Wisdom of Korea (1999, January -- September)


Y.S.Kim (1999.1.8)

I started writing this article on December 19 (1998) while talking with two undergraduate students from the Pohang Univ. of Science and Tech. Their names are Jaseung Ku and Hyejean Suh. They came to my office to say "Good Bye" to me after spending one semester at the Univ. of Maryland. I wrote the first part of the following article while talking with them.

We then went to a Texas-style restaurant called "Lone Star" and continued talking while enjoining texas-style lunch. Postech and UMD have a student exchange program, in which Postech students can spend one semester of their junior (3rd undergraduate) year at the Univ. of Maryland. Of course, the credits they earned at UMD are transferable to their Postech records. This is a very important program if Korean are interested in opening their eyes toward the world.

These two young scientists are telling us something we did not know before. Let us start with their experiences in their academic programs. The course loads are about the same as those in Korea. In Korea, students normally take six or seven courses per semester, but American students take four or five courses. Thus they were able to concentration more on each course they took. They say that there are no language problems in classrooms or course works, because students at Postech use the same textbooks (in English) as Americans do for their science courses.

As for the academic life, there are no strains for studying away from home. It was a genuine pleasure for them to compete with American students. They noted that the Univ. of Maryland is a state-supported university without a high admission standard. They said they could have been more motivated to compete if their American counterparts were more talented.

They said American professors and staff members are much more service- oriented than their Korean counterparts, and they are always ready and willing to help students. As for the library and computer facilities, the Univ. of Maryland is not necessarily better than Postech.

Both Mr. Ku and Ms. Suh lived in a campus dormitory where one half of the residents are from foreign countries. It was of course fun for them to live with students from all different countries. They said the people are the same. Individuals are different as there are many different Koreans. Apparently they attended social gatherings of many different types and enjoyed them all. One strange question from non-Koreans was whether they came from South Korea or North Korea.

According to them, one impressive aspect of students activities is that American students take a very positive attitude to community services. Many are interested in getting elected to responsible positions in various committees. Once they become elected, they clearly understand their responsibilities and discharge them very effectively and sometime very creatively. This aspect of American student life is quite different from Korea's culture.

These young students told me Korean graduate students at UMD were very kind to them. They did not have much time to travel in the United States, but were going to visit the Boston area to see the campuses of Harvard and MIT before returning to Korea.

This short story tells us many things. I do not have to list all the benefits derivable from this program. We can also make many suggestions for improvements in the future. Korea should expand the student exchange program like this not only with the United States, but also with other countries including China, Japan and Russia. We should also present a critical evaluation of each case and make it public.


Dear Prof. Kim,

Although I am always a big fan of your stories in the YS Network, reading the story about the two students from Physics in POSTECH was a real pleasure to me. I was specially interested in the story because I am currently in charge of the department and I took care of the administrative procedure for the two students. I came across one of the students a few days ago, Mr. Ku, in the hall way in the physics building but had no chance to chat in detail about what his life was like in UMD.

First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for taking good care of them during their stay in UMD. Above all I was happy to become aware from your story that they behaved well enough to visit you before they left to say goodbye to you. From your story I was able to figure out how they enjoyed their lives, both academic and social, in UMD. Also your story gave me a good chance to compare some aspects between the two schools, especially for the matters which are closely related to the students' lives in campus. At this moment, I would like to inform you that in POSTECH an effort is currently under way to lessen the course work burdens for undergraduate students, from 141 credit hours to 120-125 credit hours required for graduation. In this way, we hope students can spend their time for more in-depth study of the courses they take or enjoy more creative activities. Also I think we have to carefully listen to the point that professors and staff members UMD in general were more willing to help students than in POSTECH.

Each year, in POSTECH we send about 30 undergraduate students by the student exchange program to currently 9 universities in the world, such as Birmingham Univ. in UK; Waterloo Univ. in Canada; Carnegie Mellon Univ., UC Berkeley, Univ. of Maryland, Univ. of Minnesota in the US; Univ. of Newcastle, Univ. of Melbourne, Univ. of New South Wales in Australia. We plan to further increase the number of available institutions continuously in the future. Students for the program are selected on a competition basis. To be selected students should show the average GPA during the freshmen and sophomore years higher than 3.0/4.3 and the TOEFL score higher than 550. The program is conceived very positive among faculty members and administration staff members. Students can widen their scope toward the world and we often find the students attitude toward everything turns into more positive and open-minded. Once again, I thank you for your amusing stories.

Best Regards,

Hu-Jong Lee
Sat, 09 Jan 1999 12:45:21


Y.S.Kim (1999.1.20)

I received a letter from a Korean student who is planning to come to the U.S. to continue his study. He was asking me whether American PhD degrees are worth anything. He was more worried about whether his career advancement in Korea will be jeopardized if he has a U.S. degree He was referring to my one of my earlier articles saying German doctors were respected while American PhDs were despised in Korea. Yes, it was so before 1965. I assume it is not so now.

Apparently this student read my article about the episode I had with a Korean girl of my age who appeared to me with a Korean gentleman with a German Doktor degree. She thought I had an inflated opinion of myself and wanted to melt me down. This happened during the summer of 1957 when I was still an undergraduate student. The girl could not have done this if she had known that I was working on my application for graduate study at Princeton. I went there in 1958.

Let us go back to the first paragraph. The student asked me why Koreans do not have any respect toward fellow Koreans with American degrees. His letter was written in excellent English, presumably because he spent two years as a KATUSA and had frequent contacts with Americans. Needless to say, his opinion of the United States was affected by the way in which American soldiers live and behave in military units and also by their attitude toward Koreans.

His prejudice toward Americans seems be strong enough to extend to his professors who studied in the United States. In fact, I met most of them while studying in the U.S., and I am very proud of them all. They are also respected in Korea. If young people in Korea have this kind of prejudice, someone has to correct the situation. The problem can be solved only if we gain a correct understanding of the United States. This is not an easy task.

As you know, I am talking about the Korea/U.S. relations these days. If you have specific questions, please send them to me. Even better, if you could produce articles of your own, I will be very happy to circulate them.


Y.S.Kim (1999.2.8)

Many readers asked me to write more articles about Harvard University. They are of course education-conscious and first-class-conscious Koreans. One of the readers told me that the ultimate form of the first class is to attend Harvard alumni meetings while being a Princeton graduate. I asked her whether she was talking about me. She said Yes. I told her I do many crazy things.

In terms of the number of PhDs per population, Korea is No. 1 in the world, and many of them studied in the United States. Did they all study at Harvard? No! Most of them got their degrees from the State-supported universities, such as Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State. They are also first-class universities, and I am not able to see the difference between their degree programs and those offered at the so-called Ivy-League schools. Without State universities in the U.S., Korea could not have built up the intellectual base we have at the present time.

Then who created the idea of building State university systems? Abraham Lincoln did! Lincoln was of course the President of the United States from 1861 to 1865. He is well known to us for his Emancipation Proclamation (1862). However, it is difficult for us to appreciate the emancipation issue because Korea is a single-race country. Koreans can now appreciate Lincoln as a great university builder, like Charles William Eliot of Harvard.

You also know that Americans had to fight the Civil War during Lincoln's presidency. During the War, Lincoln created the Department of Agriculture (1862) in his government. The Department was in charge of government-owned lands. Lincoln's idea was to use some of the lands for building colleges, especially to educate farmers. The universities so created were called "land grant colleges," and the University of Maryland was one of those land-grant colleges. Cornell University's School of Agriculture is also a land-grant college. This was how the concept of State university systems developed.

Abraham Lincoln is regarded as the greatest president in the history of the United States. There are many books written about him, and still many authors are writing about him. I hope to write more about what Koreans should know Abraham Lincoln in my future articles.


Y.S.Kim (1999.2.20)

As you know, we are constructing this network of Korean Engineers and and Scientists by expanding the existing network system for Korean Physicists. This is necessarily a gradual process, and we cannot achieve this goal within a month or a year. We have to be patient and follow the natural trend. With this point in mind, let us note the following progress.

  1. One of the senior members of the community of Korean Atmospheric Scientists told me that they have an excellent organization for themselves and that it would be nice if we can establish a link between their Web page and our robot page for Koreans, and I did. Pleas visit www.physics.umd.edu/robot/kor.html, and see our new organization of the Web page. He also sent me many e-mail addresses of those atmospheric scientists. We would like to welcome them.
  2. Northwestern University has an excellent Physics department. It also has a first-class engineering school. As in most of the major universities in the United States, Korean physicists at NWU has been maintaining their Jokbo system. Please visit our Web page to find more about this program. The Physics Jokbo at NWU contains many engineers, particularly those in their EE and Materials Sciences departments. We can follow this example to include eventually all engineers and scientists. If you still do not know how to use WWW, send an e-mail to with NORTHWESTERN.KOR on you subject line to see how our Jokbo system works and how we can expand to include all Korean engineers and scientists.
I do not have to explain why a network system is needed for our engineers and scientists, but you may ask why we should take this peculiar route. Why do we not ask the Korean government to do this job? You already know the answer. I once said that the Ministry of Science and Technology is like the Defense (Military) ministry Korea had before and during the Im-Jin Japanese invasion 400 years ago.

More recently, in 1925, Japan had 400,000 men in the Japanese army. By 1945, Japan had more than 4,000,000 men in the army. How did they achieve this ten-fold increase? Traditionally, military organizations are based on three-fold way. One army division consists of three regiments, one regiment consists of three battalions, and so on. Each unit needs three sub-units to provide the right flank, left flank and the reserve.

However, the old Japanese army used a four-fold way. This allows a cell separation of the units. The four-fold way can be separated into a combat-capable unit with three-fold way, and one skeleton unit of one-fold way. The one-fold skeleton unit can then take in more men to become another four-fold unit. In 1940, there was an elite Japanese army unit called the 77th Infantry Regiment in Pyongyang. In 1943, its name suddenly became the 44th Unit. This means that the combat capable portion of the 77th Regiment went to the Burma.

In our network system, the excising physics network with serves as the skeleton unit. We will add new flesh to complete the system. As the Japanese case indicates, the organization does not start from nothing. It starts from a skeleton.


Y.S.Kim (1999.2.20)

I said in my previous mail that Abraham Lincoln was the originator of America's State university system where many Koreans studied and will study. Many of you will get admission letters during the month of March from the State universities. This means that you are getting an invitation letter from Lincoln to study in the United States. In most of the cases, the U.S. is paying for your education.

There was a serious error in my article of Feb. 8. Lincoln was the President from 1861 to 1865 (not 1961 to 1965). His emancipation proclamation was made in 1862 (not 1962). I would like to thank those who brought this error to my attention. There were also those who said Lincoln was an American president and we do not have to know anything about him.

The most important lesson Korean will have to learn from Lincoln is his plan of reconciliation with the South after the Civil War. His plan of course included the construction of railroad network extending to the South, and many other economic projects. I hope Korean business experts are studying this aspect carefully. One peculiar aspect of Lincoln's plan was to encourage all Americans to sing the songs of the South. The song called "Dixie" was the Confederate national anthem, the Confederate army anthem, and everything Confederate. It was one of Lincoln's favorite songs. These days, the Dixie is one of the songs representing the United States.

It is generally agreed that the totalitarian regime in North Korea is going to collapse. Then we have to make a reconciliation with Koreans who live there. This is a difficult problem for which I do not have a solution. When I meet Korean army officers, I asked them how they are going to live with their heavily-armed Northern counterparts after the unification. They say they do not know, but they I ask me whether I have a solution to this problem. I then say that Korean soldiers in the South should learn how to sing North Korean army songs. According to my limited knowledge of North Korea, their songs are more cheerful than the songs of the South which tend to be more serious. Koreans are song-loving people, and we can easily settle the differences by singing together. I copied this idea from Abraham Lincoln, even though he was an American president having nothing to do with Korea.


Y.S.Kim (1999.3.2)

I came back from London after spending the last weekend there. As always, I tell stories about myself in order to talk about you. Your most urgent problem is how to enter the international water and swim. The swimming becomes easier if someone shows how he/she swims.

Traditionally, London is an international city with many interesting districts. Near the northwestern corner of Hyde Park, there is a short street (about 500 meters) called Queen's Way, lined with many restaurants and Cafes of different national origins. You can meet many interesting people there. I met a professor from Sweden who wanted to be away from students, just like me. I met also a French woman who married a Bangladesh engineer. I met also professional musicians from Romania making money by playing popular music at a German restaurant.

At one of the Chinese restaurants, I met a Russian lady who came with her English relatives. I became curious and asked her what her background was. She told me she is a violinist, and asked me whether I heard about David Oistrakh. I said Yes. She then told me she was his youngest pupil. Oistrakh was born in Ukraine in 1908 and was one of the top violinists of this century. I told her I learned about Oistrakh when I was in high school and that I once tape-recorded Aram Khachaturyan's violin concerto played by him when I was still in Korea. Since, at that time, Korea did not allow music composed by Soviet composers, I had to pick up Khachaturyan's music from Japanese broadcast. The Russian lady told me Khachutoryan's concerto is her most favorite music and she loves to play it.

She then asked me how I know so much about Russian music. I said I have a bad habit of getting interested in countries other than my own. I told her that I recently wrote a short article about a Russian film entitled "Cranes are flying." She asked me whether I know the title in Russian. I said "Letyat Zhuravli." This really turned her on. She asked me to look at her face, and asked me whether she looks like and looks better than Tatyana Samoilova. Indeed, she looked like Tatyana and I had to say she is prettier than Tatyana. Tatyana Samoilova is the Russian actress who acted as Veronica in the film "Cranes are flying," and is Russia's Elizabeth Taylor. You will recall that I talked about this film in one of my earlier articles.

We then became very close, and I asked my wife to take a picture of myself with her. I will be visiting Russia twice this year. I will bring copies of my photo with this "gazza" Samoilova, but I will tell my Russian friends that I was with "jinja" Samoilova. If they insist that the lady with me is a "gazza," I will tell them actresses look different on screens.

Here is the point. These days, you need money to open up the heart of a woman. I do not know whether I opened the heart of this Russian lady, but she gave me the telephone number of her son who lives in the United States (she likes to meet me again). If I opened her heart, I did only with my music knowledge which I acquired in Korea 46 years ago. In terms of music, Korea is a very advanced country. I am not the only one who thinks in this way. Queen Elizabeth II is going to visit Korea later this year. She told Korean authorities she sincerely wishes to visit one of Korea's music schools while in Korea. Her visit will bring Koreans closer to her country. It is safe to assume that the Queen's idea came from the British foreign policy establishments.

Our Chun Doo Hwan was the President of Korea while Margaret Thatcher was the Prime Minister of Britain. When Chun visited England, the Prime Minister mentioned first Admiral Yi Soon Shin in her welcoming speech and then mentioned Lord Nelson. She said Admiral Yi lived two hundred years before Nelson did. People say British people are diplomatic. This means that they clearly know whom they are talking to. This is the strength of Britain, and this is precisely what Americans still need.

Let me add one more story of mine. I am known in my professional world as a man with strong influence on a number of conferences. Thus, in order to get good seats at those conferences, many people try to impress me. Most of them tell me how great their research results are. To be very honest, I am not interested in their research results. I am only interested in whether they understand my own papers. If they understand my papers, I am kind to them. If not, I am totally neutral to them.

Let us summarize. When you deal with someone, try to understand him/her first. He/she will then be kind to you. You can open up the heart of any lady of any country even without money if you have a sufficient understanding of her country. Not every Korean thinks the United States is kind to Korean. If you are one of those, try to learn about the U.S. including some of the personalities. Then the United States will be kind to you. I talked about Charles Eliot and Abraham Lincoln. I will talk more about Lincoln in my future articles. In order to swim in the international water, you should understand the United States first.


Y.S.Kim (1999.3.12)

On March 12 (1958), I received a letter from Princeton University telling me that I was one of the fifteen students selected for graduate study there. Einstein died in Princeton in 1955. The letter was signed by Einstein's ghost. This was the happiest day in my entire life.

Likewise, many of you in Korea are now receiving admission letters from various universities in the United States. I know how happy they are. As I said before, if you got an admission letter from one of the State universities, you are getting an invitation from Abraham Lincoln to study in the United States.

If you are admitted at more than one place, you will have to choose one. This is a difficult process. You should discuss the problem with your professors and those who studied at the university you have in mind. Your decision may depend also on the distribution of Korean graduate students in the U.S. If you are interested in the list of Korean students in U.S.A, visit http://www.physics.umd.edu/robot.html, or e-mail robot@physics.umd.edu with MAIN.KOR on your Subject line.

If you are already a student in the U.S., you should send in your correct address to for accurate directory. You should also update your university Jokbo in order to welcome those new students.

In spite of fifty years of special relation with Americans, Koreans do not feel home while in the United States. There are of course many reasons, but the main problem is that Korean students do not use all the potentials they have, except of course their skill to get high exam scores. In my earlier articles, I mentioned a number of advantages Koreans have in the United States.

First of all, the United States rewards those who work hard, and Koreans work hard. Second, while the super-constitution of the U.S. is the Gospel of Matthew, Korean have a very strong Bible background. You may perhaps insist that you are a devoted non-Christian. In this case, you should have a strong Confucian background. As I said in my earlier articles, the United States is a Confucian country. Remember this. Confucius and Jesus preach the same thing.

As I said in my previous article, Korea is an advanced music country. Korean can talk about classical music and put down American or Europeans very easily. Then what is the problem? The answer is that there are no problems. If there are, it is because Koreans create their own problems. The worst problem they create is their refusal to learn English. Many Korean believe in Jesus, but instead of using their Christian background to understand the structure of American society, they segregate themselves by restricting their social activities to their Korean church affairs.

