386 Generation

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The 386 Generation (Korean: 386 세대; ---世代; sampallyuk sedae) is the 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 386 Generation takes a critical view of the United States and a sympathetic view of North Korea.[1]


The term was coined in the early 1990s, in reference to what was then the latest computer model, Intel's 386, and referring to people then in their 30s, having attended university in the 1980s, and born in the 1960s.[2] As the time flows, the people in 386 generation are called "486 Generation" in the 2000s and "586 Generation" in the 2010s.


This was the first generation of South Koreans to grow up free from the poverty that had marked South 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.[3]

Members of the 386 generation now comprise much of the elite of South Korean society. Kim Dae-jung benefitted from widespread 386er support, but it is the election of Roh Moo-hyun who was the strongest demonstration of the more left-leaning politics of the generation.[2][4]


  1. ^ "Moon Jae In should listen to the 2030 generation: The Korea Herald columnist". The Straits Times. February 2, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Fiasco of 386 Generation". 5 February 2008.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-09-15. Retrieved 2010-10-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "OUT WITH THE OLD". 3 August 2003.