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					Westerners in Korea,
Koreans in the West


Dr Gerd Jendraschek
University of Regensburg




                           1
Overview

   Some facts
   Some background
   Some problems
   Some hope
   Outlook




                      2
Some facts


Westerners in Korea




                      3
Some facts: Westerners in Korea

   The total number of foreigners
    residing in South Korea exceeded
    1.16 million as of 2009.
                           (Korea Herald, 02/03/2010)




   This corresponds to 2.3% of the
    total population.



                                                     4
Some facts: Westerners in Korea

   The overwhelming majority of these
    foreigners came from other
    countries in Asia, those from China
    representing the largest number of
    foreigners in Korea
                       (Harris 2004, Faces of Korea, p. 24)




                                                           5
Some facts: Westerners in Korea

   The number is expected to rise to
    2.9 million in 2020
                                  Korea Herald 07/08/2008)

   „Seoul expects the number of
    foreigners to continue rising, and
    estimates the total will hit the 3.6
    million mark by 2030.―
                                (AsiaOne news, 20/11/2007)




                                                          6
Some facts: Westerners in Korea
   „the cumulative number of international
    marriages increased to 364,000 during
    the 1990-2007 period. In 2005, 13% of
    all marriages in South Korea were
    interracial or interethnic marriages and
    the rate of international marriages was
    even higher in rural areas where about
    one-third of all marriages were interracial
    or interethnic.―
         (Yoon, In-Jin., Song, Young-Ho. and Bae, Young-Joon. "South Koreans'
              Attitudes toward Foreigners, Minorities and Multiculturalism" Paper
        presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association
                                      Annual Meeting,Boston, MA, Jul 31, 2008)




                                                                               7
Some facts: Westerners in Korea
   In 2002, 11,017 Korean men married
    foreign women, mostly from China (63.9%),
    Japan, the Philipines, Vietnam, and
    Thailand
   In the same year, 4,896 Korean women
    married foreign men, mostly from Japan
    (48.5%), USA (24.7%), China, Canada,
    and Pakistan.
                         (Harris 2004, Faces of Korea, p. 115)




                                                              8
Some facts


Koreans in the West




                      9
Some facts: Koreans in the West

   „The Korean diaspora consists of
    roughly seven million people […]
    Nearly four-fifths live in just three
    countries: China, Japan, and the
    United States―
                            (Wikipedia, Korean diaspora)




                                                       10
Some facts: Koreans in the West

   North America 2.3 million
       USA 2.1 million
       Canada 223,000


   Oceania 90,000
       Australia 60,000
       New Zealand 30,000



                                  11
Some facts: Koreans in the West
   Europe
       UK 46,000
       Germany 31,000
       France 15,000

   Latin America
       Brazil 48,000
       Argentina 22,000
       Mexico 12,000


                                  12
Some background


Westerners in Korea




                      13
Some background:
Westerners in Korea

   In 1985, there were only 29,000
    foreigners in South Korea.
                                      (AsiaOne News, 20/11/2007)



    =0.06 percent > 2.3 percent in 2009= 40x increase


   „This is a country in which the vast
    majority of citizens have never interacted
    with a non-Korean even a single time.―
                       („Mike― commenting on Brian in Jeollanam-do)




                                                                 14
Some background:
Westerners in Korea

   „Korea transitioned to a country of labor
    importation around 1987 […] The specific
    timing of Korea‗s emergence as a
    receiving country [of migrants] can be
    explained in part by a relaxation of
    requirements for tourist visas prior to the
    Asian games in 1986 and the Olympics in
    1988―

   (Seol & Skrentny 2004, „South Korea: Importing undocumented workers―)




                                                                       15
Some background


Koreans in the West




                      16
Some background:
Koreans in the West
   „Until the 1870s no Korean was allowed to go
    overseas under the pain of death […] The first
    country were Koreans began to settle down was
    Russia – the first Korean villages there appeared
    in the 1860s―
                                        (Korea Times, 09/10/2009)
   Korean emigration to America was known to have
    begun as early as 1903. The vast majority,
    however, immigrated or are descended from
    those who immigrated after 1965, when national
    immigration quotas [race-dominated bans] were
    abolished.
                                       (Wikipedia, Korean diaspora)




                                                                  17
Some background:
Koreans in the West

   „There are Koreans in South
    America who moved there with the
    active support of Seoul in the 1960s
    and 70s when politicians believed
    that their country was too poor to
    feed ist population―
                            (Korea Times, 09/10/2009)




