Unified Silla. Unified Silla lasted for 267 years until, under King Gyeongsun, it fell to Goryeo in 935. Silla carried on the maritime prowess of Baekje, which acted like the Phoenicia of medieval East Asia, during the 8th and 9th centuries dominated the seas of East Asia and the trade between China and Japan, most notably during the time of Jang Bogo.
Silla was a golden age of art and culture, as evidenced by the Hwangnyongsa and Emille Bell. Buddhism flourished during this time, many Korean Buddhists gained great fame among Chinese Buddhists and contributed to Chinese Buddhism, including: Woncheuk, Uisang and Kim Gyo-gak, a Silla prince whose influence made Mount Jiuhua one of the Four Sacred Mountains of Chinese Buddhism. Unified Silla and the Tang maintained close ties; this was evidenced by the continual importation of Chinese culture. Many Korean monks went to China to learn about Buddhism; the monk Hyech' o wrote an account of his travels. Different new sects of Buddhism were introduced by these traveling monks who had studied abroad such as Son and Pure Land Buddhism. Unified Silla conducted a census of all towns' size and population, as well as horses and special products and recorded the data in Minjeongmunseo; the reporting was done by the leader of each town. A national Confucian college was established in 682 and around 750 it was renamed the National Confucian University.
The university was restricted to the elite aristocracy. Woodblock printing was used to disseminate Buddhist sutras and Confucian works. During a refurbishment of the Pagoda That Casts No Shadows, an ancient print of a Buddhist sutra was discovered; the print is the oldest discovered printed material in the world. List of Korea-related topics
North–South States Period
North–South States Period is the period in Korean history when Later Silla and Balhae coexisted in the south and north of the peninsula, respectively. After the unification wars, the Tang Dynasty established territories in the former Goguryeo, began to administer and establish communities in Baekje. Silla attacked the Chinese in Baekje and northern Korea in 671; the Tang Dynasty invaded Silla in 674 but Silla defeated the Tang army in the north. Silla drove the Tang forces out of the peninsula by 676 to achieve unification of most of the Three Kingdoms. Silla was a golden age of art and culture, Buddhism became a large part of Silla culture. Buddhist monasteries such as the Bulguksa are examples of advanced Korean architecture and Buddhist influence. State-sponsored art and architecture from this period include Hwangnyongsa Temple, Bunhwangsa Temple, Seokguram Grotto, a World Heritage Site. Silla carried on the maritime prowess of Baekje, which acted like the Phoenicia of medieval East Asia, during the 8th and 9th centuries dominated the seas of East Asia and the trade between China and Japan, most notably during the time of Jang Bogo.
Silla was a prosperous and wealthy country, its metropolitan capital of Gyeongju was the fourth largest city in the world. Buddhism flourished during this time, many Korean Buddhists gained great fame among Chinese Buddhists and contributed to Chinese Buddhism, including: Woncheuk, Uisang and Kim Gyo-gak, a Silla prince whose influence made Mount Jiuhua one of the Four Sacred Mountains of Chinese Buddhism. Silla began to experience political troubles in the late 9th century; this weakened Silla and soon thereafter, descendants of the former Baekje established Later Baekje. In the north, rebels revived Goguryeo. Silla lasted for 267 years until, under King Gyeongsun, it was annexed by Goryeo in 935. Balhae, the name of, another transcribed version of Mohe, was founded after Goguryeo had fallen, it was founded in the northern part of former lands of Goguryeo by Dae Joyeong, a former Goguryeo general or chief of Sumo Mohe, after defeating the military of central government of Tang Dynasty at the Battle of Tianmenling.
Balhae controlled the northern areas of the Korean Peninsula, much of Manchuria, expanded into present-day Russian Maritime Province. Balhae styled itself as Goguryeo's successor state. In a time of relative peace and stability in the region, Balhae flourished in culture during the long reign of the third King Mun and King Seon. At that time, Balhae was a culturally advanced country, so that China referred to this kingdom as "a prosperous country of the East." However, Balhae was weakened by the 10th century, the Khitan Liao Dynasty conquered Balhae in 926. Goryeo absorbed some of Balhae's territory and received Balhae refugees, including the crown prince and the royal family, but compiled no known histories of Balhae; the 18th century Joseon dynasty historian Yu Deukgong advocated the proper study of Balhae as part of Korean history, coined the term "North and South States Period" to refer to this era. Due to the lack of linguistic evidence, it is difficult to make a definitive conclusion for the linguistic relation between the Balhae and Silla languages.
