Wisdom of Korea (2001, January -- June)

Many people sent me e-mails about my articles on Park Hun-Young. They are kind enough to acknowledge that I am writing those articles mostly from my own memory and that I am not copying from anyone else. Because of this, my stories are only approximate and may contain errors. Sometimes, I make up the stories. However, there are many professional researchers on this subject. One of them is Prof. Il-Pyong Kim of the Univ. of Connecticut. We knew each other when he was a student at Columbia Univ. and I was at Princeton. He sent me the following e-mail which will be helpful to all of us. After his e-mail, you are invited to read my story entitled "Beria's Korea."

From ikim@uconnvm.uconn.edu Sun Jan 7 00:09:00 2001
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2000 07:16:09 -0500

Dear Dr. Kim:
Since you are writing interesting articles about Park Hunyoung in the post-WW II period in Korean politics I would like to call your attention to an interview article appeared in the Dong-A Daily News on December 12, 2000 (donga.com) in the Life section that Park's son who is a Budhist Priest Wonkyong in Pyongtaek and 59 years old has compiled 9-volume documents of Park Hun-young and will be published in 2001 to commemorate the 100th birthday of his father Park Hun-young. The interview article provided very interesting facts about Park's private life including his marriage to a Russian-Korean women and also the off springs with Russian names. If you search the internet "www.donga.com" (2000/12/21) you will find in publication news "The Wonkyong Priest who is planning to publish the documents of Park Hun-young, the Leader of the South Korean Labor Party." You may find many more new facts from this interview article. With my best wishes for a Happy Holiday ! Ilpyong Kim



Y.S.Kim (2001.1.7)

I asked last week a Russian student whether she met a person named Lavrenti Beria. She said Beria died long before she was born. I then asked her what she knows about him. She said Beria was not a kind person. How many of you know about or heard about Beria?

You all know that Russia was for some years ruled by a dictator named Joseph Stalin. It is very safe to assume that Stalin under him had a number of ruthless administrators. Among them, Beria was the most effective person who could get things done. He usually accomplished his objectives by murdering his opponents. Beria was known as a whole-sale human butcher. Before 1946, he headed the government agency called GPU (main political department) which, after 1946, became KGB (committee on national security). He was arrested by his enemies shortly after Stalin's death in 1953 and was then executed.

Among the most notorious actions he did was to eliminate most of the high-ranking officers from the Soviet Army before 1939. This is the reason why Hitler was able to make shift advances in the Russian fronts during the early stage of World War II. He did many other ugly things, including one ugly action on Korea.

While Park Hun-Young was the most respected communist in Korea, he chose Kim Il-Sung as the ruler against the recommendation he received from the Soviet consulate in Seoul. Then, how did Beria get to know about Kim Il-Sung? Usually, people like those who are like themselves.

Kim Il-Sung apparently demonstrated his Beria-like talent while he was in a Soviet military camp in Khavarosk (near Manchu border). Nobody really knows what Kim Il-Sung did before he crossed the border from Manchu to Russia. But he was thoroughly tortured by Soviet KPU (KGB) agents after crossing the border. The Soviet agents thought he was a spy sent by Japanese (this possibility cannot be ruled out). Because of this torture, Kim.I.S. later became anti-Soviet.

Soviet Intelligence authorities decided to use Kim Il-Sung and 60 other Koreans as spies to be parachuted down to Japan in preparation for their war (to come) against Japan. Therefore, Kim's boss was the head of the Soviet espionage organizations, namely Lavrenti Beria. I do not know what good things he did there to impress Beria, but he carried out North Korea's land reform very swiftly and effectively.

When Kim Il-Sung came to Pyongyang in 1945, he did not have any political base in Korea. He was simply a Soviet agent. On March 5 (1946), there was a land-reform decree in the North (I was in the North at that time). The content of this reform was very simple. The landlords had to give up the ownership of their lands. The lands would belong to the tenants who were working on the lands. Those tenants were to pay their taxes in the form of grain donation to the state. This reform was very swiftly carried out, without any noise. In this way, Kim Il-Sung impressed his Soviet superiors. Also in this was, he was able to establish a strong political base among the farmers in the North.

If you look at Kim Il-Sung's land reform, the tenants would remain as tenants. The landlords were eliminated but the new landlord was Kim Il-Sung, not quite. The new landlord was the Soviet Communist Party.

With his strengthened position, Kim Il-Sung asked the best composer in Pyongyang to compose Gen. Kim Il-Sung Song. I have its music (bean sprouts on five horizontal lines), but it does not tell the composer's name. I know why. The composer came to the South during the 1.4 retreat in 1951, but it would be quite inappropriate to tell who the composer was at this time. Kim then took many Beria-like actions to consolidate himself as the ruler of Korea (at least North Korea). Kim Il-Sung became quite ready to meet Park Hun-Young when Park visited him in September of 1946.


Y.S.Kim (2001.1.15)

Since I sent out my last mail, I received the following two questions.

  1. I said we cannot rule out the possibility that Kim Il-Sung was a Japanese agent when he entered the Soviet territory from Manchu. Someone asked me whether I have any evidence to support this theory. I do not have any concrete evidence, but I have a photo of Kim Il-Sung in Japanese army uniform with two senior colleagues also in the Japanese uniform. All three of them look like Japanese soldiers in this photo.
  2. What secret talent did Kim Il-Sung have to establish a connection with a big shot like Lavrenti Beria? I do not know, but I know a Korean soldier/politician who had a very unusual talent of telling his superiors what they wanted to hear. I will expand this story tonight because you will need this skill in getting jobs and getting promoted.
I have a reputation among my younger friends that I like those who tell me the stories I like to hear and dislike those who tell me what I do not like to hear. If this is the case, I am not the first one in history. Jesus liked those who told him he was the son of God. Chun Doo-Hwan punished Korean fortune tellers who predicated he would not become the president. I like Russian ladies because they always tell me what I like to hear. I have a very low opinion of SNU graduates because they always make me angry.

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from a physicist who was Wigner's PhD student when we was at Princeton eight years before me. As I said repeatedly before, Wigner was not my advisor, and he knows this. The point of his e-mail was to ask me how I became so close to Wigner with a Korean background, even though he does not explicitly say in his mail (he could have said this explicitly 40 years ago).

I once asked him politely what he has done to expand Wigner's research lines, but this time I will ask this question more bluntly. I will not however tell the following piece of Korean wisdom. Some Koreans, if they are not graduates of SNU (I am not), can tell others what they like to hear. It appears that Kim Il-Sung was one of them: he had the talent of telling his superiors what they wanted to hear.

In my case, I told Wigner that he made much more important contribution than Einstein did. I do not think I was wrong in saying this. Frederick Seitz was Wigner's first student at Princeton (Seitz likes me). They initiated a chemistry-oriented physics known today as condensed matter physics. How many people use Einstein's physics these days? How many use condensed matter physics?

Wigner lived in Princeton for many years. To every visitor to Princeton, Einstein was No. 1 and Wigner was No. 2. While this was exactly what Wigner did not like to hear, I told him precisely what he was waiting to hear for his entire life. In this way, I produced a photo of Wigner, my wife, Mrs. Wigner, and myself, entitled "Last Lunch with Wigner" modeled after Da Vinci's "Last Supper." This "Last Lunch" photo is in my website, and this turns off many who claim to have been closest to Wigner. The above-mentioned Wigner's student keeps writing me because he does not like this photo.

Is this kind of technology my original idea? No! I learned a lesson from a Korean who is better known to us than Kim Il-Sung. I wrote about him in 1995. As you know, Rhee Seung-man, the first President of Korea, always wanted to hear what he liked to hear. During the 6.25 conflict, he did not like the Korean armed forces being controlled by Americans. One day, Rhee invited top-ranking Korean generals to a lunch and asked them who is commanding the Korean Army. The generals told him the commander of the UN Forces is commanding the Korean Army. However, there was one person who told a different story. He quoted the sentence from Korea's Constitution specifying the President's position in the armed forces. It is not difficult to guess who became the Army Chief of Staff next morning.

This is a simplified version of a much more complicated story. However, those who have some knowledge of Korea's recent history can tell the name of the general who produced the correct answer to his President. His name was Chung Il-Kwon. He was a promising young officer in the Japanese army until August 1945. In 1946, he was the first Korean soldier who learned how to operate the M-1 rifle, while Americans were not sure about Koreans' ability to handle such a sophisticated machine. He was also able to adjust himself to Korea's turbulent political winds until he died last year.

I often become frustrated when I talk with our young physicists looking for jobs. Many of them still think job-hunting is like taking an entrance examination. In the exam, all you have to do is to get a higher score than others. In job-hunting, however, the basic issue is how useful you are to your prospective employer. From your point of view, it is a matter of how you could adjust yourself to the environment controlled by your boss. For instance, if you like to get a postdoc position with Steven Weinberg, it is essential that you study his papers before seeing him. You should talk about his papers rather than your own if and when he invites you for an interview.

Does this story make sense to you? If so, practice it if you like get a job or like to get promoted.

This is my second mail to send out tonight. I cannot write two articles after coming back from a trip. Instead, I would like to attach an old article explaining how Russian ladies tell me what I like to hear. You may visit this webpage to see what I am talking about. I am talking about one of those ladies in the following article. YSK (2001.1.15)


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.


Y.S.Kim (2001.1.18)

Many people told me they understand why I like Russian ladies so much after reading my previous mail and looking at the photos in my web site. They are now asking me why I dislike SNU so thoroughly? They asked me to present some specific examples. I think I gave them enough examples in the past, but I can still my answers.

  1. SNU takes the best of everything in Korea, but its graduates produce only complaints and complaints. I am not the first one to dislike this kind of people. Jesus also had a contempt toward SNU graduates (Matt:25:14-30, Luke:19:2-27). So what? Jesus cannot offer jobs to them. However, the super-constitution of the United States is the Gospel of Matthew (I said this many times). If you are despised by Jesus, you cannot get a job or promoted in the U.S.
  2. SNU keeps cultivating the bribe culture in the academic community. Those Korea'1 No. 1 professors keep inviting big names from America and Europe. With those big shots, they visit the president of Korea, and pay them huge sums of money. In my earlier articles, I mentioned the C.N.Yang case as one of the worst fiascos in our modern history. In concluding my C.N.Yang stories, I predicted that C.N.Yang-like cases would happen again and again, and I was right. Remember this. After receiving huge sums of money, those foreigners say that Korea is a backward country.
  3. Both SNU faculty and students are so eager to submit everything to Japan. The reason why SNU is so admired in Korea is that its entrance exam is bug-free. If I ask SNU graduates where this tradition came from, they say it came from Kyung-sung Imperial College. If I say this was not the case, they ask me why they should trust me. They tell me "you are only a Korean." If you are a graduate of the best university in Korea, you should never trust Koreans. Pathetic!
I am very sorry to say that I am not able to see any sign of improvement. The only solution, as I said many times before, is to shut down the University. For your information, I am attaching my earlier article on SNU's entrance exam. -- Please continue reading.


Y.S.Kim (1996.1.31)

These days, the best gift a Korean boy or girl can give to his/her parents is to pass SNU's entrance exam. It is because one of the rare corruption- free institutions in Korea. Then, what is the origin of this bug-free system? If I ask this question to recent SNU graduates, I often hear the answer I dislike most.

They say that the system was inherited from Kyungsung Imperial College which was a component of the Japanese Imperial Unv. system until 1945. Indeed, there was a university called ``Keijo Teikoku Daigaku'' in Seoul, and its campus later became SNU's main campus. However, the Kyungsung Imperial business had nothing to do with Koreans. The Japanese propaganda machine was telling Koreans that the Univ. was a gift from their Emperor to the Korean people because he regards Koreans as Japanese (they wanted to draft Koreans for their army). The truth however was that it was devised by Japanese authorities to exile their anti-fascist professors to a colony. Do you know or know about anyone who studied at Kyungsung Imperial University?

SNU was born as a component of the national university system formulated during the period when Korea was ruled by the U.S. Occupation Force (1945-48), and the first president of SNU was a lt.colonel of the U.S. Army. Quite understandably, Koreans did not like the university headed by an American army officer. This led confusion after confusion. How was then the entrance exam system? Mess! To make things worse, SNU had its temporary campus in Pusan during the period 1951-53. I cannot really document the degree of corruption at that time, except mentioning one concrete incident. In 1952, SNU conducted its entrance exam in Pusan, and the maximum score was 500. I know someone who got 25 out of 500 and still got admitted because his father was a minister in the government.

Indeed, this created an uproar among SNU's professors, and they stood firmly against political pressures to make the entrance exam a completely bug-free system. When I entered SNU in 1954, the exam system was praised to be 100% bug free by major newspapers. It was Korean professors who came up with this respectable system. During the period 1952-54, what we needed was a clean entrance exam system. We still need clean exams, but we need more now. What are they?

During the period 1952-54, SNU's president was Dr. Choi Kyunam (1898-1992). He was a tall and handsome gentleman. He studied at Yonhee Professional School (now called Yonsei Univ.) before going to the United States in 1927. He received his PhD degree in Physics from the Michigan State Univ. in 1933. He published his thesis in the Physical Review (let us find the reference). He joined the Yonhee faculty in 1934 and stayed there until 1946. He then became one of the three originators of SNU's Physics Department. Two other gentlemen were Dr. Park Chulzae and Dr. Kwon Youngdae. Dr. Park Chulzae later became the first president of Inha Institute of Technology which is now known as Inha University.

In 1954 when I was enjoying my dinner at a Sulnong-tang house (called Mookyo Tang-gwan), one distinguished-looking gentleman was telling about Yukawa to his younger colleagues at next table. I was impressed, but did not disturb their conversation. Later, I found out he was Dr. Park Chulzae and his position at that time as the head of the Special Education Bureau of the Ministry of Education in charge of sending Korean students to the United States and Europe. I met him formally when he was visiting Carnegie Institute of Technology (now called Carnegie-Mellon Univ.) in the fall of 1954. I was a freshman there.

Dr. Kwon Youngdae stayed in the Physics Department until his retirement. These days, when I ask young SNU graduates whether they can recognize his name, most of them say NO. Some say that his name sounds like that of a big politician during the Yi dynasty (called Dae-gam). One of my friends told me this morning that this is the correct answer because he was exactly like a Dae-gam when he was a professor in the Department. He left many interesting anecdotes.

Dr. Choi Kyunam became the Minister of Education in 1956. It is my understanding that he was a very humble person. His daughter entered SNU's English Literature Department when I entered in 1954. Like her father, she was very tall but was humble enough not to show any sign that her father was a famous person. Dr. Choi's main contribution was to supervise a team of SNU's professors who designed the cleanest entrance exam system.

I would like to thank Prof. Kim Seung Hwan of Pohang Univ. for sending me detailed biographical data of Dr. Choi Kyunam. Prof. Kim is known internationally as Swan Kim. He picked up this nickname while he was a graduate student at the Univ. of Pennsylvania. He was an exemplary student there and was admired by his classmates.

Whenever I say SNU should be closed down, I get letters. They are all interesting. Please send me more. I will be very happy to broadcast them. YSK (2001.1.20)

Dear Prof. Kim,

First of all, I confess that I do not read all the articles you wrote and sent to this network. I have read only interesting topics. Perhaps, it is not a good habit to catch the real point you want to make. However, as many young people do in this world, I care about only stimulating articles (especially with stimulating titles). Even this logic cannot excuse my laziness, though.

My question about the articles "why Y.S. Kim dislikes SNU so much" is very simple. With the current education system and authorities in Korean, which university will survive in the end? I believe that it is SNU who made things better in Korea, and it is also SNU who made things worse in Korea. In other words, I believe that it is SNU who made other universities (hereinafter, "other universities" mean all the universities in Korea except SNU) better, and it is also SNU who destroyed (and are still destroying) other universities.

I sincerely regret that SNU want to destroy such universities, especially Pohang and KAIST. I truly believe that SNU want to be a monopoly in Korea in every aspect of education. They WILL destroy all other universities after all. The reason why I mentioned Pohang and KAIST (or Yonsei, Korea, Inha, Sogang, ...) is those universities came up strong in science and engineering with a very short history but their edges are now greatly weakened by many SNU-led political incidents (for example, BK21). The statements to support the incidents are like these: "SNU never allow others to compete". "There is only one "good" university with "good" students and faculty in Korea". "Kwan-ak (the SNU main campus) only bends to look down (which means SNU is always higher than others)".

I sincerely do not believe that the society that does not allow a so-called diversity will not survive. Thus, I also believe that the role SNU must take is to make others compete with them and by doing so, make themselves better. But, what they are doing right now is make others never compete and by doing so, make themselves even worse. Why the so-called "better" SNU graduates always want to get out the the school and come to the United States even if the SNU is SO GOOD?


Youngho Seo
UCLA Physics & Astronomy
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1547
E-mail: yseo@physics.ucla.edu

Dear Professor Kim,

Perhaps you are aware that, in the past year, several newspapers in South Korea wrote articles that featured opinions in favour of closing down SNU. Someone also wrote a book on why SNU should be closed down (but I haven't yet been able to get my hands on this book). The Hankyoreh actually ran a series of articles on this issue and related ones. I believe they are archived somewhere on the Hankyoreh21 website (www.hani.co.kr/section-special/hb.html).

Various reasons were given, but as far as I remember, the most common one was that SNU was the pillar of a new caste system based on 'hak-beol', hence the need to abolish SNU, for the sake of realising fairness.

I believe your articles on SNU add another dimension to this issue. I hope that, one day, you will make your view known to the general public as well as scientists and engineers.

Sincerely Yours,

Choi Sang-Kyung
Max-Planck-Inst. f. Quantenoptik
D-85748 Garching, Germany

Dear Prof. Kim,

For your information, Dr. Park Chulzae was the fifth dean of Inha Institute and served from 1964 to 1968. Inha's first dean in 1954 was Lee Wonchul followed by Choi Seung Man, Kim Jang Hoon, and Kim Byung Hee. The sixth Dean and also the first President of Inha University after Inha Institute became university was Dr. Sung Chua Kyung. According to the history book of Inha University, Dean Park Chulzae contributed a lot in reforming the administration system of Inha.


Dongwoo Cha
Inha University


Y.S.Kim (2001.2.3)

It has been two weeks since I sent out my last mail. During this period, I received the following question from a number of readers.

One colleague of mine, born in Poland and working in Paris, visited my web site, including the "Korean Background" which contains one image consisting of two photos. One is the photo of Frederick Chopin's grave in Paris, and the other shows the wall of the Church of Holy Cross in Warsaw where Chopin's heart was entombed. After Chopin died in Paris, his friends extracted his heart from the body and brought to Poland to be buried in Poland. My Polish-French friend said "Like you, I have two motherlands."

If you visited my web site more than once, you will note that I am changing the background colors quite often. I am working hard to reproduce the color of Koryo porcelain for my Korea page. If you know the color code, please let me know. You may check this web page to check the color.

Let me go back to my Korean background. I always learn lessons from talented Koreans, some highly respected and some thoroughly despised. Most of Korea's talented people are hated and despised by fellow Koreans. Park Hun-Young was one of the most talented Koreans in the 20th century. There was of a very good reason for us to ignore him because he was a communist. As I said before, I learned lessons from him, and one of the lessons was how to organize in a hostile environment.

I learned lessons also from Kim Il-Sung. He knew how to lie. In my case, I had to lie without telling the lies (telling lies is strictly forbidden in my profession). As many of you know, I am a "gazza" Wigner's student, but I never said Wigner was my PhD advisor. Rhee Seung-Man, Korea's first president, was very good in lying without telling the lies. In this way, he was able to give "kihap" to some high-ranking Americans. I also learned many lessons from him.

Let us go back to Park Hun-Young. After 1945, he desperately sought a link to foreign powers. First, the United States but blocked by Rhee Seung-Man, next the Soviet Union but blocked by Kim Il-Sung. He then came to the conclusion that a violent revolution is the only solution for him. It was not an unreasonable proposition at that time, because the United States did not have any policy to deal with the situation in the South and to confront the Soviet threat coming from the North.

Park turned on the subversive machines which he had built against Japan before 1945. One of them was a money printing machine. In 1946, he turned on the printer and produced counterfeits. How much? I do not know, but enough to cause an uncontrollable inflation the South.

The commander of the U.S. occupation forces was Lt.Gen. John R. Hodge. Like all American generals, Hodge was thoroughly trained not to become a politician. Hodge was rigorously pursuing the policy of the five-year trusteeship (Shin-Tak) signed also by the United States. As I explained before, this trusteeship was based on Joseph Stalin's version of democracy which Hodge did not understand. For this reason, Hodge was fond of Park Hung-Young who supported the trusteeship.

But Hodge was quite upset by Park's printing of money, and issued an an arrest warrant against Park Hun-Young on May 15, 1946. This was the end of Park's political life in the South. He then had to flee to the North controlled by his bitter rival named Kim Il-Sung. Park was justified in having a contempt toward Hodge as a political idiot, but he did not know how serious Americans are when the issue of money comes.

Next time, I will talk about what happened to Park Hun-Young in the North until he was shot to death by Kim Il-Sung in 1953. Perhaps I should also talk about Rhee Seung-Man who too had a contempt toward Hodge as a politician. Unlike Park, Rhee outmaneuvered Hodge to become the president in the South supported by the United States. Do you like to know how Rhee gave "kihap" to Hodge?


Y.S.Kim (2001.2.7)

In August of 1950, I was in Chinhae waiting for a good news from MacArthur's command. The Korean War got bogged down along the Pusan perimeter, and we were hearing the same boring story everyday. I was also tuned to the broadcast from Seoul. The communist-controlled Seoul radio was also saying the same story everyday. Suddenly, one evening, the Seoul radio aired Kim Il-Sung's live speech. At that time, the relaying and recording techniques were at primitive stage, and it was not difficult for me to tell where he was talking from. He was clearly talking from the radio studio in Seoul.

I must admit that Kim's voice had a distinction. He talked forcefully, precisely, and logically. He promised to the entire Korean people that his "Inmin-Goon" would drive out American imperialists from the Korean territory and put Rhee-Seungman and his cliques to a trial. Of course he failed to fulfill his promise. This is not the point.

Kim Il-Sung visited Seoul, but he did not allow Park Hun-Young to come to his old home base. Instead, Kim Il-Sung did everything to eliminate Park's political base in the South. I talked about this in my earlier articles.