Tonight, I will talk about another advantage Korean have. Most of Korean men served in the army, and they know how the structured society operates. The world scientific community is also a structured society. Thus, we can understand this strange society in terms of our experience in the army.

If you enter the army training center, you go through the following three basic processes.

  1. The army teaches you the army etiquette before giving you the rifle. It is understandable. You should know how dangerous the weapon is without etiquette.
  2. The army then teaches you how to operate the rifle and how to aim and shoot. You also have to learn how to crawl under machine-gun fire.
  3. After these two steps, you will have to learn how to read maps. This process is more rigorous for those who will become unit leaders.
The army serves as a simplified model for the world scientific community. Of course, you should know how to operate your rifle, as you should know how to pass the exams. But, without basic etiquette, the society cannot function. For instance, I get many mails. They are addressed to Mr. Kim, Dr. Kim, or Prof. Kim. If a salesman or bank clerk call me Mr. Kim, it is OK. However, a graduate student starts his/her letter with "Dear Kim" or "Dear Mr. Kim," then I should raise the question of etiquette. It is not because of my feeling, but it is the student's problem with American professors. Americans sound informal, but they do care. They care more than Koreans do. I told you the U.S. is a Confucian country.

I get many e-mails from Korean students, but not many of them know how to start their letters. I sometimes return their mails asking them to send their letters with proper salutation. I think I am providing a valuable service to our students.

When you read a map, you have to open up and decide which direction is the north or east. Then you will have to locate various places on the map. During this process, the army teaches you that the first place to locate is your own position. You should know where you are on the map. Otherwise, the map is totally useless.

I used to upset Korean students by asking them whether they are closer to me or to Steven Weinberg (Nobel laureate in physics). They become angry because they are new Weinbergs, and they can never consider becoming like me. However, I ask this unpleasant question in order to test whether they know where they stand in the map of the world scientific community. If they do not know where they are on the map, they will get lost and will disappear. Indeed, there were many many Korean Weinbergs. Where are they now?

Remember this. If you are a soldier, you should know the army etiquettes and how to read maps, and perhaps how to shoot the rifle. Korean students know how to take exams, but it is not enough.


Y.S.Kim (1999.3.14)

There is a ceramic tea cup on my desk with four Chinese characters. They mean (Seven)(Fall)(Eight)(Rise). Indeed, these letters constitute one of the most valuable virtues in Korea. It is not difficult to find Koreans who reached their prominent positions by going through their Seven/Eight processes. Mr. DJ became the President after his last Rise.

This virtue is shared by many people in the world. If I am forced to name an American, I will mention Abraham Lincoln. He was born in on February 12, 1809 in a remote village in Kentucky and practiced law in Springfield (Illinois) before getting into politics. In 1858, he lost the election for the Illinois senate seat, but won the 1860 presidential election. What is so special about him? The answer is that the 1858 election was not the first election Lincoln lost. He went through about ten elections before and lost all of them. The 1860 presidential election was the first election Abraham Lincoln won.

I do not have a first-hand experience of losing elections. I hear often about the sufferings those losers have to go through. Lincoln went through ten times, before becoming the greatest president of in the history of the United States.

Many Koreans ask me why Korean scientists are not producing Nobel prizes. I tell them that getting Nobel is much harder than becoming the president. This means that many of us still have to go through the Seven/Eight steps.

You do not have to be a president or a Nobel laureate to go through the Seven/Eight process. Many small people achieve their modest goals by going through their own Seven/Eight steps. I regard myself as one of those small people. I went through many setbacks in my professional careers. Since however I think I went through the Eighth Rise, I am going next week to Atlanta with my wife to attend the centennial meeting of the American Physical Society, and I hope to see many of you there at the Korean dinner meetings organized by the Korean graduate students studying at the Univ. of Georgia.

I said in my earlier articles that I was a student at SNU for one semester before coming to the United States. Some of you know that I picked up a girl there who later became my wife. Thus, there is every reason for me to be happy with SNU. Many people ask me ask me what made me turn against SNU. I will tell the story.

Whenever I had setbacks in my professional endeavors, some people were sympathetic and were willing to help me, and this is why I am here. But there were some who whole-heatedly cheered my "finished career." You can guess where those people came from. One of the top SNU graduates with the "presidential honor" once sent me a letter saying how happy he was. He is now in Korea still bragging about his presidential award, but is regarded as the worst physicist in Korea. To me, he looks and sounds like a man from Hell. This is not an isolated incidence, but is the routine experience I have to go through with SNU graduates. This is the reason why I often tell you to visit SNU if you like to know what the Hell is like.

I do not know how many Koreans are listening to President DJ about the Seven/Eight principle. If you are in the United States, learn a lesson from Abraham Lincoln. He is telling us to rise after repeated falls. If you do not listen to Lincoln, you will get thrown out of the U.S., and will have to settle with Korea's No. 1.


Y.S.Kim (1999.3.25)

I just came back from Atlanta (Georgia) after attending the centennial meeting of the American Physical Society. It was an important meeting to me, and I have many things to tell about myself. One of them has to do with you. I will tell the story.

Whenever I go to a scientific meeting, I care about how many Koreans came and how many Japanese came. If the meeting is large enough for me to use statistics, there are more Japanese than Koreans. However, at the APS centennial meeting with more than 12,000 participants, I could not count the numbers, but it was quite clear to me that there were more Koreans than Japanese. This world is changing.

From this simple numerical comparison, we should contruct a new vision for our scientific role in the world. Indeed, I wrote in the past several articles on this issue. I am attaching two of those for your entertainment. The first article is entitled "Japanese Student in London," and the other is "Japan's Immature Capitalism." When I wrote those articles in 1993 and 1996 respectively, I sounded like a crazy man to most of my Korean friends. Perhaps, they can examine whether I became somewhat better. Please continue reading.


Y.S.Kim (1993.11.7)

Last summer, I spent two afternoons on the streets of London, and I saw many many Japanese students spending their vacation weeks in Europe. I stopped some of them and talked/listened to them. They are both courteous and straight-forward. I really enjoyed talking with them. As some of you know, I often become frustrated when Korean students refuse to give me a clear "YES or NO" answer.

However, the story is quite different on the campuses in the United States. We do not see too many Japanese students. In the U.S. academic institutions, we are the dominant figures. In order to see this, send an email

To: robot@delphi.umd.edu
Text: Hurry.

You will then see how many Korean students are studying at OSU (Ohio State Univ.), what they are studying, where their Phd graduates are and what they are doing. You will be convinced that God created OSU in order to educate Korean physicists.

OSU is not the only institution which produces Korean physicists. Try Subject: BROWN, CORNELL, HOPKINS, ILLINOIS, KAIST, KEK, KOREAU, KYUNGPOOK, MARYLAND, MIT, MICH.STATE, OHIO.STATE, UMICH, NORTHWESTERN, PRINCETON, PURDUE, STANFORD, TEX.AUS, YALE, or YONSEI. If you do not see your university on this list, make your own directory like that of OSU.

The point is that, with this rich brain power, we should become ahead of Japan in Physics. As you probably know, almost all Japanese physicists get their degrees in Japan, and that is why they are not able to play leading roles in pure science in spite of Japan's economic might. Korean students are all "A" students wherever they go in the world. All we have to do is to extend this "A" grade to post post-doc research (research after postodoc). We should be able to overcome this hurdle!

Many Koreans of your grandfather's age went to Japan to earn their college degrees before 1945, but they never thought Japanese were smarter than we are. The first generation of Korean physicists (of your father's age) consists of those who became convinced that Koreans can also get Nobel Prize after seeing Japan's Yukawa getting his prize in 1949. Those first- generation physicists did very well in spite of the disastrous 6.25 conflict (1950-53), and they are reading your papers with keen interest.

Now, we have an ideal environment if you decide to get ahead of Japan in Physics. If we miss this golden opportunity, future historians will be very harsh on us, perhaps as harsh as we are on those pro-Japanese traitors.



Y.S.Kim (1996.2.26)

As I said in one of my earlier articles, Seoul's Electric Car was the place for me to watch neat-looking girls when I was commuting to my high school. I have seen many girls from many different countries, but the Korean girls I used to see those days were the best-looking girls to me. When I was in Japan in 1994, my hotel was close to one of their girls' high schools. Those school girls were dressed just like the Korean girls I used to see when I was a teenager. They were wearing white blouses and navy-blue skirts. In one of the mornings, I followed them as I would have done more than 40 years before, and I even created an episode.

When I was going to Princeton on one of the days in 1989, I met a young Japanese man on the train. He was a fresh graduate from Kyoto University Law School and was spending six months at the Wharton Business School (very prestigious place) of the Univ. of Pennsylvania. After that, he was going to join the Bank of Japan. He was going to Princeton to see the campus of the University. This Japanese capitalist was very bright and was very proud of his country. Indeed, I learned some lessons on Japan's judicial system from him.

On the other hand, he did not seem to know too much about other countries. Korea, in his opinion, has been and will be a permanent colony of Japan. It is a matter of time for the United States to be under Japanese control. I felt that he need some "kihap" from me. I told him I am quite familiar with Princeton's campus and I invited him to a lunch at one of the campus dining halls. In the dining hall, there were many nice-looking girls presumably from rich families. I asked him whether American girls are prettier or Japanese girls are prettier. He laughed and admitted that American girls are prettier. I know that Japanese girls look like Korean girls. Thus I am suppressing my own people using a foreign power, but not quite -- Read the first paragraph of this article.

After the lunch, I showed the brass name plate at the entrance of the dining hall. The plate contained the name "Gordon Wu" and his original name in Chinese characters. I told him that the dining hall is called "Wu Hall" and I asked him why the building was named after him. He was completely at loss even though I gave him a number of hints. He was the No. 1 young capitalist from Japan, but was not able to guess that Gordon Wu was the person who contributed the money to build the hall named after him.

I told him that Gordon Wu studied civil engineering when he was a student at Princeton during the years 1954-58, while the New Jersey Turnpike was being widened from a four-lane to with-lane super highway. Wu then developed the ambition to build a similar highway from running from Hong Kong to Siberia. He is doing very well these days, and he once appeared in a Japanese TV program. In 1995, he donated 100 million dollars to Princeton University.

The ethics of the Ivy League Schools is that you should contribute money to your alma mater as soon as you earn income. Apparently this is a totally strange custom to Japanese. Japanese seem to know how to make money, but they do not know how to spend it or where to invest their money. The latter is an integral part of capitalism, especially American capitalism. We should however admit that we are not necessarily better than Japanese in this regard.

I often say harsh words on Seoul National University. I say quite often that SNU should be closed down. Some SNU graduates come to me ask me whether I really mean what I say. I say definitely YES. They then ask me how we can avoid the close-down of the University. I usually give the following answer.

  1. Every SNU graduate should start making contributions to SNU.
  2. If this is impossible, SNU should start making concrete plans to get ahead of the Univ. of Tokyo.
Here again, I am not preaching what I cannot practice. I have explained to you my own position on Japan. Let me mention one of the cases having to do with alumni contribution. These days, Korea has many complicated problems. However, in 1961 when I became a PhD, Koreans had only one simple problem: what to eat next day! Not many of you know that I contributed $1,000 (big money at that time) to Seoul National University to initiate a research in agricultural economics to produce more rice for Koreans.

Many people say that I seem to feel free to kihap SNU graduates because I finished my PhD degree seven years after the entrance (not graduation). This is not true! I bought (with money) my right to kihap SNU graduates, as well as the immature Japanese capitalist whom I met in 1989. In 1961, it was burdensome for me to send $1,000 to Korea, but this was the best monetary investment I made in my life.


Y.S.Kim (1999.4.21)

I have been writing a series of articles about Abraham Lincoln and his influence on Koreans, and I would love to continue. On the other hand, in order to encourage young people to participate in this network, I would like to give priorities to the articles written by them, and the articles dealing with questions raised by them.

Last Sunday, I spent three hours with a young physicist who is spending his second post-doc year at one of the prestigious national labs. Our conversation was mostly on his future as a scientist. He likes to pursue his professional career in the United States. As usual, I told him about various options he can take. My main point was that there were and still are many people in the world who were much less fortunate that than he is or you are. Among the several suggestions I made, he found the following the story most encouraging.

At the "international banquet" during the APS centennial meeting held last month, I spotted an intelligent-looking lady of age under 40. She appeared to have an unusual background, and I started talking to her. While talking, we found out we met each other in Moscow in 1990. At that time, she was a fresh PhD from Moscow State University. She originally came from Cuba, but going back to Fidel Castro's Cuba was an end of her career. She had to come to the United States, and she made it!

Note added on May 25 (2004): I met these them again while attending a conference in Montreal (Canada, May 2004). Click here for a photo of these two beautiful people.

She is now on the physics faculty at the State Univ. of New York at Fredonia. Perhaps you do not know where Fredonia is, and her university is one of the teaching-oriented campuses of the NY State University System. So what? She now manages several NSF contracts while doing the research dear to her heart.

She was with a handsome Cuban gentleman. I asked her whether he is her husband. She said Yes. He told me he also met me in Moscow in 1990. Since Castro's entry to Havana on the first day of 1959, Cuba has been like North Korea. These two Cuban scientists were born and raised in Castro's Cuba. When they were very young, they proved themselves to be brilliant enough to be sent to Moscow. With the help of scientists in Spain and Mexico, they were able to immigrate to the United States. They speak fluently three languages, namely Spanish, English and Russian.

The point is that Koreans are much much more fortunate than these two Cubans. As I said in one of my articles, if Koreans have problems in the U.S., the problems are created by Koreans themselves. Many of our students refuse to learn English in the United States, while saying it is not possible to learn English in the U.S. Korean students like to follow the examples set by foreigners, while refusing to learn lessons from fellow Koreans. Then learn from these two Cuban physicists.

God gave me empty land as his best gift. This is a quotation from a Danish poet whose name I forgot. This quotation has been my religion since my high-school days. I do not preach anything I cannot practice. I have met many of you, but most of you have not met me personally. In either case, you heard at least once that I am totally isolated from the rest of the world. This is because I usually start my projects from an empty land. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. I have a small number of projects which are working out all right.

One of them was to develop communication skills with my younger friends. I listen to them and I know how to talk to them. This is the reason why they ask me to do things they cannot do. For instance, young SNU graduates cannot say openly harsh words on SNU. They ask me to say what they want to say. At APS March meetings, Korean students set up Korean dinner meetings. In recent years, there was a small group of people (from an underdeveloped country) who put up un-invited Gamtu shows. My younger friends asked me to turn off those noisy shows. I did this very quietly at the two dinner meetings held last month in Atlanta. Those gamtu-or-death people seem to be awfully angry at me, but everybody else enjoyed. We had peaceful meetings in Atlanta and will have better meetings in the future. In the meantime, you should come up with better ideas.


Y.S.Kim (1999.4.23)

Since my articles are written in English, many Americans read them. They get my mails from their Korean friends. I met one of them at the Seoul Garden dinner held last month in Atlanta. He said his favorite president is Thomas Jefferson. As for Abraham Lincoln, he said the "United States" was a plural word before Lincoln, but it became a singular word after Lincoln. These days, we say "the United States is..," not "the United States are.."

He did not elaborate on Thomas Jefferson, but I fully understand and appreciate his view. The concept of democracy was of created by ancient Greeks, but its modern version was formulated in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries. Yet, it was still a philosophy. Jefferson was the man who designed the government based on this philosophy.

As a scientist, I understand Jeffersonism in the following way. I am known as a theoretical physicist working on a mathematical device called group theory. Let us assume so. Group theory is regarded as a very abstract theory, like philosophy. Let us also accept that this view is correct. Then my job is to come up with experimental procedures which can realized in laboratories, from those abstract concepts.

Thomas Jefferson built a college now called the University of Virginia. He lived in a mount-top mansion called Monte Cello in Charlottesville. From there, he used to spend his happiest hours while watching his college buildings rising from the ground. Monte Cello was of course designed by Jefferson. If you come to the United States, you should visit Niagara Falls, but, before Niagara, you should visit Monte Cello first to see how talented Thomas Jefferson was.

Let us get back to Abraham Lincoln. He is of course most famous for his Emancipation Proclamation, but liberty for black Americans was only a philosophy at that time. Lincoln's most significant contribution was to make the United States one country. Jefferson designed the U.S. government, but it is not clear whether he was more loyal to the State of Virginia or to the federl government he served as the 3rd president. Some people say that he was more loyal to the Univ. of Virginia than anything else. General Robert Lee was definitely for Virginia, not for Lincoln's government.

Before Lincoln, Americans did not take the federal government seriously. The United States consisted of independent states. Lincoln had to go through a tragic war and win it before unifying the country. What was then Lincoln's basic strength?

If you look at your friend, he/she is like you but, at the same time, he/she is different. Which side of your friend is more important to you? It is not difficult to see in which side Lincoln was interested. This philosophy led to his Emancipation Proclamation.

In 1946, when I crossed the 38th parallel to the South, every Korean regarded as other Koreans as the same people. This was true also when I moved to Chinhae and Pusan during the 6.25 conflict. Since I left Korea in 1954, I still carry the notion that all Koreans are the same. These days, I am an out-dated person. Whenever I meet Koreans, they keep telling me they are different from me. If they insist on the difference, the difference is that I am stronger than they are.


Y.S.Kim (1999.4.27)

I would like to continue my series of articles on Abraham Lincoln and his influence on Koreans, but I have to first respond to questions from our young readers.

Many of my young friends are telling me they like to contribute articles and express their opinions. Good trend! However, they say that they do not know how to write articles in English. Some of them asked me whether I can circulate their articles written in Korean, and told me to come up with a network technology to entertain their suggestion. Yes, I will soon be able to announce a new program aimed at achieving this purpose.

