So, basically, we wanted to spend this TL;DR to talk about how widespread prostitution is in Korea, and how the language of it versus the reality of it are at loggerheads. Prostitution in South Korea is illegal, mind you, but it’s everywhere, and it’s in your face. So much so that 1 in 5 men pay for sex FOUR GODDAMNED TIMES A MONTH. It’s not just “1 in 5 men have visited prostitutes before in their lives.” Oh no. 1 in 5 men go to prostitutes REGULARLY, so much so that if stamp cards were offered, 1 in 5 men would have boxes full of them. And it’s not just 20% of the men going to some girls who are exceptionally dedicated to their jobs to service as many men as possible. Supposedly 1 out of every 25 women in the country is selling their bodies for sex. Prostitution here is big. It’s too big for us to talk about in one video and blog post, but we’re hoping at least that we can express the scope of it.

The point of this post and video isn’t to freak you out and to make you think that every guy is a pervert and every girl a prostitute. Please don’t think that, as tends to happen with our TL;DRs whenever we say something remotely unfavourable about South Korea. What we’re trying to get across through this is the painting of a more reasonable landscape with which to understand the Se7en scandal of his going to a massage parlour. Some people are shocked by it. For others who know South Korea a bit more, it’s not really that shocking at all. The idea of “oops I didn’t know,” or “I only went there for a massage, nothing else!” is far less believable the more you understand how widespread prostitution is in South Korea, and how common it is for men to partake in it. Se7en got busted, but don’t think that your favourite Kpop bands and Kdrama actors are all pure and innocent and that Se7en’s the perverted exception. If anyone else in the industry gets busted, well…no shit.

And, yes, prostitution is illegal, but as to how much the police uphold the law is another discussion. Some nights, for example, when we leave the studio at 2AM or so, and we’re taking a taxi home, there’s one strip of the block that has tons of stairwells lit up with pink lights and lots of girls standing outside these stairwells walking back and forth……aaaaand on the next block is the police station. The lax nature towards prostitution is not even subtle. It’s everywhere, and if you know what you’re looking for, it’s in your face all of the time.

Another thing we skipped out on talking about in this video is Kissing Rooms. We just found out about these today from Soo Zee when we asked her about prostitution. There are PC Bangs, where you play PC Games, DVD Bangs where you watch DVDs (and sometimes get it on with your significant other), and there are also rooms called “Kis-suh Bangs.” Think of em this way: in a PC Bang you play PC games, but you don’t have to bring your PCs with you. The shop provides PCs for you. In a Kiss Bang, you kiss girls, but you don’t have to bring girls with you. The shop provides them for you. You can also supposedly fondle the girls as you’re making out with them. Frankly, we’ve never seen these anywhere, so we can’t say much more about them, and – no – we won’t go on a WANK to a Kiss Bang to investigate! Supposedly also outside of Kiss Bangs you can order coffee to your home late at night. A girl will bring you a coffee and some sex as well. Oddly, there aren’t any strip clubs in Korea, supposedly. I remember seeing them in Toronto, but I’ve yet to see one in Korea.

The other problem we have with the sex industry in Korea is – in the face of how omnipresent it is – the lack of legalization seems to be a harmful factor. Korea has a thriving sex industry, which – whether Korean people want to admit or not – is still happening. Because it isn’t legal, though, it allows for more situations involving people being forced into prostitution, where it instead could foster an environment in which people choosing to go into prostitution could do so under safe conditions. I read about legal brothels which provide testing for STDs for both clients and staff, provide condoms, conduct background checks, have managers rather than pimps, and set up alarm bells for sex workers in the case of a client becoming abusive.

In contrast to controlled environment such as these which would be safer for all parties involved, I’ve read that STDs are on the rise in Korea, which can partly be attributed to a lack of sex education. There are also issues of women from other Asian countries being forced into the sex trade by being promised modelling or waitressing jobs in South Korea, and upon arriving, experience having their passports taken from them by their agents, and in turn are forced into sex work. The point of all of this is, if Korea is going to have such a rampant sex industry which the Korean government is doing nothing to stop, apart from stigmatizing it by outlawing it and protecting nobody from it, the government should at least take steps towards making the industry a safer place for women to work.

No? I don’t know. It’s a big topic to discuss. It’s a big industry, and the implications go beyond what’s happening in South Korea. I’m sure we’re going to get some people defending Korea and saying prostitution isn’t big here at all, it’s illegal and the law is strongly upheld, that they don’t know anyone who pays for sex, and it’s just Americans who come here to pay for sex and not Koreans, yada yada yada. We don’t know what to say to that, really, apart from basically pointing to what we’ve read and what we’ve seen, as well as what we’ve heard from our Korean friends who have opened up to us about the matter. Also, doing this topic was very worrisome for us, because we know that the topic of sex-working is a sensitive topic for some, and so we apologize if we used language here that people find offensive. We’re not up to date with the terminology and theories on the subject. We’re not passing judgment on anyone here. What we were only trying to do is to show how widespread prostitution is here in Korea, and how silly it is to pretend that it doesn’t exist.

  1. Video about sex trafficking in South Korea

  2. O.. yes . I have been to Korea. Pretending that Prostitution does not exists ?!! …Ooooo Koreans are very good on pretending ok . You want get some Korean pussy guys ,right ? Sure . Who does not want ? Brothels will try to charge more because you are a Foreigner ,specially if you are white . Mostly the owners are women . So no victims there .OK . And those women are assholes . The hypocrisy that is going on on Prostitution around the World right now is astonishing . The biggest liar and an Hypocrite is the United Nations and Ban Kim Moon close by second Obama the Feminist . We all know that . You can’t stop people for selling sex . Easy money , huge profits . Single moms making 500 $ a night ….who is the victim here ? A ? The poor constriction worker or the solder who work his ass off all day to pay for mediocre sex ,that’s who !!!

  3. So you wouldn’t start a conversation about the ethics of a single man (or woman) going to meet a sex worker, And the safety of sex work?

  4. Oh, go to Drama Fever. com they have documentaries on various subjects about sex in Korea. Though some are quite graphic. I stopped watching after the half of the 3rd video. I felt like I was watching porn instead of a documentary.

  5. The thing is, is it to surprising when S. Koreans have such a hush-hush attitude about sex. Not that sex education would make it better, but when you think of why they are getting married, it’s only for financial reasons and to have an heir. So basically they don’t have to have sex with their wives or girlfriends unless it’s for that reason. I think the women are the ones that limit sexual contact and so they seek it out elsewhere and since no one tries to have self control, then of course it’s out of control. I heard that they go to other countries and get the women pregnant, there was an article on it somewhere that there are 1,000s of babies in the Philippines or somewhere like that, that have Korean fathers.

  6. Lol these fkn clowns up here. Are you really fkn surprised that prostitution isn’t being challenged in south korea? Tell me which country i should go to where there isn’t such a thing a prostitution. is korea the only place in asia that you’ve ever been to? are you fkn kidding me? how bout the philippines? thailand? hong kong? japan? you fkn nerds literally have done absolutely nothing to help the situation.

  7. “According to the government-run Korean Institute of Criminology, one-fifth of men in their 20s buy sex at least four times a month” I agree that sex industry is huge in Korea, but is it a realistic number? the figure doesn’t seem plausible at all.

  8. Legalization has not worked well in the countries it has been introduced. The Nordic Model on the sex industry is the way to go. Women do not exist as capital. Money does not equal consent. http://www.equalitynow.org/sites/default/files/Nordic_Model_EN.pdf

  9. I saw one of those “Kiss Rooms” near my old university in Sinchon and wondered what it was… As I type this it occurs to me that “Kiss Bang” is an amusing play on words. It was on the top floor of a six or seven story building in a night life district. There are also a few other forms of prostitution that you didn’t mention in your video or write up… The first is a certain kind of secretary that doesn’t exactly have any administrative duties. A lot of college girls sign up for this. There’s also “foreign entertainers” (they actually have a visa for this) which, rather than being used mostly for TV actors, is typically used for foreign women to privately entertain powerful men in various industries. Finally, I’ve heard about “Coffee Girls,” although I’ve never actually seen them, apparently it is a delivery service… you pay about 200,000 won for a cup of coffee, and a hot girl delivers and stays a while.

  10. I left a comment on your tldr about drugs in korea lol

  11. this was only surprising to me becasue i didnt hear opf it until i click your video…but still they are grown men they should do what they want..i meant se7en and his girl wasnt even together any more so hey….uh…YOLO…

  12. Not so edgy but totally practical TLDR topic: If Koreans are obsessed with being skinny, then what about exercising in Korea. Do people use gyms and what are they like? Is yoga a thing, are there team sports for adults, etc.?

  13. Could you guys do a tldr especially on the “sunbae” pressuring thing and the “group mentality” thing that you guys mentioned at the very end? I study in china where there are a lot of koreans and experienced it firsthand myself, and it’s a very serious problem. I feel like most people aren’t able to do what they actually want but are always being pressured to just follow along with their sunbaes. I feel really strong about it and would like to hear more about what you guys think about it.

  14. South Korean men are also the biggest purchasers of sex in Southeast Asian countries. And they don’t just pay for sex from women. Children, girls AND boys, are used frequently. This is a dark spot on South Korea. I don’t think legalizing it will make things better though it being illegal and not enforced isn’t good either. Saying making it legal so it would be safer is like saying abortion being legal is safer, in my opinion. Anyone heard of the Gosnell trial? Yeah, abortion isn’t safe. The only way for this to stop is a break through of freedom through Jesus. And I know many people on here will probably disagree with me, but that’s what I think. The sex trade problem runs deeper than just people paying for sex. It becomes an addiction in the same way alcohol, gambling, and drugs – to name a few – become an addiction. There can be MANY underlying factors why people purchase sex; the focus should eventually go into meeting these needs to stop the outcome of sex solicitation.

  15. i want to know about sasaeng fans. i’ve been reading articles about some
    things that have happened with different k-pop groups and i want to
    know what people are doing about them. like is anyone trying to stop
    them at all? AND WHERE ARE THE PARENTS!? i’m really concerned about it
    because of some of the articles i read about them like when an Exo fan
    purchased the same van as them and Luhan almost got in and also the
    rioting at Changsha Airport when Exo arrived. i just recently heard of
    these “fans” and i’m surprised about what these people so and it really
    concerns me. to be honest as i’m actually scared to go to k-pop concerts
    now because i know that there will be sasaengs there and i know that
    they will threaten and hurt regular fans as well as the idols. i want to
    know what people are doing about it. PLEASE CAN YOU GUYS TALK ABOUT

  16. Hmm, I’d say prostitution is undesirable, whether conducted in a ‘safe’ manner or not.

  17. Hi Simon and Martina! I was wondering if Korean police officers are useless, I know it may seem like a stupid question, but in most dramas or movies that I watch, police officers seem really useless. Thanks!

  18. This got me really curious wondering how a foreigner can be polite but also not be taken advantage of when it comes to this type of hierarchy of respect in South Korea. Like Simon and Martine said people to tend to blame superiors when something goes wrong or something that is not seen as socially acceptable happens but if they refuse they are guilt tripped or cast out? I know they covered mannerisms and tips tricks briefly about to get around no coming off as rude in the certain situations but does it get trickier when it comes to foreigners?

  19. Speaking of police stations being right next to a red light district… When I was in Japan a couple years ago, one of the university students hanging out with us wanted to take us to a particular Izakaya (Japanese-style restaurant), but we had to go near Kabuki-cho (the red light district of Tokyo) to get there. I kid you not, we walked right THROUGH the red light district to get to the Kouban (or mini-police station) at the END OF THE STREET to ask for directions.

  20. Billie Christine Beckstead

    I would like to know about piercings in Korea. Is it taboo to have several ear piercings? What about facial piercings?

  21. So I recently read an article about how Korean fans or K-fans discriminate against international fans aka I-fans. Seeing as you two live In S. Korea and are immerse by Korean K-pop fans, do you think their is some sort hatred or dislike toward intl fan?

    PS- I love you guys!!

  22. The Grand Narrative is a very helpful blog which talks about gender issues in Korea. One post, which is quite old (from January 2010), talks about prostitution in Korea: http://thegrandnarrative.com/2010/01/20/korea-sex-marriage-prostitution/

  23. hi simon and martina :D also, if you could do a tldr on what would be a koreans dream life would be. like what is the ideal life an average korean person wishes to have? kind of like what people would view the american dream as.

  24. hi simon and martina!!!!!!!!!!!!! i was wondering if you could please do a tldr on things that you find unnerving in korean culture. i love korea and respect the country so much but there are parts of the culture that make me take a step back and think. such as blackface. i just found out about it and i was shocked. i understand why they think its funny but do they understand how offensive it is? as a big fan of kpop and all things korean, call me american but this just really concerns me.

  25. I guess all that is left is to ask if there is beastiality in Korea. Please don;t tell me that there are pet shops where you can pet the animals and, for a little more…

  26. Simon and Martina! please do a TL:DR on plastic surgery in Korea! It’s so popular and well known in Korea but you guys haven’t touched this topic yet! Tell us the extent of its popularity, reasons why you think its is especially popular in Korea and your personal view on plastic surgery!

  27. I thought Happy Ending Massage Parlours were a place where people were brought in that were dying & they got a massage until they died, thus dying happily…….

  28. Thanks for the TL;DR on this subject. Regarding strip clubs, I know I read on a foreigner teaching in Korea that he asked his korean friend and his korean friend said that they do have strip clubs but they’re exclusively for korean men only. He also stated that foreign strippers do work there as well with most of them being Russians.

  29. Hi Simon & Martina. I live in Edmonton,AB. I hate to pop ur bubbles but we have ‘illegal/legal’ prostitution here as well – a lot of it. The city grants business licences to studio operators and ladies wanting to ‘work’ at a studio have to provide a clean criminal record check to the city licensing office, pay a fee, take a 2 hour ‘safety course’ and provide the address of the licensed studio where she will be working. It’s a serious money maker for the city of Edmonton (licensing fees are due annually). Studios are restricted to certain zoning areas and many are alongside average businesses. Some studios have been in one location for upwards of 20 years. Members of vice check in at the studios once every couple of months to make sure licenses are up to date and ‘sniff’ around for potential drug use which is highly discouraged. Studios operate under strict ‘bylaws’ that enforce hours of operation and other things (of course the bylaws don’t exist on the books because what would average joe citizen have to say if they only knew the reality?)

    As you say is true in South Korea, some of the signage makes it clearly obvious as to what goes on inside. One thing that can NOT be used in signage or advertising is the word “massage”. That was recently added to the ‘bylaws’ that don’t exist. Studios can advertise in local newspapers if they provide their business license number and even include the staff ‘names’ but must also print each personal license number beside their working name.

    I can hear you gasping for breath and it’s funny because I can only imagine you’re thinking “Edmonton!” I should point out that the same system (pretty much) with perhaps different bylaws exists in Toronto. Yeah.

    I can say this: Any man going to a studio for a happy ending is almost certain to not get in trouble with the law, as long as he’s going to a studio that has been around for awhile. There are about 60 studios in the city at any given time, 30 might be ‘fly by night’ unlicensed and totally illegal. Trouble can be found there. Of the extra 30, about 15 are ‘overlooked’ with ‘good reputations’ while 15 others might go through periods of stress if they have ‘bad’ clients or workers who bring trouble in the doors.

    Anyhow, just thought I’d share.

    PS. Thanks for all you’ve done for me, it’s a long story but just so you know, you got me through a hell of a year.

  30. LongClawTiger

    The talk about those little cards reminded me of Las Vegas. Walking down the main strip, there were guys standing around about every 10 to 20 feet pushing cards like that on every guy that walked by. Even if the guy was obviously part of a couple they would push a card at you and tell you to bring your girlfriend too!

  31. I found this topic really surprising. I have been living in korea for about a year now (as a student) and spend most of my time with the physical education department since I’m on the volleyball team there. The idea that 1 in 5 of my guy friends could be visiting a brothel regularly is really… strange. Something I have noticed here (at least among the college crowd) is that relationships are really really really important, or so it seems. Everyone seems to either be in a relationship or actively trying to get into one. I have also heard from ma~any friends (both girls and boys) that its not uncommon to wait 6 months to a year before they have sex in the relationship (though I have some friends in relationships who are different of course). Do you think these trends are some of the causes of the rampant sex industry?

  32. Monika Zubkiewicz

    Could you do a TLDR on plastic surgery? I know South Korea has posters advertising it a lot, a lot of stars do it and people in general whether it be head to toe or just double eyelid. Thanks! :] (oooh you so nastyyyy ;])

  33. Very interesting topic. I remember watching your early videos that Martina mentioned that some people ask her if She was “Russia saram” and I read in other articles that a lot of foreign prostitutes were from Russia, is that correct?

  34. I’d really love a TL;DR on your tattoos. I always catch little blurry glimpses of them, and I know Martina touched on one of hers in her drawing video but, if anything, that made me even more curious! Can you show us what they all are and explain the stories behind them please?