After Hodge's arrest warrant, Park initially fled to Kwangwon Province, and then used a mountain route to cross the 38th parallel to the North. In September, Park visited Kim Il-Sung and obtained his permission to use Haeju as his base to launch subversive activities in the South. If you see the map of Korea, the 38th parallel cuts through the Ongjin Peninsula and the Haeju bay. Since the Ongjin Peninsula belonged to the South, it was very easy to come from Haeju to Inchon using sea routes. There, Park Hun-Young commanded strikes, uprisings and other subversive activities in the South.

Haeju is secluded from Pyongyang by tiger-infested mountains. Thus, it is an ideal location to stage a guerilla war against Pyongyang. Kim Il-Sung of course knew this. He then invited Park Hun-Young to move to Kangdong, closer to Pyongyang, to build a guerilla training center against the South. Kim's plan was to let Park be preoccupied with the South, and to watch him closely.

Park indeed spent more than 100% of his time to direct guerilla activities in the South and was not interested in Kim Il-Sung's political activities. Park was given the foreign minister's position Kim Il-Sung's DPRK cabinet in September of 1948, but he was thoroughly kept out of Kim Il-Sung's main business. Park did not know about Kim Il-Sung's 6.25 invasion plan until April of 1950.

It was Park Hun-Young who needed the Korean war most. He needed it in order to recover his political base in the South. It was Kim Il-Sung who thoroughly kept Park out of his home base while most of the South was under Kim's control. In 1953, it was clear that Park Hun-Young was no longer useful to Kim Il-Sung. Kim sentenced him to be shot to death, and his foreign minister's position was replaced by by General Nam Il, who headed the North's negotiating team at the Panmunjom cease fire negotiations which lasted from 1951 to 1953.

Let us summarize Park Hung-Young's historical role. He was a communist and wanted to become a ruler of Korea. He failed because he was not able to make a connection with a foreign power. On the other hand, he was a nationalist, and his movement left a lasting impact on Korea's modern history.

There were two important politicians who grew from his political base. One was Cho Bong-Am. He was also a communist but was invited by Rhee Seungman to serve in his first cabinet as the minister of agriculture. He was the author of the land reform bill which was the first law passed by the Korean National Assembly in 1948. In 1952, he ran for the president against Rhee Seung-Man using the political base built by Park Hun-Young. He was executed after a brief trial in 1959. Park Chung-Hee's leftist background is well known. It is quite possible that Park's influence is still alive and well in Korea's intellectual and possibly in political circles.

If this is the case, it is not because Park Hun-Young was a communist, but because he was also a nationalist, a very strong nationalist.

What story would you like to hear next?

As you know, I dislike SNU, but I do like Korea's chemical engineers. The following article will explain why. This article also provokes a review of the Korean-American relation since 1945. Should I write articles on this subject? YSK (2001.2.13)


Y.S.Kim (1998.10.11)

I just came back from Berlin after spending three days there. Yesterday was Saturday. I spent four hours at the Cecilienhof palace in Potsdam. In July of 1945, Stalin, Truman and Churchill had a conference there. Because of the election defeat, Winston Churchill was replaced by Clement Atlee during the conference. On August 1, 1945, Stalin, Truman and Atlee produced a paper widely known as the Potsdam declaration. Many people say that those three politicians thoroughly messed up the world including of course Korea. I seem to agree with them.

After Potsdam, I went to another historic place. One of the three major universities in Berlin is Freie Universitaet Berlin, and it was set up by Americans in the U.S. zone after 1945. It was necessary because the Univ. of Berlin, known today as Humboldt University, was located in the Soviet zone of Berlin. The third university is the Technical University of Berlin where Eugene Wigner studied chemical engineering.

Just south of the relatively small campus of Freie Univ., there is a short street called Faraday Weg. It was a rainy afternoon, but I was very happy to walk along the street. Why? There are laboratories belonging to the Fritz Haber Institute of Chemical Physics. Do you know who Haber was? During the first decade of this century, he invented a method of combining nitrogen from the atmosphere and hydrogen extracted from the water to produce synthetic fertilizers. It is not difficult to see why the Haber process does not require any raw materials because water and nitrogen are free. It may require some amount of electricity to extract hydrogen atoms from the water.

You would agree that Haber's invention was much greater than the development of nuclear bombs. Indeed, after hearing about the Haber process, Kaiser Wilhelm II said "We can now start a war." The Kaiser was not the only person impressed by this process. As I said before, Japanese authorities were interested in converting the Korean peninsula into their food-producing factory. They started building a nitrogen fertilizer factory in Heung-nam. Do you know where Heung-nam is? In order to provide electric power needed for the Haber processes, Japanese authorities built a hydro-electric power station with capacity of 300 megawatts. They had to build a dam which created Chang-jin Lake not far from Heung-nam. Thus, the Heung-nam fertilizer factory was able to produce chemical fertilizers without any raw materials.

Inspired by this brilliant idea, many young Koreans started studying chemical engineering. Indeed, until 1960, you had to study chemical engineering if you entered SNU's Engineering College. I entered this College in 1954, but I was not in the Chem. Engr. department. Let us not talk about myself. The point is that Fritz Haber was the grandfather was Korean engineering tradition.

We do not know exactly what happened to this fertilizer factory after the country was divided, but I recall reading in 1956 an articles in a Japanese magazine "Chuo Koron" saying that the Heung-nam industrial complex was completely demolished by repeated B-29 bombings by the U.S. Air force during the 6.25 conflict which lasted from 1950 to 1953. Japanese were interested in the Heung-nam industrial complex because they built it. Indeed, in 1945, the Japanese government was working on a surrender formula which would allow them to keep their imperial family and the Korean peninsula, but the Potsdam declaration called for an unconditional surrender from Japan.

After the division of the country, what did American and Korean (South) authorities do to supply chemical fertilizers to our farmers? The story is not too beautiful. In a future article, I hope to talk about this unfortunate page of Korean-American relation in connection of Korea's isolationism.


Y.S.Kim (2001.2.15)

According to our younger people, Rhee Seungman was a traitor who sold our country to the United States. There are still many Koreans who want to sell their country to Japan, the Unites States, even to China. Most of our world-class companies, such as Daewoo Motors, are for sale these days. If Rhee Seungman sold his country to the United States, he was neither the first nor the last Korean to sell his country to a foreign power.

You do not have to be too young to think Rhee was a traitor. Kim Young-Sam is much older than I am, but he said that his government has nothing to do with the first twelve years of the Republic of Korea run by Rhee Seungman, and that his "civilian" government was in line with the Shanghai provisional government. He does not seem to know that the first president of the provisional government was Rhee Seungman. According to Kim Y3, Rhee was pro-Japanese.

I had an occasion to be as close as one meter to Rhee Seungman in 1951, and his left chin was shaking. This was the effect of the torture he received from Japanese police. During the Korean War, there was a theory that Japanese troops might be brought into in Korea in response to Chinese "volunteer" army. Rhee said at that time that we should then stop the war against communists and kick out Japanese from Korea first. Rhee even supported a crack-pot scientific venture by the Korean navy to steal the H-bomb technology from Japan (I wrote about this in one of my earlier articles).

The reason why he is regarded as a pro-Japanese traitor is that he employed many Koreans who worked for Japanese before 1945. One of the notorious figures was Kim Chang-Yong. It is widely believed that he was behind the assassination of Kim Koo in 1949. He was the "chief of staff" of Rhee Seungman's ant-communist operations.

Kim Chang-Yong was a "Kempei Kojo" (sergeant of Japanese military police) in Manchu. This means that his job before 1945 was a front man to arrest anti-Japanese Koreans. He was arrested by Soviet troops in 1945 when he returned to his home in Ham-Heung at age of 25, but he killed the Soviet interrogator by throwing a chair to him. He then fled to the South and joined the Korean army. He was thoroughly effective in arresting communists in the South. Kim Soo-Im (I talked about her in one of my recent articles) was also arrested by Kim Chang-Yong.

Kim's anti-communist operations created many side effects. He became politically ambitious, and fancied himself to be the president of Korea after Rhee. He was assassinated by his senior colleagues in the Korean army in 1956. Rhee Seungman is known as pro-Japanese because he employed many people like Kim Chang-Yong.

This is not the point. If Kim Young-Sam disliked Rhee so much, why was Kim Chang-Yong's grave moved to a more prestigious place while he was the president? This kind of action by senior politicians only raises the level of confusion among our young people.

While I was writing stories about Park Hun-Young, I received many mails from my younger friends thanking me for clarifying Park's role in our history. It appears that I will have to write articles about Rhee Seungman who played much more important roles, especially in setting up the present Korean-American relation which affects our daily life. In other words, I like to write about how Rhee sold his country to the United States. I know much more about Rhee Seungman than about Park Hun-Young or about Kim Il-Sung.


Y.S.Kim (2001.3.5)

In one of the articles I wrote in March of 1996, I promised to write a book entitled


based on the articles I have written since I started this e-mail program in 1992 with 150 e-mail addresses. At that time, I had in mind a LaTex version which can be downloaded from my robot system. I promised to complete this book by the year 2000. What happened to this promise?

Yes, I now have about 500 pages of writing. Instead of the LaTex version, I have "html" files at the website: You are now on this site! Thus, my promise to complete a book by 2000 AD has been fulfilled (with a delay of three months). You are welcome to visit this website and send me your comments. I will be very happy to add your comments, particularly those containing opinions different from mine. You will also note that this website is only the first step toward a more complete version. As you know, I have many photographs which are of historical significance. I intend to combine those pictures with my articles. In my photo section which is linked to the WISDOM page, there are some new additions.

  1. The church buildings of the Sorae church (Korea's first church). I used to attend this church until 1946, before crossing the 38th parallel to the South. Click here for the photo.

  2. Kim Il-Sung in Japanese army uniform, presumably before he went to the Soviet Union in 1940. Click here for the photo.

  3. Rhee Seungman's house in Washington, DC which he bought with the tax money he collected from not more than 1000 Korean residents in the United States before 1945. Click here for the photo.

  4. My photo with an Austrian student (female) in front of the building now called "Wilson Park" in Geneva. The League of Nations used to hold its meetings in this building. In 1933, Rhee Seungman attended one of those meetings, and met an Austrian lady named Francesca Donner who later became the first lady of Korea. Click here for the photo.

I will continue my story about how Rhee sold your country to the United States.


Y.S.Kim (2001.3.8)

In March of 1946, I was in the North. On February 8 (1946), the Soviet Union established the Provisional Peoples Council of North Korea (Pook Chosun Imsi Inmin Wiwon Hoe) headed by Kim Il-Sung. This was the beginning of the North Korean government controlled by Stalin and Beria. The Soviet authorities did this in order to confront their counterpart in the South at the Joint USSR-US (So-mi, Mi-so called in the South) Commission meeting which was held in Seoul in March of 1946.

During this month, North Korean authorities produced two big news items. One was the land reform act of March 5. The other was the "success" of the Joint USSR-US Commission. This commission produced an agreement to exchange mails between the North and South. However, Koreans in the North were thoroughly disappointed. In the announcement of this mail exchange program, the South was treated as a foreign country called "Nam-Chosun." Korea was divided into two countries in this announcement, not by Rhee Seungman.

The Joint US-USSR Commission did not produce any meaningful result toward "democracy" in Korea, because Stalin had his own definition of the word, and he knew his democracy was working. Stalin had established his own democracy in Poland in spite of the agreement he had with Britain and the United States. These two English-speaking countries seem to believe in democracy based on "free elections," honest or otherwise.

The political situation in the South was thoroughly chaotic. The Unites States did not have any formula to present at the joint meeting, and the meeting adjourned. However, both sides were making preparations for the second meeting which was held in May of 1947. In order to confront the Soviets, John R. Hodge (commander of the U.S. Forces in Korea) came up with a solution. His formula was to compose a left-right coalition headed by Kim Kyu-Shik, and promised Kim that the U.S. would recommend him to be the president of unified Korea because he is acceptable to both left and right).

I remember the name Kim Kyu-Shik and once saw a photo of his grave in the North, but I do not know anything else. This means that he was an obscure person. As you know, I know and know about many people. Presumably, his English was very good. Americans like those who speak their language.

This plan of Hodge presumably endorsed by the U.S. State Department did not sit very well with Rhee Seungman who regarded himself as the life-time president of Korea since 1920. Rhee then decided to go to the Unites States to solve this problem with the American politicians he was closely associated with in Washington before 1945.

On one cold Sunday morning of December (1946 - I was eleven years old), I waited for one hour on the main street of Seoul to wave a Taegeug flag to convey "good wishes" to Rhee Seungman who was on his limousine passing from his house called "Ewha Palace" to Yeoido Airport. His limo was followed by two U.S. MP jeeps (very authoritative looking at that time). In 1946, Dr. Rhee was my President and our President even though he was inaugurated two years later. By the way, I still like him.

If I use the language of young Koreans these days, he was going to the United States to sell your country. Was then the U.S. interested in buying Korea or one half of Korea?


Y.S.Kim (2001.3.17)

Many young people sent me mails questioning my mental sanity. They think there is something wrong with me because I still like Rhee Seungman. Let me give you a timely answer to this question. Rhee was the only president of Korea who could say NO to Americans. I assume that our young people like those who could say NO.

I like Rhee because I also know how to say NO to Americans, particularly to Princeton (very powerful name in physics). I hope I can spell out all these issues in the future. If you like to say NO to Americans, you should learn lessons from me. You should also learn from me how to give "kihap" to Japanese.

Speaking of selling the country to the United States, Rhee was not the first one. Winston Churchill was the prime minister of Britain during World War II. After the Dunkirk disaster in 1939, the British army lost one half of its manpower. The army completely lost its organization. Churchill called Roosevelt (president of the U.S.) and asked him to send American troops to England. At that time, the United States was still under the very strong influence of isolationism (which earlier rejected Wilson's idea of the League of Nations). Americans were not ready to make another troop commitment to Europe after World War I.

Roosevelt gave the following response to Churchill. The Britain's army is totally useless, but the British navy is still in good shape. Put the British Royal family on the navy ships and come to Canada. They speak English in England these days because Winston Churchill was able to sell the British Empire to the United States. How did he sell?

During the summer of 1942, the British and American warships gathered somewhere on the North Atlantic. On those ships were Roosevelt and Churchill. There they drafted a sales agreement. The deal was very simple. If Americans come to England and save the British royal family from the German invasion and eventually defeat Hitler's Germany, then the United States can have the empire controlled by Britain. In order to cover up this humiliating deal to Englishmen/women, Roosevelt and Churchill wrote a document known today as the Atlantic Charter. The Atlantic Charter was an ownership-transfer document.

If you do not know what the Atlantic Charter says, it is fine. I studied it when I was in high school and it says all good things, but I do not remember any of the sentences there. However, the Atlantic Charter later became the Charter of the United Nations. Indeed, the UN started as an agency of the United States which would take care of the issues formally handled by the British Empire. Rhee Seungman was aware of this. He was interested in solving the Korea problem within the framework of the Atlantic charter, while the commander of the U.S. Forces in Korea was rigorously following Stalin's plan for democracy in Korea. In other words, John R. Hodge was a political idiot (as most American generals were and are).

Rhee went to the United States in December of 1946 in order to stop Hodge from continuing his atrocious action. American appreciate what Rhee did, and this is the reason why Dwight Eisenhower (US president 1953-61) praised Rhee as a great man in 1960 after Rhee resigned after the 4.19 student up-rising. You will be interested to know that Rhee thoroughly "kihapped" Eisenhower in 1953.

I have to leave for Los Angeles this afternoon and will come back on Tuesday (March 20), and I will then go to Spain on March 21. I will be back on March 28. The job announcement service will be maintained. Should I update my photo album after my Spain troop?


Y.S.Kim (2001.3.29)

I write these days about Rhee Seungman. I enjoy writing about him because I learned many lessons from him, especially in dealing with Americans. As always, when I talk about others, I talk about myself. When I was talking about Kim Il-Sung, I was talking about myself. When I was talking about Victor Hugo, I was taking about myself. Victor Hugo had two mothers, and I had two Princeton advisors. Dr. Rhee's Princeton advisor was Woodrow Wilson. Rhee suffered a great deal because Wilson did not regard Korea as a country. Like Dr. Rhee, I had an advisor (Sam Treiman) who never thought Korean physicist could be right if he had a conflict with his American colleagues. This is the reason why I had to cook up "gazza" Princeton advisor (Kim Il-Sung's influence). Click here details.

I will talk more about Rhee. Before this, I have to explain to you why he is hated so much by Koreans. Several days ago, I received a hate mail from a Korean graduate student at the Univ. of Texas telling me that he liked my articles about other countries, but he started hating me and Rhee. He asked me to delete his address from my database. I happily did, and told him that he hates Rhee because he was smarter than he is. He sent me an angry response essentially agreeing with on the point that he hates all Koreans smarter than he is.

There was another talented person whom I talked about in connection with Russian ladies. His name was Lee Kwang-Soo. In general, I was positive about him even though he was regarded as one of the worst enemies of Koreans. I did not receive any hate-mails, presumably because I talked about ladies and girls. Lee.K.S. was an extremely talented person. He had the following talents.

  1. He knew how to write. When we write Korean sentences and paragraphs these days, we use the style he developed during the period 1920-40.

  2. He was able to compare Koreans with other people, especially with Japanese, Chinese and Russians. In this way, he introduced Tolstoy's romanticism into Korea.

  3. Because of his unusual talents, he was thoroughly hated by fellow Koreans while he was studying in Japan and working with his Korean compatriots in Shanghai. He was able to document this aspect of Korean weakness in his "Minjok Kaejo-ron." There he clearly states that Korea cannot produce world-wide figures because Koreans hate and punish their own talented Koreans. I read his "Minjok -- " when I was in high school, and think about it everyday.
The point is that I also have some talents not shared by many people. I have a strong memory power (a large hard disk). This aspect is well known to those who know me. Yet, my main talent is hard work. I know how to work hard - talent inherited from my gradfather. For this unusual talent, I have been despised by my fellow Koreans consistently. Let me stop here and get to the point.

Rhee Seungman was an exceptionally talented Korean. This is the reason he is so much hated by Koreans. My advise to our young people is very simple. Stop hating talented Koreans and start learning lessons from them, as I still do.


Y.S.Kim (2001.4.3)

This summer, Koreans in California are going to erect a statue of Ahn Chang-Ho at a prominent place in the city of Riverside. Ahn is still respected by all Koreans. North Korea's Kim Il-Sung praised him in an article about Ahn.

On the other hand, most Korean hate Rhee Seungman. At one time, both Ahn and Rhee were in the United States working for Korea's independence. Ahn Chang-Ho is known to us as a very clean and morally straight person. Yes, in order to survive in a capitalist society of the United States, he earned the money in a very honest way. He provided lawn cares for American houses -- manual labor.

How did Rhee Seungman earned the money for his living? He did not do any manual work. He asked the Korean residents in the U.S., mostly in Hawaii, to pay taxes to him because he was the president of Korea. There were not more than 1000 Koreans in the United States; not many more if more than 1000. With the tax money he collected, he bought a luxury house on the 16th Street in Washington, DC. The White House is at the southern end of the 16th Street, and Rhee's house was about 10 km north along the same street. This house is still in good shape, and its photo is in the "Korean background" section of my photo collection (visit http://www2.physics.umd.edu/~yskim/wisdom.html).

The Koreans paid taxes to Rhee, but most of them had complaints because Rhee never explained to them how he spent their tax money. Yet, they had to pay because they wanted to have Gamtu in the future Korean government headed by Rhee. A medical doctor named Yang Yoo-Chan was one of the two most generous contributors, and he later became the Korean ambassador to the United States. The other person was Choo Young-Hwan who served as the consul general stationed in San Francisco. He donated large sums of money to Rhee he earned by running a Chinese restaurant. While he was the consul, he used to send "Nomang" letters to Korean students.

There are many other interesting stories among those who contributed money and services to Rhee Seungman. Lim Byung Jik (called Colonel Benjamin Limb) dedicated his life to Rhee and later served as the foreign minister and the U.N. ambassador. Han Pyo-Wook always told Rhee he was absolutely right. He enjoyed a ministerial-level Gamtu at the Korean Embassy in Washington. I visited Mr. Han's house several times, and heard many interesting stories about Dr. Rhee.

Dr. Lim Chang-Young (called Channig Liem) received his PhD degree in political science from Princeton, as Rhee did about 30 years earlier. I knew Dr. Lim very well. He used to write good letters in English. He even wrote a letter of recommendation for me when I was applying for Princeton (Princeton always asks letters from Princeton graduates). He explained my Christian family background so eloquently that my professors used to talk about his letter while I was a student there.

Rhee Seungman was the first one to recognize Dr. Lim's talent and asked to work with him. But Lim thought Rhee was a very dishonest person, and offered only limited cooperation. When Rhee said "thank you" to him for writing letters on his behalf, Lim said "I did not work for you. I worked for Korea." Rhee did not offer any Gamtu to Lim even though he was a very able person.

Dr. Lim, on the other hand, has his own life and served the key role in saving Mr. DJ's life when he was kidnapped from Japan.

Let us summarize. Ahn Chang-Ho was a very honest person and is still respected by all Koreans. Rhee is hated by most Koreans. But, let us look at how these two distinguished Koreans raised the money: one by providing manual labor, and the other by collecting taxes. Who was more capable of running the country?


Y.S.Kim (2001.5.5)

According to a recent newspaper article, there was a court battle between Rhee Seungman's adopted son and the author of an article alleging that Rhee used excessive force to suppress the people of the Cheju Island in April of 1948. Rhee did not become the president of Korea until August 15 of the same year, and the country was still under the American military administration headed by Lt.Gen. John R. Hodge. Indeed, by July of 1947, Rhee Seungman was the president without being the president. I will elaborate on this point in my future articles.

Many of my friends are telling me I should stop writing positive stories about Rhee Seungman. There are also many who are willing to read my stories even though they strongly disagree with me. They say that I seem to have a strange philosophy. The basic question they ask me is whether there is a reason which they do not comprehend. OK! There is a reason. Today, I will be very straightforward.

