November 1, 2013
Since South Korea in the 1960s began its now-fabled economic rise, its “Miracle on the Han,” the country’s efforts and outcomes have been compared to Japan’s.
Due to geographic proximity and the possession of similar cultures and resource constraints, the South Korea-Japan comparisons were obvious and easy to make for Korean leaders and citizens as well as for the outsiders who tried to understand and explain the country. For Koreans, they helped build common goals and direction and, for outsiders, they became a shortcut to shared understanding.
But over the past decade, South Korea’s business leaders and economic technocrats have forged a path that is less like Japan’s and onto something new and different for a still-rising, middle-income country.