Wisdom of Korea (2000, January -- June)


1900 and 2000

Y.S.Kim (2000.1.3)

When I talked about Japan to an elderly Korean lady, she said there will not be Japan as a country in the future because Princess Masako cannot produce a baby. When I went to Greece last summer, I noticed a big statue of King Constantine in the central park of Athens. He was thrown out from the country about 20 years ago, and he now lives in London with his relatives. When I asked Greeks why he threw him out, their answer was that they needed a king to be an independent country 150 years ago, but Greece can now be an independent country without the king.

Greece used to be a colony of the Ottoman Empire, and Greeks had to fight a bitter war 150 years ago. In order to set up an independent country, they had to import a king from the Hanover family to which Queen Elizabeth II of England belongs.

In 1900, a country needed a king to be an independent country. Korea had a king at that time. Korea now has the president. How about the United States which never had kings? In the U.S., there has been a very lively development of civil rights, specially after 1954. I have been writing about this aspect of the U.S. history and intend to write more on this subject.

Kings and presidents are somewhat remote to us. How many of you plan to become the president of Korea? On the other hand, this king-to- president transition is still taking place in our daily life and in our community. Let me elaborate on this point.

When I was on a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Washington last October, I noticed a neat-looking Asian lady who appeared to be about three or four years younger than I am. She also appeared to be very intelligent. When I asked her whether she is a Korean, she became very aggressive. She immediately asked what my name is. When I told her my name, she said she knows me and told me everything she knows about me. I was impressed, and I asked her when she started admiring me. Her answer was even more surprising. She heard enough about me from her husband. I then asked her who the husband is. He is a well-known figure and twice served in the cabinet as the minister of science and technology.

According to this lady, I must be one of her husband's closest friends or even a cousin. On the other hand, when he sees me or I see him at Korean gatherings, we ignore each other. I have to confess that I have not been perfect in dealing with Korean celebrities. To most Koreans, becoming a cabinet member is a big life-time accomplishment. Her husband apparently likes to be recognized for his achievements. On the other hand, like most Koreans, I have a very cynical view toward those who attempt to jack up their positions in terms of Gamtu. These two conflicting views make our science community less than harmonious.

You would agree that I should talk with the above-mentioned scientist when we meet, but I have to confess it is a difficult problem for me, and I assume he feels in the same way. Then how can we solve this problem? We have to get rid of our unproductive Gamtu culture and resort directly to basic human-to-human relations. Remember this. We do not need kings these days.


Follow-up on C. N. Yang

Y.S.Kim (2000.1.4)

I said in my previous article that I was in Greece last summer and talked with my Greek friends about their latest king. I told them King Constantine was kicked out because he did not have a Monica. Bill Clinton was kept even though (or because) he had Monica Lewinsky. My Greek friends enthusiastically agreed with me. The Greek kings were never interested in approaching Greek girls. Their latest king was very handsome, but his bride came from Denmark's royal family.

I also said in my previous article that Greeks had to import a king in order to assert the independence of their country 150 years ago. Then they threw him away 20 or 30 years ago because the king was a foreigner and was useless to their country. Greeks are still very smart!

Likewise, Koreans imported C. Y. Yang six years ago in order to build an institute with an international statue. As in the case of Greek kings, Yang never identified himself with Koreans. Last year, there was a conference at Stony Brook honoring C. N. Yang, and the conference poster contained the names of those who are very dear to his heart, but there were no Korean names. This is how close C. N. Yang is to Korea or to Koreans.

Greeks threw out their king many years before Koreans imported Dr. Yang. Then, how were Koreans so stupid? Here is my answer. Koreans are not stupid! The science/tech minister at that time did not know how smart Koreans are. But, according to what I said in my previous article, at least one of the ministers knew there was and still is one (at least) smart Korean. In this case, the trouble was caused by his refusal to talk or listen to those smart Koreans. I said this many times before. Our science/tech ministry is as good as the defense (military) ministry during the Imjin Japanese invasion. You now know why.

Talking is not enough. Here is my prescription. Terminate Korea's C. Y. Yang connection as quickly as possible, and clean up the mess created by those who attempted to suppress fellow Koreans using Yang's name. I am not an legal expert, and thus I know only two kinds of punishments. I would give "kihap" to students. For grown-ups like professors and ministers, I recommend that they should be shot to death. In this case, I would spare their lives in order to bring about a quick solution.

Since I wrote my first article on this subject, many people sent me their supports. There was one mail disputing the amount of money I quoted. It is possible that I was inaccurate. Then the problem can be easily fixed if the government discloses the amount it paid to Dr. Yang over the years. The Korean government is spending Korean tax-payers' money. They have the right to know.


In conclusion

Y.S.Kim (2000.1.9) Many people are urging me to continue the C.N.Yang story, but I think I said enough. The prevailing opinion seems to be that we should get rid of C.N.Yang as quickly as possible. This is also my opinion. However, would it solve all the problems in Korea? No, unless we give up the following aspects of our culture, the Yang-like incidents will happen again. What are then the problems?
  1. Our research culture is not strong enough to be Gamtu-free. Still, the ultimate aim of Korean researchers is the Gamtu.
  2. Korean researchers cannot make their own decisions. They always have to rely on their foreign masters.
I mentioned the above problems many times before. It will take many years to solve these problems, and only the younger generation will make a dent to our deep-rooted disease. Then, am I optimistic about our younger people? Yes and No. Yes, in the sense that Korea provides everything younger Koreans need. When I was a student in Korea, we did not even have textbooks. My answer is also No, because they do not seem to understand how fortunate they are. The only thing they know is to complain and complain.

How about then the younger Americans? About the same. They are also badly spoiled, but there is one difference. Those Americans are smart enough to know that they, nobody else, are the only ones who will fix their problems. This is the fundamental difference between the Korean young people and the American young people. This is the reason why the United States is making progress and the rest of the world follows. Because we are not willing to solve our own problems, we have to bring in someone from the outside world to fix our problems. We brought in Dr. Yang, and we learned what the consequence was. The easier way and thus the only way to solve our problem is to solve the problem by ourselves.

In 1910, Koreans invited Japanese to run the country, and many of them actively collaborated with Japanese in exploiting fellow Koreans. We are still complaining about those pro-Japanese traitors. Are we any better? Indeed, the C.N.Yang incident will happen again unless we tackle our fundamental problems.

Next time, I would like to resume my series on the environment in the United States for Koreans, especially for Korean students and Koreans in academic/research world.


Dinner table at the MIT faculty club

Y.S.Kim (00.1.13)

In October of 1997, I had an occasion to share a dinner table with Victor Weisskopf and Frances Low at the faculty club of MIT on the top floor of MIT's Alfred P. Sloan Building overlooking the scenic Charles River.

If you are a physicist, you should know who they are. If you are not, please remember them as two of the most admired scientists during the latter half of the 20th century. They are big enough to be on my web page. Weisskopf was born in Vienna about 90 years ago, he is quite elderly now. Francis Low was born in New York. He is about fifteen years older than I am. He has a reputation of having a very sharp mind, but is extremely kind to others. Both Weisskopf and Low are Jewish and are of course very proud of their Jewish heritage.

I have a bad habit of dominating conversations at dinner tables, but this time I decided to let them talk and listen to them. I was curious to find out what issue is closest to their hearts. Alas, to these two of the most admired scientists of our time, the No. 1 dinner-table topic was how much they suffered from the persecution of Jews. Weisskopf was born in Vienna, but he was not able to get an academic position there and had to move to Munich. Francis Low was telling me how much he suffered because he has a Chinese name while being Jewish. Of course, he was quite sympathetic to me and asked me how I survived. While he was talking to me, someone took a picture, and you are invited to look at his face and my face from or .

Of course, I have my own discrimination stories and I will tell you some of them later. But, they are very low on my priority list. Why am I so insensitive? Most of the Koreans in the United States came to this country after 1954, after the "Brown vs. Board of Education" revolution which I talked about in my earlier articles. Before 1954, the United States was a racist country, but the racism has been and still is rapidly disappearing. Koreans in the U.S. do not seem to know how fortunate they are. Instead, they tend to blame the racism for their failure. They are wrong.

When I say the U.S. is not a racist country, I am not mean that there are no racists in the U.S. There are still many of them. However, the U.S. laws and social orders allow us to move around them if we are determined to move up. Should I talk about how I maneuvered in my future articles?

In the meantime, I like to talk about the topic I like best. Frances Low served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He is known among my friends as a war hero who operated a machine gun during the Normandy landing in 1944. I asked him how exciting it was to shoot a machine gun. He laughed, and he was not in Normandy but was in Italy as a plain soldier. I then asked him whether he knows how to operate the M1 rifle. He said he once did. I then asked whether his commander's name was Mark Clark. He said small soldiers do not care about who their commander is.

During World War, in an effort to liberate Italy from Germany, the allied U.S. and British army divisions landed in a Mediterranean costal city called Anzio 50 kilometers south of Rome, but they got bogged down by a stiff resistance from the German troops who moved down from Rome. In order to relieve those troops, the U.S. Army sent one additional division to a place between Rome and Anzio. Its mission was to move south to attack the back of the German forces in Anzio, but the division moved north to Rome which was an empty city from the military point of view. This army unit captured the capital city of Italy without losing a single soldier. Indeed, this is one of the the biggest victories recorded the history of the U.S.Army. Who then made this creative decision? He was the division commander named Mark Clark. In 1952, General Clark came to Tokyo as the Commander of the U.N. Forces operating in Korea and signed the Pan-moon-jom cease-fire document in July of 1953.

What then is the significance of this story? First, Korea had a general like Mark Clark about 650 years ago. His name was Yi Seong-Ge. You all know what he did. Second, the army is a tightly organized society, and a deviation from the established order could result in a severe punishment. Yet, there still is a room for creativity. Our young people too often curse Confucius for our suffocating social order. My advice to them is to look! There will always be a room to maneuver and a room for creativity.


Back from Rio de Janeiro

Y.S.Kim (2000.1.24)

I came back from my one-week trip to Brazil, and I am still tired. If you are a physicist, you should have some idea of why I made this trip. If you are not, I will tell you why later.

In my previous article, I talked about two distinguished Jewish scientists whose dinner-table topic was the discrimination and prejudice they had to go through in the past. I know you are eager to hear about how Jewish scientists were able to cope with harsh injustice in the past. I indeed have an important point to make: how Koreans should solve this problem for themselves. In preparation for this serious story, I would like to tell you some pleasant stories. Your natural question at this point is how many ladies I met in Brazil. You all know I enjoy talking about wars and women.

Indeed, I met a number of ladies and took pictures with them. I will mention just one of them. While I was on a sight-seeing cable car connecting from one mountain top to another, the lady tour guide was standing next to me. Naturally, I posed with her and asked a third person to push the camera button. I then noticed an elderly lady looking enviously at the young tour guide. I asked this old lady to pose with me, and she was happy to come to my side. I now have two photos with me. The tour-guide looks like a professional whose job is to be picture-taken. On the other hand, the old lady appears to be genuinely happy and cheerful. Although she is aged, she appreciated being treated as a young attractive girl, and perhaps she once was. I am indeed proud of giving this elderly lady an opportunity to feel young, but regret that I cannot deliver the photo to her.

When I was a student in Korea, I was taught to relinquish my seat to an elderly person while on bus or street car. The idea to invite the above-mentioned lady to pose with me came from my Korean background. I know many of you are envious of my skill of approaching ladies of all nationalities. The secret is well known to you. Behave like a decent Korean. In order to enforce my point, I would like to attach one of my earlier papers on this subject. Please continue reading.

Russian ladies praise korean education.

Y.S.Kim (1998.7.5)

I came back last night from my trip to Armenia. Armenia is a small country surrounded by Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Iran. There are many Armenians in the United States, and they are known as very stubborn people. In 301 AD, Armenia adopted Christianity as the national religion 32 years before the Roman Empire did. However, it is very interesting to note that Armenians still preserve their pagan traditions.

Like most of the former Soviet republics, Armenia is depressed from the economic point of view. But they know how to make themselves happy. On my hotel floor, there were many French girls from Paris, and I was able to compare them with their Armenian counterparts. Indeed, to my eyes, the Armenian girls were quite capable of pushing those French girls to back seats.

Quite contrary to the impression we have about the former Soviet republics, Armenian maintains a very close tie with Russia because they need each other. For instance, Armenia's Turkish border is guarded by Russian combat troops. The physics conference which I attended was jointly organized by Yerevan State University and JINR (Russia's Joint Institute for Nuclear Research at Dubna). For all practical purposes, the JINR was running the show, and its director and his secretarial staff came all the way from Dubna (north of Moscow).

I was told by the organizers that I would receive an honorarium (extra money) of 50 USDollars, but I was not happy in view of the financial problems Russians are having these days. Yet, it would be very rude to decline their offer. After some agony, I pulled out a piece of Korean wisdom: to eat up and drink up. Then, two intelligent-looking Russian ladies came to me and hand-delivered to me five fresh $10 bills. I then proposed to them that I and they go to one of Yerevan's best French restaurants and spend all $50 (about $300 if spent in the U.S.). They laughed and readily agreed with me. So we went, and spent happy hours there. It would not be appropriate to mention here their names and their positions, but both of them spent more than 20 years at JINR as administrators and they know very well the physics world.

After we left the restaurant, we spent one hour on the streets. At one point, we met an ice-cream vendor who speaks fluent English. I asked him how old he is, and he said sixteen. I then showed him my two hands and told him I went to the United States when I was 19 years old with two empty hands but I am now famous enough to be invited by his country. I told him further that he should also go to the U.S. to study. Then there was a surprise. One of the Russian ladies said to him "Prof. Kim had an excellent preparation before going to the U.S. You should therefore study very very hard as Prof. Kim did." How did she know that I had an excellent preparation?

I frequently say that I had the world's best education before coming the United States to young Koreans in order to encourage them. However, I never say this to non-Koreans for diplomatic reasons. Then how did these Russian ladies sense my thinking? It is also remarkable that I heard similar comments from a number of Russian women during my earlier visits to Russia. Then, is there a secret communication channel between Korean boys and Russian girls? I wrote an article in 1995 on this subject, and you are invited to read my article entitled "Can Koreans talk to Koreans?" (1995.11.14), which contains the following two paragraphs.

One hundred years ago, Korean boys (girls) were not allowed to talk to girls (boys). These days they talk too much. Then when and how did they pick up the romance culture? It was during the period 1920-40. During this 20-year period, Koreans learned how to write Hangul and learned how to write love letters. The romance culture during this period was well documented by the Korean novels written Lee Kwang Soo. These days, he is known as a pro-Japanese traitor to our young people, but I am not interested in discussing this issue here.

I was told by my friends in literary circles that Lee Kwang Soo was heavily influenced by Tolstoy. This means that Koreans and Russians had the same romance style at least for 20 years. However, this 20-year-period could be a slice of several hundred years. Thus, my recommendation is that you should talk like Captain Bronsky when you talk to a Russian girl. She may then talk to you like Anna Karerina.


How many racists are in the United States?

Y.S.Kim (2000.1.25)

In June of 1999, I had a lunch at an out-door cafe in Florence (Italy). I was alone but my table was next to that of a British man who was also alone. Thus we started talking to each other. I was asking the British man about Princess Diana, and he was asking me about Monica Lewinsky. His question was how Bill Clinton was able to stay in his office even though the House of Representative passed the impeachment resolution.

My answer to his question was that Clinton is not the first president with a complicated personal life. The personal life of John F. Kennedy is well known. I said further that Thomas Jefferson had a black Monica named Sally Hemings. Americans were afraid of talking about her in the past, but the off-springs of Hemings and Jefferson have recently been admitted to the Monticello Society consisting of Jefferson's descendents. Thus, it is not possible to throw out the incumbent president for his personal life unless it affected his official duty.

Alas, there was another lonely man listening carefully to what I was saying. He claimed that he came from Wyoming (U.S.A) and that I was lying. I told him that I lived in his country longer than he did and that my story about Jefferson was based on an articles published in the Washington Post. I told him further that he should be proud of his country for the impressive civil rights record. He then became really angry and I am not in a position to tell obscene stories about Jefferson. He really wanted to say I should never come back to the U.S. but should go back to China (I am a Chinese to him), but he was not able to go this far.

We would all agree that he is an anti-Asiatic racist. Then, how many Americans are like him? I would say about 20 percent now. Then how many were like him in 1950? According to my own experience, the percentage in 1950 was about 90. The transition from 90 to 20 percent is quite impressive. This is how the United States became a different country to us.

However, there was one thing which never changed. The grading system in universities. I have never experienced and never heard of Asian students receiving unfair grades in the courses they took. American professors have been and still are maintaining the uniform academic standard for all students.

Thus, as long as you are a student, you will never face discrimination. On the other hand, as soon as you receive your PhD degree and try to make an advancement in the American society, it is still possible to face the prejudice based on race and national origin.

There are many Jewish scientists in the United States. When they came here from Europe in the 1930s, they had to face the discrimination much beyond our imagination. Then how were they able to do so well? A more crucial question to us is how they were able to cope with the discrimination while Koreans these days have so much difficulty?

I will address this question in my later articles. I have already given you my answer. I told you what I do before approaching ladies from different countries. What did I say in my previous mail?


Forms of discrimination

Y.S.Kim (2000.1.27)

I would like to continue my series on how Koreans can penetrate through or go around the racial barrier in the U.S. academic community. In order to tackle this problem, we have to understand the nature of the barrier. For this purpose, let me tell you a story I read from an article which I read in 1991 while I was waiting for someone at the physics library of Harvard University. I forgot the name of the magazine and the author of the article, but the article must have been written by a respectable person since I read it within the boundary of Harvard.

The story was about Jewish and Palestine employees working together in a restaurant in the Israeli/Palestine area. The restaurant workers usually eat together after the restaurant is closed late in the night. Then they go home, but they do not all leave at the same time. One night, one Jewish man and one Jewish woman were left together with their Arab colleagues. Of course, the relation became very cordial between the two Jewish employees, and they went all the way to the action they could not perform while being watched by other human beings.

However, they did in front of their Arab colleagues. To them, the existence of the Arab eyes was completely irrelevant. I do not know how to describe this barrier, but the best word I cam come up with is the "kokoro barrier." I know you do not like Japanese, but I have to borrow the concept of kokoro from them. According to Japanese, you as an individual consist of two components. The first component is "karata" which means your biological component. You then have your mind, passion, feeling, and all that. These are included in the package called "kokoro." If you love someone, you should love him or her from your kokoro.

You would agree that the above-mentioned story about the two Jewish young people and their Arab colleagues is an excellent illustration of how the Jewish "kokoro" and the Arab "kokoro" are separated. I am mentioning this because the kokoro separation is the form of discrimination Koreans face most frequently during their advancements in the United States.

Before elaborating on the "kokoro" separation between Americans and Koreans, let us examine this separation among ourselves. In my earlier articles, I talked about how some of the leaders in Korean science are wasting Korean money. Yes, those gamtu holders put up ugly shows with their foreign "friends." To them, the Koreans eyes are totally irrelevant. Indeed, our most serious problem is the complete "kokoro" separation between our scientists and our decision makers.

Next time, I would like to talk about the degree of "kokoro" barrier between Korean and Americans.


Network news

Y.S.Kim (2000.2.9)

By now, you have some idea of how our network system works. This system was originally developed for Korean physicists, but we are now expanding our services to all Korean engineers and scientists on this planet. This process cannot be accomplished overnight. It might take more than 10 years. For this purpose, we have been and still are adding new e-mail addresses to our database.

In addition, we are now expanding our links to Korea-related web pages. More specifically, we are in the process of adding the web pages for Korean students and scientists at major universities in the United States. I am very happy to report that this initiative was taken by a Korean graduate student named Young Chan Kim at the University of Maryland. He came from KAIST and is doing his PhD research with Michael Fisher.

Please visit

http://www.physics.umd.edu/robot/kor.html>
and see how the system works. If you cannot see your university on our list, send the URL address to Mr. Young Chan Kim .

The United States is not the only country with Korean scientists. There are also many more Korean scientists in a country called Korea. I will be personally working on improving our links to Korean institutions. Please send your suggestions direclty to me at .

As some of you know, this Korean network is only a part of a more extensive international program. You are invited to visit the robot's main page

http://www.physics.umd.edu/robot> to see the extent of
the international program. You will then note that this robot system provides communication supports for many international conferences. This means that our robot is well equipped to provide communication supports for Korean gatherings at international meetings. Indeed, for many years, this system has been providing the support for the annual March meeting of the American Physical Society.

This meeting is attended not only by physicists but also by many chemists, engineers, mathematicians, historians, and philosophers. There are many Korean participants, and there are now more Koreans than Japanese at this meeting. Great!! We now have a tradition for Korean participants to gather together at a Korean banquet.

Next month, this year's March meeting will take place in Minneapolis. The traditional Korean banquet will be organized by the Korean graduate students at the Univ. of Minnesota. They have done a superb job in providing hospitality to the Koreans who will visit their city during the APS meeting. The dinner will take place at the best Korean restaurant in the Minneapolis area. The dinner date is Wednesday, March 22, at 7:00 PM . Please mark your calendar and make your plan to dine with your old friends and with your former professors. The organizer will be very happy to reserve a table for you and meet other individual needs. Please visit http://www.physics.umd.edu/robot/aps.html for detailed information.

This years, we have made several innovations. First, there will be no Gamtu shows performed by those from an underdeveloped country. As I said before, if you are addicted to Gamtu, you do not know how ugly you look to others. I am very proud of my muscle strength to throw them out from our dinner meetings. This year again, I will personally attend the banquet and will keep them out.

Second. We are not imposing a fixed menu with fixed price for everyone. You will choose your own food from the restaurant's extensive menu. You will also be able to reserve a table for your friends and your professors. It is a good place to semi-private re-union.

Third. You can give a talk after the dinner . If you like us to schedule your talk (shorter than 5 minutes), please contact me. You are welcome to tell us about your institution and its future plans, such as how may people you intend to hire. The Kwang-Ju Institute of Science and Technology is relatively new to us. It would be very nice if someone will tell us about this institute. KAIST is well known, but KIST is not. We like to hear more about KIST. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have ideas along this direction.

Fourth. We are now starting a room share program. If you like to save money by sharing a hotel room with other Korean participant(s), visit our web page and see whether someone wants to share a room with you.

I am going to the March meeting to organize a group of physicists interested in symmetry problems in condensed matter physics. This is the subject Eugene Wigner initiated tother with Frederick Seitz in 1934, and will be an important element in the 7th International Wigner Symposium which I will organize in 2001 at the Univ. of Maryland. If you are interested in this subject, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Follow-up on discrimination issues

Y.S.Kim (2000.2.10)

I will continue my series of articles on how Koreans can cope with discriminations in the United States. For this purpose, I will have to mention some Jewish examples and compare us with Jewish folks. I will also raise the question of whether the discrimination exists.