  35. Hi Simon and Martina! My question is, have you guys ever tried bargaining or haggling with vendors at street markets? Also, have you guys experienced price discrimination or been ripped off? I would love to hear stories. :)

  36. Definitely agree that prostitution exist in Korea as well as various types of places for sexual encounter. However, I disagree with the statement that 20% of Korean men engage in prostitution without reliable statistical ( quantitative) research. This generalization condemns any age group of korean males for world audience (viewed via YouTube and this site). Having lived in Korea from 2002 to 2011, I do not recall my Korean male friends engaged in prostitution. As a Korean-American, prior to my experience living in Korea ((and married to the best Korean woman) and knowing all my Korean friends) I would be damn prejudice to make friends with Korean males, after watching this video. I do like your other videos ( with humor and personal experience). Although this topic needs to be exposed about Korean culture, using statistics without qualification does more harm to individuals within a culture from individuals who form a negative bias from this generalizes statistical video without interacting with Korean man or culture.

  37. Definitely agree that prostituition ( along with other hubs for sexual opportunities exist) is a fact in Korean culture like other countries. However I would be careful using statistics to generalize the extent of individuals engaged in this act. Stating that 20% of korean men engage in prostitution, without a direct supporting evidence (I.e., two or more collaborating quantative references) can prejudice individual’s concept of Korean men and culture. I have lived in Korea from 2002 to 2011 and I don’t recall none of my male friends (who work in various types of company) engaged in prostitution. Although your video has a great intention (like the other videos which are well presented and humorous) to inform about Korean culture and your experience, topics like prostituition should be carefully thought through before creating a negative bias of Korean men for the world audience.

  38. Wow, it’s really interesting to hear about all of this. I had no idea!

  39. Can you guys possibly talk about nerdy/geek culture in korea? How popular are anime, Harry Potter, sci-fi, cosplaying, and things of that sort? Are there any big conventions that would be worth going to?

  40. Sooooo I have a question. For one of your TLDRs or some other category could you talk a bit about korean oldies music? Maybe on a K indie segment? I’m just really a fan of 60-80s music and would love to explore korean music from then as well (my korean friends tell me the songs are much easier to learn korean from).

  41. 1 in 5 men? 4 times a month? the only korean men i know are big bang, and that’s 5 already. lol. i’m placing my bets on seungri ;)

  42. Can you do a video on women’s safety? I read recently that it is extremely dangerous for women to travel alone on buses/trains/taxis for risk of molestation. How true is this? Has Martina experienced any disrespect because of her gender? Do you know of any one who has, or have you noticed it when traveling? As a girl who wants to travel to Korea, I feel that this is an important topic to know beforehand. I would like to hear real life observations on it rather than the black and white statistics you can read on gov websites. Please and thank you!!!

    Also, I really love you guys and what you do!!! XD

    • I believe they spoke about it in a couple of previous videos:)

    • Hope you don’t mind me putting my two cents in. :)

      I went to Japan last year, and I’d heard the same thing about creepers on the train, taking advantage of the crowded conditions to grope female passengers. However, everybody I talked to said it almost never happens to foreign women. It’s not like there’s any definite proof as to why (“Excuse me, disgusting pervert, can you tell me why you assault some women and not others?”), but I have a theory: there’s a stereotype in a lot of Asian countries about Western women being really loud and aggressive and confrontational, so the creepers think there’s a higher chance a Western woman will turn around and punch them in the face. Or even just yell and cause a scene, and bring attention to what’s happening. So if you’re visibly not Japanese, it’s not likely to be a problem for you, statistically speaking at least.

      Oh, and I rode crowded trains all over the place, and I was fine. :) Actually, people didn’t even bump into me when I walked through huge crowds. That fact that I’m about 5’10″/178cm could’ve had something to do with making me seem scary. LOL

      • Thanks! That’s definitely a comfort. In truth, if it ever did happen to me, you can by sure my fist would be in the guy’s face (and I’m not even that much of a confrontational person).

        On another note, that’s really sick. So the perverts sit there and think to themselves “Well if I grope her, I’m liable to get hit. Oh! But there’s a nice Japanese girl. She’s most likely quiet and timid. I can grope all I want! *cue creepy aqualung-like pervert laugh- fufufu” Ugh! Gives me the skeeves.

        Anyway, thanks again :)

  43. so basically the attitude towards prostitution in korea is about the same as the attitude toward weed in the states?

  44. to be honest after 2 serious topics in a row I would like to know more about “light” topics, e.g. cinema life in korea, thank you^^ if I typed smith wrong sorry for my bad english:)

  45. I feel like in Canada we’re on our way, possibly, to getting legal brothels… I don’t know if you guys have been keeping up with it at all, but it has been a warmer topic recently as sex workers fight to legalize it in order to have safer conditions. I really hope they can find a good grounds from which they can safely do what they’re going to do anyway. Also, recently watched an amazing documentary on a female sex worker in Australia who works with many disabled clients, where those people might never be able to experience sex otherwise. That feels totally important, because yes, they do deserve to have that experience with a willing partner… If that partner wants money for it, and it’s done safely and responsibly, I can’t help but support that. Not only that, but she’s going for her PhD, I believe, and is a very important advocate… Really changed my views on prostitution.

    Meanwhile, if sex-ed in S. Korea is so lacking, it truly worries me that prostitution is so rampant and easily accessible. It’s not the kind of thing people should be rushing towards with blinders on in ANY situation, but I do feel that in Canada our sex-education is pretty top-notch. At least from my experiences, growing up in Ottawa. My sister, two years my senior, found it lacking, so they obviously made huge headway during those two years, making me wonder if it’s even more intensive now.

  46. Anyone else getting an email glitch, with Disqus saying you got a reply, when its just repeating the entire comment feed

  47. xuan6793

    I don’t know if I should say this, (or rather how to make the connection), but here’s some “facts” I’ve encountered while I was in Hong Kong, visiting family.Nowadays, Asian youth especially teens with a rather well off life living in the city tend to go for this really lax lifestyle, in which they really care about their outer appearances(hence the fascination with brands), but with little effort to get the money to buy it. Therefore, they are provided by their Sugar Daddy,and in most cases is female teenagers doing this kind of job, to get the money they want to the frivolous things they like. And it’s not even forced, they accept the conditions as long as they have the money to pay for their apperances.

  48. I just love people who think S. Korea is this pure land of lollipops, sunshine and idols. It’s like, sweeties, hate to break it to ya, but S. Korea is exactly like every other country. They do drugs, have sex, get drunk, have crimes. Seoul is pretty much like Hollywood, except with more rice.

  49. This post is a perfect example of why I don’t like this site at all. Why do you think you have any insight, as Caucasian North Americans, into anything in South Korea?

    • And why do you think that as Caucasian North Americans they cannot? If you aren’t Caucasian then you shouldn’t have any insight into them as people. If you aren’t Korean then you shouldn’t have any insight into anything Korean. If you are Korean-Korean then you shouldn’t have any insight into “foreigners”. If you are a Korean living overseas then you shouldn’t have any insight into your country of residency, Korea or them. Whichever way you shouldn’t have any insight on them.

    • Maybe because they’ve lived there for the past five years? I think once you’ve lived in a country for half a decade, you have the right to talk about ongoing issues there, or is that not acceptable to you? If you’re a South Korean, please enlighten us as to what REALLY goes down when it comes to prostitution in SK.
      If you’re not South Korean living in SK, don’t get your panties in a bunch and let actual residents of the country give their take on what they’ve experienced.

    • They’re providing insight on the topic from the perspective of Caucasian North Americans living in South Korea. They’ve been living there for a couple of years now and for every single controversial topic brought up in their TL;DRs, they have always tried their best to make it clear to people, like you, that all they can do is to speak about the issue from their perspective as “foreigners living in South Korea”.

      Everyone is entitled to having their views, just like how you are making your views heard and so are Simon and Martina.
      You’re the perfect example of people I don’t like at all because you lack insight on what it means to provide a logical opinion.

    • Why are you bothering to waste your time with this site if you dislike it so much?

      Please go use your time on something you actually enjoy.

  50. Did you get a new camera or something? Why does it picture look so much better?

  51. I think this is a huge problem, and is treated rather similarly in a lot of asian countries. It’s “illegal” but if you’re a resident, you know it’s happening somewhere. I mean, my school was practically beside one of these “haunts” where you get special massages. And I see ads everywhere about “lip massages” or “Volcano massage”. Like we try to sweep it under the rug and suppress it out of sight but it seems to make it worse in some sense..

  52. They should have just legalised it. I mean the legal income from taxes for the goverment would have been huge…I am not impressed by the ratio of men visiting those houses cause I find it normal. Men have needs and not all women are available. Anyway What impresses me the most is that a lot of underage prostistution is geting place in South Korea and what about trans gender prostiution? It’s a common thing here in Greece to have men dressed like women and prostitute..

  53. It’s so bizarre how Koreans don’t talk about sex and avoid PDA but yet, based on their prostitution habits, they are extremely sexual people (broadly speaking).

    • It sounds kind of like how we hear about small town communities where sex-ed is frowned upon, and yet teen pregnancy is up. The lack of knowledge creates increased curiosity, which needs to be somehow fulfilled. And with little or no sex-ed as to the consequences, it probably would seem beyond okay to just keep going back. Like eating delicious, amazing fatty foods while not knowing you could gain weight or what have you. Maybe? Not saying for sure, but it certainly seems like a possibility.

  54. Cyber_3

    Simon and Martina, I think that you are missing the point in some cases when you blame the workers for not saying “no” to their bosses and getting drunk or getting sexual services. If it makes it more understandable, take American 60s culture (a la Mad Men) and they put it in an Asian cultural wrapper. If you want to get ahead at your job, or even to not be forever stuck in the corner and never promoted, constantly derided, and blacklisted with other companies, you have to go along with what the boss wants. There may be some bosses who are nicer, but most of them consider this drinking until passed out and getting hookers as a rite of passage, an initiation if you will and they really can make your life difficult if you don’t cooperate. You can thread that fine line for a while but eventually, this just makes your boss more determined to “get you” into it (it’s like a game of who has the power). I had a friend who worked in HK and at the top levels of his family’s own company the bosses would keep buying him hookers at these “after work socials” (where all the real deals are made). He would go with the prostitutes and then pay them off to go away and keep their mouth shut, but it became increasingly difficult to evade his bosses. This kind of culture eventually leads to a lot of
    unhappiness in day to day life. Why do you think suicide is so high in Korea? I can’t imagine being the
    wife of a person who had to sleep with hookers to keep his job, it must
    be terrible.

    Also, I really really really wonder at the hyper sexualization of kpop idols lately. No one would have suspected the famous Russian Bolshoi ballet of pimping out their dancers, I wonder if any of this goes on in the kpop industry? I mean they are kept in same sex dorms but forced to act sexy all the time, it must drive them crazy and the girls likely don’t get periodic escorted visits to the rub and tug……I’m just saying….. Your stats were quite shocking and really lead me to wonder what else goes on there.

    Great TL;DR, I just think you should be a tad less judgy about individuals that are forced to work in an overriding aspect of Korean/Asian culture that you have managed to sidestep while still living in there, especially since you are married. I’m totally not saying that what happens is right (it’s not, it’s sick and wrong) but acting like “why don’t they just say ‘no’?” seems a little naive to me.

    • I don’t think they were saying nobody was never really forced to do it and they can just decide for themselves (tricky in a bad economy) I think they were only saying that people maybe also used that as an excuse.

      • Cyber_3

        I don’t think that they are saying “nobody was never really forced” (??) either but this is not the first video where they have complained at all the drunk people who say they got alcohol poisoning (i.e. barfing) because of their boss, like it was “just an excuse” for drinking too much. It’s prevalent for a reason. While I am sure that occasionally people just really like to drink and overdo it and might blame it on their boss, I don’t think that this is the “normal” scenario in Korea. Who wants to get drunk in front of their boss and potentially make a fool of themselves in such a way that would hurt their career? Who wants to be too drunk to understand or properly negotiate the deals that actually happen at the “after meetings” (instead of in the boardroom)? Pretty much no one. It’s not an excuse, it’s reality. But you will really stand out like a sore thumb and NOT a “team player” if you refuse to participate, and participate heavily. There are tricks you can use to drink less, but you’re pretty much gonna have to let (or fake) your boss getting you completely sh*tfaced at least once in order to gain his trust. The bosses like to feel they have something to blackmail you with in their back pocket. Maybe not to the level of “The Firm” with Tom Cruise, but it kind of puts more of a “feudal lord” spin on the relationship that a lot of old school bosses prefer.

  55. I LOVE AUSTRALIA .. because if someone pressured me to drink until were passed out or go to some weird places i would just say F$#@ NO!!!!! :D but i still feel angry about the customs in korea particularly all the elder crap “THATS JUST MY OPINION” :D

  56. 1 out of 5 men YOU KNOW!!!!! “hysterical laugh”…. raging boner…(giggle) i was suprised you said it soo comfortably but it was also funny how you said.. even when your talking about semi serious topics i still find it funny and interesting to watch :D….. I HATE ELDERS.. pshh who listen’s to their elder’s i didn’t even listen to my parent’s sooo “IM AWESOME!!!”….. (no I’m not”)…”crying in a corner”

  57. I think it is also worth noting the sex scandal of the kpop group Chocolate (not to be confused with Chocolat) The company producing them was accused of pimping out members of the group in exchange for money. It turned out the girls in the group weren’t being pimped out, but other girls were. This to me is ultimate creepy. A major company using sex for major transactions!

    On a side note- I also thought it was odd, because I think there was a reference to prostitution in a k-drama. In I Love You, there was a scene where a husband got caught with another woman by his wife. The way his conversation went kind-of made the implication that he paid the woman. At the time I was sitting there thinking “hmm… that doesn’t sound right” but now watching this video I wonder if it was a comment on prostitution in Korea.

  58. Hi Simon and Martina, in response to the idol army scandal recently I
    was wondering about the views of Koreans towards the military? You see, I
    am not sure if many Westerners are aware but last year over 731
    Jehovah’s Witnesses were imprisoned for being politically neutral and
    refusing to bear arms due to their Christian beliefs. Moreover there are
    cases where men who completed their jail time were re-drafted and given new prison sentences. Do many Koreans know about this? And despite criticism from the UN why does this still happen?
    Would love to know your thoughts on this, thanks,
    Love a viewer from Britain.

    • Guys that have completed Middle School (grade 9) then you must enter the military between the ages of 18-30. If you don’t do military service you are imprisoned for 2 years. Later on you cannot get a good job since your prospective employer will look at your military service record. You can get excused if you are physically disabled or have certain medical conditions but if you try to escape doing your military service it is a seen as a criminal offense- not even their Kpop Idols can get away with it. Also you cannot get out of military service because of religious convictions.

      Military service is seen as a duty and as akin to being masculine.

  59. I love your recent TLDR but I noticed how they are all love/sex related :D

  60. Interesting! Omg I got pretty chocked actually, I totally had a picture of it that sex and sexuality is a bit of a taboo. Actually, after having seen your TLDR vids I´m really curious about the whole equality- women´s rights-movement over there, is it often discussed? I mean it´s cool that south korea has a female president! Thumbs up! But I often get the feeling that the generalized view on women is quite old-fashioned..I don´t know maybe I´m wrong but I really want to know ! hope someone can answer this:)

    • I have a friend from Korea, and I asked her about how South Korea thought about having a female president. She basically said that they didn’t see her as traditionally female because she wasn’t married and didn’t have children – she is an exception. She also mentioned that women’s rights were next to non-existent. *shrug* That just what she told me though.

  61. Well, in my opinion, just MY opinion. I am not stating it’s a flawless opinion nor everyone should agree. So, my opinion about this matter. Yes, prostitution is everywhere, and people go ask for their services. Is it wrong, is it perverted? Even if it’s an idol, it doesn’t matter. they are still normal people. the kind of prostitution where they import or force girls to give those services are completely wrong and there should be something done against it. but if a woman volunteers to work in that kind of business, is it wrong? if a guy goes to ask service, is it wrong? isn’t it better to ask for such service instead of just raping a girl because the man feels too horny? I think it’s morally better to ask for services and the people who give or ask for such services should still be treated with respect because they are people too.

    • Cyber_3

      I agree with you, but I think there is another point here that, if having sex with a prostitute once a week is the norm for Korean men, doesn’t that make their sex life kind of sad (emotionally)? And what does this mean for the women? Not the prostitutes, but the ones who are supposed to be pure until they marry a man who’s become used to regular sex with prostitutes? I can’t see this resulting a lot of healthy relationships and happy people, can you?

      • I think there’s a lot of men who feel that, as a “masculine” man, they need to have experience on how to please a woman, and so being with a prostitute gives them a place to practice before they find “the one”. I know in some cultures (and this is… weird beyond prostitution by far) young men are given donkeys/goats to practice on, so that they can get their stamina up. (proof: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VKWLC87Uzw ) So… Yeah.

        • Cyber_3

          Well at least when practising with a goat or donkey, your expectations of a woman aren’t the same and if you don’t like her, you can always go back to your animal? ;)

        • I just am terrified at what kinds of diseases they could be perpetuating… ;_;

        • Cyber_3

          As am I, but I don’t think that your chances of catching something with human prostitutes is much less, and donkeys don’t mind sharing? :P

        • Well there’s a 50% less chance that during sex with a donkey asking “do you have protection?” will be yes.

