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Wednesday, February 04, 2004

(Family and Kin) Upper-class affinal relations 2

Ch'amyôsahoe Yôn'guso ("Research Institute of Participatory Society") published last month the first part of the study on marital relations of the South Korean elite (upper classes or "leading stratum", chidoch'ûng), which showed that the most important axis of these relations is the LG group, with Samsung second. (My earlier enty on the issue on Jan. 13)

The main result of the marital relations mapping was that the social mobility has been slowing down and that the upper class ranks have become more closed. (From my previous entry: marriages to non-upperclass persons among the conglomerate families are by age groups as follows: people in their 50s 33%, 40s 27%, 20s and 30s 13%.)

The Research Institute has now published the marital webs as charts, which is the top news in today's internet Hankyoreh.

Here's a chart of the marital (affinal) relations around LG Group (from Hankyoreh):


In LG, marriages have been a part of company management, which is said to stem from the family background of the founder Ku In-hoe. He was a son of house without any special property, who was married at the age of 14 to the daughter of a rich (ch'ônsôkkun, "thousand rice-bag farmer") neighbor. Later, Ku made sure his offspring was married to a rich or an influential family. Ku also has a lot of offspring, about 100 now in the 4th generation.

Hyundai marital web (from Hankyoreh):

The marriages of the offpsring of Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee are more various than is usual of the tycoons, "from chaebôls and media owners to ordinary people (p'yôngbômhan sôminch'ûng)". --> The "ordinary people" husband of Lee Kun-hee's oldest daughter is actually an ordinary white-collar employee (hoesawôn) in a Samsung affiliate company, which does warrant the use of sômin, at least in regard to how the term is most often used in Korea.

This all becomes too complicated and toilsome to bring to a blog entry, so the rest will be in the Hankyoreh article.

Marital web of 30 big conglomerates (750Kb picture in Hankyoreh)

In the adjoining article, the researcher in charge recounts the motives and aims of the research.
"You must have had difficulties. - We couldn't expect help from the subjects, so we needed to check out everything directly, bit by bit, by ourselves. From the internet, from person database of the media, death notice and obituaries, women's magazines. We checked alltogether about 700 chaebôl marriages. Even an hair artist [note that people who do chaebôl people's hair are not hairdressers or barbers but hair artists, 헤어아티스트] had put the names of chaebol family bride and groom to internet was help to us.

재벌 혼맥이 부정적으로 비쳐지는 것에 대해 당사자들은 억울하다는 반응인데. =재벌들의 혼맥이 비난의 대상이 되는 것은 과거 정경유착 등을 통해 그들 스스로 빌미를 제공했기 때문이다. 하지만 이번 연구가 재벌들을 비난하기 위한 것은 아니다. 어느 사회이든 지도층은 존재하는 것이고, 그들끼리 결혼하는 것을 무조건 나쁘다고 할 수는 없다. 그러나 지도층이 자신들의 사회적 지위에 맞는 도덕적, 사회적 의무를 다하고 책임의식을 갖는 게 중요하다.

Here is a direct link to the research report in the institute website.
(Click the picture below for a big 1.6Mb chart in the research institute homepage.)


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