Many people are impatient enough to ask me to tell them in a straight-forward manner how I was able to solve my own problems. However, talking about myself has no meaning to you unless I develop an "abstraction link" between you and me. The abstraction link is like circle and ellipse. They are different but they are the same. You are a circle and I am an eccentric ellipse. I should therefore talk about the property shared both by the circle and ellipse.

What is common between you and myself is the same Korean background. Let us honestly examine Koreans approach the problem when they face a crises. For this purpose, I am attaching one of my old articles where I compare how Koreans and Frenchmen react when they face the same problem. Please continue reading.

Strength of France

Y.S.Kim (1996.3.29)

When I go to Europe, I often talk about philosophers with my European friends. When they ask me who I think is the best American philosopher, I say "Thomas Edison." According to this kind of definition, the philosophy of France is Art.

In 1939, when German army was becoming uncontrollably strong, some of the well-to-do Parisians collected money to send several thousands bushels of red roses to the Maginot line, in order to boost the morale of the French troops guarding the French-German border. This does not show how strong France is in art. However, I would like to advise you to watch a French film entitled "Les Enfants du Paradis" (children of paradise) produced by Marcel Carne. It is like watching the classic American film "Gone with the Wind," whose the cinema logistics shows how resourceful the United States was in 1935.

The point is that "Children of Paradise" which boasts off the richness of France was produced in 1943 when France was under German occupation. The French film artists were able to produce this miracle during the most difficult period in France's history. This is not all. During the 1940-44 Nazi occupation, France produced some deep thinkers. Jean-Paul Sartre was one of them. Sartre refused the 1964 Nobel prize in literature because he thought the prize was a kind of Gamtu (he hated Gamtu much more than I did). When he died in 1980, his funeral cortege was followed by 50,000 young Europeans. Then what did Sartre really teach to earn the respect of those young people?

During the Nazi occupation, a young Frenchman had the following difficult problem. His elder brother was killed by German troops. His father left his family in order to collaborate with Germans. Thus, he was living with his mother. To her, this young man was everything. However, he very strongly felt that he had to flee to England to join the French Army being organized there. But his departure from his mother meant her collapse. After going through the agony, he went to Sartre and asked him what to do. Sartre clearly understood his problem, and said to him

YOU ARE FREE TO CHOOSE.
Sartre was respected by young Frenchmen because he gave them the true meaning of FREEDOM. You would agree that we need a Sartre these days who will give lessons to our Korean students. Whenever things go wrong, Koreans blame the educational system they went through. While I was writing this article (around the noon of March 30 in Korea), the high school I attended (1948-54 in Korea) was having its 50th anniversary celebration. The principal of the high school was kind enough to invite me to participate in the ceremony. Though I was not able to fly to Korea, I told him that I met many people from many different parts of the world but I never had a moment to think the Korean educational system is second to any other educational system in the world.

I often have the following conversation with Korean students. They tell me that I am not a popular figure among Koreans because I insist on being honest and straightforward. They also complain that they cannot compete in the world because of the Korean educational system. I then ask them whether the Korean educational system taught them to be dishonest. They then complain that the Korean system does not teach them how to be honest. I think even animals know how to be honest. Thus, talking to Korean students is sometimes like talking to stone walls.

There are no schools in the world which will satisfy Korean students these days. Instead of complaining, they should realize that they are FREE to create a new knowledge whenever they need. If they cannot create new knowledge, they cannot compete in the world. Thomas Edison had his own style of creating new knowledge, and this is the reason why I insist that he was an American philosopher.

Let us go back to the issue of the Maginot line. Andre Maginot was an efficient government administrator, but he was wounded and crippled while serving in the army during the World War I. He had enough reason to prevent another war with Germans. Maginot was the French war minister (minister of defense) during the period 1929-31. He produced the concept of heavy fortifications along the French-German border to keep German troops from marching into France. Maginot's orginal plan of course included France's entire eastern border, but the French politicians did not allocate enough budget to cover their border with Belgium. This incomplete Maginot line was completed in 1938. As you know, in 1940, highly mechanized German troops invaded France through the Belgian-French border.

Thus, according to the wisdom of young Koreans these days, the solution was very simple to the above-mentioned young Frenchman who went to Sartre. Blame Andre Maginot! You would agree that we can do better. This is why I am writing this article.


News from Japan's NHK

Y.S.Kim (2000.2.21)

Network News: Since September of 1999, this network has been very busy in providing communication supports for Korea's BK21-related projects. We hope very much we can spend next several months to expand and improve our network system. We are constantly improving our main web page. The web page will change everyday, and I will constantly ask my younger friends about what we should do in the future. Our first priority is to link up with every Korean scientist in the world. This process is slow, but we are doing OK.

Our web page is changing everyday. Please visit the web page and check whether you are in the proper place. If not, send your suggestions to Mr. Youngchan Kim or to your local web master.

As you know, I wrote many articles in the past. Not everybody agrees with me on every issue. If you disagree, please send in your own articles. I will be happy to circulate them. Many of you sent me mails arguing about the points I made while asking me not to circulate.

The most common complaint was in response to my insistence that we should get ahead of Japan in science. Their complaint is that we can never achieve this purpose because of the mistakes made by those pro-Japanese traitors. They ask me to present some good examples for them to follow.

First. Follow my example. Learn about Japan and get rid of the complex toward Japanese . I listen often to Japan's NHK radio programs about their 21st century projects. Their most interesting topic is how to produce delicious "dabe-mono" (food or eating material) in the 21st century. Another interesting topic is Kankoku (Hankook). They are us constantly talking about us. Last week, one of their sociology professors said Korea is getting ahead of Japan in globalization. He was talking about the use of internet. His opinion is quite consistent with what Americans say about the extent to which Koreans use internet in financial transactions. If we are ahead of Japan in a given subject, we should know it first rather than through Japanese.

Second. Before you reached the point where you are able to e-mail your complaints to me, many Koreans worked hard to support your education. I will give you first a fictional character and then mention the real person whom I know very well.

There was a Korean pop song which was composed around 1935. This song was very popular among Korean soldiers during the 6.25 conflict because it sings about the hard present life but a better future. The song sings about a brother and his younger sister without parents during the harsh Japanese rule. The sister serves as a Kisaeng in order to make money for his brother's education. Her name was Hongdo. Korea achieved the present degrees of industrialization thanks to many many nameless Hongdo-like characters.

If you think Hongdo is only a fictional character, ask how your grand or great grand parents were. You should know about them. Try to follow their example before blaming other Koreans. I also knew my grandfather very well. I often send the following article to my younger friends who are confused about Japan. YSK (2000.2.21) - Continue reading.

Koreans develop romanticism.

Y.S.Kim (1998.9.29)

I am continuing my series of articles on how Koreans were creative under the harsh Japanese rule during the years 1920-45. Koreans learned how to use Hangul, got rid of the caste system, built up a military potential, and picked up technology to increase agricultural productivity. I said further that the capital accumulated from the increased agricultural productivity went into the education of younger generations.

During this period, Koreans learned how to use Hangul by reading the Bible and by writing love letters. Unfortunately, I do not belong to the 1920-45 generation and I do not know how to write love letters. How many of you know how to write romantic letters? The romanticism of 1920-45 did not stop at man/woman relations. They had a much greater romanticism toward their children and grandchildren. This was the beginning of a new intellectual core in Korea. Some people question whether this core exists, and more ask whether Korean intellectuals are worth anything. In either case, many young Koreans went to Japan to study during the period 1920-45. After 1945, those Koreans who studied in Japan led Korea's intellectual life until 1960. I hope to discuss their impact next time.

Tonight, I will talk about what romantic dream my grandfather I had for me and how his dream affected my life in the United States. As I said in one of my earlier articles, he was beaten several times by Japanese police. His solution to this problem was to send his grandson (myself) to Todai, which was called Tokyo Imperial University at that time. His grandson will be the No. 1 student at Todai but Japanese will give the No. 1 spot to a Japanese boy, and I will have to settle with No. 2. My maternal grandmother told me that by the time I became ready to go to college, I would have to go to the United States instead of Japan.

These days, I routinely say Todai (Univ. of Tokyo these days) is worse than the worst university in the world. You already know which country has the worst university. But my life in the United States has been exactly like what my grandfather had predicted. As I said repeatedly before, Eugene Wigner was only a adopted advisor. I had a real advisor at Princeton and he signed all the documents for my degree, but he is saying an American physicst is the No. 1 man among about the thirty PhDs he produced even though, according to my grandfather, I am the No. 1. My obligation to my grandfather is to prove that I am indeed No. 1 among those Princeton boys. This is why I am working so hard at my old age.

Let us talk about Japan. Like all Koreans, I enjoy kihapping (giving hard time to) my Japanese friends. My kihap to them usually takes the following form. When I sit down with my Japanese and Western colleagues, the Westerners ask the Japanese many questions about Japan. Always, I have to answer the questions. Japanese cannot communicate with Westerners because they do not believe in Jesus. I usually end up with vigorously defending the Japanese values. Why? Am I a pro-Japanese traitor? No! It is because Japanese share the same cultural base with us. This is the reason why I am advocating our close cooperation and collaboration with Japanese.

What romantic dream do you have for your children? What dream do you have for yourself? Let us be romantic! Please send me your letters. I will be happy to circulate them.


2000 and 1962

Y.S.Kim (2000.2.23)

If you are a physicist, you know who Richard Feynman was. You also know who Eugene Wigner was. If you are not, you can compare them to Elvis Presley and Beethoven respectively. In the physics community, my name is associated with Wigner (Beethoven) while my research line is parallel to that of Feynman (Presley). Together with Dr. Daesoo Han of NASA, I was fortunate enough to develop an international conference series called Wigner Symposium, and its 7th meeting will come back to the Univ. of Maryland in 2001.

Thus, for many years, I have been interested in developing a conference series named after R. P. Feynman, and decided to hold its preliminary meeting during the above-mentioned Wigner Symposium. The name of the conference will be Feynman Festival. I have chosen the word "festival" because Feynman was so fond of the Mardi Grass Festival held every year in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). Last month, I went to Brazil to finalize my idea of developing the festival named after him. In other words, I went there to talk with Feynman's ghost. Because Feynman's name carries a heavy weight in the United States, there will be strong pressure from the U.S. scientific community, but I am prepared from my experiences with other conference series.

When I was coming back, my UAL flight left Rio left at 11:00 PM. For some unknown reason, once in every five flights, I get kicked up to the business (or first) class during the seat re-arrangement within the airplane. This time, I was asked by a flight attendant to move to a plush seat in the business class section. The stewardess serving in this section was an old pro of about age 50, and she knew how to make passengers comfortable. Those serving in the economy class are young chicks, but they look attractive. They are known to chase rich men usually in the business class.

While one of those young ladies was passing through the aisle of the business class, she told me "We meet again. Do you remember?" My honest answer was "No," but I said "Yes, I do." My assumption was that she was confused with a rich Japanese business she met somewhere. She then came to me again and asked me to send her the photo of herself with me. I told her again YES. Then I wondered whether I took a picture with anyone looking like her during the day.

Yes, in the morning of the same day, I met in front of my hotel a young Brazilian who offered to make a Rio car license plate with my name on it for $25. I accepted his offer and I told him to imprint FEYNMAN instead of my name. He then came back to me at 1:00 PM with the license plate. We then posed for a photograph. Just before the third man pushed the camera button, a young lady hopped into the scene. I thought she was a college student from the United States looking for fun. You can see this photo by clicking here.

The young stewardess came back to me again and gave me her business card carrying the address to which I can send the photo. We shook hands, and she said to me "Kam-sa Hap-ni-da." That means, she was able to sense that I am Korean even though I did not tell her. Yes, I often bragg about my ability to get the addresses of distinguished ladies around the world. But, this time, it also means something very important to you.

Let us turn the clock backward. In March of 1962, I was on a train from Washington, DC to Princeton. There I met a neat-looking Princeton student, and we started talking. He then asked me where I came from. I told him to guess. He mentioned Japan, then China, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines. I said No continuously, and we became frustrated. He said he gave up and asked me where I really came from. After hearing my answer, he was astonished. The purpose of his trip to Washington was to visit the Korean Embassy to gather the material for his senior thesis on Korean affairs. That is right, a researcher on Korean affairs could not think of Korea when he met an oriental man. This was how Korea was to Americans in 1962.

If you subtract 1962 from 2000, the result is 38. You can now see how much Korea's position was elevated during these years. Needless to say, this was achieved solely by Koreans. This is in flat contradiction with the perception widely held by Koreans that all Koreans of the established generation are bad. My advice again. Look and think before complaining. Learn lessons from humble Koreans like Hongdo. By the way, I am also a humble Korean.

Let us go back to the discrimination issue. If there is a discrimination against Koreans in the United States, you would agree that there is some difference between that of 1962 and that 2000.


Thirty Sixth Plan

Y.S.Kim (2000.2.28)

When I went to Turkey in 1997, I met some high-ranking people in their scientific community. I praised the Turkish soldiers who came to Korea in 1950 and fought bravely. They in turn praised Koreans for achieving rapid industrialization since the Korean war. While we were talking, at a different place, the representatives of Hyundai Motor Co. were having a meeting with Turkish businessmen on their plan to set up a Hyundai factory in Turkey.

I then told them that I feel very sorry for those Turkish soldiers who were not able to go home alive. They told me I do not have to feelin that way at all. In November of 1950, the UN Command (controlled by the U.S.) placed the Turkish unit between the advancing Chinese army and the retreating U.S. troops in order to protect Americans at the expenses of Turkish lives. They said further that Turkey had to pay this price in order join the NATO to counter the expansion of the Soviet Union. Quite understandable.

Then the questions is whether the UN (US) Command was using the Korean troops for the same purpose. Yes, according to the memoirs written by General Chung Il-Kwon who was the Army Chief of Staff during the period of 1950-51. He later served as the Korean ambassador to Turkey.

How did Koreans react to this unfortunate assignment? In his book, General Matthew Ridgeway says he was awfully frustrated by those unreliable Korean troops. According to what Chung and Ridgeway wrote, it is quite clear that those Koreans sandwiched between the Chinese and American units were using Korea's own strategy called the 36th plan. This plan is well known to us. Disappear as quickly as possible if you are in a no-win situation. Indeed, those Koreans ran away much faster than Americans could, according to Ridgeway's book. In this way, they saved their own lives. You would agree that those Koreans were very smart.

The 36th plan is the strongest weapon for weak people like Koreans. This plan has been an important component of the Korean wisdom. On the other hand, our Korean researchers are not able to utilize this wisdom. This is the reason why the average research life is so short for Koreans.

Let us critically examine the problem. If your American advisor has a Nobel-winning problem, do you think he/she will ask you to work out this problem? Most likely, you will be assigned to their second-line problems which they do not want to work on. Koreans do not seem be critical on this issue. Instead, even after getting their degrees, they are blindly obedient to the orders given by their advisors. They never question whether the research topics have future promise.

Here is my advise. If you are not able to see any promise on what your advisor or the "leaders in your field" advocate, do not waste time. Use the 36th plan and set up your own research line. For me (38 years ago), Maryland was an ideal place to run away. These days, thanks to expanded communication system, Korea is the ideal place for Koreans if you are planning to set up your own research line. Korea is the worst place if you choose to be continuously obedient to your American masters.

If we like to understand how Koreans are treated by Americans in the United States, we should understand how Koreans were and are treated in Korea, and how Koreans reacted to Americans. I would like to write a number of articles on this subject.


The First Cavalry Division of the U.S. Army

Y.S.Kim (2000.2.29)

Since June of 1999, the American and Korean mass media are talking about possible atrocities committed by the troops of the U.S. First Cavalry Division in July of 1950. By June 29, 1950, the (south) Korean Army completely lost its combat capability. It is not difficult to understand how this happened if you see the photo's of the tanks the North Korean Army had. For a tank catalog, please visit

http://www2.physics.umd.edu/~yskim/style.html
to see the photos.

Then the United States re-assembled its 24th Division stationed in Japan and sent it to Korea in hurry. The troops of the 24th Div. brought with them six 3.7 mm bazooka launchers and 40 rounds of ammunition. I saw those troops. Their calculation was that those North Korean invaders would become scared and would run away to the North.

When they met the North Korean tanks in Osan, they sent the first shots to the tanks, but nothing happened. To make things worse, those tanks did not even reciprocate the courtesy of returning the fire. You really have to see those unruly tanks by visiting the web page given above. In the battle of Taejon, the 24th Div. lost one third of its troop strength including its division commander.

In the meantime, the First Cavalry Division was on the Pacific Ocean on its way from Texas. The troops finally landed in Pohang on July 16. They then replaced the wounded 24th Division. Later, the First Cav. got combined with the 24th Div. and the First Div. of the Korean army into the First Corps of the U.N. Army. You will then be interested in how Koreans got along with their American counterparts. I wrote an article about this problem in 1997, but decided to rewrite it in order to emphasize what I really want to say in these articles: Koreans have enough wisdom and strength to deal with discriminations if they exist. Please continue reading.

American wheels and Korean legs

Y.S.Kim (1997.8.5)

I lived long enough to meet many interesting people. Among them are two US four-star generals. In January of 1954, I shook hands with General Maxwell Taylor who was the commander of the U.S. Forces in Korea at that time. I still have a photograph of the hand-shaking scene. I was in my high-school uniform and Taylor was in his combat fatigue.

Taylor later served as the Army Chief of Staff, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the Ambassador to Vietnam during the Vietnam build-up period (before 1965). I was thus able to show off my photo with Taylor to American friends. When the friends asked me what the occasion was, I used to tell a lie that I destroyed one Soviet-built NK tank with a gasoline bottle. This was a joke, but some Americans believed my made-up story.

The following story is equally unbelievable, but is a true story. I shook hands with another U.S. general last month. General John Tilelli is the present commander of the U.S. forces in Korea. He visited the University of Maryland on June 26. I am now old and high enough to exchange jokes with this four-star general, and I felt like "kihapping" his staff members consisting of colonels and majors.

On one of his side arms, General Tilelli was wearing an insignia for the U.S. First Cavalry Division (black horse on yellow background). This unit is now stationed in Fort Hood (Texas). If you are attending the Univ. of Texas in Austin, you should be able to spot the soldiers wearing the black-yellow insignia. In order to impress Tilelli, I told him that he should not be in Korea but should be in Texas. He then said I am only half-smart about the U.S. Army. If a general carries enough stars, he can wear the unit insignia most meaningful to him. In his case, he was the commander of the First Cavalry when the unit was sent to Saudi Arabia during the Gulf-war period, and he was proud of the mission he carried out. Yes, the First Cavalry and the 24th Division formed the main muscle of the U.S. Army in the Gulf region in 1990 and 1991.

In October of 1950, the UN (US and Korean) forces were ready to march toward north to liberate Pyongyang, and the UN Command initially positioned the First Cav. and the 24th Division in the left flank and the right flank respectively, while leaving the first Korean Army Division as a reserve in the rear. This meant that Pyongyang was going to be occupied by American troops first. This was going to be a disaster to Koreans, and had to be prevented at all costs. Under a strong protest from Koreans, the 24th Div. was replaced by the First Korean Army Division, but it was beyond Americans' imagination for Koreans to reach Pyongyang before their Cav. Division. This Cav. Division was initially created as a fast-moving unit during the horse era, and maintained its mobility during the post-horse era. In Korea, the Division was equipped with more than 1,000 motor vehicles including state-of-the-art troop carriers. In contrast, the Korean Division had only 50 Nissan trucks (junk cars at that time).

The race was very simple. Americans are on the wheels and Koreans had to walk. This was how the six-day race began. I would not tell this story if the result had been consistent with what young Koreans could expect these days. Yes, Koreans at that time were creative enough to produce miracles. It was a torturous to walk and run without sleep for six days, but they reached Pyongyang before Americans did. Remember that hard work is an integral part of creativity.

The commander of the Korean Division was Paik Sun-Yup with one star at that time. Two years later, in 1952, he became the Army Chief of Staff. He then became Korea's first four-star general. In 1950, he explained to his troops why Koreans had to get to Pyongyang before Americans, and said loudly "I will walk and you will follow me."

Gen. Paik, who was initially trained as an officer in the Japanese army, never understood why soldiers had to wear neckties. Thus, he always came to ceremonies in his combat fatigue without necktie. He did not carry his pistol, but he always had his water canteen hanging on his belt. Koreans were then quick to produce a joke that Paik was not carrying water in his canteen, but wine or whisky. They nicknamed the canteen as "Paik Su-Yup's Sool-tong." These days, it's official name is "Soo-tong," but our young soldiers do not know the history.

Two years ago, I met a Korean army officer. In order to kihap him, I asked him why the canteen is called "Soo-tong" instead of a more natural word "Mool-tong." To my surprise, he had a clear understanding of its history. He told me he can tell the alcoholic content of the liquid inside by looking at the canteen. I asked him how. He was quite scientific in his explanation, but I do not know whether his theory works in the real world. He said he definitely can tell, and I had to trust him. Who says Koreans lack imagination?

This article was modified and updated on 2000.2.29


Koreans gatherings at international conferences

Y.S.Kim (2000.3.15)

In this mail, I will be be talking about the March meeting of the American Physical Society to be held next week in Minneapolis. But I will deal with this specific event from the point of view of our goal of getting ahead of Japan in science. This article should be of interest not only to those who are coming to the APS meeting but also to those who like to make an assessment of where Koreans stand in the world.

On Wednesday, March 22, there will be the traditional Korean banquet at Jangwon Restaurant, 4920 Central Ave N.E., Columbia Heights, MN 55421, Tel: (612)572-8535.

This meeting has been arranged by the Korean graduate students at the Univ. of Minnesota. They are Seokcheon Lee (chairman of the organizing committee, seoklee@hep.umn.edu), Eunjung Ko (eko@physics.umn.edu), and Soo-hyeon Nam (shnam@physics.umn.edu).

Large school buses will be waiting for you at the entrance of the convention center from 6:00 PM to 6:30 PM. They will leave at 6:30 PM. If you miss the bus, take a taxi (not expensive), and give the taxi driver the address of the restaurant.

We have a well-established tradition for this Korean gathering. This particular program was started by Prof. Sangbu Nam in 1970 who always carries a paternalistic instinct to younger Koreans. Prof. Nam, now called Nam Sangbu Yung-gam, will come to this meeting and will show his familiar smile to everybody.

