Portal:Korea
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Portal:Korea
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Korea, called Hanguk (Korean: ; Hanja: ) in South Korea and Bookhan (Korean: ; Hanja: ) in North Korea, is a civilization and geographical area situated on the Korean Peninsula in East Asia, bordering China to the northwest and Russia to the northeast, with Japan situated to the southeast across the Korea Strait. It is often called the "Land of the Morning Calm", a term first used during the Joseon dynasty.

One of the oldest civilizations in the world, Korea's history began with the founding of Gojoseon, dating back to approximately 2,333 B.C. After the Three Kingdoms period, Korea enjoyed long periods of peace during which its culture, science and technology flourished. Despite this relative tranquility, Korea was often a target for invasion and had to defend itself in many wars. As a result, starting in the 17th century, Korea's leaders cut off almost all interaction with the outside world. Because of this, Korea was annexed in 1910 and became divided after the Korean War into two political entities, North Korea and South Korea.

North Korea declares itself to be a self-reliant socialist state that is often described by international outlets as Stalinist and isolationist. It is currently ruled by the Kim dynasty, under which the country has become the world's most militarized society with a total of 9,495,000 active, reserve, and paramilitary personnel. North Korea has often emerged as a subject of controversy due to alleged human rights abuses and its unsanctioned nuclear weapons program, the latter of which makes it a threat to regional security.

South Korea on the other hand is a capitalist liberal democracy, and by 1995, became the world's 11th largest economy. It is also currently the world's fifth largest exporter and seventh largest importer, all feats achieved during South Korea's miraculous economic growth after the Korean War. South Korea also maintains a large military due to strained relations with the North, with 650,000 active troops and 3.2 million reserve troops. Due to both its economic and military prowess, South Korea is a regional power, also enjoying membership in the United Nations, G-20 major economies and the OECD.

Korea is populated by a relatively homogeneous ethnic group, the Koreans, who speak Korean, a distinct language not known to be related to any other language, and which uses a unique script, known as Hangul in South Korea, and as Chosongul in North Korea.

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Typhoon Shanshan at peak intensity.

Typhoon Shanshan was a strong typhoon that affected parts of East Asia in late September 2006. The 13th named storm of the 2006 Pacific typhoon season, Typhoon Shanshan was also the seventh typhoon of the year operationally recognised by the Japan Meteorological Agency. In post-operational analysis Shanshan became the eighth typhoon of the year when Typhoon Maria was added to the list. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center considered Shanshan the 13th tropical storm and eighth typhoon of the season, a Category 4-equivalent typhoon in terms of 1-minute average wind speed. The name Shanshan was submitted to the naming list by Hong Kong and is a girls' given name. Shanshan wreaked havoc in Japan, with reports that it caused a tornado which derailed a train. It made landfall first in the Yaeyama Islands, where it caused heavy rains, and later in Ky?sh?. The outer bands of Shanshan also affected South Korea. Shanshan also knocked power out to thousands of homes in the two countries, and killed at least eleven people. Damage amounted to $2.5 billion (2006 USD), making Shanshan the sixth costliest disaster worldwide in 2006.

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Wongudan, Seoul
Credit: Burton Holmes; Restoration: Lise Broer

A 1925 photo of Wongudan, an altar site in Seoul built in 1897 as a location for the performance of the rite of heaven. King Seongjong of the Goryeo Dynasty was the first to perform the rite, designed to ensure a bountiful harvest, in the tenth century. The practice was discontinued by later Goryeo kings, revived briefly in the mid fifteenth century by Sejo of the Joseon Dynasty, then reinstated with the founding of the Korean Empire in 1897. Much of the altar complex was destroyed during the Japanese occupation, and the gate and fountain seen here were also subsequently removed, leaving only the three-storey Hwangungu pagoda remaining.

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Tessa Ludwick (born October 5, 1988) is a Korean American actress from Apollo Beach, Florida. She began acting at age five, when she held a lead role in Allegra's Window, a Nick Jr. children's television program show taped at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. When filming on Allegra's Window ended in May 1996, seven-year-old Ludwick went from Allegra's Window to a lead role in Big Bag, a live action television puppet program for preschoolers on the Cartoon Network. At 8, she landed the role of Kate, an orphan girl in the touring Broadway musical Annie, the 20th Anniversary. For the next eight months, she toured the United States and Canada with the musical, during which time Ludwick gave eight performances per week. In 2003, Ludwick appeared as the character Yumi in thirteen, an autobiographical drama film based on American film actress Nikki Reed's experiences as a 12 and 13-year-old girl. In 2004, Ludwick appeared on Movie Surfers, a Disney Channel mini-show where four teenagers go behind the scenes to report on Walt Disney-related films. Three years later in June 2007, Ludwick began work on Teen Witch the Musical, a stage musical based on the 1989 fantasy-comedy film Teen Witch.

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