The Corner


Korea Scholar and ‘BBC Dad’

Robert Kelly (Jay Nordlinger)

Robert Kelly has an unusual fame — and a worldwide fame. He is a first-rate Korea scholar, for sure. He teaches at Pusan National University. But he is known as the “BBC Dad,” immortally. Do you remember? He was giving an interview when, first his daughter, then his son, then his wife, burst into the room, chaotically and delightfully. It was a world-unifying moment. People recognize Professor Kelly wherever he goes.

He and I talk about this in a Q&A podcast, here. That’s at the end. He is highly interesting on what it’s like to have that kind of fame. But the bulk of our conversation is spent on the Koreas, North and South — and he is equally interesting on that. This is a critical area of the world. Kelly has spent a lot of time studying it. And what he has to relate is not only highly interesting but damn useful as well.


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