*East Asia Studies
1,2,3,4,5, and 6
Korea's Geography: How
Do You Describe a Nation?
Korea's turbulent history is due in part
to its geographic location at a crossroads of Asia, open to attack by
land and sea. Its position in Asia has not only exposed it to ambitious conquerors
but also has allowed it to serve as a cultural bridge between the Asian
mainland and Japan. Korea is also a country of rugged natural beauty
with a remarkable and unique culture. This lesson provides students with different ways of using geography
to describe the Korean nation.
Purpose of Lesson and Overview
The purpose of this lesson is to introduce students to varying ways of
seeing Korea's position in the world. Korea
may be seen as "a shrimp among whales," as an "economic
tiger," and as a notable tourist destination. Geography is not necessarily
a static science, but one that can present changing views of a nation.
This look at Korea also helps correct some inaccurate stereotypes of
this major Asian nation.
Korean geography may be considered in a variety of ways, but this lesson
is primarily concerned with the resources, location, peoples, natural beauty,
historic places and strategic value of Korea. Korea stands at a crossroads
of Asia. It has been invaded both by land and by sea during its long history. Korea has survived
and preserved its own unique history and culture.
Although today two nations, calling themselves North Korea and South
Korea, divide up the peninsula, both see the Korean people as a single
unit, and both hope for reunification.
The research students will do to answer the questions in the handouts
will reveal Korea's geographic advantages and the resources that have attracted invaders. The protection of historical
sites suggests the loyalty Koreans feel toward their past, and how Korea's
natural beauty has sustained its people in times of trouble. Students will
discover that while Korea may be divided politically, its people are united by
language and culture. The research on geographic issues will
provide an understanding of the Korean War and Korea's location in
After completion of the lesson, students should be able to:
• Explain why Korea is located at a major
Cite six major geographic factors which have shaped Korean history;
Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of Korea's geography;
Choose one geographic feature of Korea of interest.