                                                    18
Some background:
Koreans in the West
   „Leaving their crowded cities for a less frantic
    urban life has proved very popular among South
    Koreans […] a booming Korean economy […]
    allowed many to accumulate the capital required
    to emigrate. In 2003, 48 million people were
    crammed into South Korea, a land area smaller
    than the North Island of New Zealand. With the
    pressures of life in the teeming capital of Seoul
    and other cities, and the competitive nature of the
    Korean education system, many middle-class
    people looked overseas for a lifestyle change. ―
   (About Koreans emigrating to New Zealand. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand)




                                                                                    19
Some background:
Koreans in the West
   „Life is competitive and stressful with no safety net
    provided by a welfare state―
                                              (Lonely Planet Korea)

   "Rapid change is the biggest problem in all areas — the
    economy and family system," […] "At the same time
    the support system is getting weaker.― South Korea is
    regularly hailed as a success story that has built a
    robust high-tech economy from the ashes of the
    Korean War. But growth has also brought increased
    pressures. Families spend heavily to get children ahead
    with endless private after-school lessons, competition
    for jobs is fierce and housing prices have soared,
    weighing on youths and young adults.
                                          (USA Today, 10/02/2007)




                                                                  20
Some background:
Koreans in the West

   „South Korea ranked 115th out of
    134 countries in the World
    Economic Forum‗s 2009 index of
    gender equality […][after the 1997
    crisis] in South Korea, a whopping
    90 percent of those made jobless
    were women […] Private companies
    don‗t have great expectations from
    their female employees…―
                       (New York Times, 01/03/2010)



                                                  21
Some background:
Koreans in the West

   „Women were paid on average 38 percent
    less than men last year. The gap is more
    than twice that of the OECD average of
    18.8 percent―
                                (Korea Herald, 04/03/2010)

   „[…] resentment and anger […] are
    common to working women across South
    Korea […]―
   „corporate culture […] marginalizes
    mothers at the workplace―
                            (Washington Post, 01/03/2010)




                                                         22
Some background:
Koreans in the West

   „…Some have responded by seeking
    positions abroad […] Working in the
    international field was a way out of
    the stifling male-dominated society―
                          (New York Times, 01/03/2010)




                                                     23
Some background:
Koreans in the West

   „In the roughly half century since
    the end of the Korean War, it is
    estimated that more than 200,000
    Koreans have been adopted by
    overseas parents―
                           (Harris 2004, Faces of Korea)




                                                       24
Some problems


Westerners in Korea




                      25
Some problems: Westerners in Korea

   „[…] many complaining expats […]
    do not understand that there could
    be an entirely different way of
    running a functioning society
    different from their own.―
        (Korea Herald 23/09/2008, ‚Why do expats here complain so much‗)




                                                                       26
Some problems: Westerners in Korea

   “When the principal introduces me to the
    parents, she asks me to say a greeting in
    Korean. The parents clap and ooh and ah.
    I‘m embarrassed beyond all belief.‖
   ―Learning Korean is not like learning other
    languages due to the enervating factors
    involved. You‘ll get laughed at a lot.‖

         (Comments by Westerners about learning Korean in JoongAng Daily
                                                             11/08/2009)




                                                                       27
Some problems: Westerners in Korea

   „[…] many complaining expats […]
    do not understand that there could
    be an entirely different way of
    running a functioning society
    different from their own.―

        (Korea Herald 23/09/2008, ‚Why do expats here complain so much‗)




                                                                       28
Some problems: Westerners in Korea
   „A cursory look at Seoul shows a fantastically
    futuristic city. […] Upon seeing this spectacle, it
    is only reasonable to expect Korea to be a fully
    modern country, and for its citizens to behave
    in a fully modern way. But this outlook could
    not be more misleading. […] Korea has only
    become this way in the last 15 years. All those
    born and raised in the pre-modern era […] are
    the people who are […] leading the country and
    educating the next generation.―
                (Korea Herald 23/09/2008, ‚Why do expats here complain so much‗)




                                                                              29
Some problems: Westerners in Korea

   „Though Koreans are not uniformly
    pleased with the policies of various
    western countries, Koreans are
    generally warm and welcoming to
    individual foreigners―
    [my emphasis]

                       Vegdahl & Hur 2005, Culture Shock! Korea.




