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10 Interesting Facts About South Korea

10 Interesting Facts About South Korea

Quick facts about South Korea:

  • Population: Approximately 51 million people.
  • Capital: Seoul.
  • Official Language: Korean.
  • Currency: South Korean Won (KRW).
  • Government: Unitary presidential constitutional republic.
  • Major Religion: Buddhism, Christianity.
  • Geography: Located on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula, bordered by North Korea and the Yellow Sea to the west and the Sea of Japan to the east.

Fact 1: Korea has a very low birth rate

South Korea faces a significant demographic challenge due to its low birth rate, one of the lowest in the world. This trend is expected to lead to a decline in the population over time. Some establishments, particularly upscale restaurants and cafes, have imposed bans on children. Interestingly, in contrast, dogs are often permitted in these venues, reflecting a cultural shift where pets are increasingly considered integral members of households. Korea is the land of the victorious childfree.

Fact 2: K-pop music and Dorams have become popular in many other countries

Korean pop music (K-pop) and Korean TV series, known as K-dramas, have experienced a surge in global popularity, particularly among young audiences in numerous countries. This phenomenon reflects the widespread appeal of South Korean entertainment, characterized by catchy music, captivating storylines, and visually stunning productions, contributing to the cultural influence of South Korea on a global scale.

The recent TV series Squid Game has become mega-popular worldwide and has received many imitations.

Fact 3: Korea has a cult of beauty

South Korea boasts a strong emphasis on beauty standards, with a significant portion of the population embracing cosmetic procedures and skincare routines to enhance their appearance. This cultural phenomenon has propelled South Korea to become one of the leading countries for plastic surgery and skincare innovation, reflecting the importance placed on aesthetics in Korean society. Korean cosmetics are appreciated in many countries around the world.


Fact 4: North and South Korea have not officially made peace

Despite being technically in a state of armistice since the Korean War ended in 1953, North and South Korea have not signed a peace treaty. This means that the Korean Peninsula remains officially in a state of war, with occasional escalations of tensions and ongoing efforts to achieve a lasting peace agreement. Tensions between North and South Korea have periodically escalated over the years, leading to various provocations and incidents such as artillery shelling, naval clashes, and missile tests. These escalations often strain relations between the two countries and can impact regional stability.

Fact 5: Korea has many world-renowned companies

South Korea is home to some of the most well-known companies in the world, including Samsung, Hyundai, LG, and Kia. Samsung, for instance, is a leading electronics manufacturer known for its smartphones, televisions, and semiconductor technology. Hyundai and Kia are prominent automobile manufacturers, producing a wide range of vehicles from economy cars to luxury models. LG is another major player in the electronics industry, manufacturing home appliances, smartphones, and televisions. These companies have not only contributed significantly to South Korea’s economy but have also made a significant impact on the global market with their products and innovations.

David, (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Fact 6: Korean culture is very respectful of rules

Korean culture places a strong emphasis on respect for rules and social norms. This adherence to rules is evident in various aspects of daily life, including etiquette, behavior in public spaces, and adherence to laws and regulations. This respect for rules contributes to the overall orderliness and harmony within Korean society.

Fact 7: Korea has a well-developed education and many universities

South Korea boasts a robust education system with a strong emphasis on academic excellence. The country is home to numerous universities, both public and private, offering a wide range of academic programs across various disciplines. These universities are known for their high standards of education, advanced research facilities, and collaborations with industry partners. South Korea’s education system has been a key driver of its economic development, fostering a highly skilled workforce and contributing to technological innovation. Additionally, South Korean students consistently perform well in international assessments, reflecting the effectiveness of the education system in preparing students for success in the global arena.

Goodbye4everCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fact 8: Cafes with different themes are popular in Korea

Themed cafes are a popular trend in South Korea, offering a variety of unique experiences such as animal cafes, board game cafes, and even ones themed around popular TV shows or movies. Additionally, South Korea boasts a highly efficient delivery culture, with many establishments, including cafes, restaurants, and convenience stores, offering delivery services. This widespread availability of delivery options makes it convenient for people to enjoy their favorite foods and beverages without leaving their homes.

Fact 9: There are 16 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Korea

These sites include historic palaces, temples, fortresses, and natural reserves, each offering unique insights into Korea’s history and landscape. Additionally, South Korea actively preserves and promotes these sites to ensure their cultural and historical significance is appreciated by visitors from around the world. Here are some of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in South Korea:

  1. State Historic Sites of Gyeongju: These sites include ancient ruins, temples, pagodas, and other cultural relics, showcasing the rich history of the ancient capital of the Silla Kingdom.
  2. Gochang, Hwasun, and Ganghwa Dolmen Sites: These dolmen sites are megalithic tombs dating back to the prehistoric period, providing valuable insights into the ancient burial practices of Korea.
  3. Changdeokgung Palace: Built during the Joseon Dynasty, this palace complex features beautiful architecture, gardens, and pavilions, representing traditional Korean palace architecture and design.
  4. Bulguksa Temple: Located near the ancient city of Gyeongju, Bulguksa Temple is one of Korea’s most famous Buddhist temples, renowned for its intricate architecture, stone relics, and historical significance.

Note: If you plan to visit the country, find out if you need an International Driver’s License in Korea to drive.

Rita Willaert, (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Fact 10: In Korea, the number 4 in houses is replaced with F

In Korean culture, superstitions surrounding the number 4 stem from its phonetic similarity to the word for “death” in Korean. As a result, many Koreans avoid using the number 4 in various contexts, including building floors and house numbers. Instead, they may use alternative numbering systems or replace the number 4 with the letter “F” to circumvent any perceived negative connotations associated with the number. This practice reflects the cultural significance of numerology and superstition in Korean society, where beliefs about luck and fortune hold considerable sway.

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