35 Fascinating Facts about South Korea

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1Licensed masseurs

In South Korea, only visually impaired people can be licensed masseurs. This law dates back over 100 years to a Japanese colonial rule set up to guarantee the blind a livelihood.


2. In South Korea, it is illegal to sell phones with unremovable software that is not critical to system operation or maintenance.


3. Every November in South Korea, there is a day called Suneung, where everyone tries to keep the noise levels down to help students concentrate on the most important exam of their lives. Planes are grounded, constructions are paused, banks close and even military training ceases. In some cases, when some students are running late to the test, they are escorted by police officers.


4. Soju is South Korea’s national drink. It’s a clear alcohol, typically made from rice or barley, with an alcohol content of about 20% and a government-mandated price of about $1 per bottle, so all citizens can afford it.


5. In 2011, a 39-story building named Techno Mart in Seoul was evacuated after tremors were felt on the top floors. Instead of an earthquake, it was found that an exercise class on the 12th floor was playing Snap!'s “The Power”, which happened to match the building's resonant frequency and caused it to violently shake.


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6White Day

In South Korea, February 14th is Valentine's day where women give men presents. March 14th is White Day where men give women presents. April 14th is Black Day where single people gather together, dress in black, and eat a bunch of food.


7. BTS, a seven-member South Korean boy band, brings in more than $3.6 billion to South Korea's economy each year and was the reason one in every 13 foreign tourists visited the country in 2018.


8. It's such a stigma to adopt children in South Korea that women are recommended to wear a maternity pillow to appear pregnant until the adoption is finalized.


9. In South Korea, men who win Olympic medals do not have to participate in the two-year-long mandatory military service.


10. In an effort to reduce the high number of suicides on South Korea's Mapo Bridge, it was unofficially renamed the Bridge of Life. It was decorated with positive affirmations and even sympathetic sculptures. Suicides increased sixfold the following year.


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11Giant Christmas Tree

In 2014, Christians in South Korea put up a giant Christmas tree that was visible from the North Korean border. The North Koreans claimed it was a tool for psychological warfare and demanded it be taken down. The South Korean defense ministry then claimed that it was dismantled for safety concerns.


12. When South Korean representatives open the door at the DMZ meeting room for the North, they hold hands to prevent being pulled across the border.


13. South Korea once sent China thousands of trees to plant in the Gobi Desert to help minimize the "yellow dust" that engulfs the Korean peninsula every spring. Instead, China planted the trees along a highway.


14. In South Korea to rent an apartment you have to pay a lump sum up to 80% of the value of it. You then live "rent-free" for two years, then get your money back.


15. Employers in South Korea pay their workers a “kimchi bonus” in the fall so that they can buy all the ingredients to make their annual supply of kimchi.


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16Woo Bum-kon

In 1982, a South Korean man named Woo Bum-kon began a massive killing spree when his girlfriend woke him up trying to swat a fly on his chest. He was so enraged that he went on to murder 56 people and wounded 35 others.


17. In 2009, the city of Seoul painted 4,929 parking spaces pink so that women would not have to walk as far to their destination and to make the city more conducive to wearing high heels.


18. In South Korea, there is a sex theme park called Love Land. It features 140 sculptures representing humans in various sexual positions.


19. A South Korean man named Kim Ung-Yong was a guest student at a university at the age of 3, was invited by NASA to conduct research at the age of 8 and earned a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering at the age of 15. He also has the highest IQ ever recorded in history.


20. During the May 18 Democratic Uprising of 1980, hundreds of civilians and students in South Korea were killed by the dictatorship army.


21Frog Boys

The Frog Boys was a group of South Korean children who went missing while frog hunting in 1991. 11 years later their bodies were discovered and the police concluded that they died from hypothermia. However, a later autopsy revealed them to have been murdered, one with a shotgun blast to the head.


22. In South Korea, kimchi is so ubiquitous that many households have a special fridge just for storing it. According to a consumer survey, this "kimchi refrigerator" is the #1 most desired appliance in the country.


23. An elephant named Koshik in a South Korean zoo learned to imitate human speech by sticking its trunk in its mouth.


24. The Boryeong Mud Festival in South Korea is an annual event that attracts more than 2 million visitors. The mud is considered rich in minerals and is used to make cosmetics.


25. In 2003, a South Korean subway driver named Choi Sang-yeol told passengers to remain inside while a fire was spreading in the station. He then fled with the master key leaving the train doors closed and sealing passengers inside. Out of 198 people who died in the station, 79 were trapped in his train.

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