Monday, June 20, 2011
Discovering Korea's imperial past
A Washington Post reporter encounters Korea's imperial past in a meeting with Yi Seok, grandson of Emperor Gunjong. It's a melancholy, even tragic article, though the prince's return is uplifting in a way. I often get the idea that modern Asia is even more indifferent to and disconnected from the past than modern Europe. The prince's observation that "Korean people, they don't care about the royal family. They just care about democracy" is like a knife in my heart--but probably true. I just don't understand Modern People, whether Asian or European. For me of course as with most countries there is no legitimate Korea other than royal Korea--and no, the Kims of North Korea don't count! The Asia that is "modern or fast or covered in dingy concrete" is fake and will eventually crumble, probably much sooner than the ancient monarchies did; it certainly deserves to. The real Asia is monarchical and traditional, like the real Europe--but only a minority today still listen to her spirit.