Then where do I stand in this history? Yes, I have also arranged many Korean gatherings in the past. My contribution was to bring in technology to the meetings. Before 1972, I used to organize the Korean banquets during the APS Washington meetings. Since there were no Korean places those days, we had to meet at Chinese restaurants. In order to calculate the expense for each participant, I introduced a "slide rule" which was the most sophisticated calculator at that time. I will bring this slide rule to Minneapolis for those who like to see the gadget.

In 1994, I introduced an internet communication system to this banquet series and installed the rule that the dinner meeting be organized by the Korean students living nearest to the conference site. This is a now well-established culture among Korean physicists. Indeed, the Korean students at the Univ. of Washington are all excited about their turn next year when the APS March meeting will take place in Seattle.

So, what does this have to do with our business of getting ahead of Japan? First of all, Japanese scientists cannot have this kind of meeting because they do not have their own internet communication system. However, the main purpose of this program is to train our young students in organizing conferences. Koreans are already ahead of Japanese in organizational skills. We should be able to use these skills to elevate ourselves.

How do I know this kind of dinner organization has anything to with conferences? The answer to this question is very simple. I know from my own experiences. I created three international conferences and provide communication supports for more than 100 conferences in my field. Hungarians are planning to hold an important meeting in 2002. Eugene Wigner was born in Hungary in 1902. They are going to have the Wigner centennial conference in 2002. They asked me to provide an organizational support for this event. I thus have to fly to Budapest one week after the Korean banquet in Minnesota. If I am a conference man of the world, I started with my organization of Korean banquets in early days of my professional life.

Not many Koreans come to the conferences I organize, but many Japanese do. I treat them very nicely. You would agree that this is the best way to give kihap to Japanese. I intend to kihap them in Hungary in 2002 AD.


Hollywood's Hungarian connection

Y.S.Kim (2000.4.9)

When I was on a Hungarian Airline flight from New York to Budapest on April 1, I was sitting next to a young man who works for a film company in Hollywood. I do not know too much about the movie industry, but I knew that Hollywood was created by Hungarians. Leslie Howard was a Hungarian. He was the male counterpart of Scarlet O'Hara in the classic film "Gone with the Wind." Tony Curtis and Jaza Garbo were Hungarians. There were many nameless actors and actress of the Hungarian origin.

I told the young man that movie screens these days are made by computers and that I do not know why he has to go to Hungary. True he said, but he added that the film industry still needs nice-looking animals. He said further that the purpose of his trip is to recruit actors and actresses from Hungary. While in Budapest, I casually met several young ladies who like to go to Hollywood and become famous, and I took their photos. But they are not attractive enough to be on my Web page. I assume the movie makers have a different approach to those prospective stars.

On my return trip, I was sitting next to a young Hungarian who works for a film company in Budapest. He assisted me in locating a Hungarian company making documentary films on Hungarian engineers and scientists. He is a camera man who knows how to take pictures, and he told me that the most of the motion pictures from Hollywood were taken by Hungarian camera men.

Why is Hungary so important to us? The Hollywood personalities are not the only people Hungary produced. Since 1905, Hungary produced twelve Nobel Laureates. So what? The point is that the Hungarian genetic structure (DNA or whatever) is almost identical to that of Koreans. From the racial point of view, we should be able to do whatever Hungarians can do. I will elaborate on this in my future articles. Here, I will explain why Hungarians carry the same DNA structure as ours.

Our Mongolian origin is well known, but Hungarians do not want to talk about their Mongolian connection. Our understanding is that Genghis Khan's troops went there to set up a country, but Hungarians vehemently deny this. They only talk about Genghis Khan eliminating more than one half of their population. When did the Hungarians inherit the Mongolians genes?

About one thousand years before Genghis Khan, a group of boys from two Mongolian tribes called "Hun" and "Magyar" went out for deer hunting. Those boys did not know the deers can run faster than their horses, and they got lost. They finally reached a northern shore of the Black Sea, where they spotted a group Persian girls taking bath. To them, those naked girls were the angels from the heaven. They were successful in keeping those angels from climbing back to heaven. This is the way in which Hungarians were created.

Like us, Hungarians were carrying Mongolian genes many years before Genghis Khan's troop went there. Most certainly, those troops did not reduce the Mongolian influence on their genes. George Marx these days is the most senior Hungarian physicist. He behaves like King Herod to his younger colleagues. Dr. Marx once told me that Korean and Hungarians have the same genetic structure. He then bluntly asked me why Korean are so anti-creative while Hungarians are so creative. I of gave him an appropriate answer.

Do you know who invented the electronic computer? Do you know who provided the electro-mechanical device which enabled Henry Ford to produce Model T from the first assembly line? Do you know who invented nuclear chain reaction which led to the first atom bomb? Do you know who first used quantum mechanics to understand crystals in solid? I can ask more than one hundred questions of this kind. They were all Hungarians.

Next time, I hope to talk about some of Hungarian scientists and their educational system.


Hungarian music

Y.S.Kim (2000.4.14)

I have with me a list of the twelve Hungarian Nobel Laureates, and I can copy their names now. But they will not have any meaning to us unless there is a reason for us to think Hungarians are our relatives. I mentioned last time their DNA is almost identical to ours, and I explained why.

In addition, their language structure is the same as ours. Like us, they write their family names first. In Budapest, merchants speak Japanese fluently because the Japanese grammar is the same as ours. For me, it is fun to confuse them by telling in Japanese language that I am not a Japanese. However, this similarity in grammar does not prove their DNA is the same as ours.

Let us take a different approach. When birds and insects sing, they are inviting their sex mates. As for humans, Vienna waltz is an invitation to dance. When I was in Acapulco (Mexico) last month, I bought a music CD containing "chellenos." They say the chellenos were developed in Mexico by slaves from Africa. They are invitations to sex, more advanced than the Viennese waltz. I have not done the experiment of inviting birds or insects by playing chellenos, but I think I can invite human beings with chellenos. Birds and humans have drastically different DNAs.

If the Hungarian DNA is the same as ours, their music must mean something to us. Yes, indeed. I we go to Korean tea rooms, shops, and restaurants, the most popular background music is the Hungarian dance No. 5 composed by Brahms. We also hear No. 4 and 6 often. In addition, we hear quite often the piano version of the Hungarian March by Mozart, and many others. How about the music by Hungarian composers? I can mention the Hungarian Fantasy by Franz Liszt. Inspired by this Fantasy, our Ahn Ik-Tae composed the Korean fantasy which contains our National Anthem. Zoltan Kotaly and Bela Baltak are also among the world-famous Hungarian composers.

Japanese can export everything to the United States except their popular songs. I would say that it is because Japanese DNA is substantially different from that of Americans. We like Japanese songs presumably because our DNA is the same as theirs. Misora Hibari was the most popular singer in post-war Japan, and I like her songs. Her real name was Kato Katsuya, and one of grandfathers was a Korean. In order to examine the Hungarian DNA, I may bring a boombox and with a Hibari CD when I go to Hungary next time, and play her songs at Budapest's main shopping district. I should be able to attract many Hungarians.

Which piece of the Hungarian music do I like best? Johann Strauss wrote the opera called "Die Fledermaus." There, a Hungarian countess shows up in the middle of a high-society party in Vienna. She sings a song called "My Country," and she sings how beautiful her country is in a cheerful tone. I have been away from my country nearly for 50 years, and I become quite homesick whenever I hear this song, and I become convinced that my DNA is the same as that of Hungarians. Every year at the end of December, this opera is shown at New York's Lincoln Center. Since I was so busy in the past, I have never been to this program. Now, I think I can afford to go there in one of the future years if not this year. Would you like to go with me?


Tesla and Westinghouse

Y.S.Kim (2000.4.16)

Tesla and Westinghouse are familiar words to us. We use tesla to measure magnetic field, and Westinghouse means an American company which used to produce electric appliances and build nuclear power plants. Indeed, in early days of Korea's nuclear power plants (before 1975), Korean engineers used to come to Reading (Pennsylvania, northwest of Philadelphia) to get trainings in nuclear technology from the Westinghouse establishments.

George Westinghouse was an American inventor and businessman. He invented a brake system for trains using compressed air. This seems trivial these days, but it was a great invention in 1865 when railroads represented the high-tech industry in the United States. He later met a man named Nikola Tesla who came from a province of the Austro-Hungarian empire known these days as Croatia. Tesla was interested in rotating magnetic fields and magnetic fields changing like trigonometric funtions. This meant AC and transformers. Based on Tesla's idea, Westinghouse in 1886 set up an electric company named after himself. Thomas Edison was of course a great inventor, but he was not able to apply trigonometric functions to the electric devices he invented. Westinghouse thus won the battle against Edison's power company based strictly on DC.

There are a number of common names among Hungarians. Among them, Horvath is quite common. This name means that the person came from their southern province now called Croatia. Thus, Hungarians are claiming that Tesla was one of their own people, and they are right. The world without AC is unthinkable these days. It is also true that if Tesla had not done it, someone else could have done. The development of AC is inevitable consequence of the history of technology. Yet, it is important to note that a man from Hungary filled in this niche.

With AC, you can build transformers and send electric power to far-away places. AC motors are mechanically much simpler than DC motors, and I can list many other advantages. Alarmed by Westinghouse's success, his competitors filed law suits against him alleging that AC machines are dangerous to health. He also had an internal revolt from his company. He eventually got thrown out from the company he created, and he died. Remember this. Invention is one thing, but capitalization is another thing. In the latter process, you may risk your own life. If you have a scientific result which, in your opinion, deserves a Nobel prize, you have to fight for it. People will try to kill you before giving up.

These days, I meet many Korean chemical engineering students, and I enjoy talking with them. They complain that they are not getting job announcements in their field. This is also my complaint, but it takes time to establish a credible network system in a given area. We should work together. Next time, I will talk about a Hungarian who started out as a chemical engineer but had to settle with a Nobel prize in physics. Can you guess his name?


Hungarians open the nuclear age.

Y.S.Kim (2000.4.19)

Since nuclear bombs were dropped on two populated Japanese cities in 1945, Japanese have enough reason to trace the origin of the the first atom bombs. According to an NHK TV program which I watched several years ago, the concept of superbombs were created by Hungarians. Shortly after Alfred Nobel's invention of dynamite, a Hungarian author wrote a science fiction about a superbomb with explosive many million times more powerful than TNT. I forgot his name, but his design was a spherical package containing super-explosive material surrounded enclosed within a package of conventional TNT. When TNT explodes, the super-explosive will feel a strong pressure and will detonate.

However, this science fiction did not tell how to make the super- explosives. It was a Hungarian-born scientist named Leo Szilard who first succeeded in creating nuclear chain reaction, which was the key to producing the super-explosives needed for the above-mentioned super- bombs. These explosive materials are known these days as uranium and plutonium. They are used for the fission bombs like the ones dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Later, a Hungarian scientist named Edward Teller had an idea of having a super-super material within a super-bomb. This resulted in hydrogen bombs. The United States first conducted the hydrogen bomb test in 1952. This unfortunately started an arms race with the Soviet Union. Teller is still alive and still enjoys making controversial statements.

Since the emergence of these bombs, scientists have been and still are interested in peaceful use of these explosive powers. In order to harness of the energy of the hydrogen bomb, physicists opened a new branch called "plasma physics," but I do not know where they stand in producing controlled thermo-nuclear reaction (slow explosion of the hydrogen bomb). On the other hand, the slow-burning process of the uranium (atom bomb) has been successfully developed, and more than one half of Korea's electric power comes from the burning uranium.

In this nuclear reactor industry, the most difficult problem is how to isolate radio-active nuclear processes from the environment. You have to invent a wall which will stop and trap all radio-active particles coming from the reactor. Here again, a Hungarian named Eugene Wigner played the decisive role. Wigner started as a chemical engineer in Hungary, but went to the Technical University of Berlin to complete his doctoral degree in chemical engineering. While studying chemistry, Wigner was intensely interested in crystals in solid. This created a number of new branches of physics and engineering.

  1. By applying quantum mechanics to solid, he essentially created a branch of physics known these days as condensed matter physics.
  2. Because of his background in quantum mechanics applied to solid, he was able to come up with ideas of how to construct materials which will stop protons and neutrons coming from the nuclear reaction.
  3. Crystals in solid have rotational and translational symmetries. Wigner became interested in applying mathematical tools dealing with those symmetry properties. This branch of mathematics is called group theory. Group theory is essential in particle physics and nuclear structure physics. For his contribution in symmetry problems in physics, Wigner got the 1963 Nobel prize in physics.
  4. I can mention many more, but I would like to point out how important group theory is in engineering. In robotics, creating rotations is one of the fundamental operations. It is a simple matter if the rotation is around a fixed axis. If the rotation axis swings around, you need the "rotation group" to understand this problem.
  5. We all know how important optics is in future communications and high-tech industry. It is well by now well-established that the basic scientific language of quantum optics is the Lorentz group which Wigner introduced to physics in 1939. In addition, the optical engineering (including polarization, interferometry, Fabry-Perot cavity, mode-locking, resonators, reflections) is based on complex two-by-two matrices. I we put the normalization condition that their determinants be one, those two-by-two matrices have six independent parameters, and their algebraic property is dictated by the six-parameter Lorentz group.
One hundred fifty years ago, sine and cosine functions were very strange to electrical engineering. These days, Wigner's group theory appears strange to optical engineers. If you can make a judicious use of the Lorentz group, you may become like Tesla or Westinghouse whom I mentioned last time. I am interested in this business. Would you like to write papers with me?


John von Neumann and his first computer

Y.S.Kim (2000.4.26)

Did you know that the electronic computer was invented by a Hungarian? I wrote about John von Neumann in my article of 1997.6.21. I will talk about him again tonight using some of the paragraphs from my earlier article. If you do not have time to read this article, visit

http://www.physics.umd.edu/robot/neumann.html
to see the images von Neumann and his first electronic computer.

Von Neumann was born in Hungary in 1903 and died in 1957 at Princeton. He had been a member of Princeton's Institute of Advanced Studies. He went to Princeton in 1930. There he developed two new branches of mathematics. The first is called Game Theory which allows economists to formulate quantitative approach to the relation between individual instincts and the overall economic variables.

His most important contribution was to formulate the mathematical logic which electronics can perform. This is the reason why von Neumann is often called the father of computers. He was interested in building the machine which will perform the logic. He thus invited a number of electronic engineers to the Institute of Advanced Study and started making gadgets consisting of many vacuum tubes and transformers. Indeed, he succeeded in assembling the first electronic computer at the Institute.

However, the Institute directors decided that the vacuum tubes are too secular and thus not consistent with the objectives of Einstein's Institute. As a consequence, those engineers went to IBM and other companies and started the computer industry. Princeton made many mistakes in the past, and presumably this process is still continuing. The rejection of the computer industry is the worst mistake Princeton made.

Let us go back to von Neumann. He was also an original thinker in physics. In 1932, he wrote a book entitled "Die mathematische Grundlagen der Quanten-mechanik (Springer-Verlag), which was translated into English in 1955. The English title of this book is Mathematical Foundation of Quantum Mechanics (Princeton University Press). As some of you know, this book is the Old Testament of quantum measurement theory. Von Neumann did not stop here. He developed the mathematics called von Neumann algebra. This is a language of quantum mechanics taking into account uncertainty caused by entropy due to limitations of measurements. Indeed, this is a very lively branch of physics these days, and the New Testament of this subject is yet to be written.

In July of this year, there will be a conference on this subject in Paris. Electronic and optical engineers are keenly interested in this subject because their accuracy is reaching the quantum limit. I have been invited to this conference. Would you like to come to Paris this summer to watch the girls with me?


Images of nice-looking Russians

Y.S.Kim (2000.4.28)

We attach to each position announcement an article aimed at telling our young people that this world is much wider than one half of the Korean peninsula. In recent weeks, this network has been distributing stories about Hungarians who made contributions in the United States. We talked about Hungarian movie makers, a Hungarian electrical engineer named Nikola Tesla, Hungarian-born nuclear scientists, and the Hungarian who invented the electronic computer. We will hear more about Hungarians and why the Hungarian success stories are relevant to us.

However, it is about time to take a break. Let us watch some nice-looking Russian girls and ladies. Please visit

http://www2.physics.umd.edu/~yskim/style.html
for interesting pictures.

I explained many times in my earlier articles why it is so easy for us to approach Russian girls and ladies. For those who missed my articles or forgot what I said, I will explain again.

One hundred years ago, Korean boys were not allowed to talk with girls. These days, they talk too much. How did this happen? During the period 1920-40, Korean men learned how to write Hangul by exchanging love letters with Korean women. During this period, many Korean authors wrote romance stories. Among them, the towering figure was Lee Kwang Soo. How did he become so prominent? It is because his romance novels accurately hit the hearts and minds of Koreans. The other side of Lee Kwang Soo's talent was that he was able to digest the Russian literature. Most of his romance stories are variations of Tolstoy's Anna Karerina. From these, we can conclude that Koreans practice their romance in the way Russians do. Thus, we can practice romance with Russians in the way we do among ourselves.

I invented this theory and am conducting experiments. So far, my theory has been quite consistent with the experiments which I performed. If you wish to disprove my theory, do some experiments and tell me why your results are not consistent with my theory. In the meantime, you are invited to visit my "ruslady.html" page and entertain yourself.


Twelve Nobels from Hungary

Y.S.Kim (2000.5.4)

When I urge our young scientists to be ambitious enough to work for Nobel prize, their usual answer is that one should not work for any prize but for truly outstanding work. They say further that they have a contempt toward those who work for a particular prize. They can say this if they are going to achieve as much as Nikolas Teslar, Leo Szilard, Edward Teller, John von Neumann, and many other Hungarians who made impacts in the 20th century without Nobel prize.

If you are not as great as they are, you may settle with a Nobel prize. Indeed, Hungary produced many second-class scientists who had to settle with Nobels. Let us list their names. Like us, they write their family names first.

Name Field Year
Lenard Fulop Physics 1905
Barany Robert Medicine 1914
Zsigmondy Richard Chemistry 1925
Szent-Gyorgyi Albert Medicine 1937
Hevesy Gyorgy Chemistry 1943
Beksey Gyorgy Medicine 1961
Wigner Jeno Physics 1963
Gabor Denis Physics 1971
Wiesel Elie Literature 1986
Polanyi Janos Chemistry 1986
Olah Gyorgy Chemistry 1994
Harsanyi Janos Economics 1994

Hungarians are of course very proud of their Nobel as will as non-Nobel scientists. If I ask them how they were able to achieve so much, they all say that it has something to do with their secondary educational system. Then, is their pre-college educational system fundamentally different from the Korean system? I talked about this problem in one of my earlier articles, but I will talk again next time. This seems to be a timely topic because the Korean high-school system appears to be thoroughly bankrupt these days.


Exporting articles to Japan

Y.S.Kim (2000.5.9)

Many Japanese scientists are connected to YSNET's international program. They are interested in what I say about their country. They are however more interested in stories about the places they cannot reach easily. For instance, they like Harvard or Princeton stories. They are just like us.

As you probably know, Japanese always maintain a strong feeling toward the "Dai Chi" (great land, Asian mainland). With this point, I sent them a collection of my recent stories of Hungary, including the story about Russian ladies. I sent them all the articles in the original form, except the story about Hungarian music. I modified the story in order to accommodate the fact that we like also Japanese songs. You may be interested in my cover letter and the new version of the music story. Please continue reading.

Cover Letter: Seven or six years ago, Japan's NHK aired a series of TV programs entitled "Dai Mongoru" (great Mongols). I assume that this program was popular in Japan because you always have a romantic feeling toward the "Dai-chi," and because you somehow feel that Japanese have a genetic influence from Mongolians. I learned many lessons from this program. I learned that Marco Polo came to China on a carriage provided by Mongolian troops, not in the way described in history books written by Westerners.

Since April 9, I have written a number of articles about Hungary. They were written for Korean readers who receive my e-mails regularly. If you liked the "Dai Mongoru," you will be interested in what Hungarians did in the United States in the past century.

Sincerely, Y.S.Kim (2000.5.7)

Hungarian Music

Y.S.Kim (2000.4.14)

I have with me a list of the twelve Hungarian Nobel Laureates, and I can copy their names now. But they will not have any meaning to us unless there is a reason for us to think Hungarians are our relatives. I mentioned last time their DNA is almost identical to ours, and I explained why.

In addition, their language structure is the same as ours. Like us, they write their family names first. In Budapest, merchants speak Japanese fluently because the Japanese grammar is the same as ours. For me, it is fun to confuse them by telling in Japanese language that I am not a Japanese. However, this similarity in grammar does not prove their DNA is the same as ours.

Let us take a different approach. When birds and insects sing, they are inviting their sex mates. As for humans, Vienna waltz is an invitation to dance. When I was in Acapulco (Mexico) last month, I bought a music CD containing "chellenos." They say the chellenos were developed in Mexico by slaves from Africa. They are invitations to sex, more advanced than the Viennese waltz. I have not done the experiment of inviting birds or insects by playing chellenos, but I think I can invite human beings with chellenos. Birds and humans have drastically different DNAs.

If the Hungarian DNA is the same as ours, their music must mean something to us. Yes, indeed. I we go to Korean tea rooms, shops, and restaurants, the most popular background music is the Hungarian dance No. 5 composed by Brahms. We also hear No. 4 and 6 often. In addition, we hear quite often the piano version of the Hungarian March by Mozart, and many others. How about the music by Hungarian composers? I can mention the Hungarian Fantasy by Franz Liszt. Inspired by this Fantasy, our Ahn Ik-Tae composed the Korean fantasy which contains our National Anthem.

Japanese can export everything to the United States except their popular songs. I would say that it is because Japanese DNA is substantially different from that of Americans. We like Japanese songs presumably because our DNA is the same as theirs. Misora Hibari was the most popular singer in post-war Japan, and I like her songs. Her real name was Kato Katsuya, and one of grandfathers was a Korean. In order to examine the Hungarian DNA, I may bring a boomboxand with Hibari CD when I go to Hungary next time, and play her songs at Budapest's main shopping district. I should be able to attract many Hungarians.

Which piece of the Hungarian music do I like best? Johann Strauss wrote the opera called "Die Fledermaus" (*). There, a Hungarian countess shows up in the middle of a high-society party in Vienna. She sings a song called "My Country," and she sings how beautiful her country is in a cheerful tone. I have been away from my country nearly for 50 years, and I become quite homesick whenever I hear this song, and I become convinced that my DNA is the same as that of Hungarians. Every year at the end of December, this opera is shown at New York's Lincoln Center. Since I was so busy in the past, I have never been to this program. Now, I think I can afford to go there in one of the future years if not this year. Would you like to go with me?

