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❶However, culture and traditional values of the region still bind these two countries with each other.

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The traditional houses of yangban gentry families were divided by walls into women's quarters anch'ae , men's quarters sarangch'ae , and servants' quarters haengnangch'ae , reflecting the Confucian rules of gender segregation and status discrimination between the yangban and their servants in the social hierarchy of the Choson Dynasty.

Western architecture was introduced in the nineteenth century. The Gothic-style Myongdong Cathedral is a prominent example of the earliest Western architecture in Seoul. As part of government-sponsored rural development projects since the late s, thatched-roof houses in rural areas have mostly been replaced by concrete structures with a variety of brightly colored slate roofs.

The tile-roofed traditional urban residential houses have also become almost extinct, partly because of the ravages of the Korean War and the rush toward modernization and development.

Now a wide range of architectural styles coexists. According to the national census, about 88 percent of the population lives in urban areas. Lack of land for construction and changes in people's lifestyle have combined to make condominium apartments the dominant housing type in urban areas. Close to half the urban population consists of condominium dwellers, but the bedrooms in most condos still feature the ondol floor system. Traditional ondol floors were heated by channeling warm air and smoke through a system of under-the-floor flues from an exterior fireplace.

Those floors typically were made of large pieces of flat stone tightly covered with several square-yard-size pieces of lacquered paper in light golden brown to present an aesthetically pleasing surface and prevent gas and smoke from entering the room. Customarily, the "lower end" of the room araemmok , which is the closest to the source of heat, was reserved for honored guests and the senior members of the household, while people of lower social status occupied the "upper end" ummok , farthest from the source of heat and near the door.

This customary practice reflected the social hierarchy. This distinction does not exist in the modern apartments because the heating system is centrally controlled. Food in Daily Life. The rapid changes in lifestyles that have accompanied economic development since the s have changed the traditional pattern of eating rice at each meal. Some urbanites may eat toast, eggs, and milk for breakfast, using a fork and knife. Nonetheless, for many people a bowl of steamed white rice, a soybean-paste vegetable soup, and a dish of kimch'I may still constitute the basic everyday meal, to which steamed or seasoned vegetables, fish, meats, and other foods may be added as side dishes panch'an.

Many people eat at a low table while sitting on the ondol floor, using a spoon and chopsticks. Kimch'I is the national dish. Almost any vegetable can be fermented to make kimch'I, but Chinese cabbage and daikon radishes are the most commonly used. As part of the national diet for centuries, it has many variations depending on the region, season, occasion, and personal taste of the cook. Kimch'I has long been the test of a housewife's culinary skills and a family tradition.

A South Korean consumes an average of forty pounds eighteen kilograms of kimch'I a year. Many companies produce kimch'I for both domestic consumption and export.

Meat dishes such as pulgogi barbecued meat and kalbi short ribs are popular among both Koreans and foreigners. They are traditionally charcoal-roasted after the meat has been marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, minced garlic, and other spices. The foods available at restaurants range from sophisticated Western cuisine, to various ethnic specialty foods, to both indigenous and foreign fast foods. There are no food taboos, although Buddhist monks may practice vegetarianism and observe other food taboos.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. A variety of ttok rice cake , other traditional confectionery, and fresh fruits are served to celebrate birthdays, marriages, and the hwan'gap the sixtieth birthday.

The offerings at ch'arye , memorial services for one's ancestors performed on special holidays, include rice wine, steamed white rice, soup, barbecued meats, and fresh fruits. Their ingestion symbolizes the receiving of blessings from the ancestral spirits. South Korea transformed its traditional agrarian subsistence economy to a primarily industrialized one in little more than a generation.

However, rapid increases in short-term debt precipitated by overinvestments by chaebols family-owned and -managed conglomerates and insufficient foreign exchange reserves caused the financial crisis of , which necessitated emergency financial aid from the International Monetary Fund IMF in December After a year of rising unemployment, negative economic growth, and reforms of the financial sector in , the economy began to recover.

The working-age population 15 years or above numbered More than two thirds of them were employed in the service sector in South Korea still produces most of its domestically consumed rice. Traditional cash crops such as ginseng, tobacco, tea, and silkworms remain important. The livestock industry raises beef and dairy cattle, hogs, and chickens.

Meat production has increased, largely in response increased consumption and government support. South Korea imports beef and milk, exports pork to Japan, and maintains self-sufficiency in chickens and most vegetable products.