Shoku Nihongi implies that the Balhae language, a Goguryeo language, Silla language share a close relationship: a student sent from Silla to Japan for an interpreter training in Japanese language assisted a diplomatic envoy from Balhae in communicating during the Japanese court audience. One terminology that people of Balhae used to describe "a king" is Gadokbu. History of Korea Military history of Korea List of Korea-related topics
History of South Korea
The history of South Korea formally begins with its establishment on August 15, 1948. Korea was administratively partitioned in 1945, at the end of World War II; as Korea was under Japanese rule during World War II, Korea was a belligerent against the Allies by virtue of being Japanese territory. The unconditional surrender of Japan led to the division of Korea into two occupation zones, with the United States administering the southern half of the peninsula and the Soviet Union administering the area north of the 38th parallel; this division was meant to be temporary and was first intended to return a unified Korea back to its people after the United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union, Republic of China could arrange a single government for the peninsula. The two parties were unable to agree on the implementation of Joint Trusteeship over Korea; this led in 1948 to the establishment of two separate governments – the Communist-aligned Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the West-aligned First Republic of Korea – each claiming to be the legitimate government of all of Korea.
On June 25, 1950 the Korean War broke out. After much destruction, the war ended on July 27,1953 with the 1948 status quo being restored, as neither the DPRK nor the First Republic had succeeded in conquering the other's portion of the divided Korea; the peninsula was divided by the Korean Demilitarized Zone and the two separate governments stabilized into the existing political entities of North and South Korea. South Korea's subsequent history is marked by alternating periods of autocratic rule. Civilian governments are conventionally numbered from the First Republic of Rhee Syngman to the contemporary Sixth Republic; the First Republic, arguably democratic at its inception, became autocratic until its collapse in 1960. The Second Republic was democratic, but was overthrown in less than a year and replaced by an autocratic military regime; the Third and Fifth Republics were nominally democratic, but are regarded as the continuation of military rule. With the Sixth Republic, the country has stabilized into a liberal democracy.
Since its inception, South Korea has seen substantial development in education and culture. Since the 1960s, the country has developed from one of Asia's poorest to one of the world's wealthiest nations. Education at the tertiary level, has expanded dramatically, it is said to be one of the "Four Tigers" of rising Asian states along with Singapore and Hong Kong. Emperor Hirohito announced the surrender of the Empire of Japan to the Allied Powers on 15 August 1945. General Order No. 1 for the surrender of Japan prescribed separate surrender procedures for Japanese forces in Korea north and south of the 38th parallel. After Japan's surrender to the Allies, division at the 38th parallel marked the beginning of Soviet and U. S. occupation the South, respectively. This division was meant to be temporary, to be replaced by a trusteeship of the United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union, Republic of China which would prepare for Korean independence; the trusteeship had been discussed at the Yalta Conference in February 1945.
U. S. forces landed at Incheon on September 8, 1945 and established a military government shortly thereafter. Lt. General John R. Hodge, their commander, took charge of the government. Faced with mounting popular discontent, in October 1945 Hodge established the Korean Advisory Council; the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea, which had operated from China, sent a delegation with three interpreters to Hodge, but he refused to meet with them. Hodge refused to recognize the newly formed People's Republic of Korea and its People's Committees, outlawed it on 12 December. A year an interim legislature and interim government were established, headed by Kim Kyu-shik and Syngman Rhee respectively. Political and economic chaos - arising from a variety of causes - plagued the country in this period; the after-effects of the Japanese exploitation remained in the South, as in the North. In addition, the U. S. military was unprepared for the challenge of administering the country, arriving with no knowledge of the language, culture or political situation.