------------------------------------------------------------------------
* This opera is known in Japan as "Ko-omori-no Uda," and the Ko-omori waltz used to be very popular among Japanese. I heard this opera once in Korea from NHK shortwave broadcast during the year-end period of 1952. Be careful! I am still listening to you using my short-wave radio (11.7 MHZ. from 10.00-12.00 PM JST).
------------------------------------------------------------------------

I included the following articles in my package to my Japanese readers.

  1. HOLLYWOOD'S HUNGARIAN CONNECTION (2000.4.9).
  2. HUNGARIAN MUSIC (2000.4.14).
  3. TESLA AND WESTINGHOUSE (2000.4.16).
  4. HUNGARIANS OPEN THE NUCLEAR AGE (2000.4.19).
  5. JOHN VON NEUMANN AND HIS FIRST COMPUTER (2000.4.26).
  6. IMAGES OF NICE-LOOKING RUSSIANS (2000.4.28).
  7. TWELVE NOBELS FROM HUNGARY (2000.5.4).

I am attaching a letter from one of our readers. He raises an important question: why I am not visiting Korea. I gave my answer before, and he clearly understands what I said there. But he thinks there is a more fundamental reason. He is right! I will discuss this issue in a future article, in connection with Korea's growing isolationism (very dangerous trend). In the meantime, you are invited to read his sweet but straight- forward letter, and possibly learn from him how to write letters. YSK (2000.5.10)

Date: Mon, 8 May 2000 10:10:48 -0500
From: kshahn@datalogics.com

Dear Prof. Kim:

I have been reading your email articles for about three years, and I like them because you speak very frankly with a style that is uncommon for a Korean. You have mentioned several times that you have not been to Korea for a long time. You also once gave a reason why you have not gone back and under what conditions you might.

My uncle and aunt (uncle's sister) both have small grocery stores in Brooklyn and because they run it themselves they cannot easily take a week or two off to travel. But still they have gone to Korea perhaps once a year. They still had two siblings there up until a year ago, so there was reason to go back.

This makes me wonder why an academic like yourself has not gone back in such a long time. For me, there was a time when I didn't want to go to Korea. I had no interest whatsoever. I thought I would be uncomfortable there, since my Korean is not so good. After I got my PhD my father asked me to take a trip to Korea to meet some women (suhn; I was single then). I went without expecting anything but came back engaged to my father's friend's daughter. Because I still have relatives there and I also have my wife's family, I would like to visit Korea as often as I can.

Perhaps you can write an article on your feelings toward visiting Korea.

Respectfully,

Ki Suk Hahn

PS. Since I go to a Korean-American church here in Chicago, I know a lot of second-generation Koreans. There is a lot of misunderstanding about Korea even among second-generation people. This is regrettable but also interesting. What's also interesting is that the Korean spoken by second-generation kids is of the same vintage as their parents, especially if they speak Korean only to their parents. If they hang out with Korean-speaking younger people, especially recent immigrants and foreign students, they pick up more modern usage and styles. Your opinion on this is also appreciated.


Letter (2000.5.11)

We are attaching a letter from a second-generation Korean student studying at Harvard. Please read this letter and learn how to write letters in English. Then submit your own articles for circulation.

Date: Thu, 11 May 2000 03:16:44 -0400
From: hyang@fas.harvard.edu
Subject: second-generation scientists

Dear Dr. Kim,

I have very much enjoyed reading your imaginative and colorful columns for the past three years. I have noticed by reading this column that many Koreans are obsessed with winning the Nobel prize. I would like to comment on this. To let you know a little about my background, I am a second-generation Korean-American, and I am currently in my final year of undergraduate studies at Harvard as a physics major.

From my experience, it seems that Koreans are very interested in acquiring prestige and good "names." This means wearing Italian clothing, driving a German automobile, and attending an Ivy university. But it is also very rare that scientists are in a position to gain the same kind of prestige. We all know that for every one Nobel prize winner, there are ten scientists who made equally outstanding contributions to scientific knowledge but who will forever remain in relative obscurity. And of course, none of these scientists will ever make much money. As a result, most second-generation "traditional" Koreans that I have met at Harvard choose to enter financially lucrative fields like medicine, law and finance instead. Only the thoroughly "Americanized" ones (and usually daughters) dare to explore non-traditional paths.

Is this a problem? Yes, because as long as Korean society values prestige and money more than the selfless pursuit of knowledge, the brightest and most talented of Korean-Americans will continue to flock to financially rewarding professions instead of taking the "risky" step of becoming a scientist. A Nobel prize may be prestigious, but if prestige is all that is desired, there are many easier, quicker, and more lucrative paths to achieving that end. Rather, Korean society needs to learn to value anonymous scientists before our society will start producing Nobel-quality science.

Respectfully submitted,

Halla Yang, hyang@fas.harvard.edu


Which story do you like to hear?

Y.S.Kim (2000.5.15)

You have read in our two previous mails letters from the readers. You are encouraged to submit your own articles spelling out your own ideas about what we should and should not do in order to improve our standing in the world scientific community.

In the future, I would like to continue writing articles on the following subjects.

  1. I would like to continue my series on how to cope with discriminations against Koreans in the U.S., if they exist.
  2. My stories about Hungary seem to be very popular among Japanese and and among Hungarians. I assume many Koreans like them even they do do not admit. I would like to discuss the Hungarian educational system and compare it with the Korean system.
  3. I will then like to tell you what my answer was to Dr. George Marx, the most senior Hungarian physicist, who asked me why Koreans are so anti-creative while Hungarians are so creative. He told me that his niece is a genetic scientist and that, according to her, Koreans and Hungarians share the almost identical DNA.
  4. Recently, one of our readers asked me why I have never been to Korea since I came to the U.S. in 1954. He knows and understand my earlier answer. My earlier answer was like this. Many Koreans come to the United States to study, but they cannot go home without PhD. This has been a well-established tradition since 1950. You would agree that it is about time to raise our standard to something higher than PhD. I have been telling this to my younger friends for sometime. The only way to preach this kind of ideology is for me to set my own standard. However, many readers suspect that there is a more fundamental reason. They are right. I often give troubles to my Koreans colleagues and potentially to Korea. This is precisely what I do not wish to do. Do you really like to what is wrong with me?
Which story would you like to hear first?


In my last e-mail, I presented four topics I might discuss and asked the readers which story they like to hear first. Many people responded, and they all chose the fourth topic, which reads

Recently, one of our readers asked me why I have never been to Korea since I came to the U.S. in 1954. He knows and understand my earlier answer. My earlier answer was like this. Many Koreans come to the United States to study, but they cannot go home without PhD. This has been a well-established tradition since 1950. You would agree that it is about time to raise our standard to something higher than PhD. I have been telling this to my younger friends for sometime. The only way to preach this kind of ideology is for me to set my own standard. However, many readers suspect that there is a more fundamental reason. They are right. I often give troubles to my Koreans colleagues and potentially to Korea. This is precisely what I do not wish to do. Do you really like to what is wrong with me?


We are not perfect yet. II

Y.S.Kim (2000.5.18)

About five months ago, I wrote a series of articles on C.N.Yang. Dr. Yang received the Nobel prize in physics in 1957, and I met him in that year while I was an undergraduate student. I still respect him as a great scientist. But this does not prevent me from saying that Koreans should stop paying him a large sum of money every year for nothing. I stated that inviting Yang to the head of the APCTP was one of the biggest mistakes made by the Korean science establishments. Because of the C.N.Yang case, many useless foreign scientists smell easy money and flock into Korea. After getting their undeserved compensation, they all say Korea is a backward country. In this way, Korea's "No.1" university became the worst university university in the world.

Who is responsible for this blunder? It is very difficult to blame a single individual, but I have to blame myself if I am forced to name the individual. This happened during the period 1980-83. While I was attending the 1980 ICGTMP meeting (International Colloquium on Group Theoretical Methods in Physics) in Mexico, I was representing myself and my departmental colleagues who were interested in hosting its 1984 meeting at the Univ. of Maryland. There I met a Korean participant. All Koreans think they can do everything better than I can. He naturally thought that he could do a better job in Korea if I could hold the meeting at my place. As a consequence, the 1984 and 1985 meetings were host by the Univ. of Maryland and SNU of Korea respectively.

However, before making the decision to send the 1985 meeting to Korea, the Standing Committee of ICGTMP had to go through some struggle. The question was whether Koreans are capable of running an international conference on group theory, and I was trapped to answer this question. I made a mistake at that time. I knew that my answer had to be No, but I said Yes.

Yet, the 1985 Seoul meeting was a great success with about 150 foreign participants, but I was able to see things were not going in the right direction. Korean organizers became fascinated from their contacts with foreign scientists, and this was the beginning of their courting foreigners. However, were they (or are they) mature enough to conduct a foreign policy (to protect our own interest) in science? My answer was and still is No.

One year after the meeting, I had a very lengthy telephone conversation with one of the organizers of the Seoul meeting. At that time, I was not talking to a human being. I was talking to a cat with a bare bone in its mouth. The bare bone in this case corresponds to foreign scientists who are of no use to Koreans. Ten years later, they achieved their biggest success by sitting next to C.N.Yang at the opening ceremony of the APCTP.

In 1983, I made a Yes/No mistake while away from Korea. If I am in Korea, I am bound to make many more mistakes of this nature. This is the reason why I am not visiting Korea, in addition to the reason I have given in my earlier articles.

In 1994, the ICGTMP meeting was held in Osaka (Japan). At that meeting, there was one ugly Korean. He may or may not have played a major role in inviting C.N.Yang to Korea, but it is not a good idea to spell out his name because the problem was not caused by him, but Korea's isolationism for which we use the word "frogs in a deep well." YSK (2000.5.18). Please continue reading for what happened in Osaka in 1994.

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES IN KOREA

Y .S. Kim (1994.7.11)

I just came back from Osaka (Japan) after attending the 20th ICGTMP (International Colloquium on Group Theoretical Methods in Physics), and I heard the news about Kim Il-Sung's death while waiting for my return flight at Osaka's Itami Airport.

Why am I writing about this conference? As many of you know, the 14th meeting of this series took place in Seoul in 1985, and there are a sizable number of people who attended both the 1985 and 1994 meetings. They all agree that the 1985 meeting in Korea was much better than the 1994 event organized by the Japanese physicists from Kyoto and Tokyo Universities.

From the world-wide point of view, the present Korean physics community is at least ten times stronger than that of 1985, while the strength of the Japanese physics remains about the same. This clearly indicates that we can play a healthy leadership role at least in the fields covered by ICGTMP.

I had some ideas along this direction as early as in 1985, but none of them worked with Koreans. On the other hand, I have been reasonably successful in forming cooperative ventures with Americans, Russians, Englishmen, Germans, Mexicans, Chinese, and Japanese. It is fair to say that I understand Korea and Koreans much better than Russians or Mexicans I am quite confident that I could cooperate with my young Korean colleagues. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have ideas.

Sincerely yours,
Y .S. Kim
------------------------------
Follow-up on the Osaka meeting

TO: Concerned Koreans
FROM: Y. S. Kim (Univ. of Maryland)
SUBJECT: We are not perfect yet.
DATE: 1994.7.18

If a Korean physicist shows up at an international committee meeting without proper credentials and is thrown out from the meeting, he is an ugly Korean. The case becomes much worse if the "ugly Korean" in question is one of SNU's most able professors who even received a presidential prize of some kind (frankly, I do not know what the prize is about).

Since I have been around, I would not be bragging too much even if I say that I am on the International Standing Committee for the International Colloquium on Group Theoretical Methods in Physics. The Committee held its regular meeting on July 7 during the 20th ICGTMP held in Osaka (Japan). This was the place where I witnessed the above-mentioned incident.

This distinguished Korean physicist wants to become a member of the Standing Committee and even tells others that he is already on the Committee. I once sent him an email spelling out the procedure for becoming a member, and said that I would support his case if and when his name is presented to the Committee. The real purpose of my email was to tell him that his membership has never been considered by the Committee and that he should not embarrass himself and his countrymen.

To be fair, there is a reason for him to be confused. As you probably know, Westerners usually have difficulties in telling Korean names. For instance, in my department, I always get the mails addressed to other Koreans whose last name is Kim. The Standing Committee mistakenly sent one or two memos to the person in question, but he never received a letter formally admitting him to the Committee. If he had read my email, he should have known clearly where the problem was. This Korean physicist ended up with a disaster because he ignored his countryman while trusting more than 100% a foreigner who does not even know his name.

I am writing this report because this is not an isolated incident. Too often I witness our students in the U.S. make mistakes of the same kind. After being screwed, some learn a lesson, but most of them do not. I assume that those students have been influenced by their professors who want to rise above their colleagues by identifying themselves with their best American friends. Here is my advice. It is safe to assume that Americans do not remember anything unless it produces money. If you cannot provide money to your American friends, they are not your friends.

You will recall that I invented the word "Pearl Harbor mentality" meaning that Japanese are bad to us not because they committed atrocities to Koreans, but because they attacked Pearl Harbor. Koreans with this mentality indeed look ugly-and-ugly to those they wish to serve and please.


Worse than the C.N.Yang fiasco

Y.S.Kim (2000.5.23)

I assume that Korean science authorities invited C.N.Yang to head the Asia-Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics in order to "rule" the physics world of Asia, including Korea, China, Japan, and India. From this Center, I received several exotic decrees and greetings, but I was never invited to its scientific programs. I assume the Center does not regard me as a scientist, while everybody I know received at least one invitation. Among the exotic decrees I received from the APCTP are

  1. An order (in the name of C.N.Yang of course) from a younger member of the Center to advertise its job openings throughout the world, using my international network system. I disobeyed Yang's order, because I frankly thought Yang was going through a "Nomang" process. In case you never heard about my international program, visit http://www.physics.umd.edu/robot to see what is going on there.
  2. Several requests from Japanese physicists to advertise conferences organized by the APCTP to be held in Korea. I rejected them all telling them that the requests should come from my Korean colleagues if the conferences were to be held on the Korean soil.
  3. I once received a mail from the Center's junior fellow named Manuel Drees telling me that I should obey the orders from those Japanese because they were appointed by Prof. Yongmin Cho. This letter sounded like a general talking to a lowest-ranking soldier. It was so rude and savageous that I told him I was not going to respond to his mail.
  4. Two or three years ago, I received two envelops containing new years greetings cards. One of them contained a printed signature of Yongmin Cho, and the other contained a printed signature in Hangul. Yes, it was a Hangul signature of Yang Chen Ning (C.N.Yang). Dr. Yang knows how to write Chinese and also English. When did he learn how to write Hangul? This card was a forgery, totally unacceptable in the civilized world. If the APCTP directors think they can deceive people in this way, their brains must be as small as a chicken head.

It is quite understandable if Korean want to play a leading role in the Asiatic world if not in the entire world. But it is not a trivial matter to become a leader. Let us take a simple case. Do you think Japanese like to be led by Koreans? Japan produced a physics Nobel before China did. Furthermore, C.N.Yang's anti-Japanese obsession is well known to all Japanese scientists. Do you think Japan will submit their wealth to Koreans before building up their own institutions?

The net result of Korea's Asia-Pacific venture was for Koreans to do all the works and pay all the expenses, and for Japanese to get all the credits. Japan is geographically close to Korea, but the present- generation Koreans do not know anything about this dangerous neighbor. This indeed is the most serious aspect of Korea's isolationism. If we ignore Japan, Japanese will come to Korea and beat our grandfathers, take away our properties, and force us to do all the dirty things for them, as they did in the past.

This kind of self-defeating posture toward Japan is not the monopoly of the APCTP. I wrote many articles on this issue in the past. I will attach one of them. YSK (2000.5.23) - Please continue reading.

Korea-Japan relation: who is in charge?

Y.S.Kim (1995.11.16)

As you know, I have been encouraging my Korean friends to cooperate with Japanese physicists, and I stated repeatedly that the first step is to understand Japan and Japanese. I also emphasized that it is easy to understand them because both countries have the same cultural root. Indeed, I have established the ILBON.KOR file containing information about Japan, and I have a plan to write children's version of Japanese history when I have time. My outline is already in the ILBON.KOR file.

In September, I attended a conference in Poland which was a result of German-Polish cooperation. There was one Japanese participant, and we agreed that joint Japanese-Korean (alphabetically ordered) meetings are quite possible and will be good for both countries. As far as Jap-Kor meetings are concerned, I am not the first one to suggest the idea. There will be a winter school in Seoul (Feb.21 - Feb.28) on particle and nuclear theory along this line. So far excellent.

Here is the problem. Our common sense dictates that invitation letters to foreign lectures be singed by a Korean physicist because the meeting will be held on the Korean soil. If not, the letters should be co-signed by both Korean and Japanese organizers. I am writing this article because the invitation letters (at least some of them) were signed by one Japanese physicist. This gives an impression to the world that Koreans cannot run their own conferences, and that Japanese have to do it for Koreans. I heard this kind of comment from a number of American physicists.

The person who signed the invitation letters is Fujikawa Kazuo from the Univ. of Tokyo. When I met him last June, he told me about his role in the forthcoming event in Korea. I was not happy when he told me he is "helping" Koreans in organizing a workshop. I asked him who Korean organizers are. He said they are Kim Jhin Eui and Song Hi Sung of SNU. In my opinion, both Prof. Kim and Prof. Song have good enough reputation around the world to sign the invitation letters.

I still think we have to develop a healthy relation with Japan in all areas of scientific research, but I would not allow Japanese to think they are running our affairs. We are irrationally anti-Japanese but, at the same time, we are encouraging them to invade us again. This is precisely why Japanese politicians keep making remarks which we do not wish to hear. The problem is largely within ourselves.


From jmspark@yoko.mit.edu Mon May 29 10:34:20 2000
Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 08:38:45 -0400 (EDT)
From: Sungil Park

Dear professor Kim,

I have been enjoying your articles a lot, and I find your opinions quite agreeable. But from time to time, you make me wonder about your mild attitude toward those pathetic Koreans. If you do not recall, SNU was established to serve Japanese imperialism, and to this date, it does not allow its members to criticize those who were loyal to Japan.

Just have a look at what happened to professor Kim Min Soo of SNU: http://astro.snu.ac.kr/~cbp/savek.html. Detailed article is at the later half of http://astro.snu.ac.kr/~cbp/kimms/press2.txt.

So it does not surprise me that some of its scientists rely on Japanese help to do anything international. Nor it does surprise me that they give you orders just like Japanese army officers would have done in the 1940's.

My question toward you is why you always beg them to behave in a civilized way and fill up your letters to us with complaints in a childish manner? Why don't you fight them by recording their voices, scanning their letters, and putting them on the web? Are you scared of their puny political power, too? If you are right, show the world that they are not civilized, nor they deserve any respect albeit their "achievements" in science.

Sincerely,
Sungil Park
Korean Graduate Student at MIT


Kim Koo international airport

Y.S.Kim (2000.6.1)

As you know, there will be a new international airport in Inchon. There is a movement to name it as "Kim Koo International Airport." I like this idea and I signed the petition. The person who asked me to sign was a polite gentleman, but he did not want to hear too much from me about Kim Koo. Nevertheless, I signed the petition because it is a good idea. How about you? You are completely free to take your own action.

When Kim Koo was in prison, there was a Korean lady who supplied the meals to him (Korean prisons did not supply food to prisoners at his time). She lived in the village where I spent the first eleven years of my life. Many Koreans say that I have a strange accent (neither Seoul nor Pyongyang) when I speak Korean. I still speak the way Kim Koo used to speak. I have many stories to tell you about him, but I will attach tonight one of my earlier articles on him.

I am doing this because so many people ask me why I still maintain my passion toward Korea while I am despised by so many Koreans. You will find my answer to this question if you visit

http://www2.physics.umd.edu/~yskim/image.html
which contains images of Actress Brooke Shields. Toward the end of this web page (frequently visited by American and Europeans), I have added a section explaining my Korean background. There you will note that Korea is a very advanced country. I said there that Koreans are music-loving people and I am one of them. What does Kim Koo have to do with music? Read the following article.

Music as an international language

Y.S.Kim (1995.10.20)

I met the other day a Korean college girl who wants to become a music composer. We noted that there are many outstanding Korean performers, but the world does not seem to recognize Korean composers. I then asked who her favorite composer is. She said Frederick Chopin [pronounced as "Shopang"]. I then asked her whether she plays piano. She said Yes.

I then told her that I am not able to read musical notes (we call them bean sprouts), but I still enjoy talking about classical music. We then continued our conversations for sometime. The point is that I could have done the same thing with girls from other countries. I receive these days many questions from our young people about how to travel freely around the world. Koreans like music, and this is one of our hidden assets when we travel around the world. By the way, I will be in Moscow next week, and Russians are also music loving people.

When I went to Poland last month, the first place to visit was the "Church of Holy Cross" across the street from the main campus of Warsaw University. I did so out of my respect for the people of Poland who maintained their Polish identity through a strong church organization. When Chopin died in Paris, he asked his friends to extract his heart from his body and bury it in Poland. I went to the church where Chopin's heart was buried.

After the service, a Polish lady (about age 40) approached me and asked me whether I know about Chopin, and I said Yes, and tried to tell her as much as I know about him. I then told her she looks like Hillary Clinton. She became so happy and asked me to take a picture with her. When you come to my office, I will show you my picture with this "gazza" Hillary. If you have some knowledge of music, it is very easy and comfortable to live in this world, and Koreans are not behind in this musical culture.

I then walked (about 2 kilometers) to Warsaw's Frederick Chopin Park, and spent one hour there asking questions about this great composer. Chopin wrote many musical masterpieces for piano, and Koreans like to play them. He wrote many of them with specific titles, and many without titles. Those without titles are called "Etudes" or "Ballads." One of them can be converted into a band music, and is often played as a funeral march, usually for kings and presidents. In Korea, this funeral march was played on July 5, 1949 for the funeral procession of Kim Koo. There were two bands. One was the combined Army/Navy band, and the other was the combined high school band. They took turns to play this march. When Kim Koo's casket was lowered around 9:00 PM, the Army trumpeters played the last section of the Hymn "Until we meet again" (Dasi Man-nal Dae). The entire nation wept, and even the birds wept. I still have to fight my tears when I talk about that day.

Remeber this. When you travel around the world, you need travel equipments such as suit-case, credits cards, etc. You should also carry music with you. If you do not know much about music, learn! Einstein played violin, Weisskopf and Dyson play piano, and Feynman used to sing while playing bongo drums.


