Asian civilization, tales, myths and legends

Looking for any recommendations on Asian civilization books in English! Thank you!!
(How was it back in time? How did society look like? Education, living conditions, natural disasters, beliefs and religions, ancestors, family, values, wars, political conflicts?)

For Korea, planning to read these ones:

  • Samguk Yusa: Legends and History of the Three Kingdoms of Ancient Korea by Ilyon
  • Myths and legends from Korea by James H Grayson (I’ve begun by this one)
  • Korean Tales: A Collection of Classic Korean Folk Tales
  • A History of Korea (Macmillan Essential Histories) by Kyung Moon Hwang
  • A Concise History of Korea: From Antiquity to the Present by Michael J. Seth
  • The True History of Korea: The political history of Silla and Goryeo by Chin Woo Kim and Key Ray Chong

For China, a few plans on:

  • Chinese Civilization: A Sourcebook by Patricia Buckley Ebrey
  • China: A History by John Keay
  • China: A History by Harold M. Tanner

I guess I should do the same, I just google it, wickopedia is good too, I have found a lot of “stuff” for way back when, on and does have some history stuff on youtube as well
some of the dramas we watch do come from those histories too
and if you notice my name?? yeah I do try to write stories and get some ideas from them

I’d like to know what you find please


I love your name! It must be true for every writer.
What do you want to write?

Wikipedia is really great, it gathers passionate and anonymous volunteers (you don’t need a diploma) who write about every subject!
There was an article about Wikipedia volunteers in French, I was amazed because upon a topic, some of them could travel together to a location and begin their research, ask questions to people, taking photos…
You even have some fights upon terms like chicory or history matters because without more reliable sources, we can’t know the truth for sure and a lot of hypotheses are raised.
Wikipedia is an incredible work of research and passion.

By the way, while trying to find the article about how Wiki worked, found this one that studied the gears of motivation for volunteers. Wink to Viki.

I find that the method people use to write articles on Wikipedia could be in a way similar to the one a writer of a book would use: based on research.
I went to Tolkien’s exhibition, the author of Lord of the Rings, and as an author, he was a professor of literature and part of a club of literature, when we look at his work, we find some inspiration from Middle-Age literature, from religion and religious crusades, archeology, even sciences (for hobbits morphology, oliphants, monsters), linguistic (he created the language of elves, found inspirations from Celtic, Greek, Slavic languages), he drawed the maps by hands, he even took care of little details of making it look like a scroll.
If you want to know his source of inspirations.

Many people found in wuxia dramas or novels like the Condor series what they have been looking for in Lord of the Rings. I just found the author of Condor series is dead while the English translation of his work is being released! Really sad.

I found this Encyclopedia, too:

For example, if you click on “hanji” in the Ancient Korea Encyclopedia:
You have the photo, origins, manufactures and uses, a video. Quite complete.


ok I am an “atlatis” not. some say its a legend, myth, not real etc. scifi is mainly what I like, but dramas comes a close second, mysteries, and nything between, what got me to do this, when I was about in the 6th grade(many years ago) ashmov I think thats the right spellng, he had a city that people didn’t have to walk, those escelators, and conveyers as well, Love a good scifi & mystery, I look at them just to get an idea of what to write and how to write, my thing is if you don’t grab me at the first or second sentence, you lost me, or grabbed my jugular vein just forget it. I guess thats why I like the Asian dramas so much, they do grab me(not all the time though)

heres something, here in America just recently, a guy built a “hobbit” village, now I don’t know what he is going to do with it, an attraction, hotel ,don’t now.

oh and yes 1, research 2 research 3 research,
these writers here are really amazing, and how they can put it together so nicely. yeah some of the endings do need work but still, awesome is all I can say… so much to learn and so short of time…

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Lol you are so funny!
Yes Atlantis, I’ve heard of it, but never read anything on it :slight_smile:
Ashmov? It doesn’t ring a bell for me. (Isaac Asimov? SF is not a genre I’ve known enough) Same feeling, so little time and time flies so fast.
That’s why I understand your grab fast, feel the same

Oh yeah about dramas coming from history, it’s exactly that! Then there’s some fiction added to the drama.


your last sentence, yes fiction added to the story. and Issac asimov is the one I was talking abut,

well I said something about Atlantis, what about Lemuria, or Pacificia, and now have some new ones recently discovered, or whatever. really some interesting reading if you are interested, that is. “Lost continents”
google it, some on You tube as well

Yes, she’s speaking of Russian born Issac Asimov.

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yep thats the one!

Oh, I have watched a SF movie on Netflix yesterday and thought of you! It’s a movie called “Anon” from 2018.

I won’t spoil it in case you want to watch it: it has crimes, hackers, technology and mature/nudity/ bloody scenes.
One officer has to find an atypic murderer in this futuristic world.

In a world where each one can see information on everyone else in the street, like a robot, when you see someone in the street, you will see the person but also information about them (name, age…) or information about calories when you buy a hot dog!

People can download memories (“files”) from others’ brain and even the police can check deceased memories by downloading the file of their memories before their dead. They call the system where all files are stored the Ether.

So normally, it is easy for the police to find the murderer’s identity because everyone’s privacy is in the Ether, until they meet…

You really feel it’s another world or futuristic and it’s like you see in the eyes of the characters. It is slow-paced and it’s not like a thriller with a sociopath.

Liked the quote at the beginning about privacy by Robert Browning:
“I give the fight up; let there be an end,
A privacy, an obscure nook for me.
I want to be forgotten even by God.”

Oh and this one, too for SF:

It was on Netflix.