        • Cyber_3

          Depends if you’re pitching or catching, the donkey won’t necessarily mind waiting while you “wrap your wacker” and I would think people would feel less self-concious about being safe?

          Okay, that’s it, I can’t talk about this any more, even if it’s kinda funny, it’s giving me the heebie jeebies.

        • I agree; at least (hopefully, god…) the prostitution situation is consensual. I can’t condone bestiality no matter how much they claim the donkeys like it. Eugh. Just glad it’s not more common these days. Humanity, what is wrong with youuuu…?

        • Not related to donkeys or goats, but I don’t think guys learn how to “please a women” by going to the prostitutes! They learn how to please themselves and get pleased, period!

        • Haha, too true! But what I mean by “pleasing a woman” is “not finishing before he starts”. They can get their stamina up so they don’t humiliate themselves.

      • Well I am sure most women don’t know that their men do so. and if they find out they might be veeeery angery. But there are different cases too because everyone is different. relations is all about communication, in my opinion. and some woman, they got a stable relationship. got some kids.. that’s enough. not every woman likes sex, in fact there are lots of woman who do not enjoy sex. so they even support their man to go to ask for services. it does happen. it’s just about communication and knowing/trusting your partner, ofcourse unfortunately for those woman who find out their men cheat on them…..

  62. I particularly respect how you put the blame not on prostitution but on the strictly hierarchical structure of Korean society (as this is a problem for other East Asian cultures such as Japan as well) as well as it’s illegality.
    Prostitution when dealt in a legal manner, can offer many beneficial services; it allows a safe, protected (sexual) environment for the clientele, & safe, regulated, legitimate job opportunities for anyone wishing to join the sex industry.
    Human sexual desire will ALWAYS exist – it’s doing it in a safe manner that is important!

  63. Thank you so much for talking about this kind of topic, more so at a time that everyone is talking about the so called “massage parlours”. Looking forward to next week’s topic.

  64. The main issue with prostitution for me is that I’ve noticed that people generally condemn the prostitutes more than the men who willingly pay for sex, and see them as objects for people to exploit, even if they have to do it to support their family! The men who willingly choose to go to prostitutes are seen as ‘bad boys’, or players (which almost sounds like an achievement), but prostitutes are sub-human.
    Prostitution isn’t a problem if both parties are willing, but as some girls or women are forced into it (e.g. for financial reasons) there is obviously something wrong. I agree that legalisation would be a step forward – it would allow regulations to be put in place to protect prostitutes, and make it less likely for them to be forced into anything.
    This won’t happen until people learn to respect prostitutes and see them as human. The people in charge of upholding the law (usually men) will not regulate a service that they enjoy using, so the deeper concern here is the objectification of women.

    • I think this is beautifully put; respect for sex workers is something our society severely lacks. Recently I read about a Japanese porn star called Sola Aoi going on to achieve mainstream fame after her porn career ended – I’m not Japanese so I don’t know how positive the average Japanese person feels about her, but just the fact that she’s being taken seriously while her past is known means a lot.

  65. Off topic… what was that anime reference?

  66. I’m quiet curious about religion in Korea too, Christianity seems huge in Korea, even more so then in North American, in which atheism is rising..

    • “even more so then in North American”
      omg no, not at all.

      40% of korea are atheists and the rest a e either christians or buddhists (with a majority of christians). Korea per se is not a religious country like the us and it has never been

  67. Can you comment at all about the sex industry that is geared towards women? In your blog post, you talk about making the industry safer for female workers, and the video was pretty women-centric too. Is it because there isn’t as big of an industry surrounding male prostitution?

    In Japan, there is also a thriving sex industry, including prostitution. However, while there are male host clubs, it’s not usually common for those men to sleep with their clients for extra money. There are soaplands, but all the soaplands with male hosts pleasuring female guests close after a while. As for male escorts and male prostitutes, while I don’t doubt that exist here, I’ve never heard about them, or seen them advertised.

    I’m just curious if it’s the same in Korea. I’ve always wondered why all the male soaplands close, and why I never hear about male prostitutes in Japan. I did hear a couple weeks ago about a male stripping event, but it was a special event, not a regular thing.

    • Maybe it’s a simple case of supply and demand – most women I know that feel like having a one-time sexual encounter can easily pick up a guy for free.

    • Cyber_3

      While there are obviously less women who go to these types of clubs, catering to women is much more problematic than men. For example, it’s a lot harder to force a man than a woman, women a more likely change their mind and call foul even if they paid for it, and well, condoms, stds, etc. Also, women need a whole experience, a lot more time, in order to be satisfied, most men are okay with the wham bam thank you ma’am. This also means that women have more emotional involvement in the transaction than men. I expect that when it goes past the “host” level, the number of crazy women who start stalking their “host” afterwards just causes too much trouble and it probably isn’t highly profitable.

      • I don’t know about in Korea, but in Japan a very large percentage of the women who patronize male host clubs are sex workers / hostesses themselves. And there is a problem with men that stalk their hostesses / sex workers / whoever. I can imagine some of your points though. I’ve “heard” (not through any academic source) that at soaplands for women, the men do oral sex on the women. One of the complaints the men have is that it’s too tiring to go down on women all day. So I can see how that might be more tiring to perform for the men than the women. But I don’t think that I agree that women need some kind of emotional experience, or an excess of time.

        I think littlecat has it right; supply and demand. A woman can pretty easy go to a bar and pick up a guy :P

    • In SK, male prostitutes are called jae-bee-jok. Literal meaning is swallow tribe. Being a guy, I don’t know much about it, and don’t even have interest….

      • Are they mostly male prostitutes that serve other men? Not to be presumptuous, but “swallow tribe” ..

        • It seems they mostly serve bored house wives. Homosexuality was/is very repressed in SK. Seeking out same-sex partner, for money or real love, would be extremely risky, hence less commercial opportunities.

          BTW, swallow as in the bird, not verb.

  68. Guys, you made me recall how I got a haircut in a similar barbershop in China… that was an awkward experience XD don’t know why I wanted to have my hair cut so badly, but thank god I was with a friend, because there were a guy who actually cut my hair and a bunch of prostitute-looking girls hanging around :// all of them were reeeeeally surprised to see white girls coming in and asking for a haircut XD
    Seems like this scheme of ‘illegal-but-not-THAT-illegal’ prostitution works for all East Asia…

    • No… that rotating red blue white lamp outside of barber shops as hanky-panky shops do not stand true for all Asia countries! Don’t get mistaken. At least in Singapore, it represents a normal barber shop. :)

  69. I wonder if like Korea still has hierarchy when it comes to prostitutes-like kisaengs in the past. I would want to choose my own clientele if I become one of those girls. I will only exclusively render services to idol and hallyu stars.

    • Diana Cristina Munteanu

      first of all kisaengs weren’t prostitutes they were artist, entertainers
      only really low ranked kisaengs were forced to sell their body

  70. I think there is one in Gangnam. I could show you one day if you like.

  71. Is there a TLDR about teen pregnancy in Korea? How it’s viewed? I mean judging by the sexuality video I would think, if I remember correctly, that it would be shunned upon even more so over there than it would be in say America.

  72. sigh ~

    I’m a Christian; so, I share Jesus’ view on when a “sex act” starts: simply by looking at a person with lust (Matthew 5:27-28). Looking at a person lustfully is like having physical/direct sex with them. That’s the moral standard for a Christian as per Jesus’ own words. So, to me, this encompasses more than just massage parlors, barber shops, and red light districts; this double standard I’m about to point out, I don’t know if it saddens or disgusts me or both, but this is the cause behind my sighing: people are allowed to prance around all sexily as pop artists if they have a sexy concept (or not), letting the audience pay them for that sexual stimulation they give on screen or on stage—yet that isn’t considered porn or prostitution? Hyuna melts you down like icecream, 2PM touch themselves while thinking about you, they intend for you, their audience, to look at them lustfully (it’s their concept), but that’s perfectly legal? In Jesus’ eyes, Hyuna and 2PM are being prostitutes too—accepting money/payment for parading their body around sexually (whether fully clothed or scantily clad). To “sexually consume” a person with your eyes and mind, and feel lust towards them, once again, is the same thing as physically penetrating their body. The issue is the lust / burning passions you feel and direct at someone you’re (a) not in covenant with and (b) will not be marrying. This is whorish behavior on behalf of the typical audience member and the performer. It’s not like they are exclusively doing this for the eyes of their spouse, but for everyone. Anyone with a sexy concept wants to turn the audience on; they’re relying on that to profit. That is prostitution, softcore prostitution (nothing elicit, no physical penetration), but prostitution nonetheless going by Jesus’ spiritual definition of when sex starts (plus if you’re getting paid for that type of visual sex act, that makes one a prostitute).

    I view host clubs the same way: another flavor of softcore prostitution (unless, you know, the host/hostess actually offers you sex; at that point, it’s hardcore prostitution). But anyway, hosting, that kind of sexual emotion / intimate companionship is meant for marriage according to God’s word (by sexual emotion I mean a love that you don’t feel for siblings and parents; that desire to connect with another person emotionally and pair off with them and have a family). Some of these customers want to marry the host/hostess. It’s a delusion. First of all, because they’re paying someone to cheat on them (the hosts/hostesses have multiple customers, they’re not exclusively yours), they are professional cheaters/adulterers, yet some customers fall into this fantasy that one day they’ll win the host/hostess over. Granted, a lot of that has to do with the lies and seduction coming out of certain hosts’ mouths (the successful/popular ones more likely than not) and on top of that, upon receiving compensation, they are prostitutes as well (even if they’re the kind of hosts which are considered “legal”, who do not have physical sex with the customer, on a spiritual level, it’s still prostitution). The non-monogamous and sexually-emotional intimacy they’re offering is fornication, add money to it and it’s prostitution. I see adultery and fornication all over the place; so, no wonder South Korea is not going to crack down on the literal prostitution happening on the streets—it’s culturally acceptable to be sexy for money. They can try to whitewash it by taking the prostitution industry into the “entertainment” industry and calling it by something else, now it’s somehow morally correct because no physical penetration is happening, but they’re making people lust for profit. That’s the spirit of prostitution.

    inb4, because I know anything remotely religious/spiritual is highly frowned upon in conversation, I’d just like to say, I’m posting my opinion like everybody else. I just happen to have a biblical/Christ-like definition of things. I won’t apologize for that. So, if you’re going to reply angrily based on that, I’ll just tell you now: you’ll be wasting your time. I’m not taking these words back.

    As for the solution: maybe I’m naive, but if the law enforcement actually did their jobs, human trafficking, or child trafficking into the sex industry, wouldn’t be a problem. That kind of thing should merit the death penalty. Maybe only then would people be dissuaded from doing it, especially if they get executed publicly for all to see. That may sound harsh, but legalizing it doesn’t sound any better to me. Honestly, the sex industry needs to go extinct. I don’t see anything healthy about a human being offering their body up for sex for money. If God says he didn’t intend for his creations to function that way, it’s for our well-being that he commands against it in the first place. It kind of degrades you to the level of gum: pop you in, chew you out, I’m done, next. I’ll probably be in the minority, but this weighs on my heart heavily. People stop prostituting yourselves and each other, blarrghlhghglkgjhfgvhf (╯︵╰,)

    • high five, fellow christian. :)

    • Yes sweetheart, you are very naive. I’m not blaming you, we’re all at different places in life and understand things differently based on our upbringing. I used to be a Christian too, so I understand where you, and everybody else who shares this view, is coming from. First of all, laws CANNOT be made in accordance with religious principles, that’s not how the law of the land works. Separation of church and state, and all that good stuff. Prostitution is probably humanity’s oldest profession; it’s never going to go away. The responsible thing to do is to create laws to protect those involved, rather than demonise them. Sex is part of our human condition. Monogamy (and marriage) is a construct created by society, we aren’t biologically inclined to be monogamous, and people who do remain monogomous do so out of choice and diligence. There is nothing evil about sex and nobody should be punished for enjoying it. If there really is a God, he messed up big time, because this is EXACTLY how he engineered us humans to behave, to desire sex and intimacy.

      Human trafficking is awful. Yes, people who traffic young girls and children should be wiped off the earth. But this is why prostitution should be accepted as something that happens and will never stop happening, so the law can actually side with the victims of these crimes, and not unjustly turn them into the criminals. If brothels had regulations, sex workers would be much safer, and it would be far less likely for trafficking to occur.

      And please don’t use that f**cking gum metaphor, I heard enough of that in sunday school from my bishop and church leaders to stunt my self-worth for a very long time. You’re within your rights to make your own sexual choices for yourself, but don’t you dare impose those choices on any other human being. What gives you the right? I’m 21 and only recently had my first kiss because I have grown up surrounded by old white men telling me my sexual appetite is evil and destructive. A person’s worth is not determined by their “purity” (Another societal construct, perpetuated by the patriarchy) If you had done your bible study correctly, you might remember that one little part where Jesus kind of DEFENDED A PROSTITUTE from being stoned to death, saying “ye who be without sin, let him cast the first stone.”

      TL;DR: Sex isn’t evil, the laws of the land are separate from religious idealogies, prostitution needs to be accepted as an ever-present part of society to make sex workers safer, and slut-shaming is supremely uncool.

      Sorry, this might have become a little vitriolic towards the end, but as you say, this weighs on my heart heavily.
      If feeling sexual desire and wanting others to lust after me makes me a prostitute, well slap my arse and call me Cinnamon, I’m a whore of Babylon all the way.

      *drops the mic*

      (I am actually really sorry, Simon and Martina, I just can’t let this sort of thing slide, y’know? Keep up the great work, you two are very courageous for approaching these subjects the way you do)

      • I agree with you 100% Winona!
        They are right Maria, whilst you may feel your ideals are righteous and true, we need to realise that to have a properly functioning society, the morals of a religious minority or even a majority do not necessitate the laws of the land.
        Human sexuality covers as wide a scope as it is pervasive; and whilst I respect your strong convictions in relation to premarital sex/lust for yourself, you must realise that these exact convictions concern only YOU. We need to stop being so concerned what other vaginas/penises/etc. are doing and focus on how we ourselves can respect our own bodies!
        No matter what, human sexual desire will ALWAYS exist – and facilitating legal business which allows for a safe and regulated transaction between clientele and worker is the best way to prevent damage to anyone involved.

        Illegalisation and ignorance solves nothing, lest not human trafficking; what will is a realisation that we are sexual beings, and that legalisation, regulation and frank discussion is the only way forwards!

      • This reply is beautiful ;;

      • Two things though: I have read the bible in its entirety and (1) he did not create us sinful; sin is our nature after the fall which came about through Adam and Eve’s choice. Yes, sexual deviancy is natural now (because sin is our nature now), but that does not mean it was God’s original intent/how he programmed us to beginwith. We’re fallen human beings who need to be born-again (2) Jesus defended the adulteress, but he also told her to sin no more (John 8:11). Is he imposing his morality on her? or just looking out for her well-being by suggesting that she stop that activity? The latter is what I’m doing.

        I think that’s the major problem: people look at it as an encroachment on our personal freedoms when actually he’s snatching you from an incomplete lifestyle, no shalom/peace/inner stillness just a constant insatiable desire to be filled by worldly things. I don’t think Jesus nor his teachings fall under “a societal construct” because he disagrees with the majority of the society. How many Christians actually follow what he said to do? Another problem, in the case of the adulteress, is how they brought only the woman without the man she committed adultery with. The law requires both adulterer and adulteress be brought to trial to be stoned, so he clearly wasn’t going to fall into that trap and sin (transgress against his father’s law by only stoning one; plus his first coming was about getting us to repent; second-coming not so much). Anyway, that’s the adulteress he defended from getting stoned (and which he told, “I won’t condemn you, but stop sinning”). The prostitute he defended was in John 4 who had multiple husbands and the man she was currently with wasn’t in covenant with her (no one was threatening to stone the prostitute to death).

        Just wanted to clear that up.

        I didn’t grow up in a church, so I have no animosity for the bible. I just see Jesus’ words for what they are. I’m sorry you had such horrible experiences with church culture. That’s why I avoid it and just seek people who are genuine about the word of God. I understand we can’t force others. I’m kind of implying this won’t end until the millenial reign where his law will be the law of the land (Zechariah 14, Psalm 97, right-ruling and righteousness the foundation of his reign on earth, everyone who doesn’t observe his feast gets sent plague, rain held back from their nation). He’s forcing his reign on the entire planet. The future won’t be a religious democracy and only then will prostitution cease IMO. I don’t say this to agitate just convey what I see the prophets saying. Only his law will end the sex industry; but his law won’t be the law of the land again until his millenial reign.

    • I really totally agree with you, Maria, and I think it was brave of you to say so.
      However, I do not think we can force our morals and ideals on non-Christians. They are intended for us. Of course I also believe God intended every tiny and big rule for our own good, but the problem of every sin lies not in the act itself, but in the fundamental relationship with God. Without that happening, I don’t see any use for preaching morals in public.

