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CRW2 Hell Joseon

April 5, 2016

“A student told me the other day that he had had a nightmare about being in Hell. He said his suffering was unimaginable. Then he woke up in English class…but he couldn’t tell the difference.” – Todd Mcgowan (Click here)


Life has its ups and downs; its sunny days and rainy ones; its A pluses and its D minuses. For many Koreans these days, there are mostly downs, rainy days, and D minuses. There is no doubt that life has become very difficult; and with the poorly performing economy, a lack of good jobs, and never-ending demands from parents, professors, and/or bosses, most people are feeling pessimistic. To some, this awful situation is describes as ‘Hell Joseon’ and while it may not be as bad as the dark days of 1997, the infamous IMF era (I lived through that time in Daegu), it is still a challenge. This week, lets discuss ‘Hell Joseon.’

Students: Choose ONE of the following to write your ideas.

1. What are the causes of such pessimism?

2. What are the effects of ‘Hell Joseon’?

3. What should the government (or individuals) do to overcome this situation?

4. Describe a story of someone living a ‘Hell Joseon’ experience.

5. Your idea related to ‘Hell Joseon’

38 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    April 5, 2016 9:42 pm

    What should we do to overcome this kind of ‘Hell Joseon’ situation? I think, of course, the older generations cause this situation called ‘Hell Joseon’. They always emphasize getting a good job or educational backgroud to their children. They also make their children quit the dream. These kind of prejudiced ideas cause lots of bad effect to society and the young generation. Then, is it only the older generation’s fault? No. The young generations have gone along with this ideas to make ‘Hell Joseon’. What I want to talk about is they also quit their dream, making an excuse and blaming the older generation. They throw away their brave which can lead them to the goal. To overcome this situation, I think, we should have the dream. We have to do what we want to do. Find the most important value in your life. Time to dip your toe into the deep end. Lose things, get over it. Be brave and you will have the time of your life!

    • Lily permalink
      April 9, 2016 8:07 pm

      ‘Find the most improtant value in your life..’ I like your idea of pursuing our dreams actively. Absolutely, we need to think about the things we are missing now.

  2. Cindy permalink
    April 5, 2016 11:17 pm

    5. Your idea related to ‘Hell Joseon’
    One day, my English1 class professor mentioned the movie ‘국제시장(Ode to My Father)’ and asked why students called Korea as ‘Hell Joseon.’ As he thought, now life in Korea has become much better than the time which is described in the movie. He also asked us, “Would you like to go back to that time if you can?” Nobody answered. I came home and pondered over this matter. Without doubt, Korean’s quality of life increased a lot. We don’t have to worry about food, home, or clothes. We can enjoy our leisure time going to the theater or watching TV. However, I think it is not the matter of material wealth. In this level,(I mean Korea is almost a developed country) people can enjoy much higher level of life. For example, compared to other developed countries, Korea has a poor welfare system. In addition, gap between the rich and the poor is getting worse. Corruption needs no saying. Politicians do not care about people’s opinion, and they are not interested in welfare system. They are only interested about their profit, despite they are not enterprisers. Inequality, corruption, wrong system, bad habits made people call Korea as ‘Hell Joseon.’ In this level of country, the weak should be protected, and people should live much better life. However, people cannot live better life. I think that is the reason the word ‘Hell Joseon’ came out.

    • Lily permalink
      April 9, 2016 8:10 pm

      You are pointing out the fundamental problem of ‘Hell Joseon’ perfectly.

