The 386 Generation (Korean386 세대; Hanja386 世代; RRsampallyuk 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 Hankyoreh, a South Korean left-liberal newspaper, reported that right-wing conservatives in Japan perceive the 386 generation as being "anti-Japanese".[2]


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.[3]


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 claim democratic elections in 1987, marking the transition from military dictatorship (Third and Fifth republic) to democracy.[4]

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.[3][5] Not all 386 generations are upper class or left-liberal, but some 386 generations are described as "liberal elite" or "progressive elite".[6]

See also


  1. ^ "Moon Jae In should listen to the 2030 generation: The Korea Herald columnist". The Straits Times. February 2, 2018.
  2. ^ "한-일 관계 악화, 한국 386세대 탓으로 돌려". The Hankyoreh (in Korean). 6 August 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Fiasco of 386 Generation". 5 February 2008.
  4. ^ Park Sun-Young. "Shinsedae: Conservative Attitudes of a 'New Generation' in South Korea and the Impact on the Korean Presidential Election". East-West Center. Archived from the original on 2010-09-15. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
  5. ^ "OUT WITH THE OLD". Newsweek. 3 August 2003.
  6. ^ "이제는 불가능한 꿈, 중산층". Kyunghyang Shinmun (in Korean). 14 April 2014. Retrieved 31 October 2021. 지금으로부터 사반세기 전, 그러니까 1980년대 후반까지만 해도 386세대의 진보적 엘리트 상당수는 당시 급부상하던 '중산층'이라는 계층에 상당한 알레르기 반응을 보이곤 했다.