      • Forcing it upon others is definitely not what I’m trying to do. If anything, I’m more worried about fellow believers who don’t see the veiled forms of prostitution/fornication going on in the world. This is like the Midianites luring the Israelites into prostitution all over again. As for any non-believers who may be reading, it’s more of a “fishers of men” scenario. Whoever has ears to hear will accept it. Others will disagree/won’t receive it—just like the likes/dislikes indicate :P. But the message has to be preached in order for them to make a choice on whether they agree with it or not, so on that I would disagree with you and would say there is a use for speaking morals in public. Honestly, not many people tell it like it is; so, is the world making an informed choice about what Jesus actually taught? I see a lot of people believing in a “Jesus” that doesn’t concur with the biblical son of God, the one who taught about hell, resurrection, his millenial reign on earth when he comes back in the clouds, no one talking about his moral teachings either (well, they are teaching a distorted version, leaving out the parts where Jesus says “sin no more”, “But unless you repent, you too will all perish”, “setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions”…very important bits that change the whole meaning; the way they teach it, they’re preaching “tolerance of sin, offend nobody” but actually, in the bible, it’s “I don’t tolerate sin; the world will hate you for speaking my message, don’t add or take away from it; stop the sin, leave it behind, become a new creation who loves righteousness, stop being guided by every whim and desire of your fallen flesh, be led by me, the word of God, righteousness, the Holy Spirit, pursue holiness”). So, I do see value in discussing morals in public, for the benefit of both believers and non-believers, who may have never heard the raw truth of what the bible says, just church tradition, pop-culture Christianity.

  73. Wow, you guys are spot on. We’ve been talking to our co-workers about this a lot recently because we were curious, and everything you guys said is exactly what they said too. One of the males said that in his previous office job, his company went to a host bar and often if they had a visiting important person, their company would pay the girl (“secretly”) to make sure the visiting person “had a good time.” Err, yeah. But he said that he successfully said no whenever he was pressured (he’s a pretty upstanding dude), but now that he works at a hagwon, it never happens.

    **I’m not sure if it’s true for every teaching job in Korea, but as a foreigner, you will probably never be put in that position (harhar). Maybe it’s because our school is 95% female teachers, but even the male teachers we talked to said that it’s not really something that happens at hagwons, mainly in business companies. As foreigners, we can opt out of a lot of the social pressure things by playing the foreigner card, and usually Koreans are pretty okay with that. I don’t know about public schools though.

    Any English teachers in Korea ever been pressured to visit prostitutes?

  74. I already commented on youtube, but I also wanted to add that it’s awesome that you talk about stuff like this. I think your TL;DRs are the best and this one was a good follow up to the last one. Like, does a lack of education, or talking, and being open about sex cause the sex industry to be bigger in Korea? Or is it the opposite? (because it’s rampant people counter it by trying to make everything innocent like in kdramas type of thing)

  75. LOL at the way Martina said “about” in the video! Never noticed the Canadianism in their speech before. I had to rewind a few times to hear it again lol

  76. My husband and I arrived in Korea three weeks ago. We are living on an American/ROK air base and there were protests going on in the small shopping/entertainment district right outside the main gate. The base added a few local bars and “massage” parlors to the already existing banned list (meaning the service members are not to go these places) because they were promoting prostitution and human trafficking. Locally, the prostitutes are known as “Juicy Girls” because they get the service members to buy them expensive juice drinks for the pleasure of their company and after a while sexual services. I didn’t realize how common prostitution is in Korea, which helps explain why the local bar owners staged a two week long protest outside of the gate.

  77. Predominantly described, idols and artists alike are categorized by either their innocence or sex appeal. Take Lee Hyori for example, the woman is in her thirties and she is still mainly known for her sexual image. While she has gotten some attention for her social actions, when described by a group, the most common word would most likely be sexy. This inability to relinquish a title given to her by the industry when she was a teenager suggests South Korea’s overall inability to accept change; the industry does not want to give her a new label because being sexy is an ingrained image in middle aged South Korean citizens. This strong attachment to certain images is a part of the culture and I think that is why the government looks away from prostitution. It has become an intrinsic part of the culture that to eliminate the subject would be too much of psychological shock.

  78. just like with bullying, acting lik it doesnt exist wont solve anything… if prostitution ‘existed’, there could be programs and monthly tests sex workers should take toworklike they do in some countriesk but again, since sex educaion is taboo eventhese programs could be mission impossible :S

  79. the thing that shocked me the most is not the prostitution, is that a popular celebrity has to pay for sex, i know that they aren’t innocents, but i didn’t think they’d do that, especially when they have so many stalkers, and in the case of seven is worse since he has a girlfriend, and he was in the army, bad decision.

  80. Kiss bangs are everywhere! I’m shocked you didn’t know. I live in Ilsan and at night almost every block or two I see one. My roommate and I went to ask what they were and we were rudely told that it was a place where men came to be with women and that women weren’t allowed. I found out later that men go there to kiss and touch women but that if they pay more they can have sex with them too. There are also “beauty clubs” which is like a hostess bar but it’s basically just classy prostitutes (from what I was told). Then there’s the erotic massages which are EVERYWHERE, and the DVD bangs which are really more used for horny couples with no place the have sex. You also have the motels, which you can pay for the hour. Sex is everywhere yet so taboo to talk about, it makes no sense to me.

  81. I used to be an MP in the military in South Korea. I used to patrol the red light district looking for US military personnel since it is illegal to go there, but I seen so many Korean men going in and out all the time. It was very amusing and disturbing to me. My Katusa friends used to tell me it is quite normal for Koreans to go there.

  82. please do a TLDR on plastic surgery in south korea or the prevalence of stalker fans of kpop idols

  83. The juxtaposition of the contrasting image of this and dramas is kind of fascinating.

  84. Simon & Martina please do a TLDR on either plastic surgery in South Korea or the intense obsession with their kpop idols. Like the stalker fans and that sort of thing

  85. We have that element of Korean society in Korean areas of Sydney. Maybe a bit more hidden than in Korea but it’s there. I know girls who went and worked at host bars. In a share apartment my brother was in with Korean guys he saw a guy “order” a prostitute to come to the apartment and they went to his room… As the statistics say, a lot of guys do that, but a lot of guys don’t at all.

    Something you didn’t mention was how young some girls start because there isn’t part time jobs as much in Korea and in a materialist society if their parents don’t give them money they sometimes go to prostitution to earn some extra money. I know in rural areas there are “coffee shops” where older men go to pay for sex and it’s often teenage girls secretly working there. Also many university students do it because the tuition fee is too high. Once they stop doing it they’ll never ever tell their husband they marry later.

  86. this was an awesome TLDR. i’m korean but i was brought up in the US so i have almost no knowledge of korean life other than what i see in the rosy and censored variety shows and from S&M lol, so thanks for sharing this information.

    this is really disappointing honestly, you would think that with all the conservative-ness it wouldn’t be as big of an issue and would be enforced a lot more. how hypocritical as a society. the korean board of banning bans all these songs and videos over silly things when illegal prostitution is rampant and so in-your-face in the country. what the hell is the point of spending time and effort over nitpicking in music that people may or may not listen to, but ignoring the blatant problem of sexual services on the streets for everyone to see???

  87. Is it just me, but it seems drug scandals and prostitution scandals have switched places in S.Korea.

    Like here in US it’s not really a big deal if someone smokes drugs but what I’ve heard it’s a huuge deal in Korea. In US we pretty much just assume all celebs are taking it and some ppl don’t even mind but rather defend them.

    It seems Koreans have this same relaxed attitude toward prostitution.

  88. I don’t know where you got the statistics you quote, but considering that one need to spend more than 200,000 won for a visit to a massage parlor you mention, it will be difficult for most men to visit it 3,4 times a month. Most young men will have to tighten the belt if he visits it even once a month. So I think your data is highly suspect, just not feasible. The money spent on “prostitution” probably includes wining and dining expense, not the net expense for sex.

  89. Sarah

    I am wondering about religion. Is there any churches there?

    • Yes, there are many, many churches and temples here. Buddhism is still the largest religion, but evangelical Christianity has been steadily rising. Evangelicals have been the largest growing religion for some time now.

    • traditionally shamanism + confucianism + buddism; with Christianity/Catholic which flourished during the post-war poverty. until up to 20 years pretty much of the city kids around me used to go to church even if their family didn’t. But now (I’m in my lat 20s) there’s widespread anti-Christianity sentiment, especially in people in their teens~ 30s. This is mainly due to the corruption of many large churches and ministers, altogether with their aggressive manners in street propagation activity. People do not like the ‘there is only one way’ idea of Protestantism. Ironically, churches who wrongly twist the gospel as to give their attenders what they want to hear, eventually meets the problem of not being able to live up to what they preach. And that is what the public (aka the internet) scorns them for. However, as a Christian myself, I see several ‘real’ churches who do not add or subtract from what the Bible teaches, and there is hope in that. Summing up, there are a whole lot of churches, but even among the church-goers I think the main religion is ‘Self-centered-ism’. Sorry for this overlong reply ;) but it was my subject of interest, so ;)

  90. wow it is tagged as Seven

  91. Anma(안마) means massage, not happy ending. Why don’t you check dictionary before making such claim?

    • Bernarduchis Calvillo

      Did you even watched the video? *Rolls eyes* Didn’t you saw that GIANT sign that reads: “Literally it means massage + Shampoo”? Gosh, please pay attention before making such a claim.

      • possibly she might be a teenager ;) I didn’t know that anma-bangs were dangerous places before I graduated highschool,,, though I WAS one of the late ones ;D

    • Yes, “an-ma” does mean “massage”.
      But it’s become a bit of a euphemism for “happy ending”.

  92. Kate Allan

    My question is about the friendly “uncle” fans of girl groups, and what their intentions are. When I first got into kpop, I was surprised when girls like SNSD’s Sooyoung would talk fondly about her older fans, and that most of her fans were older men. To me, that just seems really creepy. Is there a sexual tinge to it, or are they really truly just like friendly uncles?

    • No, its not necessarily creepy.
      These days, Koreans are getting married later and later.
      So there are a lot of unmarried Korean men in their 30s and 40s.
      Their liking Korean girl groups is not necessarily different from teenage boys liking girl groups.
      Pretty girls singing songs and dancing are entertaining to watch.

  93. is it just me or lately lot of tldr is about nc17 subjects. also, simon no longer censors his cussing?

  94. I think that in this video is shown only smallest part of what is happening in SK about prostitution. But I am sure that Simon and Martina just don’t know about it. (and better don’t try to know)

    By my experience I can say that even if I love Korea but SOME/most korean people for me are like “conservative/Innocent/pure faced” but “Dirty minded”. I experienced and heard enough to say like this about koreans. But NOT ALL koreans are like this, ofcourse. There are really many cool people out there and some are my close friends!

    I think that most of foreigners who lived in Korea would understand what I mean. ( including Simon and Martina)
    PS: mostly big perverts I think are korean ajossi (men around 35 till 55 y.o.) IMAO

  95. Question: In a Noona-Dongseng relationship (of the romantic non-prostitution sort), who has the upper hand in terms of seniority – age or gender? And why the average ten-twelve year age gap in older male/younger female celebrity relationships?

  96. if 1 out of 5 men are paying for sex, that means 2 members at least of suju are into it, and at least 1 member of bb…LOL, prostitution may be illegal in korea and in some other asian countries, but is there really a society or community that exists without it? and prostitution, the more illegal it is, also means big bucks for the people who runs it. that may be the reason why the cops are turning a blind eye on it. i am not saying that the cops or the korean government is behind the illegal prostitution, but for all you mature people out there, you know what i mean…

    • OMG I was thinking the same. Atleast 1 or 2 members from every group 0_0

      Isn’t this statistic kinda high? Or maybe I am too innocent. But I remember reading an article saying that a lot of Korean tourists visit sex parlors in other countries. So I wonder why prostitution is so big in Korea?

      • Eh, I doubt it. Maybe on occasion, like with Se7en. I would think
        celebrities, singers in most instances have lots more access to willing girls
        (aka fans, groupies, other celebrities etc.) then having to pay for sex (like in Seungri’s
        case, I don’t think he paid for sex).

        Plus, with boy groups, they’re more in the public eye and so would have to be
        more careful about going to such establishments. At least in early days as well when they’re rookies, most singers are very chaperoned by managers, stylists, etc. with little free time.

  97. In the Philippines, you’ll see that the concentration of Koreans live where prostitution thrives.

  98. My best friend who taught femsex at Berkeley for a few years would be incredibly happy how you presented and handled this topic….it is seriously one of the hardest because people have very strong opinions when it comes to prostitution. So many people are against legalization of prostitution, and for good reasons of course, but in many areas of the world where the industry is so rampant and corrupt, legalization would provide a much safer working environment as you said. Its hard to see the benefits to legalizing prostitution. So thank you for expressing this alternative view.

  99. To be honest, I don’t care if celebrities go to those kinds of places. What annoyed me is that Se7en is still with Hanbyul – as far as we know, anyway. I know there were rumours that they had broken up because they didn’t get to see each other often, and part of me hopes they had broken up in private before he got caught doing this, but if they didn’t then… I dunno. But Se7en fans blaming Hanbyul for this because “you didn’t treat him well enough” really angered me. Again, anything could’ve happened between them in private, but it’s not right she get backlash for it.

    • wow
      a guy goes to get service from an industry thriving on the exploitation of women
      and a woman who has nothing to do with the situation gets blamed
      misogyny x2 combo hit?

  100. “It’s not like Korean men walk around with raging boners, all the time….” -Simon

    Is it bad that I instantly thought of Onew? I really didn’t want to be THAT type of Shawol but I guess I am….

  101. Katie Villeneuve Rector

    I read recently that Plastic surgery in South Korea is a common place thing. Any thoughts on this? Is this eye lid surgery, or is other body modifications popular as well. Is this a female centric idea (body modification) or is there pressure for men as well?

  102. I’m reminded of the Korean movie, “Bad Guy.”
    (Not to be confused with the drama of the same name.)

  103. I’m sure things will change eventually… it wasn’t that long ago that U.S. pop stars were considered more “innocent” than what they were. Although Korea’s current state is most similar to how the U.S. was in the 60′s…

  104. I don’t know if anyone else has mentioned this, but the scandal with Se7en really reminded by of IU’s whole “scandal’ last year. As a non-Korean, it just seems ridiculous how high people set their expectations for idols/actors/actresses. They’re people too…:/

  105. Historically speaking, at least, thriving red light districts in places where prostitution is officially illegal are not uncommon. I live near a Florida town which has been an active military/commercial port city for a very long time, and it had a hugely successful red light district for decades. Even though their businesses were illegal, the brothel owners were required by city officials to have their employees checked by licensed doctors for any STDs – there were some who didn’t do it, of course, but those were known as the cheaper places where you were also more likely to be robbed and beaten up. If they didn’t keep up with the medical checks, or if their business was known to be really rowdy and cause a lot of trouble, the city would fine them (it would go on the books as a violation of a liquor license, or something like that), or eventually shut them down.
    My favorite part: the police regularly patrolled the red light district to make sure things were going smoothly. Brothel owners who kept up with medical checks and paid for their off-the-book “licenses” were issued special police whistles; if a customer caused trouble, the brothel owners would stand in the street in front of their building and blow these whistles, and the cops would come and arrest the troublemakers. LOL
    The only reason the city shut the red light district down was because the Navy complained in the 1940s about how many sailors were going to the district while they were on leave, and somehow not making it back to the ship on time. (Fancy that.) The city is hugely dependent on the Navy’s patronage to keep the economy working, so they pretty much do whatever makes the Navy happy. Otherwise, we might actually still have a red light district today!
    (History major y’aaaall, wassup. :D I did a major paper on the city’s red light district a while ago. Ended up having to present my research as part of a degree requirement. The harder part was taking questions – and as you guys know, everybody in the damn room has a question when you start talking about prostitution. LOL)

  106. Speaking of Koreans being “blind” to certain things, recently in Seoul, I messed around with a Korean guy. Later, I had asked him if Korea had a lot of gay people (out or not). He responds with, “No, there are maybe less than 100.” He wasn’t being sarcastic. He was being completely serious. I just nodded.

  107. I don’t know how common this is in another country, but coming from a South East Asian country ( I wont name names :p) males, especially business men from Eastern Asian countries are quite known to come to these region to play golf…and well, have some “golf” time, so much that it is a common sight to see a group of men coming here just to play golf without their family (I used to work in a resort , in a area which are famous for its golf field)….

    Not to say people from others countries don’t come here to have some hanky panky, but they normally don’t go all out as much as carrying a whole set of golf clubs to cover their tracks…

    My theories, those trips serves as a way to unwind after long hours at work, plus a way to socialize with other businessmen and in turns, built a good business networks.

    I hope I didn’t offend anybody due to my bad English >.<

  108. AfizaFarhanaPija

    First, thanks guys for mentioning Malaysia for second times in your videos. X”D

    Second, oh boy, 1 out of 5 guys out there, I still consider you guys are truly nasty boys even your ‘sunbea’ force you to do it! *pray hard for 4 out of 5 good men left, that they wouldn’t end up in any ‘happy bar’.

  109. so are the guys that to go these places generally single or in a relationship? given your previous post on love motels, it sounds like there are places to get it on with your SO, but how common is pre-marital sex? or is it that korean guys want a style of sex that they can’t get with their partners?