  3. Bob permalink
    April 6, 2016 4:28 am

    5. Your idea related to ‘Hell Joseon’

    Is there any royal road of living well? Probably not, and that’s also probably why people keep struggle. Recently, the word ‘Hell Joseon’ is gaining popularity as life in Korea gets worse. In my opinion, this trend is made by conflict of generations and rapid advance in technology. Generations of Korea are having trouble in understanding each other. Elder generations worked hard under the unjust political powers like that of Jung-hee Park. Middle-aged people gained benefits from good economic situation, which was somewhat made by the elders, before the IMF with relatively smaller efforts. For example, most of Korean college students in that time immediately got hire after graduations without any requirements like TOEIC. However, the young generation of Korea mostly having grown up into adults after the IMF, and facing a hard situation in overall. The elder and middle generations criticize younger people for being ‘weak’ and ‘useless’ despite the fact the young are living in ‘better’ situation than themselves were. However, the young criticizes older ones for their luckiness of having ‘good old times’, leaving bad situation to the young, and their blind preference toward some parties in politics. Furthermore, things related to Internet like social network services are rapidly enhancing. In fact, Korea is one of the countries where cell phones and Internet lines are widely available most. These two facts are making Koreans easy to look information of others. For example, Koreans may see rich people and enhanced social services of other countries easily by using Internet. Then, Koreans may compare their situations with those ones, leading to having disappointments toward themselves and Korea. It is true that situations are going bad in Korea, but individuals must not remain still in despair and must do something for the sake of themselves, of course. If there’s no ‘golden spoon’, people doing nothing at all won’t stand a chance to live normally in, or to live well in, or even escape from so-called ‘Hell Joseon.’

    • Lily permalink
      April 9, 2016 8:12 pm

      Right. We must not stand still and should shout out what is actually needed.

  4. anonymous28 permalink
    April 7, 2016 12:01 am

    1.What are the causes of such pessimism?

    With the drastic change of society, politics, economy and culture also has changed. Koreans who live this confusing times need something to count on and the government should play important role for stability of people because they have great influence with the people in society. But now, the government is not working properly. For example, when the tragic Sewol ferry sinking occured, the president was gone for 7 hous and nobody revealed the reason why she disappeared. In addition, the Sewol ferry is not raised yet to the surfaced of the sea and the government keeps delaying the recovery of this ferry. The people, who saw irresponsibility of the government, were disappointed and lost their hope to live in this mess.
    They started criticizing the country cynically, who feel that ‘there is no more hope in this country’. Finally they made the word, ‘Hell Joseon’. There are various reasons for this word, but I personally think the word ‘Hell Joseon’ means that our country is not meeting the need of people and not reaxing the people.

    • Cindy permalink
      April 11, 2016 6:35 pm

      I totally agree that the government is not working properly nowdays. It’s really disappointing.

  5. red permalink
    April 7, 2016 2:32 am

    1. What are the causes of such pessimism

    It is 12.5% of youth unemployment rate in Korea. That means one person out of ten people can’t get a job. You know what’s worse? Those all ten people are trying to get a job so badly, not like they don’t want to get a job because they are lazy. I want to say ‘Hell Joseon’ is not pessimism at all. It is the term that represents the real Korean society very well. I think one of the main causes of this phenomena is the lack of jobs. Even you tried to get out of the status of unemployment which looks like a hell, you couldn’t get the job in Korea, without any reason. Young people in Korea are trying to be better person than others by doing international internship, voluntary work, and studying second language and so on. However nobody can guarantee that they will have a job in the future. Doesn’t it look like a ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’ who has to push a rock up a mountain endlessly and pointlessly.

    • Lily permalink
      April 9, 2016 8:14 pm

      Right after reading the reality of Korea’s unemployment rate you wrote, I really wanted to pack my stuffs and leave here. 😦

    • BMW permalink
      April 10, 2016 8:34 pm

      I saw the rate on the first page of the newspaper too! It also made me to think of leaving this country. Too sad.

  6. Friends permalink
    April 8, 2016 8:49 pm

    5. Your idea related to ‘Hell Joseon’.
    Actually, I heard ‘Hell Joseon’ at first this time. During searching information about ‘Hell Joseon’, I accidently find a internet cafe named ‘immigration…I want to be happy now’. Its purpose is getting out of Korea and immigrating aborad. According to search from JTBC, 88% of 2 million people have thought immigration owing to hatred for Korea. And they said the reasons why living in Korea is so hard and tough are deep distrust in government, unstable future, vulnerable working environments and so on. Watching this reality, I think the biggest problem is distrust in government. Most of politicians are blinded for power, They easily turn their face away the poor. It seems that politic and law exist for so-called the rich named ‘golden spoon’ recently. They despise ordinary people, control the press and manipulate the fact. In this condition, How people can believe government. Of course, people’s just complaining and wanting escape is not a desirable thing. We are people who can change this situation. When we are concerned about Korea, we deserve complaining. I think selfish men of power and indifference people have made ‘Hell Joseon’.