Most of them however like to write their articles in English and asked me wether I can teach them how to write. They are asking a wrong question. I cannot teach them. The question is whether they like to learn. If they do, I can write a story which can be helpful to them.

Whether you write in Korean or English, you should write down honestly what you have in mind in order to make your article meaningful. This is precisely what I do when I write. My Korean friends are telling me that I should never come back to Korea, because I always say what I want to say. This is strictly forbidden in Korea. If you do not say what you want to say, how can you communicate with others? This is the reason why our young scientists cannot communicate with Americans or even with Japanese.

In August of 1997, Princess Diana died in Paris. I then invented a theory that the Diana case is an appendix to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (collection of obscene stories written in 1300 AD). I was told by an Englishman in the U.S. that I should never tell this story in England even though it is a very interesting observation. When I went to London in February, I told this story to every Englishman and Englishwoman I met there, and they all laughed and asked me whether I am a writer. I will not have this kind of freedom in Korea. When Queen Elizabeth II visited Korea two weeks ago, Koreans have given her proper respect because we regard Britain as an advanced country. Her people are good communicators.

Let us get into the question of writing in English. You all have (or will have) an experience of publishing scientific articles in the Physical Review or other equivalent journals in science. They you should know how to write articles in English. I am writing my articles in PhysRev English. First, you divide the problem into a number of small problems and analyze each of those small problems in detail. You then combine those into a solution of the main problem. It is like differentiation and integration. This is what I always do when I write even non-physics articles. If you know how to write articles for the Physical Review, you should be able to write articles like mine.

If you are a scientist, you should know the concept of "resonance." I have friends in Christian missionary work. I tell them that the resonance is the key word for converting Buddhists to Christians. For instance, it is very easy to tell Koreans they can go to Heaven if they contribute money to the church, because there is a similar concept in Korean Buddhism. My missionary friends know this well, but they cannot catch the abstract concept of resonance.

When I teach resonance in Freshman physics, I ask my students whether they are able to sense that I am exploiting the concept of resonance when I teach. They say Yes. When I introduce a physical idea new to them, I always explain it in terms of what they already know. Many readers say that it easy to understand my articles because I always deal talk about what they already know and what they like to know. Some of them are telling me they are learning English by reading my mails.

You would all agree that Korea is an advanced country, but not every body in this world agrees with us. If you like to help your country by removing this unfortunate misunderstanding, you should learn how to communicate with the rest of the world. You should learn how to write good articles in English. As for yourself, this is the shortest, quickest, and the only way to join the world scientific community. Please send us your articles.

In response to my note of April 27 on "How to write good articles," Dr. Kyu Chul Kim of Los Alamos National Laboratory sent me the following letter. In general, I do not broadcast letters which do not contain ideas other than mine or which flatter me personally. This letter flatters me to some extent, but mentions what I was not able to say in my earlier note. This letter is written in excellent English! YSK (1999.5.7)

From: Kyu Chull Kim (kck@lanl.gov)
Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 11:46:08 -0600

Dear Dr. Kim:

In your note of 4/27/99, I sense that you are trying very hard to provide helpful suggestions to the question of how to write. These individuals who raise this question should first understand that communication is one thing and writing is quite another. Good writing comes from one's own life-long experiences. These experiences can span a wide range of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, or imaginary experiences. They also can be borrowed from others' experiences if one has the proper attitude of being a good life-long "student", and it helps to be a good listener too. One thing is very clear. That is it is not possible to create something meaningful out of nothing. Any scientist knows that and any learned human being knows that.

Dr. Kim, you understand Korean culture, old and new, so well that you are truely a good teacher to the young generation of students, in Korea as well as abroad. If they understand your life's lessons only half as much as you put your effort to earn them, they will understand why they are raising the wrong question of how to write.

As for developing good communication skills, here again one has to start emerging from one's own comfortable cocoon and start conducting one's life interactively in this fast moving world community. It's pity that so many people think that all these things can be accomplished, like developing a computer software, without hard effort on their part.

These communication problems are by no means unique with Koreans living abroad. I received yesterady an e-mail from a Ph.D student requesting my help in obtaining some information on advanced molecular spectroscopic theories that I was involved in more than 10 years ago. Rather than explaining this individual's letter to me, my response, and his reply to my response, I copy them all below exactly for you to see. I think it is relevant to the topic that you are writing about.

Dear Kim,

I am P.h.D student in Cambridge University , I am no particularily interested in nuclear energy materials, but on the UF6 one, which is a spherical top molecule. I am studing spherical top molecules and found on internet you were involved on the simulation of spectrum of this molecule JCP, 83 (35), 1985). I am building a program for spherical top molecules a found that the program you used could be very important for me, Could you help in puting in touch with Dr. Krhon, so I could ask him,please?.

My response: For an individual who claims to be a Ph.D student, you do not seem to know the simplest etiquette of addressing properly other fellow scientists. I suggest you go back to the article that you are referencing and first get the authors' names correct, and then ask what aspect of the octahedral theoretical computation you are interested in. It is NOT simply a computer program! (Incidentally, I almost asked him if, in his name Marcos Lorono, the first two letters were switched by mistake. But, I felt that that would be too cruel and instead did not sign my name under my message.)

Now, Marcos's reply:
Dear Dr. Kim,

I am very pleased to hear from you, if my e-mail was rude to you I am very apologise. First, Sr, I am Venezuelan student in Cambridge. My works do not reflect what I would have said to you. Having a reply from it is most important than the program I asked for. I am very very sorry and happy at the same time. Well, Sr, let me explain, I have been working on a program written by Dr. Campion (University of Borgogne, Dijon, France ). from which using a rigorous quantum mechanical procedure we have been able to study the octahedral splitting of molecules such as Mo(CO)6 and W(CO)6. However, I know from the paper Jack P. Aldridge et al, J.Chem. Phys., 83 (34) 1985, that there exist a classical way of studying such a molecules, I just wanted to compare both results. In that work, you applied a nonlinear least-squares reduction, and by iteration process the program performed a diagolization of the vibration-rotation Hamiltonian in the (J,R,C) symmetry subspace. The program developed in Dijon has proved to be good for those molecules and for tetrahedral molecules in general. Very sorry, again, Could you help me ? I would be fine if I get information from your paper, I know it is over ten years ago, but I am still interesting.

Your sincerely, Marcos Lorono

Setting aside this person's apology, I find from his description of his project that he does not understand what he is talking about...almost a hopeless case. I am afraid that this type of individual might be creating a space monster in the (J,R,C) symmetry subspace using a computer simulation instead of studying an octahedral molecular system using a vibration-rotation-spin-or-whatever theory. I thought you might find it interesting.

Thank you again for your diligent effort of educating the young generation.

Best regards,
K. C. Kim


Y.S.Kim (1999.5.8)

In 1972, Park Chung-Hee closed down the National Assembly by sending army tanks. Seven years later, he was murdered by his CIA chief. It is generally agreed that the 1972 event was Park's fatal mistake.

In 1861, Abraham Lincoln sent his federal troops to Annapolis to shut down the Congress of the State of Maryland. Lincoln was assassinated in 1866. Like Park Chung-Hee, Lincoln had to close down the Maryland Congress for his own political survival.

The similarity does not end here. Both Park and Lincoln identified themselves with the farmers of their respective countries. Then, am I saying that Park Chung-Hee was Korea's Abraham Lincoln? Not quite. There are many Koreans who like Park for developing Korea's industrial base, but there are also many who say Park's insistence on one-man dictatorship ruined Korea's democratic base. This is a complicated problem on which I am not competent to elaborate.

Park's case is well known to us, but not many of you heard about Lincoln's dictator-like behavior. You know however that the United States went through a civil war between the North and South. Then, where was the boundary between these two regions. The State of Virginia belonged to the South, while Pennsylvania belonged to the North. If you look at the map of Maryland and Virginia, the District of Columbia (Washington, DC) occupies a small area within Maryland on the bank of a river which separates Maryland from Virginia. Thus the strategy of the Southerners was to make Maryland to join the South in order to isolate Lincoln from the northern States. Lincoln had no choice, but occupying the government of Maryland by sending his troops.

You do not have to be a politician to be left with only one choice. I experience this everyday in my research life. You do too, and you have to overcome this problem to survive. In my case, perhaps in your case too, the crises comes from the refusal by others to think in my way. The opposition then takes the form of denial of proposals and rejection of articles submitted to journals. The most common solution is to quit research and play Gamtu games. However, if you wish to continue, you must confront the problem and find your own way to break through the barrier.

When I came to Maryland from Princeton in 1962, my friends at Princeton gave me a farewell party, but it was a funeral party because the transition from Princeton to Maryland (in deep South) was not thinkable at that time. When I was attending the APS meeting in Atlanta, I met one of those who gave me the farewell party in 1962, and I confirmed with him that it was indeed a funeral party. I was surprised to find out he was monitoring my life very carefully since then. I would be flattering myself if I disclose the full content of the conversation I had with him. But his point was that I was able to transform a crises to an opportunity several times since I left Princeton. I also praised him and told him that the United States has been very nice to me.

I am of course telling you my story because it could also be your story or your story-to-be.


Y.S.Kim (1999.5.20)

As I said earlier, Thomas Jefferson was the architect of the country known today as the United States. He is also the founder of the Univ. of Virginia. He of course designed his own house now called "Monticello" and lived there. I visited Monticello three times, and I would like to visit again. Do you like to go with me?

Jefferson of course had many close friends. One of them was his female slave named Sally Hemings. She was an un-educated Afro-American but was intelligent enough to talk with Jefferson on the issues of democracy and forms of the government. Their relation did not stop there. Together, they produced two sons.

Thomas Jefferson had two daughters, and their descendants maintain a klan called "Monticello Association," but they never accepted the Hemings descendants to their Association. This is thoroughly understandable from our Jokbo culture.

According to the May 16 issue of the Washington Post, the Hemings descendants have now been admitted to the Monticello Association. The newspaper printed a photo of those black, white, and half-black Americans in front of the Monticello building. They all looked happy and cheery.

This of course is an entertaining story, but has much deeper implications. I would like to make the following observations.

  1. American presidents are very popular among women, and it is not difficult to dig out their complicated personal stories. This is one of the reasons why Bill Clinton was not removed from the White House.
  2. Ordinary Americans do not seem to care too much about genealogy, but the fabric of the United States is dominated by a Jokbo culture derived from both the Old and New Testaments. The latest example is George Bush, Jr. who wants to be the next president.

    The world scientific community is also a Jokbo-dominated society. When you write a paper for publication, the most important part is the list of references. When the editor chooses referee, he/she looks at the references first. When I am asked to referee, I look at the this Jokbo section first. Presumably, this is also what you do.

    This is not all. More than one-half of Nobel winners are pupils of Nobel laureates. I talked about the importance of Jokbo culture in my earlier articles, and I said there that the advantage of being a Korean is to know how to play Jokbo games in the world.

  3. In 1954, the United States took a giant step toward equal right for all Americans. Since I came to this country in 1954 and stayed here since then, I am able to tell you about the progress Americans have been making in integrating their society. I hope to be able to write a series of articles on this important issue.
As for Jefferson's descendants, it was unthinkable for the Hemings faction to mention the word "Jefferson" in 1950. Things have changed since then. Please do not forget this. The Asians in the United States, like myself, have been and still are the major beneficiaries of this social transformation.


Y.S.Kim (1999.6.3)

I have been writing a series of articles on the development of civil rights in the United States, and I hope, at some point, I can talk about my own contribution to this development through my scientific research.

On the other hand, I have an obligation to respond to questions raised by the readers of my articles. I just came back from Italy, and I am still tired. I will therefore write an easy article. While I was away, I received many mails asking me various questions. The most frequent question seems to be whether they can share with me the talent of talking with Russian girls or ladies. I met many Korean scientists at the APS March meeting held in Atlanta. Many of them asked me the same question. My answer to this question can be found in my earlier articles, but I will deal with this single question in the present article.

This question was prompted by an article which I wrote about a Russian violinist whom I met in London. She looks like a Russian actress named Tatyana Samoilova who appeared as Veronica in the 1957 film called "Cranes are Flying." Two or three years ago, Tatyana received an award from the Russian government for her contribution to the Russian culture.

I had a photo with the violinist who was a "gazza" Tatyana, but I showed this photo to many Russian participants whom I met at the conference in Italy. They all think the lady with me was the "jinja" Tatyana and asked me how I was able to approach her. The question is whether my skill to talk to Russian girls or ladies is my own or the skill to be shared by all Koreans. To this question, I have the following answer.

One hundred years ago, Korean boys could not talk with Korean girls, not only because they were under the influence of Confucianism, but also because Korean boys had to use Chinese when they wrote while the girls were only able to read Un-moon. These days they talk too much. The transition took place during the period 1920-40. During this period, the boys learned that using Hangul is not necessarily a disgrace to them and started to exchange love letters with the girls. While this was going on, many Korean writers wrote romance novels. Among those writers one of them distinguished himself from the rest, and we still talk about him. You should be able to guess his name.

How did he become so popular among Korean romance lovers? These days, literary experts agree that his writings were modeled after Russia's Tolstoy. Then there is a resonance between Korean romance and Russian romance. If I am able to talk to Russian girls, you should also be able to. Try it. It will work. If I have a talent along this line, you are also talented.

This sharable talent is not restricted to talking to Russian ladies. In my series of articles, I often glorify myself, but the readers do not seem to complain. It is because I always talk about the Korean wisdom which we all can share.


Y.S.Kim (1999.6.10)

I came back from Italy last week after attending the sixth meeting of the conference series known as the International Conference on Squeezed States and Uncertainty Relations. This series was initiated by two Korean physicists namely Dr. Deasoo Han of NASA and myself. Quite understandably, this series is based on my own organizational philosophy: to give the front seats to younger people. Because those young scientists bring in so many new ideas even though some of them are wrong, the conference is growing very rapidly and becoming a new model for conferences. This is the reason why this series is fully supported by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics. The seventh meeting will be hosted by Boston University in 2001. I hope to see many Koreans there.

The sixth meeting was held in Naples, known to Italians and Koreans as Napoli. Napoli was born as a "new city" when the Mediterranean world was dominated by Greece about 2500 years ago. More recently, this city was under Spanish domination until Italy was unified. Unlike most of the major cities in the world (like Berlin, Warsaw, Hiroshima, Atlanta, Seoul), Napoli never went through a total destruction. For this reason, there are many districts within the city preserving their old traditions. For instance, there is a district consisting of coffin makers. They make the best coffins in the world, and I am thinking of ordering my own from there.

Because of this old tradition, Napoli is quite different from the rest of Western Europe. From the Western point of view, Napoletans love extra freedom. It was not difficult for me to spot a full-speed motor cycle running in the opposite direction in a one-way street full of cars. Sophia Loren is known as a freedom-loving lady. She came from the Napoli area.

Indeed, some Napoletans transformed their extra degrees of freedom into creativity. They produced the Napoletan songs such as Santa Lucia, Come back to Sorento, and O Sole Mio. Thomas Aquinas came from Napoli and used his extra freedom to study Islamic philosophy. In so doing, he rediscovered Aristotle who was once completely buried by the Church.

Another prominent Napoletan was Giovanni Boccaccio. He was born in Florence in 1313 AD as an upperclassman who could meet the Pope as often as he wished. While he was young, he developed a greed for money and went to Napoli to study business. There he accumulated enough ideas to write books in his later years. The book entitled "Decameron" is still one of the best sellers in the world.

In the Decameron, Boccaccio creates a male character who pretends to be a dummy (who cannot speak) and becomes a gardner in a convent. The nuns in this convent develop the idea that this gardener is incapable of telling others what happened inside the convent. This creates an extra degree of freedom for them, which they exercise. This is what the Decameron is about.

These days, king's female servants are called (White House) interns, like Monica Lewinsky. I do not know how many interns are working for the U.S. president, but, during the Yi dynasty, the Korean king was given 40 official interns. In 1978, a Polish cardinal became elected as the present Pope. When he went to Rome from Krakow, many church officials accompanied him. The question is how many Polish nuns accompanied him. The number was exactly 40, like the number of interns to the Korean king. If I tell this story to my Polish and Italian friends in the U.S., they agree that this is an addendum to the Decameron and say that they need 40 secretaries, but they advise not to tell the story in Poland or Italy, and I restrain myself when I go there. However, it is a very interesting story to Koreans for the following reasons.

As I discussed in my earlier articles, Korea and Poland share many similarities. Both countries are surrounded by big powers. Poland had been divided into three for 125 years until World War I. Koreans do everything better than Poles except in one area. Poles know how to get Nobel prize, but Koreans do not.

Our young people complain that they cannot work for Nobel because no Koreans got the prize before. Their complain is not justified. If this is the only reason, they should learn from Poles how to get the prize because the two countries have so many things in common including the number of interns the kings need. If you are interested in a series of articles on Poland, send an e-mail to with POLAND.KOR on you Subject line.


Y.S.Kim (1999.7.13)

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.

Rhee was one of the early pioneers who knew the power of communication. Many Koreans say that I am totally isolated from the rest of the world. I regard this as an expression of their admiration for or hatred toward my communication skill. How can an isolated person build a communication system like mine? In either case, I learned the power of communication from Syngman Rhee. You will enjoy reading the following article about Rhee's communication skill. Please continue reading.


Y.S.Kim (1995.12.2)

Rhee Seung-man'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 (1999.7.20)

In response to my previous article, a number of my friends asked me to introduce some of the ladies I met during my latest European trip. Yes, I met many men and women, and I will introduce one of them to you. I was on a SwissAir flight from Zurich to Chicago when I came home from Europe. I of course watched female flight attendants carefully, and noticed an Asian girl who appeared to be about 30 years old. When she was passing by I noticed her name tag with her name in English and also in the letters which King Sejong and his academicians invented 550 years ago. She became very happy when I showed her my Korean passport. She joined the SwissAir when the airline had scheduled flights between Zurich and Seoul. She has been on trans-Atlantic flights after the SwissAir discontinued its service to Seoul.

