President Roh Moo-Hyun's Last Interview and the Roh Moo-Hyun Phenomenon in South Korea

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    This commentary discusses what is popularly regarded as the "Roh Moo-hyun Phenomenon" in today's South Korean society, as an attempt to shed some light on an interview which the late President Roh Moo-hyun had with the author in December 2008. This interview is unique not only because it became Roh's last interview conducted before his suicide on May 23, 2009, but also because it provides Roh's candid critical self-assessment on his own presidency, especially regarding his role in both domestic politics and the inter-Korean relationship, and the Korea-US relationship during his term in office, as well as commenting on Japan's approach to Northeast Asian regional politics. Reflecting on Roh's star-like rise to the presidency and fall from grace, this commentary alerts readers that Roh's last interview needs to be considered within the context of the Roh Moo-Hyun Phenomenon, especially in regard to the 2017 presidential election, because it will directly affect the fate of not just the "pro-Roh group," with the largest share of the opposition in today's Korean society, but the Korean people as a whole at a time when the country's many leading civic groups are desperately seeking a "Great Transformation."
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)273-298
    JournalJournal of Contemporary Asia
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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