Land Tenure and Property. Traditionally, land, especially farmland, was the main form of wealth, and tenants had customary rights that allowed them to farm the same plots year after year. The land survey and tax structure under colonial rule changed the nature and extent of land tenure, forcing many owner-farmers to sell their land to the Japanese.

Some people argue that the violation of tenants' customary rights predates the Japanese incursion. The majority of the agricultural population became impoverished, landless tenants by the end of the colonial rule. After the liberation, redistributions of land were effected in , when former Japanese-owned agricultural lands were sold to the incumbent tenants, and in —, when the government under the Land Reform Act promulgated in acquired tenanted land owned by absentee landlords and the balance of properties larger than 7.

That property was sold to tenant farmers and those with no land. The imposition of a maximum of three chongbo 7. The land reform was a political and social success, destroying the colonial landlord class. However, it contributed to a fragmentation of the land into small holdings, making cultivation inefficient and not conducive to mechanization. Since the s, systematic efforts have been made to increase, rearrange and consolidate farmland by reclaiming mountain slopes and seashores as arable land to expand farm mechanization and increase the utility of farmland.

In , the Arable Land Preservation Law was modified to limit the use of arable land for purposes other than farms. In a country where natural resources are scarce, the efficient use of the land is essential. In addition to the development of large-scale industrial estates at Ulsan, P'ohang, and elsewhere, a superhighway linking Seoul and Pusan and large-scale water resources development projects such as the Soyang Dam were constructed.

A basic land price pattern was officially determined to allow an equitable distribution of the profits from land development. Despite a variety of regulations, however, speculation in real estate has been a major device for accumulating wealth rapidly and irregularly.

The share of primary industry in the economic structure decreased steadily from Farmwork increasingly is done by women and old men as young people leave for urban jobs. As a result of structural reforms in the economy, Korea has built a strong industrial foundation, especially in the areas of electronics, automobiles, shipbuilding, and petrochemicals. The shipbuilding industry is second only to Japan's and has a 32 percent share of the world market. In the semiconductor industry, Korea ranks third in the world market.

Three Korean companies supply more than 40 percent of the global demand for computer memory chips. The Korean automobile and petrochemicals industries rank fifth in the world in terms of production. The economy is export-oriented and at the same time heavily dependent on overseas raw materials.

Korea ranked twelfth for exports and fourteenth for imports among the countries in the world. The major trading partners are the United States and Japan. Since the s, main export items have included computers, semiconductors, automobiles, steel, shipbuilding, electronic goods, machinery, textiles, and fishery products.

Overseas construction is a critical source of foreign currency and invisible export earnings. Major import items are steel, chemicals, timber and pulp, cereals, petroleum and petroleum products, and electronics and electrical equipment.

Leading chaebol companies such as Hyundai, Samsung, and the LG Group recruit white-collar workers from among college graduates through the kongch'ae system an open competitive A farmer hauls rice on his back in Pong Hwang, Naju, South Korea. Rice is a staple of the South Korean diet. Smaller companies often rely on social connections to hire employees. For executive and upper-level management jobs, companies may scout the desired personnel by using a variety of means, including professional headhunting services.

Employment in the civil service, which is based on a grade system, reflects a strong tradition of seniority. Positions are assigned strictly according to grade, and remuneration is based on grade and length of service. Recruitment from outside is allowed only at certain grade levels through the civil service examination system, with age limitations that favor the young. Vacant positions, except at the lowest grade level, are filled mostly by promotions based on seniority.

The tradition of seniority, however, is being challenged as part of the wide-ranging restructuring taking place in the public sector as well as in the financial and corporate sectors as a result of the economic crisis. The traditional gentry yangban status was formally abolished by the Kabo Reforms of , but the legacy of the class system is seen in social psychological and behavioral patterns. In , 60 percent of South Koreans regarded themselves as belonging to the middle class.

The subjective perception of one's class position was closely correlated with one's level of educational attainment. Eighty-three percent of those with a college education perceived themselves as belonging to the middle class, compared with 41 percent of those with a primary school education. In general, industrialization and urbanization have contributed to a leveling of the nonkin hierarchy in social life, but the income gap between the working classes and the industrialist class as a new power elite has grown.