    • As I wrote earlier:
      I read somewhere that married Korean men go to prostitutes and it is not considered as cheating because there are no feelings involved.

      You have to understand something : (especially with the older generations) when Korean people get married, the woman becomes a member of the family. It’s as if she becomes “a sister” to her husband. Kind of hard to see your sister as “sexy” isn’t it?

      The girls have babies and do not want as much sex as they used to. Then the husband turns to prostitution. The prostitutes in South Korea are really beautiful too… The wife KNOWS her husband goes there but pretends he doesn’t. At he same time, her husband is not demanding sex as much as he gets it somewhere else.

      Also, there is a lot of pressure in companies to drink together and go to special rooms after work. They also use prostitution to “seal a deal” between companies.

      A lot of Korean men lose their virginity to prostitutes while doing the mandatory service in the army.

      • sounds like young korean women are also under pressure to live up to a certain standard: cute, innocent, probably virginal. so i’m guessing they are not that open to experimenting with sex (pre-marriage). i don’t mean in a promiscuous way, but there is a middle ground whereby youths and adults learn about sex and their bodies in healthy, safe and consenting relationships.

  110. I wanna know more about the mail service in Korea. Me and my friends are
    from Brazil and we sent a package to YG, but there were so many
    restrictions! We don’t even know if our package was delivered. Are they
    really that strict about this? I don’t know, maybe other worldwide fans
    also have trouble with this when sending things to their idols in Korea.

  111. Wow guys, well-done on the explanation of the topic! I already knew about the host clubs from watching a few documentaries on ones in Japan. I was heart-broken (no Honey-senpai!?! :O ). Let me get one thing straight though, in Korea, there are rarely any sex shops BUT there are lots of “sexy shops” (wink included) ?

  112. I just wanted to say, a “happy ending” is fairly common in a LOT of massage parlors across Asia. They really are actual massages – they just finish you off more, eh, nicely. Girls can also have “happy endings” at these places, too. Just my two cents!

    • lady_kire

      I’ve been to Hong Kong, and I always see outdoor ads for massage parlours ALL the time in the Mongkok area. It’s always safe to say that a lot of those ads are “happy ending” massage parlours since a lot of the girls on the ads are wearing bikinis…

  113. Well…that escalated from sexuality to prostitution quickly….

  114. When I lived in Taejon, my apartment was in a total sex trade neighborhood, with those specialty lounges with overpriced food and drink at the bottom floor, and the women who worked there living up above me. Boy do I have stories… On top of that I was wondering why in the heck there were so many barber shop poles when I first walked around the neighborhood, and nobody getting cuts… uh… huh… yeah ok… this all made sense very quickly. :)

  115. I think Kpop presents Korea is a very strange way. I mean I majored in Asian Studies (East Asia) so this is more or less my thing, but South Korea is UBER-CONSERVATIVE. (If you already haven’t picked it up from all these tl;drs) The juxtaposition of fast, modern, provocative in some ways, Kpop against filial-piety-Confucian, conservative Korea is very interesting (it’s the same deal in Japan). I think we need to shed more light on the social issues of South Korea’s conservatism, not just the Kpop.

  116. “The point of all of this is, if Korea is going to have such a rampant sex industry which the Korean government is doing nothing to stop, apart from stigmatizing it by outlawing it and protecting nobody from it, the government should at least take steps towards making the industry a safer place for women to work.”

    I think I see what you’re saying, but if something is outlawed and stigmatized then you can’t expect the opposing person/society to somehow support it– that’s pretty contradictory and hypocritical. You’re essentially asking SK to do something to make prostitution safer when the the government (ideally) doesn’t want this in their country at all. Nevertheless, I’d say that since SK has such a big sex industry, they should put more effort in saving/protecting the many innocent people who are forced into it against their will.

    • There is no way the Korean government does not know how prevalent the sex industry is; so what good does outlawing it do, when they aren’t putting enough effort to stop it? The Korean government doesn’t want guns and drugs and it has made a WAY BETTER job of keeping those out. Actions speak louder than words.

      Anyways at the end of your post you’re basically saying the same thing that Simon and Martina said you just worded it differently.

      • Outlawing is already effective to some extent, it’s just that the government needs to work more to reduce the crime. If they can do a good job enforcing gun and drug laws then putting more effort into ending prostitution could really help. I’d rather advocate for SK to be more active in getting rid of prostitution is than suggest they make prostitution safer (i.e. condone it) in some way.

        And the end of my post is not a re-worded version of what S&M said because I make the distinction that SK should save the vulnerable, innocent people who were forced to be prostitutes NOT the people who went into prostitution by choice and willingly break the law.

        • How has outlawing it helped? Read more about it here: http://www.ibtimes.com/south-korea-thriving-sex-industry-powerful-wealthy-super-state-1222647

          If you don’t want to read that article here is a good quote that you can find there: “If the testimony from many underage prostitutes, police officers and human rights groups is true, South Koreans are the biggest customers of the child sex industry in the region,” their report stated, reported the Korea Times newspaper.”

          I understand the reserve to making prostitution legal. If it were up to me I would BANNN it from the universe. Unfortunately that is unrealistic.

          I have a feeling that few people go into prostitution willingly. Considering the average age of entry is 13, I have no doubt that the great majority are coerced into it. With the amount of abuse that goes on and lack of rights I doubt many see it as a glamourous job.

          Thus advocating that “the government should at least take steps towards making the industry a safer place for women to work” is not unreasonabable.

        • Outlawing is helpful because making something socially or morally unacceptable can deter many people from doing it in the first place. Sure some people will break the law regardless, but virtually no society is 100% crime-free anyways.

          Making prostitution a safer place is not completely unreasonable, but it seems very counterproductive. Instead of doing that I think the government should take much more action to end prostitution altogether (which includes stopping people from forcing others into prostitution) so even if they can’t eliminate it from their society they can at least significantly reduce it.

        • I don’t see outlawing it as helpful although I do respect that view. Nevertheless, I would still advocate for “making the industry a safer place for women to work”. It’s illegal in China, Taiwan, Thailand and the Philippines. Unfortunately the sex industry is thriving in all those countries.

          I’m guessing you decided not to read that article . The very last sentence: “It’s a $13 billion a year reality … and it’s not going anywhere.”

  117. OMG @7:15 LOL ur using iMovie~~? that’s “Mastermind” lololololololol

  118. Simon & Martina, thank you so much for doing this TL:DR on this controversial and charged topic. I love SOuth Korea, but the prevalence of prostitution and availability of sexually sketchy services provided “Under the table” in South Korea has upset me. Particularly because there is so much room for abuse. While legalized prostitution does allow for more protection, it’s still not perfect, it would most definitely be a step up for South Korea. Really, I just want all prostitution to stop and with it the strongly related and associated human trafficking. Sorry this is a bit of a rant. Prostitution by South Korean men and it’s resultant problems are also not kept within the confines of South Korea. There is an interesting movement for illegitimate children born to South Korean men by Filapina prostitutes to be able to find their fathers. KoreaBang posted an interesting article about it. http://www.koreabang.com/2013/stories/10000-korean-children-born-to-filipina-prostitutes.html

    Another thing that concerns me is how strongly related sexual activity within professional activities is promoted with visits to hostess bars etc. I know there is a rising trend for host bars now where South Korean women go, but it is still predominately something men participate in. I don’t think that infidelity in relationships and marriage should be encouraged by the social stratification of the sunbae-hoobae relationship, and just in general that many Korean women expect some level of infidelity. Now I very much know that it’s not everyone, but it is still an issue. Two very excellent articles/posts about this subject can be found here: http://thegrandnarrative.com/2010/01/20/korea-sex-marriage-prostitution/ and http://metropolitician.blogs.com/scribblings_of_the_metrop/2010/01/pimping-lies-damned-lies-and-statistics.html

  119. Richard Hollingsworth

    Korean Police and blind eyes, they epitomize the nearsighted again stereotype. I help my wife study for her drivers test. 6 months of classes, driving lessons, test and $1500 later I knew what they were teaching and what laws are on the books. It is illegal to drive while using a cellphone, for a country with Bluetooth built into the cars, it seams like every drive has their phone glued to their ears. Yesterday, I was walking down Iteawon when a car was moving along in the left turn lane and proceeded straight through the red light right in front of the police car park near the intersection with the office standing right there. Its so bad here in Seoul that when the light changes green, everyone waits for people to finish running the red light on the crossbound traffic before proceeding. Taxis and buses are the worst followed by the foreigners who think they are driving like a Korean (same issue in Germany with that one). Safety relies on Aggressive Defensive driving.

  120. Ah too bad the Army dudes burned down hooker hill in Itaewon. Some of it is still there though. Ready to service happy patrons for ~100,000krw till the wee hours of the morning.

  121. It is icky and all, but i agree it should be legalized. In Canada, its legal and, i find its a lot less predominant here, and when it does happen, there is safe conditions and treatment centers where people can go to either get the jiggity jiggty boom boom or get safe and nonjudgmental treatment for if you pick something up or something goes wrong. It will happen, whether people want it to or not, but at least it happens in a safe, non-forceful, willing situation where its controlled and less…skeezy…
    AAAnnnnd, if it accounts for that much of SK’s GDP, and is that eminent and turned a blind eye to, why isnt it legal? and if its because they wanna create an image of an innocent, clean, Utopism; you are kind of hurting your cause by have all these illegal sections, and dirty underground acts that are unsafe, unregulated, and running rampant for everyone to see…just sayen’…
    great topic!! very interesting :D

  122. How common is it for women to use host clubs for sex? I know in Japan male host clubs are all over the place and frequented by women for off the book prostitution and it’s still acceptable. Is there more of a stigma for Korean women to use that kind of service?

  123. Hey guys, this has nothing to do with prostitution, I’m not sure if you guys have already talked about this in a previous video, but I was wondering could you talk about medical care in South Korea. From what I’ve seen in dramas there’s one thing I find odd, when someone get’s sick it’s always, go to the hospital. Why is that? Like even if you have something as small as a cold? Are there no minor care type clinics or a lacking of over the counter drugs like we see in North America? I know here in recent years, at least where I live anyways in the U.S., that you need to show ID and you’re over 21 to buy cold medicine. Is there something similar like that in South Korea and that’s why people are always being told to go to the hospital?

    • That’s not really a South Korean thing…that’s more of a global thing. We Americans are notorious for going to the ER for simple things like a small cut on the hand or the common cold.

    • “Hospital” is kind of a generic/ all encompassing term for hospitals, clinics, and specialists. Sometimes it is clarified further, but they usually just say “hospital.” Clinics and doctor’s offices tend to keep about the same hours as they do in the US, but the overwhelming majority are “no appointment” walk-in offices. I have never had any major illnesses here, but I go to an ENT a couple times a year. The insurance coverage, office visit copay, and medicine cost seems to be universal throughout the country. It is probably a different situation in the more affluent areas of Seoul, but I’ve never been to see a doctor in these areas. The total bill for medicine and doctor’s visit hovers right around 10,000 KRW or $8.50 USD.

      • Ah okay. I see. Thank you for taking the time explaining. This makes a lot more sense to me. Cause when I’m watching drama and I just hear them say go to the hospital, I’m just like, “Huh? Why?”. I don’t know how things are done in South Korea nor do I claim to. So when I’m watching and people start talking about hospitals, I have to question it cause I know how ridiculously expensive (where I’m from anyway) it can be even for something minor. So again, thank you for clearing up my misunderstanding. I really appreciate it.

    • BTW, Korean socialized medicine is amazing.

    • This doesn’t happen just in korea, it’s just that usa’s health care sucks big time

  124. Can you guys tell us about the gay community in South Korea? What are Koreans’ views on homosexuality? Is it seen a lot, like in America or not?

  125. I got one of these cards thrown under my hotel door while I was in China. At first I was like no there is no way, but the little bit of English that was on the card proved otherwise.

  126. This just wants to make me laugh at the Korean Broadcast companies….Prostitution is everywhere but when a girl group shakes her butt or sway her hips, the dance is “too sexual and inappropriate” and then it gets banned LMFAO
    Meanwhile the red light district is right next to the police station…I bet the cops are the biggest consumers of that district

    • Mhm~ It’s really sad and shows where the priorities lie >_>

    • The girls in Tiara/SNSD were deliberately chosen because they are hot. Of course they’re selling ‘sex’. The whole music industry is infused with sex, you’re exactly right, the hypocrisy is laughable.

    • uhm, sweetie. prostitution si everywhere but it’s still ILLEGAL. One thing is having an undercover norebang and another one is broadcasting it lol

      • Did you not watch Simon and Martina’s TLDR? They explained that prostitution is indeed illegal but it’s normal for people to go to them and the ads are everywhere on the streets. Also, they said that where they live, there’s a “red district” (whole street of prostitutes) with women behind windows trying to lure customers…and the police station is right on the next block. and they said that the Korean government doesn’t do much to enforce it….that’s why I was mocking. Because they don’t try to stop prostitution but when a girl group is supposedly “too sexual”, the song is banned and the dance must be changed….why don’t they worry about the tons of prostitution businesses running in Korea first?

        PS: Some dances were banned but honestly,they weren’t even that sexual…and some other dances survive without any bans but they are even more sexual. Also…male groups can do them but when it’s a female group..BANNED! double standards SMH

  127. TL;DR Question (nothing to do with sexuality or prostitution) – I’m bringing my blonde hair, blue eyed baby to South Korea….should I be worried at all? Have you had any experience with Koreans behaviour towards foreign babies?
    Also, on a semi-related topic, what’s a ‘typical’ Korean family lifestyle like (Father/Mother/Children)? What sort of activities do they do together, if any, and what are some family traditions that you’ve taken note of?

    Vanislandseachelle – Sydney, Australia

  128. I thought “Happy Ending Massages” were massages for people who were dying & they wanted to die happily…….I’m a kid so it’s ok to think that….right?

    When you said host club, I instantly thought of Ouran XD

    • Ouran was my introduction to host clubs XD

      • Cyber_3

        Not that I didn’t love Ouran (especially the anime format) but if you want some other reading, dig a little deeper in the past for a more……realistic?funny?interesting? one called “Club 9″ – Dark Horse put it out in Super Manga Blast about 10 years ago, it may still be going if the magazine still is…or you could likely find it “elsewhere”. This is one of my husband’s titles but even as a woman, I enjoyed it. Caution: old skool alert, very 80s, but in a good way.

        • Josh Chinnery

          I’ll look into it. Also, one of my favorite styles of music comes from the ’80s, so ^^

  129. Great TL;DR! This was very informative. I had no idea prostitution is that big in Korea! Also, I thought host clubs only existed in Japan but now I know that’s not true. The way you described the Korean host clubs sounds just like the Japanese ones. Is being a prostitute looked down upon a lot in Korea? Even though supposedly 1 in 25 girls sell their bodies for sex?

    By the way this is off topic, but can you put Jay Park’s I Like 2 Party on the k-pop charts? I reallyyyyyyy hope it gets enough votes to get reviews ^^

  130. So, my question is: “Why is this the case?”…

    I mean, there’s prostitution in every country, somewhere legal and somewhere illegal but how come it is so big in Korea? I mean, 1 in every 5 men (and in their 20s, for that matter) visits a prostitutes every week…. I’d say that’s more than a bit concerning…

    Is it because they have no girlfriends? Is it because their girlfriends wants to stay virgins before marriage? Are they unsatisfied in their marriages? Is it because it’s a ‘normal’ thing for a Korean male? (although, I don’t see how but…)

    Any ideas?

  131. This was a great TL;DR. The mention of hooker cards reminded me of the card clickers in Vegas. Las Vegas is touted as a family friendly destination but depending on what end of the strip you are on you get to see the “escort” cards all over the ground. Oh, and lets not forget the giant “escort” billboard being towed around and the stripper at the entrance of one of the casinos. Nevada is the only state in the US to have legal brothels, outside of those brothels prostitution is illegal. I did hear a few years ago that sex workers were trying to unionize, not sure how successful that was (thinking not).

  132. I worked for a women’s shelter, which was closely related to sex worker supports, in Canada – with a harm reduction focus. They provided condoms, education, nurses and police hung around – though for the women to talk to them to report violence. From what I understand, it is pimps and bawdy houses that are illegal in Canada not prostitution. They had weekly posting of alerts – descriptions of scummy johns to warn others to not go with them. There was a van that would drive around and check on women on the streets to give them supplies and make sure they are fine. The support places are great too, if the sex workers wants out, they can help them with that.
    But yeah, more support is needed than ignoring, since it is seen as illegal, it attracts creepy types who think it is okay to abuse the workers.

  133. I thought it was funny that prostitution is illegal in SK but it’s still rampant while watching the TL:DR, but after reading your blogpost I have to agree that it’s awful. In my country it’s legal but it’s controlled and there are laws enforced to protect minors (though it happens) and etc. We also have, which you didn’t mention, male prostitutes and transgender prostitues (dunno if that’s the right term), not as common as female but still there.

  134. Maybe prostitution should be legal. My general feeling is that if something is widely done, it should be legally controlled. Drugs, prostitution, alcohol, etc. Imagine the tax revenues if prostitutes paid income tax! Incredible. Also, health benefits (for prostitutes and service users, shall we call them). A lot of upsides to legalising it. Certainly, some issues around trafficking and possibly around is it an inherently abusive act (I would argue no, and I’ve read enough about it to suggest that non-trafficked prostitutes in developed economies tend to think of it as an acceptable career, but certainly not everyone agrees).