The day before yesterday (May 3), John A. Wheeler came to the Univ. of Maryland to participate in a ceremony to name the physics building after John S. Toll who was his student at Princeton. If you are a physicist, you should know who Wheeler is. If you are not, he is one of the most admired professors at Princeton University, and was the thesis advisor to Richard Feynman. Again, if you are not a physicist, Feynman was the most creative American-born scientist in the 20th century, and I maintain a web site dedicated to him (linked to my "wisdom.html" site). I am also developing a conference series named after him. I admire Feynman as a freedom-loving man.

Let us go back to John A. Wheeler. He served on the International Advisory Committee when Park Chung Hee was initiating his science research program by creating an institute known today as KIST. Wheeler was not my advisor, but he still maintains his curiosity on me. He once told me that I am also a freedom-loving man doing crazy things. Wheeler is now 90 years old, but he still remembers what went on when I was a graduate student. While we were having an informal gathering after the ceremony, he made a remark on the effort Koreans are making toward unification. He then cracked a joke on me, but I choose not to quote him.

However, his joke was not unrelated to the nickname I had when I was a graduate student during the years 1958-61. Rhee resigned in 1960 after the 4.19 student revolt. He was thus the most controversial Princeton graduate to the P.U. community at that time. As a result, my friends used to say "Hey, Syngman Rhee" whenever they needed my attention. I was annoyed and asked back why they are not using my real name. They said I seem to have a personality very similar to that of Rhee.

Perhaps, this is the reason why I like Rhee Seungman. People have a tendency to like those who are like themselves. And, perhaps, this is the reason why I am so unpopular among my Korean friends. I have to confess however that I sometimes behave like Rhee. In order to illustrate this point, I will attach one of my earlier articles with an explanation. Please continue reading.



Y.S.Kim (1998.10.13)

When I was in Rome (Italy) last January, I was able to spot a number of Korean restaurants, but most of them were closed. One block behind Via Nazionale, which is one of Rome's main shopping streets, there was a restaurant called Arirang, and I went in. It was a dinner time but the restaurant was empty. I asked the owner why most of the Korean places are closed. He said most of them are for Korean tourists who spend lavishly. They are not coming because of the IMF crisis.

Because I was the only customer, the owner was able to talk with me on various Korean affairs. He was curious what Gamtu I was wearing within the Korean community. I told him that there is an organization called "Worldwide Association of Korean Physicists," and I am the "life-time" president of this organization. He asked me how I can cover the entire world. I told him I can do this by maintainig a global computer communication system, and I said further that communication is much stronger than Gamtu. He appeared to understand, but the word "life-time" sounded very strange to him. Even though he knows that there should be a single individual totally dedicated to the organization if it is to survive, it was not clear to him whether I am qualified to be the life-time president.

The restaurant owner decided to test me. He asked me again whether my business is physics. He then asked me whether I know his younger brother whose name is "Kwon Heok Jeon." I told him I met Dr. Kwon in 1992 while he was a graduate student at Brown University. He then went back to Korea presumably to fulfil his military duty. I said further that he came again to the U.S. and is now doing his post-doctoral research at the Univ. of Florida. He was impressed and told me I am indeed the life-time president. I promised to him to tell Dr. Kwon that I met his elder brother in Rome, and I am doing this now. Dr. Kwon must be reading this mail.

While we were talking about other issues, a group of Koreans came into the restaurant. This group consists of thirty Korean high school seniors and three teachers. I sat with those teachers and asked them what are those youngsters. Those students were selected from a TV quiz program and the sponsor is providing a world tour for them. To me, those students appeared to be neater and smarter than the Japanese students I often see in European cities. I went to the table for students and asked a few questions.

I asked whether there was a student from Paichai High School. One of the boys raised his hand. I asked him whether his school anthem is the same as the old one. He said YES. I asked him who the most distinguished Paichai graduate was. He said "Woonam Yi Seungman." I was very happy. The students then asked me whether I am a Paichai graduate. I said Yes and No. I then noticed a girl looking like a college student. I asked her which high school she was attending. She said Kyonggi. I then said I know many Kyonggi graduates but I do not know when Kyonggi started admitting girls. She laughed and said there is another Kyonggi only for girls. I then said I remember her school and its school uniform. I asked whether the girls at her school still wear uniforms. She said the uniforms were once abolished but they came back, and she has to wear it when she goes back to Korea. I asked her whether she had to wear a belt around her waist. She said the old-timers did but not anymore. In this way, I continued silly talks with those high-school students, but not without purpose.

I noted that those students were there because they are the best academic competitors in Korea. I was naturally interested in whether they have a desire to compete with their American counterparts. None! Their position was that Koreans should compete with Korean and Americans should compete with Americans. We often say that North Korea is the most isolated country in the world. From the intellectual point of view, the isolationism in the South is not really different from that of the North. In the case of the North, we can blame their politicians. Whom can we blame for the South?

My only consolation is that the Korean athletes do well in world-wide competitions. Perhaps, if we learn the ideology from our athletes, we might do all right.


Y.S.Kim (2001.5.10)

To many Korean readers, my stories are pointless and incomprehensible. because I deal with the concepts which Koreans cannot comprehend.

One good example is my story about Japan. I keep telling that Korea cannot survive as a nation unless our scientists get ahead of their Japanese counterparts. This is totally incomprehensible to Koreans, and this presumably is the reason why my articles on this subject are not published in Korea, even though I was initially invited to contribute articles.

We constantly complain about what Japanese write in their textbooks. Bt now, it must be clear to us that Japanese are not going to listen to us. The only solution to this problem is for us to get ahead of them. Is it so difficult for you to comprehend?

Another example is the question of leadership. Korean do not know what this word means. They usually get confused with Gamtu. In my recent articles on Rhee Seungman, I have been dealing with the concept of leadership. Since Korean do not know what this word means, my articles are bound to be confusing and pointless. I have done some research on this subject. Tonight, I will attach an article I wrote in 1966. Please continue reading.



Y.S.Kim (1996.2.22)

As I said before, the exam scores do not guarantee admission to Harvard or other IV League schools. The most important variable is the applicant's leadership quality. However, it is difficult for us to understand what it means because we do not have the word "leadership" in our language.

I have read many books on the subject of leadership, but I got its clear meaning by observing Korean Gamtus. In order to be a leader, you should do precisely what Korean Gamtus do not do.

  1. You should be honest (Korean Gamtus are not honest).
  2. You should respect the people you wish to lead (Korean Gamtus do not represent their constituents. They represent only their superiors and/or foreigners).
  3. You should have a clear vision for the future (Korean Gamtus repeat the sins committed by their predecessors).
Thus, it is very easy to be a leader. All you have to do is not to do what those Gamtus do. In other words, Korean Gamtus are anti-leaders.

In measuring the leadership quality, the Harvard admissions office check whether the applicant has an experience of being the representative or the president of his/her class. This makes sense though not convincing. In the case of Koreans, it is more than convincing. Those Korean Gamtus with the class-presidency experience usually return to normal life after their term is over.

To the Koreans Gamtus of age 50 or older (even though not old enough to show a Nomang symptom) who never had prior administrative experience, their first Gamtu is their Messiah! Everything on this earth is theirs. They can dictate everybody in this world. To make things worse, they keep their self-made Gamtu privileges after their term is over. This is why we are having a Korean Gamtu inflation in the United States!


Y.S.Kim (2001.5.10)

You are perhaps sick and tired of hearing from me that we should get ahead of Japan. If I keep telling this, there is a good reason. My research program originally came from that of Japan's Yukwawa Hideki (the 1949 Nobel laureate in physics). After expanding his program, I am now marketing my research products with various trademarks, including "squeezed states" with the circle-ellipse logo (you must have seen this logo if you are a physicist), Wigner, Feynman, and other popular names in the world. Among Koreans, I would say that I stole Yukawa's idea from Japan.

Then, am I the first one to produce the idea of stealing science and technology from Japan. No, I learned this from Rhee Seungman. I wrote an article on this subject, and I would like to invite you to enjoy reading this article. Please continue reading.



Y.S.Kim (1995.11.19)

When I was in junior high school, I had a "high-tech" skill of repairing radio sets, and I used to fix radios for some "high-class" people in Korea. They did not pay me money, but they praised me as the scientist who would build Korea's first atom bomb. Ridiculous, but not so ridiculous in view of the Ben Lee phenomenon 40 years later.

Due to the War, I lived in Chinhae from July of 1950 to August of 1951. One day in the spring of 1951, the assistant to the Commander of the Chinhae Naval Base came to me with his jeep and told me that I had to go somewhere. I assumed that the radio set in the Commander's house broke down, but the jeep went into a secret lab within the naval base heavily guarded by machine guns.

In the lab, I met two naval officers. One was a grey-haired colonel (called captain in navy) and a young major (called lt. commander in navy). The grey-haired scientist was called Lee Yong Dae, but he could speak only Japanese. I do not remember the name of the young scientist, but I remember his face. He was Prof. Lee Tong Nyong (now at Pohang Univ.). He thought I was hopeless and asked me whether I could understand what was going on. I said No.

The navy officer who took me there told me that I should look at the lab very carefully but should not tell anyone about my visit there. Korean authorities thought the lab was a hydrogen bomb factory, and that the future bomb maker like myself should be briefed about the project. Hard to believe? In general, the readers of my articles regard me as an honest person.

The story goes like this. During the 6.25 War, some Korean naval ships received their maintenance services in the U.S. naval bases in Japan. Thus, Korean authorities were able to gather "reliable" intelligence information about Japan from the naval officers who went there frequently. One day, President Rhee Seung-Man received an intelligence report that there is in Japan a scientist who knows how to make hydrogen bombs, but his talent is not recognized in the U.S.-occupied Japan. Rhee immediately ordered his Navy Chief of Staff to bring (illegally) the Japanese scientist to Korea, and make hydrogen bombs. That was how the above-mentioned secret lab was built within the Chinhae Naval Base. This happened before the United Sates tested the first hydrogen bomb in 1952.

Korean authorities knew the word hydrogen, but did not know the difference between atomic ionization and nuclear fusion. The hydrogen atom can be separated from the water molecule, and Japanese once thought they could use so-separated hydrogen for aircraft fuel. The grey-haired Japanese scientist was an expert on ionization, not on fusion. Thus, he was able to make car batteries, not the hydrogen bomb. It was Prof. Lee Tong Nyong who explained this to the authorities. Fortunately, the hydrogen bomb factory later became a battery-making factory. This was how Korea's first profitable battery factory was built.

In 1987 in Los Angeles, I met the man (former navy intelligence officer) who in 1951 submitted the intelligence report about the hydrogen bomb to the Office of the President. I asked him whether he was still in intelligence business. He did not answer my question (perhaps usual habit of intelligence people). One year later, I read his article published in one of the Korean newspapers in the U.S. Alas! He said there that the project was indeed a bomb project.

This incident teaches us many lessons.

  1. We cannot blame Rhee Seung-Man for not knowing anything about science. He was a politician. Quite contrary to what our young people say these days, he was thoroughly anti-Japanese. Yet, he thought we had to "steal" science and technology from Japan. He had enough political guts to "kidnap" a Japanese citizen to Korea. Indeed, Rhee's idea had a very profound influence on me in dealing with Japanese. I became intensely interested in Japan after learning about Rhee's "romantic" venture. I hope to be able to tell you someday how I tried to imitate Rhee in designing my own research program.
  2. It is not an easy task for authorities to make sound scientific judgments. The ill-fated U.S. SSC project tells the story. It is not always clear to me whether Korea's decision-making processes these days are any better than the process which led to Rhee's hydrogen bomb project in 1951. I still think the first priority should be given to the investment in science education. We need more professors to reduce teaching loads on our young scientists. Otherwise, we cannot compete with Japan.
  3. The above-mentioned hydrogen bomb expert apparently was not a respected scientist in Japan. There are these days foreign scientists who come to Korea and get treated like prophets. Before inviting them, we should examine carefully how much they are respected in their own countries. If a foreign scientist wants to hold a conference in Korea, it is a good idea to check if he/she has a record of holding a conference in his/her home turf.
  4. Our relation with Japan will become more complicated in the future. As I said before, we should understand them if we are to produce sound policies toward them. After I started talking about Japan, I received mails from a number of people saying that they have many Japanese friends. If they know about Japan, and if I know about Japan, we should combine our knowledge, instead of quarreling over who is Korea's "No. 1" expert on Japan.


Y.S.Kim (2001.5.11)

I received a mail from one of the devoted readers of my articles saying that I should take a time out from the Rhee stories, and present a progress report on a more important subject, namely my lady business. Tonight, I accept his advice and would like to present to you the information which you can use for your happy life.

I spent three days in New York (May 7-9) and came back the day before yesterday. I love New York and I go there often. When I go there, I take am Amtrak railroad, and get off at the Pennsylvania Station. Across the Penn Station is an moderate-priced hotel called "Hotel Pennsylvania," I usually stay there unless there is a special deal in a high-priced hotel. In the 1950s, this hotel was called "Statler Hilton," and was one of the most prestigious hotels in New York City, and the American Physical Society used to hold its January meetings there. The hotel facilities are somewhat out-dated, but its structure still preserve the glorious tradition. Thus, I can stay there without degrading myself.

In addition, this hotel is only two blocks away from the Korea town in New York on the 32nd Street. New York's Broadway passes through the Korea town, and this section of the Broadway is called KoreaWay. Thus, staying in the Hotel Pennsylvania is like staying in a hotel in Seoul.

Because this hotel has a name and is moderately priced, many Airline companies use the hotel for their flight attendants. This means that you can watch many nice-looking ladies in the hotel lobby. Those ladies are trained to be kind to others and always ready to pose with you for photos. I indeed have many pictures with them.

Because many foreign airlines use this hotel, there are also many foreign tourists. It is always a pleasure to talk with the ladies from Europe and South America. How about Korean ladies? Whenever I enter the elevator in the morning, I meet ladies speaking Korean. They are flight attendants for the KoreaAir or Asiana. I also met a young Japanese lady working for the Asiana Airline. She was very courteous and spoke our language fluently.

Last Wednesday, in the elevator, I met young Korean ladies dressed like students. I asked them whether they are students. They said No, and said they are flight attendants working for the KoreaAir. I then asked where they were going. They said "to have breakfast." I was curious and I followed them, even though I had a guess. My Guess was right. They went into a Sulnong-tang house called "Gam-Mi-Ok" on the 32nd Street just east of the KoreaWay (Broadway). I even watched what they were eating. Sulnong-tang of course, with red-hot Kimchi! -- very heavy breakfast in American standard.

I have never been on Korean airlines. It would be a good idea for those airlines to serve Sulnong-tang as breakfast after overnight trans-Pacific flights. Do they do!

I am a professor and my job is to talk with young people. I seem to enjoy my profession, but one does not have to be a professor to have this skill. My mother was born in 1912 and left us two months ago. Some of you will recall that I made a brief trip to Los Angeles before going to Spain last March. I went to my mother's funeral. After I came back, I decided to put her photo on my "Ladies of the World" webpage (linked to www2.physics.umd.edu/~yskim/wisdom.html). If you look at her photo taken when she was 86 years old, you would agree that she used to draw attention from gentlemen and boys when she was young.

In 1951, when she was 39 years old, my mother attended a reception which was also attended by Rhee Seungman who was almost 40 years older. There, Rhee approached her and asked several silly questions. My mother thought it was very funny. Apparently, I am like Rhee, or Rhee was like me, in this regard. Do you like to hear more about Rhee's ladies?


Y.S.Kim (2001.5.13)

In 1919, after the 3.1 uprising, many patriotic Koreans went to Shanghai and set up a provisional government. We call this "Sanghae Imshi Jungbu" or "Imjung," and assert that Koreans never lost their sovereignty during the Japanese occupation.

Those Koreans elected Dr. Rhee Seungman as the President of the Republic of Korea while he was in the Unites States. Rhee was their logical choice because Woodrow Wilson was his thesis advisor at Princeton, and Wilson's idea of self-determination of nations was consistent with Korea's independence. Rhee was of course aware of this, but he also knew that there was a secret agreement between the U.S. and Japan which did not allow Korea's independence.

Rhee instead wrote letters to a number of U.S. congressmen saying that Korea should become one of the states of the United States. He received no response from anyone. He went to Shanghai in 1920, Rhee had no encouraging news to those Koreans who elected him. Instead, he had to face a tough criticism that he was not able to have any influence on Wilson, and that he was willing to sell the country to the U.S.

In addition, Koreans are hostile toward to fellow Koreans with better educational background (I know this from my own experience). Thus, Rhee was totally ineffective as the president of the provisional government. Eventually, Rhee and other Imjung people agreed that he could be more effective in the United States. Rhee came back to the U.S. in 1921.

There were other people who left Imjung. One of them was Lee Kwang-Soo. Lee.K.S. was thoroughly disillusioned by the Imjung Koreans who only knew how to shout and nothing else. He came back to Korea and decided to develop the Korean literature, and he was highly successful. However, I do not think Lee K.S. maintained any connection with those once-compatriots after he came back to Korea.

Rhee Seungman was quite different. Needless to say, Rhee did not have good personal relations with those Imjung people, and it is possible that he had a contempt toward those shouters. Here, I have to say that Kim Koo was exceptional, because Kim Koo did not become prominent in the Imjung until toward the end of World War II. He was not in a position to have a feud with Rhee Seungman. Unlike Lee Kwang Soo, Rhee repeatedly urged the U.S. government to grant a formal recognition of the Imjung as the legitimate government of the sovereign nation of Korea. When the U.S. was making preparations for the United Nations in 1943, Rhee sought the Imjung's membership in the UN.

When the Korean government was set up in 1948, Koreans were arguing about on the formal name of the country, but Rhee had the decisive power. He insisted that the official name should be that used by the Shanghai Imjung, which was "Dae Han Min Kook."

Yes, to most people, Rhee was a very difficult person to get along with. It is possible also that he did not have much respect for those in the Imjung establishment. But you should agree that he did everything he can to the Imjung.

When he had to go to Shanghai from Hawaii in 1920, he did not have enough money to buy an oceanliner ticket. With him was a younger colleague who was called Colonel Ben Limb (Lim Byung-Jik). They had to smuggle themselves into a Dutch cargo ship bound for Shanghai. They were hiding in one of the storage rooms on the ship and waiting for the ship to start sailing. Their calculation was that, once the ship was far away from Hawaii in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the caption of the ship would not make a U-turn toward Hawaii in order to dump them. They also thought the captain and crew would be humanitarian enough not to dump them into the Ocean. Their idea worked, but there was an unbelievable episode.

There were many Chinese immigrants in Hawaii, but some of them wanted to be buried in China after their death. Thus, the Dutch cargo ship was carrying a number of coffins with dead Chinese bodies in them. Rhee and Limb did not know that they were hiding in the storage room where those coffins were stored. During the first night after the ship's departure from Hawaii, one of the inspectors opened the door of the storage room and found two China-men alive. He was thoroughly scared and ran away from them shouting "Alive Chinese, Alive Chinese." Rhee and Limb were brought to the captain of the ship. The captain said very harsh words to them, but gave them a very warm-hearted treatment. Rhee and Limb again had to use their ingenuity to leave the ship and smuggle themselves into the city of Shanghai after the ship arrived there.

This was how the president of the provisional government of your country made a trans-Pacific journey to assume his presidency. I hope you learned a lesson from this story.


Y.S.Kim (2001.5.14)

In one of my recent articles, I mentioned a person named John S. Toll. He received his PhD degree from Princeton in 1952, and became the chairman of the physics department of the University of Maryland in 1953. He constructed one of the biggest physics departments in the world by 1965, and became the president of the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He came back to Maryland as the president of the University in 1978. I was hired by him in 1962 and served him until he left for Stony Brook. I was Toll's "yes man" for three years.

John Toll came from a very distinguished family based in the Washington area. His father was one of the lawyers for the historic Nuremberg trial. Whenever Toll held parties in his house, his parents and their friends came. At one of the parties, I met an elderly American lady, who asked me where I came from. She then said she was once proposed by Symgman Rhee. I was surprised, but another lady said "I don't believe it." We all laughed. She said this in 1963. If what she said is true, Rhee could have approached her during the period 1928-32. What does this mean to us?

After Rhee came back to the United States from Shanghai in 1921, not not much happened to the Korean independence movements, neither in the U.S, nor in Shanghai. Even Rhee's staunch supporters, like Colonel Ben Limb (who accompanied him to Shanghai), left him to develop their own businesses. Yet, Rhee never gave up, and worked tirelessly until 1932. Nobody knows why he was working so hard. But I think I can offer an explanation based on my own experience in the U.S.

Since the United States is a young country, we usually assume that there are no classes, like Yangban or non-Yangban. Wrong! There is a strict separation. The transition from the lower to upper class is not easy, especially with Korean background. If you look at the "Korean background" page of my website, you will notice that I am telling Americans that I was an American Yangban even before coming to the United States.

The transition is relatively easy if you have money, a Yangban background, and a Harvard or Princeton background. Rhee did not have money, but used his family tradition and Princeton background to go through ten years of tedious process of becoming a member of Washington's Yangban society, where he could talk freely to high-class ladies.

While Rhee was working so tirelessly, his supporters were very considerate to him. They thought Rhee needed a lady who should always be with him. Naturally, they were looking for a Korean girl with an educational level consistent with that of Rhee. They found one with a master's degree in education from the Univ. of Southern California. Her name was Yim Young-Shin (32 years old in 1932). They then asked Rhee whether she was acceptable to him. Rhee's response was positive, but Ms. Yim refused while offering her unlimited cooperation to Rhee's independence movement. She then went back to Korea. Needless to say, Ms. Yim was conscious of Rhee's first wife.

Ms. Yim later became Lady Yim. She served as the commerce/industry minister in Rhee's first cabinet. Together with Colonel Limb, she carried out a number of difficult diplomatic missions for Rhee. She is best known to us as the president of Choong-Ang University, who transformed a small women's college into one of the major universities in Korea. I was fortunate enough to shake hands with her in 1965 when she came to Washington with Park Chung-Hee. She had a really big hand, thick and hot. Indeed, she was a very strong and cheerful lady.

Lady Yim also took care of Rhee's first wife who was so eager to see her husband. Rhee married his first wife when he was 15 years old, but lost contact with her while in foreign countries. She died while Rhee was the president. When Rhee heard about passing away of his first wife, he was in tears and said repeatedly "unfortunate guy" to himself.