  7. jennyknu permalink
    April 9, 2016 2:38 pm

    5.Idea related to ‘Hell Joseon’

    The meaning of Hell Joseon is word combination of hell and Joseon. Before when I was attending high school or university freshman I never thought that Korea is so hard to live. Korea has lots of place to entertain and safe than other country. But right now I thought korea is too tough to live. If I don’t have money I couldn’t do anything. I try to follow my dream. To follow my dream I need money to prepare the things to follow dream. So I work hard part time job. The money I earned keep linking somewhere else. I need to pay my room, keep living expenses and pay other things. But I did not give up. I keep follow my dream but as time goes by, people who are around me or society attention makes me to knock down. Korea has route that everyone needs to do. Such as you should go to major company that is sucess, or you should marry at this age. Those kind of cognition makes me hard to follow dream. I keep thinking ‘Am I doing right?’ or ‘ If I was wealthy I could prepare my dreams without worrying about money’. So I think Korea will be more ‘Hell Joseon’ because of exceed compition and need lots of money to live.

  8. April 9, 2016 7:38 pm

    4. Describe a story of someone living a ‘Hell Joseon’ experience.

  9. Lily permalink
    April 9, 2016 8:04 pm

    4. Describe a story of someone living a ‘Hell Joseon’ experience.

    I’ve seen someone living a ‘Hell Joseon’ right beside me. She’s my older sister Jisoo. She got a fantastic job now, but the process was too rough to get it. From the age of 8, she studied really hard and her free time was just given on weekends or holidays. After undergoing it for about 11 years, finally, she was able to enter in Kyung-Hee university. But it was not the end of the adventure. She had to do a lot more homeworks, read more books, do outdoor activities to get career, do volunteering, part time jobs……(cannot finish the comment if write those all) and so on. And after finishing the internship program, she started applying for jobs constantly writing self-intros and interviewing with frightening interviewers. Furthermore, because she needed to get higher TOEIC/TOEIC SPEAKING… scores and more various kinds of certifications than other job applicants, she continued to struggle with studying. Finally, she succeeded in getting the present job which she enjoys. However, there are a lot more youngs having their hard times to get a job now. Even when they achieve it, it’s not the end of the disaster. I just told the one story of one victim of ‘Hell Joseon’, but actually we, all youngs in Korea are the victims.

    • proftodd permalink*
      April 10, 2016 3:38 am

      Glad to hear your sister’s hard work finally paid off and is enjoying her new job.

    • Jennifer permalink
      April 10, 2016 3:39 am

      I agree with you. Most of people who lived in Korea are fettered by tradition; “We must prepare the next thing now.” When we were high school student, we studied hard to enter the major university. After entering the university, we studied hard and prepared lots of things to enter the major company. Then next, we worked really hard again to prepare our later years. Like this we just prepare something again and again. There isn’t any free time to relax and enjoy our life.

  10. Incredible permalink
    April 9, 2016 8:34 pm

    2. What are the effects of ‘Hell Joseon’?

    It is now common to hear Koreans say, “It’s like hell living here.” There have been, of course, negative but also positive effects on our society since the expression ‘Hell Joseon’ came out. People who keep complaining and do nothing but to criticize, go deeper into pessimism. In social perspective, it leads to low birth rate. Since Koreans have seen their parents suffer to raise them and known all adversities such as high educational expenses, they have great pressure to support their future child in Korea. In economical circumstance, the situation causes outflow of foreign currency. It’s because Koreans, who regards the country as ‘Hell Joseon’, want to escape it and get citizenship of other developed countries in Europe or America so as to live in better environment. In addition, some Koreans are suffering psychological pain such as depression and social maladaptation due to hectic and fiercely competitive atmosphere, which tragically can lead to suicide. However, there are also some positive people who try to work this out. For instance, in some companies, ‘Family Day’ is being executed as an official policy. The purpose is to improve employees’ morale and to enliven them humanly. On Family Day, once in a month, there is no night overtime so that employees can be home early and spend time with their families. Furthermore, students actively participate in volunteering for the weak and travel new world to overcome difficulties of reality. To resolve these problems coming from ‘Hell Joseon’ and make this society a ‘Heaven’, these positive effects, energy have to spread among the members.