The synopsis is like that:
People are in a room and at first, I thought it was like a TV game show because of how they are placed.
In fact, it is a mortal “game”: only one in this room will survive, but the participants have to pick whom, but by doing so they eliminate others and themselves.
In this room, you will meet all society: young, old, cheater, criminals, diplomats, mother, lovers, etc.
And it’s so crazy because it is like seeing people like us judging who is worth to save and stay alive among them. It’s not easy because people have different criteria and so you have like people who disagree, make “teams” to save the person they elected.

Really immersed in it.

You will have to watch the end of the movie to know why it is SF.

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oh my! you got me I am going t have to find them, thanks

If you’re into series like that, I recommend the british hit series Black Mirror!!!

SF, Technologies, losing control, system, out of the ordinary and could be really scary.
There’re many messages about society or tech in each episode I’ve watched.

You can watch in the disorder, ep are independant and it’s really short, 5 seasons of 4-5 episodes (45 min an ep).

Before it was on Netflix, I watched the 1st ep of S1, was puzzled and quite disturbed so I gave up.
Later, my cousin showed me some episodes on Netflix:

  • one is about video games vs fantasm vs reality; if you’re into Star Trek, you will recognize it xd your conscience enters a video game.

  • The other one was like Anon in which they insert a chip in children and parents can see on a tablet what their children see (protecting children but no privacy) or pick to blur what their children see (parents protecting children but children don’t understand basic feelings like fear or overcoming fear or they don’t know how blood is like because parents blured their view: what is danger, violence?). We see the differences in development as a human by too much censoring or overprotecting or correct balance for parents? Difficults to set the limits.

So just to say, you may skip E1S1, but feel reassured because all ep are different!

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anon kinda reminds me of the black angel of years ago, same type story, can’t think of the girl’s name,(very popular now)but Weatherly(I think) in a NCIS fame and was her mentor. was a realty neat drama, oh and want to share another one,

as you know I like the mysteries & SciFi, check out the Guardian, I am watching it here on Viki this time, a lot of twists & turns, aliens again, but different remember the bride of the water god? foxes galore? well this is a bit different,

my big question is how come they all didn’t land on Atlantis or those other mystery continents>>>> ok laugh if you must, just don’t forget this is a frustratedwriter here.
hmmmm Black mirror sounds interesting!

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anon so cool! clive one of my faves, but has caught my attention, , they got chips? anyway will finish that today! plant to start watching black mirror, today as well. cold here today . so talk to you later

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Black angel? I don’t know this series.
I will check out the Guardians! It sounds like NCIS with the team and all. NCIS is so good!
You may like Criminal Minds! It’s about a medium who solves mysteries and murders.

Lol I haven’t watched the Guardians, so I don’t know how come they didn’t make an ep in Atlantis! Maybe in S2?

Yes, they have chips in Anon!

For Black Mirror, I haven’t watched all ep, only some ep with family. You may skip E1S1, you might flee after this ep.

There’s an ep similar to Anon: E3S1 “The Entire History of You.” I don’t remember watching it :thinking:
The one I described previously with the chip and tablet is E2S4 Arkangel and the one with Star Trek is E1S4 USS Callister.

If you like mysteries dramas (no SF though) with detective and searching for serial killer, there is one on Viki I like a lot:

The end of S1 makes you want there was a S2!

And this one is about a mother who goes back in time to save her daughter who got kidnapped by… (SF and mysteries):

It’s so cold here too! I’m freezing, hopefully we get no snow.


_ did like missing Noir, really weird can’t seem to find it, and the Gods gift it als was good too. isn’t it interesting, we are looking to the older dramas??_

:thinking: I don’t remember seeing thrillers or SF like that (detective, murder) on Viki from last yr or I could be mistaken. Do Kproducers make a lot of thrillers a year, I wonder?

Have you watched mysteries from 2019 on Viki?

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yes I have watched mysteries on Viki in 2019

Oh which ones did you like?
The Guardians this I’ll check in the future.

Hierarchy in Korea, Confucianism and Buddhism

A concise history of Korea by Seth Michael J.


1. A daebak book about history of Korea in French: “Histoire de la Corée : Des origines à nos jours” by Pascal Dayez-Burgeon (a French diplomat in Korea from 2001-2006).

The author had a multiple and detailed approach (political, economic, social, sociodemographic, geopolitical) from the origins of Korea until the contemporary era. I was looking for a book like that, making me discover and understand a lot.

I’ve just finished the book and want to read it again, because it contains much info to digest and it shows how many links the present has with the past (the 386 generation, the expression sounding like “You’re the worst student since Dangun,” Juche, fertility problems in the future and the current governmental measures, economic and political issues raised with the reunification…)

Finishing the last page and felt like I traveled a little in Korea’s history.
How much Korea has suffered, how it has become what it is today after China, Japan annexations from 1910-1945 (but even before that) and intern dissensions with external interference until North/South fracture left me with a lot to think about. The past of Korea that I could discover through this book felt really heavy and sad, a country that has never been in peace, making some paragraphs not easy to read.

Felt moved by their history and by the author’s passion to tell us their history. I’m not Korean, but I felt the author understood (or at least tried) to understand Korean people and Korea in general.

2. The only missing point is: not enough details on today habits and customs, but another book looks great with iconographics: “Croquis de Corée” by Benjamin Joinau (He published since 2000 notebooks about Korea here:

In the book, I found it funny because we could find different types of kimchi and I was like “What the heck!”:



I also found in the book in the chapter “Corporal gestures” the custom to turn around when drinking in front of your boss, a scene that we could observe in one of the movies of Ma Dong Seok “The gangster, the cop and the devil.”