In addition to Russian ladies

Y.S.Kim (2000.6.22)

Many of you have visited my web page for Russian ladies. This web page has now become popular among my Russian colleagues, and they are sending me suggestions. Their suggestion, as well as those from Koreans, is that I should include ladies from other countries. This is not an easy job for me because the "ladies" is not my main business. I did the Russian ladies as a physics project: to construct a theory and then test the theory experimentally. Within this limited framework, I am able to add some non-Russian ladies to the existing theory of Russian ladies. I also changed the address of the web page to

http://ysfine.com/friends

for your summer-time enjoyment. You will note that I have added some Italian ladies in response to some of my Korean friends. Next month, I will be visiting France, Ukraine, and Russia. I hope to be able to bring back many more interesting images.

To the above web page, I have added a section introducing my Korean connection. I decided to include one photo of Koreans I meet while travelling around the world. Last week, I was at the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste (Italy). I met there a number of Korean students. I took a picture with them, and it is indeed a pleasure for me to show this picture to you. This photo will stay on the web page until I find a new group of Koreans while travelling.

I am doing this in order to show how attractive this world is. Please open up your eyes to the world, and get rid of the concept of becoming Korea's No. 1. Many young people ask me to teach them how to go out with the girls from so many different countries. I hope to be able to write a series of articles on this subject. In the meantime, enjoy the ladies.html we page, and enjoy your summer vacation.


Web page for Budapest Evangelikus Gimnaziun

Y.S.Kim (2000.6.23)

In one of my earlier articles, I have given you a list of twelve Nobel Laureates from Hungary, in addition to those who changed the world without Nobel. It is worth noting that three of those distinguished Hungarians came from the same high school in Budapest. They are von Neumann, Wigner, and Harsanyi. I do not know too much about Harsanyi because he is an economist, but I do know about von Neumann and Wigner. This is the reason why their high school asked me to provide materials from the United States for their centennial celebrations of Wigner in 2002 and von Neumann in 2003. This project is different from the Wigner centennial conference which I mentioned in an earlier article.

I have enough pictures of Eugene Wigner in my web pages, but I only started collecting the von Neumann photos. I will go to Princeton on Monday to obtain copies of his pictures from the Institute's library. I will put them into my web pages before sending them to Hungary. In the meantime you are invited to visit

http://ysfine.com/wigner/evengel.html

to see the campus of this distinguished high school.

Here is the question. Why does this Hungarian high school have to ask a non-Hungarian (myself) to provide assistance for two of their most important historical events?

Right! Hungarians have some weaknesses in their character. They are strikingly similar to our own Korean weaknesses. Those great Hungarians handled this problem very wisely. I hope to talk about this issue next time.


Wisdom of Korea (2000, July -- December)


Lessons from Harvard and humble Koreans

Y.S.Kim (2000.7.4)

I will continue my story on the weaknesses shared by Koreans and Hungarians. As a prelude to this new series, I would like to emphasize that Koreans are great people, but they transform themselves to bandits (do nothing while exploiting others) after they become educated. It is indeed sickening to read newspaper stories about Korean medical doctors. In order to make my point, I am attaching two of my earlier articles on this subject. YSK (2000.7.4)

Another Harvard story

Y.S.Kim (1996.1.9)

It is not uncommon for Korean particle theorists to tell me they know Eugene Wigner better than I do. I have difficulties in talking with them, and I seem to have a reputation as an impossible man among those people.

There are many Korean professors spending one year in the United States, and many of them are first-time visitors. They are not necessarily physicists. They can be engineers, philosophers, environmental scientists. They worked very hard in Korea, and they certainly deserve a year-off in the U.S. It is not uncommon for them to tell me that they know the United States much better than I do. Quite contrary to the case of my particle theory colleagues, I listen to them very carefully.

Indeed, they have the detailed information about how to send their sons and daughters to Ivy League schools. I know Harvard and Princeton are Ivy schools, but I still do not know whether MIT belongs to the Ivy League. One of those professors told me that he has a friend who immigrated to the United States when his son was a child. His son was the No. 1 boy in high school with all A (plus) grades, but his application to Harvard was rejected while No 5 boy in the same high school class was admitted. He became very angry went to the Harvard admission office and asked why. He got the following answer.

The applicant is certainly an excellent student, and expressed his interest in studying medicine. His high school record has a section on the history of blood donation, but that section was blank indicating that the applicant had no interest in blood-donation activities. Thus, he is not likely to become an exemplary doctor who is really concerned about the health of others.

I hear very often similar stories from my own Korean friends. The point is that the IV League admission is not based on exam scores, but the key variable is the "leadership" quality. Since Koreans have difficulties in understanding the word leadership, it is impossible to understand the IV League admission policy in abstract terms. We can talk only about examples.

Yes, it is very difficult to measure one's leadership quality based on written materials in the application package, and those IV League schools make mistakes. Yet, the system is respected by Americans, Koreans, and even by Japanese. The question is why Korea's SKY (SNU, Korea U, Yonsei) universities cannot adopt immediately the IV League admission system. I hope to discuss this issue next time.


Last train from Seoul

Y.S.Kim (1996.1.22)

In my last article, I promised to discuss Korea's college entrance exams, and I indicated that we may gain some wisdom from the admission policies of the IV League schools. I discussed one Korean boy who was not admitted to Harvard because he never participated his high-school's blood-donation programs while his academic plan was to study medicine at Harvard.

Before getting into the admission procedure, I would like to emphasize that we do not have to hear this kind of story from the Harvard admissions office, because we can hear many of them from our fellow Koreans. Today, I will tell a story which I heard from my uncle whom I talked about in one of my earlier articles. As I said there, he dedicated his life to Korea's medical education. Naturally, he was always concerned about the ethics of Korean medical doctors and doctors-to-be. He used to tell the following story to his students.

During the early hours of June 29 (1950), he was on one of the platform cars (without walls) attached to the train which became the last train from Seoul. He was supervising the withdrawal of the medical staff of Severance Hospital (now called Yonsei Hospital), together with hundreds of wounded soldiers. As soon as the train arrived at Suwon's railroad station, it was sprayed by machine-gun bullets from Kim Il-Sung's Soviet-made fighters (called YAK fighters). The situation on the roofless platform cars was a total mess.

Amidst this confusion, my uncle heard a clear voice from those wounded soldiers. They were urging their medical doctors and nurses to run away from the train and take cover. They were concerned about the safety of the un-armed civilians they were supposed to protect. My uncle used to tell his students that their job is to protect the health of Koreans and that they should learn lessons from those humble soldiers. You would agree that those wounded boys were much stronger soldiers than some of the corrupt generals.

In 1950, the Korean army consisted mostly of volunteers. They had to join the army because their parents did not have enough money to send them to college. They were the true representatives of the humble people of Korea. While the Harvard admissions office was talking about a negative aspect of one Korean boy, we should seek eagerly positive values in our traditional culture, and we should take them into consideration when we admit boys and girls to our universities and colleges. Then how? We will talk about this later.


French educational system

Y.S.Kim (2000.7.19)

One of the readers told me that he is tired of hearing about Harvard and American educational system. I agree with him. He said he is more interested in other countries such as France. Yes, I wrote several articles about France and talked about J-P. Sartre, Marcel Carne, and Victor Hugo. I will be happy to talk more about those Frenchmen who played prominent roles in history.

Tonight, however, I would like to take a different approach. France is a democratic country and has its national assembly building. There are also many old church buildings in Paris. The Church of Magdalene is one the landmarks. From the steps of this church, one can see the front steps of the national assembly building. These two buildings are separated by a bridge across the Seine River and a wide boulevard. The distance between them is about one kilometer.

Between these two buildings, there is a monument commemorating the execution of Louis XVI and his wife. They were guillotined at that spot in 1789. This monument is quite visible to French politicians who come out from the national assembly building. What is then the next story? When I was in high school, my history teacher in 1953 said that the monument tells those politicians what happens to them if they do not run the country properly.

I routinely tell this story to Frenchmen/women when I go to France. They say that they never heard the story and ask me how I picked up this brilliant idea. I tell them I learned from my high-school teacher in Korea. They then say that France should adopt the Korean system of education. I agree with them. I have been away from Korea since 1954, but I never had a moment to think our Korean educational system is anything other than No. 1 in the world. This is the reason why I am able to approach ladies of any country in the world.

There is nothing wrong with Korea's educational system. The only problem is that Koreans refuse to learn anything from fellow Koreans. In my previous article, I mentioned to two examples. One was Harvard and the other was the case of humble Koreans. I received comments from many readers. They all talk about Harvard, but nobody mentioned a single word about those humble Koreans.

I regard myself as a strong Korean. If this is true, I always use the wisdom I gained from my family background and what I learned from my teachers. This is precisely the reason why I cannot give up my root, in spite of the fact that I am thoroughly hated and despised by my Korean compatriots.

According to my observation, Hungarians have the same problem as we do. One month ago, I met a computer engineer who works for IBM. He knows (Bill Gates does not know) that the electronic computer was invented by John von Neumann. I then asked him whether he knows von Neumann was a Hungarian. He said von Neumann's name tells he is a German. We then went into an argument. He told me I must be wrong because his wife is a Hungarian.

I have with me 15 photographs of von Neumann which I am about put into my web pages. I paid a license fee of $225 to the Institute for Advanced Study. I also told the Institute that I will send the copies to von Neumann's high school in Budapest. You would agree that this job should be carried out by Hungarians, not by a Korean even though my DNA is the same (almost the same perhaps) with those Hungarians. Yes, I may develop a contempt toward Hungarians, but I cannot because Koreans have exactly the same problem as Hungarians do.


Kim Il-Sung on Lee Kwang-Soo

Y.S.Kim (2000.7.21)

I often talk about Lee Kwang-Soo in connection with Russian ladies. Indeed, I have added a photo of his grave (near Pyongyang) to my album of Russian ladies. I obtained this photo from Prof. Yung-Keun Lee of the Johns Hopkins University who visited his father's grave in 1991. You are invited to visit

http://ysfine.com/wisdom/yitol.html

to see Lee Kwang-Soo's grave as well as some new additions to the album. From the photo of Lee Kwang-soo's grave, you can see that Kim.I.S. had a respect for Lee.K.S. Then what did he say about him?

Koreans have a tendency to show off their "prominence" among fellow Koreans (people say that I am also like this). This is particularly so among the Korean residents in the United States. In order to measure the prominence, they use many different variable. For instance, among the Korean ladies, one variable is which university their children attend. A Korean woman with a Harvard son/daughter is superior to those who send their children to state universities.

Another measure of prominence is whether you are receiving regularly propaganda mails from North Korea. I am on their list, and thus I am one of those prominent Koreans in the United States. I routinely throw away their mails, but kept two articles written by Kim Il-Sung. One was about Rev. Sohn Jung-Do, and the other was about Ahn Chang-Ho. Everybody knows who Ahn Chang-Ho was, but not many of you know who Rev. Sohn was.

Rev. Sohn was a very rich person in Manchu and was very nice to Kim Il-Sung when he was a young boy. Rev. Sohn was also a very close friend of Yi Seung-Man (Syngman Rhee). This is the reason why Rhee asked his son (Sohn Won-Il) to organize the Korean Navy and eventually promoted him to a defense minister. His younger brother, Sohn Won-Tae, was and still is a medical doctor who lives in Chicago. Rev. Sohn's wife (elderly lady) and Sohn Wontae's wife used to come to my house often, and I am quite familiar with their family. Rev. Sohn's remains were brought from Manchu to Korea recently by his grandson named Sohn Myong-Won. He used to come to my house often while he was a student at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Thus, if Kim Il-Sung talks about Rev. Sohn, I know what he is talking about.

Yes, in 1950, Kim Il-Sung was not mature enough to see the world and ordered his troops to cross the 38th parallel. However, after running his country for forty years, he achieved some degree of maturity to talk like a human being. For instance, he calls himself Sung-Joo in his article on Rev. Sohn Jung-Do. In his article on Ahn Chang-Ho, he talks about several other personalities. He talks about Kim Koo and his possible romantic relation with Ahn's sister. He also talks about Lee Kwang-Soo.

Kim Il-Sung was not able to see Lee kwang-Soo's Russian connection but praises highly Lee's contribution to the Korean romantic literature. On the other hand, he harshly criticizes Lee's controversial article on the weaknesses of Koreans commonly known as Min-jok Kae-Jo Ron. Kim says Lee is implying that Koreans are intrinsically inferior to other people such as Japanese or Chinese. Kim says further that Lee sold his soul to Japanese by writing this article.

Kim Il-Sung says further that the weaknesses mentioned by Lee Kwang-Soo are applicable only to those belonging to the traditional ruling class. Kim emphasizes that Lee failed to see Koreans are great people.

I do not know whether it is legal or illegal these days to quote Kim Il-Sung. But, if what he says the same thing as what I say constantly, it is my privilege to quote anyone in this world who shares the same view as mine. I have been extremely harsh on Korean intellectuals in the past and will remain so in the future. On the other hand, I have been telling you that Koreans are great people, and that I am strong in this world because I am able learn lessons from humble Koreans. I have been saying this with concrete examples.


Who started the Korean War?

Y.S.Kim (2000.7.22)

Apparently there still is the question of who started the Korean war, and many people still ask me what my opinion is on this question. This question should not exist because there were about 50,000 Korean troops stationed along the 38th parallel on 25th day of June 1950. Many died on that day, but many survived and told their horror stories, and they are still telling the story.

Lee Sang Jo was a high-ranking officer in the North Korean Army and was one of the Northern delegates during the Panmunjom cease-fire negotiations which lasted for two years (1952-53). Later, he had a quarrel with Kim Il-Sung and exiled himself to Minsk (Belarus). When he visited Korea about ten years ago, Korean reporters asked him who started the war. His reply was "Why are you asking me this question? You already know. If you still do not know, ask those Koreans who were at the front line on the 6.25 day."

About one month ago, I attended a dinner hosted by the Washington chapter of the SNU Alumni Association, and the keynote speaker was a SNU man working at the Korean Embassy in Washington. He was invited to speak about the government's plan for reunification. Before explaining the plan, he said he has done some research on who started the Korean War and spent 20 minutes to explain his research result.

He said he was born in 1950 and the information he has is based on publications. He said the outbreak of the war shocked the entire world, and he presented an impressive list of the newspaper and broadcast reports during the period 6.25-29. He was bragging about the his research on Soviet news reports. His conclusion was that the question is still at large, and will never be settled. This is precisely what we expect from SNU people. They never know how to learn things from fellow Koreans. If he is so interested in this question, why did he not ask Koreans who were at the front line on the 25th day of June 1950?

As for myself, I was on the 38th parallel just north of Seoul on the 21st day of June (three weeks before the 6.25 day). I accompanied my father who was a high-ranking supply officer at Korea's Ministry of Defense. He was a member of the inspection team headed by Col. Chang Do-Young who was the chief intelligence officer (He became the Army Chief of Staff in 1961 and had to go through the 5.16 revolution staged by Park Chung-Hee).

The team's mission was to find out what was going on at the 38th parallel. I listened carefully what field officers were telling to the inspection team. The soldiers there do not have enough ammunition for their rifles even for target practices. What was going on in the North? They were constructing a road toward the boundary. What was the purpose of the road? They had no idea. They did not know the purpose was to move their tanks rapidly from their hidden point.

The only thing they knew about the Northern army was that they were equipped with hand-operated Mosin-Nagant rifles designed by Russians in 1891. Their conclusion was that they were safe as long as they had enough supply of ammunition for their semi-automatic M1 refiles. They did not know rifles are irrelevant in the tank warfare.

When I tell this story to young Koreans, their answer is that they were not born in 1950, and they cannot agree with me. I sometimes meet Koreans from the North when I go to Russia. They become scared if I tell them I look like Kim Il-Sung. On the other hand, they become very friendly as soon as I speak with Pyongyang accent (my mother is from Gang-seo near Pyongyang). Then we get into the argument on who started the Korean war. When I tell them I was at the tank-crossing point three weeks before the 6.25 day, they ask me how old I was. They are at least willing to listen.

A similar situation exists on the question of who wrote the first Korean version of the Bible. This question is not restricted to Christianity in Korea. The Bible played an important role in teaching Koreans how to use Hangul. On this question also, Korean scholars always rely on foreign publications, and they will never find the answer.

Korean scholars do not know how to ask questions and listen to fellow Koreans. This is the most serious tragedy for Korea.


Kim Il-Sung's Amen!

Y.S.Kim (2000.8.25)

Since I talked about Kim Il-Sung last time, many people asked me to write more about him. Perhaps I should, because of his role in Korea's modern history, and because I did some research about him. My major research results are

  1. Many people say I look like him. I knew this since 1946.
  2. He was known as a "gazza" Kim Il-Sung. I am known in the world as Wigner's student, but I am a gazza. My true advisor was Sam Treiman. I will explain later why I needed a "gazza" advisor (this has something to do with the racial discrimination which I promised to talk about). You may click here for a story.
  3. Kim Il-Sung was a member of an anti-Japanese guerrilla group, but he was the first one to run away as soon as he heard a gun-shot noise. In this way, he saved his life. I am still a very active researcher. I think I knew how to save my research life.
  4. When North Korean historians wrote about him, they included all the works done by other Kim Il-Sungs. Kim Il-Sung consists of four different people with an age span of fifteen years. I have a strong background in Christianity. This entitles me to do a research on Jesus. My theory is that Jesus Christ consists of two different persons with an age difference of four years. I hope to be able to complete my research on this and publish the result in the future.
Another well-known aspect of Kim Il-Sung is that he was born and raised in a Christian family. His mother, named Kang Ban-Suk, was a devoted believer. His uncle, Kang Yang-Wook, was a church minister. Kang Yang-Wook maintained a very high position in the North Korean government until he died in 1984 (year to be confirmed).

Because of this background, a number of Korean church ministers with U.S. citizenship travelled to Pyongyang to provide prayer services to Kim I.S. After each prayer, Kim Il-Sung used say "Amen" very loudly. I do not know what Kim I.S. had in mind about what he did to Koreans, but he certainly wanted to go to heaven. The only way he knew was the Christian way as he was taught by his mother.

His Christian influence stands out clearly in his own ideology called "Juche." According to this ideology, Dan-Kun is God, and Kim Il-Sung is Jesus. In his Juche ideology, Kim Il-Sung preaches a very simplistic isolationism. Because Korea is surrounded by big powers, isolationism always has an appeal to the people, and many politicians took advantage of this isolationistic instinct. Remember this. Dae-Won Koon ruined his country by preaching isolationism. So did Kim Il-Sung.


Isolationism in the South

Y.S.Kim (2000.8.28)


I talked about Kim Il-Sung's isolationism and its disastrous effects on North Korea. Is the South any better than the North in this regard?

These days, many of my non-Korean friends ask me about Korea's re-unification efforts. Many Russians ask this question also. I then ask them who set up a country known as North Korea, and who started the Korean War. They know the correct answers to these questions. It is Korean intellectuals having troubles on the questions of which side attacted first in 1950.

As I said before, on this issue, they read only American and Soviet newspapers published in 1950. According to Americans, the North started. According to Soviet newspapers, the South attacked first. Thus, they cannot reach the decision. They cannot afford to ask this question to their fellow Koreans. Since I talked about this and similar issues so many times in the past, I do not have to list new examples.

Yes, this is the biggest tragedy. Koreans are totally isolated from their fellow Koreans, and the problem is becoming worse every year. We can summarize the present situation in the following way. As you know, a group of reporters visited Pyongyang recently and met Kim Jong-Il. Kim J.I. told them that Korea, if united, will become a superpower, because it will combine the economic might of the South and the spiritual power of the North. He was saying that the spirit of the South is as bankrupt as the economy of the North. Unfortunately, I have to agree with Kim Jong-Il on this issue.


Welcome to the United States

Y.S.Kim (2000.8.30)

Each year, during the month of August, many Korean students come to the United States to continue their educational and research programs. I came year in 1954 six months after my high school graduation, and I have some understanding of this country, and I feel obliged to tell you about the country in which I spent 46 years.

We talk often about Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Hillary, and other celebrities. Recently, Madam Albright met North Korea's foreign minister. He apparently told her she looked younger than one year earlier. She was happy enough to quote what she heard from him to Western newspaper reporters. She is OK, and the North Korean foreign minister said the right thing to the right person. Russians tell different stories about her. Whenever someone disagrees with her, she threatens to open up her front to show her chest. The the other side then gets sacred and has to agree with her. If this is true, she is still doing her job right.

People talk about this and that about the United States. But, if you are a true Korean, it is very easy to understand this country. The reason why the United States is respected is that there is always a reward for hard-working people, and Koreans (true Koreans) work hard. I want you to work hard, as I did in the past. Of course, there are other hurdles, but I will talk about them later.

You should settle down first. Your Korean friends will help you. You should then get your social security number in order to get paid, and so on. Then finally, you should send in your e-mail address to us to get connected with our network service. Send your email address to Dr. Eun-Suk Seo . As you know, Dr. Seo is one of the Presidential (U.S.) Young Researchers.

I would like to ask those old timers. Please send us your stories about the United States in order to help our younger people. Otherwise, I will continue telling my stories. This is my threat to them.

--------------------------------------------

From yseo@physics.ucla.edu Fri Sep 1 06:10:21 2000
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 12:17:42 -0700 (PDT)

Dear Prof. Kim,

I am really threatened by your articles. I consider myself in between novice and real old-timers about living in America. Also, I think I might be younger than many of new-comers. Well, even with these constraints, my story of studying in America might help.

First of all, I would like to point out that students should be aware of the priorities. There are a lot of hard obstacles even before they start to be real graduate students. For example, settle down at one place is a big thing. How to eat, how to commute, how to entertain,.... are big things. However, before thinking of those things, what are the real priority that makes the students come to the States. Without a doubt, it's "study". For some people, perhaps the main priority is "degree".

With that in mind, what to do is very clear. Get the reasonable housing. Get the reasonable transportation. Get to know where the grocery stores are. Get the social security number to be paid. All of these things are important to study. But it is clearly different if you regard those with higher priority than the real priority "study". I saw a considerable number of students including myself five years ago, who did not know why they came here. The people constantly complaining about how hard to live in America might have already forgotten the reason why they are here. The students choose to come here. They are not forced to come here. Unlike in Korea, now, it's the student's turn to take care of all the little things for the "their" study. As a foreigner and a student, it's really hard to live with a family (generally one wife and one/two kids) because the pay for a graduate student is less than the poverty level. But once again, the students with family "choose" to take a risk of being poor in this country. Be responsible!

I look forward to seeing some follow-ups of the real old-timers threatened by our Prof. YS Kim.

