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Top 5 Surprising Things You Didn't Know About South Korea

VO: RB

Script written by Spencer Sher

With the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang just around the corner, we think it’s only right that you learn a little more about the host country! From cultural practices, to shared fears, to interesting facts, here are some things you can learn about this country. WatchMojo counts down 5 surprising things you didn’t know about South Korea!

Special thanks to our user Daniel Fond for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at https://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+5+Facts+about+South+Korea.

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Transcript
Script written by Spencer Sher


Top 5 Surprising Things You Didn't Know About South Korea


With the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang just around the corner, we think it’s only right that you learn a little more about the host country! Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 5 Surprising Things You Didn't Know About South Korea.

For this list, we’ll be looking at entertaining, educational and wacky facts about South Korea you probably never knew. The country will be hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics from the 9th of February to the 25th.

#5: Nearly Half the Population Has the Same Name


With a population of just over 50 million people, we understand if you don’t take us at our word, so here are some facts. Roughly 22% of South Koreans have the last name “Kim”, while approximately 23% of the population shares the last name’s “Lee” and “Park”. For years this posed an interesting dilemma to the people of South Korea, as it was illegal to marry someone with the same last name as you. And while that law was rectified in the late 90’s, it is still frowned upon by some. It certainly limits your dating options when 22% of people have the same last name as you!


#4: Many South Koreans Fear the Number Four


Tetraphobia, otherwise known as the fear of the number four, is a real problem in South Korea. The issue stems from the fact that in many East Asian languages, the word for four sounds very similar to the word for death. Because of this and the fact that many South Koreans are extremely superstitious, the number four is often skipped or replaced with an “F” on floor numbers and room numbers in hospitals, elevators and other public spaces. South Koreans are also averse to using red when writing letters. The color symbolizes death, so you’d be wise to keep that in mind the next time you send a letter to your South Korean pen pal.


#3: They Practice Crime Re-Creation


In South Korea people who are suspected of heinous crimes such as murder and rape can be forced by the police to return to the scene of the crime and recreate it, all while bound by rope or handcuffs. The practice is an exercise in humiliation, as citizens and the media are invited to watch; often with predictable results such as shame for the accused and hurled insults from the onlookers. What makes this particular practice so disturbing is that fact that it isn’t limited to people who are convicted of crimes, but can be done to suspected criminals as well. Our advice: don’t even think of breaking the law next time you visit South Korea.


#2: It Is the Largest Market for Plastic Surgery per Capita in the World


Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. That old adage has never been truer than it is in South Korea, where everybody and their grandmother has had a little work done. The country has what some might call an obsession with plastic surgery and has long been known as the country with the highest per capita plastic surgery rate in the world. You simply can’t walk down the street without bumping into someone who’s had a little tuck, lift or tightening done somewhere on his or her body. Oh and if you think men are exempt from the country’s wave of excessive vanity you’re sorely mistaken. South Korea is also the world’s biggest market for men’s cosmetics!


#1: They Count Age Differently


In South Korea you are considered one year old the day you are born. Then you turn one year older on New Year’s Day. What this means is that South Koreans have two ages: their Korean age and their International Age. This practice of counting age is sometimes called lunar age or East Asian age reckoning, and it began in China hundreds of years ago. And while it was once practiced all across Asia, South Korea is now the only country where it is practiced regularly. Next time you visit be sure to inquire about your lunar age; you may be old enough to get into that club after all!
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