[KS] multiracialism/some random statistics

Stephen Epstein Stephen.Epstein at vuw.ac.nz
Sat Apr 29 02:03:48 EDT 2006

Dear Balazs (et al.),

The issue of mixed marriages and mixed-race offspring, as you're 
probably aware, has recently been given a great deal of attention in 
S. Korea as a result of Hines Ward winning the MVP in the latest 
Super Bowl. Ward was born to an African-American GI father and Korean 
mother, and the Korean press had a field day with this (for an 
English piece see, e.g.,
It also called forth the requisite hand wringing over the treatment 
that mixed children in Korea have received over the years. Such 
pieces might be a good place to start for some of the information you 
are looking for.

More interesting to me are the recent spate of articles and stats 
that have come out concurrently on int'l marriages in Korea, such as, 
which reports that an astonishing 40% (82 of 205) of marriages in 
Boeun County in Chungcheongbuk-do in 2005 were international. 
According to the piece 18.2% of marriages in Seoul itself last year 
were international as well.  As the article notes, the concept of the 
danilminjok is in for a radical challenge.  I include some other 
pieces that have dealt with this issue below. My apologies, though, 
as I read these a few weeks ago and when I just went to recheck them 
they were unavailable. Here they are, in case this is a temporary 
server problem (I don't know how long joins.com leaves things up):


While I'm here, I'd also like to toss out some other very intriguing 
stats that have come my way in the last month or so in the hope of 
generating discussion similar to our very interesting conversation on 
the current disciplinary makeup of AAS. One colleague in the US just 
reported to me that in his two upper division courses in Korean 
culture and religion (at a large research university, with a fairly 
even male/female ratio), he has the following numbers: 54 students 
total,  52 female 2 male (3 non Koreans total, 1 male 1 female) in 
one; and 46 students total in the other: 44 female 2 male (1 non 
Korean, male).  Although I suspect many of us are used to unbalanced 
ratios in our classes, this is extraordinary.

Conversely, in our first-year Korean course at my university here in 
Wellington, New Zealand we have 41 students, of whom 31 are Chinese 
(all from the PRC, as far as I'm aware), with no one of Korean 
descent present (gender ratio: 28 F/ 13 M). In case you're wondering, 
Koreans actually make up the 3rd largest Asian ethnic group in NZ 
with some 35,000 out of a population of 4 million (almost 1%), but 
immigration from Korea only took off in 1991 and language maintenance 
in the community has been high. Our course numbers seem to be a 
direct reflection of the hallyu phenomenon and large int'l student 
populations. I'm curious if Korean language programs elsewhere are 
seeing different demography over the last, say, 3-4 years.

Cheers, Stephen

>Dear Aidan,

>It would be good if some colleagues provided us with information 
>about the situation in South Korea from 1945 to the 1990s, since I 
>heard several concrete examples about strong prejudices against 
>mixed marriages, which I have no reason to doubt.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://koreanstudies.com/pipermail/koreanstudies_koreanstudies.com/attachments/20060429/0440fda2/attachment.html>

More information about the Koreanstudies mailing list