Foreigners in Korea

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Following the partition of Korea in the aftermath of the Korean War, the percent of foreigners in South Korea has risen to 3.4%, or about two million of the total population (half of them Chinese, with Americans and Vietnamese tied for second place at around 150,000 or 6-7% of total).[1][2] North Korea largely remains ethnically homogeneous with a small Chinese expatriate community and a few Japanese people.[3]

History[edit]

King Gojong called foreigners "uneducated louts," motivated by "lechery and sensuality."[4] The Joseon Dynasty was widely referred to as a "hermit kingdom" for sealing itself off from foreign influence. Joseon diplomacy mainly involved the Sadae ("serving the great") policy toward Imperial China. Concurrently maintained (and jointly referred to as "serving the great and relations with neighbor policy" Hangul사대교린 정책; Hanja事大交隣政策) was the Gyorin policy of amicable relations with neighbouring countries; however this did not result in significant influx of foreign persons but rather sporadic trade delegations and diplomatic missions: envoys from the Ryūkyū Kingdom were received by Taejo of Joseon in 1392, 1394 and 1397. Siam sent an envoy to Taejo's court in 1393.[5]

The Joseon kingdom made every effort to maintain a friendly bilateral relationship with China for reasons having to do with both realpolitik and a more idealist Confucian worldview wherein China was seen as the center of a Confucian moral universe.[6] In the fifth through tenth centuries, Arabs sailed the Indian Ocean, and Arab merchants and sailors eventually landed in Korea during the Silla dynasty.[7] These contacts eventually broke off starting in the 15th century, resulting in the Arabs' eventual assimilation into the Korean population.

North Korea[edit]

The foreign relations of North Korea are often tense and unpredictable. The number of foreign residents is correspondingly very small, and is essentially limited to Japanese spouses of "repatriating" Zainichi Koreans, expatriates from the People's Republic of China, foreign diplomats, and a few defectors such as James Joseph Dresnok and Joseph T. White.

South Korea[edit]

South Korea is among the world's most ethnically homogeneous nations, i.e. those with absolute majority of the population of one ethnicity.[8] Since the end of the Korean War in 1953, South Korea has been far more open to foreign influence, especially American, than North Korea.

There were 1,741,919 total foreign residents in Korea in 2015,[9] compared to 1,576,034 in 2013.[10] As of September 2015, according to the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs, the foreign population in South Korea, including migrant workers, increased to 1.8 million, accounting for 3.4% of the total population.[11]

The biggest group of foreigners in Korea are the Chinese.[12] In 1970, an estimated 120,000 Chinese resided in South Korea.[citation needed] However, due to economic restrictions by the South Korean government, the number may have fallen to as low as 21,000.[citation needed] In the 10-year period starting in the late 1990s, the number of Chinese in Korea exploded. In mid 2000s it was estimated that there are at least 300,000[13] and possibly more than 1,000,000[14] In 2009 it was estimated there are about 450,000 Chinese Koreans.[12] Chinese citizens living in South Korea as permanent residents or illegal immigrants, including Joseonjok (Hangul조선족; Hanja朝鮮族, Chinese citizens of Korean descent) and Han Chinese. There is a large Chinese community in Seoul's southwestern area (Daerim/Namguro) and a smaller but established a community in Seongnam. Ethnic Chinese in Korea are known as Hwagyo (Hangul화교; Hanja華僑) by the Koreans.

As of 2016, there were 710,000 Chinese nationals living in Korea, of which ethnic Koreans from China accounted for 500,000, Chinese 190,000 and Taiwanese 20,000. Together, they accounted for 51.6 percent of all foreigners in Korea.[15]


The second-biggest group of foreigners in South Korea are migrant workers from Southeast Asia[12] and increasingly from Central Asia (notably Uzbekistan, mostly ethnic Koreans from there, and Mongolians), and in the main cities, particularly Seoul, there is a small but growing number of foreigners related to business and education.

The number of marriages between Koreans and foreigners has risen steadily in the past few years. In 2005, 14% of all marriages in South Korea were marriages to foreigners (about 26,000 marriages); most were rural Korean men marrying other Asian women from poor backgrounds. Korean men in age brackets up to their 40s outnumber slightly younger Korean women, both due to a high sex ratio and the drop in the birth rate since the 1960s, leading to a huge demand for wives. Many Korean agencies encourage 'international' marriages to Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipina, Indonesian, and Thai women, adding a new degree of complexity to the issue of ethnicity.[16]

The number of expatriate English teachers hailing from English-speaking nations has increased from less than 1,000 in 1988 to over 20,000 in 2002,[17] and stood at more than 22,000 in 2010.[18] There are 28,500 United States military personnel and civilian employees throughout the country,[19] an increasing number of whom are also accompanied by family members.[citation needed]

Most Koreans still believe that their population is of a single racial bloodline,[18] and Korean media sometimes create the impression that foreigners are dangerous,[20] including requiring HIV/AIDS tests for non-ethnic Korean foreigners who work in South Korea.[4]

Influence on entertainment & the Arts[edit]

Korean media is widely influenced by expatriate entertainers. Performers, often residing with controversial E6 visas[21] provide several benefits: a desired native English factor - though many are famously bilingual [22], and contribution to Korea's desire for cultural diversity, pride and English. English media is available through major broadcasting entities. [23] Though highly unregulated, the expat presence in Korea is [24] encouraged by the prevalence of the Korean wave.

