386 Generation

The 386 Generation is a generation of South Koreans born in the 1960s who were very active politically as young adults, and instrumental in the democracy movement of the 1980s. The term refers to the Intel i386 CPU, released in 1985, and used in Korean universities in that era. This was the first generation of South Koreans to grow up free from the poverty that had marked Korea in the recent past.

The broad political mood of the generation was far more left-leaning than that of their parents, or their eventual children. They played a pivotal role in the democratic protests which forced President Chun Doo-hwan to call democratic elections in 1987, marking the transition from military rule to democracy. Members of the 386 Generation now comprise much of the elite of Korean society, including Nobel laureate and former president Kim Dae-jung (1925 – 2009).

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