As you know, there was another lady who was very important to Rhee. I will talk about her next time.


Y.S.Kim (2001.5.17)

The following letter is in response to my recent article of (2001.5.12) on New York's Korea Town and the Hotel Pennsylvania.

From: (korean student:name not shown)@%%%%%%%%%.edu
To: Y.S. Kim

Hello Dr. Kim,

I just wanted to tell you that both Korean Air and Asiana Airline serve bi-bim-bap. Asiana served bi-bim-bap with instant buk-o-guk (they pour hot water for you) and it was great! They even have bok-un-go-chu-jang in tube so you can keep it if you want to.

Asiana also served kim-chi bok-um-bap for breakfast. You would think it is kind of heavy, I did, too. But in coach class, we had two options for breakfast; omelette or kim-chi bok-um-bap. So I decided to have bok-um-bap since I knew how omelettes served in flight taste.

I also had a chance to stay at the Hotel Pennsylvania last summer. I was amazed by the look of the building but was disappointed by the room itself. It was too small and not neat; paint on the wall was peeling off. And the hotel lobby was like si-jang-ba-dak...

(name not shown)
Pittsburgh, PA

Note added by YSK

I am very happy to know about the menu items on Korean airlines. Great! What she says about the Hotel Pennsylvania is true. As for the main lobby being like a market place, I also agree with her. If there is a difference, it is solely due to observers (as in quantum mechanics or relativity). She seems to like a quiet place for concentration and rest. I am different. I am still the noisiest person in library reading rooms.

What I like about the Hotel Penn's lobby is that I can meet all kinds of people, and can talk to them all if I wish. I become very happy when I meet Korean students. In order to demonstrate my happiness, I posed with them for a photo in the hotel lobby last week during my latest trip to New York. Please visit Korean background page. You will be happy to see my photo with those Korean students. They look healthy and intelligent, and first all look like students!

In addition, this Korea page contains two photos having to do with Rhee Seungman's visit to Switzerland in 1933. Many people say Rhee was extremely skilful in diplomacy. I would like to add that his diplomatic skill included the skill toward ladies. I often bragg about my ability to talk to distinguished ladies around the world, but I am not the first Korean with this talent. Dr. Rhee was definitely before me.

At this point, I would like to tell you my secret of dealing with ladies. First all, ladies should feel secure while being with you. This means that you have to impress them as a highly disciplined person. Then, you should talk about them and their backgrounds, rather than yourself.

If you meet a musician, you should talk about music. If you meet an Armenian lady, you should talk about Armenia (do you know where Armenia is?). I have photos of three Armenian ladies in my "Ladies" page, and I told this to an Armenian lady I met in a Jewelry store in an expensive hotel in New York called "Waldorf-Astoria." Naturally, she wrote down my Web address, and said many words to me.


Y.S.Kim (2001.5.20)

After formally annexing Korea in 1910, Japanese imperialists gradually built up their military base in Manchu. Their military unit in Manchu was called Kanto-Koon. Without a formal approval from their government in Tokyo, the Kanto-koon generals set up a country named "Manshu Koku" (Machu Kook in Korean), and installed the last emperor of China's Ching dynasty named Pu-yi as the emperor of a newly independent country. This happened in 1932, and the Japanese government had to go along with the those generals.

Alarmed by the boldness of Japanese imperialists, the Chinese government presented the case to the League of Nations. The League of Nations, controlled by European powers, decided to have a meeting in Geneva in 1933 to consider the complaint from China. The idea of the League came originally from Woodrow Wilson who was the president of the United States at the end of World War I, and the Wilson family still claims the ownership of the United Nations. However, the United States was not a member of the League because the Congress refused to approve Wilson's plan. Thus, without the U.S., the League was not an effective organization. At its 1933 meeting, the League passed the resolution to condemn Japan, but the Japanese delegates walked out. This was in effect the end of the League of Nations. I do not know what happened to the League of Nations after this.

Yet, its meeting was like a scientific conference where politicians of the world get together and talk to others, and make newspaper headlines if they can. For Rhee Seungman, the 1933 meeting was an excellent opportunity to appeal Korea's independence to the world. Rhee went to Geneva to present the case. His reasoning was that an independent state of Korea could block the Japanese supply route to Manchu. This is a very convincing argument for Koreans, but not necessarily to the participants of the League meeting in 1933 for the following reasons.

  1. It was very difficult for them to conceive Korea as a country. This was true also for Americans in 1945, and the result was the 38th parallel. This was also true in January of 1950 for Dean Acheson, then the secretary of state of the United States, who "forgot" to include Korea within the region of the U.S. interest. Many people, including a cartoon published in the Washington Post in June of 2000 (see my web page), say this was the cause of the Korean War.

  2. In his argument, Rhee was using the concept of "geopolitics" which was a strange concept to politicians at that time. The concept is very simple. Look at the map. The Korean Peninsula is the bridge between Japan and the Asian continent. We cannot blame foreigners. Not many Koreans understand what is happening outside Korea. This is especially true for Korean scholars who spent up-to as many as years in the United States.
Even though the mood of the League was anti-Japanese, Rhee was not allowed to talk at the meeting. Nobody paid any attention to him, except a reporter from Bern's local newspaper who understood Rhee's logic and published an interview with him. Again, nobody paid any attention to the newspaper article, but one lady from Austria. She was making a trip with her parents from Paris to Vienna, and was taking a rest in Geneva. She read Rhee's article very carefully and became deeply impressed by his idea for peace. I am very fond of her and talk more about her in my future articles. Two of my own photos in my web site is dedicated to her.

Here is a lesson we all can learn. If you have a brilliant result from your research, you like let others know what you have accomplished. You then submit your articles to prestigious journals, and attend conferences. You feel that you would get next year's Nobel prize in your field. But the reality is quite different. If you attend the relevant conference with your brilliant result, you will likely be cold-shouldered by the conference mafia.

That is right, if you are not entirely satisfied with the result of the conference, try to impress ladies. You will now see why I have so many lady pictures on my web pages. How do those ladies help my cause? Have you seen any TV ad without woman's picture? Thanks to the ladies, my web site is becoming increasingly popular among my colleagues. I asked one of them how I could improve my web pages. His answer was "add more pictures." I contend that, by far, my web site is visited more often than any other individual sites.

However, the ladies can not bring the ultimate solution for me. This is the reason why I am working so hard to develop my own conferences in order to give my cold shoulder to others. One of the readers complained to me that I am using Rhee Seungman to talk about myself. I am afraid that he is right. He noted that Rhee's purpose was Korea's independence with his life-time presidency. He then asked me what my ultimate purpose is. This is exactly what I like to know. If you know the answer, please let me know.


Y.S.Kim (2001.5.23)

I maintain my curiosity on many strange subjects. On the issues having to do with ladies, I have a tendency to satisfy my curiosity by conducting my own experiments. Thus, you will not be surprised to hear that I have conducted an experiment to solve the mystery of how Rhee was able to meet an Austrian lady named Francesca Donner.

I said in one of my previous mails that Rhee, while attending the 1933 Geneva conference, met a Austrian lady who was able to fully understand and appreciate Rhee's plan for peace in North-East Asia. I also said she read this from Bern's local newspaper. Where and how did they meet for the first time? In order to find an answer this question, I wrote on July 13 (1999) an article containing the following paragraphs.

(from my 1999 article). I came back from Europe after attending two conferences. Between those two meetings, I was fortunate enough to spend five vacation days in Switzerland, and I spent one night in Bern, which is the capital city not far from Geneva. At the dinner time, I went to a moderately priced restaurant and sat alone at a table with four chairs, and ordered a plate consisting of a sausage with sauerkraut. While waiting for the food, I felt as if I was waiting for three people who will occupy the three empty chairs at my table.

In 1933, a lonely Korean man went to a meeting of the League of Nations held in Geneva. The purpose of his trip was to make an appeal for Korea's independence to the international community, but nobody paid any attention to him, except one local newspaper editor from Bern. This Korean man went to Bern for an interview, but did not have enough money to afford anything better than sausage with sauerkraut at a moderately priced restaurant. The restaurant was crowded, and the manager asked him whether he could share his table with a couple (father and mother) with their daughter. He said Yes. This Korean man found that these three people came from Austria, and that the daughter was quite sympathetic to his passion for Korea's independence.

In 1948, this Korean man became Korea's first president, and the daughter from the Austrian family became Korea's first first-lady. The man used to be called Syngman Rhee by Westerners, and the lady is known to us as Madam Francesca.

Francesca was not popular among Koreans during Rhee's presidency, and was called the "cat-faced" woman from Australia (Koreans had difficulty in telling the difference between Austria and Australia at that time). These day, we changed our attitude toward her after carefully reviewing her career, including her total devotion to her husband, the number of letters she typed for the cause of Korea's independence, her uncompromising disciplines among those close to the president, and her frugality.

Rhee is still very unpopular among Koreans. Since I know about him very well, I made a careful study of why he is so unpopular in spite of his life-long dedication to Korea's independence. Yes, he made a number of blunders, especially in choosing the people around him. But the major cause of the unpopularity is that Rhee was an exceptionally talented person. Korean always hate their own talented people. We should change this national character if we wish to get anywhere in the world. If there is a talented Korean, learn lessons from him/her instead of hating him/her. (end of quotation from my 1999 article)

(resumption of the new article)
In 1999, I also went to the old League of Nations building now called the Wilson Park. There, I met a young student from Austria who appeared to be from a conservative family. She was very courteous and readily agreed to pose with me for a photo. This photo with the Wilson Park in the background is on my Korea web page linked to my "wisdom" site.

One week later, in Corinth (Greece), I shared a lunch table with a very cultured lady born and raised in Eastern Europe, studied in Germany, and is now a tenured professor in Canada. I talked about her in of my earlier articles. Last week, I e-mailed her telling that her photographs will be on my web pages, and that one of them will be used as my photo with a lady looking like Madam Francesca. She sent me a reply saying that she is enjoying my articles. By now, I have accumulated about 500 pages of my writings mostly directed to Koreans. If she is able to enjoy those articles of mine, she is indeed a Francesca to me. As I said before, Madam Francesca was the Francesca to Rhee because she was able to understand a short article written by Rhee.

You would agree that my experiment has produced a tangible result, and I would like to suggest to you to conduct a similar experiment. You may wonder how Rhee appeared to Francesca when they met at the Bern (or Geneva) restaurant. You are invited again to the Korea page and see a photo of Dr. Rhee with Harry Truman (president of the U.S. 1945-53) taken in 1954 while Rhee was visiting the United States. This photo appeared in the New York Times on July 20 of 1965, one day after Rhee's death in Hawaii. Rhee was 79 years old when the photo was taken. From the photo, you will note that Rhee had been grooming himself to be the life-time president for many years, perhaps starting from 1920. Madam Francesca definitely was attracted by Rhee's presidential appearance.

Another Austrian Lady. In July of 2002, I met an Austrian lady at a sidewalk cafe in Percs (Hungary). I was boasting off how smart I am, and she became impresses in the first photo. She then came to my side in the second photo. I thought about Rhee.


Y.S.Kim (2001.6.10)

As always, I encourage the readers to send their opinions. If their opinions are the same as mine, they do not add anything new. If they are different, they are very valuable to us. In this way, we can broaden our scope and our view toward Korea and the world. I am very happy to broadcast one the mails I received on the Rhee issue.

From: Seung Kon Kim
Subject: My dissenting view of Syngman Rhee
Date: 05.06.01 (June 5, 2001)

Dear Prof. Kim,

Most of your stories are quite informative to me and I thank you for wising me up to many facts I was not aware of. However, you seem to have a biased view for Syngman Rhee in praising that he was a respectable statesman.

Three years ago, I met an old couple in their late eighties conversing with each other in natural American English in a bus bound from Chonju to Seoul. While they were speaking, I butted in to practice my English. Rev. Lee, a retired minister and his wife were descendants of the first Korean emigrants to Hawaii. Our interesting English conversations continued until the bus arrived at a Seoul terminus. They even mentioned the association they had with Rhee as church-goers in Hawaii when he was active in anti-Japan resistance. According to what I gathered from them, Rhee kept telling the then Korean boys to marry only Korean girls, yet he married an Austrian girl. Furthermore, we know too well that he is credited with the slogan which reads, "United we stand, divided we fall." But when he was at feud with some people in his Presbyterian church in Hawaii, he split it to start a new Methodist church there.

To sum up, I was led to conclude that he was a man of dual personality or a hypocrite, to say nothing of his political blunders. To talk one way but act another, isn't that a hypocrisy? What do you say to that? Don't misconstrue me. I am not selling him short but am just quoting what they said of him as living witnesses of his early career in Hawaii.


Seung Kon Kim
Profesor of Physics
Jeonbuk National University
Jeonju, 561-756, KOREA --- Please continue reading.

Note added by YSK. Indeed Rhee was an interesting person. As you probably know, Sami Lee (from the U.S.) was a gold medalist in diving at the 1952 Olympic meeting held in Helsinki (Finland). His father went to Hawaii around 1920. Sami Lee came to Korea in 1954 to serve as a medical doctor in the U.S. Army. I saw him diving at the Seoul Stadium's swimming pool. While he was in Korea, he visited Rhee Seungman at the presidential palace. He told Rhee his father's name was Lee Soon-Ki. Rhee was so happy with him that he even gave Sami a sum of money for house down payment. I assume that Lee Soon-Ki belonged to the faction of Koreans Rhee liked.

I also knew four brothers who were born in Hawaii. Their father's name was Chung In-Soo. I did not know what their father did in Hawaii except that he died much earlier than their mother. Those four brothers were with their mother in Korea in 1945, and his mother used to come to my house often. Those Chung brothers heard from their mother that their father knew Rhee Seungman in Hawaii, and thus decided to pay a courtesy visit to Rhee after he became the president. It was a very reasonable thing to do, and Rhee's secretary allowed them to enter Rhee's office. The four brothers were of course very courteous to him, and Rhee was initially very happy to see them.

However, after hearing their father was Chung In-Soo, Rhee angrily stood up and was trying to beat them up. The reason was that Chung was a laundry man in Hawaii and refused to provide service to Rhee, because Rhee was not able or willing to pay. The Chung brothers ran away from Rhee as quickly as possible.

I assume Lee Soon-Ki (Sami Lee's father) was Rhee's friend while Chung In-Soo (father of those four brothers) was Rhee's enemy. Rhee made a sharp distinction between them.

I just came back from Boston after attending a conference. There, I met four Korean physicists. They of course know about me. One of them met me for the first time. He became very happy when I told him about his background. His asked me how I know about him so well. My answer was that I am the life-time president of the Korean Physical Society, and he was happy again to hear this from me.

They also know there is a set of Koreans whom I dislike thoroughly. Those Koreans tell their children and students to avoid me like communists. One of those "enemies" recently visited the Univ. of Maryland, and I told him he should practice what he preaches to his students about me.

As for their children, I of course like the children of my friends, but I like even more those of my enemies. Why? The children of my enemies seem to know that their parents are angry at me out of admirations toward me. This is the reason why they come to me. If you are a son or daughter of one of my enemies, please come to me. I will buy you a dinner.

Does this mean that I am better than Rhee? No. If someone hates me not out of his/her admiration toward me (I do not know anyone belonging to this category), I am not likely to be too kind to his/her children. Be careful. I could even be worse than Rhee.


Y.S.Kim (2001.6.18)

There is a saying among Koreans. In the United States, you can live without a wife, but not without a car. Rhee Seungman never learned how to drive a car, but was wise enough to get a car and a wife at the same time. Rhee married Francesca Donner from Austria in 1934. The wedding ceremony took place at New York's Riverside Church in October of 1934. The ceremony must have been quite elegant because Rhee distributed movie films of the scene to his close friends. In 1934, the film industry was still primitive, and the industry barely started producing talking movies.

Since then, Francesca was Rhee's driver, cook, typist, money manager, and first of all his faithful wife. They were settled happily in Washington. I will continue this story in my future articles. The burning question is how Koreans reacted to Rhee's marriage with a non-Korean woman. Quite understandably they were quite disappointed.

First issue was that Rhee had his Korean wife in Korea, but the wife in Korea at that time was like a wife in North Korea these days. Thus, it was not a big issue. As Prof. Kim of Chonbuk says, Rhee used to tell Koreans to marry only Koreans. This was the problem. On the other hand, Rhee was still the only hope for Korea's independence. The Korean in Hawaii had to invite Rhee to come and talk about what is new about Korea's independence, but told Rhee not come with his "blue-eyed" wife.

However, Rhee went there with his new wife and gave a speech. There was of course a boycott movement, but most of them were simply curious. As a result, the meeting was became the biggest meeting of Koreans in the 40-year history of Koreans in Hawaii. In this way, Rhee solved his hypocrisy problem.

Koreans tend to be dogmatic and tend to drag themselves into endless arguments, but it is more fun to solve the problems by finding new dimensions. This is my way of life. One example. Korean publishers never publish my articles. Instead of arguing with them, I developed a new way of communication. This is precisely why I am able to send interesting stories to my younger friends.

I will be leaving for Germany and Russia this Thursday and will come back on July 2. I will do my best to provide continued jobnet service. This time, I will be able to sail along the Rhein and Volga Rivers. I hope to bring with me a number of pictures of "blued-eyed" ladies for my web pages. More people will then visit my web site as Koreans in Hawaii reacted to Rhee's "blue-eyed" wife 66 years ago.


Y.S.Kim (2001.6.20)

By marrying Francesca, Rhee Seungman obtained a car and wife at the same time. Francesca was able to move Rhee from one meeting to another in Washington's high society. Because Francesca had "blue" eyes, they were able to penetrate into thick racial barriers.

At home, Francesca learned how to cook Korean food. She made Kimchi out of western cabbage (eastern cabbages were not available at that time). Francesca used needles and threads to fix Rhee's clothes and socks. But she was not very good in learning the Korean language, even until her departure from Korea in 1960.

Francesca's native language was German, but she spoke English and French fluently. She was also a very efficient typist. In 1955, in order to impress me (perhaps), a Korean girl showed me a letter an American boy (at Yale) typed using an electric typewriter. Electric typewriters were becoming common only after 1950. In 1942, Richard Feynman, or a person he hired, typed his PhD thesis using a manual typewriter (Feynman was the most brilliant American-born scientist in the 20th century). I had to hire a manual typist to write my PhD thesis. You are invited to look at some of the pages from Feynman's thesis. Visit

http://www.physics.umd.edu/robot/feynman.html .

and click "Feynman Photos."

Rhee then started writing a book in order to tell Americans that Japan was playing a very dangerous game, and that Japan was becoming ready to attack Hawaii. Of course Francesca was the typist. At that time, one has to retype the whole manuscript six or seven times before completing a book. Francesca did with her manual typewriter. This kind of manual labor is unthinkable these days.

Rhee was not the first one to predict Japan would attack Hawaii. After World War, there was a one-star general named Billy Mitchell in the U.S. Army. He advocated the idea of building a fleet of military airplanes for the U.S.Army. He insisted that the airplanes, not the battle ships, would play the main role in fighting world wars. He said further that other countries would be ahead of the Unites States militarily if Americans did not wake up. He even said that Japan would become strong enough to attack Hawaii with airplanes.

The U.S. Army was initially sympathetic to him, but Americans were upset when he said Japan would be strong enough to attack Hawaii. He was court-marshalled, and demoted to a colonel. To Americans, it was totally obscene to say that any oriental country would be strong enough to attack their country.

Thus, when Rhee was writing his book about Japan, he was risking his residency in the Unites States. I will continue the story next time.

Wisdom of Korea (2001, July -- December)


Y.S.Kim (2001.7.10)

As I said before, I came back from the Volga camp located 30 km south of Kazan. This camp is of course located along the River Volga. I took more than 100 photos, but only twelve of them are web worthy. I put them into a single web page. You may visit


If you see these photos, you will agree that Russians really know how to make themselves happy. The most serious problem for young Koreans is that they are not willing to make themselves happy. Always, someone else has to make them happy. These days, we are asking Japanese to make us happy.

While there, I met several interesting ladies (see the webpage). The most important lady was Irina Bachkova who is a professor of music at Moscow Conservatory, a very prestigious place in music. She was born in Kazan and was spending the summer in Kazan with her aging mother. She played for us Beethoven's violin sonata No. 5, often called the Spring Sonata.

I heard this piece of music when I was in high school. I liked it so much that I decided to live like the Spring Sonata. I cannot describe it in words. If you like to understand me, you may read what I wrote about myself, but the quickest way is to listen to Beethoven's Spring Sonata. When Prof. Bachkova was playing the Sonata, she was telling the audience how I lived my life. Indeed, she was the best Beethoven I have ever met.

After she finished playing, I went to her and thanked her for playing my music. I then pulled out a postcard from my portable photo album and gave it to her with my autograph. This postcard carries a photo of the four string instruments Beethoven owned. They are displayed in the museum in Bonn (Germany) called the Beethoven-Haus. This museum complex includes the house where Ludwig van Beethoven was born. Irina Bachkova thanked me for the card, and we posed for a photo. She also gave me her Moscow telephone number.

The word "Spring" means many different things to many different people. For instance, in Paris (France), this word (Printemp in French) means a classy department store. But, to most people, it means comfortable weather after harsh winter. The life comes back in the spring. To Christians, Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday in April.

The resurrection of Jesus gives a hope to many people in despair. Rhee Seungman was in jail for five years from 1899 to 1904. Rhee was a born nationalist and was against foreigners before going to jail. When asked to believe in Jesus, he asked back how a Western man who died 1900 years before can save him and his country. However, while in jail, he was visited frequently by the Americans in Seoul including Appenseler, Evison, and Underwood. These Americans were interested in making Rhee a Christian minister after observing that he was an eloquent speaker. Rhee then started reading the Bible in jail. He then became deeply inspired by the concept of resurrection. Rhee knew at that time his country was dying, and he was in prison. He then became convinced that he would come out of the prison and would give a new life to his country.

Those who are very close to me know that I spent 20 years in jail professionally. My Korean colleagues used to say that I was totally isolated from the rest of the world, and they used to advise their students to avoid me like communists. In 1965, I said in my published papers that Princeton made a stupid mistake. Princeton did not like what I said, and did everything to kick me out of the United States. My advisor was Sam Treiman. He told me "Never come back to Princeton" in February of 1966.