Thus many of their policies had unintended destabilizing effects. Waves of refugees from North Korea and returnees from abroad added to the turmoil. In December 1945 a conference convened in Moscow to discuss the future of Korea. A 5-year trusteeship was discussed, a US-Soviet joint commission was established; the commission met intermittently in Seoul but deadlocked over the issue of establishing a national government. In September 1947, with no solution in sight, the United States submitted the Korean question to the UN General Assembly; the resolution from the UN General Assembly called for a UN-supervised general election in Korea, but after the North rejected this proposition, a general election for a Constitutional Assembly took place in the South only, in May 1948. A constitution was adopted, setting forth a presidential form of government and specifying a four-year term for the presidency. According to the provisions of the Constitution, an indirect presidential election took place in July.
Rhee Syngman, as head of the new assembly, assumed the presidency and proclaimed the Republic of Korea on August 15, 1948. On August 15, 1948, the Republic of Korea was formally established, with Rhee Syngman as the first president. With the establishment of Rhee's government, de jure sovereignty passed into the new government. On September 9, 1948, a communist regime
Jin (Korean state)
The state of Jin was a confederacy of statelets which occupied some portion of the southern Korean peninsula during the 2nd and 3rd centuries BCE, bordering the Korean kingdom Gojoseon to the north. Its capital was somewhere south of the Han River, it preceded the Samhan confederacies. "Jin" is the Revised Romanization of Korean 진 written 辰 in Korean Chinese characters. This character's Old Chinese pronunciation has been reconstructed as /*ər/ and referred to the 5th earthly branch of the Chinese and Korean zodiacs, a division of the orbit of Jupiter identified with the dragon; this was associated with a bearing of 120° but with the two-hour period between 7 and 9 am, leading it to be associated with dawn and the direction east. A variant romanization is Chin, it is not clear as to. It seems that it was a federation of small states much like the subsequent Samhan. For the state to be able to contend with Wiman Joseon and send embassies to the court of Han Dynasty China, there was some level of stable central authority.
Korean historian Ki-baek Lee suggests that the kingdom's attempt to open direct contacts "suggests a strong desire on the part of Chin to enjoy the benefits of Chinese metal culture." However, for the most part Wiman Joseon prevented direct contact between China. King Jun of Gojoseon is reported to have fled to Jin after Wiman seized his throne and established Wiman Joseon; some believe that Chinese mentions of Gaemaguk refers to Jin. Goguryeo is said to have conquered "Gaemaguk" in 26 AD, but this may refer to a different tribe in northern Korea. Records are somewhat contradictory on Jin's demise: it either became the Jinhan, or diverged into the Samhan as a whole. Archeological records of Jin have been found centered in territory that became Mahan. Alexander Vovin suggests that Japonic languages were spoken in large parts of southern Korea and Jeju before they were replaced by proto-Koreanic speakers, thus it is possible. Archaeologically, Jin is identified with the Korean bronze dagger culture, which succeeded the Liaoning bronze dagger culture in the late first millennium BCE.
The most abundant finds from this culture have been in southwestern Korea's Chungcheong and Jeolla regions. This suggests that Jin was based in the same area, which coincides with the fragmentary historical evidence. Artifacts of the culture show some similarities to the Yayoi people of Kyūshū, Japan. Jin was succeeded by the Samhan: Mahan and Byeonhan. Chinese historical text, Records of the Three Kingdoms says that Jinhan is the successor of the Jin state, while the Book of the Later Han writes that Mahan and Byeonhan were all part of the former Jin state as well as 78 other tribes; the name of Jin continued to be used in the name of the Jinhan confederacy and in the name "Byeonjin," an alternate term for Byeonhan. In addition, for some time the leader of Mahan continued to call himself the "Jin king," asserting nominal overlordship over all of the Samhan tribes. History of Korea List of Korea-related topics Samhan Lee, C.-k.. The bronze dagger culture of the Korean peninsula. Korea Journal 36, 17-27.
Lee, K.-b.. A new history of Korea. Tr. by E. W. Wagner & E. J. Schulz, based on the 1979 rev. ed. Seoul: Ilchogak. ISBN 89-337-0204-0
Division of Korea
The Division of Korea began at the end of World War II in 1945. With the defeat of Japan, the Soviet Union occupied the north of Korea, the United States occupied the south, with the boundary between their zones being the 38th parallel. With the onset of the Cold War, negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union failed to lead to an independent and unified Korea. In 1948, UN-supervised elections were held in the US-occupied south only. Syngman Rhee won the election; this led to the establishment of the Republic of Korea in South Korea, promptly followed by the establishment of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in North Korea. The United States supported the South, the Soviet Union supported the North, each government claimed sovereignty over the whole Korean peninsula. In 1950, North Korea invaded the South to try to reunify the peninsula under its communist rule; the subsequent Korean War, which lasted from 1950 to 1953, ended with a stalemate and has left the two Koreas separated by the Korean Demilitarized Zone up to the present day.