With my best regards,

Youngho Seo
Graduate Student
UCLA Physics and Astronomy


Many newcomers asked me how I was when I was a student in the United States in the 1950s. I think the following articles will tell you the story. In Korea, tigers used to smoke then. (2000.9.3)

Pride and Capitalism

Y.S.Kim (1993.4.25)

During the early months of 1993, Japan's NHK-TV is airing five one-hour programs on the Pacific War (1941-45). I watched the first three, and I intend to watch the remaining two. The theme of this series was predictable. Japan's worst enemy during this dreadful period was Japan's own pride which was called YAMATO TAMASHI. The Japanese warmakers were deadly locked into the thinking that only Japanese can have their god-given pride, which no other people can have. In 1941, Admiral Yamamoto desperately tried but failed to convince the Japanese generals that Americans can have and do have their own pride, even though he later obeyed the imperial order to carry out the Pearl Harbor operation.

These days, our young people are very proud of themselves. When I talk to them, it is impossible to convince them that I can have my own pride. Very often, they force me to admit that I do not have any pride. If I am a prideless animal, it is OK. The problem is that the pride of our young physicists might affect their own careers.

Most of you have read Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha". Siddhartha is an intelligent-looking young man looking for job at a market place. When asked what he can do, Siddhartha says "I can THINK, I can PRAY, and I can FAST," while his prospective employer is expecting an accounting skill (computa- tional skill) from him for his business. Hermann Hesse clearly spells out the difference between Buddhism and Capitalism. Indeed, from Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha, we can derive the concept of

MARKETABLE SKILL.
You have to have a marketable skill to get a job in the United States which, in case you did not know, is a mighty capitalistic country.

These days, our young PhD's complain that there are no jobs in the United States, and therefore they plan to go home immediately after passing their final oral exams. On the other hand, they know that going back to Korea does not guarantee an easy life anymore. They also know that not many Chinese students go back to their own country. Our young scientists are now beginning to see that many Koreans who came to America before 1970 were able to settle down here and have been very productive in their endeavors. Many of them are thinking of staying in the U.S. for a longer period.

Yes, the competition is much more fierce now than before, but this does not explain why we should lose while Chinese are winning. The initial condition our young people have these days is far superior to that of those old timers. First of all, when I came to U.S. in 1954, I never thought Koreans could make volt-ohm meters, while, these days, almost all multitesters in the world are made in Korea. There were virtually no American-educated professors before 1970. It was almost impossible to get advanced textbooks before 1965. Before 1965, Korea (South) had a lower per-capita income than North Korea had.

Then, what is bothering our young physicists? Some of my American friends, who may be your prospective employers, complain that Koreans are trying to sell their PRIDE before anything else. You do not have to be a genius to realize that PRIDE alone is not a marketable skill in the United States. What else does PRIDE do to you? Read the first paragraph of this mail.

Historians agree that Hitler's Nazism was a form of inferiority complex. Some historians say that Japan's YAMATO TAMASHI was also a form of inferiority complex, but this interpretation is not universally accepted. Like all diseases, it is best to cure the PRIDE DISEASE as early as possible. If you have problems, contact those old timers. They will be very happy to discuss your problems with you, as your medical doctor does. The difference is that they will not charge you money. They may even buy you a lunch or dinner.

You would say that those old folks had a relatively easy time in the U.S., and that they will never understand the problems young people have to face these days. No! No! (1) Until 1966, the U.S. immigration law was explicitly prejudicial to Asians. The law was saying essentially "No Asians in the U.S. please". (2) There were no Korean communities, and the only way to eat Korean food is to get invited to the family of a Korean woman married to an American soldier while serving in Korea. (3) The U.S. newspapers were printing only bad things about Korea, such as poverty, corruption and dictatorship. (4) Owning a car was an impossible dream.

However, those old timers had one important advantage. They were and still are more traditional Koreans, carrying the virtues of Confucianism. This is a quotation from Maengja. If God wishes to give you an important mission in this world, He grinds your bones and flesh, mixes up your mind, shatters your soul, and leads you to temptation, until you develop enough patience to make up the difference between what you have and what you want. Many people ask me how to succeed or survive in research. I always give them a very uninspiring answer: Follow the example of your parents. I think I am giving them the correct answer.


Future direction of this network

Y. S. Kim (2000.9.23)

As I said before, one Korean is strong anywhere in the world, two Koreans are weak, and ten Koreans are stupid. I knew this for sometime, and I also knew that I am not strong enough to change this Korean character. This network will not be concerned with organizations among Koreans. They will not work because Koreans do not respect fellow Koreans anywhere in the world.

However, I will redouble my efforts on talking directly to those Koreans who share my views with me. This means that I am also willing to listen carefully to those who disagree with me. As I said repeatedly before, I will be happy to circulate their views.

I promised earlier to write articles about the following subjects.

  1. The United States is not a racist country, but there are still some racists who may give troubles to Koreans. How can you solve this problem? More specifically how did I deal with this problem? I think I can discuss this problem systematically next month or before the end of this year.
  2. In the past, young Koreans used to come to me with their drastic plans for unification. When I present my conservative view, they used to ask me whether I am for or against unification. You will recall that I wrote a series of articles about the origin of the 38th parallel. Do you think my interest in Korea stopped there? If you ask me who really started the Korean war, I think I have a very accurate answer to this question. If you ask me which country Kim Il-Sung really liked and which country he really hated, I also have the answer to this question.
  3. It is possible that I forgot some of the subjects I promised to discuss. You are welcome to refresh my memory.
The point is that I can be most helpful to my younger friends by telling them how I was able to use my Korean background to solve some of difficult problems in the United States. For this purpose, I intend to use the most powerful communication system: Webpage!

Recently, the Univ. of Maryland was generous enough to assign a large memory space for my personal home page. The memory space can accommodate 1,000 photographs. At the present time, I have less than 200 pictures for you to look at. I organized them using double-frame pages. You are thus invited to visit http://www2.physics.umd.edu/~yskim/style.html to see what is going on. This is an entirely new address. From this page, you can access various subpages including the one specializing Russian ladies. This Russ-lady section has been updated after I came back from my trips to Ukraine and Russia last summer. You will enjoy looking at those ladies who ask questions expected by Koreans, and produce answers which Koreans like to hear.

You might be interested in the page on my Korean background. You will note there that my Korean background is essentially the same as yours. This page is designed also for non-Koreans to look at. I warn them they should think twice before playing shady games against me.

The most recent addition is the page on museums. I am in a process of adding all famous museums of the world to this page. At this point, I would like to recommend that you visit the Library of Congress (from my museum page). This library is currently running an exhibition on the life of Thomas Jefferson. As I said in one of my earlier articles, Jefferson was a very colorful man. You are invited to his stylish house called "Monticello" in this exhibition.


Here is the solution for you.

Y.S.Kim (2000.9.28)

It appears that I disappointed many young people by saying ten Koreans are stupid while one Korean is very strong. They complained to me that I did not present a solution to this problem. I would therefore like to present to you my solution to this problem.

The solution is very simple. Get into the business where you do not need cooperation from fellow Koreans. I think I am in this kind of business. This is the reason why I am constantly accused of being isolated from my Korean colleagues. Here again, you are not going to learn lessons from me. Thus, I will give you an non-Korean example.

In my earlier articles, I talked about the Hungarians who changed the world in the 20th Century. They created the professions known today as electrical engineering, nuclear science and engineering, automation, assembly lines, and computer science. These were done by the Hungarian scientists without Nobel prize. Hungary's second-class scientists had to settle with Nobel prizes. I gave you their names in one of my earlier articles.

Yet, Hungary as a nation is a weak country surrounded by big powers. This means that Hungarians like Koreans. Hungarians, as individuals, are very strong, but those strong Hungarians are not able to construct a strong country. Let us look at the Hungarian case more closely.

Those Hungarian scientists did not seek cooperation from their fellow Hungarians. Instead, they came to the world much larger than their own homeland. Almost all of them used the United States as their staging areas to become giants in history. This is precisely what I recommend to my younger friends.

If your Koreans colleagues do not offer cooperation, do not blame them. Build your own world elsewhere. If you stop blaming your fellow Koreans, you will indeed become very strong. We lost the opportunity to Hungarians in the 20th Century, but we are now in the new century.

The difference between the 20th and 21st Century is this. In the past century, the United States was the only staging area for all activities. In the new Century, however, your staging area is the entire world. Korea can become an important part of this exciting world if you give up the concept of Korea's No. 1 (you have been rejected from the U.S.). In the past, I have been accused of saying or implying that one can be successful only by staying within the U.S. territory. Certainly, I am not saying this tonight.

Many people are asking me to say more about Kim Il-Sung and North Korea. One of them even asked me whether I had an occasion to talk directly with Kim Il-Sung. Next time, I will talk about how North Korea was constructed and who among the N.K. leaders needed the Korean War so badly.


Who built the North Korean army?

Y.S.Kim (2000.10.8)

When I was visiting Kharkov (Ukraine) last summer, I was fortunate enough to visit the Korea Center there. This center was established by a Korean gentlemen born before 1920 in Vladivostok. He was brilliant enough to go to Leningrad University in St. Petersburg. There he studied communication (which combines hardware technology and propaganda skills). In 1945, he came to Pyongyang to work with the Soviet army to construct a communist state. In 1962, he had a quarrel with Kim Il-Sung, and had to exile himself to Ukraine. He is almost 90 years old and is having some difficulty in hearing. Otherwise his brain is in perfect condition.

Kharkov's Korea Center is now maintained by his son about 50 years old. He was a classmate of Kim Jong-Il's younger brother named Pyong-Il. He said Pyong-Il, while in high school, used to drive a US-made jeep. His name is Shin Kang-Soo, and I have his e-mail address. The elder Shin (spelled as Cin in Russian) has written the first volume of his memoir in Russian and can be downloaded from your computer if you have enough enthusiasm. Yesterday, I confirmed Mr. Shin's e-mail address, and I can give it to you if you need for your research purpose.

As one of the small number of college graduates of Korean origin who were sent in 1945 to Pyongyang by Joseph Stalin, the elder Shin enjoyed being close to high-ranking Soviet officials. He became a close friend of the commander of the Red Army in North Korea. His name was Terentiy Fomich Stikov. I knew his last name, but did not know the first and second names. In one of my earlier articles, I made up his first name and it was wrong.

General Stikov visited Seoul in 1946 and 1947 to co-chair with Lt.Gen. John R. Hodge (the commander of the U.S. Forces in the South) the joint US-USSR commission to enforce the Trusteeship (Shintak Tongchi). Some anti-communist Koreans in 1947 talked about assassinating him and were looking for guns.

After the establishment of the People's Democratic Republic in the North in 1948, Stikov stayed in Pyongyang as the Soviet ambassador to North Korea. According to the elder Shin, Stikov had a contempt toward Kim Il-sung as a boss of a small gangster group with absolutely no knowledge of military affairs. Mr. Shin, a graduate of an elite university, also had and still have a contempt to Kim I.S. as an uncultured person who could barely finish his fourth grade.

I think I already told you who was the real architect of the North Korean army (known to us "Inmin Goon"). The "Chosun Inmin Goon" was inaugurated on February 8, 1948, and February 8, every year, used to be celebrated as the "Ree-Pal Jeol" in the North. I have a photo of the 1948 inaugural ceremony. Kim Il-Sung was the supreme commander, Choi Young-Geun was the defense minister, and Kang Kun was the chief of staff. But, they were only window dressings. The real architect and the real commander consisted of one person, named Terentiy Stikov.

Stikov was apparently close to Stalin, and was able to get military supplies from the left-over materials from World War II. He was able to get T-34 tanks which were originally used for the Stalingrad operation. After 1947, the Soviet army was replacing their vintage Mosin-Nagant rifles (designed in 1891) with automatic AK-47s. The Soviets captured many motor cycles, communication gadgets, and uniforms from Germans during WWII. Stikov was able to equip his "Inmin Goon" with those surplus materials at no costs to the Soviet government.

By 1950, two years after February 28, 1948, Stikov's "Inmin Goon" became a world-class army fully ready to occupy the South within one week. He of course wanted to test his product and sought several times Stalin's permission to launch the attack. I will talk about Stalin's reactions to Stikov next time.

Then the question is whether the "Inmin Goon" was entirely a Soviet product? No! It is true that the N.K. army was equipped and trained by Soviets. But, the miracle of becoming the world-class army within two years is a product of Korea's strength. In one way or another, Korea's hidden strength worked well there. For instance, the N.K. army anthem called "Chosun Inmin Goon e Norae" hits the hearts and minds of Koreans. It is still one of my favorite songs.

In the South, Korean workers built a solid industrial base within a period of 20 years. This was also a miracle. People of the world are wondering how Koreans were able to do this. It would be interesting to see which aspect of Korea's strength made it possible to build the industry in the South and the strong army in the North.


Stalin's Reaction

Y.S.Kim (2000.10.10)

In my previous mail, I introduced an elderly man born in Vladivostok before 1920 and went to Leningrad State University. In 1945, he was sent to Pyongyang, along with other Russians of Korean origin, to Sovietize North Korea. In 1962, he had a quarrel with Kim Il-Sung and had to exile himself in Ukraine. His name is Cin (in Russian), but we should call him Mr. Shin. In July of 2000, I visited the Korea center he built in Kharkov which is now managed by his son named Shin Kang-Soo.

The elder Shin was claiming that he is the person who started the Korean War. His reasoning was that the only person who could talk to Joseph Stalin from Pyongyang was Gen. Stikov who came as the commander of the Red Army in North Korea from 1945 and became the ambassador after the North Korean government was set up in 1948.

Mr. Shin, while being an elite college graduate, was the only Korean who could talk directly to Stikov. Both Shin and Stikov were eager to take a military action against the South. Stikov wanted to show off how strong his army was. Mr. Shin, on the other hand, had a deep urge for Korea's unification. He claims this is still his obsession. This probably is the reason why he is maintaining his Korea center in Kharkov.

Three times, Stikov sought permission to invade the South from Stalin. The first time, Stalin was angrily against Stikov's invasion plan. The second time, Stalin was still against but not as strong as the first time. The third time, Stalin was silent. Stikov then regarded Stalin's reticence as his approval, and conveyed this result to the government of North Korea.

I then asked Mr. Shin why there was a gradual change in Stalin's mind. His answer was simply that Stalin was a great man and was thinking of the reaction from the United States. Stalin gave his approval because he was convinced that the U.S. would not intervene. What then made him to think in that way? Mr. Shin was not able to elaborate. It appears that I can fill in the blank.

After the failure of negotiations with the Soviet Union on the joint trusteeship, the United States started to set up an elected government for the South. In order to create a "legitimate" government, the United States worked within the framework of the United Nations which then was largely under U.S. control. The result was that a UN commission came to Seoul to supervise the first congressional election on May 10, 1948, and the government of the Republic of Korea was formally inaugurated on August 15, 1948.

The United States then arranged the UN approval of the Seoul government and provided an economic aid of $150-million/year. However, there was a big event in China. The Chinese communists pushed out the corrupt regime of Chiang Kai-Shek from the mainland, and set up a communist government on October 1, 1949. This caused a great confusion among the politicians in Washington, and the administration had to redefine the interest of the United States in the Pacific area.

Amidst this confusion, the U.S. withdrew its troops from Korea, and the U.S. Congress refused to approve the administration's proposal to continue economic aid to Korea. To make things worse, in his speech at the National Press Club in Washington on January 12 (1950), Dean Acheson (then the secretary of state) forgot to mention Korea while including the Philippines, Taiwan, Rykyu Islands and Japan as part of the U.S. interest.

Americans still say that Acheson's NPC speech was an open invitation for the Soviet Union to invade. When I was a student at Princeton (1958-61), Dean Acheson came and gave a speech. At that time, it was said that Acheson was the person who started the Korean War.

What was happening within Korea (south)? In 1948, the politicians affiliated with the Shanghai provisional government boycotted the 5.10 election. However, in 1950, those politicians actively participated in the 5.30 congressional election. The result was that they voted out many pro-American politicians from the National Assembly. For instance, in Seoul's Chung-ku, Won Se-Hoon (Shanghai-oriented) defeated Yoon Chi-Young who was an exemplary pro-American politician. In Sungbuk-Ku, Chough Byoung-Ok (PhD from Columbia) was defeated by another prominent Shanghai-oriented politician named Cho So-Ang.

Of course, Stalin was aware of all these. It is safe to say that he knew much more than I know now. It was impossible for Stalin not to give permission to invade the South. Next time, I will talk about what went wrong with the North's military operations in the South.


Show of force by the United States

Y.S.Kim (2000.10.11)

As I said before, in 1948, the Republic of Korea was set up in the South with a strong support of the United States. But, the year 1949 was a very bad for Americans. China became a hostile communist state, the Soviet Union exploded a nuclear bomb, and Japan's Yukawa received a Nobel prize in physics (at that time physics meant atom bomb). These events shook up Washington's politicians. The United States never had intention to give up Korea, but a series of policy mishaps gave every sign to Stalin that his North Korean troops can march into the South as his Soviet troops walked into Manchu in 1945.

Of course, the Truman administration (Truman was the U.S. president at that time) was aware of the power vacuum created by the withdrawal of the U.S. foot soldiers from Korea in 1949. For this reason, the United States sent one aircraft carrier and three destroyers to Inchon and flew fighter planes over Korea. Those ships however stayed there only for three days. I think this happened in February of 1950. Seoul had one noisy day from those airplanes. Needless to say, the purpose of this naval port call was to tell Stalin not to take military action against the South.

In June of 1950, Truman (the president) sent a special envoy to Japan to negotiate a peace treaty. His name was John Foster Dulles. He also came to Korea to see what was going on. He was a Presbyterian and attended a church service at Young-Rak Presbyterian church in Seoul. This church was built by those Christians who came from the North because they did not get along with the communists there. Dulles was deeply impressed with the anti-communistic church congregation, and he promised them to tell his government to offer a strong support to Korea.

The Korean army officials took Dulles to the 38th parallel and explained to him how the situation was there. In order to tell the communist that (South) Korea has a strong U.S. backing, the defense ministry released a photograph of Dulles looking at the North with Korea's defense minister named Shin Sung-Mo, foreign minister named Limb Byung-Jik, and several U.S. and Korean officers.

Indeed, the N.K. communists were impressed. They used this photo as an evidence that the South invaded the North first. In the photo Dulles appeared as if he was ordering Korean and American troops to march into the North. With me now is a copy of this photo sent to me by N. Koreans. It is my understanding that many young Koreans are persuaded even these days by this photo to the theory that the South attacked first.

Clearly, the communist side knew that the United States had not written off Korea. Then, why did they go ahead with their war plan? It appears that they counted on an up-rising of the people in the South against their pro-American government. Then how did they get this ideas? It had something to do with the organization of communists in the South. I will elaborate on this question next time.


Interesting Photographs

Y.S.Kim (2000.10.12)

I have been writing a series of articles on North Korea and how the Korean War started. You will recall that I mentioned there some photographs. Let us look at those photos. Please visit

http://ysfine.com/kobak.html.

This Korea page contains a number of interesting photos having to with the stories I told you in my recent articles. They are

  1. A Washington Post cartoon saying that Dean Acheson's speech in January of 1950, together with the power vacuum created by the withdrawal of American troops from the South, was an open invitation to Stalin and Kim Il-Sung to invade the South. Dean Acheson was the Secretary of State at that time.
  2. The inauguration of the North Korean People's Army on February of 1948. Although Kim Il-Sung was the supreme commander, he was quite ignorant on military affairs. I said in one of my articles that the architect of the N.K. Army was General Terentiy Stikov of the Soviet Army.
  3. Kim Il-Sung being "kihapped" by Stikov - very interesting photo.
  4. John Foster Dulles, President Truman's special envoy, visited a military post on the 38th parallel one week before June 25, 1950. The South used this photo to warn the communists not to take a reckless action against the South. But, the N.K. communists used the same picture to assert that the South started the War. You should not miss this historic photo.
There are five more pictures for you to look at in connection with the Korean War.

As I said before, I am quite fond of collecting photos of ladies. If you have not seen before, you can look at Actress Brook Shields from by going back to the "style.html" web site.

In addition, I collected a number of Russian ladies, and I am quite fond of showing this "ladies" page to my Russian friends. They seem to appreciate my theory of why I like those ladies. As a consequence, a number of Russian boys are asking me to arrange their photos with Korean girls. If you are a Korean girl/lady, and if you have a picture with a handsome Russian gentleman, send it to me. I like to use it to support my theory. I hope tonight's story is not too heavy, and I hope very much you will enjoy the pictures.


We are writing a series of articles about the Korean War. The following is a continuation. (2000.10.15)

You may be interested in visiting again my Korea page to find more about the author, and see some rare photos (including Kim Il-Sung and his Inmim-Goon) about the Korean War.

The war planners in the North should have considered the political climate in the South before launching the attack. How was it? Communists had a strong party organization in the South in 1946, but the planners in the North did not know that the organization had been completely eliminated by 1950. I will write this story next time.

Tonight, I am attaching one of my early articles describing the situation in Korea where I lived during the years 1946-50. This article also describes the way in which this network was developed. It started with an informal communication link with a database of 50 e-mail addresses.

Koreans and Mohicans

Y.S.Kim (1992.11.30)

Since my last broadcast about the Last of Mohicans, many of you sent me comments on the film. I would like to thank them for taking my suggestion seriously. Their comments have been very helpful to me. If you have not seen the movie, it is not difficult to guess what the story is about: the American Indians trapped between the English and French armies in 1857.

I watched this film in July of 1946 and its new version in September of 1992. In 1946, I was too young to understand where Korea was standing in this world. This time, I learned that we used to be and may still be the Mohicans. Here is the "show" staged in the Korean peninsula during during the period 1945-50.

On May 1, 1946, I watched the first May Day celebration in the Korean peninsula in North Korea twelve days before crossing the 38th parallel to the South. Koreans in the North did not understand the meaning of this noisy political holiday of foreign origin. Most of them thought it was a celebration of (Japanese) Emperor Showa's birthday (April 29), because they were so used to this holiday (called Dentsio Setz) under the Japanese colonial rule.

On March 1, 1947, I had to run for cover when the communists in Seoul started shooting at the crowd demonstrating against the Shintak Tongchi and demanding immediate independence (perhaps I was the youngest member of this group). The communists were shooting from their party headquarters near Namdaemoon with Type-99 Japanese infantry rifles.

On August 15, 1948, General Douglas MacArthur visited Seoul to participate in the ceremony marking the beginning of the Republic of Korea. While the ceremony was going on, the Korean army and navy units lined up on the street from Namdaemoon to Yongsan waiting for the military parade. This was their first occasion to present themselves as the armed forces of an independent nation.

During this period, the American MPs (military police) were in charge of MacArthur's safety, and they thought the Korean units on the streets might block MacArthur's motorcade to the airport. The MPs could have asked the Korean commanders for cooperation, but they did not. Instead, they were pushing the soldiers as if they were handling a riot-crowd before the eyes of thousands of Seoul citizens. I was one of those who watched this ugly scene. This incident was not reported in the newspaper.

