Sunday, January 16, 2011

Your Two Cents: Stereotypes About Koreans???

Hi everyone, hope you all had a great weekend. :)

This week's two cents question is going to be about all the amusing stereotypes regarding the Korean people. For example, when I tell people that I'm Korean, the first two things that I hear are: 1. must have quite a temper! and 2. You must be able to drink a lot.

I think most people have heard the first one. Koreans are known for their fiery tempers. You can experience it even on the streets with angry pushy ajummas trying to get to the front of the line. Or perhaps with stubborn ajushis that can't stand young'uns acting like they own the world.

Let me know of ANY (positive or negative) stereotypes you've heard about Koreans or Korea. Don't be afraid of being offensive! I think this should be quite interesting...

Answer away, and don't forget to tune into KPI this Sunday to see if your answers are announced!


  1. I am 1/4 Korean, and living in America. When I told my American friends that I was Korean, they responded by saying, "You must be REALLY good at video games (Warcraft, Starcraft, Guildwars, etc.)." They then proceeded to ask me to join them in their online gaming adventures. Unfortunately for them, I am TERRIBLE at video games and probably hurt them more than I helped them. That was one stereotype busted.

    The other stereotype, one that fits pretty well, is that Koreans love to eat. This, I will admit, is true. The Korean side of my family does love to eat, as does the Scottish side, the French side and the Swedish side. When my Halmeoni cooks for us, we always say that she makes enough food to feed a large army and are stuck eating leftover bulgogi and chobchae for weeks. That stereotype, however, is one that I'm happy to live with.

    - Stephanie

  2. I know this stereotype is going to make me the enemy of every Korean, but no offense, whenever I talk about Korea and Koreans with my classmates, some of them will associate "plastic surgery" with Koreans. Of course, there are Koreans who do go for surgeries like double-eyelid surgeries and stuff, but there are Koreans who have never gone under the knife, aren't there? For me, personally I think not every Korean does plastic surgery, but it is a popular stereotype among my classmates >.<

    Well, the other stereotype I do know of has been stated by Stephanie. Yup, ever since playing games like Maplestory, my friends and I developed the thought that Koreans are the best gamers due to the number of online games developed by Korean companies and the number of Koreans playing such games. Well, I guess this stereotype is partially clarified by Steph.

    Well, stereotypes aren't things I like to talk about much, since it does offend people by accident; hope all Koreans out there won't take my thoughts to seriously >.<

  3. Hi Angie,

    I often got raised eyebrows and looks of disbelief whenever I mentioned how friendly and helpful the Koreans were. Guess the stereotype of the unsmiling and rude Korean persists in some minds. But then again, I have to admit I did get some brush-offs when I asked some ladies in Gwangju for directions.

    If I tend to stereotype, I'm likely to see a difference between people in the city and those in the countryside. The former tend to be too busy to give you the time of day while the latter may go out of their way to help. This isn't limited to Koreans, BTW!

    Hope you're coping well with the freezing temperatures!


  4. even though i know it's totally wrong, when someone talks about Korea, i think of really tall people. there are a bunch of really tall Korean celebrities out there like Yunho and Changmin from DBSK and T.O.P., and i hear that most of SHINee is pretty tall too. Add in super-tall Korean-Japanese musician Miyavi, no wonder my friends think all Koreans are tall!

    The other thing i think of is really ripped guys getting shirtless onstage....this is a clear sign i've been watching too many kpop fancams XP
    but a lot of idols are in really good shape, and it seems they have a tendency to "flaunt what they've got" while performing.

    really, i try not to keep mental stereotypes, but sometimes these things just stick.....

  5. Hi Angie!

    This is Cynthia from Singapore. It has been ages since i write-in or reply to your two cents question. For the past few months, i'm busy with my industrial experience as an intern. :D Sorry for the absence in responding to your posts. However, I do visit your blog regularly and catch up with the latest updates.

    Anyway, for Steoretypes about Korean ...hmm...i can think of a few just in seconds:

    2) They're TALL people
    3) Most of the population have small eyes (my perspective have changed! There are actually lots of beauties in Korea. Hehe! Just look at Kpop industry!)
    4) They scream a lot! (From what i see in k-dramas!)

