Hidden away between Japan and China, South Korea has come to flourish economically and culturally. Historically, Korea (known as Joseon at the time) has been most heavily influenced by China. Before 1446, Joseon used Chinese as the national writing system, extending to civil service exams being only offered in Chinese and not Korean. Being heavily influenced by confucian classics and culture, adaptations have been made over the centuries to make Korea culturally unique.
Korean food is known for being colorful and artistic. Each dish is not only delicious but also a work of art. A great example is the bibimbap, rice on the bottom, with many different types of vegetables, mushrooms, and meat on top. Eating it is almost a sin because of how much thought and artistic work comes into making the dish.
The greatest piece of cultural art to come from the Korean culture perhaps comes from the Korean Traditional Dress, known as the Hanbok. There are many different styles that are catered not only to women, but also men. Much like Korean cuisine, the Hanbok is colorful and unique. There are few clothes in the world that bring so many different colors and class to one look. From kings to the lowest of servants, there were styles of Hanboks for everyone. Fortunately because of advances in modern technology and wide availability of resources, what would have been seen as a Hanbok worthy of a king, can now be enjoyed by anyone. There are many places within South Korea and North Korea to buy these clothes, but few places to get them internationally. If you look on Amazon, a good quality Hanbok can run from $200 to $1000, or if you are willing to wait 3-4 weeks to have it shipped directly from Asia, then you can order from www.KoreanProductsUSA.com for about $35 to $150.
In an effort to create a greater cultural identity, in 1996 the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism deemed October 25 to be national Hanbok day. On this day, it is not uncommon to see people dressed up in their best Hanbok sporting their national identity. In fact, it has become more and more common to see people dressed in Hanboks because of popular South Korean TV shows that take place in old Joseon, before Japanese colonization and forced world exposure.
The younger generation of South Koreans have started to try to adapt this traditional dress to look more modern, which takes away quite a bit of cloth and makes it more comfortable for the hotter months. While this trend is starting to gain traction, many new and beautiful styles and fabrics will start to create more international popularity.