Korea, 2075

Republic of Korea

>>Some of you were asking about what the scene's been like in the ROK. Since I don't want to hear that y'all got your asses chewed up (end result: spat out) by the jung-gaeindeul, I'm posting some insight here from Harvester, a mage based out of the peninsula. Feel free to cross-reference this with whatever drek y'all pulled up from those dime-a-dozen "travel guides".
>>Logged: 04 February 2075 at 6:25:18 [PST]

By Harvester
Long divided by disparate ideologies and the oppressive threat of war, Korea is a nation of opposites. It is a fully wired country and a land of spirits, a progressive marvel mired in prejudices, and a modern, economic powerhouse rooted in firm traditions.

You asked me what I can tell a newcomer about my homeland, for what little that word means to our profession. Allow me to start with the common perception.

In 2075, the Republic of Korea is still one of the Sixth World's technological centers, and it shows in the omnipresence of the Matrix in our everyday life. This is a land of the two queens: shaman and hacker. As the popular saying goes, the chaebeols and the megacorps rule the skyline, their people rule the streets, and their assets rule the shadows. Korea belongs to the rich and the fashionable.

Government type: Unitary presidential constitutional republic
Population: 101,225,000
>Human: 51%
>Ork: 17%
>Elf: 15%
>Dwarf: 7%
>Troll: 6%
>Other: 4%
>Est. SINless: 16%
>Below poverty line: 22%
>Corporate affiliation: 63%
Per capita income: 22,500¥
>Less than twelve years: 50%
>High school/Equivalent: 43%
>College degrees: 30%
>Advanced degrees: 14%
Major ethnic groups:
>Korean: 81%
>Japanese: 11%
>Chinese: 5%
>Other: 3%
Major languages spoken:
>Korean: 94%
>Japanese: 43%
>Chinese (Any): 37%
>English: 35%
Major religions:
>Shamanist: 31%
>Buddhist: 24%
>Christian: 18%
>Confucian: 5%
>Unaffiliated/Other: 10%
>None: 12%
Currency: Won (₩), nuyen accepted
>Exchange rate: 1,000₩ = 1¥
CrashCart medical coverage: 80%
Guaranteed response time:
10 minutes
>>The rest of us? Well we're certainly the rest, can say that for sure.

However, none of that is really applicable to you. Now, it's safe to assume that if you are on this message board, you're not among the rich, and considering the outfits I've seen some of you try to get away with, I'm also going to rule out 'fashionable'.


I would advise you against being fooled by the show – the glamour is only skin deep. If you should take a step out of the safe and shining, neon roads of Gangnam-gu, you'll see the belly of the beast. Korea boasts a rumbling, restless SINless population. In the National Assembly, years of suppressed anti-Japanese sentiment is in danger of turning into actual armed aggression, and this attitude is doing nothing good for the common man's xenophobia. The news servers spit out the same messages, day in and day out: BTL abuse is ever on the rise, Matrix addiction is killing the youth, there's drugs on our playgrounds. The more colourful (fanatical) commentary would have you believe the Japanese are to blame for all our ills. I'm sure they have their hands in one or two pies, in a historical sense it would hardly be out of character.

>>@Horangi: Can't you vet the xenophobia? Honestly, it's been about seventy years, can't these people just let it go?
>>Dunno where you're getting seventy, Soo-hyun was killed in '65.
>>This. Is. Not. A. Conspiracy. Thread.
>>@Minstrel: Where do you start thinking that pointing out history is 'xenophobia'? The Japancorps /have/ had their hands in Korean affairs, everyone knows that. I don't think it's so much attitudes against the people so much as the corps. YMMV.

There are some things I can and would like to address immediately. The first is that metahumans have never been unwelcome in Korea, acceptance is one of the few virtues we can sincerely claim. Some of Japan's refugees came here, and found a new home in sharp contrast to the old one. The grocer on my street corner is owned and staffed by a family of trolls, my barber is a human, the woman who manages my apartment is an ork and none of these things are questioned or viewed askance - and as someone raised within this culture of integration, I have never experienced otherwise.