    Haha, that's just my silly views. No offense and i really love KOREA! :)

    Cynthia Lim

  6. Hey Angie,

    When I heard the Y2C question, one thing came to my mind. They are very hard workers and study A LOT!!!
    I remember when I was in college, I would see Koreans going into a classroom after I left at night (maybe around 8 or 9). Then when I went to class the next morning, I'd see them still there (maybe around 7). Sometimes they'd bring sleeping bags ^^

    Thanks and God Bless,

    Paul T.

  7. Hi Angie Noona!^^ well, I can't say I have ever heard of any Korean stereotypes. I have heard that some people thought that all Asians were smart, but I haven't heard any specifically for Koreans. Also a couple people mentioned about Koreans being tall, I find this to be somewhat true. It's seems to me that people from northern Asia are taller, of course, not all Koreans are tall, but to me Koreans seem to be taller than the people from southeast Asia. It also seems to be like that in Europe. I hope no one is offended, this is just what I seem to see. Also, I have a question for you Angie, I work at a Korean market, so I ALWAYS try to listen in to conversations in Korean. But, me being a 6'3" Caucasian, no one suspects that I can understand tidbits of their conversation. Now, when I eavesdrop, the most shocking thing I hear is that they say I am pretty. like, Isaac neomu yeppo. Does this mean they think I'm handsome? Or does it literally mean I'm pretty? Maybe I'm just super cute. (at least I like to think I am) lol. Isaac Semrad. USA.

  8. Hi

    Mhmmm Korea? I've never been to Korea nor met any Korean. Media makes some pieces of information as facts about Korea. So as many people media is the cause of most of what I think about Korea and Koreans. Of course I excluded many ones but still bear with me! :)

    This Side of the Coin!
    1- Everyone knows taekwondo!
    2- Everyone is either Singer or Actor!
    3- Everywhere access to the broadband internet connection is freely available
    4- Matriculation exam is extremely important
    5- Everyone should knows English!
    6- History and Culture is highly valued by people and authorities

    The Other Side of the Coin!
    1- Everything American is considered the best. Lifestyle, Thinking, English, Music, Cinema, Politics, Economy & ...
    2- Economically, Japan is the goal but the road is americanized.
    3- Politically, Korea is not independent in making decision, esp when it comes to North Korea.
    4- Korea gives lot's of advantages to the US regardless of people's objections. (FTA)
    5- People specially college students are politically awake. But entertainment fills TV!

    Good Luck!

  9. I'm Korean and my friends said, "Wow, you must be good at math and eat everything with chopsticks!" And then we had a good chuckle when I said, "You're American? Wow, you must be good at eating way too much, complaining and bombing other countries for no reason!" It's totally great to be ethnic. I can be American when it's convenient and I can be Korean when I need to distance myself from some idiotic crap the U.S. is pulling somewhere. Yup. Rife is velly, velly good. OK?! You no read magazine! You buy! You buy or go out! OK?!

  10. Wow, everyone here is so polite, haha. I just came from a thread about Korean stereotypes (I was curious how other cultures saw us), and there was a full-on war going on.
    A few that I read on that thread were that domestic violence is common, that we're always angry, and that we think everything originated in Korea. I hear about Koreans being plastic surgery crazed from my friends a lot too.
    I was a little offended, but I can't say they're completely wrong; my own mom suggested I get double eyelids the next time we're in Korea.

  11. Hi, I have lived in Los Angeles since the 80's. My impression of Korean people is that they are not so much interested in getting to know people outside of their culture. Is that true? I only started watching Korean dramas in the last few months and have since become fascinated with their culture. I now understand why maybe they would possibly prefer to stay within their own cultural experience. From what I see on the dramas they appear to be less easily fooled by others in that they have better perception skills. They appear to care more deeply about each other. They appear to be generally smarter than the average white American. They are beautifully slim.

    For anyone thinking of doing the eyelid surgery, please don't. I love Asian eyes and faces. They are so exquisitely beautiful. In fact I find Korean's who look more European less attractive. Also please don't become too Westernized. Your culture rocks. The Western culture is blah! It would be wonderful though if Koreans would be more open to getting to know people outside of their culture. I have lived in many countries and have learnt so much from each culture that I feel has helped me grow as a person. And I would love to get to know Korean people.