Happy Ending

    After being turned down by Treiman, I had to look for a different route to make my own advancement in the United States. If I was turned down by the person who was in the best position to my ideas, I was not the first one.

    Nikola Tesla was an immigrant from Serbia with an idea of using AC, instead of DC, to transmit electric power. At that time, Thomas Edison was in the best position to appreciate Tesla's idea, but he was staunchly against Tesla's idea. Tesla went to George Westinghouse to put his idea into practice. When I was writing an article about Tesla and Westinghouse, I was talking about myself.

    Indeed, I needed my Princeton background to function properly in the physics world. This is precisely the reason why I had to go to Eugene Wigner. My approach to Wigner was quite fruitful and professionally rewarding. Many people think I was Wigner's student. Here are some interesting links.

    1. Maxwell and Wigner.
    2. Last Lunch (1991)

    As for Sam Treiman, I had a happy re-union with him, as you can see in my photo with him and my son taken in 1987. Mrs. Joan Treiman and my wife are also in this photo. As you can see Sam Treiman was a very handsome man.

  • Y.S. Kim's home page.

  • Y.S. Kim's Einstein page.

  • Y.S. Kim's Princeton page.

You would agree that I am now a free man. The person who pulled me out of the jail was another Princeton man named Eugene Paul Wigner. But Wigner was known as the most difficult person to approach. I have many stories to tell about myself, but let me say in just one sentence tonight. I was able to come out of the jail because I lived my life like Beethoven's Spring Sonata. If you are in despair in your research life, buy a CD containing this music and listen repeatedly. This might cure you.

Indeed, due to the above-mentioned mistake, Princeton is now a different Princeton. I would like to point out however that this was not the worst mistake Princeton made. Their biggest mistake was to tear down the first electronic computer John von Neumann made. I show around the photos of his Princeton computer in connection with the von Neumann centennial year Hungarians planning for 2003 (see my webpage). Princeton does not seem to have anything to say about the world's first computer built there.


Y.S.Kim (2001.7.20)

With the help of Madam Francesca, Rhee completed his book entitled "Japan Inside Out" and managed to find a publisher. The book was printed in June of 1941, six months before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 1941. In his book, Rhee predicted exactly what happened there.

Americans initially dismissed what Rhee said in his book, but he became somebody after the Pearl Harbor attack. He was appointed as a paid consultant to the U.S. government on Japanese affairs. Rhee was also invited to broadcast his messages to Koreans through the Korean language program of the "Voice of America" radio. Rhee then became known to Koreans in Korea. I have some recordings of his voice where he talks like a evangelical minister.

While acting as a consultant to the U.S. government, Rhee was able to form a group of supporters among Americans. Those Americans were thoroughly anti-Japanese who later became anti-communist. In so doing he was able to build a political base for his presidency in Korea. Rhee used this support base in 1947 to "sell" (the word commonly used by young Koreans these days) Korea to the United States.

This means that Rhee used his book to achieve what he really wanted. As I said before, Rhee lived in prison from 1899 to 1905. He had to go through this ordeal because he wanted to become the president as early as at the age of 24. He did just about everything, but the book was the most powerful weapon.

When Rhee started writing his book, Dwight D. Eisenhower (president of U.S.1953-61) was a major in the U.S. Army. In order to get promoted to a Lt.Colonel, he had to write a thesis. In his thesis which he wrote at the National War College in Washington, Eisenhower predicted that Hitler's Germany would become a major threat to the United States. He then proposed a military cooperation with Britain and other European countries to deal with the problem. When the United States needed a man to head the joint military operation against Germany, Franklin Roosevelt was deeply impressed by Eisenhower's thesis. He promoted Eisenhower from a colonel to a four-star general, and appointed his the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces. Have you heard of anyone becoming a full general from a colonel?

I of course can talk about my experience along this line, but let us skip: I talked too much about myself already. This kind of story is not uncommon in history. Let us go to the Old Testament. While in prison, Joseph was invited to interpret the king's dream in which seven fat cows emerge from the Nile and then seven lean cows. The lean cows then eat up the fat cows. Joseph solved the problem for the king, and becomes the prime minister.

Speaking of the Old Testament, Moses wanted to speak to God. How did he do? He wrote five books about God, and God liked his books. That is the reason why we are still reading the books. Where are they? They are the first five books in the Old Testament. As I said in my previous mail, I lived in prison (professional isolation) for 20 years. In order to escape from the jail, I used this aspect of the wisdom which I inherited from my Christian background (this kind of background is nothing special for Koreans. Koreans simply do not know how to use it in the United States). I enjoy telling this story to my Jewish colleagues.

I will be in Prague (Czech Republic) next week to deliver a series of lectures based on the book which I wrote in order to escape from the prison. I hope I will have an access to the e-mail system there.


Y.S.Kim (2001.8.1)

I just came back from Prague, and I am still tired. Many of my friends are telling me I am getting old and I should cut back my work loads. I think they are right. In this article, I am going to talk about someone else who never knew he was getting old.

In 1943, the U.S. Army was organizing paratrooper units. Rhee Seungman heard the rumor and went to an army recruiting station in Washington in order to volunteer to become a paratrooper. The recruiting officer asked Rhee how old he was, and then dismissed him. Rhee was 67 or 68 years old in 1943. Rhee's idea was to organize Korean paratroopers who could jump down with him to the Korean soil. Luckily, the recruiting officer stopped him.

In 1956, Rhee was finishing up his second term as the president of Korea, but he did not know how old he was. This led to his political misfortune. I will talk more about Rhee's tragedy in my later articles. Tonight, I will talk more about the paratroopers.

In 1943, the U.S. and Britain were planning to invade the European continent under German control. This is the reason why the U.S. Army was organizing paratrooper units. From the documentary films, you saw German solders during the WWII period. The paratroopers were to be trained to jump into a spot surrounded by those German troops. You can then imagine how strong each paratrooper had to be, and what kind of discipline those soldiers had to maintain.

The person in charge of organizing the paratrooper units was Major General Matthew Ridgeway. He of course parachuted down with his troops in Normandy the day before the landing of the Allied troops. He trained his soldiers by being exceptionally harsh to Westpoint graduates. Understandable! If the Westpointers run away, who in the U.S. Army is going to fight?

What does this have to do with Rhee Seungman? In order to answer this question, I will attach one of my old articles.


Y.S.Kim (1995.12.2)

Rhee Seungman's mistakes in his late years are well known, and I do not intend to elaborate on them. However, I am free to comment on his mistake as a PhD scholar. If you are a PhD, you should be able to write down systematically what you have in mind. Rhee made many important decisions which still affect us. He should have written books explaining circumstances which led to his decisions. We may not agree with him on everything he said, but he could have at least made his views known to us.

While our young people take a negative view toward him, they say that he was the only Korean president who could give "kihap" to Americans. Rhee undoubtedly was proud of this aspect of his life and should have written a book about how to deal with Americans. Since I have been playing games with Americans in the United States, I have to be an expert on the person known here as Syngman Rhee.

During the period 1945-53, Rhee gave kihaps to three American generals. They were John Hodge, Matthew Ridgeway, and Dwight Eisenhower. Today, I will tell you the story based on Ridgeway's book entitled "Korean War" in which he explains how he received kihap from a Korean who was Woodrow Wilson's student at Princeton. Here is the story.

In 1950, Lt. Gen. Ridgeway was the Vice Chief of the Staff of the U.S. Army. Lt. Gen. Elton Walker was the commander of the 8th Army fighting in Korea. During the month of December, the 8th Army became completely disorganized due to the unexpected Chinese offensive and Korea's cold weather. To make things worse, Gen. Walker died on December 22 when his jeep crashed into a truck [he was a reckless driver]. At that time, Ridgeway was having a X-mas party with his relatives in Washington. Within an hour of Walker's death, Ridgeway was ordered to interrupt his party and fly to Korea. His first responsibility was to supervise the tragic 1.4 retreat. His second responsibility was to reconstruct the 8th Army. He surprised every military expert by accomplishing this job within one month, again by being harsh to West-point graduates. He then became promoted to a four-star general. Who do you think could give kihap to him. If so, for what?

The semi-automatic M-1 rifle was invented by a French Canadian Engineer named John C. Garand. It took him 20 years to develop the machine until the U.S. Army adopted it as the infantry rifle in 1935. Ridgeway was in love with this engineering jewel. He often carried this full-sized rifle (weighing 10.5 pounds) while making inspection tours. Reporters used to enjoy taking photos of this unusual scene for a general. On the other hand, Ridgeway did not believe Koreans have enough discipline and mechanical sense to handle the M-1 rifle, and he did not supply U.S.-made arms to Korean troops. This of course caused frequent battle failures for the Korean units, and a large number of Korean casualties. Syngman Rhee developed the following strategy to deal with this crisis.

Rhee scheduled a news conference with American reporters, and advertised that he would speak personally in English. The reporters became very curious and brought the most advanced cameras. Rhee knew that he was talking directly to Americans. In English, he said

"Give us arms! Our boys will fight, and your boys can go home."

Americans had been impatiently waiting for someone to say that their boys can come home, and Rhee said this. This became a big public issue in the U.S. Ridgeway was called in and was scolded thoroughly by Harry Truman who was the U.S. president at that time. This was how the United States started supplying arms to Koreans as well as military training. The training package included a West-Point style military academy. These day, we are watching from Korea's TV dramas how the early graduates of this military academy behaved during the period 1960-1980.

If you wish to develop a new theory in physics, the established communication system may not cooperate with you in making your theory known to your colleagues. The reason is very simple. The existing system is controlled by the people with the Herod complex. How would you solve this problem! Build your own communication system. You have to come up with a device which your colleagues cannot think of. Syngman Rhee teaches us a lesson.


Y.S.Kim (2001.8.23)

Each year, during the month of August, many young people are coming to the Unites States to continue their education. We say this and that about the U.S., but we have been very fortunate to be under the influence of the United States. Of course the ideal situation is be be completely independent of foreign powers, but it is unlikely that we will reach this stage in any foreseeable future. The person who developed this kind of thinking as early as in 1915 was Rhee Seungman. I have been writing stories about him, and will write more about him in the future.

I left Korea for the United States in August of 1954. Since then, I lived in this country with the Korean wisdom which I inherited from our history. The most important part (perhaps 99%) of my Korean wisdom consists of HARD WORK (no magic, no short cuts), and the Unites States rewards those who work hard. Koreans know how to work hard. This is the core of the Korean wisdom.

On behalf of the old timers, I would like to welcome our young students to the United States. Once you establish your social security number and start getting pay checks, you should report your e-mail address to Dr. Eun-Suk Seo in order to get connected to this network system. What is the advantage of being on this network? In addition to jobnews or other news items, you will become smarter. You will learn how to use your Korean wisdom in dealing with daily problems in the world.

Many Koreans say I say things which are not acceptable to them. In 1992, I said Seoul National University should be closed down. They thought I was absolutely crazy. Now, they seem to know I right I was. These days, I say often that we should get ahead of Japan, and Korean publishers refuse to publish my articles on this subject. Korean students tell me that they have an appointment with others when I start talking about this subject.

Here is my progress report. Last month (July), I spent one week in Prague. If you have a Korean passport as I do, you do not need visa to enter Czech Republic. Prague is a music city and is also a crystal (glass) city. So what is new? The streets in Prague are filled with Korean students spending their summer vacations in Europe. I talked with many of them. I am very happy to tell you I was quite satisfied with what they told me.

The important point is that I was not able to see Japanese students in Prague. There are many Japanese students in London, and I enjoy talking with them there. Traditionally, Japanese have a great respect for England. Like Britain, Japan is an island country. Japan adopted their political system, educational system, and many others from Britain. There are still many Japanese students in London during the summer, but the number of Korean students is increasing there. In Prague, however, there are no Japanese students.

I discussed this problem with Korean students I met in Prague. We agreed on the point that Japan is hopelessly isolated from the rest of the world, and Korea will have an edge over Japan in the world where there is only one world. It is about time for Koreans to stop complaining about what Japan did to us in the past, and to think getting ahead of them.

PS: I also enjoy talking with Russian students. You may visit my Volga page. to see my latest story on Russia. This website is very popular among Russians.


Y.S.Kim (2001.8.25)

After getting his PhD degree from Princeton University in 1910, Rhee returned to Korea but came back to the U.S. two years later. During this brief period, he taught at Posung Professional School (which later became Korea University). While teaching there, he asked the following question. While Koreans have enough resources to construct a prosperous country of their own, are they able to mobilize those resources to expel Japanese imperialists from the Korean peninsula?

Rhee's answer to this question was No. Thus, according to him, the best alternative was to borrow the power of the United States. If we use the words of our young people, the best solution was to sell the country to the United States. This is exactly what he did. However, was the U.S. willing to buy Korea? Why not? If you watch what the Bush administration is doing these days, the United States is still an isolationist country. I talked about this issue before, and I will talk more about it in the future.

Before blaming Rhee for selling the country to a foreign power, are we really in a position to blame him? After more than 50 years of independence, did we prove to the world and to ourselves that we know how to run the country? The answer is No. Since the emergence of the so-called civilian government in 1992, we have been selling our industrial establishments to foreigners. Our universities, in spite of so many US-educated professors, are typical third-world institutions. We are now being disturbed to hear that our airlines and pharmaceutical establishments can not meet the international standards. We are likely to hear more disturbing news in the future.

The real tragedy is that we are getting this kind of humiliation not because of the lack of resources, but because of our negligence. Whenever anything goes wrong, Koreans never fix it. They blame other Koreans. Rhee Seungman seems to be getting much of the blames. How about learning some lessons from him?


Y.S.Kim (2001.9.5)

As I said in one of my earlier articles, Rhee Seungman went to the United States in (mid) December of 1946 in order to sell his country, and came back to Korea in (late) March of 1947. In April, there was a big meeting at the Seoul Stadium celebrating his successful preparation for the Korean government. Rhee was of course the central figure and the cheer leader at that meeting. Rhee assured the crowd that an independent Korean government would be set up with the help of the United States, and Koreans should be thankful to the United States. I attended this meeting and responded enthusiastically to what he said.

Earlier in North Korea, Kim Il-Sung's group was setting up their Labor Party (Chosun Rodong Dang). At that time, when Kim Il-Sung spoke, the crowd raised their fists forward and shouted "Also" to him. In Korean, "Also" means "you are certainly right," but Koreans in the South refrained from using this word because communists were using. However, the enthusiastic crowd spontaneously gave the "Also" to Rhee Seungman whenever he finished the key sentences. We all laughed but continued saying "Also."

On the other hand, I was quite surprised to hear his excessively pro-American speech. He did not sound realistic at that time. The south of the 38th parallel was occupied by the U.S. troops led by Lt.General John R. Hodge. Hodge was rigorously pursuing the agreement the Unites States made with Stalin in December of 1945: five years of Shintak-Tongchi administered jointly by the U.S. and the Soviet Union. While Rhee was talking triumphantly, Hodge was making preparations to hold the second meeting of the US-Soviet Commission to be held in Seoul, and the Soviet delegate came to Seoul in May, one month after Rhee's "Also" meeting. Hodge was prepared to propose Dr. Kim Kyu-Shik as the president of Korea. If you do not know who Kim Kyu-Shik was, it is quite OK. Neither do I.

On March 1 (1947), one month earlier than the "Also" meeting, there was a bloody clash between the communist and anti-communists groups at the Nam-Dae-Moon plaza where the communists were bold enough to open fire at the anti-communist group with full-sized Japanese infantry rifles. At that time, I was with the anti-communist group and ran away for cover when the communists started shooting. I was not quite twelve years old.

Yet, at his "Also" meeting, Rhee was talking as if he were the president of Korea with a very cordial personal relation with Harry Truman (the president of the United States), while, in reality, Korea was not his territory. Then, how did the world turn toward him? What did he do while he was in Washington from December (1946) to March of 1947?

The precise answer to the second question is Nothing. Rhee did not have any influence on the U.S. government. The officials of the State Department did not know who Rhee was, and they refused to meet with him. If Rhee's purpose was to sell the country to the United States, he thoroughly failed. Then, why was Rhee so jubilant when he came back to Korea? I will continue the story next time.


Y.S.Kim (2001.9.7).

George Marshall died in 1959, and there were many articles about him. He served as the Army Chief of Staff from 1939 to 1945. From 1945 to 1946, he spent one year in China, without success, to bring a peace to the conflict between the Nationalist government and the communists. From 1947 to 1949, he was the secretary of state. During this period he drew up a plan for economic reconstruction of Europe. This plan is known these days as the Marshall plan. For this, he received the Nobel peace prize in 1953. He was the secretary of defense from 1950 to 1951 when the United States was building up the troop strength in Korea.

On the issue of the creation of the Jewish state of Israel, Marshall was against it, because he thought this would create an endless war. Harry Truman, the president of the United States, over-ruled Marshall's recommendation. Israel became an independent country in May of 1948 after the United Nations passed the resolution to partition the Palestine area. Does he then have anything to do with the creation of the Republic of Korea?

In my previous article, I said Rhee Seungman went to Washington in December of 1946 to sell his country to the United States, but nobody in Washington was interested in listening to this salesman. But Rhee was intelligent enough to analyze what was happening in Washington. He also had a number of American friends to find out what was happening in Marshall's mind. Marshall became the secretary of state in January of 1947 and started producing foreign policies of the United States.

Before George Marshall, the U.S. did not have any branch of government in charge of foreign affairs. If you watched the last presidential election carefully, you noticed that Catherine Harris was the secretary of state of Florida, and she was the prime minister (not foreign minister) of her state. Likewise, the secretary of state of the United States means the prime minister of the United States. Because the foreign minister does not exist, the prime minister has to fill in. This was exactly what Marshall started doing.

As I said above, his first job was to reconstruct the economy of Europe. Another important job for him was to activate the United Nations. To most people, the U.N. was another form of the League of Nations without much impact on world affairs. While Truman and Marshall disagreed on Israel, they were in 100% agreement on transforming the U.N. into the department of foreign affairs of the United States.

As I said in one of my early articles, the U.N. was not meant to be another League of Nations. In 1942, the United States bought the empire from Britain and planned to construct its own empire under the name of the United Nations. George Marshall was in charge of implementing this new imperial scheme for the United States when he became the secretary of state.

While in Washington, Rhee Seungman was able to observe the following difference between the League and the U.N. When Woodrow Wilson was planning the League, he advocated the self-determination of nations. In his 14-point declaration, Wilson specifically mentioned Poland and Czechoslovakia as independent nations while ignoring Korea. Rhee felt betrayed because Wilson was his PhD thesis advisor at Princeton University.

On the other hand, Marshall's U.N. policy specifically included an independent Korean government set up by a UN-sponsored election to be conducted on both sides of the 38th parallel covering the entire territory of Korea. This plan was not quite official when Rhee was in Washington, but he was able to see that this was coming from Marshall's state department. This is the reason why he was so happy when he came back to Korea.

As I used to tell my fellow classmates at Princeton, I am not Syngman Rhee, but I have to admit that I am the only person in this world who could write the above story about Rhee's jubilation which I witnessed in April of 1947. The reason is very simple. I had a similar experience. My thesis advisor was Sam Treiman, but he did not do anything to enhance my advancement is the physics world. I pulled myself out of the mess using another Princeton man. Click here for details. Today, I was approached by a book company for the job of editing a series of books dedicated to Richard Feynman. Feynman was of course the most creative physics PhD produced by Princeton, and I respect him. You may be interested in visiting my website dedicated to Richard Feynman: http://www.physics.umd.edu/robot/feynman.html.


Y.S.Kim (2001.9.10)

For many years, my younger friends have been asking me to tell my story about how I took care of academic discrimination based on my national origin which is the same as yours. Tonight I will tell this story. My story will start with the hypothesis that the United States is not a racist country, and will end with the conclusion that the United States is not a racist country.

This does not mean that there are no racists in the United States. In the academic world, I would say that about 80% of Americans were racists in 1960, and about 20% of them are so now (2001). However, the system in principle is on your side, and you can thus find Americans who are willing to help you when you are in trouble.

Before I tell my own story, let us summarize what I said about Rhee Seungman. In 1912, in Korea, Rhee concluded that Koreans did not have enough strength to get rid of Japanese imperialism and decided to borrow the influence of the United States to gain independence. In 1919, he became disappointed when his former advisor, Woodrow Wilson, did not include Korea's independence in his fourteen-point plan for world peace. In 1933, he went to Geneva in order to appeal Korea's independence at a meeting of the League of Nations.

There, nobody paid any attention to him except an Austrian lady named Francesca Donner who later became Rhee's wife and a partner in Rhee's campaign for independence. In January and February of 1947, Rhee was in Washington and was able to foresee what the United States was going to do about Korea at the general meeting of the United Nations to be held in September of 1947. He became very happy. If we subtract 19 from 47, the result is 28. Yes, Rhee struggled for 28 years in the U.S. for Korea's independence.

Let me start my story. After I received my PhD degree from Princeton in 1961, I stayed there one more year as a post-doc, and came to the Univ. of Maryland in 1962 as an assistant professor. I chose Maryland because this department at that time consisted largely of Princeton graduates, and is very close to the city of Washington. Washington in 1962 was the capital city of Korea, and it is even more so now.

This means that I became an assistant professor four years after my Bachelor's degree. Brilliant? Not quite. Since I did not stay in school too long, I did not learn much and I knew very little. This is the reason why I am telling my younger friends not too hasty about finishing the graduate school.

While I was struggling to find out about myself, I heard an astonishing news in 1965. Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study appointed Steve Adler and Roger Dashen as full professors. I knew Adler very well because I introduced him to my own advisor Sam Treiman. Treiman thought he was very smart and asked me what his name was.

Roger Dashen was a Caltech graduate and he had a talent of giving eloquent seminars. His advisor at Caltech was Steven Frautschi. Dashen's PhD thesis consisted of a calculation of the neutron-proton mass difference based on the so-called "boot-strap" method developed by Geoffrey Chew of Berkeley. Dashen's appointment was based on his "history-breaking" calculation of the mass difference. During the summer of 1965, I studied his paper. It was a crap, and I published a paper stating so in the Physical Review.

In December of 1965, my department considered my promotion to the rank of associate professor with tenure, and my senior colleagues thought my paper on Dashen was problematic, but could not make a judgement. The case dragged on, and I was really annoyed because this was a black-and-white case. My Phys. Rev. was published with an enthusiastic referee recommendation.