I also watched General MacArthur passing by. Unlike those MPs, he was showing a very kind face to the Korean troops who were showing their respect to him by lifting up their US-made M1 rifles in a highly disciplined manner (Japanese influence). MacArthur came back to Korea on June 30, 1950 and took control over the troops he met in 1948. I watched the North Korean fighter planes attempting to attack MacArthur's plane while it was landing at the Suwon airport. The North Korean fighters (Soviet-made YAK 9) were driven away by the F-80 jet fighters of the U.S. Airforce [This incident was not reported until recently]. MacArthur was kind to us, but we are still debating about who should have the operational control over our armed forces.

On June 26, 1949, Patriot Kim Koo was assassinated by an artillery officer. We are still debating about who was behind the plot, but it is quite clear that he had to face this fate because he did not have any backing from foreign powers.

Then June 25, 1950. You know the story, and the Korean version of the Mohicans continues. However, we have been resilient and resourceful enough to overcome this hardship. We are being praised by the people of the world for constructing a shiny nation from the ashes in one generation.

On the other hand, while our future depends on our scientists, I sense an alarming trend among our young scientists. They seem to seek easy life and quick fame. The average research life of our PhDs does not exceed two years. If this trend continues, we will become like Mohicans. If this really happens, we cannot blame anyone except ourselves.


I received the following interesting mail from one of our readers. It is about the speech Dean Acheson gave in January of 1950.

Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2000 21:00:41 -0400 (EDT)
From: Sungil Park

Dear Professor Kim,

I have a question regarding Dean Acheson's speech. One of my Chinese colleagues claims that Acheson didn't include Taiwan in his speech either, and it was regarded as a friendly gesture toward the communist China. He theorizes that Soviet Union started the war partly because Stalin didn't want China to become closer to the U.S. Could you confirm whether Taiwan was included in the speech or not?

Thank you,
Sungil

The following is Y.S.Kim's reply (2000.10.17)

It is quite possible that Acheson also omitted Taiwan. About one year before the establishment of the People's Republic of China on October 1 (1949), the U.S. State Department released a document called "China White Paper." I have a copy of this thick book in my house. The conclusion of this paper is very simple. The United States was not able to support the pro-Western but corrupt government in China, and was thus abandoning China.

The China White Paper is essentially an invitation to Mao Zedong's communist party to take over China. It was also a diplomatic gesture toward the communists that the U.S. is ready to deal with a new government in China. If Dean Acheson did not include Taiwan, regarded as one of the provinces of China, his speech was quite consistent with the China White Paper.

During the period 1948-50, the United States talked about making China like Tito's Yugoslavia. At that time, Yugoslavia was a big country including Slovania, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, etc. The country was under very tight control of a communist dictator named Tito (I forgot his first name). The best way to understand Tito is that he was Yugo's Kim Il-Sung.

One advantage Yugoslavia had was that it did not share a boundary with the Soviet Union. Thus, it was not a trivial matter for Stalin to send his tanks to Yugo. For this reason, Tito pursued a foreign policy independent of the Soviet Union and was seeking trade relations with the Western world.

Since China was and still is a big country, the United States expected that the communist government of China would pursue foreign policy quite independent of the Soviet Union. This was not unreasonable for the U.S. to expect that China would be like Tito's Yugo. On the other hand, neither China nor the U.S. had enough understanding of each other to live together comfortably.

The fall of China to communists was a quite shock to the United States. As a consequence, Americans started a witch-hunting process led by Senator Joe McCarthy. He used summon many high-ranking government officials and asked "Are you or have been a member of the communist party?" McCarthy was brought down by moderate Republicans and military men led by Eisenhower, but his secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, was quite a man. He had a special skill in scaring communist with nuclear weapons. Most certainly, Mr. Dulles was not ready to live with Chinese on this earth. As I said before, he visited Korea one week before the 6.25 day. If you have looked at , his picture from my web page, you will note that he appeared quite scary to communists.

It was only after the Vietnam war (racist war) that the United States started to take positive steps toward China. Senator Hubert Humphrey was a presidential candidate against Richard Nixon in 1968. He mentioned the word "great Chinese people" in one of his speeches.

Let us note. China has gone through some unfortunate history since the Opium War. Yet, it has been and still is a very important country to us. Remember also that since 800 AD, Koreans were quite fond of Tang poems based on Taoism. I am saying openly these days my way of doing science is derived from Taoism transmitted from China to Korea through the Tang poems. I wrote an article on this subject and will soon add it to my home page.

You may visit to see a cartoon published in the Washington Post on June 18, 2000 about the Korean War and Acheson. For other amusing pictures, visit my style page .


Wisla operation and Han-gang operation

Y.S.Kim (2000.10.19)

These days, I am talking about Kim Il-Sung and the Korean War. I will tell you another story tonight.

The biggest mystery in the Korean War is why the North Korean army stayed in Seoul for three extra days (one day was enough) before crossing the Han River, while it had enough strength to sweep through to Pusan within a week. Many articles were written on this subject, but they do not seem to hit the main points. I do not like those articles, and I choose to write my own version.

In 1991, while attending the first Sakharove Conference in Moscow, I met a very sturdy-looking Korean who appeared to be ten years older than I am. He claimed that he fired the first shot in the Korean War. It was 4:00 AM in the morning of the 6.25 day. He shot a signal bullet (fire cracker)into dark sky to tell the N.K. troops to march southward.

Three days later, in the morning of June 29 at 4:00 AM, I was at Sangdo- Dong (south of the Han River). I heard two giant explosions. The (south) Korean army engineers detonated explosive devices to destroy two of the three Han-gang bridges. There were one street bridge and two rail bridges. The original plan was to cut off all three bridges, but the ignition device underneath one of the rail bridges failed.

On the same day, I walked from Seoul to Suwon and spent the night of June 28 on the gound of the Suwon railroad station. In the morning of June 30, I saw an American plane carrying General Douglas MacArthur. After a brief meeting with Gen. Chae Byung-Duk (chief of staff of the Korean army), Gen. Mac went to the south bank of the Han River and talked with a number of Korean soldiers positioned there. He also met Colonel Lee Jong-Chan who was the commander of the left-over Korean army consisting of less than 5,000 troops equipped with Japanese 99-style infantry rifles (the Korean army ran out of ammunition for M1 rifles). Gen. Mac asked Col. Lee whether he and his troops can hold the Han-gang line for three days. Col. Lee said Yes Sir, and he stayed there exactly for three days.

For this contribution, Col. Lee earned a confidence from Americans and became the Army Chief of Staff in 1951. Not many people know about him these days, but he was widely respected by young army officers as a clean military man. Park Chung-Hee had a great respect for him.

The question then is whether the North Koreans were not able to cross because of Col. Lee Jong-Chan, or because it was due to their own war plan. It is generally agreed that Col. Lee's (south) Korean troops did not have enough strength to keep N.K. army from crossing the Han River.

As I said before, the N.K. army was a product of a Soviet General named Terentiy Stikov, and the war plan was carefully drawn by Soviet military experts. In the spring of 1944, the Soviet army reached the east bank of the Visula (pronounced as Viswa) River which divides Warsaw (Poland) into the eastern and western parts. The western part was and still is the main part of Warsaw, and the eastern part consisted only of factories, food processing plants, and other supporting facilities.

Because of the arrival of the Soviet army, the citizens of Warsaw revolted against German occupation forces. In fear of imminent Soviet attack, German army retreated from Warsaw. However, the Soviet army did not cross the Visula River for six months. Then, the Germans came back to Warsaw and started slaughtering Warsaw citizens, yet the Soviets refused to cross the river. The Soviet plan was to let those un-armed Polish citizens to fight against Germans, and then to walk in without any resistance.

Quite understandably, the N.K. army, commanded by Soviet officers, used this tactics in Seoul. Their idea was not to fight in the rest of the South and let Koreans take cake of their American-controlled government. This plan did not work, because those Russians did not have a correct map of communism and communists in the South.

I will continue the story next time. I will start my story with Hitler's Dunkirk operation. Do you know what the Dunkirk is about?


Wisla and Dunkirk

Y.S.Kim (2000.10.21)

As I said in my previous article, Douglas MacArthur needed a three-day hold-off at the Han River as part of his war plan which led to the Inchon landing on September 15. The (south) Korean troops led by Colonel Lee Jong-Chan held the line for three days, but the decisive factor in this delay was not due the courage of the Korean troops. It was a blunder made by the Soviet military men behind the North Korean army.

The Soviet army used this kind of tactics during World War II in Poland. When the main force of the Soviet army reached the eastern bank of the Wisla River in Warsaw, the citizens of Warsaw revolted against Hitler's German army, but the Soviets did not help the those citizens. I would like to expand this story before the Dunkirk and Korean stories.

The Soviet army, which was initially organized by Leon Trotsky, used to have two separate organizations. One is the military organization, and the other is a political organization. The commander of a given military unit is the commander of military affairs but its vice commander is the political chief with a membership of the communist party. If one reaches the rank of the lowest general, he had gone through both channels. Thus, Russia's military men had to be politicians of some degree. In contrast, American army military men, while in active duty, are not are allowed to talk about or think about politics.

The true story about the Wisla River goes like this. During the German occupation, there was a strong underground organization of Polish nationalists. They had an absolute support from the Polish population as well as substantial financial supports from the Allied headquarters in London. These Polish nationalists were thoroughly pro-Western, and were the potential enemies of the Soviet's plan in Poland. Thus, the best solution was to let Germans destroy this Polish organization. During this process, many innocent Polish citizens perished and the city of Warsaw was completely burnt down.

Let us go to Dunkirk. Dunkirk is a small French city on the beach of Dover strait. It is located near the French-Belgian border. When there was a war threat from Germany in 1939, Britain sent 500,000 troops (entire British army) to France. While they were mostly near the Dover beach, the German army swept through France while by-passing the British troops on the northern shore. After eating up France, the German army started attacking the British troops, who had to run away to the beach city named Dunkirk (Dunquirque in French). It was then a matter of a day or two for all those British troops to become prisoners.

At that time, Hitler's fortune teller (I forgot his name) advised Hitler to order his German army to stop. The fortune teller then advised him to use the German air force to sink the boats carrying those British troops from France to England. The fortune teller's reasoning was that the German army could become strong enough to overthrow Hitler if it had achieved the honor of arresting the entire British army.

Hitler accepted the advice of his fortune teller, and his air force sank many British ships and boats. But, more than half of those vessels made to the English beach, and Britain was able to reconstruct its army in a relatively short period. Hitler may have been politically wise, but the Dunkirk incident was his biggest military blunder.

Let us come back to Korea. We can understand the N.K. army's three-day hold-off in terms of the Wisla and Dunkirk operations. However, the reasoning will be without contents unless we examine fully the strength of the communist organizations in the South and their relation with Soviet authorities in Pyongyang and Moscow. This means that we have to talk about some prominent Korean communists and their activities before and after 1945. I will continue the story next time.


A communist named Park Dahl

Y.S.Kim (2000.10.26)

Shortly after the 8.15 day in 1945, a group of Soviet troops landed in the port city of Wonsan. With them were about 50 Koreans serving in the Soviet army. They then came to Pyongyang, and the leader of this Korean group was a young man named Kim Young-Hwan (real name was Kim Sung-Ju). As a captain of the Soviet army, he was playing a very important role for the Red Army headquarters. His first mission was to convert a highly respected Korean nationalist, named Cho Man-Shik, to a Soviet puppet, but he failed. His second mission was to arrange a ceremony to welcome General Kim Il-Sung.

The citizens of Pyongyang were anxiously waiting for Gen. Kim Il-Sung at the ceremony on October 14 (1945), but the above-mentioned young man, who was known to them as Kim Young-Hwan, came to the podium and claimed to be the Kim Il-Sung. He was 32 years old at that time. Of course, Korean were disappointed, and one of them threw a hand grenade to him. The grenade was deflected by the chief of the Soviet body guards, and this young man was able finish reading his "victory" speech written by Soviet politicians in Moscow and translated by a Korean poet (I forgot his name).

Even more disappointed were the Korean communists in Seoul. They could not recognize this young fellow. Before, there were many interesting characters among those Korean communists, who may now be elevated to the patriot class. To me, the most interesting communist was a patriot named Park Dahl. He was one of the leaders of the Bochunbo operation in 1937, but was later caught by Japanese police. Because of the torture, he was a half-dead person when he received a death sentence. However, since he was too sick to walk to the hanging station, Japanese authorities postponed his execution date. Their plan was to cure him first before putting him to death. While he was being treated in the prison infirmary, the War ended on August 15. He was released from the Seo-Dae-Moon prison.

Presumably because his home town is in the North, and because he regarded himself as a communist, he went to the North and had a meeting with the newly-installed Kim Il-Sung. Kim I.S. treated him well. He was one of the six pole bearers who shoulder-carried Park's coffin when he died in 1960. There is even a stature of Park Dahl in the North, presumably in his hometown.

According to the North Korean literature, Park Dahl was Kim Il-Sung's comrade in numerous guerilla operations including the much-celebrated Bochunbo operation. But the truth is that Park Dahl, the veteran of the Bochunbo operation, could not recognize Kim Il-Sung's face.

Thus, here is what probably happened. Kim Il-Sung, who was only 24 years old in 1937, was not present in the Bochunbo operation but made up the story based on what he heard from Park Dahl. If Kim.I.S. were at Bochunbo, why did he not mention it in his early speeches? Why did he not use the "glorious" Bochunbo incident to dispel the allegation that he was a "gazza" ? There are a number of people in the South who claim that Kim Il-Sung was real because he was a participant of the Bochunbo operation. I disagree with them. The true participant was Park Dahl.

This story sounds like a comedy, but the real tragedy between Kim.I.S. and the Korean communists comes after the 6.25 (1950). I will continue the story.


Kim Il-Sung's Real Talent

Y.S.Kim (2000.11.2)

Ronald Reagan was the president of the United States from 1981 to 1989. While in his office, he borrowed huge sums of Japanese money in order to apply enough "kihap" to the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union eventually collapsed. He then cut the yen-dollar exchange rate to one half and caused the real estate price to go down in the U.S. In this way, he kept the Japanese money in the U.S. and did pay back to Japanese. In addition, through his de-regulation policy, he allowed U.S. business firms to reorganize themselves for the economic prosperity Americans enjoy these days.

Reagan was a great king, but he was a movie actor before getting into politics. Reporters once asked him how he could become a president with a movie-actor background. His reply was "I do not know how one could become the president without being a movie actor."

These days, the world's greatest actor is North Korea's Kim Jong-Il. Recently, he gave enough entertainment to Madam Madeleine Albright of the United States. Where did he learn his acting skill? He likes movies and studied film art in Moscow. But he learned the skill from his father named Kim Il-Sung.

In my previous article, he was acting as the hero of Bochunbo based on the scenario written by Park Dahl who was one of the real leaders of the Bochunbo operation. As an actor, he had only one person to entertain before 1953. His name was Joseph Stalin. What did then Stalin want from Kim Il-Sung? The answer is very simple. Stalin wanted to eliminate all communists in Korea, and Kim Il-Sung was a very faithful servant.

The North Korean army spent three days in Seoul to allow the communists in the South to revolt and then get killed by the (south) Korean army and police. Did this happen? Yes, to some extent.

There were many communists in the South, but their organizations were broken and their leaders were all in jail by the spring of 1950. The highest ranking party officials of the South Korean Communist Party (called Nam-no-dang) were Kim Sam-Yong and Lee Joo-Ha. They used to report directly to their boss named Park Hun-Young who serving as the foreign minister in the North Korean government. Both Kim Sam-Yong and Lee Joo-Ha was arrested by the (south) Korean counter-intelligence agency headed by Major Kim Chang-Yong (he became Lt. General by 1956 but assassinated by his army colleagues). These two communist leaders were shot to death before the Korean army retreated from Seoul.

But majority of mid-level communists were in the Taejon prison. The Soviet war planners wanted those communist prisoners to get eliminated by (south) Korean authorities. These days, we read newspaper stories about the mass execution of those prisoners. I do not know about the mass execution, but it was quite possible. I do know that there was an attempted uprising in the Taejon prison.

At that time, Taejon was a temporary capital of Korea and all government agencies were there. Since every combat-capable army and police unit was sent to the roadway between Suwon and Taejon, Taejon was an empty city patrolled by the troops belonging to the army band. They knew how to play their musical instruments, but I doubt very much they knew how to operate the ceremonial rifles they were carrying. It indeed was the ideal time for those communist prisoners to revolt, and they attempted.

Who did put them down? Why did Stalin want to eliminate those fellow communists? I will talk about these next time.


Rhe 17th Infantry Regiment

Y.S.Kim (2000.11.9)

In my last article, I said Taejon was a very empty city from the military point of view while the North Korean tanks were marching southward during the first week of July 1950, and the Taejon prison was filled with (south) Korean communists. Indeed, the Taejon prison was the headquarters of the South Korean Communist Party (known to us as Nam-No-Dang). It was thus the ideal time for those communists to break out from the prison and take over the government agencies in Taejon which was a temporary capital city. Tonight, I will explain why this did not happen.

By 1949, the Korean army had a number of elite units. The 17th Infantry Regiment was regarded as the best trained unit. This regiment had the honor of marching in the 8.15 in commemoration of the first anniversary of the establishment of the Republic Korea. The troops with the M1 rifles on their shoulders were wearing shiny helmets. Their faces were all black from sun tans. These highly disciplined troops appeared to be ten-times stronger than the Japanese troops with whom Koreans were so accustomed.

Shortly after this 8.15 event, the 17th Regiment was sent to the Ongjin peninsula. Look at the map of Korea. The 38th parallel cuts through this peninsula. For the South, it was like an island, while it is a solid land sticking down from the North. In an attempt to divert the attention of the South, the North Korean military planners showed their intention to take over this peninsula by creating military disturbances across the 38th parallel. The (south) Korean army had to send its best unit there.

However, after the 6.25 day, neither side could afford attention to this isolated, and the 17th Regiment was completely forgotten. Fortunately, the commander of this regiment was a very able person. His name was Paik In-Yup, and is still a prominent person in Inchon (I assume he is still alive). Somehow, this regiment was in a perfect condition when it showed up in the temporary capital city of Taejon. To the Korean army, it was a great bonanza. Before sending this regiment to a combat mission, the army gave the troops a special treatment: to let them eat as much rice they can eat with meat soup, and let them have a sound sleep. While taking a nap, those troops got a wake-up call. The order was to rush to the Taejon prison and put down the riot.

Of course, it was a trivial job for these combat-ready troops to put down the prison riot. Two of the riot leaders were captured and shot to death while other inmates were watching. After this, the prison guards were beefed up and reinforced by Korean military police, and the 17th Regiment was sent to combat. One of its combat missions was to get a training in amphibious operation in preparation for the Inchon landing. This is the reason why Gen. Paik In-Yup (the regiment commander) is still a big shot in the Inchon area.

About ten days after the riot, the Korean government had to retreat to Taegu. According to recent newspaper stories, about one thousand of those prison inmates were liquidated by Korean authorities before they left Taejon. Here is my position. This is exactly what Soviet and North Korean authorities wanted. They could not kill their "fellow" communists, and they had to hire someone else to do this job. This is precisely the purpose of the three-day vacation the North Korean troops took in Seoul.

I will explain why those South Korean communalists were so undesirable to Stalin in my next article(s).


Estonia 1990

Y.S.Kim (2000.11.12)

In October of 1990, I spent one week in Estonia. I attended a conference in its capital city called Tallinn, which is a harbor city on the Baltic coast. In 1990, Estonia was one of the republics of the Soviet Union, and there was in Tallinn a huge Soviet naval base. I saw many Soviet sailors wearing caps with caption saying "Flot Baltik" which means Baltic Fleet. When I tell this story to my Japanese friends, they laugh. I do not know whether young Koreans understand why.

In 1905, there was a war between Japan and Russia on the issue of who should control Korea. In order to show force, Russia attempted to send its entire fleet, called the Baltic Fleet (Barutiku Kantai in Japanese), from the Baltic Sea to Vladivostok via Capetown (South Africa). But the Japanese navy sank all of the eight battleships of the fleet while passing through the Korean strait.

When I read the caption, those Soviet sailors in Tallinn looked like ghosts from the Korean strait. Then, they appeared to me as the Soviet sailors with caption "Flot Pasifik" on the streets of Wonsan, Pusan, Nampo, and Inchon. That is right, Stalin was interested in making Korea exactly like Estonia. Estonia was and still is a Scandinavian country with a strong German influence. Along with Latvia and Lithuania, the country was annexed to the Soviet Union in 1945.

Stalin then systematically sent many Estonians to Siberia and many Russians moved to Estonia. Stalin was going to do exactly the same thing to Korea: move Koreans to Kazakhstan and Uzbeckistan while sending Russians to the Korean peninsula. For many years, Russians had been interested in non-freezing harbors in Korea in order to fulfill their ambition toward the Pacific.

In Tallinn, there was a large Russian community separated from the rest of the city. I asked my Estonian friends whether they had movements to bomb the Russian section. They said Stalin was very skilful in eliminating nationalists in their respective regions. Stalin's successors like Yeltzin did not have the same talent. This is the reason why Russia had go through a bloody conflict with Cechenians.

Let us come back to Korea. Stalin and Kim Il-Sung were determined to eliminate Korean nationalists before Sovietizing Korea. The Korean communists before 1945 were strong nationalists fighting against Japanese. Thus, those communists were not going to be obedient to Stalin. This is the precisely what the North Korean war planners had in mind.

A number of young people asked me why I am telling this kind of story to them. My answer to them is very simple. In the research world, there are many people who are like Stalin. I went through this world, and I am here because I put up some good fights against those Stalins. In my earlier articles, I mentioned King Herod several times, and I even confessed that I am like King Herod. In case you do not know, Herod was the king when Jesus was born. Upon hearing that a new king (other than himself) was born, he ordered all new-born babies be killed.

In may future stories, I will talk about some more prominent Korean communists, and how Kim Il-Sung became a nationalist. I will also talk about what happened to some of those non-communist nationalists whose names are familiar to us.


Romantic communists

Y.S.Kim (2000.11.14)

I said in my earlier articles that the North Korean army was constructed by the Soviet Union. I also told you what Stalin had in mind for Korea. In order to achieve this ultimate goal, Stalin and Kim Il-Sung had to get rid of Korea's home-grown communists. Why?

