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Korea is a large peninsula jutting into the Yellow Sea from the Asian mainland. Buddhism was introduced into the area during the 4th century and went on to become a major influence on Korean life, although it was persecuted after 1170 and disestablished in the 15th century in favour of Confucianism. By the 19th century, Buddhism's presence was minimal and further weakened by the Japanese colonial administration's efforts to destroy it by forcing monks and nuns to marry.

Since the 1950s all religions have almost been completely destroyed in communist North Korea and Buddhism in the south has been severely depleted by conversion to Christianity. It is only in recent years that Korean Buddhism has become better organized, more vigorous and more socially involved.

About 65% of North Korea is Buddhist and about 50% of South Korea is Buddhist. The communist government in North Korea does not keep statistics as the country is officially atheist, but many of the inhabitants keep shrines to the Triple religions of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism.

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