South Korea is such a country that you think you know a lot about. You may know that it has transformed from one of the poorest Asian countries into a global economic powerhouse in a matter of few decades. You may have some idea about the country’s never-ending tensions with its northern neighbor, Kim Jong-Un’s North Korea. You may also be familiar with its flashy K-Pop industry and its overly-dramatic movies and television shows. Yet, there are still a bunch of interesting facts about South Korea that you probably weren’t aware of. Here are eight of them.
South Korea Facts
1. South Korea boasts the highest number of plastic surgeries per capita globally
With more than 600 plastic surgery clinics sited in its capital of Seoul alone, South Korea has come to be known as the plastic surgery capital of the world. It has a higher rate of plastic surgery per capita than any other country on the face of the planet, an interesting fact about South Korea. According to an estimate, one-third of South Korean women aged between 19 and 29 have had at least one plastic surgery. It has become kind of a trend here for high school girls to go under the knife as a graduation present.
In the United States, which has the greatest total number of plastic surgeries, breast augmentation and liposuction are the most popular procedures. South Koreans, however, are more obsessed about their facial features. Hence, double-eyelid surgeries and nose jobs are the most popular procedures in this country.
2. The country consumes over 20 percent of the world’s male cosmetic products
In South Korea, men are a lot less likely to have a plastic surgery than women. But that doesn’t mean men here don’t care much about their looks. An interesting fact about South Korea is that its men spend nearly $500 million on cosmetic products annually. That accounts for more than 20 percent of global sales of men’s cosmetic products, making the country the largest market for these products in the entire world.
3. The Kims, the Lees and the Parks make up nearly half of its population
If you ever pay a visit to South Korea, you’ll find an awful lot of people with the surnames of Kim, Lee and Park. This is because people with these three family names make up around 45 percent of the country’s population. People with the surname of Kim constitute more than 21 percent of the population, making it the most common surname in the country. The Lees represent nearly 15 percent of the population, while the Parks make up over 8 percent. The remainder of the population has some 280 other surnames.
4. The average South Korean eats 40 pounds of kimchi in a year
If you are a foodie, the first thing that probably comes to your mind when you hear “South Korea” is Kimchi. This side dish of salted and fermented vegetables is a staple in the Korean cuisine – hardly any meal here is served without it. That’s why a South Korean individual, on average, consumes 40 pounds of kimchi annually.
But why don’t they ever grow tired of eating it? Well, that’s because there are at least 250 different versions of kimchi made with different vegetables as the main ingredients. So, it’s practically not the same thing that they are eating over and over again.
5. The country has the fastest average internet connection speed in the world
If getting super-duper fast internet is a top priority for you, you should consider moving to South Korea. According to a 2017 report published by the US-based Akamai Technologies, the country has an average internet connection speed of 28.6 Mbit/s. That’s faster than the average internet connection speed in any other territory across the globe, and over four times faster than the world average.
Moreover, in its urban centers, services as fast as 100 Mbit/s are the average standard. Hence, it isn’t surprising that the country claims the first spot in the world in internet usage and smartphone ownership, an interesting South Korea fact.
6. The world’s largest mud festival takes place in a South Korean city every year
Boryeong, a city around 120 miles south of Seoul, has been hosting a mud festival annually since 1998. The Boryeong Mud Festival is the largest of its kind, attracting millions of visitors from within the country as well as abroad. Here, you can engage in a variety of muddy activities, including mud sliding, mud bathing, mud wrestling, mud soccer and mud skiing. Although the festival takes place for a period of roughly two weeks each summer, the final weekend is when it gets crowded the most.
7. The country’s capital is one of the most sleep-deprived cities in the world
If you are used to napping for longer durations, Seoul isn’t the place for you. According to a 2014 report published by Jawbone, the South Korean capital is the second-most sleep-deprived city in the world, an interesting fact about South Korea. Residents of this city have an average sleep of merely 5 hours and 55 minutes every night. Only people in Tokyo sleep for a shorter duration of time, clocking an average of 5 hours and 44 minutes per night.
8. South Koreans more drink hard liquor than citizens of any other country
It is widely assumed that Russians are the world’s biggest hard alcohol drinkers. But according to a Euromonitor International report, there’s a country whose citizens consume twice as much hard liquor as the Russians. And surprisingly, that country is South Korea. On average, people in this country drink 13.7 shots of hard liquor every week. Russians, who have the second-highest per capita consumption, gulp down 6.3 shots per week, which is nearly twice as much as the Americans drink.
The most popular liquor in South Korea goes by the name of Soju. It contains around 16.8 to 53 percent alcohol. The colorless distilled beverage is made from a variety of starches, including rice, barely, wheat, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Although Soju used to be a liquor for the upper class in its early days, it is incredibly cheap today, with its 370 ml bottle being priced at about $1.30 USD. That’s less than what a water bottle of the same size costs in many western countries.
I hope that this article on South Korea facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Country Facts Page!