She was very kind to me presumably because she does not meet too many Koreans these days. She even brought to me a bag containing airline goodies including two minute wine bottles, chocolate bars, ball pens, peanut packs, and SwissAir postcards. If you like to meet her, take a SwissAir Zurich-Chicago flight and show her your Korean passport.

Yes, King Sejong's letters allow two Koreans to communicate with each other in a strange world. Indeed, King Sejong invented 28 phonetic characters in order to communicate with ordinary people who were mostly farmers. It took Koreans 400 years to appreciate his great work.

As I said in one of my earlier articles, Abraham Lincoln lost ten elections for various offices before he won his presidential election. The question then is how he was able to run again and again. Here is my theory. At his time, ninety percent of Americans were farmers. Before Lincoln, the farmers were not participants of America's democracy. Each time he lost election, Lincoln became isolated from the upper-class people with money and power. However, each time he lost, Lincoln was able to find new ways to communicate with the farmers. He did of course by raising the issues relevant to them, and using newly developing rapid-printing technology which later became the communication method known today as the newspaper. The most far-reaching issue with farmers was of course his land-grant college system.

Yesterday, I had a telephone conversation with Prof. Shoon Kyung Kim of Temple University. He was Onsagar's student at Yale University before most of you were born, and I respect him. He was the first president of an outfit known as KSEA (Korean Scientists and Engineers Association, or something like that). He told me he has no recollection of seeing me when KSEA held its first meeting in 1970. He was wondering why I am so active these days, while he does not hear too much about KSEA. I told him that the KSEA organizers disliked me because I had a communication skill, and that they totally isolated me from their Gamtu table. I told him further that I continued developing my communication skills and that my target of communication was younger people. Prof. Kim told me that he read with interest my previous article on Dr. Syngman Rhee and the importance of communication.

I know you do not want to learn anything from Koreans. You know how long Koreans refused to learn the simple letters from King Sejong. If you hate Dr. Rhee so much, learn the same lesson from Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was an American from whom you can learn everything without degrading yourself.


Y.S.Kim (1999.7.22)

The Twin City of Minneapolis and St. Paul is the home of the Univ. of Minnesota. This University has many international programs. If the U.S. governments wants to help academic institutions in distressed countries, it gives money to the Univ. of Minnesota to manage the programs. These days, UMN has an extensive exchange program with Russian institutions.

After the end of the Korean conflict (1953), the U.S. government funded UMN's program to help Korea. Koreans call this the sister relation between SNU and UMN. As a result many SNU professors visited the campus of UMN. I do not know the details about how this program worked, but I know one positive result of this exchange program.

These days, students use hand-held calculators when they take exams and do homeworks. Before 1975, they used to use slide rules. Do you know what the slide rule is? It consists of two parallel rulers with logarithmic scales. By moving one of the rules against the other, you can perform additions in length, but the logarithmic scale performs multiplications. Thus, you can perform speedy multiplications and divisions using the slide rule.

There were slide rules in Korea before 1950, but they were very expensive and were used only for demonstration purposes. However, the SNU professors visiting UMN noticed that every American student was using it. I met some of those professors, and they all said they were going to make the slide rules mandatory to their engineering students.

The slide rule culture came also through the Korean Army whose technology was imported from the U.S. Army. Park Chung-Hee was an artillery officer before becoming a general. You can understand why artillery men have to calculate things fast. Indeed, the slide rule was invented by an French artillery man 150 years ago. While he was the president, Park always carried this calculating machine, and used to give "kihap" to his economic planners whenever they were sloppy about the numbers. In later years, he carried a hand-held calculator.

I still have three slide rules. One of them is a pocket-sized slide rule which I used to bring when I go to Chinese restaurants with my friends. It was a convenient gadget for calculating the cost of dinner for each individual after adding the tip. In 1969, Korean physicists had a banquet during the April APS meeting held in Washington. The dinner took place at the historic Yenching Chinese restaurant on Connecticut Ave. At this dinner meeting, we used my slide rule to calculate the cost for each person.

The participants of this dinner meeting included Prof. Se Hee Ahn (president emirutus of Yonsei Univ.) and Prof. Chung Wook Kim who is now the president of KIAS. Somewhere in my house, there is a photo of all participants. I enjoy meeting people, especially Koreans. If you come to the Washington area, please do not hesitate to call me. I will buy you a drink.


Y.S.Kim (1999.8.7)

In my previous article, I compared Abraham Lincoln with our King Sejong. I stressed the fact that both were keenly interested in communicating with farmers in their respective countries. One of the readers sent me a different opinion, and he said Lincoln had a backing from an elite group called the Republican party with its root in newly emerging industrialists.

What he said is right, and what I said is also right. Because Lincoln was able to get the increasing number of votes from the farmers, the Republicans decided to put him up as their presidential candidate. If a political party is to be credible, it has to produce a president. Lincoln was the first Republican president. Was this enough?

We should raise this question because a political party collapses in Korea after producing one president. Then, how did the Republican party survive in the United States as a political institution?

These days, the U.S. federal government manages trillions of dollars collected from the incomes of individuals an corporations. However, until 1913, the federal government did not have power to collect income taxes. Its revenues came solely from the tariffs collected from foreign trades. Thus, in managing the war against the Southern army, Lincoln had to borrow money from the bankers from New York and Boston.

Those bankers paid large sums of money to chemical companies like DuPont for gun powders. Lincoln then had to pay back the debt to those bankers. The bankers' calculation was to take over the federal government upon default, as foreigners are taking over Korean companies these days. Those foreigners may take over the Korean government if we are careless, and we still seem to be careless.

Who paid back Lincoln's debts to the Northeastern bankers? It was the Republican party which was able to raise funds from the Midwestern industrialists. This is the reason why Americans cannot get rid of this party in spite of its political setbacks, like Nixon's Watergate. If a political party is to survive in Korea, it should give up the habit of exploiting the people after producing its president. The party should offer something positive to the people. This concept seems to be very strange among the educated elites in Korea.


Y.S.Kim (1999.9.4)

The purpose of this article is to stress again that Koreans have certain advantages in competing in the world scientific community. Unlike Japanese, Chinese, or Indians, we have the basic Bible knowledge. This enables us to get into the fabrics of the American community quickly and use the United States as the home base. As I said before, the super-constitution of the United States is the Gospel of Matthew (the first book of the New Testament).

There are in Korea many Christians, pseudo-Christians, and devoted non-believers. In any case, they all heard about how Jesus was born and how he was crucified. They also know about the role of Apostle Paul in spreading Christianity to the Aegean/Mediterranean world. There are many devoted Christians among the readers of my articles. They complain that I do not talk like a Christian but like a scientist or historian. However, they seem to understand that it is not the business of this network system to tell others how to believe in Jesus.

Today, I would like to talk about the city of Ephesus in connection with our scientific endeavor and in connection with our traditional Eastern values. I was fortunate enough to visit this city while I was in Turkey last month. Ephesus is located about 400 miles south of Istanbul, and is known to Koreans as "Ebeso" according to one of the Apostle Paul's letters in the New Testament.

Jesus was not born there, but Christians were able to build their first churches in the area surrounding the city of Ephesus according to the Revelation to John in the new Testament which was written in 96 AD. In the following, I will write my own version of Chapter 19 of the Acts in the New Testament and other articles which I have read in the past.

Ephesus was one of the major cities during the Hellenic era which lasted from 1000 BC to 500 AD. It had a population of 250,000 (comparable with Seoul's population in 1930). There was an inner harbor connecting to the Aegean Sea, and this made Ephesus as one of the commercial centers of the world. Because of the receding Aegean Sea, the harbor disappeared and the city became isolated. To make things worse, there were a series of earthquakes like the one they had last month. By 500 AD, Ephesus was completely ruined and abandoned.

There are still many interesting remains in the city. One of them is the library building. In order to maintain the citizenship (privileged status), Ephesians had to go the library regularly to acquire new knowledge. However, not all of them were interested in reading books. They constructed a "Kisaeng" house across the street. After the day's work, the citizens had a tendency to entertain themselves at the Kisaeng house. When they came home late in the evening, they used to tell their wives they were in the library. In order to avoid the eyes of their suspicious wives who were watching them on the street, they built an underpass connecting the library and the Kisaeng house. Very clever people indeed!

The social order of Ephesus was based on their pagan idol called Artemis known as the goddess of fertility. Its statue is decorated with eggs and all kinds of animals. Apparently Ephesians worshiped this idol as the goddess giving life to every living creature including human beings. In order to worship their idol, they built huge temple bigger than the Parthenon in Athens. Ephesians also built a huge amphitheater accommodating up to 30,000 people. The temple does not exist now, but the amphitheater is still there.

In 55 AD, there appeared a strange Jewish man named Paul. He came to Ephesus to preach his new religion. He was interested in giving a lecture at the amphitheater, but he said beforehand "gods made by human hands are not gods" (Acts 19:26). This was a great insult to their idol Artemis. The crowd at the amphitheater was about to kill Paul. He narrowly escaped the death and left the city.

In 64 AD, Paul published in his lecture note even though he was not allowed to deliver the lecture at the amphitheater. It is known today as The Apostle Paul's Epistle to Ephesians in the New Testament. If you a Christian and read the Ephesian, you are OK. If you are a devoted non-Christian and refuse to read the Bible, you are also OK. In his Epistle (letter) to Ephesians, Paul preaches Confucianism. The point is that if you are raised and educated properly in Korea, you are all set to get into the core of the American society and compete well with the people of the world. As I said repeatedly before, preserving your own traditional values is the only way to get into the world.

I spent nearly five hours to write this article. I put this much effort because I am talking about myself. I am a research physicist and I did my original works during the periods 1973-76 (having to do with Feynman) and 1981-83 (having to do with Wigner). The reaction from the scientific community was extremely hostile to what I said in my papers. Yet, it is my responsibility to make my ideas known to the world. At my age, it is burdensome to travel so often to foreign lands. When I meet the people there, they are not always friendly to me. Indeed, Apostle Paul has been a great inspiration to me.

Wisdom of Korea (1999, September -- December)


Y.S.Kim (1999.9.5)

When I was in Moscow in 1995, I spent one afternoon in a Mercedes-Benz driven by one of my Russian friends. It was a very pleasant drive, and my friend explained to me what happened in Moscow since the fall of the Soviet Union. She told me to look at a building and told me it is the main office of the Bank of Moscow, but it used to be the KGB headquarters during the Soviet era. I then asked her whether they do the same KGB-like business in the bank. She laughed and said I understood the point. The same business by the same people! The only difference is the name of the building.

I noticed also many expensive-looking passenger cars. They were all crimson-colored (somewhat red). I asked my friend whether those cars were made in Russia. She laughed again and said "they are Lincoln Continentals made in your country." She was assuming that I am an American citizen. I knew about the Lincoln Continental and knew also that the president's car is a Continental donated by Ford Motor Company. Presumably there are also Continentals on American roads, but I only look for Korean made cars, such as Hyundai and Kia.

Traditionally, Russians like red color. The word "red" is "krasnaya" in Russian. This word means also "good." I assume this is the reason why all Continentals in Russia are crimson-colored. Those Continentals in Moscow are owned by Russia's new riches created by their economic chaos.

I and my wife spent last Sunday and Monday (August 29 and 30) in New York City, and we visited the 32nd Street between Broadway and the Fifth Avenue. This section of the 32nd Street is lined with Korean restaurants. Very rich "eat-up and drink-up" place. We ate well at one of those fine restaurants and were about to walk along the Sixth Street to our hotel on the 52nd Street.

When we came out, a gentle-looking Korean man approached us and asked us whether we need a taxi. I was puzzled because New York taxi cabs are all yellow-colored, and he was without a taxi. We did not need a taxi service, but, for curiosity, I asked him where his taxi is. He then opened the door of an over-sized car. It was a Lincoln Continental. We politely declined his offer, but it was a strange experience for us. We then decided to do some research and looked around. Alas, the entire street was lined with black-colored Continentals waiting for Korean riders.

I then asked a Korean businessman familiar with Korean affairs in New York. He told me that there are about thirty call-taxi companies in New York owned by Koreans for Korean customers, and they all operate with fleets of Lincoln Continentals. Korean visitors to New York do not want to ride on any car cheaper than the Continental. He said Koreans like black-colored Continentals because they look expensive and dignified.

I do not have to continue my story because we all know what our Korean problem is. My grandfather was a rich man because he never spent money on anything other than the education of his sons (my uncle and my father), and I try to imitate him. Americans are rich because they do not spend money recklessly. Becoming rich by not spending is one of the Korean values which I inherited from my grand-daddy. If you wish to get into the fabric of the American community, you should manage your money like Americans or like my grandfather who was a true Korean.


Y.S.Kim (1999.9.7)

I spent the weekend of June 26 and 27 (1999) in Moscow while visiting for ten days the Institute of High Energy Physics at Protvino about 100 kilometers south of Moscow. They say the mayor of Moscow is politically ambitious and manages the city well, and I could see the evidence. The streets are much cleaner than before, and the city now seems to have an air-pollution control.

As you might have expected, I had lady hostesses on both days. I spent the Sunday (June 26) with Dr. Iraida Kim who is a research professor of Astronomy at Moscow State University. She is a Russian citizen with Korean ancestry. Her grandparents were forced to come to Kazakhstan from the Vladivostok area during the Stalin era. She should be and is very proud of the way in which she reached her position at the Sternberg Astronomical Institute of MSU, but she asked me not to tell detailed stories about her family. She is a very modest lady.

As an astronomer, she is a popular figure among Korean astronomers. We had an appointment to meet in front of Moscow's Ho Chi Ming statue near the Akadeichekaya subway station at 10:30 in the morning. From there, we walked toward the Lomonosov (main) campus of Moscow State University. After having a lunch in the main building (called the Stalin tower), we felt the outside weather was unusually hot and decided to take a boat ride along the Moscow River. The Lomonosov campus is located at the top of a steep cliff about 100 meters high on the bank of the River.

It was indeed a romantic experience to climb down the cliff, because grown-up people do not do this kind of thing. While walking down, we saw many teenagers who might have thought we were crazy Kitaisky (Chinese) old people. Then we took a boat and spent the rest of the afternoon on the river. While on the boat, she asked me many questions about my background and asked me about my wife. I also asked similar questions to her with one question in mind: how those Koreans were able to come to Moscow starting from the most under-privileged places, such as Kazakhstan and Uzkeckistan. According to Iraida, there are many Korean professionals, such as medical doctors, engineers, computer scientists, and merchants working in the Moscow area.

In general, the first generation Koreans in Kazakhstan developed the lands and became exemplary farmers. Many of the second generation Koreans were able to penetrate into the bureaucracy of the Soviet Communist Party. This was the crucial step for them to make their advancements in the tightly-knit Russian society. How then were they able to swim through the Gamtu tables of the Communist Party? According to what I heard from Iraida Kim and other Koreans in Russia, they practiced the Korean ethics and etiquettes which they inherited from their parents and grandparents.

As I repeatedly said in my earlier articles, we can use the Korean values to penetrate into the Christian world. Apparently, the same Korean values worked well even in the Communist world. If you have difficulties in getting into a strange world, go back to your own Korean values and to try again. It certainly worked well for me.


Y.S.Kim (1999.9.8)

I received several e-mails asking the following questions.

  1. I seem to travel to different places in the world. Do I meet only women? Do I ever talk to men or boys?

  2. Do I travel for pleasure or business? If business, what business?
These questions are fully justified, and it will be my pleasure to explain what I am doing in my business. I am a professor of physics, and my job is to construct coherent physical theories. However, in this article, I am talking also to those who are not physicists. This is not an easy article to write.

As you know, relativity and quantum mechanics are two most important physical theories formulated in this century. Since they were developed quite independently, we still do not know whether these two theories are consistent with each other. I am keenly interested in making these two theories compatible with each other.

Let us start with Einstein's E = mc^{2}. To politicians this formula means nuclear bombs. To scientists like you and myself, it is the energy-momentum relation for relativistic particles. We write this as E = \sqrt{m^{2} + p^{2}}. If the particle is slow, this formula becomes E = p^{2}/2m (Newtonian), and E = cp if the particle is massless or moves with a speed close to the speed of light. Thus, Einstein's E = mc^{2} gives a unified formula for the energy-momentum relation for slow and fast particles.

Einstein produced this result in 1905 for point particles: particles without internal space-time structures. Quantum mechanics was formulated in 1927. The study of atomic spectra using quantum mechanics led physicists to conclude that elections and protons have internal angular momenta called "spins." In 1954, Hofstadter's high-energy experiment showed that the proton is not a point particle but has an internal space-time extension with a non-zero radius.

It is generally agreed that E = mc^{2} will remain valid even for the particles with internal space-time structures. However, is it possible to give a relativistic description of the internal space-time structures. Indeed, these days, we have different sets of dynamical variables for massive and massless particles. They are all quantum mechanical variables. If we believe in Einstein, they should be unified into one relativistic form. This is what my business is about. I am very happy to say that I published many papers on this subject with my Korean colleagues, namely Daesoo Han and Dongchul Son.