Family background, education, occupation, and the general acceptance of a meritocracy are major social factors that contribute to the unequal distribution of wealth by class. Symbols of Social Stratification. Major symbols of social status include the size of one's condominium or house, the location of one's residence, chauffeur-driven large automobiles, style and quality of dress, membership in a golf club, and the use of honorifics in speech.

According to the government classification, residential space between eighteen and People in the middle and upper-middle classes tend to live in apartment units of over thirty p'yong.

The precise number of p'yong of one's condominium often is interpreted as a barometer of one's wealth. Academic degrees such as a doctorate and professional occupations such as medicine also symbolize higher social status. Koreans lived under a dynastic system until After liberation from Japanese colonization in , the southern half of the peninsula was occupied by the United States and the northern half by the Soviet military until , when two Koreas emerged.

Since then, South Korea has traveled a rocky road in its political development from autocratic governments to a more democratic state, amending its constitution nine times in the wake of tumultuous political events such as the Korean War, the April Revolution of , the and military coups, the Kwangju uprising, and the democracy movement.

The government has maintained a presidential system except in —, when a parliamentary system was in place. Government power is shared by three branches: The executive branch under the president as the head of state consists of the prime minister, the State Council, seventeen executive ministries, seventeen independent agencies, the Board of Inspection and Audit, and the National Intelligence Service.

The president is elected by popular vote for a single five-year term. The prime minister is appointed by the president with the approval of the National Assembly.

The legislature consists of a single-house National Assembly whose members serve four-year terms. Some degree of local autonomy was restored for the first time since by the implementation of local assembly elections in and popular elections of the heads of provincial and municipal governments in The judiciary has three tiers of courts: Leadership and Political Officials.

Political parties have been organized primarily around a leader instead of a platform. The hometown and school ties of the founding leader of a party have often influenced voting patterns, contributing to emotional regionalism among voters as well as politicians. Kim win the election. The socalled DJP alliance, named for the coalition of Kim Dae-jung and Prime Minister Kim Jong-pil, promised to change the executive branch into a cabinet system with the prime minister as the head of state.

The constitutional amendment for a parliamentary government thus has become a major political issue in the Kim Dae-jung administration. Social Problems and Control. According to the National Statistical Office, the number of reported major penal code offenses was per , in , and the most common crime was theft. Since the s, sexual violence against women has drawn public concern, and legislation to deal with it was enacted in the s.

Public prosecutors and the police are authorized to conduct investigations of criminal acts, but theoretically, police authority to investigate criminal acts is subject to the direction and. The National Police Agency is under the authority of the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs, while the Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office, the penal administration, and other legal affairs are supervised by the Ministry of Justice.

The supreme prosecutor general is appointed by the president. Historically, the executive branch exercised great influence on judicial decisions. There is no jury system. Cases that involve offenses punishable by the death penalty, life imprisonment, or imprisonment for more than one year are tried by three judges of a district or branch court; other cases are heard by a single judge. Since then, the armed forces have grown to be the largest and most influential government organization.

According to the Defense White Paper, the nation has , troops. The defense expenditure accounted for about 15 percent of the national government budget. Weapons and equipment modernization and the operational costs of the three armed services and the armed forces reserves are the main items in the defense budget. Based on the Korean-American Mutual Defense Treaty, the two countries hold the joint exercise Team Spirit every spring to promote military cooperation and readiness.

The Korean peninsula is the world's most densely armed zone with over 1. Much progress has been made in the area of social welfare since the s, especially in the health care system. The National Health Insurance Program, which started in with coverage of less than 10 percent of the population, covered the entire population by The government also enacted the National Health Program Law and the Mental Health Law in to promote health education, antismoking campaigns, and the improvement of the civil rights of the mentally ill.

The budget of the Ministry of Health and Welfare has been growing rapidly. Until the late s, civil organizations generally developed in opposition to the government and contributed to democratization.

In the past decade, nongovernmental organizations NGOs have increased in numbers and services. Since its formation in , Chongdaehyop has achieved remarkable success in bringing to the attention of the world community the "comfort women" who served Japanese troops before and during World War II. Its activities have improved the living conditions of the surviving victims and strengthened feminist human rights movement.

Many Christian church supported NGOs send missionaries and provide on-site aid in Africa and other regions. Division of Labor by Gender. Gender and age have been the two fundamental influences in patterns of social organization. Housework is most commonly regarded as women's work even when a woman works outside the home. Industrialization and democratization have given women more opportunities to play diverse roles in public life, but the basic structure of a gender division of labor is observable in public life.

