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Koreans are an East Asian ethnic group originating from and native to Korea and southern Manchuria.
- Koreans can often view the world through a nationalistic lens and they will feel a sense of responsibility [for crimes committed by other Koreans].
- Koreans think very much in terms of national identity rather than individual identity... It will be very instructive to Koreans to watch the reaction of Americans [to the murder of Americans by a South Korean]. They know it's more gracious than their own reaction would be [had the inverse happened].
- Michael Breen, as quoted in "South Koreans balance sympathy and shame in delicate response to U.S. rampage" (20 April 2007), Associated Press
- Koreans are under enormous pressure to succeed at work, school and in relationships, and to care for their families, fueling an abysmal suicide rate that is the highest in the OECD group of developed countries. About 40 Koreans commit suicide every day, making it the nation’s fourth-highest cause of death in 2012. The relentlessness of these tragedies may be numbing, but the nation was shocked last week when a 29-year-old reality show contestant, in a bathroom at the guesthouse where filming was taking place, hanged herself by a hairdryer cord.
- [M]ore than one in three South Koreans said they do not want a neighbor of a different race. This may have to do with Korea's particular view of its own racial-national identity as unique – studied by scholars such as B.R. Myers – and with the influx of Southeast Asian neighbors and the nation's long-held tensions with Japan.
- Max Fisher, "A fascinating map of the world’s most and least racially tolerant countries" (15 May 2013), The Washington Post
- 60 percent of Koreans have "foreign" blood. The very idea of forging a nation's destiny and identity on the basis of ethnic blood seems not only atavistic but also dangerous. It is atavistic because modern nations are increasingly made up of different groups and tribes, and dangerous because it is the cause of racism...
- Jon Huer, "Korean Blood, Real and Imagined", The Korea Times
- Foreigners bad, Koreans good, Leader best.
- Foreign traders were being restricted to certain parts of the peninsula well before the Korean people learned from the Japanese how to look at the world in racial categories. This makes it harder to figure out whether discrimination against foreigners in South Korea has more to do with xenophobia or nationalism. There still seems to be, as in Japan, a common sense of a certain racial hierarchy, with Koreans and perhaps the Japanese too at the top. But it's a moral hierarchy without much serious conviction of intellectual, let alone physical superiority. For all the loud professions of hostility towards Japan, the Japanese are considered the least foreign of foreign races.
- In Germany, it's, let's say it's 5:59 and you're heading for the bakery or whatever and it's due to close at 6. The German will walk right up to that door and close it right in your face, they will lock it on the other side of that glass door with a shrug, like "sorry". A Korean would never do that, ever. And, and this is what I like about them.
- The average Korean alive in 1945 was to a far greater degree the product of Japanese rule than the Choson Dynasty.
- Koreans would rather see their state's security compromised than risk their own prosperity. Let’s not overestimate South Koreans’ attachment to their own state, which a sizable but influential minority still considers illegitimate.
- To a radical Korean nationalist, the division of the nation, the race, is an intolerable state of affairs. So too is the continued presence of the foreign army that effected that division in the first place.
- When the average man sees the flag, he feels fraternity with Koreans around the world.
- They don't like anyone who isn't Korean, and they don't like each other all that much, either. They're hardheaded, hard-drinking, tough little bastards, "the Irish of Asia".
- P. J. O'Rourke, Holidays in Hell (1989)
- Ethnic unity is widely assumed on both sides of the Korean Peninsula, and most Koreans do not question its historicity. Indeed, it seems "politically incorrect" to question the eternal and natural essence of Korean ethnic unity. However, one cannot assume that Koreans' ethnic national identity is fixed, or is something that stems from ancient times.
- When Koreans shouted, "We are one" in Seoul's city hall plaza and in Los Angeles' Staples Center, they meant that Koreans are one race, one ethnicity, and one nation, regardless of their current legal citizenship, place of residence, or political beliefs. Although race is understood as a collectivity defined by innate and immutable phenotypic and genotypic characteristics and ethnicity is generally regarded as a cultural phenomenon based on a common language and history, Koreans have not historically differentiated between the two. Instead, race has served as a marker that strengthened ethnic identity, which in turn was instrumental in defining the nation. Race, ethnicity, and nation were conflated, and this is reflected in the multiple uses of the term minjok, the most widely used term for "nation", which can also refer to "ethnie" or "race". What accounts for the rise and establishment of such a strong sense of ethnic national identity of racialized notion of nation held among Koreans? As in the general literature on the study of nations and nationalisms, there exist several contending views to explain the origins of the Korean ethnic nation.
- Gi-Wook Shin, "Contending Views of the Origins of the Korean Nation", Ethnic Nationalism in Korea (2006), Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, p. 4
- Koreans need an institutional framework to promote a democratic national identity that would allow for more diversity and tolerance among the populace, rather than simply appeal to an ethnic consciousness that tends to encourage false uniformity and enforce conformity to it. They should envision a society in which they can live together, not simply as fellow ethnic Koreans but as equal citizens of a democratic polity. It should be an integral part of democratic consolidation processes that Korea is currently undergoing. Otherwise, it would be hard to expect Korea to become "Asia's hub," which will require the accommodation of cultural and ethnic diversity and flexibility.
- Gi-Wook Shin, "Korea's ethnic nationalism is a source of both pride and prejudice, according to Gi-Wook Shin" (2 August 2006), The Korea Herald
- Encyclopedic article on Koreans at Wikipedia