In order to do the above-mentioned research, we need a mathematical device called the Poincar\'e group. Traditionally, Russians are very strong on this subject. These days, a Russian physicist named Anatoly Logunov is energetically advocating the Poincar\'e group. It is thus quite natural for him to invite me to his place. He is now the director of the Institute of High-Energy Physics in Protivino. He was the president of Moscow State University when Korea and the Soviet Union opened the diplomatic relation, and became the first Soviet citizen to be admitted to Korea (with Visa No. 1). When I met him in June, he showed me his watch carrying the word "Kim Dae Jung." We laughed, and he told me he would like to visit Korea again. Some of you will recall that I wrote an article about him in 1997, and I will attach the article for your entertainment.

Please read the following interesting article.


Y.S.Kim (1997.12.9)

People talk about my weaknesses and make accusations. Some of them are true. Perhaps my most serious weakness is that I am not able to forgive my personal enemies, quite contrary to the teaching of Jesus.

But some of you make false accusations. It is often said that I copied my initials (YS) from someone else. This is false. I was introduced to the physics world as YS in 1961. See my first published paper, Phys. Rev. Lett. Vol. 6, 313 (1961). I was a graduate student then.

In 1978, a hard-nosed Korean freedom fighter was visiting the United State, and was taking a nap in one of the fifth-floor rooms at Washington's Shoreham Hotel. While he was resting, in the same hotel building, the Korean Ambassador was hosting a big reception where many Korean and American VIPs were invited.

Next day, Korean newspaper reporters asked the freedom fighter why he did come to the reception. He became annoyed and said he did not know anything about the event. He said further he could not understand why the leader of the opposition party should be excluded from the national event like that. He paused for a moment and said "YS is not a bad guy." The YS he was referring to was Ambassador Kim Yong-Shik.

Indeed, this second YS (Kim Yong-Shik) was a career diplomat and was well known among Koreans in the United States and Europe. He was and still is in my father's age. He used to become very happy whenever I and my friends told him that he has very nice-looking daughters. He was indeed a very kind person and was always willing to talk with fellow Koreans. He was definitely not a "bad guy" even though Park Chung Hee thoroughly hated the above-mentioned freedom fighter.

The reporters quickly noted that the freedom fighter also deserved a YS title. This is how the third YS or Y3 emerged in 1978. How can the first YS of 1961 copy the name from the third YS of 1978?

In 1984 or 1985, the Korean Ambassador was Kim Kyung-Won, and the leader of the opposition party was Lee Min-Woo. When Mr. Lee came to Washington, the Ambassador went to the Dulles International Airport to greet him. Indeed, it was one of the happiest events for Koreans in the United States.

I met Dr. Kim Kyung-Won in 1951 when we were together in high school. He used to tell stories about how British MPs (MP = member of Parliament) conduct their business. He later studied at Harvard and got his PhD degree there. He simply practiced what he learned in school. We learn many and enough good things in school. Why do we not practice them? Mainly because many unknown Koreans practiced good things in the past, we made a substantial progress in democracy since 1978.

By now, you should know that the first YS (myself) is also a hard-nosed man. In my first YS paper of 1961, I say quite bluntly that A. A. Logunov was wrong. Who is Logunov? In 1961, he was an active Soviet researcher, but he later became the president of Moscow State University. When we established diplomatic relation with Russia in 1991, Korea started issuing entry visas to Russians. Academician Logunov was the first Russian to get the Korean visa with Visa No. 1.

In 1992, Logunov visited the University of Maryland, I was introduced to him by one of my colleagues. He seemed to remember the 1961 event, and was not friendly to me. When I ask whether Logunov is like King Herod to my Russian friends, they laugh and say that "Herod" is a very appropriate title for him. When I go to Russia next time, I intend to bring copies of my first YS paper and give to my friends. They will laugh.

In 1946, I came from the North to South because I was afraid of those Soviet troops. These days, I can kihap Russian physicists. You would agree that, in spite of all those unpleasant newspaper stories, Korea made some progress. We should of course do more.


Y.S.Kim (1999.9.8)

There is a new visitor from Bulgaria in my research group. As you might have expected, she is a lady physicist. She is young but is a mother of two children who are very excited to go to the school in America. Yesterday, I arranged her ID card with the University and had a lunch together. While talking with her, I thought about my high-school days and asked her to tell me about the high-school life she had in Bulgaria.

She told me the most unusual aspect of her high-school life was to go through military training. I then asked what kind of rifle she used. She does not remember the model name, but she knew that it was a long rifle from the Soviet Union. She said there was a foldable bayonet attached to the rifle. I asked whether a red pin sticks out in the back of the bolt when the rifle is ready to fire. She said Yes. I then asked whether the ammo magazine sticks down and makes the front portion of the trigger fence. She said Yes.

Her rifle was one of the Mosin-Nagant rifles which Russians used from 1891 to 1947. After developing their Kalashnikov model (AK47) in 1947, Russians gave their Mosin-Nagants to their satellite countries. In 1950, North Korean troops came down to the South with Mosin-Nagants and Shapagine machine pistols (known to us as Dabal-Chong). In addition, they had T-34 tanks and numerous heavy guns. As you know, they stormed the South swiftly, and the final battles took place during the month of August (1950) at Dabudong (north of Tague) and in the city of Young-Chun.

According to General Kang Moon-Bong, who was the brain of the Korean (South) Army at that time, North Koreans made a fatal mistake by diverting their two elite army divisions to the Honam area, thus diluting their strength at the Taegu and Young-chun operations. He used to claim that he tricked the NK planners to do so, but his army colleagues were reluctant to give him the credit. In either case, those two NK divisions moved shiftily to the southern end of the peninsula and were rapidly marching toward Masan and Pusan along the southern coast.

Who stopped those two NK divisions at the western end of Masan? I was in Chinhae at that time and was able to see American war planes firing rockets from the sky. On the ground, there were troops from the 25th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. What is then so special about the 25th Division?

This Division had one all-black regiment, but those Afro-American soldiers became integrated into white units, and white Americans were transferred into the black regiment. The racial integration of this Division was acheived in a short period, with drastically elevated morale for all soldiers. Indeed, the 25th Division set the example for the rest of the U.S.Army. Yes, during World War II, many black Americans fought well in Europe and in the Pacific fronts. But their units were segregated from their white comrades. It was President Harry Truman, after 1945, who initiated the integration in the armed forces, and he completed the process during the Korean conflict (1950-53). Like those who fought in the Masan front, black Americans proved themselves to be loyal Americans during the period starting from the Pearl Harbor day (December 1941) to the end of the Korean conflict (1953).

Black Americans were not the only segregated soldiers during World War II. There was a battalion of Americans of Japanese origin. Those Japanese-Americans fought very bravely in Italy, while their parents and loved ones were interned in the camps in Wyoming. As you know, Americans had a strong racial hatred toward Japanese until the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

The United States is not a perfect country, but Americans can be proud of many things other than being rich. One of them is their achievements in equal rights for all Americans. However, remember this. Americans did not get them free but they fought for them. I hope to continue my stories along this line in my future articles.


Y.S.Kim (1999.9.9)

Whenever I meet SNU graduates, I bombard them with strong negative words on the university they are so proud of. This is well known among Korean engineers and scientists. But this is not known among graduates of SNU's College of Law whom I seldom meet. About ten month ago, I met a young lawyer from SNU together with Korean scientists. As usual, I cursed SNU and said the lawyers from SNU are all bandits.

The young lawyer asked me several sharp questions, and I answered them all. He then asked me whether I read Korean newspapers. I said Yes. He noted that the Korean newspapers talk only about bandits and admitted that there are many graduates of SNU's Law College among those whose names appear in the newspapers. The young lawyer told me there are also many whose names do not appear, and they constitute the absolute majority. Those lawyers are not bandits, he said.

I then became very friendly to him and asked him several questions. I said Korean laws came from the "six laws" of Japan written by Itoh Hiro-umi (Yi-deung Bak-Moon), the most hated person in Korea, and that Korean scholars used to follow the Continental style. I then asked whether the 50 years of American influence changed the Korean philosophy of law. The young lawyer then said YES. I then asked him whether it is good or bad. He said it was good. He gave the following explanation.

The Continental (French-German) style seeks rigorous interpretations of what are written in the law books while the Anglo-American style relies more on the social orders and earlier examples. Thus, the Anglo-American style is more compatible with Korean society which is changing everyday. This is the reason why Korean law scholars have been turning toward the American system. The difficult task is to track how the society is making its evolution.

I am not an expert on legal issues, but I have witnessed the evolution which has been taking place in the U.S. since I came to this country in 1954. The most impressive aspect is that Americans are able to give interpretations of their laws according to what they observe in the real world. As I said before, the Gospel of Matthews is the super-constitution of the United States. Without changing a single word in the Gospel, some Americans (not majority yet) came up with an idea that Jesus was born in a rich family. I am one of those who believe in this interpretation.

Likewise, the "equal right" for all citizens went through many different stages. For instance, American women were not allowed to vote until after World War I. The United States is not a single- race country, and how to maintain the "equal right" for all races has been the most important issue in American democracy. In my opinion, Americans did very well in approaching this problem thanks to their judicial system.

The "equal right" issue affects Koreans in the U.S., but we do not understand the fundamentals of this problem. This is one of the reasons why Korean cannot reach higher positions in the United States. I will continue the story in my future articles.


Y.S.Kim (1999.9.10)

During the Independence War, George Washington had to rely on military specialists from European countries. In front of the White House, there is a rectangular area called the Lafayette Park. At the southeastern corner, there is a statue of Lafayette who was a general from France and whose name is well known to us all. At the northeastern corner, there is a statue of Thaddeus Kosciuszko. General Kosciuszko came from Poland and served as the commander of the Engineering Corps in George Washington's army. When Poland was invaded by Russia, he went back to Poland to fight for his country.

Before returning to Poland, he sold all the properties he had, and with the money he collected, he bought 300 black slaves and free them all. The anti-slavery sentiment was contained in the sentence "All men are created equal." Eighty years later, Abraham Lincoln had enough political muscle to abolish the slave system, but Americans had to go through a costly civil war. Toward the end of the 19th century, black Americans started sending their children to public schools. The question then was whether the children from white American families were going to share the same class room with the black children.

In order to solve this problem, Americans invented the doctrine of "at different places but equal right," and many local and state governments adopted laws favoring school segregation. But nobody had enough courage to question openly whether the school segregation is consistent with the constitution of the United States until 1954. I came to this country in 1954, and I have many things to say about what happened in the United States since then.

In 1975, Park Chung Hee's son was going to take an entrance exam to high school. At that time, the education minister was Min Kwan Shik. In order to make his boss happy, he abolished the high-school entrance exam. Many people say that this ruined Korea's educational system because all the high schools became equally bad. I disagree. Perhaps Mr. Min's motivation was ill founded, but you know my attitude toward Korea's elitism. The basic trouble with Korea's elites is that they become separated from the average Koreans once they become educated. They then exploit their own people while identifying themselves with American or Japanese.

These days, the most urgent problem in Korea's educational system is to eliminate this elitism at the college level. Some people think we can achieve this by abolishing college entrance exams, but I disagree. The solution is for our young people to learn how to compete in the world. I would venture to say that this is what Israelis are doing, and is what our young elites refuse to do. While competing in the world, Israel's elites develop a strong desire to be on the side of their own people. Let us look at our athletes. They are doing well in international competition, and they are all patriots.

In my future articles, I will talk about what happened in the United States in 1954 and its consequences Americans are still experiencing. I was a participant of this evolutionary process.


Y.S.Kim (1999.9.16)

You will recall that I wrote two articles about General Matthew Ridgeway, and that recirculated them in recent months. He came to Korea after the Christmas of 1950 and supervised the 1.4 retreat which was completed on January of 1951. On that day, the U.S. Army engineers blew up the single-lane pontoon bridge connecting Mapo and Yeoyido. This bridge, supported by floating aluminium boats, was the only road-way through which motor vehicles could come to the south. I crossed the bridge on a GMC truck during the first week of December.

According to his book entitled "The Korean War," Ridgeway acted as the traffic controller of this fragile bridge at its northern end. There he saw a number of heavy-weight British tanks coming, but he allowed them to pass. He said he knew those tanks exceeded the weight limit of the bridge. This means that he instantly compared the two numbers and came to the judgment. He definitely was thinking like an engineer.

Indeed, fresh graduates of the West Point Military Academy become second lieutenants but they also carry bachelor's degrees in engineering. West Point is not the only engineering school in the world. There are many MIT graduates in Korea. It is generally agreed that the engineers from Hanyang University played the most important role during Korea's economic developments since 1965.

Every engineering product has its performance limit. As Ridgeway noted, a bridge has its weight limit. This limit applies not only to the finished products, but also every component, and material used in the component. Koreans are very sloppy about safety margins allowed by those limits.

In March of this year, I met one of the prominent Korean civil engineers. He was my high-school classmate and entered SNU's Engineering College with me. He was going to be a civil engineer while I was going to be an electrician. Since I came to the U.S. during my freshman year in 1954, we had not seen each other for forty five years. We of course had many things to talk about.

According to him, Korean civil engineers were treated very nicely when Park Chung-Hee was in charge of the country. My friend was very modest, but it appears that he had a glamorous life. He told me he worked on many important construction projects, and he also had a good Gamtu life. But he said he has one regret. If God allows him to live his life again, he would never make compromise in safety margins in construction projects. In terms of this safety ethics, he said Korea is still an underdeveloped country. He was of course comparing Korea with the United States.

He was right. Korean engineers are properly trained to realize the importance of safety margins, but they often make compromises due to pressure from the management. They realize it is dangerous, but they cannot speak out because they have to eat and feed their families. Fortunately, my job will not be in jeopardy even if I circulate this mail.

My friend also told me he once visited my house while we were both freshmen at SNU. At that time, he saw a black-boxed electronic gadget in my study/bed room, with a trademark "Helicopter." Close enough! It was a short-wave radio manufactured by an American company named "Hallicrafters," which was a major supplier of communication gadgets to the armed forces of the U.S. during World War II. The model I had then was S-50. I now have its vacuum-tube model S-108 which I bought in 1964. It still works well.

According to my friend, I was quite excited about an English program I picked up from Beijing the night before. Presumably it was illegal at that time to listen to programs from communist countries. I also picked up signals from democratic countries, such as Britain and the United States. The British programs were coming from transmitters from Australia, and American programs were from a transmitter in California.

I think it was May 18 (1994). The American program sounded as if there was a revolution in the United States. The program repeated said the word "Supreme Court." Frankly, I did not what that was all about. I have been in the U.S. for 45 years since then, and I am still finding about the "revolution" which took place in 1954. I will continue the story next time.


Y.S.Kim (1999.9.17)

In my previous article, I stated that I got an impression from my short-wave radio that a revolution was taking place in the U.S. during the latter part of May (1994). The radio sounded as if the Supreme Court was taking over the government of the United States. This event is now known as the Supreme Court Ruling on Brown v. School Board.

Let me explain the background of this historic event. George Wallace was the life-time governor of the State of Alabama and was the last hard-nosed segregationist. He ran for the president of the United States in 1968. He used to claim that he was the best friend of black Americans. His reasoning was that, while he was the governor of Alabama, he dedicated himself to the education of black Americans. He built many schools for black children and many vocational schools for black Americans who needed news skills for better jobs. However, the other side of his logic was that he worked so hard in order to keep black Americans in separate schools.

Indeed, since 1896, the doctrine of "separate but equal" had been the basic principle of the American school system. In 1953, a black boy named Brown attempted to enter an all-white high school in Topeka, Kansas, but was rejected by the city's school board. I am still trying to find more about this black boy including his first name but he somehow disappeared from history. In any case, Brown challenged the decision of the school board and went all the way to the Supreme Court. In May of 1954, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the school segregation is unconstitutional, according to the 14th Amendment of the Constitution which was adopted in 1868, three years after Lincoln died.

The title of this Amendment is "Rights of Citizens," and it starts with: Section 1. Citizenship defined. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Of course, there were stiff resistances to this Supreme Court ruling. In September of 1954, six black students attempted to attend an all-white high school (called Central High School) in Little Rock, Arkansas, but white students threatened them with violence. President Eisenhower had to send armed federal troops to protect them.

At that time, I was a freshman at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now called Carnegie-Mellon Unv.), and there were no black students on campus. The armed troops in Little Rock did not have anything to do with me. Furthermore, we (Koreans) are not black Americans. What does the "Brown v. School Board" have to do with Koreans? I will address this question in future articles.


Y.S.Kim (1999.9.20)

When I write about Japan, I talk with my Japanese friends. When I write about the U.S, I talk with my American friends. I told them the other day the story I told you: I was listening to the U.S. from Korea using my short-wave radio, and I got an impression that the Supreme Court was taking over the U.S. government in May of 1954. My American friends who were in the U.S. at that time told me they felt in the same way. They said there were many cars bumper stickers saying "Impeach Warren!" or "Impeach Earl Warren!"

Who was Earl Warren? Before answering this question, I have to tell you that these Americans in 1954 were not the first ones who were afraid of the Supreme Court. Thomas Jefferson was one of the founding fathers and the third president (1801-1809) of the United States. He too was afraid of the Supreme Court, according to his unpublished memoir.

John Adams was the second president of the U.S. (1797-1801). In order to prolong his influence on the U.S. government, he appointed his secretary of state (prime minister at that time) to be the chief justice of the Supreme Court. His name was John Marshall. He was sworn in five days before the presidential power was transferred to Thomas Jefferson. John Marshall was the chief justice of the Supreme Court for thirty five years (1801-1835).

One can write a book about Marshall's accomplishments, but I only know how to talk like Koreans. He was brilliant and highly educated. In addition, he served in George Washington's army and had a rich administrative experience. Indeed, he was personally strong enough to give "kihap" to all politicians in Washington. He did this under the name of the U.S. Constitution. He is the one who established the himself as the Guardian of the Constitution. He also established the the supremacy of his Supreme Court over all state and local courts. This is the reason why American politicians are still afraid of the laws as interpreted by the Supreme Court.