    Random fact: prostitution is actually legal in the UK. Operating a brothel isn’t, and soliciting isn’t. But a self-employed prostitute who relies on word of mouth is perfectly legal, and many of them exist.

  135. how are careers chosen by teenagers? asians have the stereotype of aiming high on the social ladder but i know that not everyone in korea is a doctor or a lawyer it would cause a unstable economy.

  136. So basically prostitution in Korea is like Marijuana use in California. It happens all the time to the point that people ignore it.

  137. Total respect for you guys but I don’t think legalization will help the problem much. Human trafficking (more info here http://www.thea21campaign.org/content/the-facts/gjekag) is only rising (in places like the US as well) with demand for prostitution and doesn’t seem to be changed by legalization. Plus it is a lot cheaper for pimps etc. to go the illegal route.

  138. It’s interesting to read your opinions on prostitution and legalization, but I can’t say I agree. There is evidence pointing to that legalizing prostitution means trafficking increases, because frankly, many sex buyers don’t really care whether it’s a trafficking victim or a woman who ‘voluntarily’ works as a sex worker (even though I don’t believe there is such a thing). Recently a study in Denmark was made where 30% said that they didn’t care if the woman was forced or not. Anyway, I just wanted to write this down, not planning to get any further into this…

  139. The ending of the video- I can’t agree more. I’m Korean but was raised with the best of both America/Korean ideals in mind (apparently I’m “very” American) and that is the exact reason why I cannot stand being around Koreans for an extended length of time. One guy even told a little boy that he’s being a shithead and if his older sister decided to beat him up there then he would turn a blind eye! (The kid just didn’t do what his “noona” told him to-it was unreasonable). The hierarchy of my old church was like that too. If an older person is in the wrong, then there is ABSOLUTELY nothing you can do. I despise the concept of “sunbae” and a dictatorship determined by age.

  140. I agree that if this whole industry is so big, maybe rather than eliminating it, it would be better to invest in it and truly make it safer. I don’t REALLY know a lot, but isn’t that industry thriving in Thailand? and it’s also legal there? I don’t know about safety, but it’s quite disturbing that the government would rather turn a blind eye on the subject because of I don’t know shame or something than actually do something about it: either stopping it completely for real, or investing in it to make it safer and proper.

  141. Marzia Matalone

    I think the topic is related to a very common cultural problem, not only Korean of course…societies with strong morals and principles always get side effects like this, ending up with paradoxes…every country has its own issues to deal with…I think the kind of thing you talked about, is simply related to a way of living sexuality that’s not clear and balanced… but, well, knowing a culture means you’ll have to take in consideration both lights and shadows about it…of course I’m not going to judge them for this…

  142. isn’t prostitution a world-wide problem?
    yes, it’s very much openly in your face in Korea, but I do believe other countries also are having a hard time with it. Sex slavery and forced prostitution happens everywhere – be it in Germany, in America or in Korea.
    Admittedly, Korea might be a bit worse than somewhere else – at least in some other countries they are trying to fight it.
    I do believe also that your list of “entertainment parlors” isn’t complete. Next to massage parlors, dvd bangs and kissing bangs, there are also a variety of places men with a lot of money visit. One comes to my mind that is called ‘gentleman bar or lounge”. Something to that sense. You’ll find business owners and millionaires going there, enjoying the “occasional chat” with women who at first serve them beverages and fruit before the karaoke machine’s is switched on or a couple of them vanish. Also, once you have been introduced to that circle of people it is no secret anymore that those places exist, similar to the massage parlors you see around town.

    So, in general I would say that nobody who knows their way around the Korean culture a little bit should be surprised about finding out that sex sells in Korea. The first thing I was told when I lived there was “avoid the massage parlors. Massages are the last thing you’ll get there”.

    Ah, I have so many more thoughts I wish I could write down here, but I think I should rather cut it short. Just one thing, apart from Koreans being THAT OPEN about buying cozy hours with a strange lady, they are equally as closed minded when it comes to pre-marital sexual relationships. I love that country for it’s quirkiness and the obvious controversies. I greatly appreciate it for the what it has accomplished and for what I’ve experienced there. Oh, yeah.. and mind me saying.. Korea, by far, isn’t the worst. China and Japan are by far worse than Korea is.

  143. Is there a certain age that people go for prostitution or can anyone even teenagers get “some”?

  144. omg last year when i was in seoul with a friend we walked around to kill time (in the middle of the day)
    and accidently ended up walking through a Red Ligh District
    and at first we didn’t know what this was because the first “rooms” were empty but when we saw the first girl we were like “oooh….oops :D 2 foreign girls walking through a kind of open-air whorehouse … la la let’s get out of here”

  145. In Antwerp, Belgium, there’s also a red lights district (and in Brussels too). It isn’t illegal I think. There are a lot of Camera’s and police men patrolling to guarantee everyone’s safety. I used to go there once in a while (DON’T GET ME WRONG) because there’s a night club too. Nobody complains about the noise because they’re all… uhm… doing their jobs? : /

  146. This is definitely something that foreigners need to know before going to visit or live in SK. Someone could walk into a situation that they really didn’t want to be in.

    I really think that not only SK should make prostitution legal but also North America. It would make it safer for everyone. Prostitution has been around for centuries in different parts of the world, it’s one of the oldest professions.
    It’s upsetting when people go to illegal prostitutes get an STD and bring it home to their significant other. I’ve heard stories about it happening in my country(US).

  147. I read somewhere that married Korean men go to prostitutes and it is not considered as cheating because there are no feelings involved.

    You have to understand something : (especially with the older generations) when Korean people get married, the woman becomes a member of the family. It’s as if she becomes “a sister” to her husband. Kind of hard to see your sister as “sexy” isn’t it?

    The girls have babies and do not want as much sex as they used to. Then the husband turns to prostitution. The prostitutes in South Korea are really beautiful too… The wife KNOWS her husband goes there but pretends he doesn’t. At he same time, her husband is not demanding sex as much as he gets it somewhere else.

    Also, there is a lot of pressure in companies to drink together and go to special rooms after work. They also use prostitution to “seal a deal” between companies.

    A lot of Korean men lose their virginity to prostitutes while doing the mandatory service in the army.

  148. I’m a bit confused about this, because I’ve read an article where a woman was arrested for committing adultery. How can this be fair, if men commit adultery all the time? Maybe it’s ok for men to commit adultery, but not women? Double standards.

  149. 1 out of 5 men… mmhhhhh… so if I look on my five boyband poster… what is that mean? ah? AAAHHH??! Ahahahahahaha I can see at least 3 that’ll go there xD I’m watching you, Changmin, I’m watching you.

  150. Can you do a TLDR on Korean conformity? I went to Korea last winter, and I noticed that Korea is a very homogenous society, not only by race, but by mannerisms and the way people act as well. Fro example, clothes, hairstyles, reactions, etc. I’m Korean, but this societal value still confuses me… Thank you! Nasties for life!

  151. thanks for the video. :)

    i think you talked and wrote based on a news article and you kindly provided the link of it. however, i believe the statistical information mentioned in the news article is not reliable although it was from a governmental organisation. as a 31year-old Korean man, i’ve never seen, in my entire life, anyone who pays for sex every week. i haven’t even heard of anyone like that. i admit that there are some people who like and do that but those figures, “1 in 5 men” and “1 out of every 25 women” don’t make sense at all to me. it’s a shame that a governmental organisation releases such inaccurate statistics…

    • and the 4% of GDP thing doesn’t make sense either…

    • Annie Côté Labonté

      In a documentary that explore the sex culture all around the world, i saw some stats abouth korea that say 45% of men between 20 to 40 years old had their first sexual relation with a prostitute. the report also said that prostitution in uge in Korea. I saw many sources from different places reporting these shocking statistics :/.

  152. ok i have to point out… why is it only men?? I don’t really understand how people can talk about how it’s normal for men to go to a prostitute and how they have needs, I’m afraid the reaction would be completely different if it was a girl looking to pay for sex instead of a guy. Is it really that much more “necessary” for men to have sex than for women? o.O

    • I don’t believe it either, but men are comforted into thinking that way… The “men have needs” argument is brought up all the time!

    • Because this is still a male oriented world. As much as we like to point out how women are equal to men in developed countries, in fact they are not. Women everywhere in the world, even in big economies and most developed countries, earn less money in the same position as a man and culturally has roles defines. While it is widely accepted that men seek prostitutes, women are looked down if they seek the same and labelled b*tches or laughed upon as not being able to get a guy for themselves. Just think about how single women over 30 are branded “spinsters” in most cultures and frowned upon, while being a 30+ batchelor is hailed and nodded upon as something very manly to do…. This is a patriarchal society we live in. Everywhere on this planet.

  153. thisisjustforfunval

    90% of boy bands have 5 to 10 members in the group. So…..

    I can’t formulate what I really wanted to write, which has nothing to do with my first sentence I was just being silly. It has to do with the “Ministry of Banishment,” their hypocrisy of policing one artists/group and not another, the governments portrayal of innocence and protecting the youth but not protecting them from those who would lure them into prostitution or give them knowledge to even protect themselves with sex education. I believe youth shouldn’t be exposed to certain things, I think innocence dies to early now, but to just brush it under the rug, never discuss it and turn a blind eye is leaving children to learn on their own and be horribly miss informed. Then, especially for the girls, to be completely shunned by your society. It’s just erking, I speak of this as a world issue on differing levels.

  154. Nattsh Osiris

    Here in Argentina is also illegal but is everywhere. nobody denies that and everyone knows where to go for sex (hotels, neighborhoods, also you can see the girls on the streets, etc). Unfortunately prostucion generates a lot of money so it’s difficult to stop it. :/
    (sorry my english :P)

  155. So is prostitution popular amongst both sexes or just males?

  156. the whole senior-junior “do what I tell you” thing follows them to other countries as well. My husband drove home from a bar one night so completely wrecked he couldn’t get his shoes off properly. when I asked him the next morning why he didn’t call me to drive him home, he said his hyung basically browbeat him into driving anyway. ri-effing-diculous

  157. Nicole

    Ummm helloooooo Hooker Harvey’s at Jarvis and Gerrard! How quickly you forget the Phoenix days.

    • Nicole

      Oh and apparently the ol Rub n Tub parlours are quite common in Woodbridge. I was told by a resident that it was popular for guys to go when they turned 18…like a right of passage into manhood.

  158. I absolutely and definitely agree that prostitution should be legalized, and not just in South Korea, but everywhere. It would just be so much healthier and safer for all those involved. The only reason it’s not is because the world has this skewed view of sex like it’s a dirty, bad thing that shouldn’t be talked about or discussed, which only leads to people doing things without knowing what they’re doing and in unhealthy environments. Some people like having sex – and hey, if you get paid to do it, even better! If it were legal then the environment could be controlled and kept safe for everyone. But unfortunately for this to happen I think everyone has to change the negative way we look at sexuality, and sadly that’s not going to be easy..

    • In the Netherlands it is allowed and I’m not ashamed of it that it exist in my country because it works with the right effect and the same goes for drugs. The funny thing is many think that all Dutch people are junkies because drugs is allowed but it’s not like that at all. Actually many coffee shops (where they can buy it) stands with a big problem right now that the drugs can’t be sold anymore to foreigners because it’s them that want to experience it in the legal way like wanting to have the excitement of it. While for us it’s more like uhm yeah it’s allowed so what it’s not like it’s interesting and you suddenly see a lot of people having no interest for it. The same goes for prostitution. And for those men or girls that doesn’t have some men or girl to have a deed with then this is maybe a good place to go to. Not that I have interest in one of them but for some it is.

      Actually it’s really funny if you see how Dutch people don’t respond to some sexual things on the streets while in some countries they just immediately call the police when they see something or anything like that. I once saw an article about a snowman with a bra and the police needed to come for that. While here it’s no problem at all. Just by incident my neighbors made a snow women with boobs whit the children and really it’s funny too actually see those simple things.

      • I agree but I’m not comfortable about women behind windows, though… I don’t think it helps spreading the idea of men and women being equal. What do you think about that?

        • sannetussch22

          Yeah it does feel uncomfortable. I went a lot of times trough the red light district as a child and I don’t remember that but the last time I do remember together with a exchange class from Germany. And well you do see a total different reaction from us dutch student. We were a lot more calm and where more like we accepted the reality and didn’t find it one bid funny. While the exchange students did like to make a bid of fun about it and where actually laughing. But one thing I did notice I only see women in front of those windows. I where like were are the men? And I find that something unfair. But I find the way I have it in my neighborhood eastern part of the Netherlands a lot better where you don’t have those red windows with women but just hidden in some building but it doesn’t show reality at the same time. I hope you know what I mean. ;-)

        • Thanks for the reply! It’s nice to have some thought from the inside!

        • sannetussch22

          your welcome ^_^

        • Annie Côté Labonté

          well, what abouth men behind a window lol, I saw one in my city for a sex shop. We find it offensive as a women because of the past when it do not have the same signification today.

      • I’m sorry people judge like that. I’ve visited the Netherlands before and I enjoyed myself a lot. :) I have a lot of respect that it is allowed. I feel like others should look to you guys as an example as to why they should too. As one who lives in the USA where both are very common I feel like a lot would improve by legalizing.

        • sannetussch22

          Don’t be sorry,,, everyone judges everyone you never get rid of that ;-) I normally just ignore those people thinking that they didn’t see much more then there own room so you don’t need to say sorry for them. Where just trying to say that allowing drugs could have a positive reaction. I do need to say that even if it’s allowed it does have very strict rules there are also enough people that aren’t following those rules. But it’s something you have everywhere. It’s so much more fun not to follow rules idea.

      • The Netherlands (for drugs and sex trade) is a very very good model. Not only can they collect taxes, they can legitimize the industry, making it safe. Perhaps the best side effect, however, is that by making it legal, you make it BORING and UNCOOL, which actually deters people from consuming/buying. That is amazing. Bravo Netherlands! :)

        • sannetussch22

          It’s kinda true that people want to try things that are actually illegal and I kinda see that back in drugs and prostitution. On a young age we just learn to accept the whole thing and see it as one of the most normal thing. Also I think what’s missing in Korea is maybe the lessons about sex in biology. Really I still remember the teacher with a condom filling it with water and later one swing it around as a balloon. Or to suddenly have a balloon in your class and it turned out to be a condom. And then everything doesn’t feel so strange anymore and just acceptable that it is the way it is.

      • Hello! I just returned from studying abroad in Galway, Ireland. My roomate was from Holland. I am a bit ashamed to say that I was actually very surprised to learn she had never even smoked weed before. She explained how the system economically works- and I have to say (from a US perspective) it is very smart. Both socially and economically. Weed/prostitution is really not a big deal- everything you say is very true. :)

        • sannetussch22

          xD Actually I’m surprised how many actually agree on the legalization on these matters. But in the US I do hear more and more that there are states allowing drugs… Maybe I’m wrong but that’s what I thought to be hearing a few times.

        • No, you’re right. It is legal in the states of Colorado and Washington and there are varying levels of punishment for possession/medical usage in other states. This is ONLY for marijuana though. I think the government is watching to see how drug usage is increased/decreased and the flow of economic revenue in those states. It’s interesting though- because I am actually a university intern at a drug rehabilitation facility.. and I’m not actually sure if legalizing marijuana in the US will kids in the long run here. We’ll have to see. :)

          Edit: I love how many real discussions I see happening in this TL;DR! :)

        • sannetussch22

          ahw thank you for the information ^_^

  159. As far as a new TLDR topic…How about a little expose on sasaeng fans in the K-Pop world. ^^

  160. My question would be is this mostly men who are single, or does it include those who are in a relationship (beginning and long-term) or those who are married? To be honest if I ever found out someone that I was dating did this, I’d drop them so fast it would be like they never existed to me. On another note: if this is so widespread do girlfriends/wives consider this cheating and is it something worth dumping your significant other for?

    • on your last note… I wonder if it’s how the law is… that some wives/girlfriends might know about it, but say nothing (for whatever reasons…)?

    • I know I’d drop a guy like he was a hot potato if I found out if he went to any of these “happy ending” parlors >_>

    • what I heard from my students (all in their mid-20s) they talked big and said they would leave their boyfriend/husband immediately, but the girls who had actually experienced that were just….meh. it was considered a fact of life o.O

    • It it depends on the guy and depends on the girl. Like a girl may be understanding if their boyfriend was forced into the situation by their seniors. So for every couple there is a different set of circumstances.

      The Korean guys I’ve known who definitely do it regularly, they were always guys I didn’t like, or gave me the creeps…. guys I had no interest in being friends with but knew through other people. Perhaps there are nice guys that go too… but the type that goes regularly, I wouldn’t want to be around them because I can already see the type of guy they are.