I thus decided to seek a help from my former advisor, Sam Treiman, and went to Princeton on February 16, 1966. Treiman refused to go into a scientific discussion of whether Dashen is right or I am right. He was uttering total nonsense, but could not figure out what he had in mind. I looked at his eyes, and then was able to get his point. He was telling me "Dashen is a genius and you are a Chosenjin." He was also telling me never come back to Princeton. This was the first racial discrimination I received from an individual in the United States. When I was a student, he used to call me "oriental" very often, but I did not mind because I was and still am quite proud of my oriental backround."

Happy Ending

    After being turned down by Treiman, I had to look for a different route to make my own advancement in the United States. If I was turned down by the person who was in the best position to my ideas, I was not the first one.

    Nikola Tesla was an immigrant from Serbia with an idea of using AC, instead of DC, to transmit electric power. At that time, Thomas Edison was in the best position to appreciate Tesla's idea, but he was staunchly against Tesla's idea. Tesla went to George Westinghouse to put his idea into practice. When I was writing an article about Tesla and Westinghouse, I was talking about myself.

    Indeed, I needed my Princeton background to function properly in the physics world. This is precisely the reason why I had to go to Eugene Wigner. My approach to Wigner was quite fruitful and professionally rewarding. Many people think I was Wigner's student. Here are some interesting links.

    1. Maxwell and Wigner.
    2. Last Lunch (1991)

    As for Sam Treiman, I had a happy re-union with him, as you can see in my photo with him and my son taken in 1987. Mrs. Joan Treiman and my wife are also in this photo. As you can see Sam Treiman was a very handsome man.

  • Y.S. Kim's home page.

  • Y.S. Kim's Einstein page.

  • Y.S. Kim's Princeton page.

On the other hand, the Univ. of Maryland went through a very thorough examination of my case, and my senior colleagues decided that I was right and Dashen was wrong. I received my promotion in 1967 with a unanimous faculty vote. You would agree that the Univ. of Maryland was extremely nice to me.

While this was going on my Korean colleagues were so happy to see me getting kicked out from my department. They all asked me where I was going. Those who asked this question are no longer in this world or in the physics world. Thus, it is not worth mentioning their names.

As for Princeton, Dashen stayed at the Institute for Advanced Study until 1985. He was under heavy pressure to produce something for 20 years. That is probably the reason why he went to the UC-San Diego in 1985. He died there in 1995. I have nothing personally against Dashen, and I had a very friendly meeting with him in January of 1978 while attending a conference in Florida. We talked about our mutual friends.

In 1985, after Dashen left Princeton, I started writing papers with Eugene Wigner. You would agree that Princeton also has been very nice to me, while it was not so nice to Roger Dashen. He was a relatively a young man (under 60) when he died. Many people speculate that his death is not un-related to the heavy pressure he received while at Princeton.

There are racists who are against Koreans in this world. You can easily find some Japanese, Englishmen, and Germans with this kind of inclination. You can find some racists in the United States. But, if you are honest and work hard with the ethical values you inherited from your Korean ancestors, you will surely be the winner in the United States. I emphasize again. The United States is not a racist country.

As for my advisor Sam Treiman, I placed his photo at the first place in my photo album. He was with wife and my family including my son who was in his quantum mechanics class when he was a senior at Princeton. My son has a very famous class mate. Her name is Brooke Shields. Her photos are also on the Treiman web page.


Y. S. (2001.9.16)

I have been talking about how Koreans can cope with difficulties arising from prejudices or discriminations while in the United States. My point was and still is that you have to take a positive view toward the problem while keeping the problem under control. Giving up the battle, while blaming other, is the worst way to solve the problem.

In many my earlier articles, I was talking about myself while talking about others. For this reason, I am also talking about many other people. Some of my articles are popular among Polish scientists working in Paris. Many Polish intellectuals made their names while working in Paris. You should know about Maria Sklawdowska Curie and Frederick Chopin (pronounced as Shopan). My website contains the photos of their graves in Paris. Chopin's heart (not the body) was entombed on the wall of the Church of Holy Cross near the Copernicus Square in Warsaw. The photo of this wall is also on my website along with the photo of Chopin's grave at the Pere LaChaise Cemetery in Paris.

Indeed, Curie and Chopin serve as the model for Polish intellectuals in Paris. Those younger Polish men and women say they have two motherlands. Well, they should be interested in a person with two mothers. His name was Victor Hugo. I wrote a story about him two years ago. If you read my recent series of articles, you will note that I was talking about myself while talking about Victor Hugo. Please continue reading. I may be talking about you.


Y.S.Kim (1999.11.3)

Two hundred twenty years ago, there used to be a prison called Bastille in Paris. There days, there is a square called "La Bastille" at the same location. Every year on July 14, there is an all-knight rock concert. I once participated in this exciting event.

Not far from the Bastille square, there is a museum dedicated to Victor Hugo. As you know, he was one of the greatest writers and also one of the greatest thinkers in history. In the museum, there is a big portrait of his father, and those of his grandparents on both sides. As for his mother, there is only a post-card size drawing of an obscure-looking woman.

What happened? Leopold Hugo was Napoleon's general. He was commanding French troops ready to march into German territory from Strassbourg located near the French-German border. At that time (even these perhaps), it was not unusual for a general, while away from home, to draft local girls for entertainment. As a result, a boy was born from one of those girls, but the girl gave away her son to his father and ran away. This was how Victor Hugo was born.

Victor was raised by the general's wife who presumably came from a high-class French family. If you read "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "Les Miserables" written by Hugo, you can see how much passion he had toward his biological mother who came from an underprivileged class. You can also see how inhumane his legal mother (general's wife) was to him.

Yet, without the care of his cruel legal mother and the education given by her, Victor could not have become the Victor Hugo as we know. Indeed, Frenchmen/women should also be proud of her. The Victor Hugo museum should display the portrait of his legal mother as well as that of his natural mother. Do you not agree with me? Here, I may not think like Frenchmen, but I am very proud to be able to think like my fellow Koreans.

I hear complaints from many young Koreans in the United States. They complain that Americans are too harsh to Koreans when the issue of promotion comes. Their complaints are justified, but they should think like Koreans. Victor had two mothers, and both played indispensable roles for creating one of the greatest thinkers in history.

Note added on September 16, 2001. If you were born in Korea and work in the United States, you have two motherlands like Polish scientists in Paris. In my case, I had two advisors. The real advisor was a very good teacher, and he taught me how to write English, but he was not too helpful to me for my career advancement. I had to invent another advisor. Quite frankly, I do not respect my real advisor as a physicist. Yet, I put the images of both the real and "gazza" advisor on the same webpage.


Y.S.Kim (2001.9.19)

I have added many new address to our database during the last week, and some of you may not know what I am talking about. I have been writing articles about how the United States became a big brother to Korea. Young Koreans routinely say Rhee Seungman sold his country to the United States, and they have a tendency to blame Rhee and the U.S. whenever things go wrong. You may go back to my earlier articles to read what I said about this issue.

Of course, the ideal solution to our problem is for Korea to become a strong country without foreign interference. If this is not possible, we have the following four choices: to be under the influence of China, Russia, Japan, or the the United States. In 1912, Dr. Rhee chose the United States. Do you think he made a mistake?

In December of 1946, Rhee went to Washington and came back to Seoul in March of 1947. He went there to sell the country to the U.S., but nobody was interested in seeing this salesman. Yet, he was able to see the intention of the Truman administration, with George Marshall as the secretary of state, to present the Korean question at the general assembly of the United Nations to be held in September of 1947.

In Janaury of 148, the UN sent a ten-man commission to Seoul to administer a general election covering the entire country (South and North combined). The chairman of this commission was an Indian diplomat named Krishna Menon. Was Korea then ready to welcome those strange people? The reaction from the North was an immediate Nyet! How about the South. The answer was YES in May of 1948, but the answer was definitely NO in March of 1947 when Rhee returned to Korea.

At that time, Korea was under the military government led by Lt.Gen. John R. Hodge. He was rigorously enforcing the tri-party Moscow agreement (Shintak Tongchi) based on Joseph Stalin's democracy. Stalin knew only one kind of democracy: totalitarian directorship under his iron fists. Hodge did not know the difference between Stalin's democracy and the democracy he was used to in his country. He used to arrest those Koreans who tore down communist wall posters. You cannot blame Hodge too much because because the United States did not have any policy for Korea.

Hodge was scheduling the second meeting of the US-USSR commission in May of 1947. Hodge's Stalin plan provided a heaven for the communists in the South. As I said in my earlier articles, they were bold enough to use Japanese infantry rifles to shoot at anti-communist demonstrators on March 1 (1947). Those communists had their headquarters near the Namdaemoon Gate, with a high-rise antenna for short-wave communication with their colleagues in the North. Those communists also were running an effective propaganda machine to influence the public opinion. When Rhee went to the United States, most of the people in Seoul said Rhee Seungman ran away to the U.S.

In 1947, the South was not ready to welcome the UN commission. It was Dr. Rhee who changed the environment in the South. How did he do it? I will talk about this next time.


Y.S.Kim (2001.9.27)

Lt.Gen. John R. Hodge was a very able military man. Before coming to Korea in September of 1945, he was the commander of the 24th Corps of the U.S. Army stationed in Okinawa. During the period of April-June of 1945, his troops were engaged in wiping out the Japanese resistance in the island with flame throwers. A very tough combat assignment indeed! He did very well there. He was also known as a brilliant man in logistics.

When he was ordered to lead his troops to the Korean peninsula in late August, he did not know anything about Korea. He thought Korea was a province of Japan and issued a stern statement toward Koreans saying that Korea was under the occupation of his troops. He brought with him two infantry divisions of the 24th Corps, namely the 6th and 7th Divisions of the U.S. Army. Those army people were fighting men without skill of any other kinds.

Since Hodge was a skillful in logistics, he managed well in feeding Koreans. He also did a very good job in providing protection to Japanese being sent back to Japan. From the American point of view, he was an exemplary governor of Korea. However, Hodge, like all Americans, did not know Korea at that time was quite different from the United States (still quite different). Hodge provided also an excellent protection to Korean communists by rigorously following Stalin's prescription for democracy. He convened two joint US-USSR commission meetings in Seoul. The first meeting was held in March of 1946, and produced an agreement on mail exchange between the South and the North. This was in effect the division of the country. How can you have a exchange program within the same country.

The second meeting was held in May of 1947. At that time, the United States was making preparations to present the Korean problem to the United Nations, but Hodge did not receive any specific instructions from Washington. He went ahead with the second joint meeting, but this meeting produced nothing. Hodge then became completely lost. Seoul's political climate became totally chaotic. Hodge then had to resort to his last card: to use military force. He mobilized his troops to show that he was still in charge.

At that time, the U.S.Army had three different kinds of automobiles. One was of course the jeep, and the second was a large ten-wheel truck called GMC. The third type was called the "three-quarter truck." I never figured out the meaning of the word three-quarter, but it is a large jeep and a small truck, perhaps of the size of humbees. It can carry ten soldiers and a heavy machine gun. Hodge mobilized those three-quarter trucks with loaded machine guns and the soldiers with bayoneted rifles to show that he was a powerful man. By doing this, Hodge was telling he was politically bankrupt. Koreans indeed needed a new leader and a Korean leader.

The next person to emerge from this mess was of course Rhee Seungman.


The failure of the second meeting of the joint US-USSR commission left the United States without any formula for Korea. The meeting failed in May of 1947, and the United States presented the Korean case to the United Nations in September of 1947. Thus, the situation was completely chaotic during the four-month period between May and September. Koreans were not even able to celebrate the 8.15 liberation day in 1947.

Koreans in general did not like communists, but they were the only ones who had an organized political power. John R. Hodge provided a very comfortable incubation period for them. Threatened by the communists, Hodge had to show his military power. As I said in my previous article, armed U.S. troops were patrolling on their "three-quarter" trucks [I thank those readers who explained to me what this word means. The vehicle can carry the maximum load of 0.75 tons]. He had to suppress those communists who became big boys while he was in charge. He was indeed a idiotic politician.

Without the U.S. troops, Korea (south) was ready for the communists to take over. Of course, Joseph Stalin was the first one to notice this. He observed that the only obstacle to his annexation of the Korean peninsula is the presence of the U.S. troops in the South [Stalin did not want fight the U.S., even at the 6.25 war]. He then came up with the following "solution" to the Korean problem.

Stalin announced his plan to withdraw Soviet troops from the North, and those Roskei soldiers left North Korea by the end of 1947. Stalin then asked the United States to do the same. His political slogan was very simple. Koreans should choose their own form of government without foreign troops. Korean were not impressed. Soviet troops can cross the riven and can cross back. The Soviet withdrawal does not constitute a withdrawal.

Yet, his slogan had an appeal to many Korean nationalists. North Korean authorities still use this card whenever they are hard-pressed. I sometimes have endless arguments with my younger friends on this slogan. There are also respectable American scholars who openly advocate this formula. Our young men try to impress me by telling me how big those Americans are while I am only a Korean. I then tell them I was in Korea at that time and saw the situation with my own eyes. Then, my younger friends tell me that they were not born at that time and did not see what I saw. Therefore they cannot agree with me.

Here again, Koreans were caught between Stalin's democracy and American imperialism. The choice was very clear to me because I witnessed how Soviets were practicing democracy in the North, but it was a tough issue to those who did not know the difference between the Soviet and U.S. systems. The only solution was which political group has the strongest muscle power.

By the end of 1947, Rhee Seungman gains enough muscle power, even gun power, to rout out the communist organization in the South. How did he do it?


Y.S.Kim (2001.10.10)

Today, I had an occasion to talk with one of my old American friends, and I talked to him about John R. Hodge. Because he was not a politician, he followed exactly what is written in the book. He was a great believer of freedom and liberty for all. As a consequence, communists became strong enough to take over the country. My friend told me that I should publish an article on this because Americans will soon debate about their own system. The issue is that the American system allows terrorists to flourish within the territory of the United States. He told me that there was a big debate on this issue 200 years ago, and that Americans will debate again in coming years.

By the end of May 1947, Hodge's American-style politics was over, and Koreans started doing a Korean-style politics. Rhee Seungman was a highly educated man. Thus, unlike Korea's recent presidents, he did not have inferiority complex toward educated Koreans. He did not have to rely on regionalism. He was born in Hwang-Hae Province, but I am not aware of Rhee giving any important Gamtu to his fellow province men.

On the other hand, the Hwang-Hae people, who used to call themselves "Hwangchi," were mighty proud of the fact that both Kim Koo and Rhee Seungman came from their province. If you look at the map of Korea, the 38th parallel cuts through Hwang-Hae Province. There were many anti-communist Hwangchi refugees who came from the North, more than from other provinces. There were also Pyongchi and Hamchi refugees. Among those three groups, the Pyongchis were most vocal and formed the core of "Seobuk Chung-Nyeon Dan," which provided an organized fist power in the anti-communist campaign.

Relatively speaking, the Hwangchis were quiet while preserving their agrarian background. They were thoroughly loyal to Rhee Seungman, and many of them were ready to sacrifice themselves for Rhee's cause. On one Sunday afternoon of July, a group of those Hwangchis stormed the communist headquarters building near NamDaeMoon. It was a four-story (high-rise at that time) building with a big red flag flying at the top. From this building, the communists opened fire against the anti-communist group on March 1 of the same years. Thus, those raiders knew that the communists had guns in the building.

Those anti-communist raiders managed to climb up to the upper floors and beat up the communists. They did this so swiftly that the communists did not have time to pull out their guns. They ripped the red flag to pieces, and threw away the desks and chairs through the windows. I saw with my own eyes those furniture pieces falling down. Many people watching the scene cheered. This is the beginning of the Korean-style politics in Korea. Exciting!!

As I said before, John R. Hodge (U.S. military governor) used to arrest those Koreans who tore down communist wall posters before May of 1947, but completely lost control of the situation by July. Hodge was not able to arrest those violent Hwangchis. Two months later, an armed unit of Korean police raided another communist center at Chungmu-ro. The center was called the "World Peace Conference" which served as the Korean branch of an international communist organization.

Lt.Gen. Hodge was still the boss of the Korean police armed with US-made carbines and US-made jeeps and "three-quarter" trucks. They used to protect communists against those unruly 38 refugees. What made them to change so swiftly?


Y.S.Kim (2001.10.15)

In 1947, the communists were the only ones with a nationwide organization, thanks to Hodge's Jeffersonian politics. In my previous article, I started talking about the emergence of anti-communist groups. The most prominent anti-communists were the 38 refugees who came to the South after witnessing atrocities committed by Roskei soldiers. Between American imperialism and Stalin's democracy, their choice was very clear.

However, those refugees did not have much base in the South. They were always talking about their hometowns in the North. Their goal was to take arms and push out those Soviet troops from Korea. They also knew that they needed an American assistance in dealing with the Soviets. My family also came from the North, but we had some base in the South and an American connection. For this reason, those young 38 refugees used to come to my house and talk about things, mostly about when and how they could go home.

One day, they were talking about a strange subject. In order construct a nation, one needs a strong police force. They mentioned about five examples. I forgot them all except one. They said Hitler used Germany's police organization effectively to grab the political power. They were not sophisticated enough to invent this theory. They definitely heard this from someone higher up in the police organization. This is not the kind of thing Americans would preach. Then, did they hear this from Korean communists in the police organization? If No, this idea must have come from Rhee Seungman. Then how?

At that time, the Korean police organization was controlled by two prominent Korean politicians, namely Cho Byung-Ok (he used to spell his last name as Chaugh) and Chang Taek-Sang who headed the National Police and the Capital Police Bureau respectively. Their boss was of course the commander of John R. Hodge who was the commander of the U.S. Forces in Korea. They were Yes men to Hodge, but they had a clear political ideology. Sooner or later, Dr. Rhee was going to become the president, and Hodge would go back to his country. They were thoroughly loyal to Rhee Seungman.

Yes, they arrested many anti-communists in order to accommodate their American boss. In reality, however, they did this as a window-dressing measure. They also did this with Dr. Rhee's approval. Rhee's point was that Hodge would go home and there was no reason to upset Americans by openly arguing about minor issues. It was more important for them to beef up their police force with American blessing.

Our young people may then conclude that both Cho Byung-Ok and Chang Taek-Sang were pro-Japanese traitors who used to exploit Koreans before 1945. This was not the case. I know their backgrounds, and I will talk more about them later. Dr. Cho had one daughter and two sons. His younger son was my high-school class mate. His name is Cho Soon-Hyung and is now a congressman from the district where his father used to live. We did not talk too much about his father, but we were interested in international affairs. I also have a pleasant memory of his sister (Cho's daughter) bringing boxes of fruits and candies when a group of us was going through a military training. The group consisted of 20 students including Soon-Hyung and myself.

Mr. Chang was known to have one son and three daughters (I could be somewhat inaccurate in these numbers). I never met his son but heard that he was somewhat flamboyant while studying in the United States. You will not be surprised to hear that I used to know all three of his daughters. The eldest daughter was and still is married to Dr. Yukap Hahn who is now a professor emeritus at the Univ. of Connecticut. I heard that they started their retirement years in Richmond. I enjoy talking with the eldest daughter. Her political view is the same as mine. I had a telephone conversation with her about five years ago, and she told me Bruce Cummings is completely crazy. I agree with her.

Who is Bruce Cummings? He is now a professor at the University of Chicago and regarded as the leading authority on Korean affairs. He is widely respected by young Koreans. When I talk with my younger friends, Cummings is always right and I am always wrong. Here is my puzzle. Those young Koreans like to have a country without foreign influences (Cummings is against American imperialism). Here I am for them. However, how can they have an independent country if foreign scholars are always right and their country men are always wrong?

Let us change the subject to an easy topic. Two of Mr. Chang's daughters lived in Pittsburgh while I was an undergraduate student at Carnegie Tech (now called Carnegie-Mellon). One of them was quite reserved and did not talk too much to others. The other one was quite aggressive and had a tendency to be happy with everybody. She was very happy when she was talking with me. My Korean friends there told me she has some romantic feeling toward me, but I was not able to sense it at all. My recollection is that she is one year older than I am, and I like to meet her again. She was like the Russian ladies I constantly talk about.

In either case, I was a very peculiar person to Korean girls at that time. There were other Korean girls. One of them told me I am able to use my "brain" but not able to use my "heart" toward girls. I never found out whether she wanted my "heart," but I did not like her contention that her father was smarter than I am. Her father was Lee Kwang-Soo whom I often talk about in connection with Korean romance novels and a controversial document entitled "Minjok Kaejo-ron."

In either case, I am using my "brain" effectively in approaching Russian ladies, and I have been so far very successful. Today, I got the following e-mail from someone in California. I never met him, but he seems to like my webpages. This mail will indicate my degree of success in using my "brain" power in approaching things in life.

From nelson@Netware.com Sun Oct 14 21:46:48 2001
Date: Sun, 14 Oct 2001 13:38:55 -0700
From: "Nelson Metz"
To: yskim@physics.umd.edu

Dear Prof. Kim:

While surfing the net, I just happened to come to your Volga page and was astounded by the lovely photos of the Russian beauties.

Do you have more pictures to share of these pretty ladies?

You lucky guy!

Nelson (Greetings from Rancho Santa Fe, California!)


Y.S.Kim (2000.10.20)

In my last article, I mentioned Mr. Chang Taek-Sang's eldest daughter. She is four or five years older than I am, and she knows clearly what her father was doing during Korea's confused period (1945-48). Mr. Chang was the chief of the Seoul-area police force. She was pleasantly surprised to find out I have a clear memory of what was going on then, because I was only 10-13 years old. She then told me some Americans have a very dangerous view toward Korea. She mentioned Bruce Cummings, and asked me whether we can shut him up.

Also in my last article, I said Bruce Cummings is very popular among young Koreans. I do not know whether they understand what Cummings is saying, but when I talk with them, Cummings is always right and whatever I say is always wrong.

The following letter from Dr. Hahn will summarize what I said above. He is somewhat confused because he used to think Cummings is always right, but he hears a different opinion from senior Koreans. Please read the following letter. I will then come back.

Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 14:46:03 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ki Suk Hahn
To: Y.S. Kim
Subject: Bruce Cummings

Dear Prof Kim,

It is interesting that you mentioned Bruce Cummings. I live in the Chicago area and once went to a talk by him, maybe 5 years ago. The impression I got was that he was more informed about Korea than I was. I also recently heard him on the radio (NPR) talking about North Korea, and from that I gather that he is on the list of experts to be consulted when the media has a story on either of the Koreas. I also heard his name mentioned in a gathering of the Korean American Womens Association of Chicago, of which my wife is a member. I'm guessing that he is also well received by the more politically active Korean-Americans. I don't favor mixing academics with politics, and my impression is that Mr. Cummings is one who uses his academic position to espouse his anti-US-Imperialism views. The next time I listen or read his views I will keep his bias in mind.

Lastly, I'd like to recommend a Korean movie, titled "Jakarta". It's about a bank robbery, and is an example of good movies that have come out of Korea lately (like "Swiri" and "JSA".)


Ki Suk Hahn

Dr. Hahn wrote a good letter. I never met Prof. Cummings, even though his thesis advisor at Indiana University was a Korean professor named Il-Pyong Kim. He is now a professor emeritus at the Univ. of Connecticut. Prof. Kim is of course proud of Cummings and talked about him when we had a lunch together three years ago. The opinion I am giving here is my own, and Prof. Kim is not responsible for whatever I say. Even though I never met Bruce Cummings, I think I am familiar with his views, not uncommon among American intellectuals.

As Dr. Hahn says, Bruce Cummings is against American imperialism. His views are popular because Americans have not been good imperialists. As I said in my early articles, Franklin Roosevelt bought the British Empire from Winston Churchill in 1943, and set up an agency called the United Nations. Immediately after WWII, the UN worked OK for Americans, but these days, the United States is not an exemplary member of this organization. It does not pay its dues on time. While the United States is advocating human rights around the world, the UN human rights commission voted out the US recently, while Cuba is still on the commission. It is not clear at all whether the United States will regain the leadership at the United Nations.

This failure at the UN is well known among Americans including Bruce Cummings. Cummings says Americans were and still are totally blind to nationalism in Asia. For instance, the Chinese intervention in the Korean war has its base in the emerging nationalism in Asia. The United States made a blunder in Vietnam because the American war planners did not take this into account. Cummings is smart, and says many things other people cannot say.

On the other hand, he does not seem to be able take into account the fact that Koreans in 1945-50 had only two choices. One choice was Stalin's democracy and the other was American imperialism. If anyone talks about other options, he/she is taking about an imaginary world. It is not uncommon for academic people to spend their entire resources for worrying about various forms of ideal or imaginary world. How do I know? I am an academic man and a theoretical physicist. Physics is an experimental science, and physicists should construct physical theories which will explain what is happening in the real world (as I did with Russian ladies), but I surrounded by my colleagues worrying endlessly about theories which may or may not be useful one hundred years later.

Fortunately, Koreans in the South chose the American imperialism. We will all agree that Americans practiced a very sloppy imperialism in Korea. I talked about one American whose name was John R. Hodge. Do you like to hear more about not-so-beautiful shows Americans put up in Korea?

Here again, blaming Americans will not solve the problem. Recently, I mentioned the problem I had with my thesis advisor. Certainly I could not have gotten anywhere by blaming him and other Americans. I am here because I took action according to the wisdom I inherited from my Korean ancestors. Recently, I have re-documented what I said in my Phys. Rev. paper in which I proved Dashen's paper on the n-p mass difference was wrong, and placed it on my "robot" page which is visited often by physicists of the world. If you are interested in what really went on between Princeton and myself, visit http://www.physics.umd.edu/robot. click on "Dashen and Frautschi" under "BEHIND" (who is behind the robot). My friends are telling me this page is entertaining.

The point is that Koreans have been doing OK under the sloppy American imperialism, and Bruce Cummings does not have to worry about us too much. He of course should be allowed to do his research on Korea and say whatever he wants to say. Who know his theory would turn out to be right 100 years later.


Y.S.Kim (2001.10.23)

Italians take the word "hell" very seriously. Whenever I ask my Italian friends how to say "Go to Hell" in Italian, they become embarrassed. One of them was kind enough to advise me to ask taxi drivers in Rome, Milan or Naples. Those drivers know how say this, but not ordinary Italians. Driving profession has its own style and still belongs to the mail domain.

These days, almost every Korean man or woman knows how to drive, but it was not so fifty years ago. Koreans did not know how to make cars. Cabinet ministers had chauffeur-driven jeeps. How did they get the jeeps? Somewhat informally from the U.S. Army motorpools. Women were seldom on those jeeps. How about a woman driving one of those jeeps? Totally unthinkable. However, if there are 10 million Korean female drivers now, the number started from one. I am fortunate enough to know the first lady driver in Korea.

I do not know how Korean police deal with traffic violators these days. Fifty years ago, policemen used to beat up those they did not like, especially car drivers. How about women on the street? An unlucky day if you see a woman crossing the street in front of your bus or electric car. How about woman driver having an argument with another driver or a police man? Burn her up!

Thus, in order to be the first woman driver in Korea, she had to be a daughter of the president or someone that high. The father of Korea's first lady driver was Dr. Cho Byung-Ok, who was the head of the national police force during the U.S.military occupation (1945-48). Our young people constantly blame Rhee Seungman for hiring all those pro-Japanese traitors in his police organization, and they keep saying this is the source of all the evils in Korea. As I promised, I will explain how that happened in my future articles.

The story will be quite complicated. The reason is that Dr. Cho received his PhD degree from Columbia University and died in January of 1960 at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. In order to die at the Walter Reed, you have to be a big shot in a giant American. Both Douglas MacArthur and Dwight Eisenhower died there. Like Rhee, Cho was educated in the United States. Like Rhee, he was staunchly anti-communist and pro-American. However, his political base was somewhat different. This small difference was the source of all the troubles Rhee had in Korea. This is the source of all the evils in Korea, not those petty policemen who had to feed their wives and children.

Tonight, I will continue talking about his daughter and the first lady driver. As I said before, her younger brother was my classmate in high school. I said also that she brought boxes of candies and fruits while we were going through a military training in 1953. She brought those boxed in her car driven by her. Amazing!

Because she was so unique, many people wanted to ride on her jeep driven by her. The principal of my high school, named Kim Won-Kyu, was also a character, and I can tell many stories about him. I once wrote an article about him and I have a temptation to wrote more. He was skilful enough to create excuses to ride on her jeep, and we used to laugh.

In 1965, I met this first lady driver again at one of the Korean meetings in Washington. She did not remember me, but became very happy when I mentioned her younger brother. Her husband was an American but he did not come. She was with her son and daughter. It was amazing to see them. They were exact copies of their maternal grandfather. I have to confess that, until I saw them, I did not know how great Dr. Cho Byung-Ok was.


Y.S.Kim (2001.10.25)

I have been talking about how the Korean Police was initially constructed. Many people say that the Korean Police is a continuation of the infamous Japanese police. If so, we should know how this happened. The reason is that our young people seem to blame other Koreans if they cannot compete in the world. Yes, there were, are, and will be many bad Koreans. Can we solve our present problems by blaming those bad Koreans?

If the Korean police were bad, the person most responsible for this tragedy was the first chief of the National Police named Cho Byung-Ok. As I said in my previous article, one of his contributions was to provide enough background support to Korea's first female driver. What else did he do?

Dr. Cho was born in a Yangban family. He was regarded a gifted boy, and was sent to Columbia University for graduate study. While in New York, he received a financial support from Mr. Kim Sung-Soo. Who was Kim Sung-Soo? I will talk about him in my later articles. Cho was of course a good student at Columbia and was admired many Korean girls (perhaps not so many at his time). He was different from other Koreans, and he used to ask those Koreans to go with him to non-conservative shows. Occasionally, he used to drink heavily. There is a spot on the Columbia campus where Cho urinated after heavy drinking.

Of course, he had an ambition to become a leader in Korea and met Rhee Seungman several times while in the United States, and both of them continued mutual respect for many years. However, Cho decided to return to Korea in order to maintain the Yangban status of his family. His thinking was that he could still be patriotic while cooperating with Japanese. However, Japanese authorities had a different idea on those Koreans who studied in the United States.

Toward the end of the Pacific War, Japanese militarists put into jail all Koreans who had been in the United States. Those Japanese were particularly harsh on Cho even before, because they knew that Cho was going to become a pro-American politician. By August of 1945, Cho had to pawn off all his belongings including his Western-style clothes and shoes. He was completely broke.

After Americans came to Korea in September, there were many Korean groups who attempted to approach high-ranking U.S. Army officers. Of course they wanted to have a political power. One of them was Park Hun-Young who was a communist. Another person was Lyeo Woon-Hyung. Japanese authorities in Korea knew that Japan was going to lose the war and wanted to arrange a safe return of Japanese to Japan. They also knew that they needed a cooperation of influential Koreans who could arrange an administration for their safe trip back to Japan.

They contacted several influential Koreans, but they all refused. The Japanese had to settle with Lyeo Woon-Hyung. But not many Koreans knew who he was. Furthermore, he was known to have a link with Kim Doo-Bong who was the leader of Korean communists in China. Thus sensible people, including even Gen. Hodge, avoided him. Hodge was looking for pro-American Koreans who could speak English.

While this was going on, those pro-American Koreans got together to get into the political power structure. They had a meeting and were looking for a Korean who could talk impressively to those Americans. Cho Byung-Ok was at that meeting, and he was chosen to be the man who would contact the Americans.

They then asked Cho to invite those high-ranking US officials to a restaurant called Asa-Won, which was known to be the most expensive eating place in Korea at that time. Then, they had to raise the money. First, they had to arrange a tailored suit for and a pair of shoes for Cho, because he did not have any Western clothes. He looked like a beggar when he showed up at the meeting of those Koreans. They also had to raise enough money to pay the restaurant expenses.

As soon as Cho got his Western dress, he invited those high-ranking Americans, but he did not have enough money when the Americans showed up at the restaurant. Those Korean backers were barely able to come up with enough money after the eating started. During this dinner meeting, Cho was offered the position of the Chief of the National Police. American authorities needed very badly a Korean who will maintain "law and order" in Korea.

The group of Koreans who supported Cho's meeting with Americans later formed a political party known as Hanmin-Dang (Hankook Minju Dang) and invited Mr. Kim Sung-Soo to lead the party. As I said above, Kim Sung-Soo was a rich Korean who financed Cho's education in the United States. Thus, Cho's political root had to be the Hanmin-Dang.

The Hanmin-Dang people cooperated with Rhee Seungman in destroying Communist organizations, but they preferred Kim Sung-Soo over Rhee as their leader. This was the beginning of Rhee's trouble in Korea.


Y.S.Kim (2001.11.7)

Sooner or later, I have to write articles comparing Koreans with Jewish people. I wrote an article on this subject in 1978, but Korean publishers refused to publish it. Since then, I became much smarter, and I now have my own way of disseminating my own ideas. I have been talking about how Korean government was set up in the South, and I will continue my stories. Tonight, I like to be somewhat different, and I will the story of how the country named called Israel was set up.

Of course, the history of Jewish people is a rich subject and may require the rest of my life to make an original contribution. Tonight's story is just a quick fix. It is a timely subject.

Let us go back to the beginning of the 20th Century. Egypt was under the British domination. The Suez Canal was built by Britain and was under the British management until 1956 when President Abdel Gamal Nasser of Egypt nationalized it.

How about the Palestine region. This area was under the Ottoman Turkish Empire. During World War I, Britain wanted to get into Turkey from Egypt passing through the Palestine area. In so doing, the British army needed local people. Thus, those British imperialists armed Jews and Arabs in that area and invited them to fight against the Turkish army. However, those local people would not fight for nothing. The Jewish people fought in order to create their homeland. The Arabs wanted to set up their own tribal kingdoms.

In November of 1917, during the War, the Jewish people struck a deal with British authorities and created a document called the Balfour declaration. In this document, the British government promised a Jewish homeland in the Palestine area. However, the British government never took this promise seriously. For instance, in 1946, the Labor-Party government headed Clement Atlee turned back a ship named Exodus from the post of Haifa. The widely known film "Exodus" does not tell the truth. The Exodus of course was full of those Jewish people seeking a homeland after persecutions and persecutions in Europe.

As I said before, the United Nations was a continuation of the British Empire, and naturally the Jews demanded a creation of their homeland from the United Nations. In May of 1948, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the partition of Palestine to create a new country called Israel. This immediately created a war between Jews and Arabs in that region, and this war is still continuing. I can write about the history of Israel from my own memory, but tonight I will deal with our Korean problem.

Korea was similarly created by the United Nations. The UN resolution in effect led to a permanent division of the Korean peninsula. Since then, both Israel and Korea have been major beneficiaries of American imperialism. Jewish people did extremely well in building up their own country using the American influence. How about Korea? We say this and that about the U.S. imperialism, but we also did very well. Korea's intellectual community came from American universities.

The night before last night (Sunday night), I was walking along Karntner Strasse in Vienna (Austria). This is Vienna's main street without cars. It was around 10 PM. I noted a group of Koreans dancing on the street. I started talking with them. They are the employees of a cosmetics company called "Niles," and they are enjoying their company-sponsored tour. They went to Prague first, then Vienna, and Paris before going home. I then asked about their company, and they said it is a US-based company. Since they are low-ranking employees, they do not know too much about the companies future plans. However, they are aware of the plan to expand the market into China. Right, the cosmetic products are all designed for Westerners' skins. It is Korea's turn to develop the product for Asians. If successful, you know how many Chinese women live in China.

Next morning I took a trans-Atlantic AirFrance flight to come home. The airline literature is written in several different languages, and the Korean Hangul is there. The airline meal used to be served with knife and fork. In addition, to these Western instrument, the airline now gives bamboo chopsticks in trans-Atlantic flights.

We did as well as Jewish people in constructing a new country, but we look weaker. It is because there were and are so many creative and dedicated Koreans. But the trouble is that we are not able to recognize their talents. Korea's progress is made by those Koreans whose names we cannot comprehend. This is the only difference between Jews and Koreans. I hope I can get back to this problem perhaps my Rhee Seungman story is over. Do you like this new subject? If not, I will talk about something else.


Y.S.Kim (2001.11.8)

This file carries five job ads, and it is already a heavy mail. I will be very brief.

In one of my earlier mails, I started talking about a prominent Korean named Kim Sung-Soo. My approach to those famous people is to start with talking about their daughters. In the case of Kim Sung-Soo, I knew his granddaughter. I remember her as the first girl who held my hands. How did this happen?

When I was processing my Visa to USA in 1954, she was working at the Consular Section of the US Embassy. She graduated her high school two years before I did, and I assume she is two years older than I am. She typed my I-something form to be attached to my passport. She also took my finger prints. She had to hold my hands. My recollection is that she had very beautiful fingers. I was able to see her high-school ring she was wearing on one of her ten fingers.

Unlike other Korean employees working at the Embassy, she was very courteous and warm-hearted. I never found out her name was, but we used her "Mimi Kim." She was very popular among the boys who were doing paper works for the Visa. I used to be and still am informal and straight-forward toward ladies, but I had to behave like a gentle boy before her.

While I was waiting at the Foreign Ministry for my exit permit (needed at that time before passing through the airport gate), she came to the same place. She was also going to the United States. When she saw me, her face became bright. She became happy presumably because she thought she helped me, and she knew I was going to Pittsburgh. I asked her where she was going. She said "St. Louis" far from Pittsburgh. Very romantic indeed!

When I met her again in Washington in 1962, she had two children. She did not remember me, but she was very happy to hear my story about her. She was still retaining her quiet and gentle personality which she presumably inherited from her grandfather named Kim Sung-Soo.

Indeed, Kim Sung-Soo was widely respected by all Koreans. Like DJ, he came from the South-Western region. Unlike DJ, he was able to transcend regional differences. Then, was he a political figure? How did he earn this respect? If he is so influential, why didn't Rhee kill him? Rhee was very skilful in eliminating his political opponents. We will talk about these issues in my later articles.

Speaking of ladies, I have addedd a number of new photos to my website: www2.physics.umd.edu/~yskim/style.html.


Y.S.Kim (2001.11.16)

Kim Sung-Soo came from a very rich family. At his time, the only way for a Korean to become rich was to be a landowner. He owned the rice fields in the Honam region. This was his initial condition. He then used his wealth to build rice refineries in Kwangju. With the capital he accumulated from the refineries, he built a textile factory in Taegu and started mass-producing Korea's basic fabric called "Kwang-mok." He then built schools in Seoul. I will talk about his schools next time.

Rhee Seungman was of course aware of Kim's talent, and was planning to have him as the finance minister in his cabinet. Rhee was of course interested in making Korea a capitalistic country modeled after the United States. The only source of capital available was, in addition to hopeful financial aids and investment from the United States, was the agricultural capital locked in the farm lands. The question then is how to unlock the static agrarian capital and transform into dynamic industrial capital. Rhee thought Kim Sung-Soo was the best man to do this job.

Rhee's plan for transforming the agrarian capital to dynamic industrial capital was also reflected in the land reform bill authored by his first ministry of agriculture named Cho Bong-Am. Cho Bong-Am however was the first minister to resign because he was not able to provide enough rice to the citizens of Seoul.

However, Rhee's plan for Kim Sung-Soo was flatly rejected by the political group called Hanmin-dang (Hankook Minju Dang), for which Kim Sung-Soo was the figure head. The Hanmin-dang people wanted to have Kim as the prime minister and Rhee Seungman as the president with a cabinet-responsible system in which the prime minister has the real power. Why did the Hanmin-dang want to place Kim Sung-Soo to the most powerful position? The answer is very simple. Kim was a gentleman and scholar, but was not a political animal. In that way, Hanmin-dang people wanted to control the government. Hanmin-dang's plan was quite consistent with the Korean character. Koreans usually like to have an incompetent person as the head of the organization. This is the reason why there are so many {gamtu-yes;work-no} people in Korea and among Koreans abroad.

Then, what was the Hanmin-dang? Koreans gained political freedom after Japanese left. As I said before, the major beneficiary was the Korean communist party. Naturally, there were also many Koreans who became pro-American and wanted to participate in the forthcoming pro-American government. Those Koreans were relatively rich and educated. This group covered a wide spectrum of pre-1945 political affiliations. Cho Byung-Ok, who organized the Korean police, was regarded as pro-American and was treated very badly by Japanese. Kim Sung-Soo, even though widely regarded as a patriot, had to offer his cooperation to Japanese in order to have his business going. These people formed the party called Hanmin-dang. This party was regarded as a party of gentle Koreans, compared with those noisy communists.

However, was Hanmin-dang capable of governing the country against a strong organized threat from the communists from the North and within the South. My answer is No. After the 4.19 student revolution in 1960, these Hanmin-dang people gained the control in the National Assembly in September of 1960 with a constitution they wanted. After putting up a series of ugly shows, they were ousted by Park Chung-Hee in May of 1961.


Y.S.Kim (2001.11.19)

Korea University is one of the major universities in Korea. Do you know how this university started? It started as a Posusng School by a water vendor from a village called Buk-Chung in Hamkyung Province. Before 1920, Seoul did not have running water, and citizens had to buy water from water vendors. Did you know that one cubic meter of water weighs one ton. You really had to be physically strong to be a water vendor. However, water vendors did their job because they did not have money. Then how the above-mentioned water vendor get enough money to build a school?

As you know King Kojong had a very strong wife called Minbee. During the military revolt called "Imo Goon-ran," she had to run away from Seoul and hide at a town called "Jang-ho-won." During this hideaway period, Minbee needed a secret messenger who could carry messages to and from her supporters in Seoul. The person who carried out this job was one of those water vendors. I forgot his name, but he was strong enough to make one round trip a day between Seoul and Jang-ho-won. I know how difficult it was because I walked from Seoul to Suwon on June 29 (1950), and you should know why I had to walk on that day.

After Minbee regained the power, she asked him how much money she should pay him. The water vendor asked her enough money to build a college. This is how the Posung School started. In the early 1930s, Kim Sung-Soo took over the school and named it Posung Professional School. He built two stone-structured buildings. One was the main hall, and the other was the library. The library building was bigger than the main hall, and people complained to him. Kim Sung-Soo's reply was that he did not want to be blamed by future generations.

Indeed, Kim Sung-Soo had a foresight. He made a diligent efforts to find talented Koreans who would become Korea's future leaders. Among those supported bu kim, we should mention two extremely talented Koreans. One of them was Cho Byung-Ok, and I already talked about him. The other person was Chang Duk-Soo. Kim supported both of them while they were studying at Columbia University. Chang also got a PhD degree from Columbia, and I will talk more about him in later articles.

Because they studied in the United States, both Chang and Cho knew how effectively Rhee Seungman staged his independence campaign while in the U.S. They had a great respect for Rhee. At the same time, they had to stay with the group of Koreans who provided supports for them. In other words, they served as the bridge between Rhee and the Hanmin-Dang. Chang Duk-Soo was carrying out another important mission for Rhee: to communicate with Kim Koo and his political party called Handok-Dang (Hankook Dokrip Dang). I will talk also about him later. Perhaps, I will start the story with the two famous Korean ladies who admired Chang.

Tonight, I would like to address the question of how those pro-Japanese were hired into Korean police. As I said before, Cho Byung-Ok was responsible for organizing the Korean National Police, and should get the blame for hiring many people who worked for Japanese before 1945. Cho was thoroughly persecuted by Japanese authorities because his American background. He had absolutely no love for Japanese and those Koreans who collaborated with Japanese. Then how did it happen?

Yes, there were many Koreans who worked as public officials under the Japanese rule. They were lawyers, teachers, rail-road engineers, and policemen. Yes, Japanese wanted to punish Cho Byung-Ok and other Koreans with American background. However, those Koreans working for Japanese police protected Cho from the harsher punishment.

My uncle was not a politician but an education man. He was also a target of Japanese persecution. However, the persecution became less severe thanks to the intervention by Gen. Kim Seok-Won, who was a colonel of Japanese army and was influential figure among both Koreans and Japanese. Perhaps young people do not know who Kim Seok-Won was. He was a symbol of pro-Japanese Koreans, but he was also highly respected as a patriot. As a congress man, he used to give kihap to the army chief of staff who came to testify in the National Assembly. He used to call himself a pro-Japanese patriot.