Earl Warren was the chief justice of the Supreme Court in 1954. I will tell you more about him next time. In the meantime, let us turn our attention to Korea's judicial system. I often say that Korea's ministry of science and technology is as ineffective as the ministry of defense at the time of the Imjin Japanese invasion. Worse than the science/technology ministry is the judicial branch of the Korean government.

Does the chief justice exist in Korea? If so, he should be strong enough to kihap our politicians. He should also be able to defend Korea's Constitution. This kind of idea is very strange to Koreans, and Koreans are not likely to produce a character like John Marshall in a foreseeable future. In the meantime, Korea's democracy will be adrift. Is there a cure to this problem?

There are many Koreans in the Washington area, and some of them observe carefully Korean politicians visiting this capital city. These days, there is a saying that, if a North Korean politician wants to become the president or whatever of NK, he will have to come to Washington to get a permission. This has been true for (south) Korean presidential candidates for sometime, but this is not needed because Americans routinely grant permissions to them as long as they show their pro- American inclination.

What Koreans need is to send their candidates for the Korean chief justice to Washington to get approval from judicial authorities of the U.S. With this permission of the United States, the Korean chief justice will be strong enough to give kihap to Korean politicians. How does this sound to you as a way of improving Korea's democracy?


Y.S.Kim (1999.9.22)

In 1936, Joseph Stalin arrested all Koreans in the Vladivostok area and sent them to wild lands of Kazakhstan and Uzbeckistan. He did this out of his fear that those Koreans might cooperate with Japanese troops who might move into the Soviet territory. We all know how those Koreans were treated by Soviet authorities during and after their long journey to Central Asia.

After the Pearl Harbor incident in December of 1941, Americans were afraid of Japanese troops who might land on the Pacific coasts of the United States. Americans thought the Americans of Japanese origin would offer cooperations to the invading Japanese troops. The U.S. government thus decided to move all Japanese Americans in California and other Pacific-coast states to a restricted area in Wyoming. It is safe to assume that those Japanese were treated far better than the Koreans in the Soviet Union. Yet, the philosophy was the same. Quite understandably, Americans do not wish to talk about this infamous page of their history.

The state government of California was responsible for locating the Japanese Americans in California and sending them to Wyoming. It is possible that some government official enjoyed arresting those "Japs," but some of them knew that it was unconstitutional to force those citizens to move against their own wills.

Earl Warren was born as the son of railroad worker and studied at the Univ. of California law school at Berkeley. He served as the attorney general of California from 1939 to 1943. Warren then became the governor of the state and served three terms until 1953.

In 1953, Dwight Eisenhower became the president and the Republican Party took over the government. Traditionally, the Republican Party is supported by conservative well-to-do Americans, and they do not like radical changes in their life style. In other words, they wanted to keep America segregated. Eisenhower was a popular figure because he was likely to become a "do-nothing" president and was highly unlikely to shake up the social fabric of the United States. In September of 1953, Eisenhower nominated a man like himself to the position of chief justice. His name was Earl Warren. Warren was sworn in October of 1953.

In less than eight months, Warren's Supreme Court made the land-mark ruling on the school integration (called Brown v. Board of Education) in May of 1954. This revolutionary ruling was totally inconsistent with Warren's political philosophy and with his life style. Also, during the short period of eight months, it was not possible for Warren to establish himself as a strong leader.

Of course there are many theories to explain this contradiction. The theory I like best is that Americans were waking up from their deep isolationism, and this is the reason why Warren was able to remain as the chief justice until he retired in 1969. I hope to continue my story along this line in my future articles.

Another contributing factor was Warren's deep conviction in the rights of citizens. While he was a key member of the state government of California, he witnessed, if not participated directly, the internment of Japanese Americans during the Pacific War. To him, this was a clear violation of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court ruling of 1954 was not simply a matter of black and white Americans. Although in a passive way, the Japanese Americans played a catalytic role in this revolution. We sometimes like Japanese and sometimes dislike them. In the world, especially in the race issues, they are our fellow Asians.


Y.S.Kim (1999.9.24)

I received many responses to my recent articles dealing with race relations in the United States. In order to clarify my position, I I would first like to show you a well-written article on this issue forwarded to me from one of my Korean friends in Los Alamos. Even though I agree with the author of this article, I would like to stress that there are additional dimensions to consider. I will add my comments at the end of this article.

Are You In The Chinese Air Force?

by Ted W. Lieu (US Air Force captain)
[Saturday, June 19, 1999, Washington Post, Page A19]

"Are you in the Chinese Air Force?" the elegantly dressed lady sitting next to me asked. For a moment I was left speechless. We were at an awards dinner, and I was wearing my blue U.S. Air Force uniform, complete with captain's bars, military insignia and medals. Her question jarred me and made me realize that even Air Force blue was not enough to reverse her initial presumption that people with yellow skin and Asian features are somehow not Americans.

Unfortunately, this was not just an isolated incident. And now in the wake of the rising tensions between the United States and China, we must be even more vigilant to ensure that Asian Americans are not caught in the cross-fire.

I have had strangers come up to me and attempt to mimic the Chinese language in a derogatory manner. I have been told countless times that I speak "good" English. I have been asked why someone like me would be interested in watching NFL football. On any given day, if I walk around with a camera, I will be mistaken for a tourist from Asia.

Most of the discrimination I have encountered centered on the view that I am not a part of this great nation, even though I grew up in Ohio, graduated from law school in Washington, D.C., and received my commission in the U.S. Air Force in 1991.

Sometimes the discrimination is subtler than a blatant headline or a hate crime, but it still can be insidious. After the bombing of the Chinese Embassy, a news station sent a reporter to get "the Chinese American response." It was clear the reporter was attempting to elicit some sort of anti-American sentiment. The erroneous presumption, however, is that Chinese Americans are somehow linked to the government or nation of China. This subtle linkage, when carried to an extreme, is the same insidious rationale that justified the interning of thousands of Japanese Americans during World War II. And when Asian Americans are improperly linked to a foreign country, that linkage fundamentally calls into question our loyalty.

I fear this burden of having to prove our loyalty will only increase in the wake of the Cox committee's report. I do not know whether Wen Ho Lee, the Chinese American scientist who was fired from Los Alamos National Laboratory, is guilty of espionage. But I do know that the more than 300,000 Asian American scientists, and the more than 10 million Asian Americans in this country, are not guilty of anything more than having an Asian surname.

A recent news article reported that an Asian American lab employee was asked if he had "dual loyalties"; that snickering broke out when an Asian American was introduced to lead a session on computer security; and that many Asian American scientists now express fear that they will face discrimination on the job.

America is a nation founded by immigrants and built on the ideal that anyone can be an American if he or she believes in the principles and values of the Constitution. Indeed, the Vietnamese American immigrant who does not yet speak "good" English but is starting a small business and believes in freedom and democracy is much more American than a fifth-generation white separatist who blew up a federal building because he had a problem with federalism.

Let us also never forget the Japanese American soldiers of the 442nd infantry battalion, the most highly decorated combat unit in World War II, who gave their blood to this country while their families were kept in American internment camps.

It is time to reverse the irrational and insidious presumption that Asian Americans are foreigners, have dual loyalties or are somehow linked to the government of a foreign country.

As an officer in the U.S. Air Force, one day I may be called to give my life for my country. It would be a shame if some people still question what I mean when I say "my country."

The writer is an Air Force captain.

Y.S.Kim's comment on the above article: Everything he says is correct. But there are two basic components he forgot to mention.

He has every reason to be proud of a captain of the U.S. Air Force, and the United States has given him this opportunity. He seems to have a great future in the Air Force. Indeed, he is the least discriminated Americans.

Next, what is wrong with being called a Chinese? China has been, still is, and will be a great country. He should be proud of his Chinese background. He should also extract wisdom from his Chinese heritage and contribute it the United States which, from the cultural point of view, is a great melting pot.


Y.S.Kim (1999.9.27)

The city of Vienna has many music halls. One of them is called "Musikverein." In this hall, on every new year's eve, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra presents a waltz concert, and its recorded program is broadcast to the world during the first week of January every year. In the United States, the educational TV channel carries this program. In Korea, KBS TV relays the program narrated by an English-speaking gentleman. Do you know who the narrator is?

His name is Walter Cronkite. He became the anchorman of the CBS news in 1962 and extended his nightly news program from 15 to 30 minutes, and is known as the pioneer of the TV news program. Before 1962, he narrated the CBS documentary series called "Twentieth Century." In one of the programs, he dealt with how the communists took over China in 1949, and he showed several battle scenes. As you might have guessed, I still become quite excited when I watch hot combats on TV or cinema screens.

In my opinion, the greatest battle of the 20th century took place in China. In 1949, one million soldiers of Mao's communist army were crossing the Yangtze (Yang-ja) River. They were on hand-pedaled wooden platforms, moving slowly toward the south. Some of the platforms were hit by artillery fires from Chiang Kai-Shek's Kuo-min-Tang army, but the slow but massive momentum of Mao's "human wave" was not altered. To me, this was the greatest motion-picture scene of the 20th Century.

Walter Cronkite concluded this program by saying "the fall of China to communists was the greatest defeat of the free world in the 20th Century." At that time, it was my understanding that China's new government created in 1949 meant China returning to Chinese. This had nothing to do with a gain or loss to the "free world" which did not include China. In 1960, I was not allowed to say this to my American friends. These days, I do not have to tell them because they all know this.

In 1945, after the second world war, the United States was the only country properly functioning as a nation, and was the only country with nuclear weapons. It was quite natural for Americans to think the entire world would come to them to kneel down. However, four later, the Soviet Union exploded a nuclear bomb, and Japan's Yukawa Hideki got the Nobel prize in physics. To non-physicists, physics those days meant nuclear bombs. In addition to the loss of China, Americans lost their nuclear monopoly in 1949.

Indeed, in 1949, Americans had to wake up from their deep isolationism and had to face the real world. This was a big revolution to them. As a consequence, the Truman administration of the Democratic Party selected a man named John Foster Dulles. His first assignment was to arrange a peace treaty with Japan. He visited Korea one week before June 25, 1950. In 1953, Dulles became the Secretary of State in the Eisenhower administration of the Republican Party. Thus, initially, he had a strong bi-partisan support in conducting his foreign policy, but he later earned a reputation as a smart idiot.

I will talk more about John Foster Dulles in my future articles. In the meantime, let us look at ourselves. Our top college graduates refuse to compete in the world. Are we any better than American isolationists?


Y.S.Kim (1999.9.30)

About six month ago, a young Korean engineer came to my office and mentioned his father-in-law's name who was my high-school classmate. He asked me to buy him a drink. I was so happy to see him and we went to a lake-side restaurant called "Clyde" about 25 miles from my office. This is my favorite place and some of you went there with me.

There, I asked him to tell me about himself. He told me he was born in a remote village surrounded by mountains, and he was the first one to enter SNU among his villagers. He told me further that, before entering SNU, everything in his life was to get into SNU. I then asked him what happened after he entered SNU. He said he learned how to be served by others while sitting down comfortably. His answer was not a surprise to me, but I really liked his candidness.

He is a graduate of SNU's Engineering College, and he got his PhD degree there. He was visiting the Univ. of Maryland as an exchange professor. His original plan was to go to the College of Law because he was interested in becoming the president but he had to change his plan. I then asked him why. He gave me the following answer.

His grandfather was the leader of a communist guerrilla group before 1950 and remained in a mountain near his village until 1961 when Park Chung Hee came to power. Park was very lenient to former leftists because he was one of them. His father did not tell him about this background, but he discussed this problem with his high-school principal. Without telling him, his father and the principal decided to send him to the Engineering College instead of the Law College. After making the decision, his father explained to him why he had to change his college plan.

We agreed that his father made a right decision. We also talked about his father-in-law. He told me that he learned many things from his father-in-law who is a very successful businessman. He said further that, compared with his father-in-law, he and his friends are very weak elites. I asked him why. He said everybody in his SNU class became a professor and refused to go out to the real world. His father-in-law, who is also graduate of SNU's Engineering College, was a hard worker in the real world and made important contributions toward improving the living standard of all Koreans. Both he and his father-in-law are reading this mail.

I then asked him what he thinks about me. He said I am giving SNU graduates what they need most. I asked him what I am giving to them. He said "Kihap!" I then asked him whether he got enough doze of kihap from me. He said "enough."

You will agree that he made the right decision when he chose his college. Likewise, Koreans in the United States and in the World have their unique background. We should be realistic about what we expect. We should not overestimate what we have. Even more important. We should not underestimate ourselves.

Let us go back to Korea. Who told you that you have to be a lawyer to become the president? Korea had eight presidents since 1948. How many of them were lawyers? Who told you that you cannot become the president with an engineering background? Jawaharlal Nehru of India was a life-time prime minister of India. He is regarded as the greatest graduate of the Univ. of Cambridge (England). He had a daughter named Indira Gandhi, and she was also a life-time prime minister of her country. Nehru was an engineer! Thus, if you are a young Korean engineer not happy with those lawyers whose names appear in the newspapers, you should plan to become the president. You cannot become the president by being served by others.


Y.S.Kim (1999.10.12)

In one of my earlier articles, I said Japan is the best country in the world in terms of computer maintenance while Korea is close to the worst if not the worst. In response to this statement, some Korean readers became very angry and asked me to delete their names from my distribution list. However, most of the readers agreed with me and they are still reading my mails. Indeed, our perception of Japanese is that they are highly disciplined and hard-working people. Then the question is how they could produce a nuclear mishap like the one that occurred three weeks ago.

If you read my earlier articles, I like soldiers and their business. The first soldiers I met were Japanese soldiers. I was trained in my elementary school to walk like, talk like, behave like, and die like a Japanese soldier. To be quite honest, I am very proud of my training, and this is the reason why I use the word "kihap" so often (the concept of kihap was developed by the old Japanese army). Why then did Japan lose the war in 1945? It is not because those Japanese soldiers lacked military skills and patriotism, but it is because their generals and politicians could not think properly. Let us see how stupid those Japanese war planners were.

Even these days, I often hear Japanese domestic radio programs using one of my three shortwave radios. Their most common domestic news items are earthquakes, hurricanes, and wairo (bribes). In case of the wairo, they are ahead of Koreans because they are not afraid of talking about the bribes taken by their highest-ranking government officials, including defense minister, finance minister, and sometimes the prime minister. Thus, they are OK. However, the earthquakes and hurricanes make Japanese look outward. They used to and they still look toward the Asian mainland. You know what Toyotomi Hidesyosi did 400 years ago. You also know what Itoh Hiro-umi did 90 years ago. Recently, a Japanese woman writer named Yamazaki Toyoko wrote a novel entitled "Daichi-no Ko" (son of great land), and its 14-hour TV drama was the best seller in 1995.

In order to conquer the mainland, Japanese developed a very efficient infantry rifle called the 38-siki (san-patsu siki) in 1905. This is known in the Western world as the Arisaka-38 rifle named after Colonel Arisaka who designed it. The diameter of its bullet was 6.5 mm. In 1939, the Japanese army replaced the 38-sikis with their new 99-siki rifles. The difference between these two model is only in the bullet diameter. The 99-siki bullet's diameter was 7.7 mm carrying heavier momentum.

During this process, the Japanese war planners did not understand the ammunition also had to be replaced. In August of 1945, many Japanese army units in Manchu had 99-siki rifles with only 38-siki ammunition. At a more fundamental level, those war planners did not understand the age of infantry rifle was over by 1939. They should have built tanks and airplanes instead of worrying so much about rifles. The Soviet army kept their antique Mosin-Nagant rifles introduced in 1891. They instead developed their T-34 tanks with the suspension technology (tanks are heavy) stolen from the United States. I will continue this story in connection with the origin of the 38th parallel in my future articles.

Let us go back to today's Japan. Their workers are skilful, disciplined, dedicated, and patriotic. On the other hand, the planners at the top level are vacuum-headed. This will eventually produce a breaking point. I suspect that this was the cause of their recent nuclear mishap. The basic problem is that, everywhere in Japan, those at top are Todai graduates (Todai = Univ. of Tokyo). Whenever I meet Japanese, I tell them their Todai is worse than the worst university in the world. They all agree with me without even asking me where the worst university is. You all know which country has the worst university in the world.


Y.S.Kim (1999.10.19)

In recent weeks, Korean and American newspapers covered articles about atrocities committed by American troops during the early months of 1950. It appears that both Americans and Koreans are mature enough to solve the problem by going through a thorough investigation. The Korean conflict (1953-54) was an inevitable consequence of the division of the country at the 38th parallel in 1945.

The atrocity committed by the U.S. troops during the 6.25 conflict is a minor incident compared with the atrocity of dividing the country by the big powers. Here also, we are mature enough to discuss openly who is primarily responsible for the 38th parallel. This is essential if we are able to maintain a "special" relation with the United States.

Dean Rusk was the Secretary of State during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations (1961-69). He sometimes appears on TV to explain why had to ask the Soviet Union to stop their troop advance at the 38th parallel, but he does not explain how the Soviet troops came into Korea so shiftily after declaring war one day after the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima on August 6 (1945). It is not clear whether he knows how to explain. If Rusk cannot explain, who can?

I have the answer to this question. The 38th parallel is a product of America's isolationism. As I said in one of my earlier articles, the isolationism was derived from George Washington's desire to separate his new country from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. How about the Pacific Ocean? Even these days, in dealing with Asian countries, the U.S. administration has conflicts with the Congress. This is of course due to left-over isolationism or neo-isolationism.