                                                               30
Some problems: Westerners in Korea

                     „Anti-American
                    Sentiment Growing
                      In South Korea―
                           (Life.com, 06/12/2002)




                                              31
Some problems: Westerners in Korea

               Original text:
               “In June 2002, two South Korean girls
               were accidentally and tragically crushed
               to death by US Military vehicles
               conducting exercises.

               As anti-American sentiment grew, signs
               like this sprung up, stating Americans
               were not welcome.“

               Location: Chuncheon, Kangwon Province,
               South Korea

                                                         (Source:
                     www.flickr.com/photos/digitalnut/147558577/)


                                                             32
Some problems: Westerners in Korea




                        (Photo source: Scribblings
                            of the metropolitician,
                                     16/12/2006)



                                                      33
Some problems: Westerners in Korea

Rob, an Adult English Instructor in Seoul:

 ―for the white of us [...] and especially the
   white males, we've always been the face
    of the majority in our country. [...] With
    this in mind, is it any surprise [...] that
     first-world white males complain about
     Korea, and racism, and whatnot, more
         than any other group of expat?‖
                         (roboseyo.blogspot.com, 18/08/2009)




                                                           34
Some problems: Westerners in Korea

   „Like it or not, for every negative
    action, you will be judged more
    harshly than Koreans who engaged
    in the same negative action. That's
    what it is like to live as a minority
    and an outsider. Your fellow
    Americans of color have been
    dealing with the same thing for
    years and years―
              (T.K. Park, editor-in-chief of www.askakorean.net)



                                                               35
Some problems: Westerners in Korea
   "If a foreigner is non-Korean-looking and
    behaves in non-Korean ways, that's not a
    problem; we accept it," said Honkuk
    University professor Min Byung-chul, but
    gyopo who look Korean but behave in a
    "non-Korean" way may be a target of
    discrimination. Kang also pointed out
    Koreans' tolerance for most other
    foreigners' behavior: "If you're white, you
    can get away with almost anything.―

                             (Los Angeles Times 14/02/2010)




                                                          36
Some problems


Koreans in the West




                      37
Some problems: Koreans in the West

   „ A German-Korean once told me that in
    the multicultural city of Berlin, she is
    mostly addressed in English. As long as
    she speaks English herself, people treat
    her well. But when she replies in German,
    she is treated like a second-class being.―

                       (Hyun 2008, Silent? Yes. Speechless? No.
                              German-Korean border crossings.
                                [my translation from German])




                                                             38
Some problems: Koreans in the West
   Martin Jong-Bum Hyun, a German of Korean descent:

   „It seems to me that it is partly still the case that being
    Asian you capture people so much that for a moment
    they stop doing what they have been doing, just to
    stare at us―
   „If I think back to my childhood, there was constant
    racism. It started in kindergarten with the question:
    „Do you have jaundice?― A daily sight during my
    childhood: The graffiti close to where we lived
    „Foreigners get out!― What was that supposed to mean?
    Did it refer to me? I was born here.―

                              (Hyun 2008, Silent? Yes. Speechless? No .
                           Border crossers between Korea and Germany.
                                         [my translation from German])



                                                                    39
Some problems: Koreans in the West

   „Many Asians living in New Zealand are
    subjected to some form of racism, a new
    study has found. The Asia New Zealand
    Foundation report, […] revealed the most
    common form of racism was verbal abuse
    and rude gestures, often by teenagers or
    children. Overt racism included damage
    to cars identifiable as Asian-owned,
    having bottles or stones thrown at them,
    and being mocked for poor
    pronunciation.―
                          (New Zealand Herald, 14/05/2005)



                                                         40
Some problems: Koreans in the West

   „Emigration to the United States became
    less attractive as a result of the Los
    Angeles Riots, during which many Korean
    American immigrants saw their
    businesses destroyed by looters; South
    Korean media reports on the riots
    increased public consciousness of the long
    working hours and harsh conditions faced
    by immigrants to the United States―
                              (Wikipedia, Korean diaspora)




                                                         41
Some problems: Koreans in the West




                           (Source: Angry
                           Asian man,
                           30/04/2009)




