Agnes Davis Kim, an American woman who moved to Korea in 1934 to marry her Korean husband, described hardships faced by the few expat spouses of the era in her memoir "I Married a Korean." Other expats pressured her not to go through with the marriage. In recent years, various Internet blogs have popped up, focused on the expat dating scene."If you marry this man, your life will, without a question of a doubt, end in tragedy, for interracial marriages just will not work in Korea," she was told."Of course, the large U. military presence helped, since the US Army brought to Korea a large number of young, unmarried, fit men from the U. These reveal a list of common perceptions about Korean men — though these often come with caveats about over-generalization.Some link such attitudes to the Korean entertainment industry's notorious misrepresentation of black people.Entertainers here have drawn criticism for racist caricatures, including comedians who present themselves in blackface.Early marriages between Westerners and Koreans occurred in the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910), when foreign seamen found themselves shipwrecked on the coast.Law required that they stay in Korea, and some married Koreans.
One Korean-American, who asked not to be named, said interacting with men here sometimes thrust her in between two cultures.Still, it raises intriguing questions in a country where locals often joke about how Korean women are coveted for their beauty while the men are disregarded for having diminutive bodies."In terms of income, education and culture, South Korea is a developed nation now," said Kookmin University professor Andrei Lankov, a keen observer Korean history."This means that more equal relations are becoming the norm in all areas and the decades-old gender imbalance, in both dating and marriage unions with Westerners, is going to disappear."Such a shift would come as society grapples with newfound diversity."But now it's more about Western style clubs, and you're starting to see people mingle more.""A lot of times it will be ‘fun dating,'" said Abby Kaye, author of blog "I Love Airplane Food." "If you want to get into a serious relationship you might want to make sure the other person is looking for that."If the relationship gets serious, the approval of parents often becomes critical."There seems to be a three-month mark," observed Kaye.