How about before 1945? To Americans, the Asian mainland was the back of the earth as strange as the back of the moon. What was happening there? In 1939, Japan sent their best combat troops to the eastern border of Mongolia in order to test the strength of the Soviet Union in that part of the world. Japan of course was interested in further territorial expansion toward Siberia. But the Japanese troops were stopped by Mongolians at the hill of a border town known as Nomenkhan. They were then eliminated by the Soviet troops who came later with tanks and water-cooled machine guns. This incident is known to Japanese as the Nomohan incident.

This incident created a Soviet hero named Georgy Zhukov who played a major role in World War II against Germany. As for Japanese generals, they were asked to commit Harakiri (suicide by cutting his own abdomen). This was how the Japanese army lost its brains. The survivor of this Harakiri party was a Lieutenant General Tojo Hideki. I do not know too much about him, but he appears to have been a brilliant propaganda expert. With this talent, Tojo was able to control the damage done to the Japanese prestige by the Nomohan incident. Again with his propaganda talent, he became the prime minister of Japan in 1941. His problem was that he believed his own propaganda and made the grave mistake of attacking Pearl Harbor on December 8, 1941.

To Japanese and the rest of the world, Tojo was known as a military genius who created an invincible military machine known as the Kanto-koon. To Americans, the Kanto-koon was a formidable military force which they did not wish to meet when they were approaching the Japanese mainland.

By Russians, the Knato-koon was and still is still called the Kantosky army. The Nomohan incident enabled Soviet military planners to measure accurately the strength of the Kantosky army. In February of 1945, during the Yalta conference, President Roosevelt and Stalin of the Soviet Union had a bilateral meeting to discuss what to do with the Kantosky army. It is not difficult to tell who came out as the winner from this negotiation. While I was a student in the U.S. (1954-61), my American friends used get very angry when I raised this question. I hope to continue the story in my next article.


Y.S.Kim (1999.10.24)

This is a follow-up on my previous article on how the 38th parallel was created. During the past week, I was talking with young Koreans about this issue. Alas, many of them, including a young reporter from one of the major Korean newspapers, told me the word "38th parallel" describes the present cease-fire line, and therefore this symbolic word was created only after the 1953 cease fire. This is a shocking experience to me. They do not seem to know that Korea was divided by the big powers in 1945.

This is because not many grown-ups can explain how Korea was divided. Dean Rusk claims the credit for stopping the Soviet troops at the 38th parallel in August 1945, but he cannot explain why the Soviet troops moved into Korea so quickly. I know the reason why he cannot. No Americans can afford to admit publicly that Roosevelt was the loser at the meeting he had with with Stalin during the Yalta conference (February 1945). Some Americans familiar with what went on during the Roosevelt-Stalin meeting say Roosevelt was a very sick person who was going to die two months later.

Toward the end of 1944, the tide of the Pacific Was was already decided. In 1944, the Japanese army made a last-ditch effort to reach India to liberate Indians from the British colonialism. This is called the Imphal operation. Many Korean girls were forced to go to Burma to provide entertainments to Japanese troops. Korean girls are not the only ones who went there. Japan had to send all combat-capable units to that jungle area from the Kanto-koon stationed in Manchu. At that time, Pyongyang served as a supply base for the Kanto-koon, and there was an elite Japanese unit called the 77th Regiment. The combat-capable portion of this unit also was sent to the Southeastern front. Likewise, the combat capability was completely depleted from the Kanto-koon. The "invincible" Kanto-koon was without any teeth by the end of 1944.

At that time, Americans were planning to invade the mainland of Japan. From their point of view, the "invincible" Kanto-koon was the biggest threat to their landing operation. Americans did not know that the Kanto-koon was just a paper tiger. Thus, Roosevelt has to beg Stalin to come to the east to attack the Kantosky army. The deal was made! Americans would take care of Japan's mainland defense force while the Soviets would disarm the Kantosky army. In essene, Stalin got the the area covered by the Kantosky army as a sweet gift from Roosevelt. This is precisely what Americans do not want to admit even these days. This is the reason, why they cannot explain how Korea was divided.

Also at that time, Pyongyang and the northern area of the peninsula served as a supply base for the Kantosky army, while Seoul and the southern portion served as the staging area of Japan's 17th regional army. This military unit was a component of the mainland defense force. Thus, Americans were responsible for disarming the Japanese troops in the South. There was no fixed boundary. For instance, I was in a village called Sorae about 12 kilometers north of the 38th parallel. This village was on the southern coast of Hwanghae Province.

Because the Sorae area was a resort place for American missionaries before 1941, Japanese thought Americans could use the Sorae beach to land their troops. Thus, during the spring and summer of 1945, Japanese troops were building bunkers and tunnels against possible American landing. These Japanese troops clearly belonged to the mainland defense force, and the villagers of Sorae, including myself, had the right to be occupied by Americans instead of Soviet troops.

Indeed, the 38th parallel was drawn hastily by dean Rusk but it was in accordance with the Yalta accord in good approximation. This is the reason why the Soviet troops stopped at the 38th parallel.


Y.S.Kim (1999.10.25)

I have been writing about the origin of the 38th parallel in recent articles. My conclusion will be that it was a product of the American isolationism. Then are the Americans the sole owner of the isolationism?

Last summer, I was in Athens (Greece) to attend a conference. The organizers arranged a sightseeing tour to Corinth. It is a beautiful coastal city, and Apostle Paul visited this city twice according to the New Testament. During the lunch hour, a lady participant approached me and asked me to have a lunch together. She was about 35 years old and was with a ten-year-old son. She was born in Europe but is now an associate professor at a Canadian university. After the lunch, she went to swim and left her purse and cloth bag with me. She also left her son with me. She really looked attractive in her Bikini swimming wear, but I was not able to tell this to her in front of her son.

While she was swimming, I talked with her son. I asked him whom he likes best among the Greek historical figures. He said Alexander the Great. I asked him why not those mathematicians. He said King Alexander was both smart and powerful. I then asked him whether he knows Alexander's troops surrendered in India (now Pakistan) after the battle with the Indian army led by King Chandra Gupta. The boy told me he did not know. I told him that those Greek troops who surrendered were the victors. He asked me why. I told him that, in a war, the victors are those who save their lives. He understood.

I said further that the descendants of those Greek soldiers played a very role in history. Even though they lived far away from their homeland, they kept their Greek heritage of making statues, and the first statues of Buddha were sculptured by those Greek descendents. I told him further that most of Asian people were influenced by Buddhism in one way or another. The 10-year-old boy got the point, and was able to explain this to a Greek lady sitting at the table next to mine.

The important question is whether Greeks can understand this. No! I know this answer because I have many Greek friends in the United States and I met many Greeks while travelling. Without the statue of Buddha, Buddhism could not have grown to the present extent. Greeks should be proud of the historical role played by the Greek descendents in India, but they are not.

I used to interpret this in the following way. Greeks never want to admit that their troops ever surrendered. The history book tells that Alexander the Great scored a great victory in India and triumphantly returned to Baghdad, but the history also says that he was seriously wounded during the Indian battle, and his death was caused by the this battle wound.

These days, my thinking is different. Greece is a strong Christian country, and Greeks never accepted Islamic religion even under the powerful influence of the Ottoman Empire. For the same reason, Greeks are not able to comprehend the Buddhist world. This is the reason why the statues of Buddha, even though produced by the Greeks, do not have any meaning to them. This is what the Greek isolationism is all about.

Let us go back to the 38th parallel. To Americans, the Asian continent was like the back of the moon. They are not capable of assessing the consequences of the Yalta accord. Americans keep saying more than 50 thousand American lives were lost during the Korean War, but it is not clear whether there are any Americans who realize that this tragedy was a consequence of Roosevelt's invitation to Stalin during the Yalta conference to take over the Kantosky area. In the past, I used to make my American friends angry by blaming Roosevelt, but I changed my view. It is not his fault. The Roosevelt-Stalin deal was simply a product of the American isolationism.

Let us ask one crucial question. Are Koreans any better than Greek or Americans in terms of isolationism? As you all know, Koreans produced the worst university in the world from their isolationism. We often describe our isolationism using the word "frogs in a deep well."


Y.S.Kim (1999.10.26)

In my earlier articles, I stressed that the 38th parallel was produced by the American isolationism, but this was not the first punishment Koreans received from the United States. In order to assess the degree of punishment, let us compare Korea with another Asian country called the Philippines.

In 1898, as a result of the Spanish-American War, the Philippines became a colony of the United States. However, after winning the war against Russia in 1905, Japan became interested in the Philippines. By that time, Taiwan was firmly under Japanese control. In order to keep Japanese out of the Philippines, the United States had to allow Japan to annex Korea. This secret deal was made in 1907 during the administration of Theodore Roosevelt.

In 1919, Koreans revolted against the Japanese colonial rule, but Woodrow Wilson, while advocating the self determination principle, ignored Korea's plea for independence. He was more interested in the Philippines. Wilson's idea was to transform the Philippines into a "show case of democracy" in Asia. Wilson thought the Philippines is isolated from the Asian mainland, and had a Western background inherited from the Spanish colonial rule.

During the Pacific War, the United States had enough naval power to invade the mainland of Japan directly from the islands of Midway and Hawaii. However, due to their passion toward the Philippines, the U.S. had to concentrate its pacific military resources to liberate the Philippines before anything else. This delayed their military operation against the Japanese mainland and eventually invited Soviets to the northern half of the Korean peninsula.

In April of 1950, Dean Acheson, the secretary of state, drew a line passing from the Philippines to Japan's northern island of Kokkaido as the boundary of the U.S. interest. Korea was not included in this boundary. Many people still say that the Acheson line was an open invitation to North Korea to invade the South two month later.

Let us summarize. The Philippines is the country most passionately cherished by the United States, while Korea received the most cruel punishments. These days, which country is the "show case of democracy" with economic prosperity? Which country is more important to the United States?

How can we deal with America's isolationism or whateverism? It is is completely up to us. Koreans did very well. In the near future, I hope to tell you I am talking about myself in this article.


Y.S.Kim (1999.11.2)

We are very happy to include a mail from Prof. Ilpyong Kim of the Univ. of Connecticut. Prof. Kim is well known among American scholars interested in Korean affairs. The Korean government listens to him carefully whenever he talks about superpowers relations and their effects on Korea. While he was on the faculty of Indiana University, he produced an American PhD named Bruce Cummings who is now a chaired professor at the Univ. of Chicago. Whenever American newsmedia run programs on Korean affairs, Cummings appears and talks authoritatively. He is handsome, logical, and is never affraid of blaming the U.S. government for troubles in Korea.

I met Prof. Kim while I was a graduate student/postdoc at Princeton (158-62). He studied the communist world at Columbia University in New York. I used to go to New York very often, and he was the president of the Korean student association. During the 4.19 revolution in 1960, he led a student demonstration in New York and appeared on TV explaining why Korea needs democracy. Prof. Kim (Mr. Kim at that time) was very brave.

Prof. Kim had a distinguished academic life in the United States. Since he is liberated from his teaching duties, he can devote more time on research. We had a lunch together on Friday, October 29, and spent three hours to talk about everything under the sun and moon. As for the 38th parallel, Prof. Kim is the No. 1 man on this subject. You are now invited to read his letter.

Dear Dr. Kim:

Your commentaries are well written and very informative, interesting and humorous. I have a couple of comments to make on your commentary with regard to the 38th parallel. What you have said is right but I want to add a couple of more points. The decision to draw the dividing line at the 38 parallel was made by Colonel Dean Rusk who later became Associate Professor of History at Mills College and Secretary of State and Colonel Bonsteele who later became four star general and served as the Commander in Chief of the U. S. Eighth Army in Korea. The 38th parallel was not originally intended to divide the Korean peninsula into two halves but a temporary line by which the Soviet Union was to accept the Japanese surrender in the north while the American army will accept the Japanese surrender in the south.

You are right that Franklin Roosevelt conceded many rights to Stalin at the Yalta Conference about there are many books are written. Some American historians even stated that Roosevelt was sold out to Stalin. But there was the reason for many concession by the United States. Roosevelt received a study from his military advisors that it will take at least two more years to defeat the Japanese and will cost two million American lives to defeat Japan. The Japanese will not surrender until the Americans land on the mainland of Japan and carry out to the combat similar to the Normandy landing and it will take at least two years and two million American lives to defeat Japan. Remember some Japanese soldiers hiding in the jungles of South Pacific for 38 years and when they were discovered they came out from the fox hole and shouted Teno Heika Banzai. Under such an assumption Roosevelt decided to approach Stalin at Yalta to ask him to attack the Kantosky or Kanto Army in Eastern Front of Manchuria for which Stalin received several concessions from the United States including to take part in the post-war settlement of Korea and Japan. Stalin was allowed to take part in the occupation of Korea and Japan, however, the United States maneuvered diplomatically to squeeze the Soviet Union out of the Japanese occupation. The stake in Japan was greater than the stake in Korea.

You were right that the United States let Japan to annex Korea in return for the American colonization of Philippines in 1905 which is known as the secret Taft-Katsura Agreement. There is no perment enemies nor permanent friends in international politics, only perpetual national interest. The national interests of Japan and America clicked in 1905.

It will be interesting to observe that Japan sent an envoy to Moscow several months before the Soviet Union attacked Japan in August 1945 to mediate the settlement of the Pacific War and Japan was willing to end the war but not to surrender. Japan and the Soviet Union signed a neutrality pact or non aggression pact earlier and Japan wanted to neutralize the Soviet Union in the Pacific War.

You will also recall that it was the United States that proposed the trusteeship of Korea for 30 years at the Foreign Ministers Conference of Moscow in December 1945. However, it was the Soviet Union counter proposed only five years of trusteeship in Korean since Stalin perceived the Koreans were ready for self-government in five years. In retrospect, some people now make an argument that if we the Koreans had accepted the trusteeship deal in 1945 the 38th parallel would not have been frozen and the Korean peninsula would not have been divided into north and outh Korea for the past 55 years. What do you think about this? Well, Korea is still divided and it is not likely to be united in near future.

By the way, what happened the beautiful women with a bikini swim suit you met in Greece? Hope to hear more about the beutiful woman in bikini swim suit when we have lunch together at noon on Friday, Octboer 29. With all my best,

Ilpyong Kim
Professor of Political Science Emeritus at the University of Connecticut, ikim@uconnvm.uconn.edu, Wed, 27 Oct 1999.


Y.S.Kim (1999.11.3)

Two hundred twenty years ago, there used to be a prison called Bastille in Paris. These days, there is a square called "La Bastille" at the same location. Every year on July 14, there is an all-night 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 days 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 harsh 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.


Y.S.Kim (1999.11.4)

Since 1978, I have been working on the communication system for Korean physicists. Since 1992, I have been working on the present form of e-mail communication system. At present, the system is gradually expanding to cover the entire Korean scientific community.

Many people are asking me whether I am getting supports from the Korean government or private companies. No! Instead, I am getting supports from you. In order to express my gratitude to those who haven given me their supports and encouragements, I am preparing my personal "Happy New Millennium" card, and I am now working on the list of those to whom I wish to send. However, my list could be incomplete without your help. If you think you deserve my card, please send me your postal address. If you are not sure about qualification, tell me so. I will then decide.

I used to send Christmas/New-Year cards to many people when I was very young. But sometime ago, I decided to send the card in every 100 years. I thought this year is a good time to send this "once-in-100y" card. The card consists of a recent photo of myself with my wife whom I met when we both were freshmen at SNU's Engineering College in 1954. Thus, we would like to send our card to many Korean engineers.

The photo was taken at two different places. One photo was taken at Brasserie Lipp in Paris where Earnest Hemingway used to dine. The other was taken while we were on a sightseeing boat in the Boston harbor where a number of Americans had a tea party 220 years ago. Therefore, there are two different cards for the same purpose. You may choose one, but not both. Please send me your preference with your postal address.

I still have many things to say about how Koreans can use their cultural background to swim in the hostile international water. Our basic advantage is that we have a special relation with the United States. It is completely up to us how to use this special relation. I will continue my story next time. Have a nice weekend!


Y.S.Kim (1999.11.12)

As you know, the main function of this network is to circulates jobnews among Korean engineers and scientists throughout the world. I work hard on this business because I firmly believe that Korea's academic and research positions should be filled by the best qualified Koreans. I am quite optimistic about the future of Korea's scientific research, and I expect that Korea will soon be exporting a large number of Korean-trained post-docs to the U.S. and other Western countries. Our young scientists know that I have been maintaining a keen interest in our "made-in-Korea" post-docs at various academic and research institutions in the United States.

On the other hand, I often hear stories I do not like to hear. My friends are telling me not to read Korean daily newspapers because they are hazardous to my health. They always always carry only read ugly stories about our politicians. These days, Korea's science newspapers are also becoming hazardous to my health. I do not understand why our politicians are like that, but I have a clear understanding of what is going on in our scientific community.

As I said above, I have a great respect to my colleagues in Korea, but I have a contempt toward those who claim to be superior to others using false foreign backgrounds. They typically claim to be Korea's No. 1 while they were thrown out from the U.S. because they could not compete in the world. They are the Koreans of the worst kind.

Worse than those Korea's No. 1 are some Korean-American scientists stationed in the United States who claim to be supermen when they visit Korea. They behave as if Korean funding agencies were directly under their control. The saddest aspect is that the Korean science/tech administrators are blindly obedient to them. If they were the supermen as they claim to be, why could they not get their fundings in the U.S.? The truth is that they have to resort to the Korean government because they are misfits in the United States.

Those Koreans who maintain tenured academic positions in the U.S. are among the most admired Koreans. If they behave like beggars in Korea, what is going to happen to the country? There indeed comes a moral question. My verdict on them is very simple. They should be shot to death if the country is going to survive. I am not prepared to write a long article on this subject, but I have to tell you I do not preach what I cannot practice. For this purpose, I am attaching one of my earlier articles. Please continue reading.