    • Bob permalink
      April 10, 2016 2:32 am

      People who try to change things that are hard and tiresome to change are surely respectable, as it is hard to keep oneself safe and comfortable nowadays. They must continuously speak and act what is right regardless of the expected visible results. People at least need to try as there’s nothing without acts.

  11. Corinne permalink
    April 10, 2016 12:18 am

    5. Your idea related to ‘Hell Joseon’.

    Before I have watched the documentary about typical Korean working parents with a child or children, I didn’t understand why Korea is called ‘Hell-Joseon’. I thought that Korea was not bad to live in, however, at that time, I was a little young so I didn’t know how hard it is to live or how things work in Korea. After watching that program, I realized why people call Korea hell joseon. A few decades ago, it’s unusual for women to work, but today they have to bring home the bacon for a living. In the documentary, most couples get off work late so they pick up their children late at kindergartens or their grandparents’ home. After arriving at home, they have to do a lot of things like house chores, preparing for their children’s classes or studying for certificates. They can sleep only for 4-5 hours. How could koreans imagine getting married? That is why Korea has the lowest birth late among OECD countries. More and more young parents have decided to immigrate to another country has a good welfare system. Koreans have to keep struggling with survival like getting into a university, having a job, saving for their life after retirement but I think raising their children with both parents working is the hardest one. If this situation continues, I will immigrate to another country. I don’t know what I can do to make Korea better place to live as a nation of Korea now. It’s not what individuals can do. It’s what Korean government has to solve.

    • Fairy permalink
      April 10, 2016 3:19 pm

      I have similar ideas with you. Living as a married couple in Korea seems so harsh that I also want to leave this country.

  12. Jennifer permalink
    April 10, 2016 3:30 am

    3. What should the government (or individuals) do to overcome this situation?

    Recently, Korea is called ‘Hell Joseon’ which means this country is too hard to live; lack of job, low pay. Most of people already know and understand this situation; however, it is not easy one we make some solutions about it and I also think that we can’t suggest any public solution like establishing a law. But, we can overcome this situation in private area through this measure; following your own way do not consider other’s thought.

    In my opinion, Hell Joseon is not only caused by poor economy or social irregularities but also caused by our own mind like “I must enter a major company if its work doesn’t adapt to me”, “I have to get this certificate because lots of people did like that”. Before I thought like this, I was also nervous about finding a job and just criticize the situation “Hell Joseon” because I’m also senior and one of the job seekers. However, as I thought deeply, I find that the solution myself; never stuck to other’s way but find my way which is really fit on me to get a job what I want. That is the core point of the solution what I want to suggest to all the job seekers who has experienced hard time. Of course, this solution is also hard due to the poor economic situation, however, within deep thought about what I really want it to do, finally you can overcome “Hell Joseon” because you make your own happiness by finding dream you imagine.

  13. Fairy permalink
    April 10, 2016 3:16 pm

    5. Your idea related to ‘Hell Joseon’

    Few months ago, I read an article about Hell Joseon talking about Korean who wants to leave Korea. According to the article, 8 out of 10 Korean men and women are willing to go on emigration if they have a chance to do so. The biggest reason why people want to emigrate to foreign countries was that they need more comfort in their lives. An interesting thing is that the countries people want to emigrate have a high quality of welfare compared to Korea. For instance, people like North American countries such as Canada and US most, and north European countries such as Norway, Denmark and Sweden next. In my opinion, if only one or two complain about social problems in Korea reality, it can be one’s own problems to solve. However, as almost everyone complains about social issues, it is definitely problems from society itself. That is, it is impossible for the individuals to improve social conditions. Many people say the government must intervene to make this situation better. I think the government must intervene, but change itself before intervening.