                                            42
Some problems: Koreans in the West
   „Korean adoptees […] were placed with white families
    and were brought up white. They talk white, act white,
    have white friends, go to a white school, have white
    parents and may even have a white name. And yet
    they do not look white. Because of white racism it
    means that they are stereotyped by whites, that
    growing up they get called names, that white children
    […] pull up the corner of their eyes at them. It means
    whites will never truly accept them as they are. […]
    many feel out of place in America. Some go to Korea,
    to the country where they were born, where everyone
    looks like them. But most do not feel like they fit in
    there either. […] the KADs are too American to be
    Korean. So they become lost souls, […], caught
    between two worlds―
       (http://abagond.wordpress.com/2008/07/10/korean-adoptees)




                                                               43
Some hope


Westerners in Korea




                      44
Some hope: Westerners in Korea
   „A 14-story building designed to
    provide better support for expats
    will be established in central Seou
    […] City officials hope other
    facilities such as convention spaces
    and a library will help promote
    cultural exchanges and
    understanding between locals and
    foreign nationals―
                          (Korea Herald, 24/04/2009)



                                                   45
Some hope: Westerners in Korea

   „National Assembly Speaker Kim
    Hyong-o said yesterday the country
    needs to expand the political
    participation of its foreign residents
    in the era of globalization […]
    Koreans should […] adapt to the
    increasingly multicultural society.―
                             (Korea Herald, 19/03/2009)




                                                      46
Some hope: Westerners in Korea

   "Our basic direction in drafting
    policies on foreigners is to be open
    and integrate them into our
    society," said Korea Immigration
    Service commissioner Choo Kyu Ho.
                           (AsiaOne news, 20/11/2007)




                                                    47
Some hope: Westerners in Korea
   „The election law was amended in August
    2005 so that foreign nationals over age
    19 who have held permanent residency
    for at least three years could have their
    say in local elections.―
                               (Korea Herald, 02/03/2010)

   „The government expanded the
    educational programs for immigrants to
    help more foreign residents adapt to life
    in Korea and reduce the waiting time for
    naturalization.―
                               (Korea Herald, 05/03/2010)



                                                        48
Some hope: Westerners in Korea
   „Of the 54,000 foreigners who have
    become naturalized Korean citizens since
    1945, Chinese comprise the largest group
    […] But recently, more European
    professionals have been adding variety to
    their ranks. Their motives vary from a
    deep interest in Korean culture to a desire
    to continue their professional careers
    here.―
                                (Chosun Ilbo, 29/10/2008)




                                                        49
Some hope: Westerners in Korea
                                               Photo source:
                                               Korea.kr




„Charm Lee, a German-born naturalized Korean, was recently
appointed as the President of the Korea Tourism Organization. […]
his appointment reflects the Korean Government‘s willingness to
open up a high level government public office to a foreign born
individual―
                                        (The East Journal, 05/12/2009)
                                                                    50
Some hope: Westerners in Korea
   Lee said he has always felt "invisible
    barriers" while living in Korea. ―Korean
    society has allowed foreigners to take No.
    2 posts but not the top posts. Now, at last,
    I can truly take Korea for my second
    home. I am so deeply moved that I‘ve
    been finally accepted as a Korean. All my
    regrets about naturalizing have vanished.‖
                                (Korea Focus, 01/08/2009)




                                                        51
Some hope: Westerners in Korea




GM Daewoo CEO Michael Grimaldi shows off his skills on the gayageum, a
traditional Korean musical instrument on New Year's Day 2008. (Photo: GM
Daewoo)



                                                                           52
Some hope: Westerners in Korea
 GM Daewoo CEO Michael Grimaldi has shown much
 interest toward Korean culture since he was appointed
  to the current position in 2006. This year, he wore a
 "hanbok" to spread the season's greetings and showed
   off his skills on the "gayageum," a Korean stringed
                         instrument.

 "He (Grimaldi) shows a lot of affection toward Korean
      culture and tradition, and I think that's how the
  company, even though most of the managers are from
     overseas, can grow into being a major automotive
   company here. I think the employees also appreciate
  that the managerial team tries to learn and understand
            our culture," GM Daewoo's Yoo said.