Y.S.Kim (1996.9.16)

As I promised earlier, I am going to tell you why Polish intellectuals have been able to earn Nobel prizes for their country. I think I have already given the answer to this question in my earlier articles, but let me say again.

I met a Polish man for the first time in the dining hall of Princeton's Graduate College in 1958. At that time, John Foster Dulles was the Secretary of State, and talking to a man from a communist country was unthinkable. I asked him how he was able to come to the United States from Poland. He said he was invited by Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs, and that the School invites routinely two or three scholars every year to assert Woodrow Wilson's role in the independence of Poland. I then asked him what role Wilson played. He asked me whether I heard about Wilson's 14-point peace plan. I said Yes. He then told me that the unification and independence of Poland are clearly mentioned in Wilson's 14-point declaration.

This is a big surprise to me. Like all Koreans, I used to think Wilson was the godfather of our 3.1 movement. It was a shock to me to realize that Wilson did not even mention Korea, while Poland was so dear to him. I felt betrayed but went through the following reasoning.

First. Poland is in Europe and Korea is in Asia. The United States gives preferential treatment to Europeans.

Second. Not so. Poland at that time had two Nobel Laureates, namely Maria Sklawdowska Curie about whom you know well and Henryk Sienkiewicz who wrote "Quo Vadis." Thus, Poland was important to Wilson while Korea was not. This was my line of thinking until 1980.

Third. Not necessarily so. Two Polish generals, namely Thaddeus Kosciuszko and Jerzy Pulaski, helped George Washington when he was staging the independence war against Britain. This was my thinking until last year.

Fourth. After visiting Poland last year, I found that Wilson is not a significant figure in Poland.

Fifth. While I was in Poland, I made a great discovery. I found out how stupid I have been. One country's independence has nothing to do with a president of another country. The people of Poland has a great respect for the United States, but Wilson has nothing to do with the independence of Poland. They clearly know what the word "independence" stands for. That is why they were able to take the first bold step in tearing down the Iron Curtain. This is also how they are able to do creative work for Nobel prize.

I have been able to impress a number of young Koreans by preaching "independence" through this email network. You can now see how imperfect I have been in the past. Yet, another curious question could be why I mention Nobel prize so often. In the following, I will tell you my own story, and then tell you that the story is also applicable to you.

I spent six months in Korea after my high-school graduation. The Korean constitution clearly states Korea is a democratic republic. In 1954, however, Korea was a "bribe republic." When I was processing my passport to the United states, there were no written laws governing foreign travel of draft-age persons. The only law was how much money one can give illegally to government officials. When the officials were delaying my passport processing, I knew clearly the reason. I was determined not to obey the bribe law.

Instead, I openly threatened to become a communist. At that time, you could become a chunk of "ground beef" if not shot to death on site for saying things like that. However, Korea's political leadership decided to let me go. The No. 2 man in the Ministry of Internal Affairs told me to go to the United States and never come back without Nobel prize. It was before the Park Chung Hee revolution, and the Internal Affairs Ministry was in charge of the most of the tasks KCIA used to do, including police, internal and external securities, and fixing up the elections.

I do not remember the name of the No. 2 man (vice minister), and he said "never come back without -- " entirely as a passing remark. Yet, you would agree that he was a stylish person even though he was a member of a corrupt government. You would agree also that he was speaking for the entire nation. He was telling me personally, but he could have said the same thing to every promising young student. He could have said "never come back without -- " to you also.

The point is that it is completely up to you how seriously you would take "never come back without -- ." In my case, I have been obeying this order. I have never been back to Korea since I left the country in 1954. I am looking for comrades. Please contact me if your thinking is the same as mine.


Y.S.Kim (1999.11.20)

I received many questions and suggestions since my last broadcast. The readers seem to be interested in my citizenship. My answer is very simple. I was born as a Korean and have never changed my nationality. I will die as a Korean. I proudly carry my Korean passport whenever I travel. The Korean passport is more convenient than the U.S. passport. How?

Since there are many who like to enter the United States, the U.S. government provides inconvenience to those coming from other countries often in terms of stiff visa fee. Then those countries have to reciprocate the inconvenience as a diplomatic courtesy. For instance, when I went to Turkey last summer, all I had to do was to show my Korean passport. I was with a friend with a U.S. passport. He had to pay a visa fee of $45. Thus, if you are a Korean American, you should consider seriously changing your citizenship back to that of Korea.

I seem to have a habit of saying everything I have in mind when I talk. While many Koreans say this is not acceptable among educated Koreans, they seem to enjoy my style of talking. In particular, we all agree that we need a whole-sale cleaning in our scientific community, but some readers complained to me that my sharp-tongued criticisms are not enough, and I should provide a cure to continue this network business. I agree with them, and here is my cure.

Traditionally, Korean scholars are very skilful in screwing up their own colleagues. This history is continuing, and we are not likely to change our fundamental character. However, we can still solve our Korean problem if we change our target. Instead of targeting fellow Koreans, why can we not screw up foreigners. It is much more fun to screw up Japanese, Americans, and/or Europeans. By the way, this has been my business since 1965.

For many years, I have been telling our young people to open up their eyes toward the world. Indeed, I have written many articles in order to align their viewpoint toward this new direction. You will recall that I wrote about Japan and European countries in the past. These days, I am talking about the United States, including its Christian background, its foreign policy, and the development of civil rights. As I said repeatedly before, the purpose of this network is to teach our young people how to swim in the hostile international water with our Korean background.

In order to make my articles more interesting to our young readers, I often talk about girls and ladies. I do not know whether they like my girl stories, but our senior members seem to enjoy my stories very much. Needless to say, I talk about the girls of the world to in order to divert their attention to a wider world.

You now know our editorial policy. Please write your own articles and send them to me. I will be happy to circulate them. Also, please tell me what kind of stories you like to hear. Many people are telling me that we have to improve our web page. I agree. I am in a process of listening their suggestions. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have ideas.


Y.S.Kim (1999.12.1)

It is not uncommon for Korean students in the United States to refuse to talk with me. One of them told me I really do not understand them. I asked him how I could understand my younger friends. He told me Korean graduate students are only interested in talking with famous Americans. He is indirectly telling me that I am not famous enough for them.

My blunt answer is this. If I am not famous enough for them, they should definitely learn how to approach famous people from me. I have many photographs to prove my talent along this direction. I have my own pictures with some politicians including Mr. DJ, but they are not useful. Actress Brooke Shields is a more interesting person. I was close enough to her to take about 50 pictures of Brooke, including one with my wife. I will be happy to send you one of them (Brooke in her graduation gown talking to her friend -- indeed pretty) if you wish.

I also have many pictures with famous physicists because I know how to approach them. Recently, I am distributing copies of the picture of Murray Gell-Mann talking to John Bardeen and Eugene Wigner. Then, how did I develop this talent? My answer is very simple. Start from easy steps. I will give you an example. Please read the following article which I wrote in 1992.


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.


Y.S.Kim (1999.12.4)

This network exists because Korean engineers and scientists think it is a useful device and use it. This program started as a worldwide network system for Korean physicists, and we are now gradually expanding it to cover the entire community of engineers and scientists. Needless to say, it is extremely difficult to establish a credibility among Koreans. It was by no means a trivial job to earn a trust even from physicists.

I am very very happy to thank my physics friends at POSTECH for sending me their job announcements continuously during the developing stage of this network system. At one point, I had a race with them. Since I always attach an article to each job advertisement, they once tried to exhaust my "mitchun" by sending their request every day. Well, I still have some ammunition left, but I would welcome your contributions.

We are now gradually expanding our service to Korean engineers, who are still skeptical about this program. It appears that POSTECH is again the first to give us support in our program. I am indeed gratified to circulate a comprehensive job announcement from the ME department of POSTECH. POSTECH and this network system cannot be separated.


Y.S.Kim (1999.12.11)

I enjoy writing articles on how Koreans become smart in the world. I do not like to write about how Korean scientists are quarrelling among themselves. However, many people are urging me to tell where the basic problems are. As I said before, Koreans intellectuals do not respect themselves but rely on foreigners for the ultimate wisdom. When the funding agencies make decisions involving huge amount of money, they completely ignore the fact that there are so many dedicated young researchers in Korea. Those decisions are made by a small number of "established" people who ran out of their research ammunition many years ago. They claim to have strong connections with Americans who do not even know their names.

This is the reason why most of those mammoth projects end up with fiascos. Science projects without scientific contents! This is not a new phenomenon, and the Korean government was quite capable of making this kind of mistake even 50 years ago. You will be interested to know what happened in 1951. 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.

First. 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.

Second. 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.

Third. 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.

Fourth. 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 (1999.12.20)

I have been invited to submit an article to a science magazine in Korea on long-term investments on Korea's science development for the new century. I have accepted the invitation, and I will summarize in the article what I have been saying in the series of articles I have been writing since 1992. If you want me to add your ideas in my article, please do not hesitate to send me an e-mail. I hope, before the new year, I will be able to send out an outline of what I plan to say in the article. The theme will be that Korea should get ahead of Japan in science.

Before writing my article, I would like to address one key issue. I am getting these days mails from young Korean scientists complaining that crack-pot foreign scientists are looking for easy money from the Korean government and industrial establishments. It is because Koreans spoiled them. As I said many times before, Korean policy makers are blindly obedient to foreigners while ignoring what young Koreans need. C.N.Yang's Korean connection is a case in point. Prof. Chen Ning Yang shared the 1957 Nobel prize in physics with Chinese colleague named Tsung Dao Lee. As a physicist of the Asian origin, I have a great respect for them. I met Dr. Yang in 1957 when I was an undergraduate student, and my respect for him is not changed even after writing the following paragraphs.

However, according to the Korean government officials who visit Washington, the Korean government is paying $$$$,$$$ per year to Dr. Yang. Perhaps, he is big enough to draw this much compensation. However, what service does he provide to Korea? If anyone knows the answer to this question, I will be very happy to hear from him/her.

Let us do a simple arithmetics. If we divide $$$,$$$ by 200, the result is $,$$$. This means that if we stop paying C.N.Yang, we can send ### young Korean scientists to international conferences to present their papers. In other words, if we stop wasting money on foreigners, our country can move forward.

Because of the C.N.Yang case, international flies smell easy money and flock into Korea. Koreans then serve them with bundles of dollars on silver plate. According to the recent mails I receive from Korea, the situation is becoming only worse. We should stop this trend if we are to restore the respectability in the world.

In my next article, I will discuss the issue of getting ahead of Japan.


Y.S.Kim (1999.12.28)

I think it was 1994. One of the leading Korean newspapers printed the names of 100 young scientists who would be the leaders of science in Korea in the 21st Century. I was able to recognize several names, and I had a phone conversation with one of them while he was visiting the Univ. of Washington in Seattle. He is a Stanford graduate, and was and still is on the physics faculty of SNU. While talking with him, I raised the question of whether SNU should become better than Todai (Univ. of Tokyo) in the 21st Century. His response was direct and straight-forward. He told me this is completely absurd, and he will not have anything to do with a man like myself with a questionable character.

More recently, I met a number of SNU graduates who told me that the only way to make SNU a world-class university is to make it a branch campus of Todai. When I became angry, one of them told me that this is a joke. Let us assume that this is a joke. Can we really afford this kind of joke?

Japan has been an important country to us ever since our ancestors went there to set up a country called "Nara" during the 6th century. Indeed, there were many Koreans in history who advocated a correct understanding of Japan. However, those Koreans were thoroughly punished by the ruling class. For instance, Admiral Yi Soon Shin had a correct understanding of Japan's military power, but you know how he was treated by his fellow Koreans.

In 1993, I used this network to tell my Korean friends and colleagues that we could and should get ahead of Japan in science. My logic at that time was that most of the leading Korean scientists in Korea were educated in the United States, while almost all Japanese scientists were educated locally. This is still a powerful reasoning. Let us go back to the SNU professor whom I mentioned in the first paragraph of this article. He was an excellent graduate student while he was at Stanford. Why does he have to rule out the possibility of competing effectively with his Japanese counterparts?

Since 1993, Korean scientists produced one miracle. They constructed graduate programs and started producing Korean PhDs. The Korean graduate programs are of course modeled after the U.S. programs. While studying in the United States, those Korean scientists learned from their American advisors how to write proposals for funding from governmental agencies. For this reason, a quiet revolution has been taking place in supporting graduate students. Korean graduate students are not the richest people in the world, but they are no longer in poverty. In writing proposals, we are definitely ahead of Japan.

Are the proposals enough? No! The answer depends on how our "made-in- Korea" PhDs will do in the world, especially in the United States. As I said many times in the past, I am watching them very carefully, and I think I have been their spokesman for sometime. In one of my earlier articles, I said we should pay our graduate students enough for them to own and operate passenger cars, as in the United States. In my previous article, I said we should stop paying C.Y. Yang and use the money to support conference trips for our younger scientists.

In March of this year (1999), I attended the APS meeting held in Atlanta. There were more than 12,000 participants. I was a very busy man there but made a very important observation. The number of Korean participants (young participants) was definitely greater than the number of Japanese participants. This means that I am no longer a lonely man in saying that we should get ahead of Japan in science.

While Korea was making this important progress, I wrote a series of articles to tell stories about Japan. Many of my younger articles urging me to write more about Japan. If you are interested in my past articles on this issue, you can download them by sending an e-mail to with ILBON.KOR on your Subject line. In addition, I sent to Korea four video copies of the NHK TV program comparing the graduate programs of MIT and Todai. My reasoning is that Korean universities can place themselves between Todai and MIT.

In March of 2000 AD, the APS meeting will take place in Minneapolis. I will be there and would like to reserve a separate table to sit with students from Korea at the traditional Korean dinner organized by the Korean graduate students at the University of Minnesota. The dinner plan is almost complete, and they will announce the detailed program soon. If you are a student coming from Korea, and would like sit with me at the same table, please send me an e-mail.


Y.S.Kim (1999.12.30)

You will recall that I once bragged about the photographs of Actress Brooke Shields which I took during her graduation ceremony at Princeton University in 1987. Many of my younger friends asked me to put them on my Web page. During the Christmas break, I bought a scanner for $95 and put some of the photos which might be of interest to my professional colleagues.

If you are interested in the images of Brooke Shields, please visit . If you are interested in my home page, visit .

After reading my article about getting ahead of Japan, many of the young readers asked me to tell more about Japan. I will write another series of articles on this subject in the future. In the meantime, you may be interested in reading some of my old articles. I am attaching one of them tonight. YSK -- Please continue reading.


Y.S.Kim (1996.12.20)

When you go to England, you have to go through a passport-control station at one of London's two airports. The officer stamps your passport saying "Leave to enter." Have you ever figured out what the word leave means? Look at the dictionary! The immigration officer does not ask you whether you have read Shakespeare, but he/she should.

Likewise in Japan, the immigration officer gives you a stamp saying that you are landing from the sea even though you came down from the sky. The immigration officer does not ask you whether you have read the Tale of Genji, but he/she should.

The Tale of Genji (Genji Monokatari) is a full-length novel written 1,000 years ago by a Japanese woman writer named Murasaki Sikibu. She wrote this in Hirakana (Japan's phonetic characters) in three lengthy volumes based on seventy years of the Japanese history preceding her time. The main figure named Genji was a prince born from one of the emperor's secondary wives. He lived before 1,000 AD and is quite different from the Genji family who established the military directorship in Kamakura in 1,200 AD. In her first volume, Lady Sikibu deals with Prince Genji's younger period. The second volume covers Genji's life in his later years. In the third volume, the author talks about Genji's children and grandchildren. Throughout the Tale, there appear more than 400 personalities.

Prince Genji's mother died when he was very young, but he was the most favorite son of the emperor, and was very popular among the imperial family members. As he grew up, he became extremely popular among the high-class girls and ladies. The first volume of the Monokatari deals with his rich extra-marriage life. His first romance was with his father's (emperor's) youngest secondary wife who looked like his deceased mother. You got the flavor of the novel.

The burning question to us is whether there is a Korean influence on this book. Some people including Kwabata Yasunari say that there is, but I am not competent to elaborate on this point. However, I can mention two items explicitly stated in the book. First, the emperor wanted Prince Genji to succeed him as the emperor because he was so handsome and smart, but the difficulty was that his rank was not high enough because of his mother's background.

In a vain attempt to overcome this difficulty, the emperor sent Genji instead of his crown prince to greet a newly arriving Korean Ambassador. As you know there is a theory that the late Kim Il-sung did not allow his son, Kim Jong-Il, to meet with Jimmy Carter who visited Pyongyang in 1994. Kim Il-Sung did not think Kim Jong-Il is good enough to succeed him as the king of North Korea. This means that, 1,000 years ago, Korea's position in Japan was that of the United States in North Korea.

The Genji Monokatari also says explicitly that the Korean Ambassador was so pleased with Prince Genji that he called him "Hikaru" Genji. The word "Hikaru" written in Chinese character means "light" or "photon" which we pronounce as "kwang." In this case, Hikaru means "shining." Hikaru Genji therefore means Shining Genji. He is still known in Japan as Hikaru Genji. The Tale explicitly states that this name was bestowed upon him by the Korean Ambassador.

You like to be treated as the Korean Ambassador of the tenth century when you visit Japan. If this is the case, you should tell the Japanese passport inspector that you have read Murasaki Sikibu's Genji Monokatari before he/she opens your passport. In order to say this, you should read the book. This book was translated into English by an Englishman named Arthur Waley during the period 1920-1935. The abridged English version was written by Edward Seidensticker who also translated Kawabata's "Yukiguni" (Snow Country). This shorter version is a readily available from university bookstores throughout the world.