As of April , Women's average earnings were In June , there was one woman among seventeen cabinet members and no woman vice minister. Women as professional leaders in religious life are limited in numbers in both Christian churches and Buddhist temples.

The exception to this pattern is seen in shamanism, in which women dominate as priestesses. The Relative Status of Women and Men. The constitution stipulates equality of all citizens before the law, but the norms and values that guide gender relations in daily life continue to be influenced by an ideology of male superiority.

The interplay between these gender role ideologies complicates the patterns and processes of social change in the area of gender role performance and the relative status of women and men. One of the consequences of these dual gender role ideologies is the behavioral pattern that compartmentalize the social arena into public versus private spheres and formal versus informal situations within each sphere of social action.

The patriarchal gender role ideology tends to guide people's behavior at group levels in public informal situations as well as private formal situations. Democratic egalitarianism is more readily practiced at the societal level in public, informal situations, and at the individual level in private, informal situations. Thus, a woman can and did run for the presidency, but women are expected to behave in a submissive manner in public, informal gatherings such as dinner parties among professional colleagues.

In private, informal situations such as family affairs, however, urban middle-class husbands tend to leave the decision making to their wives. Nonetheless, male authority as the household head hoju is socially expected and the law favors husbands and sons over wives and daughters. The main sources of social change in gender status have been the women's movement and the role of the state in legislating to protect women's rights and improve their status.

In response to feminist activism, some men organized the first National Men's Association in Complaining of reverse sexism, they asserted that laws enacted to prevent domestic violence and sexual harassment unfairly favor women and vowed to campaign to abolish the exclusively male duties of military service so that both sexes may shoulder the duties of national defense.

Family background and educational level are important considerations in matchmaking. Marriage between people with a common surname and origin place tongsong tongbon was prohibited by law until Many urbanites find their spouse at schools or workplaces and have a love marriage. Others may find partners through arranged meetings made by parents, relatives, friends, and professional matchmakers. In urban centers, the arranged meeting often takes place in a hotel coffee shop where the man, the woman, and their parents may meet for the first time.

After exchanging greetings and some conversation, the parents leave so that the couple can talk and decide whether they would like to see each other again. Most individuals have freedom in choosing a marital partner.

Marriage has been regarded as a rite of passage that confers a social status of adulthood on an individual. Marriage also is thought of as a union of not just a man and a woman but of their families and a means to ensure the continuity of the husband's family line. Ninety percent of women marry in their twenties, although the average age of first-time brides has increased from Traditionally, divorce was rare, but it tripled from to Traditionally, remarriages of widows were not allowed and remarriages of divorced women were difficult.

However, changes are occurring in the remarriage pattern, especially for divorced women. The ratio of a divorced woman marrying a bachelor used to be lower than that of a divorced man marrying a never-married woman.

Since , however, this situation has reversed in favor of women, with a ratio of 2. Divorced women with independent economic means, especially successful professionals, no longer face the traditional gender bias against their remarriage and can marry bachelors who are younger and less occupationally advanced.

This phenomenon clearly reveals the importance of the economic aspect of marriage. Two-generation households constituted Traditionally, three-generation stem families were patrilineally composed. That custom continues, but some couples now live with the parents of the wife.

In an extended family, the housekeeping tasks usually are performed by the daughter-in-law unless she works outside the home. There are some elements of conduct in South Korea that you may find disrespectful but remember it is all part of the culture.

For example it is not usual to thank someone for holding open the door. Additionally it is not usual to apologise if you bump into someone. One thing to be aware of though is that if you dress in a brazen way and the circles you are moving in are not dressing in the same way it will be frowned upon. Koreans are reserved and well-mannered people. Korea is a land of strict Confucian hierarchy and etiquette is important. If you learn and observe some of the local customs and cultures it will be much appreciated.

Following some of these cultural rules will impress the locals: When meeting it is typical for Koreans to bow to each other as a sign of respect: With people that you know well a nod of the head and the Korean equivalent of hello will suffice. It is a custom to take off your shoes in houses and in many traditional Korean restaurants so make sure you are aware of this convention.

An expected convention when interacting with older people is that if you are taking something from someone older always use two hands; if you have to use one hand, you can should support your right arm with your left hand.