Stalin was interested in eliminating nationalist elements, while the Korean communists were products of Korea's nationalism against Japanese colonialists. Kim Il-Sung, on the other hand, was not a good communist, or more precisely he was a "gazza" communist. He was afraid of the home-grown communists with a deeper understanding of Marxism. Those Korean communists had a tight organization called "cell" organization. In order to become the king of Korea, Kim Il-Sung had to destroy this organization. While Kim Il-Sung was playing as puppet to Stalin, he clearly knew what his own interest was.

How did Marxism come Korea? Karl Marx's book "Das Kapital" was first translated into Japanese, and Chinese communists learned communism by reading the Japanese version of Marx's writings. Indeed, Koreans picked up communism from Japanese. Furthermore, there were many left-wing faculty members at the Keijo (Kyung-Sung) Imperial College. Japanese authorities exiled many of their leftist professors to Seoul.

One of the prominent communists from the Keijo Imperial College was a brilliant man named Lee Kang-Kook. He impressed his Japanese professors so much that he was selected to go to Berlin (Germany) to study (the ultimate prize Koreans can get at that time). On the other hand, he was strictly an academic person without any ability to do politics. He was liked by Soviet authorities in Pyongyang, and was treated nicely after he went to the North. But it is safe to assume that he was eliminated after 1953.

In addition to his wife, Lee Kang-Kook had a mistress named Kim Soo-Im. She was a professor at Ewha Womans University (Womans is the correct spelling) and spoke fluent English. In 1949, the United States withdrew its combat troops from Korea, but left 500 military advisors. Kim Soo-Im was a frequent visitor to the bedroom of the No.2 man of this military advisory group. She then then gave all the military secret to Lee. Using the influence of this American officer, she made an arrangement for Lee Kang-Kook to flee to the North. She was caught in March of 1950 and sentenced to death in May. She was shot to death one day after the 6.25.

This story tells how Korean communists enjoyed their romantic life. Indeed, some of the smartest Koreans were communists. Next time, I will talk about another brilliant communist with political and organizational skills. His name was Park Hun-Young.


Follow-up on romantic communists

Y.S.Kim (2000.11.17)

I talked about two communists named Lee Kang-Kook and Kim Soo-Im. I then received a protest from a lady reader. She told me the title of my article is wrong. The title should have been "Romantic Communists" instead of "A Romantic Communist." She asserts that Kim Soo-Im was also a dedicated communist and should be so counted. She is right, and I was wrong.

There was another lady who sent me a comment. In 1975, my wife collected a series of memoirs published in "Hankook Ilbo" by Lady Moh Yoon-Sook, and told me what Moh had to say about Kim Soo-Im. As you know, Lady Moh had many talents and was extremely skilful in approaching high-society people. She published a book telling how much she loved Lee Kwang-Soo. She also established a very close relationship with an Indian diplomat named Chrisina Menon who came to Korea as the Chairman of the U.N. Commission to supervise the first congressional election in 1948. Often, Yi Seungman (Syngman Rhee) used her diplomatic skill to achieve his political goals.

According to Moh's memoir, Kim and Moh were born in the same year, Kim on March 1 and Moh on March 4. Kim was one of Moh's closest friends, and was important enough for Moh to write about Kim in detail in her memoir. On Moh's birthday, March 4, 1950, Kim visited Moh's house to have a dinner with her. Kim was arrested there after they set up the dinner table but before they started eating. She was sentenced to death in May of 1950 (not June as I said in my earlier article). According to Moh, Kim used to assert that she was the best Marxist in Korea and was angry at Lee Kang-Kook for not taking her with him to the North.

Let me go back to my own memory. At the military trial of Kim Soo-Im, Lady Moh did her best to save Kim Soo-Im's life. At one point, Moh compared Soo-Im to Choon-Hyang totally loyal to her man. She said in tears it was not her communism but her loyalty to Lee Kang-Kook which led her to her mistake. Then the military court argued that Moh was wrong in comparing her to Choon-Hyang because Kim Soo-Im had one leg with a Korean man and the other with an American man. Kim was sentenced to death.

It was a sad day for Koreans. We had to send one of the most talented women to death. As she claimed, she was a dedicated Marxist. But we have to remember that Koreans picked up Marxism in order to find an outlet from the harsh Japanese rule. They were basically nationalists. This is precisely the reason why Stalin wanted to get rid of them. Both Lee Kang-Kook and Kim Soo-Im were idealists who did not know how to build a political party. As I promised, I will talk about a brilliant man named Park Hun-Young who read Marx's "Das Kapital" while he was a student at Kyounggi High School.

Lee Kang-Kook was also a Kyounggi man. Another prominent leftist from Kyounggi was Hong Myong-Hee. He also went to the North, but his book "Im-Keok-Jeon" is allowed and widely read in the South. Three years ago, one of the TV stations in the South carried an "Im-Keok-Jeon" series. I remember seeing a photo of Hong enjoying a boat ride with Kim Il-Sung.


Madam Sontag and Russian mission in Korea

Y.S.Kim (2000.11.29)

Two hundred years ago, Russia was a land of opportunity for Europeans, especially for Germans who did not have a strong country at that time. This is the reason why there were many Russians with German names one hundred years ago. One of them was Madam Sontag who came to Korea before 1900 AD. I forgot her first name, but I remember her as a very romantic person. While others Western powers came to Korea with armed troops, Madam Sontag came with a smile.

She was able to see Koreans and Russians can share the same kind of romanticism and set up a Western-style social club in Seoul near Chunng- dong Methodist Church. There Korean Yangbans were able to talk freely to ladies and dance with them to Western music. Indeed, it was a gathering place for Korea's new intellectuals. In addition, Russians knew that they can communicate with Koreans with their music. They provided a set of brass instruments for the old Korean army.

This was how Korea's musical history started. Mr. Ahn Ik-Tae was a band master while he was a student at Soongsil College. Even these days, it is not uncommon for Korean composers to have this "Napal" background. You would agree that Russia's diplomacy to Korea was quite sophisticated. Of course, Russia became a different country after the October revolution.

Yet, the Soviet Union maintained its diplomatic mission until 1949. During World War II, Japan and the Soviet Union had a non-aggression pact which expired during the first week of August 1945. Stalin declared war against Japan immediately after the expiration of this treaty and of course immediately after the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima.

The chancery of the Soviet mission was at the location where Madam Sontag operated her social club in Chung-dong. The Soviet consul's residence was at Pildong. It was an attractive Western-style house. From 1945 to 1949, this house was guarded by American soldiers.

What was then the job of the Soviet Council? It is safe to assume that his job was to monitor underground activities of Korean communists. The name of this Soviet consul was Shabushin (I forgot his first name). Indeed, Shabushin recommended to Stalin a Korean communist named Park Hun-Young as the leader of the communist Korea. However, Stalin rejected Shabushin's recommendation and appointed a young man named Kim Sung-Ju to be his puppet after changing his name to Kim Il-Sung.

Why did Stalin choose Kim Il-Sung while rejecting Park Hun-Young? Do you like to know?

Last week, one of my former classmates sent me an e-mail telling me he read a paragraph about me in a magazine called "Princeton Alumni Weekly." I called him and asked him what the magazine says about me. He told me there was a paragraph about my web page: http://www.physics.umd.edu/robot . This web page is linked to many other pages including those containing the photos of nice-looking ladies. However, the most important link is to the page explaining my Korean background.

I am writing many articles on many different subjects. However, there is one theme. In order to live in this world, you have to be a citizen of the world. But in order to be an internationalist, you have to be a nationalist first. Here I am just quoting Confucius, who said self before family, family before country, country before the world. My web page is designed to reflect this aspect of Confucianism.

You will not be surprised to hear from me that I do not have a very high opinion of Princeton graduates. On the other hand, if the editor of the Princeton alumni magazine was able to appreciate my Confucianism, I should give some credit to the University. The above-mentioned web page is not linked to my true personal page . You already know the purpose of this web address. This web site has something to do with Madam Sontag's legacy.


Park Hun-Young goes to Moscow and comes back.

Y.S.Kim (2000.12.2)

I said in an earlier article that Park Hun-Young read Marx's books while he was a student at Kyounggi High School. He then became interested in constructing a utopian society in Korea. After high-school graduation, he went to Moscow to see how communism works.

However, things did not work out too well there. The Soviet Union was far from an ideal country. Park felt that Koreans under Japan were much happier than Russians under Stalin's totalitarian rule. There also was a strong racial prejudice against him. Remember this. The prejudice becomes stronger in the Western world if you are a smart man. This is also true (perhaps more so) among Koreans.

Park came back to Korea after spending less than two years in Moscow. He became convinced that he could build an ideal society based on own vision of communism. He then changed his name to Kim Sung-Sam and got a job at a brick factory Kwangju. While baking bricks, he started organizing his political machine. Of course, it was an underground organization. By the end of World War II, Park's machine was able to penetrate into most of the labor unions, government agencies dealing with agriculture, fishing, and forestry. In addition, one of the major publishing companies was under Park's control.

How could he do it? Was his ideological conviction enough to achieve this much? Park Hun-Young was widely known to have a skill called "cell organization." Nobody really knows how got this idea and how he was able to practice it. However, there was another Korean who built his own cell organization. He seems to be myself. I have to confess that I had to develop a respect for Park while I was working on the network system for Koreans and for my professional colleagues.

I will not explain what the organization is all about, because my Korean colleagues are not interested in how much work is involved in developing and maintaining the system. They are interested in Gamtu tables in which they rank higher than I. I expressed this frustration many times before. It is indeed alarming to note that this trend is becoming stronger among younger Koreans (they do now want to work but want to get credit for the work they did not do). I regret to say that Korea will not move forward with this kind of attitude.

Let us go back to Park Hun-Young. In addition, he had the following fundamental problem with Korean. Korea was under Japan, and every Korean had a desire to get rid of the Japanese rule. But, how much cooperation would Korean give to Park. Let me also describe this with my own experience. Because I write frequently and this network reaches many Koreans, I sometimes get invitations to contribute articles to magazines and newspapers.

I usually respond positively to those invitations and submit my articles. Those articles however have one theme: we have to get ahead of Japan in science. I also explain why this is possible. However, my articles never get published. I do not think those publishers under Japanese "Kenpei" (equivalent to KGB). This is how Korea is now without Japanese Kenpei. When Park was working on his cell organization, the Kenpei was everywhere in Korea.

I will continue this Park Hun-Young story next time.


One hundred fifty rifles and counterfeit printers

Y.S.Kim (2000.12.13)

I said in my previous article that Park Hun-Young was a very skilful in organizing his communist party. Toward the end of 1944, it became quite clear to everybody that Japan was going to be defeated in the war. This led Koreans to speculate on the government they are going to have. Many thought Korea would continue to be under Japan. Many others thought that Franklin Roosevelt of the United States would be the ruler of Korea. This was the line of thinking among my family members.

However, there were Koreans who were firmly committed to the independence of Korea. We frequently mention the group of Koreans associated with the provisional government in Shanghai. We sometimes mention those Koreans who were associated with Chinese communist army. But we never mention nationalist organizations within the Korean territory. As I said before, one of those organization was constructed by Park Hun-Young base on communist ideology. He was able to recruit those Koreans with ambitions to become important members of the Korean government to be set up after the eventual defeat of Japan in the Pacific war. They were thinking of setting up their government based on Marxism.

By the beginning of 1945, these Korean communists were able to take some bold measures. In addition to Kyounggi, there was another elite high school in Seoul at that time. Its name is and still is Kyungbok. Unlike Kyounggi, most of the teachers in this high school were Koreans. Naturally, there were a number of nationalists among those teachers.

At that time, all high-school students had to go through very tough Japanese-style training, and every student had his own rifle given by the Japanese Emperor. However, those rifles for students had broken firing pins and could not be used for combat purposes. Yet, each high school had some combat-capable rifles for target practice. Kyoungbok High School had 150 of them. On one morning, all those lethal weapons disappeared. Because this was so embarrassing to Japanese authorities, they kept it secret. It is not difficult to guess who stole those rifles.

Toward the end of 1944, Par Hun-Young's organization was controlling one major publishing company with as many as 200 employs. This company kept changing its name, but its name was "Jung-Pan-Sa" before it was closed down in May of 1946. It was located near the headquarters of the Bank of Korea. Somehow, those communist/nationalists were able to develop enough technology to print counterfeits ("gazza" money). Nobody knows how much money they produced before the 8.15 day in 1945. It was definitely illegal, but your would agree that this was a very ingenious method of subverting the Japanese rule.

I will continue the difficulties Park Hun-Young had to face after Japanese left and Americans and Russians came to the Korean peninsula.


Park Hun-Young after 8.15

Y.S.Kim (2000.12.19)

After Japan's surrender on August 15 (1945), Koreans vaguely expected that Korea would be an independent country. There were indeed many "patriots" who all wanted to become the president of the country. They all emerged from obscurity and became very busy in making their names known to the Korean population. However, most of them were characters. Before the U.S. troops came to Seoul, those leaders formed the "People's Republic of Korea" in order to accommodate the leftists and communists.

As you might have expected from my previous articles, Park Hun-Young was the only person with a credible organization. Indeed, his organization was strong enough to collect taxes even from the North. Park, who was a more nationalist than a communist, earnestly wanted work with Americans when the U.S. troops came to Korea. He approached the most prominent pro-American politician named Yi Seungman (known internationally as Syngmam Rhee), but Rhee refused to meet him.

How about the Soviet Union? As I said in one of my earlier articles, he was not a happy person when he attempted to study in Moscow. He also knew Stalin rejected the recommendation from Shabusin who was the Soviet consul stationed in Seoul. Shabusin's recommendation was that Park Hung-Young was the best communist in Korea and he should be appointed as the ruler of Korea. As you all know, Stalin chose Kim Il-Sung.

To make things worse, Korean politicians were learning how brilliant Park Hun-Young was. Koreans, especially Korean politicians, thoroughly hate those who are smarter than themselves. As a consequence, he became totally isolated from the Korean politicians. Then, how did he attempt solve his problem?

In December of 1945, Park Hun-Young disappeared from Seoul. Where was he? Nobody knows, but I have the following theory. Park knew he could not function effectively in Seoul, nor in Pyongyang. He also knew that neither the pro-American politicians in Seoul, nor the pro-Soviet group headed by Kim I.S. in Pyongyang had any domestic organization. He wanted to set up his own political machine in a city called Haeju. Do you know where this city is. It was a capital city of Hwanghae Province just north of the 38th parallel. Park thought he could from there maintain an equidistance to Seoul and Pyongyang. If nobody knew where Park was in December of 1945, he must have been in Haeju in order to establish a base there. I happened to know the geography of that area reasonably well, because I spent the first eleven years of my life in a village not far from Haeju. It is an excellent place to stage guerilla operations against Seoul or Pyongyang.

As many of you know, on December 28 (1945), the foreign ministers of the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union made a declaration that Korea be governed by a joint trusteeship of the U.S. and the Soviet Union. We call this as "Shin-Tak Tong-Chi" This declaration sent the entire country into a great confusion. Every body in Seoul, including communists were deadly set against this declaration. On January 3 (1946), Park Hun-Young appeared from hiding in Kaesong and made a statement supporting the trusteeship. I will explain why he did this next time.


I will continue my stories about Korean nationalists who are widely respected by Koreans. However, they were quite ineffective under the wave of foreign influence. This is true for each of us. If you wish to become Korea's No. 1, it is fine. But it is totally meaningless it can be translated something in the world.

Tonight, let us take a break and let us talk about something light. Koreans like music, and there are many Christians in Korea. In December of every year, we turn on various forms of Christmas music. I really want to be easy tonight. I will rebroadcast one of my early articles on this subject. Please continue reading. (2000.12.20)

Medici and Christmas

Y.S.Kim (1996.11.27)

In my previous article, I mentioned the word "Medici" as the first person in history to grab a political power with money, not with military means. It appears that Medici is totally unknown among my young friends. If you passed your college entrance exam, you should know the word "Renaissance." You should also be able to relate this word to an Italian city called Florence or Firenze. Before you passed the exam, you knew them, but they evaporated from your memory after you entered the college.

I am writing this article because you still need Medici. The point is that you like to make many American and European friends to boost your standing in the community of Korean physicists. Those Westerners will not do any business with you unless you know who Medici was. Medici was like our King Sejong in the Western world. Thus, I would like to give a small seminar on this important person.

During the Tang period (600-900 AD), the cultural center in the world was the city of Chang-An. These days, most people that the Western culture is superior to the Oriental culture. When did this transition take place? As you know, this happened during the Renaissance period (1300-1700 AD). You should know that artists, particularly painters, played an important role in the early stage of this cultural revival. At one point in your high school, you learned that the Medici family financed the activities of those Italian artists.

How did they get the money and influence? The Medici family accumulated their wealth by trading and later by establishing a banking network throughout Europe stretching from England to Greece. Their home base was in Florence, and he invested heavily in art. Before 1300 AD, Europeans trembled whenever they heard the word Genghis Khan. During the period 1300-1600 AD, the Medici family was so powerful that the most honorable thing in Europe was to marry a boy or girl named Medici. The family produced two boys who became Popes, and this was how Vatican started importing arts.

Michelangelo was supported by the Medici family. Italians say that Michelangelo is more valuable to Italy than Shakespeare is to England. You can read Shakespeare anywhere in the world and Englishmen cannot make money on his books. However, you have to come to Italy and spend money to see the artworks of Michelangelo. The Medici family therefore made a very wise investment, and they certainly knew how to make money.

Two of the Medici girls went "sizip" (to marry) to France to become French queens. You can now guess how the art started in France. One of those two girls was fond of music-and-dance combination. After Louis XIV died, Peter the Great of Russia visited France and started importing French culture to Russia. Russians were particularly interested in this new form of music-and-dance. This eventually became the ballet art developed by Russians.

How much do I know about ballets? Not much, except that I watched many of them. Marilyn Noz has been my coworker since 1970, and I wrote two books and many papers with her. She is completely crazy about ballets. In addition, I visited Russia eight times since 1990. Whenever I go there, my Russian colleagues drag me to ballets. When I was in Minsk last June, I was forced to watch Khachaturyan's ballet entitled "Spartacus," and it was very good. Aram Ilich Khachaturyan was a modern Armenian composer and his best known work is "Sabre Dance." In order to raise my statue, I had to tell my Russian friends that I knew about this composer before, and this is even true. During the Cold-War era, Khachaturyan's music was forbidden in Korea. I once tape-recorded his violin concerto from Japanese broadcast when I was in high school.

In December of every year, the most seasonal ballet is the "Nutcracker" by Tchaikovsky. The story is about a Christmas party for children, and many youngsters participate in the performance. If you have children of age 10-16, you should take them to this ballet. You do not have to be a child to enjoy this ballet. The second act consists of a complete set of international dances including those of Russia, France, China, Spain, Arabia, and other countries. To us, the most interesting part is the Chinese dance, where the dancers pretend to be Chinese men and women. On December 19, I plan to go to this ballet performed by the Moscow State Ballet in Washington, DC.

You like to establish your status in the world physics community. You should then behave like a Yangban in the Western world. The knowledge of Western music and related forms of arts is a precondition for becoming an American/European Yangban. As I said repeatedly before, Korea gives you the best pre-college education available in the world. If you like to play a role in the world stage, you should keep the knowledge you acquired from your education. If you keep blaming your own background, you are bound to destroy yourself.

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If you visit my Korea page , you will see what kind of Korean educational background I am talking about. You will also notice my photo with a Russian violinist who likes to play Khachaturyian. She looks like Actress Tatyana Samoilova who was one of the most popular film actressess in Russia. Because of this photo, I am becoming popular among Russians.


December of 1945

Y.S.Kim (2000.12.22)

Every year, during the month of December, Koreans exchange greetings cards with their friends. In my case, I do this every 100 years, and I sent out many cards last year. I have been developing this Korean network for sometime. I was able to do this only because I was able to establish a credibility among Korean scientists and engineers. I would like to thank you again for trusting me.

The December of 1945 was not a happy year for Koreans. Japanese colonialists were thrown out from Korea, but not by Koreans. The peninsula was occupied by two Western powers competing for the world hegemony. Koreans of course wanted to set up their own independent government, and many of them were making preparations for the position of the president. But the Western powers who defeated Japan had an entirely different idea.

On December 28 (1945), the foreign ministers of the U.S., Britain and the Soviet Union came up with a formula of the joint trusteeship for five years. This formula was designed by Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union. Stalin further added that Korea could become an independent country in a shorter period if Koreans develop enough "democratic" base.

This sounded very reasonable to many Koreans who did not know what Stalin's democracy meant. Stalin knew only one kind of democracy: the totalitarian rule under his iron-had dictatorship. In terms of words and propaganda, the Soviet Union was far ahead of the United States. It was because the U.S. did not have a clear policy toward Korea. The United States, at that time, was under a strong influence of isolationism inherited from George Washington. Furthermore, the U.S. was pre-occupied with troubles with China.

As a consequence, the Soviet Union scored the following major propaganda victories over the United States.

  1. When the Soviet troops came to Pyongyang in August of 1945, the commander of the Red Army made a statement saying that the Soviet troops came to Korea in order to help Koreans in constructing a democratic country. When the U.S. troops came to Seoul in September of 1945, the U.S. commander said Korea was under the U.S. occupation and Koreans should obey the laws written in English.
  2. On the issue of the trusteeship, the officials in the U.S. State Department openly mentioned 20 to 30 years. These officials were totally ignorant about the history of Korea and the surrounding areas. Thus, Stalin sounded very charming to Koreans because he proposed five years or less.
It is understandable if Americans did not know anything about Korea, but the U.S. officials should have known the true meaning of Stalin's democracy. The commander of the U.S. forces in Korea at that time was Lt.Gen. John R. Hodge. Hodge was going to rigorously enforce the Moscow agreement and threatened to death-sentence Kim Koo who led the anti-trustee demonstrations. Hodge did not how much respect Kim Koo was receiving from Korean, or it did not matter to him. This kind of confusion produced many communist sympathizers in the South. They all became Park Hun-Young fans.

I was talking about Park in my previous articles. I said that, on January 3, 1946, he made a statement supporting Moscow's formula for the trusteeship. In this way, Park placed himself on the spot. Two weeks later, the New York Times published the content of an interview one of their reporters had with Park. Park Hung-Young said there Korea should become one of the republics of the Soviet Union. This NY Times article was and still is not known among Koreans because Koreans at that time did not know what the NY Times was.

Needless to say, Park made this statement in order to exchange his political base in the South with a favor from Moscow. He of course knew his rival was Kim Il-Sung. However, Stalin totally ignored Park's offer, and continued strengthening Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang.

In my next article, I will talk about who was behind Kim Il-Sung in Moscow, and why Kim Il-Sung was so dear to Russians while Park was so undesirable.