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The Asia Institute has started a research project with support of the Korea Economic Research Institute on the topic of “Hell Chosun.”

“Hell Chosun” is a term that refers to the social and economic chains that leave young people feel as if they are trapped in an unfeeling and exploitative system. The phenomenon, fed by rising youth unemployment and the general malaise within Korean culture and society, has become the one of the greatest challenges to Korea, especially in a rapidly aging society.

We hope to identify the exact nature of “Hell Chosun” experienced by youth and get their opinions concerning possible solutions.

Korea Economic Research Institute and the Asia Institute are conducting extensive interviews with young people and experts on social and demographic issues about the increasing discontent with Korean society found today among youth, and the growing distance from their parents.


On January 20, 2017, the Asia Institute conducted a seminar on “Hell Chosun” in cooperation with WCO that brought together a small group of whigh school students who have elected to take a gap year to study at the alternative school, the Benjamin School. The students described in detail the problems that youth face in Korean society and proposed concrete solutions that will start to solve them. The research program on “Hell Chosun” is run by Ku Yaerin, an Asia Institute researcher.


Asia Institute on Hell Chosun.

Asia Institute on Hell Chosun.





The Asia Institute signed an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with Future Forest, a leading Korean NGO dedicated to working with youth in China and Korea to fight the spread of deserts in Northeast Asia in cooperation with the UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification). Asia Institute and Future Forest have worked together to recruit capable young people for the battle against climate change and held numerous seminars together. More recently, the Asia Institute has been a supporter of the Global Green Corps of Future Forest.