  161. While Im not surprised by this topic and the frequency of its availability in Korea, I can understand why the Korean people, government, and entertainment business would want to keep this information away from potential international tourist. Lets face it, South Korea’s global image is that of a purest nature with high morals and ethics and to have the seedy side of the their culture advertised to the world, would damage that image. Hosts clubs, Kiss Bangs, Happy Ending Parlors etc dont really upset me as I have always believed that sexuality should not be taboo. We all do it! How well and in what frequency is a matter of debate but ultimately its all part of human nature. My opinion of these businesses are that of: They exist and if you want to go to one, then do so. It’s your choice. However, I would much prefer that prostitution be legalized in all countries and regulated by organizations like the US versions of the Labor Boards, Heath and Human Services, and the CDC -where employees get regular physicals and Aids/STD testing etc and are regulated.

    My TL;DR questions is about Sex Education. In the US, children are taught in middle school and high school to practice abstinence and aren’t given practical education on the subject. Do Korean schools teach kids about sex education and to what degree? How do parents handle the subject, if at all?

    Thanks S&M!

    • I think they already answered this one in one of the sexuality TLDRs. Perhaps even the one in this playlist.

    • Sometimes it baffles me to hear that there are schools that don’t give teens proper sex education. I’m only 21 and in my freshman and senior year in high school, we had sex ed classes.The teacher did encourage to practice abstinence but did not shy away from proper sex education. She even showed us the proper way to put on a condom and how to open one, she even offered us a bag full of different types of condoms. I mean, she even provided us free STD testing. I don’t know, I just find it so weird to hear about teens nowadays not having proper sex ed when mine was very thorough. (In the U.S. I mean.)

    • Sorry to correct you, but how sex education is taught depends on the sate and on the school district. Abstinence only, is not a universal norm in America. Most states actually have comprehensive sex education. In my school district kids received sex education three times. First in elementary school around fourth grade; where they separated the girls and the boys and talked about puberty (periods and boobs for us girls, and nocturnal emissions/erections for boys). Second was in middle school were they talked about reproduction and the biology and anatomy behind it etc. Finally, in high school you take health, and learn even more about the biology behind reproduction, plus STD’s, and watch a gross video of a women giving birth (scarred me for life). Anyway, they definitely talked about having sex, and condoms and whatnot. Again, it depends on what state you live in.

  162. Sooo do you ever hear about these guys calling for these “coffee” services etc., and the delivery girl is never heard from ever again? Here in Boston we had a dude calling up prostitutes from Craigslist and murdering all of them. Then of course there was Jack the Ripper in London! In serial killer logic, people on the bottom rung of society (prostitutes) won’t be missed and are better targets. I figure for a society with lots of “under the table” prostitution someone’s going take advantage of society turning a blind eye to get their serial killer sexual kinks.

    • that’s.. a pretty dark thought o.o ..but interesting xP and ..why would someone want to D: x.x

      • Because they have a skewed since of justice… They feel like the lower rungs of society (prostitutes, drug users, bums, etc) are not worth saving (less than human, basically), so they feel like they’re just doing everyone a favor by nixing them like cockroaches.

        • Winifred Hwang

          Either that or they’re psychopaths with no sense of empathy or justice–they just don’t want to get in trouble and pick out victims with no one to care for them.

          Obviously I watch too much Law & Order. I went through like 5 seasons of SVU in 2 weeks. T_T

        • Josh Chinnery

          Or it could be that. A lot more realistic than my theory. Quite honestly, it would be weird if there was more than one Dexter running around, murdering people who do bad things >_>

        • o.e ..but that’s messed up x.x bleh

        • Josh Chinnery

          Human psychology is one of the most messed up topics to study

        • yeahh…but it also is super interesting :P

        • Josh Chinnery


  163. I have to wonder if the popularity of prostitution in South Korea is due to the strong focus on morality and not having sex until you are married. I know that is becoming more lax now, but I know that dating, relationships and certainly relationships involving sex are rare for the young people. I think that could be why most of Korea just turns a blind eye to it, excusing it as just young boys getting their kicks in because they aren’t in the position to get that anywhere else. Most of the Korean girls and women I know would never think about having sex before they got married, or at the very least before they were in a very serious relationship that they were sure was leading to marriage. Not that I see that as a bad thing, but I think that makes sense if that is the logic behind the popularity and acceptance of prostitution there. Thoughts?

    • Unfortunately, in a lot of places, virginity is expected from girls and experience from boys, which makes no sense. That’s probably why prostitution is so common indeed.

  164. Seriously! He’s a man, he has needs too. And the “working girls” need the money too support themselves. Get real!

  165. How old are the “men” who are included in those “1 in 5″ stats? Is it a bigger problem for the younger generation (teens to mid-twenties) or the older generation (late-twenties to 30′s/40′s)? From what I’ve seen and read about actors in dramas and some kpop idols, younger guys are held back from more serious/sexual acting situations until they are older (mid/late-twenties), presumably because of their age/maturity. Do you think that reflects how the directors/managers want to portray the idols or is it more because the actors don’t feel comfortable with it?

    I have also noticed differences in older guy-girl boundaries and younger guy-girl boundaries on Korean reality/game shows — younger/newer idols and actors seem really shy and uncomfortable with being touched or whatever while older guys are more comfortable with it. All of that makes me want to believe that it’s mostly the older generation that falls prey to the “allure” of prostitution and that the younger generation might have a better head on its shoulders. But that’s just me hoping, I suppose.

  166. in Toronto, apparently they hang out 9 pm onwards around Church and Wellesley. Not sure about this since I’ve never seen them in person but people tell me. Please don’t kill me if I’m wrong.

  167. In “the jackal is coming” you can see one of those norebang where you have the girls sing with you…
    Not that surprised to be honest, but I never thought it was that big…
    Here in Europe prostitution is legal nearly in every country, what I don’t like about Italy and some other countries (most of them) is that yeah prostitution is legal, but it’s not regulated… what’s the point in this? O.o

  168. Oh please, u don’t know where to find a hooker inToronto?? I’m pretty sure one of u have mentioned hooker Harvey’s in one of your past vids. I luv u guys buy please! Prostitution is widespread in all countries, it’s the oldest profession out there, and what country would admit to it being such a large part of it’s GDP??

    • Prostitution (I can’t believe I actually have to say this) is stigmatized in Canada (as it should be); the number of men that have paid for sex is probably 1 in 20? Maybe 1 in 30?

      Now who’s conservative? ;)

  169. Lol, you forgot the mention the multitude of Transgender clubs in Itaewon, most of which are located on or around “Hooker Hill”

  170. i understand abt the “my superiors making me drink” excuse. that has happened to me and if you want a promotion or to be in their good books, your morals may as well go to hell.

    That’s why the ‘respect your elders’ concept is fine in theory, but it takes into assumption that the elders are wise and don’t make the younger ones do stuff like this

    • Blegh… I’m not trying to dump all over Korean society, because this is not just a Korean thing, but I can’t with the “elder knows better than you” mentality. Everybody is human, and everybody is stupid (for lack of a better word) about something.

    • I think that’s one thing I really just DON’T LIKE! I also understand “respect your elders,” and I also understand that not all elders are wise and make 100% smart decisions. I understand.

      But what I hate is the lack of respect when it comes to those put in uncomfortable situations. I hate being forced to do something just because someone else sees it as “fun” or “socially acceptable.” How frustrating it makes me really mad now that I’m thinking of myself in someone’s shoes and being forced to go to a place where I know I won’t feel comfortable *smashes wall* D:<

      • I know. I’m not going to sacrifice my morals, just because you wanna get felt up or something similar. If you wanna do it, fine; you’re perfectly in control of yourself, but don’t get mad at me if I say no. I’m not ruining your fun if I leave or choose not to participate, you’re just being sore that your pride is hurt >_>

  171. This doesn’t surprise me at all. I visited Japan for the first time about a year ago, and I remember being shocked over how relaxed things were regarding prostitution there as well. Not a block away from the hostel where I was staying in there was a club with big posters of baby-faced Japanese women in bikinis pushing up their chests and lying down in provocative poses. The place was open at 11am! (Perhaps it never closed). I also had a fellow traveler that was physically dragged away to a “maid cafe” while we were in Akihabara, and I even had a couple of guys slip fliers in my hands advertising their host clubs. There are also signs for “specialty stores” and clubs where you could be serviced by women (and men) if you poked your head down the right alleyways. Similar to Korea, the Red Lights district is not very hard to find.

    I think one of the biggest shockers for me, though, was when I walked into a variety store, went to the magazine section and immediately the provocative/playboy/hentai/porn was laid right out for all to see (no pun intended), unlike in Canada where they usually hide those magazines on the highest magazine shelf behind the wrestling and manly-men’s hunting magazines. My immediate thought process was “Holy crap, some kid is going to see this! Isn’t that inappropriate?” But then I think on a lot of anime and manga that I’ve read over the course of the years, and perverted stuff in varying degrees is EVERYWHERE regardless of the age range for kids. Oh- and let’s not forget the sexually-themed toys. Blow-up anime-girl characters, provocative figurines, inflatable boobs…etc.

    I don’t believe that sex/sexuality should be a hushed-hushed thing, but I was just shocked to see that for a country that appears very reserved and carries a similar face of innocence and “decency” would have their porn openly available if it’s so “indecent”. Does Korea do the same thing?

    • I think one of the issues we have with sex and sexuality is the fact that it is seen as shameful if you don’t project the very image of purity. It seems like everyone I’ve talked to about this topic has felt shameful because they either have very sexual thoughts or very kinky thoughts (or both XD), and they feel like they’re the only one. Which is not the case (it’s so not the case that it’s laughable >_>).

    • I just want to say that Japan is really different when it comes to sexuality compared to Korea. They don’t try to hide it like Korea does. Japan isn’t all that “innocent” really, they seem to embrace their quirkiness and don’t care how unique they are from the rest of the world. So yes, you’ll see porn there for even the kids to see, and stores dedicated to provocative anime figurines and those boob mouse pads and all that silly stuff.

      On the other hand, Korea hides it and tries to look innocent, pure and “perfect”. They shove so many things under the rug. I can’t exactly say why they do this and why these two countries are so very different, so someone else might want to jump in and explain that one.

    • I think japan is more upfront with sexuality, like you’d rather see an old men watching a ~dirty~ magazine in public like it’s nobodies buseiness in japan but that wouldn’t happen in korea

  172. Kristin@Blood, Sweat and Books
    Kristin@Blood, Sweat and Books

    This is true of many cultures. It would just be better for everyone if Prostitution was legalized and regulated. Least then incidences like this wouldn’t happen. Everyone would know what the business was upon entering. You wouldn’t have this backroom culture of. Oh were a legitimate business but *wink wink* if you want we’ll also do x,y,z for you. Off the books of course.

  173. Wow, this is an interesting topic. I think that, due to the innocent image most k-pop stars project and the emphasis on ‘purity’ in k-dramas, many people think that South Korea is this perfect bastion of morality when it’s really just… a country made up of ordinary people. (My mother, for example, watches k-dramas and thinks that everyone in South Korea is incredibly beautiful, because that’s all she sees in dramas. I tried to explain that that would be like expecting every person in America to look like the cast of Gossip Girl, but I’m sure she still secretly thinks every guy looks like Hyun Bin and every girl Song Hye Kyo.)

    Thanks for the TL;DR – I really appreciated that it was (heh, for the most part) factual and non-judgmental. :)

  174. I definitely appreciate the discussion of more sensitive topics on your most recent TL;DRs, because no country is all fun and games. So props to not being afraid of discussing such topics; I actually find them incredibly interesting and can more clearly see the every day similarities and differences between SK and other countries.

    But I have a quick question: in your blog post, you mention the lack of sexual education. Is there absolutely nothing sex-ed related that students are exposed to while attending high school in South Korea?

  175. What I still don’t get at all is that there are still people defending their ‘oppas’?

    Se7en (cheated yes) but proved clearly that they are still men. Men have needs and when they don’t have a girlfriend (or one close by… /I’m looking at u Se7en).

    Most want to be with their oppas (some not but most want in a more perverted way) but then act all ‘omg’ to this. Like come on Fanfictions guys?

    It’s everywhere.
    Can people stop being so hypocrite and just accept that their idols are far from innocent?
    Or should we start again about G.O.’s Pigeonfile?

    • I don’t really have a stance on this. I think Korean people cared more because they did it while on duty. I wont judge but I think that was the huge issue most people had with it. I think personally the situation of his relationship should stay between him and his gf PHB.

    • Globally I agree with what you said, but… until which century will this “men have needs” crap still justify everything? Men have also a brain and some self-control.

  176. This is not a new thing, trust me. I am adopted from S Korea, and when my parents went to get me in 1988 (year I was born and the year of the Seoul Olympics), the very taxi driver my parents found once they finally had me in their arms, went loads of sidelanes in order to keep an eye on every prostitute that I guess he either 1, was “acquianted” with or 2, owned. After almost an hour of this kind of stupidity my father, the big nosed foreigner, got so mad at his beheaviour (I was a baby after all, there was no ventilation back then, and I was literally really unhappy about the heat). My father started yelling at the taxi driver to step on it back to the hotel. The man did, we got there and none of us ever saw the man again (to my knowledge).

  177. I like the topics you guys are tackling. There are some strong US influences in what’s legal and what’s sinful in Korea, the former coming largely from the military, and the latter from the US mission churches. Back in the day when I was a Peace Corps volunteer, I could be mistaken but prostitution was not illegal, and I even remember being pleased to hear of a certain area – might’ve been Choonchun – that was licensing and issuing health certificates, and good stuff like that (and for espousing such efforts, you’ve warmed the cockles of this old public health practitioner’s heart.). At the same time, marijuana was also largely legal, although “happy smoke” in the areas around US bases was not. I remember any number of times going out to villages for home visits to TB patients, and finding Grampa sitting on the front porch with his long pipe, full of the fragrant best from the back pasture. That was regarded, however, as slightly embarrassing, as it implied Grampa couldn’t afford tobacco. Anyway, my unconfirmed suspicion is that both of these vices became illegal largely through US influence.

  178. I haven’t watched this TL;DR yet (since I’m currently in lecture) but I read the blog post and your concerns about the lack of prostitution regulation is pretty spot on from what I learned at school (I’m studying criminology and sociology). Prostitution is speculated to always be prevalent in every time period in every type of society and if that’s the case, it’s theorized that it may be better for everyone all around to legalize and regulate prostitution and focus on criminalizing those extorting the unwilling, and the forced minors. Especially if the society has prostitution blatantly in yo’ face.

    Also, I found the fact how the police seem so lax towards prostitution there in Korea is so similar to the Torontonian police with marijuana lol sure, it’s illegal but… yeah ^^ LOL

    • Hey… I remember something like too from what I have seen in class.
      /I had some lighter form of sociology in school so/

    • Problem with this is that I still don’t think this will save the minors. And it will technically be harder to put the cautious signs on the sexual deceases. However, I do agree that the illegal status does cause some issues.

      • At least the issue would be discussed. Right now they don’t do anything to stop the traffickers, because for that they would need to admit that prostitution exists! So I still think it would help protecting the minors.

        What do you mean in your second sentence please?

        • Nina Johansson

          Sorry, that sentence came from a long drabbel, that I ended up deleting. I did a small essay on prositution in Nepal a few years back, and I kept going on and on about it, until I realised it made no sense and deleted the whole thing. So just ignore that last sentence.

          I studied Asianstudies, specializing in China, so the whole Asia packet is really interesting to me. Sorry for being a bloody academic.

        • No problem! I find it interesting actually. I volunteered in Cambodia 2 years ago and I was shocked to know that 2 girls from the orphanage I worked at had been sold for prostitution… I’d really like to know how to end that horrible traffic!

        • Hannah_Marie

          Well, if you want to get involved, here are some organizations that work to get woman and children out of these situations:
          NFS (Not For Sale) Organization

          Pearl Alliance founded by Lisa Bevere

          Stella’s Voice founded by Philip Cameron

        • Thank you!

      • No, I agree with you, legalizing and regulating isn’t the full complete answer to ending sex trafficking, or forcing minors into doing something they have no control over. But NaToTheWak is right in pointing out that the issue would at least be accepted as a problem if it goes undiscussed.

        What legalizing/regulating prostitution would do is take the effort that is put into hunting down prostitutes and their clients, and put it into something that actually matters like trafficking and minors. There’ll always be awful crimes like that, because people, you know? But at least effort and resources will at least being going into something that matters (in this context).

        Guise, this topic aside, I’m actually so happy to in a civilized discussion about social issues in a none academic environment :)

    • Hasn’t Marijuana effectively been decriminalized in Canada? (I’m Canadian, but lived in Asia for a long time). If it’s decriminalized that means the cops can’t shake you down for M-O-N-E-Y, which means, they genuinely do not care about it and, yes, will look the other way. Cops are motivated by cash. They’ll still bust you for parking tickets. You think cops are passionate about parking? ;)

      • In technicality, marijuana is still outlawed here. Technically. So that means if that particular cop actually cared enough to, s/he could charge you with possession and you’d have a wonderful criminal record on you. If it was just decriminalized, that means they can’t charge and convict you of possession or trafficking, but can still fine you. That hasn’t really happened here yet. Pretty sure it hasn’t anyways ^^

        But yeah, most of the time that’s not the case since the police here aren’t that anal to shake down every shady-looking individual that smells like weed. I mean, there’s a friggin cafe somewhere downtown where you can bring your own weed in and rent out a bong for a smoke.

