As I was commenting on a question from a reader about the recent N. Korean threats against America, I suddenly realized that my family has been involved in Korean politics for hundreds of years! And now, so am I! Is this a coincidence? Or is something else going on?
It all started (as far as my mother told me) with an ancestor who came from China to govern an area of Korea. He was also a scholar who was influential in the formation of the Korean language. That would be during the late 1400′s to the early 1500′s according to my research. He would have been in the Yangban ruling class as they were the only ones allowed to study. My mother would often talk of our family, the Lim family, as being a ‘high family’ in Korea- she would stress the fact that our family had always been highly ‘educated’. And she would brag that ‘Lim’ was a rare name in Korea- that only ‘high’ families were called, ‘Lim’. I never got it when I was little- big deal! Didn’t everyone go to school?? And who cares about a last name! But her statements verify the historical facts of early Korea: they were highly class oriented and aristocratic positions were inherited through the male line. The Chinese only sent royal sons to Korea to rule. A family’s destiny was never changeable- the powerful & rich stayed powerful & rich and the poor remained the poor. My mother’s clear disdain for ‘lower classes’ also speaks t (more…)