  14. April 10, 2016 3:17 pm

    1. What are the causes of such pessimism?

    There are many words describing that South Korea is hell (Hell Joseon), such as ‘Hell Joseon’, ‘A country of the highest suicide rate among OECD member nations’, ‘A country of the lowest labor productivity among OECD member nations’ so on. However, I want to introduce another word describing this society now days very well, ‘Earth spoon & Gold spoon’. ‘Earth spoon & Gold spoon’ is the new word that criticizes sarcastically the growing gulf between rich and poor in Korea Society. Here is a short dialogue in order to help your understanding about the meaning of the word. One day, one friend said to his friend “You had the high quality of education and studied in the best university in our country and get a high paying job, because you were born with gold spoon in your mouth. But I was born into a poor family and I ate my meal with a spoon made of earth. And even though I studied very hard taking all public education courses, there are only temporary jobs for me in this Hell Joseon.” Many people are saying we are living in highly developed country and it is very lucky that we were not born in the North side. Though if you know how things work out in this society, you can’t say like that. These days the reality of South Korea society is almost the same with Joseon Dynasty governed by the caste system. This is another reason why we call South Korea as Hell Joseon.

  15. blue coffee permalink
    April 10, 2016 5:35 pm

    4. Describe a story of someone living a ‘Hell Joseon’ experience.

    I have a friend who has continued relationship with me since twelve years old we’ d met first time. I do love my friend and it hurts my heart that I reminded her when I saw this pessimistic subject, ‘Hell Joseon’. Actually, most of young people living in Korea would have their own story because of the difficulty days in this country including me. Nonetheless I’ve been through such hard days in this country, I want to talk about my friend’s story instead of others. Because my friend and I graduated same elementary, middle, and high school, I had chances to observe her as much as time we had together. She does not like study we learn through text books. Instead, she wanted to be hair designer and she talked to me delightedly her future plan. However when she became third grade in high school, the plan was abandoned. She had her mind to go to the university instead of being a hair designer. Because her parents dissented her to have the job. There are good job or bad job distinguished by social conventional standard. Therefore, she went to the university and majored infantile education. She had graduated and became infantile teacher two years ago but quitted the job lately. She realized that it was not what she wanted to be. Though this fact, she owes debt almost ten million won for education expenses loan. I think her story show the reality of young people living in Korea being forced to meet the conventional social standard instead of carving their own way.

    • Bingbong permalink
      April 10, 2016 10:56 pm

      I felt sympathy for your essay. I also think there are standard ways in Korea, which recognize others good or bad. It is a sad reality. All people have rights to do something they really want, not being self-concious!

  16. monge permalink
    April 10, 2016 6:31 pm

    1. What are the causes of such pessimism?
    Regardless of age and sex, most of the Korean have been confused by rapidly changes in our society. Those changes give rise to the national instability, and it becomes the most important reason of the Hell Joseon.
    Every year, a number of the youngs are concerned about rising unemployment rates. On the other hand, lots of the aged are worried about living costs. The nation is anxious for the low fertility and the aging phenomenon.
    In those case, We cannot find a stable part in Korea. The politics, economy, diplomacy, and the national defense are all unstable areas in our country. On those difficult occasion, people cannot concentrate to their own life, so it leads to some kinds of criminal, decay and even more worse circumstances.
    To sum up, In Korea, there are lots of social problems like high suicide rate, birth rate, and crime rate. These are the indices of social instability, and finally the typical causes of Hell Joseon.

  17. Barbie permalink
    April 10, 2016 7:47 pm

    Among the young Korean, the word “Hell Chosun” is widely used. It sarcastically refers to Korea as hell on earth to live in. It means that many young people are not satisfied or proud about the state of the country, and looking for other better countries to live in to escape the stress of living in Korea. I can easily see that some of my friends use this word when they are watching news. People chose their biggest reason why they felt this way is due to bad government. I think another problems such as taxes, housing, gap between the rich and the poor, and the arrogant attitude of the upper hand over the other are reasons why people call the country as ‘hell.’ Truly, more opportunities are given to the rich. People who are less privileged are hard to live to survive in the Korean society. Election day is coming. I know it is hard to change the Hell into Heaven in today’s Korea’s society, but at least people should be participated in voting to make our country livable and exert their freedom of choices to make the country better place.

    • BMW permalink
      April 10, 2016 8:32 pm

      I also believe that the voting is important even though one vote cannot change everything, I think at least it can be a trigger to change a country.