He used to call Kim Hong-Ryang a fellow pro-Japanese patriot. Who was Kim Hong-Ryang? Korea has two agricultural areas. One is the Honam region, and the other is Hwang-Hae Province. While Kim Sung-Soo was an agricultural mogul from the Honam region, Kim Hong-Ryang was a mogul from Hwang-Hae Province. He cooperated with Japanese in order to keep his lands, but he paid large sums of money to Korean students who studied in Japan. Kim Sung-Soo's textile factory produced uniforms and underwear for Japanese army. They are all pro-Japanese. Are they traitors or patriots? My answer to this question is very clear. They are most certainly patriots. Indeed, there were overwhelmingly more pro-Japanese patriots and traitors. We do not know about them or what they did because Koreans never talk about good Koreans.

This is precisely the reason why Cho Byung-Ok was quite tolerant to those who worked for Japanese before 1945. He invented the words "pro-job" and "pro-jap." He insisted that pro-job Koreans were decent Koreans. This is the reason why there were so many people in Korean police who worked as police officers under the Japanese rule. When Koreans fail in their research projects in the United States, they blame thos pro-Japanese traitors. Sorry, I am not able to understand their logic.


Y.S.Kim (2001.11.26)

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Y.S.Kim (2001.11.30)

Kim Sung-Soo was Korea's first industrial capitalist and spent some of his money for Korea's higher education. As I said before, he sent Cho Byoung-Ok and Chang Duk-Soo to Columbia University for their doctoral degrees.

There were also other Korean students in the United States. Most of them were supported by the Christian missionaries. My uncle was one of them. When Americans set up schools in Korea, they also set up a college for women. This is known today as Ewha Womans University. The Korean way of spelling "women's" is "womans," and we still insist on this Korean way. Through this university, those Christian missionaries were able to find some exceptionally talented Korean women. We can mention Kim Hwan-Ran and Park Eun-Hye. Their English nicknames were Helen Kim and Grace Park respectively. Since I am writing this article in English, I will use their English names.

As most of you know, Helen Kim became the seventh and the first Korean president of Ewha Woman's University. Grace Park became the principal of Kyonggi Girls High School after 1945.

Both Helen and Grace went to Columbia in the 1930s. Helen studied sociology there and got a PhD degree. Grace studied at Columbia Teacher's College and got a master degree in education. Very impressive!

While they were at Columbia, both of them became interested in a Korean student named Chang Duk-Soo who was studying at the same university. There are many different stories about how much passion each lady had toward Chang. However, one thing is true. They both had a great respect for him. Chang eventually married Grace, and Helen was never married. There are of course many different theories about why Chang chose Grace instead of Helen. Tonight, I will present my theory. If you had a chance to visit my website, you would agree that I am qualified to present a theory of mine.

Helen carried out one of the most important tasks in Korea's modern history. She convinced Koreans that women can also have higher education. I know how difficult her job was. Even though I am a professor in charge of teaching often more girls than boys in class rooms, I still could not completely get rid of the old Korean view: college girls are not to be taken too seriously. Dr. Helen Kim knew how to handle Korean men, and this is the reason why she was able to fight off prejudices against women in Korea. She was also a warm- hearted lady. I once had an occasion to talk with her in 1961. She was indeed a warm-hearted persuasive lady.

On the other hand, Grace Park was very anti-social and close-minded. She was very pretty, but she appeared to be a very cold-hearted. It is often said the graduates of Kyonggi Girl's School are like Grace Park, and there is a theory that students copy their personality from their high school principal. In my case, it seems to be true. Whenever people accuse me, they say I copied all the bad habits from my high school principal whose name was Kim Won-Kyu.

Then why did Chang Duk-Soo choose this cold-hearted lady instead of warm-hearted Helen? Here is my theory. Those cold-hearted ladies usually give their affection only to their husbands and children. Grace Park indeed was a thoroughly devoted wife and mother. This theory seems to work among my family members, including myself. My wife did not go to Grace Park's school, and this is the reason why she is worse than Grace. Everybody runs away from my wife, but she has been thoroughly loyal to me ever since I met her after entering SNU in 1954. This is the reason why I can still go out with any lady I choose. She is also thoroughly devoted to her son.

Here is my advice to unmarried Korean boys. Look for cold-hearted girls!

Chang Duk-Soo was fortunate enough to be admired by two most distinguished Korean ladies of his time. What else did he have? What mission was he trying to accomplish? Because he studied in the United States, he was in a position to talk sensibly with Rhee Seungman, and he did. Because he was supported by Kim Sung-Soo, he was affiliated with Hanmin Dang. He was assassinated in January (or February) of 1947, and did not have much chance to contribute to toward the formation of the Korean government. Then why do we still talk about him?


Y.S.Kim (2001.12.5)

I can talk about many different things, including electronic engineering, Christianity, music, and perhaps politics. However, I am most most fluent when I talk about ladies. I promised to talk about a politician named Chang Duk-Soo, but let us postpone. Tonight, I will follow-up my story about Korea's education for women.

  1. On my webpage containing ladies of all different countries: http://www2.physics.umd.edu/~yskim/style.html, I have an image of a kind-looking Ehwa graduate. You are invited to her photo.
  2. I mentioned earlier that my professional goal is to steal Einstein's "jokbo" from Princeton and convince the world that I did it. I now reached to a stage to construct my own Princeton page: http://www2.physics.umd.edu/~yskim/princeton.html. This page could be very attractive to those who were educated by Grace Park's Kyonggi Girls' High School. Grace's style is quite out-dated, but there are still many who entertain themselves by seeking exclusiveness. I am very popular among those ladies because they want to send their children to Princeton.
  3. In my recent articles, I mentioned my uncle frequently as one of those who studied in the United States. He was a very stubborn fascist, and was totally male chauvinistic. I would like to attach my old article on him. There I explain how much he contributed toward the elevation of women's position in Korea.

Please continue reading for your entertainment.


Y.S.Kim (1995.9.7)

I spent three days last week at Evanston (near Chicago) for physics business, and I was fortunate enough to meet several Korean students studying at Northwestern University. One of them gave me as a gift a large coffee cup carrying the emblem of NWU. It is my great pleasure to thank him publicly for his kindness. If you come to my office, I will proudly show you the NWU cup.

On my desk, there is a gift I received from another Northwestern man, and it is a pocket-size copy of the Bible he used to carry until 1961. He went to Northwestern University in 1930 and worked day and night to complete his PhD degree in 1933. He came back to Korea to join the faculty of Severance Union Medical College, and devoted his entire life to Korea's medical education until he died in 1982. I knew him very well because he was my uncle.

Perhaps I can introduce him to you in this way. Yonsei University was called Yonhee until 1958. My uncle started the movement to combine Yonhee and Severance into a single university system as soon as he returned to Korea from Evanston in 1933, but his idea was stone-walled by Japanese authorities. The name change from Yonhee to Yonsei was by no means a trivial task, and my uncle was definitely the prime mover.

Like most of the educators of his age, he was thoroughly male chauvinistic. To make things worse, he used to use very crude words such as "yo-nyun" to young ladies, and the female students of Yonsei or Severance used to stay away from him as much as possible. Yet, my uncle was responsible for another name change. Until 1960, Korean nurses were called KAN-HO-BOO, but they are now called KAN-HO-SA. BOO means a woman (without skill), SA means a college graduate, and there is a big difference.

In 1952, my uncle initiated the "motion" to create a system of nursing college. This was a totally crazy and unacceptable idea at that time, but he was able to install the College of Nursing in the Severance College/Hospital complex simply because he had a dictatorial power there. Now the College of Nursing is a highly respected college at Yonsei University.

You would agree that the transition from BOO to SA was an important step in improving women's right, and nurses in modern hospitals definitely deserve the SA status. One year ago, I watched a Japanese TV program dealing with working conditions for nurses in Japan, and I talked with one of my Japanese friends today about Japanese nurses. They still receive a two-year vocational training (without college degree), and they are still called KAN-GO-FU (KAN-HOO-BOO in Korea). My uncle, a Northwestern man, did his job right in our getting ahead of Japan.

Let us now look at Korean women in physics. Compared with Japan, we have many excellent US-educated lady physicists, and they are doing very well. Prof. Yoon Jinhee (from Purdue) recently joined the faculty of Inha Univ. Prof. Chang Sookyung is one of the most active faculty members at Yonsei. Prof. Won Hekyung of Hallym Univ. is making frequent trips to Japan for research cooperation with Japanese physicists. Prof. Kim Jae-Eun is one of the senior faculty members at KAIST, together with Prof. Park Hae Yong who is her husband. Last year, they sent me a picture book of Kokuryo remains, and I am very happy to say that they are extremely nice people as well as diligent workers.

Yet, it is true that male chauvinism is still very strong in Korea and this scares our young lady physicists. My advice to them is very simple. Korean women are now strong enough to solve their own problems. They do not have to rely on male chauvinistic monsters like my uncle (or even myself; I used to scare girls) to solve the problems for them. Lady Park Soon-Cheon was Korea's first congresswoman, and she pushed through the legislative procedure to add the double-penalty provision to our old criminal code (whose first edition was written by Itoh Hiro-umi - Yideung Bak-moon - the most hated person in Korea). The double penalty means that both man and woman (not woman alone) should receive punishment for adultery.

Two hundred years ago, Korean women were even stronger. The book entitled "Chun-ju Sil-Eui" was written in Chinese by an Italian priest named Mateo Ricci. As you know, Koreans made the first contact with Western ideology through this book, and the book was thoroughly forbidden until 1864. It was Lady Kwon Yuhandang who translated this book into Un-moon during the Chung-Jo period (toward the end of the 18th century). Her father-in-law was the highest government security officer in charge of arresting and executing Christians. I have a suspicion that he knew what his daughter- in-law was doing and gave her the protection she needed. In either case, you would agree that Lady Kwon was a very courageous woman, perhaps as courageous as Maria Sklawdowska Curie of Poland.

I will be in Poland next week. In spite of my keen interest in Poland, it will be my first visit there, and I am looking forward to learning more about that country. Not many of you know that Poland had been divided into three different colonies for 125 years until 1919 when it became a unified country again according to Wilson's declaration of the Fourteen Points. I became interested in Poland after reading a short story by Marek Flako (Polish writer) published in the Sasang-ge magazine in 1958. Flasko was stylishly indicting the communist regime in Poland, but his story tells also that dictators, whether they are communist or capitalist, are all bad. This article was quite acceptable to the Korean censorship at that time because it was thought to be an anti-communistic article. Korean authorities were not smart enough to know that it was hostile also to them.

Politics is not my business, but I used Flasko's skill to print some of my articles in the Physical Review D in the 1970s containing the claims which are very offensive to the particle physics establishment. These days, my main business is to explain what I really wanted to say in those articles. Many of you have seen squeezed-state posters containing a circle-and-ellipse logo. This logo is from one of those papers. I made my trip to Evanston last week because Prof. Horace Yuen of NWU wanted to understand my 1970s articles written in Flasko's (Polish) style.


Y.S.Kim (2001.12.6)

The above title contains two names of two different persons. But to Koreans from 1954 to 1948, these two names constituted one word. Both were national heros and both were called the fathers of the nation. In June of 1946, there was a meeting of prominent Koreans where Kim Koo conceded the No. 1 position to Rhee Seungman. He did so for the sake of national unity. At that time, Rhee was regarded as the person who had an absolute support from the United States.

Later, it became known that Rhee was not favored by Americans, and Koreans were getting suspicious of the U.S. intentions in Korea. Koreans were indeed confused because the United States did not have any policy, except the agreement it had with Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union. Thus, it is natural for Korean nationalists to form a political organization aimed at the independence without foreign intervention. The party's name was "Hankook Dokrip Dang" or Handok-Dang, and their choice for the No. 1 man was Kim Koo.

While that was going on, Rhee's attention was toward Washington. He went there in December of 1946 and came back in March of 1947. Those professional politicians knew that Rhee was not a welcome salesman (Rhee went there to sell his country to the U.S.) to Americans. What they did not know was that the U.S. policy toward Korea was at its incubation period, and Rhee knew it. But, to Kim Koo and his supporters, Rhee appeared finished.

As you know, I was interrupted by lady talks while I was going to talk about a politician named Chang Duk-Soo. Like Rhee, he knew what was going to come, and he stayed with Rhee. As I said before those Koreans who came from Hwanghae Province had a special pride in Kim Koo and Rhee Seungman, because both of them came from their province. Chang Duk-Soo also came from the same province. Those Hwanghae people used to call themselves "Hwangchi." Indeed, Kim, Rhee and Chang, all three of them, were Hwangchis. How do I know this? The answer is very simple. I was and still am a Hwangchi.

Korean knew that Kim and Rhee are getting separated, but those stubborn Hwangchis were determined to keep "Kim Koo Rhee Seungman" as one person. While Rhee was in Washington, Chang was in charge of Rhee's affairs in Korea. His full-time job was to keep Kim Koo on Rhee's side.

Everyday in the morning, he went to Rhee's residence called "Ewha Jang" near Dong-dae-moon, and he spent every afternoon with Kim Koo at Kim's residence called "Kyongkyo Jang" near Kyunghee Palace. He felt at home at both places because Kim and Rhee were both Hwangchis like him. He was telling Kim Koo that Rhee would eventually prevail, and he should accommodate Rhee by accepting the No. 2 positions in the Korean government-to-be.

In one evening of January or February of 1947 (my memory is not sharp enough here), a visitor was knocking the door at Chang's residence. He went out and opened the door. The visitor gunned him down and he became dead. Then who sent this assassin? Who was the true killer of Chang Duk-Soo? The U.S. military government of course did a thorough investigation and decided that Kim Koo was behind this assassination plot.

Kim Koo was summoned by the court, but he ignored the court order. The U.S. military authorities then arranged an invitation letter from Harry Truman (the president of the United States) to Kim Koo and to clarify the matter. Kim Koo did, but his highly emotional testimony really convinced the U.S. authorities that he was the person behind the plot. However, by prosecuting Kim Koo, the military government had to face a massive anti-American riot. They decided not to do it.

Needless to say, the assassination of Chang Duk-Soo was one of the two mistakes Kim Koo made which eventually led to his own death on June 26, 1949. What was the other mistake he made? Do you like to hear more about him?

KOREAN STUDENTS IN U.S.A. Y.S.Kim (2001.12.7)

Today, I talked with several Korean students in the United States, and asked them what their Christmas plans are. They said they will have parties among their Korean friends. I asked them whether they plans to attend the parties with American friends. They were not able to sense this word (this word does not have any meaning to them). I of course have been aware of this problem for sometime and wrote the following article nine years ago. I have to recirculate it tonight.


Y.S.Kim (1992.11.15)

American professors give the following grades to Korean graduate students in their physics departments.

Class room performance A (plus)
Diligence A (plus)
PhD dissertation research A
Ability to work with others A
Post-doctoral research A
Ability to communicate with others C
Getting involved in student activities C
Attendance record at departmental Christmas parties F

Let us discuss the F grade for the Christmas party. Throughout the United States, every organization holds its own Christmas party during the month of December, and your Department cannot not be an exception. This is also an international event because there are many foreign students, but Korean students never show up at this important meeting. What does this party have to do with us? This F grade affects us very negatively. There are many American-educated PhDs in the world. India has more US-educated PhDs than Korea has. However, Korea has more than the entire Europe has, and more than China and Japan combined. However, Korea seldom hosts international conferences in physics. The reason is very simple. Korean graduate students do not pick up the art of confronting the people of the world while in the United States. Furthermore, American physicists have a very negative view toward holding scientific meetings in Korea, simply because they do not see Korean faces at their annual Christmas parties. We can correct this problem very easily. Simply go to the party. Bring with you Korean dishes. Americans love Korean food. Koreans are great party makers. The annual Christmas party is an excellent opportunity for us to take an initiative in this important international event.

-- Note added

In my previous mail, I circulated a grade report for Korean students in the United States. There I stated that everything is OK except the attendance rate for annual Christmas parties at their departments. Since then, I received a mail from one of the readers in which he modified some of the grades. Self criticism is always helpful, and I am circulating the modified grade table.

Dear Prof. Kim,

In my 7-year observation in three physics departments in the States, the grade should change like:

I had acted the same way in your description at the beginning of my graduate years. But, all of a sudden, I realized the point. Since then, I have participated in student activities and departmental Christmas parties very actively. I wish others will also learn the same point someday if they have not already done it. Tomorrow will be our departmental holiday party. Yes, I'm going. From a Korean graduate student in USA (2001.12.7) It appears that Korean students can elevate themselves easily in the United States if they attend the Departmental Christmas party every year. It is not too easy. The following article will explain why.



Y.S.Kim (1998.10.13)

When I was in Rome (Italy) last January, I was able to spot a number of Korean restaurants, but most of them were closed. One block behind Via Nazionale, which is one of Rome's main shopping streets, there was a restaurant called Arirang, and I went in. It was a dinner time but the restaurant was empty. I asked the owner why most of the Korean places are closed. He said most of them are for Korean tourists who spend lavishly. They are not coming because of the IMF crisis.

Because I was the only customer, the owner was able to talk with me on various Korean affairs. He was curious what Gamtu I was wearing within the Korean community. I told him that there is an organization called "Worldwide Association of Korean Physicists," and I am the "life-time" president of this organization. He asked me how I can cover the entire world. I told him I can do this by maintainig a global computer communication system, and I said further that communication is much stronger than Gamtu. He appeared to understand, but the word "life-time" sounded very strange to him. Even though he knows that there should be a single individual totally dedicated to the organization if it is to survive, it was not clear to him whether I am qualified to be the life-time president.

The restaurant owner decided to test me. He asked me again whether my business is physics. He then asked me whether I know his younger brother whose name is "Kwon Hyok Jon." I told him I met Dr. Kwon in 1992 while he was a graduate student at Brown University. He then went back to Korea presumably to fulfil his military duty. I said further that he came again to the U.S. and is now doing his post-doctoral research at the Univ. of Florida. He was impressed and told me I am indeed the life-time president. I promised to him to tell Dr. Kwon that I met his elder brother in Rome, and I am doing this now. Dr. Kwon must be reading this mail.

While we were talking about other issues, a group of Koreans came into the restaurant. This group consists of thirty Korean high school seniors and three teachers. I sat with those teachers and asked them what are those youngsters. Those students were selected from a TV quiz program and the sponsor is providing a world tour for them. To me, those students appeared to be neater and smarter than the Japanese students I often see in European cities. I went to the table for students and asked a few questions.

I asked whether there was a student from Paichai High School. One of the boys raised his hand. I asked him whether his school anthem is the same as the old one. He said YES. I asked him who the most distinguished Paichai graduate was. He said "Woonam Yi Seungman." I was very happy. The students then asked me whether I am a Paichai graduate. I said Yes and No. I then noticed a girl looking like a college student. I asked her which high school she was attending. She said Kyonggi. I then said I know many Kyonggi graduates but I do not know when Kyonggi started admitting girls. She laughed and said there is another Kyonggi only for girls. I then said I remember her school and its school uniform. I asked whether the girls at her school still wear uniforms. She said the uniforms were once abolished but they came back, and she has to wear it when she goes back to Korea. I asked her whether she had to wear a belt around her waist. She said the old-timers did but not anymore. In this way, I continued silly talks with those high-school students, but not without purpose.

I noted that those students were there because they are the best academic competitors in Korea. I was naturally interested in whether they have a desire to compete with their American counterparts. None! Their position was that Koreans should compete with Korean and Americans should compete with Americans. We often say that North Korea is the most isolated country in the world. From the intellectual point of view, the isolationism in the South is not really different from that of the North. In the case of the North, we can blame their politicians. Whom can we blame for the South?

My only consolation is that the Korean athletes do well in world-wide competitions. Perhaps, if we learn the ideology from our athletes, we might do all right.


Y.S.Kim (2001.12.27)

In my previous mail, I started writing about the eventual conflict between Kim Koo and Rhee Seungman. Kim Koo died on June 26, 1949. Koreans did not want to see these two national fathers get into a conflict, but one had to win and the other had to lose.

Since 1992, I wrote many articles, some dealing with competitions in scientific research. In two of those cases, I said that the losers had to die. I said also that I was involved in one of those two cases. Remember this, you may have to die if you lose in competition in research. Then, it is easy to understand why the loser must die or face a similar fate. Before asking who killed Kim Koo, we should ask why he lost in politics? I will also talk about who the principal figure was in the assassination of Kim Koo. I will return to these complicated issues next time.

As far as my own competition is concerned, I am very proud to tell you that I was able to survive against the dirtiest tricks far beyond the imagination of civilized people, only because I was able to use the wisdom I inherited from my Korean ancestors. Tonight, I would like to present one concrete example.

Koreans do well under harsh rules, sometimes by foreign powers, but most often by their own tyrants. Let us look at our fictional story entitled "Choon-Hyang Jun." This is a romance story which everybody enjoys. On the other hand, the purpose of this story is to indict an unethical local tyrant.

I have been using this double-headed approach in most of my major publications in the past. These days, my websites are double-headed. You are invited to visit


to entertain yourself first. This site contains images of many famous people and nice-looking ladies. You may be interested in the page entitled "P-rade" which describes the exclusive life-style of Princeton graduates. However, if you are careful, you will note that the contents of some of the pages are not friendly to everybody in the world. This Korean way of presenting things has so far been my most powerful weapon in scientific competition.

Henryk Sienkiewicz of Poland used a similar trick in his Nobel-winning Novel called "Quo Vadis" which indicts Russian rulers in Poland while talking about the early days of Christianity in Rome under Nero. Poland was divided into three colonies under Russia, Prussia, and Austria for 125 years until the end of World War I. I did some research on Poland in order to have a better understanding of ourselves. Like us, they do well under repressive regimes. Our Choon-Hyang Jun is equivalent to Poland's Quo Vadis.

Because my websites contain many intelligent-looking ladies, they are becoming very popular among Russians, Europeans, and Americans. On the other hand, some Japanese and Koreans say those women are meaningless to them because they all look the same. It is understandable because many Americans say all Chinese, Japanese and Koreans look the same. However, last week, a Korean lady in charge of her local high-school alumnae association invited me to prepare a special page for them by re-organizing my pages. I did, and she will link it to her webpage for her members. If you are curious, you may visit http://www2.physics.umd.edu/~yskim/ewha.html to see what is going on in that part of the world.

I hope you are enjoying this holiday season.