                                      (Korea.Net, 08/09/2008)




                                                            53
Some hope: Westerners in Korea
   A Korean adoptee from France who
    returned to Korea 24 years after her
    adoption:

„At first I was really scared to death because
  I thought that Koreans would hate me […]
   Yet they really liked me. When I realized
     that they actually liked me it was very
   strange. I was quite moved, actually […]
   The truth is I now enjoy living in Korea.“
                              (Harris 2004, Faces of Korea)




                                                        54
Some hope: Westerners in Korea

   „I discover new things everyday. I
    like finding out about other people
    and understanding more about them
    and why they do the things they do.―
             (Korean adoptee about life in Korea: Harris 2004, Faces of Korea)



    „What is appealing about Korea is
     flexibility, and ability to change―
    (Robert Fouser, the first foreign professor of the Department of Korean
        Language Education at Seoul National University. In Korea Herald,
                                    23/04/2009)



                                                                              55
Some hope: Westerners in Korea

   „I've found that in Asia people treat
    customers with respect, whereas in
    the US it's the employees who first
    demand respect from customers
    before they show it in turn.―
                    (Brian commenting on Brian in Jeollanam-do)




                                                              56
Some hope: Westerners in Korea
   „When I came to Korea for the first time,
    I thought I had arrived in a different
    world. After three years, it has become
    my own world. […] Eventually, I came to
    the conclusion that I can‗t change Korea.
    I had to change myself. From there on, I
    tried to understand the culture, to
    approach the people and to respect their
    behaviour […] The beauty of Korea and of
    its people captured me.―

        (Schneider 2009, My Korea – Three years in the Land of the
                      Morning Calm. [my translation from German])



                                                                 57
Some hope: Westerners in Korea

   „I had a lot of love and appreciation
    left in me for Korea. She had taken
    me to the edge and let me look
    over, but she never let me go and
    didn‗t leave me there too long.―

                                                           (Thomas 2007,
      Brother One Cell. An American coming of age in South Korea‘s prisons)




                                                                        58
Some hope


Koreans in the West




                      59
Some hope: Koreans in the West

   „[..] there has been a sharp fall in
    the number of Koreans emigrating
    to foreign countries […] the number
    of Koreans who reported their
    emigration to the government
    plunged to 1,153 last year, a drop
    of 49.7 percent from the previous
    year.―
                            (Korea Herald, 04/03/2010)




                                                     60
Some hope: Koreans in the West

   „The Korean economy is recovering
    relatively rapidly compared to other
    economies […] the number of
    overseas Koreans who returned to
    their motherland has steadily
    increased in recent years.―
                            (Korea Herald, 04/03/2010)




                                                     61
Some hope: Koreans in the West

   „[…] in nearly all countries of their
    settlement Koreans are among the
    best educated (and financially most
    successful) ethnic groups.―

                             (Korea Times, 09/10/2009)




                                                     62
Some hope: Koreans in the West
              Martin Hyun became the first
              Korean to ever make it to the
             highest professional ice
              hockey league in Germany




              Photo source:
              martin-hyun.blogspot.com

                                          63
Some hope: Koreans in the West
                        „Se habla
                        español in
                        LA’s
                        Koreatown.“

                        Urbanphoto
                        04/06/2007




                                      64
Some hope: Koreans in the West
   „Many of these Korean businesses
    draw their employees (and, in some
    cases, customers) from the
    surrounding area‘s largely Latino
    population. The relationship is such
    that many Koreans business owners
    are learning Spanish—and many
    Latino workers are learning
    Korean.―
                           (Urbanphoto 04/06/2007)



                                                 65
Outlook


Westerners in Korea,
Koreans in the West




                       66
Outlook: Westerners in Korea,
Koreans in the West
   Richard Harris conducted 47 interviews with people from
    more than 20 countries, who live or have lived in Korea.
    His book Faces of Korea documents the lives of foreigners
    in Korea:


   „a foreigner in Korea today is not just „a
    person from another country,“ and a
    Korean can be something more than just
    someone „born of Korean parents in
    Korea.“



                                                            67
Outlook: Westerners in Korea,
Koreans in the West

   „There are overseas men and women of
    Korean descent, kyopo ( 교포), living in 151
    countries around the world, some of whom
    currently live in Korea; there are half-
    Koreans, the children of parents who
    married interracially, that live, work, study
    in Korea; there are adoptees who were
    born in Korea and of Korean parents, but
    who claim foreign citizenship; and there are
    people from countries on all continents that
    speak Korean, study Korean, and work in
    Korea.“

                                                68
Outlook: Westerners in Korea,
Koreans in the West

   „All of these people help to shape the fabric
    of what is Korea‘s modern face, a face that
    is becoming, contrary to popular belief,
    more multi-ethnic and multi-faceted.“
                                           (Harris 2004, Faces of Korea.
               The foreign experience in the Land of the Morning Calm.)




                                                                     69

				
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