  18. BMW permalink
    April 10, 2016 8:26 pm

    I was curious about where the word ‘Hell Joseon’ came from and I found out that it is a new word that was created by the young. The word is for criticizing the corruption and absurdness of the modern society in Korea. It has a profound meaning that the poor will never be able to get over with their class and there are no hopes for the young. I heard that there is even an online web-site for sharing the cases and examples of ‘Hell Joseon’ such as unemployment crisis, suicide rates, labor intensity, corrupted politicians, and so on. Over all, for me, when I looked up for the information of this word, I strongly felt that young people pretty much like to compare themselves with others. I personally believe that as each one has a different value, the standard of ‘being happy’ should be also different. But it looks like everyone wants to fit in only one criterion. Of course the unhelpful society also has the responsibility. However, I think the very first thing that we have to do is not to be confused with values of others and those of ourselves.

  19. Bingbong permalink
    April 10, 2016 10:45 pm

    Lookism as a Factor in Making Hell Joseon

    Unfortunately, the world we live is not Utopia as most people already know. Even if, that is truth, not everyone think the country they live is hell. Then, what do Koreans think about this? Some Koreans or quite a lot of them consider Korea hell. What part of Korea make them feel this way? Today, I want to talk about “Lookism” in Korea as a factor would make “Hell Joseon”. I believe lookism is one of the most serious problems of Korea, making Hell Joseon.
    In Korea, young people have tough time as finding employment is getting much harder and harder, especially to some people who have not outstanding appearance. When Korean go abroad, anyone have ever heard the question, “Is this the truth, extremely many people get the plastic surgery in Korea?” Moreover, I have been asked, “Is this a fact, people who want to get a job need the good looking as a qualification?” When I heard the question, I am embarrassed somewhat, and then, I worried about my future when I have to find a job. Everyone know the best way to live happily is recognizing and loving themselves. However, if achieving their dreams will be hard because of their own appearance, whoever would not reproach themselves? Some people who are not confident about their looks could get the blues, which would make everything they would face hard and painful. Lookism which is prevalent in Korea, would make a member of nation feel that the country is not hopeful and terribly hard to live in, as the meaning of the word, “Hell Joseon”.
    Lack of confidence in their looking caused by lookism in Korea, allows people to get a plastic surgery. Korea is the superpower in getting cosmetic surgery and the money people devote to the hospital is actually amazing. Such so many people get the surgery, but some people who are not rich enough to get the surgery would feel an sense of deprivation. They could feel injustice in Korea, People who try to get the job, they might want to achieve their dream, but at the same time, they need to make money. However, before they find a job, they have so many things to qualify, which need a lot of money. Most people in Korea, think Korea is the country that only rich persons could alive only.
    Many of Koreans consider Korea hell. The main problem of Korea is the thing that Korea makes people feel injustice, which asks them to change the thing they are gifted such as appearance. Also, the country makes people who are not rich feel miserable and would let them know, they could not succeed, only people who are superior since they were born could succeed in Korea. Koreans call their country hell, but they have no choice but to try to adjust the society and change themselves. Can these reality be changed after 10 years or 20 years? I don’t know exactly, but I just want to.

  20. asdfgg permalink
    April 10, 2016 11:46 pm

    5. Your idea related to ‘Hell Joseon’
    It’s definitely a tragedy that a country is called as ‘hell’ by their people. Having so much trouble in Korea, young people cannot expect any hope in here. There is no money to save, no time to enjoy hobby and no jobs to get for the young, except a majority of the rich. Rising house prices, university which is just for getting a job, and the lowest wage make our lives grey. It’s awful that suicide rate of Korea is ranking No. 1 among OEDC. What makes these young people so hard to live in Korea. I think the biggest reason is political systems, although Hell Joseon is the result of complex side effects from many different fields including politics, economy, society, and citizenship. We cannot exclude politics as a main reason. A number of old politicians who want to take their own interests never consider how painful to live as an ordinary person in Korea. Furthermore, some politicians blame us that young people exaggerate pain, saying Hell Joseon. As politicians blame the young, the young don’t want to participate in politics and their animosities are growing. However, I think it’s not always because of the politicians. It can be said that young people who have not exercised their rights to vote also have responsibilities for making Korea hell. We should not give up rights even though it’s very hard to live. If people suffer from this political system, they should resist by voting. Actually, the voting rate of Korean young people are lower than any other advanced countries in the world. So I think if lots of young people vote, it can be helpful to make Korea escape from the hell.

