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The Answers: North Korea by Jeremy Kourdi

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WHAT NORTH KOREA IS NOT – THE “HERMIT KINGDOM” METAPHOR

Clearly conveying the closed and stubborn nature of a country perceived to be unwilling to engage with the outside world, the “Hermit Kingdom” appellation was coined by frustrated Westerners to describe the whole of the peninsula nation as they encountered it in the twilight years of the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910). It first appeared as the title of a book in 1882, Corea: The Hermit Nation, by the American Japanophile, William Elliot Griffis (1843–1928), who had never visited the country.

Joseon-dynasty Korea was hermit-like in outward appearance not least because it was a country ...

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