Another convention is to support your right arm with your left hand when shaking hands with somebody older. When meeting for the first time, older Koreans may ask about your age, your job, and your education.

They may also ask of your parents careers. If you do not want to talk about these subjects you can politely give short answers and move the conversation along. Koreans in general have strong nationalistic views and as with most countries it is advisable not to bring up any historical events make negative comments about anything culturally in Korea.

When dining with Koreans, the oldest always eats first. It is common to hear people talking loudly in restaurants, as a sign of being happy and enjoying the food. Remember never to pour your own drink, but do pour for others. Also, if you notice the slurping of noodles this is actually expected.

It shows that you enjoy the food and you are appreciating the cooking. Money if given as a gift is placed in paper or an envelope.

Swastikas are commonly seen in Buddhist temples. This is a religious symbol to the Koreans and does not represent Nazism or anti-Semitism. It is common that when meeting a Korean business person initially you will be introduced by somebody rather than introducing yourself. Bows may or may not take place but handshaking is now commonplace.

It is definitely expected that at an initial meeting business cards will be exchanged. Role level and rank play a central part in hierarchy within Korean business so here the business card is important as is confirming your title so that status and rank can be understood. Koreans generally prefer to deal with someone of the same rank or level as themselves.

Earlier we mentioned how to take things in terms of your hands. Use two hands when presenting and receiving a business card. Koreans share one language, with approximately seventy million people around the globe speaking Korean. The language structure, grammar and vocabulary are similar to Japanese. Dialects are regional; differing mainly in accent, but are so similar that comprehension for speakers, or listeners, is not an issue. Key difference in dialect are also attributed to social status.

Korea has one of the highest literacy rates in the world due to the phonetic nature of the written language which was invented in the mid-fifteenth century to give one language to Koreans. Remember this is only a very basic level introduction to Korean culture and the people; it can not account for the diversity within South Korean society and is not meant in any way to stereotype all Korean people you may meet!

South Korea blends business with spirituality seemlessly ]. If you are considering doing business in South Korea, or with a South Korean, it is essential to understand their culture and business etiquette to maximise your potential and avoid any unnecessary awkwardness.

Korean culture is profoundly influenced by Confucian principles and this pervades not only personal lives, but also business. Confucianism supports group harmony, respect for elders and authority, the importance of family, friendship and ancestors, and also, tradition. Kibun equivalent to face, or honour is highly significant to Koreans and they will always attempt to maintain their Kibun, or personal dignity.

Confrontation is to be avoided at all cost as once Kibun is lost it cannot be regained. In South Korea, good relationships are crucial to success both in personal and business circles, and these are assimilated within the business world. To make the most of your business acumen you must also appear trustworthy, honourable and respectable in a social and business setting. Korean business is founded upon relationships; even large corporations are often family managed with members still acting in executive positions.

The Confucian principles regarding respect for age, family, rank and tradition have ensured the continuance of this system. There have been recent calls for reforms, due to economic downturns, in Korea but this will take time due to the entrenched systems in place. Alongside the formal power structures in place within a company one must learn to recognise, and assess, the informal structures which may be based on long-standing family ties, personal relationships and allegiances.

Insight into these practises will ensure a greater comprehension of Korean business etiquette. Thank you for reading our guide to South Korea. We hope you found it useful.

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여보! (Hello) and Welcome to our Guide to South Korean Culture, Customs, Business Practices & Etiquette. In a country where almost half the population have the same last name, you may be forgiven for becoming a little confused about who is who and what is what.

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Guide To South Korea - Etiquette, Customs, Culture & Business Welcome to our helpful guide for South Korea. Should you be looking to travel, live, relocate or do business in the sovereign state, we will give you a helpful head start on understanding the country and its cultures.

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Korea is a drinking culture, and their national booze is soju, a clear, vodka-like drink. Soju is drunk out of shot glasses, and like all liquor in Korea, it’s always served with food. South Korea occupies the southern half of the Korean peninsula, which protrudes about miles (1, kilometers) southward from the Eurasian landmass between Soviet Siberia in the northeast and Chinese Manchuria to the north.

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South Korea - Daily life and social customs: The once-dominant Confucian culture—with its emphasis on respect for ancestors, age, and seniority—continues to influence Korean family, work, and social life, albeit to a lesser degree than in the past. Korea – Divided by Boundaries, United by Culture. Until , Korea was a single country on the world map but political unrest resulted in a division of the region into .