Is it perfect? No, I wouldn't be naïve enough to suggest that no discrimination occurs or that equality does not exist on a slant. However, as far as I've been able to observe most of the perpetrators are outsiders, not natives of the peninsula. If you are hoping to start a career here, rest assured that your competency will speak louder than your metatype.

>>Thanks for pointing that out, Harvey. But I really need to add that anti-Japanese xenophobia does override a lot of that 'peaceful integration' fluff. Koreans get jittery when it comes to Japan. And foreigners still get second-pick of jobs. If you're coming from outside, be prepared to go that extra mile. Overall the scene's been fair to me, but I'm not going to pretend it's been sunshine and rainbows.
>>Please don't call me Harvey.
>>@Mockingbird: Do you remember how long it took the locals to get used to you? I'm a little worried about being seen as 'a foreigner' forever. I'd appreciate any tips you can send my way.
>>@Twelvebirds: No problem. Not to crush your hopes, but I've been here like 3 years and it's still not perfect (and I'm working for the best fixer in town). Honestly your best bet is to start off with a great impression. Learn the culture, try to pick up the language naturally, be sincere, and get used to saying 죄송합니다. Good luck!

One topic that I feel is frequently glossed over or missed entirely is the arcane nature of Korea. It's impossible to overemphasize just how deeply this country is entrenched in magic. I couldn't tell you exactly why the peninsula serves as such a notable center of mana, an academic would be better suited to the task, but this country attracts mages. It creates them.

As I'm sure you've heard, the majority of Awakened in Korea are women – this is a phenomena that remains poorly explained, though several theories have been put forth. I would suggest, as have others before me, that the connection lies somewhere in our native shamanist tradition (mu, it's called), where women have always served the dominant role in the ceremonies and practices of this religion. Perhaps even in the days before the Awakening, there was something present within the women of Korea? A potential lying dormant? The mudangdeul (shamans, to the rest of you) are the cornerstone, the face, and the voice of our arcane culture. This carries over into the shadows. If you do come to Korea, you will notice that most of your female colleagues are magicians, in contrast to a wider variety of roles in other countries. I often find myself the minority.

There's more to this topic; I believe current studies have estimated that roughly 1% of the global population is Awakened or will Awaken as magicians, please feel free to correct me if that information is out of date, but in Korea the estimate is closer to 2% of the populace.

>>1.8% versus 1.1%, for the curious.
>>But again, no one understands exactly why?
>>Just so you know, standard courtesy is not to ask questions on a guest account, makes it hard to @ you with a response. But yeah, no solid answer on that front. Plenty of theories, though. Satellite made a crackpot post about dragons.
>>Wait, I missed this. What about dragons?

I was just reminded of something else. Technomancers.

I understand it's still a sensitive topic, and a misunderstood one. I won't philosophize about the nature of technomancy, since I can't claim to know very much about this art or about Emergence, but I assume that technomancers do experience similar misfortunes to their kind in other countries, which I assume is mainly due to the lack of unbiased information and the stigma of historical proof. Unfortunate, considering how readily the peninsula embraced magicians and the Awakening, but perhaps this is a sign that with time and patience, technomancers will one day be as accepted and understood as we are.

>>Yeah, pardon me while I sit with /bated/ breath.

I do know from accounts that technomancers are not uncommon, though I don't believe I have ever made the acquaintance of one. Like the Awakened, they are supposedly more common here than in the rest of the world. A friend on mine believes that this is due to Korea's historic, deeply intimate relationship with technology. Notably, the Matrix is omnipresent in our lives, only the most remote and arcane locations in Korea are free from augmented reality - and even then, not by much. Korea was already a fully wired nation for years before the Matrix entered our lives, back in the days of division.

Magic and technology, heartily embraced, and then melded. I suppose you could say that the ground was laid, and the resulting crop has begun to yield.

>>What's Satellite's theory about the prevalence of technomancers? Digital dragons?
>>Actually, [THIS POST HAS BEEN REMOVED BY: Sysop//Horangi.]


Korea, 2075

SR Korea fergusmaj fergusmaj