Home Food Korea Life: 13 Korean Stereotypes – True or False? You Decide
Korea Life: 13 Korean Stereotypes – True or False? You Decide

Korea Life: 13 Korean Stereotypes – True or False? You Decide

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This list was created based on the overwhelming majority (and conclusions drawn after speaking with lots of foreigners living in the Korea, local Koreans and overseas Koreans) and not the entire population. Inevitably, some are bound to disagree. No disrespect is/was intended in compiling this list and we apologize in advance if any of these stereotypes offends you. We bring you some well known Korean stereotypes. Are they right, or flat out wrong? Take our poll and tell us what you think

1. Koreans eat Kimchi every day

Arguably one of the most, if not the most famous stereotype of all Korean stereotypes. With kimchi being the most famous Korean food (or side dish, depending on who you ask), you truly cannot get Koreanized unless you’ve tried kimchi at least once. No true Korean food, regardless of style or taste, is complete without some kimchi in or beside it.
Verdict – True

? Koreans eat Kimchi everyday?
True
False

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2. Koreans are very united

To use a recent example, if you live in Korea or have seen news about the recent presidential scandal involving President Park Geun-Hye and Choi Soon Sil, then this one should be an easy call for you. With millions of Koreans protesting every weekend, their unity is a beautiful thing to watch and one that foreigners admire.
Verdict – True

? Koreans are very united
True
False

3. Korean men are sexist

This is a very difficult one to call as exactly half (seriously) of the foreigners we spoke with, guys and girls, said it is indeed true, and the other half said the stereotype is false. The recent open letter written by an SNU professor calling out a Korean guy for his alleged sexism hasn’t helped put this stereotype to bed either. With more than a decade worth of experience living in Korea, (and with the interviewed foreigners exactly split 50-50), we’d have to say sexism in Korea, like many other places, is an individual thing and not one embedded in the society.
Verdict – False

? Korean men are sexist
True
False

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4. Korean guys hate Korean girls who date foreigners

A somewhat controversial one that might perhaps offend a few. Korean guys hating on Korean girls for dating foreigners is getting increasingly more common. In fact, during the course of this writing, we received two screenshots from two different Korean girls that were filled with hate and profanity (way too graphic to share on Koreanized) because they committed the very severe crime of dating foreigners, and one of the girls called it an “inferiority complex”. Unfortunately, these aren’t isolated incidents and there are many Korean girls in interracial relationships that have received hate at one point or the other, especially online. While we didn’t make our conclusion based on just these two incidents, we took these two examples and many others into account.
Verdict – True

? Korean guys hate Korean girls who date foreigners
True
False

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5. All Koreans eat dog meat

This is one of those Korean stereotypes that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Some Koreans do eat dog meat, but in reality, only a small percentage of the entire population fancy eating a dog. Petitions like this help spread this stereotype among foreigners. Many Koreans we spoke with were genuinely disgusted at the thought of consuming a dog and many of them have never, and will never eat a dog or even entertain the idea.
Verdict – False

? All Koreans eat dog meat
True
False

6. Koreans are very good at math

We’ve all seen internet memes of that super smart Asian kid at school who will face hell at home if he gets a B or an A-. Most Koreans take pride in this stereotype and for the most part, this stereotype holds up in Korea. Compared to other western students, Kids in Korea start studying math intensively from a very young age – in schools, in hagwons (academies), and with private tutors.
Verdict – True

? Koreans are good at math
True
False

7. All Korean men want to work at Samsung

To our surprise, and contrary to what most foreigners think, and even though working at Samsung is seen as a prestigious job to hold, most Korean men do not prioritize working at Samsung. In fact, many do not even fancy working at Samsung. Most of these big companies are infamous for their long working hours, leaving employees little or no time for a social life.
Verdict – False

? All Korean men want to work at Samsung
True
False

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8. All Korean girls want plastic surgery

If you’ve read our list of facts about Korea, plastic surgery is top of the list and it isn’t difficult to imagine why this stereotype is so famous among Koreans and foreigners. Although the majority of the double eye lids-less girls we spoke to say they will only consider a double eyelids plastic surgery, which could be described as the equivalent of getting braces in the western world, others, 53% exactly to be precise, were open to the idea of more than just a double eyelids surgery and with that number outweighing those who would only consider a double eyelids surgery, we’d say this stereotype is somewhat true.
Verdict – Somewhat true

? All Korean girls want plastic surgery
True
False

9. Korean girls are materialistic

Not in the present day Korea, just like number 11 on this list. We spoke with 50 Korean girls between the ages of 20 – 45, every single one of them say they are offended by this stereotype and while they acknowledge this used to be the case, they all said expectations of gifts and money is purely an individual trait and only a small minority of Koreans have such expectations and as such, cannot be classified as a true stereotype.
Verdict – False

? Korean girls are materialistic
True
False

10. Korean guys love online gaming

The Starcraft wave hit hard in Korea in 2010 and guys of all ages – from students to blue and white collar workers – spent hours upon hours at cyber cafes, known in Korea as PC bangs, playing Starcraft. Although not as famous in 2016 like it was back then, with gaming still raking in an astonishingly high net income of over 5 billion won in Korea, online gaming is still very much alive and well in Korea.
Verdict – True

? Korean guys love online gaming
True
False

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11. Korean girls expect guys to pay for dates

Perhaps this stereotype held up in 2005. However, in 2016, most Korean girls, like girls everywhere, are more than comfortable paying their bills during dates, especially first dates and 100% of the 50 Korean girls we spoke with all said they have absolutely no expectation about guys footing the entire bill on a date.
Verdict – False

? Korean girls expect guys to pay for dates
True
False

12. Koreans eat rice every day

We have probably seen videos and memes about this stereotype. While some are funny and others are blatantly racist, there is some truth to it. Rice, just like Kimchi, is a constant in almost every Korean meal and many Koreans eat rice as many as three times a day.
Verdict – True

? Koreans eat rice everyday
True
False

13. Koreans do not shave

We aren’t referring to the hair on your head here. We asked a Korean girl to weigh in and this is what she had to say, unedited: “Shaving is frowned upon in Korea, especially by ajummas and the older generation. In a jimchilbang, many times, people would stare at you just because you are clean shaven. Many Korean guys also equate shaving with sexual promiscuity.” We also asked her if she shaves, but will leave her answer to your imagination.
Verdict – True

? Koreans do not shave
True
False

Did we leave any Korean stereotype out of our list? Tell us more in the comment section below. Also, be sure to follow and like Koreanized on

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Comment(4)

  1. It’s pretty obvious that some of these are not actually reflective of society at large. For instance, “materialism” has nothing to do with “expecting” things; it has to do with valuing objects for status/happiness. The average Korean girl is also very much expecting you to pay for dates. She may go dutch once you’re long-term. Most men are pretty sexist and it’s apparent in almost every situation. There’s the polls and then there’s the sites verdict, but it’s interesting to note how much they differ.

    1. Thanks for your comment. We also got similar comments on our Facebook page about sexism and materialism, number 3 and 9. Thanks again, and we hope you leave many more comments. Merry Christmas!

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