    • Barbie permalink
      April 11, 2016 12:15 am

      I agree. I heard that the more political or eocnomic power people have, the less they become sympathetic to others, especially, the poor.

  21. MintChocolate permalink
    April 10, 2016 11:52 pm

    1. What are the causes of such pessimism?

    According to 고용동향 in KOSTAT, the youth unemployment rate has reached 12.5% which is the highest rate ever. The narrow entrance of employment leads youth to think that Korea is Hell Joseon. The young in Korea is really struggling for being employed. They try hard to fill their application with a great number of “specs”, over 900 of TOEIC score, and volunteer experiences. Even though they’ve tried hard to do that, the young barely get employed. That’s the first reason why they feel such pessimism.
    Older generation is also engaged in the factor of such “Hell-Joseonism.” When it comes to people in fifties, So called 586(fifties, college life in 80’s, and born in 60’s) generation, they’ve overcome so many hard stuff. And they judge young people that the youth are living in way better life that they have been. For that reason the older generation keep saying that “You, the young, are lacking of endeavor. All you’ve got to do is concentration and challenge.” and this makes the youth lose their affection towards the country.

  22. Angela permalink
    April 10, 2016 11:57 pm

    “If you have sinned a lot in your previous life, you go to the hell, but if you have committed bad deeds in it too much, you are born again in Hell Joseon.”

    This joke is all too frequently heard among young people. Like this, young people regard Korea as the hell and Korea is no hope anymore. How did it come to this? Recently the online community ‘Hell Joseon’( are made by young people and new words, Tal-Joseon(It means the escape from Korea) are created to criticize this situation like Hell Joseon. A spirit of discontent is rapidly forming among the people. What should the individuals do to overcome the situation?
    There is not only Korea is the hell. Economic instabilities and waves of the people are aggravating all over the world. And actually when we look at the presidential election of America, we can know that the same thing is also happening right now in the advanced countries that we envy. Not only Korea but also the advanced countries have many social problems like the low growth, the gap between rich and poor, youth unemployment and etc. These problems have reached serious proportions and we have to struggle to solve it.
    However, some young people propel the situation that Korea is the hell and all countries are heaven except for Korea. This is another pair of shoes. Of course, the provocative comment like Hell Joseon has the right function that people easily realize the magnitude of the problem and they take an interest in the community. This has negative effects on society, although people criticize without the fact.
    Whether individuals or groups, if the inconstant emotion is governed, it does not put up a good show. There is ‘Losada Ratio’. The term is from positive psychology. When positive words are six times and negative words are three times, the performance of the organization is best. However, the words that Korea is governed are very negative. Now, Korea is part of the global economy and Korea is not for behind other countries. If Korea is the hell, other countries are also the hell.

    • Angela permalink
      April 10, 2016 11:59 pm

      I chooes question 3. “What should the government (or individuals) do to overcome this situation?”. I focus on the individuals.

  23. wony permalink
    April 11, 2016 11:59 pm

    When I heard the word ‘Hell Joseon’, I just know the meaning clearly. This word represents that grim reality of society well. I am a fourth grade now and I feel the meaning of ‘Hell Joseon’ thoroughly in terms of employment. There are only a few jobs for liberal arts and it is very difficult to find a job. The condition required to young job applicants is getting strict and particular. It is very difficult situation. Governments and businesses should feel a deal of responsibility.

  24. ras7070 permalink
    April 12, 2016 8:40 pm

    What should the government (or individuals) do to overcome this situation? First, government should generate jobs with adequate salaries. today, The percentage of employed youth in Korea has dropped to the lowest in 30 years and the number of young people with part-time jobs is increasing due to high youth unemployment rates. So Reducing unemployment is government’s top priority. Second, The politicians should be more attentive in hearing the citizens’ voice. In Korea, there are only political brawls in the absence of politics. So, politicians should work for voters’ interests.

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