Korea is home to the headquarters of several major players in gaming and dubbing. [25] Due to the globalization of popular media, expats are the driving force behind many productions and the competition is described as being particularly fierce due to the popularity of K-dramas. [26] TV personalities such as Americans Carson Allen, Khalid Tapia, South African Bronwyn Mullen [27]and Australian actor [28]Sam Hammington [29] are well known to viewers, often appearing in highly popular variety shows.

Some actors have reached household name status. Veteran Isaac Durst, an American actor, is well known for his extensive work catering to kids, family friendly TV and radio.[30] Broadcasters such as kyopo [31]Lisa Kelley, [32] Ghana-born Sam Okyere, [33] American sports commentator Jason Lee[34], and popular advertisement voice actor Richard Kim who hails from America[35][36] have been formally recognized for their influence on the Korean media industry. So frequent are their contributions that their voices are considered staples in Korean media, particularly in TV and radio.

On the practical side of entertainment in Asia, a booming voice industry is lucrative. [37] Recognized actors such as American born Jennifer Clyde[38], who has been dubbed "the voice of Korea in 'English' [39] reach millions through commercials, games and dubbing. Multi-genre entertainers such as Canadian Kelly Frances[40], [41] [42] Stephen Revere, French DJ-actor Julian Quintart, [43] and French performer-model-MC Fabien Yoon contribute through content, voice and live performances.[44][45] Singer-actress Samia Mounts is credited for her role in Pokemon and American-Korean voice acting.[46]

The foodie scene has its own token expat, Joe McPherson, whose work reached the New York times and landed him a consultant role during Anthony Bourdain's visit to Seoul[47] .[48]

The DJ scene is gaining global respect, and with it, expat professionals. [49] Bellydancing is embraced and led by expats such as Australian veteran [50]Belinda Azhaar, often tying performance to social causes.[51]

the

Statistics[edit]

Number of foreign residents in South Korea up to 2017.[2][52][53]

Number of foreign residents in South Korea
Year Foreign resident population
1980 40,519
1990 100,000
1995 269,000
1998 308,339
2000 491,234
2002 629,006
2005 747,476
2007 1,066,273
2010 1,261,415
2011 1,395,077
2012 1,445,103
2013 1,576,034
2014 1,797,618
2015 1,899,519
2016 2,034,878
2017 2,180,498
Percentage of foreigners residing in South Korea by their countries of origin

Nationalities of legal foreign residents in South Korea as of 2017.[54]

Rank Country Population
1  China 1,018,074
2  Vietnam 169,738
3  Thailand 153,259
4  United States 143,568
5  Uzbekistan 62,870
6  Philippines 58,480
7  Japan 53,670
8  Cambodia 47,105
9  Mongolia 45,744
10  Indonesia 45,328
11  Russia 44,851
12    Nepal 36,627
13  Taiwan 36,168
14  Sri Lanka 26,916
15  Canada 25,692
16  Myanmar 24,902
17  Kazakhstan 22,322
18  Bangladesh 16,066
19  Hong Kong 13,303
20  Australia 13,008
21  Pakistan 12,697
22  Malaysia 12,516
- Others 97,594
- Total 2,180,498

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  3. ^ CIA World Factbook North Korea
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  5. ^ Goodrich, L. Carrington et al. (1976). Dictionary of Ming biography, 1368-1644 (明代名人傳), Vol. II, p. 1601.
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  13. ^ Yonhap News Kim Hyung Jin (August 29, 2006) No 'real' Chinatown in S. Korea, the result of xenophobic attitudes. 2006
  14. ^ Tsinghua University. 2005
  15. ^ Cho Si-young (8 September 2016). "Foreign national population in Korea up more than 40% in 5 yrs". Maeil Business News Korea. Retrieved 10 May 2018. 
  16. ^ Onishi, Norimitsu. February 21, 2007. International Herald Tribune. Marriage brokers in Vietnam cater to S. Korean bachelors
  17. ^ "막가는 원어민 강사 골치". 
  18. ^ a b Lee, Jiyeon (February 3, 2010). "Animosity against English teachers in Seoul". GlobalPost. Retrieved December 2010.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  19. ^ "Briefing by Defense Secretary Gates and ROK Minister Lee: U.S. troop levels in South Korea will remain at 28,500". U.S. Department of State. 17 October 2008. Archived from the original on April 6, 2013. Retrieved 2010.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  20. ^ Glionna, John M. (February 24, 2009). "Trying to teach South Korea about discrimination". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  21. ^ "South Korea's Entertainment Visas Pose Risk of Human Trafficking: Policy Forum". International Organization for Migration. 2016-02-26. Retrieved 2018-07-15. 
  22. ^ Herald, The Korea (2018-02-04). "Foreigners return to small screen, targeting Korea's national pride". Retrieved 2018-07-15. 
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  39. ^ "The Voice of Korea in English: Jennifer Clyde". Retrieved 2018-07-15. 
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  47. ^ "Anthony Bourdain with guide Joe McPherson (Dark Side, BBQ) - Picture of ZenKimchi Korean Food Tours, Seoul - TripAdvisor". www.tripadvisor.com.ph. Retrieved 2018-07-15. 
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  52. ^ "Official Korean Website". Retrieved 2018-06-19. 
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External links[edit]