386 is Korea's version of America's Baby Boom appellation. 386 refers to a generation that's in their 30s, graduated from university during the 1980s, and were born in the 1960s. Similar to the boomers, they are the generation in Korea that has seen as sea change of ideas: from the political to the cultural.

They are the first generation to live fully free from colonialism and war. They are Korea's first generation to know their nation only as an industrialized nation. And until the 1997 Asian economic crisis (known in Korea as the "IMF Crisis"), they've only known economic expansion. Growing up during the pro-democracy movement of the '80s, they are the ones who took to the barricades, faced down water cannons and tear gas.

In the new millennium, the 386 generation has, like the boomers in the 1980s, started to move into the corridors of power. Increasingly they are holding powerful positions in politics, business, and labor. Their rejection in the '80s of traditional silent allegiance to Confucianist culture is expected to have ripple effects in Korean society as the generation above exits the stage and the 386'ers increase in power and influence. They are a generation that tried to balance respect for 5,000 years of unbroken culture with concepts of fairness, equality, and democracy. With no memory of the Korean war, they're a generation less suspicious of North Korea and far more open to unification.

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