Diplomatic initiatives have so far failed to end the division. When the Russo-Japanese War ended in 1905 Korea became a nominal protectorate of Japan, was annexed by Japan in 1910; the Korean Emperor Gojong was removed. In the following decades and radical groups emerged in exile, to struggle for independence. Divergent in their outlooks and approaches, these groups failed to unite in one national movement; the Korean Provisional Government in China failed to obtain widespread recognition. At the Cairo Conference in November 1943, in the middle of World War Two, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Chiang Kai-shek agreed that Japan should lose all the territories it had conquered by force. At the end of the conference, the three powers declared that they were, "mindful of the enslavement of the people of Korea... determined that in due course Korea shall become free and independent." Roosevelt floated the idea of a trusteeship over Korea, but did not obtain agreement from the other powers.
Roosevelt raised the idea with Joseph Stalin at the Tehran Conference in November 1943 and the Yalta Conference in February 1945. Stalin advocated that the period of trusteeship be short. At the Tehran and Yalta Conferences, Stalin promised to join his allies in the Pacific War in two to three months after victory in Europe. On August 8, 1945, three months to the day after the end of hostilities in Europe, two days after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan; as war began, the Commander-in-Chief of Soviet Forces in the Far East, Marshal Aleksandr Vasilevsky, called on Koreans to rise up against Japan, saying "a banner of liberty and independence is rising in Seoul". Soviet troops advanced and the US government became anxious that they would occupy the whole of Korea. On August 10, 1945 two young officers – Dean Rusk and Charles Bonesteel – were assigned to define an American occupation zone. Working on short notice and unprepared, they used a National Geographic map to decide on the 38th parallel.
They chose it because it divided the country in half but would place the capital Seoul under American control. No experts on Korea were consulted; the two men were unaware that forty years before and pre-revolutionary Russia had discussed sharing Korea along the same parallel. Rusk said that had he known, he "almost surely" would have chosen a different line; the division placed sixteen million Koreans in the American zone and nine million in the Soviet zone. To the surprise of the Americans, the Soviet Union accepted the division; the agreement was incorporated into General Order No. 1 for the surrender of Japan. Soviet forces began amphibious landings in Korea by August 14 and took over the north-east of the country, on August 16 they landed at Wonsan. On August 24, the Red Army reached Pyongyang. General Nobuyuki Abe, the last Japanese Governor-General of Korea, had established contact with a number of influential Koreans since the beginning of August 1945 to prepare the hand-over of power. Throughout August, Koreans organized people's committee branches for the "Committee for the Preparation of Korean Independence", led by Lyuh Woon-hyung, a left-wing politician.
On September 6, 1945, a congress of representatives was convened in Seoul and founded the short-lived People's Republic of Korea. In the spirit of consensus, conservative elder statesman Syngman Rhee, living in exile in the US, was nominated as President; when Soviet troops entered Pyongyang, they found a local branch of the Committee for the Preparation of Korean Independence operating under the leadership of veteran nationalist Cho Man-sik. The Soviet Army allowed these "People's Committees" to function. In September 1945, the Soviet administration issued its own currency, the "Red Army won". In 1946, Colonel-General Terentii Shtykov took charge of the administration and began to lobby the Soviet government for funds to support the ailing economy. In February 1946 a provisional government called the Provisional People's Committee was formed under Kim Il-sung, who had spent the last years of the war training with Soviet troops in Manchuria. Conflicts and power struggles ensued at the top levels of government in Pyongyang as different aspirants maneuvered to gain positions of power in the new government.
In March 1946 the provisional government instituted a sweeping land-reform program: land belonging to Japanese and collaborator landowners was divided and redistributed to poor farmers. Organizing the many poor civilians and agricultura