        The police are more interested in catching speeding vehicles and giving out parking tickets because each individual cop on that particular duty have a quota to fill. Which sucks if you’re like, 5 km above the speeding limit.

  179. woah, thats pretty bad. what abt host clubs? is that in korea too? O_o

  180. I remember watching Korean movies and I saw the guys hanging out in a Karaoke Bar with their coworkers (in one of them the guy was undercover working for a guy and went to one) and then there were like young women going in and serving them drinks and snuggling up with them, and guys outside like taking orders for women pretty much. Then the lead girl would come in and get SUPER pissed when she saw it. (I would too if my boyfriend was like in a known area to hire a prostitute, let’s be honest.) Just watching the movies and such I put together the pieces. Drunk guys with money + attractive young girls looking in need of money = something may happen that “isn’t advertised”, so the girl is like, “You’re going to sleep with a prostitute?” and gets angry. Even though she doesn’t say, it it’s implied. Though I guess other people who watched the movie with me thought it was just a like, “Hey! You’re sitting next to another girl! How dare you!” But it seemed like it was more than that. (At least in certain films)
    I mean there’s trafficking and a sex industry in every country pretty much. And I know that the “Massage Parlor” is a big thing in a lot of countries, but the Police usually don’t do anything even if it’s illegal. I’m not trying to be all judgmental or anything, but I feel really bad for the girls who end up in that business against their will. You try to get a “normal job” and you end up being forced to do something else…
    I guess a lot of people have an idealistic view of Korea and that everything’s perfect and wonderful, with no STD’s or sex or anything, and the whole place is like a K-Drama, but it’s not. Sure it’s a wonderful place, but there isn’t a place on Earth that’s perfect. I’m not surprised because I studied Japanese and Korean culture for a while now and you just figure those things out over time. And sometimes I honestly feel like the more “conservative” a society is, the more behind the scenes things can happen. No one want’s to talk about it, so nothing is done about it. If you ignore it long enough, it will go away right? -__-;

    That’s my opinion anyways.

    But I’m moving to Korea this August, and I’m hoping my parents don’t see these past few videos because they might freak out, hahaha. I’m like, “Let’s watch some videos on South Korea, but not those ones! Because then you’ll just worry even more about me!” >.>

    • I gotta emphasize, Korea is such a safe place to live, and although we tackle realistic topics like racism and the sex industry, these are not things that affect our lives constantly and everyday. HOWEVER, be prepared to see drunk people everywhere. Not aggressive drunk people, just staggering and/or passed out drunk people. Like, a lot.

      • Sex traffic is organized rape. If you don’t scare being raped when going back home drunk at 3 am, it’s in part thanks to some poor girls who are being raped by ten strangers a day (not talking about all prostitutes, of course, but victims of traffic)

        • Winifred Hwang

          I read somewhere that sexual assault outside of prostitution is a hushed-up problem in itself. ?Soozee? might have an idea of what it’s like to be a small Asian female alone in a dark alley in SK. But generally the women are too ashamed to report their rapes so it’s never dealt with. Public outrage seems to occur occasionally with child rape cases (Na-Young, Gwangju Inhwa School for the hearing impaired), but otherwise sexual assault is barely a crime with super light sentences.

          In the US, it’s so disturbing that 1 out of 10 women you know is a rape victim. I find myself wondering if I might know any.

        • Josh Chinnery

          Same here… It makes me scared just thinking about it Y_Y

        • Of course, it’s impossible to know the whole figures.. But I hear a lot that women feel safer in the streets of Seoul than in any other country.

      • Okay, the fact that you guys replied to me just made my day! :D

        I totally get that though! Thank you for making videos like these because it is best to know about these things before you move to a country. I’m actually really happy to hear about these types of topics because I know more about Korea and about things that they don’t necessarily cover in guide or culture books. I can see the balance of your videos between “Here’s how safe and awesome Korea is!” and “It’s still not perfect guise.” Which is great because I have a realistic approach to it.

        Whenever people ask me if I feel safe moving to Korea though I usually say, “Of course!” It really does seem like a safe place to live, and I’m not worried about being mugged or anything while I’m there. And I’m mentally preparing myself for the staggering drunk people, though I may spend a lot of my time cooped up studying if I’m honest… T_T

        For me it’s more on the level of “I’m a single white girl moving to Korea”, and my Dad (and older brother too) especially gets nervous about that. So him watching a video on sexuality in Korea and such would probably make him suspicious of EVERY MAN I come in contact with. “Who’s that guy? Has he slept with a prostitute? Is he getting too touchy with you because you’re a foreigner??” But then again, he probably thinks that about every guy everywhere…. Hahaha. But I’m trying my best to show them the highs and lows of South Korea, and that things like that won’t effect my daily life that much, like you said. :)

  181. i just hope se7en didn’t “force” his dongsaengs bigbang to do those stuff too… >.<

  182. Sadly, on Guam there was one bar owner that tricked a few Micronesian Island girls into becoming prostitutes. She promised them residency I believe, as well as a job. However once she paid for their flight and they were on Guam, she took their passports and forced them to serve her customers. It was horrible.

    The bar owner was an older Korean woman, too. I know that her ethnicity doesn’t matter. It’s just that the TL;DR reminded me of what happened. Sadly, things like this put S. Korea in a bad light. :(

    • I volunteered in a Cambodian orphanage in which two minor girls (one was only 13) got lured by an older girl who also promised them a better life and sold them for prostitution… Now the topic itself makes me nauseous.

  183. I come to know about Korea because of K-Pop that is full with pretty looking boys wearing colorful outfits, so I hope u can spend some time talking about “Pretty Guy VS Macho Guy In Korea.” TQ!

    • I’d like to hear about that as well!

    • Simon and Martina did a TL;DR on fashion sense and cool trends in SK that aren’t considered cool in the west. People in SK are totally cool with pretty boys and don’t really think of them as gay. As far as I know there aren’t as many “Macho Guys” in SK, but Im sure there are some.

  184. Is it normal for Korean men to go to these while in relationships? I’m really curious now seeing how common it is o_o

    • It’s fairly common. Especially when they are going out for company business dinners or hweshiks. These occur frequently during the week and are quite mandatory. That bit they mentioned in the video about social hierarchy (sunbae-hoobae relationships) is very important and dictates what happens in most Korean peoples’ lives. To really understand it, you refer back to the fact that Korea was deeply rooted in Confucianism. In fact, if you really want to understand Korea at all, look at Confucianism.

      Check out the “Major Confucian Beliefs” in this wiki article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Confucianism#Major_Confucian_beliefs

      Anyway, if a boss, superior or simply an older person in a group wants to do something, they all must follow. I once heard a story about a Korean guy who worked for a man who hated his wife. So he never went home at normal hours–which mean that no one beneath him could leave until he, the boss, was ready to go. Collectivism is loud and proud in the ROK. It’s difficult for Americans and Westerners alike to wrap our heads around this but just because we can’t make heads or tails about things here doesn’t make them right or wrong.

      So yes, if your man is going to a hweshik, he more than likely will be required to drink more than he probably should and that could lead to sam-cha, or sa-cha, or perhaps oh-cha (rounds 3, 4, or 5 –or rather the third, fourth, or fifth place you go to that night) to end up at a palor of some sort. I say “could.” It doesn’t always…but yeah.

      Despite how negative this information about Korea seems, I still love this country and there is no place I’d rather live. ^^

      • You’re right, I can’t wrap my head around that; I’d either laugh in the guy’s face and walk off, or snap at him out of anger. I have a very strong sense of individualism, I don’t like it when people expect me to do things for them just because they’re older or something of that nature.

      • Well darn.. That sucks ._.

      • Actually, it’s not just Confucianism.
        In Korea every male has to serve in the military.
        In the military there’s a very clear hierarchy, and you have to follow orders.
        So, I think this military culture influences the nature of Korean companies and other organizations as well.

    • Go ask a Pinay. There’s over 10,000 Kopino children in the Philippines without fathers. Wealthy Korean men sometimes go to the the Philippines for “Sex tourism.” They have sex with often underage females, and then go back home to their wives, and family…. Koreans were also brutal during the Vietnam war. Nobody ever wants to bring it up, but they used a lot of Vietnamese women…

    • I would say yes. I don’t live in Korea, but I can say I’ve seen references in Dramas. There are two references in the drama I Love You actually. One is that the character Minho was caught by his wife with another woman. While fighting he was making the argument of “oh honey I am NOT SEEING her, no I paid her…” and cue wife to storm off. When I first watched it I was confused and thought it might of been a prostitute, but now watching this TLDR I am almost positive that is what they implied.

      Later in the show the wife decided to get back at him (and all the other boys the other female characters are dealing with) by going to a host club. In the middle of their stay there was a police raid saying there were “underage hosts.” The whole story makes this big stink about how one of the hosts is working there to raise money for his sister’s education etc and not to look down upon on him.

  185. Can you also talk one day about the suicide mentality that is over there? I’m from the states and it seems like the western culture tries to keep this from happening. On the other hand (in general) it appears that Asian cultures, maybe don’t embrace it, but are not adverse to someone going through with it. Is there a reason that this is more prevalent over there? Sometimes is seems that people “do” it to get away from scandals or due to depression. Is there a lack of psychiatrists or medication like there are in western countries?

    Thank you for your awesome work! :)

    • Lauren Semple Stroman

      I definitely would love to hear a TL;DR on this; i think it’s not so much to avoid facing a scandal though, so much as historically, in many Asian cultures, it was an act of responsibility. Ultimately, if you fail at something, the consequences rest on your shoulders, so to speak. However, I think today it’s more commonly because of depression, bullying, and stress from family and work.

      • that but it sometimes seems like you read about so and so who is in a huge scandal committing suicide to get out of it. It’s very hard sometimes being in a different culture. Where i’m from, we’ve always been taught that if you fail, get up and start over. (Hahah maybe because i work with horses..you fall, dust yourself off and get back on the horse and try again.) That is a bigger achievement than anything. AND you don’t leave people behind who then have to cover for what you left behind.

    • Another Youtuber, SweetandTasty has a video on suicide and the suicide mentality, which is often attributed to college exams and being overworked.

    • I think the #1 reason for high suicide rate in SK, is stress, both physical and mental. If I am not mistaken, Korean constitution specifies “life long labor” as an obligation of all its citizen. You have to remember that SK was poorer than Ethiopia back in 1960s. Now it’s in 10s(16th? I think). That’s very rapid. And they did it WITHOUT having any significant natural resources, nor having had any colonies, nor being financial heaven for rich people(Swiss, Singapore). Then the wealth had to come from somewhere. I think it came from rote labor. So it’s citizens are tired and stressed.

      Other contributing factors are

      1) poor mental health care and recognition of it
      2) education system
      3) hyper-capitalism

      • I’ve read various things over the years that suggest that 1) has a lot to do with shame. It’s sort of the mindset that the west had a few decades ago (in some places, not even that far back). Some people think it’s not a “real” problem, that mental health disorders don’t really exist, it’s all about willpower, and if you can’t cope with what life throws at you without help, then there’s just something WRONG with you… in the ‘now you’re the black sheep of the family and you’re ruining our name and image’ sort of way.

    • I would be interested in hearing about this. I noticed there are a LOT of Korean actors and actresses that commit suicide. Clearly there is a little more to it than “they are over worked.” I wonder how much help and openness there is to all mental illnesses, including anorexia (which is closely linked to depression)

    • I think a big factor too is the religion… suicide isn’t a sin in all places. Some christian denominations give a lot of guilt and what not on the issue. In bhudism, taoism and others asian religions suicide isn’t so negative… the priest or religious leader will do the rituals and all that. And in some ways it was seen as a honoroble thing to do after commiting a crime or some shameful thing…

    • You may find this to be interesting reading.


      From his introduction to the series:

      “What is Korea’s deep, dark secret? The secret is that Korea, as a society, condones an incredible level of ruthlessness and cruelty to those who lose out in the social competition.
      It is not possible to understand the suicide issue in Korea without
      understanding this: modern Korean society is premised on competition at
      the level unfathomable for most people outside of Korea, and absolutely
      no mercy is shown to those who lose. Precisely how this interacts with
      Korea’s suicide issue will be the first meaningful step toward gaining
      insight into Korea’s suicide problems, and possibly devising a way to
      reverse the trend.”

  186. So i was wondering then if it’s mostly man going, is there a secert under ground thing where the LBGT community goes. Because i remember you saying that Korean’s don’t like to think they are gay but it’s American’s and Canadians who brought that over. which we all know that impossible. So if thats the case is that stuff like underground??

    • Yes… and there are areas where you can go to hang out with the local LBGT community, there are certain streets that have those kind of bars :) But it’s pretty much on the down low. It seems like it can be pretty easy to hide since it’s okay to be affectionate with those of the same sex in Korea.

  187. For me, going for prostitution is just unforgivable. People do whatever they want with each other as long as they all agree with it, but with prostitution you never know whether the person is willing of forced. Yes, of course, there are women who really want to do this for a living, and I respect them, but don’t forget that the average age of entering prostitution is 13 years old. Most prostitutes start as children or teenagers, at an age they’re not mature enough to take the decision to do so themselves. If you pay for sex, you’re most likely raping someone, especially, as said in the blog post, if it’s somewhere where prostitution is illegal.

    • I think it really depends. If the government is regulating prostitution and mandating STD testing, legal age of consent, health care, full protection against abusive clients, etc. then it’s more like a conventional job. With serious regulation (like in Finland) comes serious consequences for any businesses that don’t follow the rules.

      • It’s good to hear that it’s the case in a few countries, but unfortunately everywhere else there’s no regulation, thus no way to be sure…

    • “You’re most likely raping someone…”—– I think this is an incredibly paranoid view on a profession that you seem to be morally against. Yes, there is human trafficking in this world. It is also more regulated and punished than it has been at any other time in history. Korea is not some off-the-beaten-path jungle where girls are being held against their will in basement dungeons. There is a room salon or double-barbershop pole in EVERY neighborhood of every city in the country. There is a full on red light district in every major city… most of them having more than one. Many Korean prostitutes take “working holidays” to Japan to make more money. The apartment building where I live in Korea is “known” for being full of many, many room salon girls. I see these girls every day going for lunch, shopping in the mart, having coffee in the shop beneath our building. None of them to seem to be “forced” into any life. They are all very well dressed with expensive jewelry and designer purses. They seem happy and in good spirits, hanging out and enjoying life together. It is far more likely that they do this work by choice and not by slavery.

      I guess I just don’t understand how you can “respect (the girls who really want to do this for a living)”, yet “going for prostitution is just unforgivable.” It’s okay for the girls, but not okay for the men that are paying their wage? Seems like a double standard to me.

      • I’m not “morally” against it. Other people’s morals are non of my business. But I feel horrible for the girls who are forced into doing that, and unfortunately there are plenty. So my point is, if you don’t know, you don’t go. And if there’s no regulation, you never really know. Of course no prostitute will tell you or show you she didn’t chose that job!

        Once again, I’m not saying there are only trafficked girls. Maybe the ones you met are genuinely happy with what they do, then good for them.

        • I just hear over and over about all of these “trafficked” women and how they are sex slaves brought over under false pretenses. Again, I’m sure that it actually does exist, I’ve just never seen it in person. I lived in Las Vegas for most of my life and I’ve spent a lot of years in East Asia and SE Asia since then. I’ve met many strippers, many prostitutes, and many girls that have considered doing one or the other. None of them have ever been kidnapped or enslaved. I have met so many that have never been “slaves” that I’ve begun to question how much of these stories actually exist and how much of it is the media continuing to recycle the very few actual stories of when this occurs. When it comes to consenting adults, I have absolutely no problem with prostitution. I equate it to bartending or serving or cocktail waitressing or delivering singing telegrams… it’s all a matter of how much you’re willing to do or put up with to collect a paycheck.

        • To give you a concrete example, I worked in an orphanage in Cambodia two years ago. The year before, two girls had been lured into following an older girl who promised them their own room, a motorbike and stuff. Actually she sold them and they got drugged and forced to prostitute. The police managed to rescue one (17 years old) after two weeks, but the other one (13) managed to flee away only after four months. She couldn’t go back to the orphanage after that, so she went to what remained of her family. But they had heard of what happened to her, so they treated her like shit. Plus, the girl had become addicted to the drugs that were used on her, so she needed her fix. So… she went back to her pimp. At the time I was there, the other girls would see her accost, out in the open, in sexy clothes. You wouldn’t have said she was 14 or unwilling. Since she had no choice anymore, she was making the most out of her situation…

          All the other orphanages in Phnom Penh have known similar stories, and their managers were actually sursprised when my manager told them he had lost “only” 2 girls! My friends who worked in India reported me the same things. I also met an association in Vietnam working for the reinsertion of former trafficked women, because like the girl I told you about above, the ones who have been forced into prostitution at some point end up going back to it, because they lost all self-esteem and the support of their families, plus the drug problem.

          A good indicator is the age of the prostitutes. In Cambodia, one out of three is underage. I can believe a 13-year-old girl can be mature enough to have sex, but not to make the choice of prostitution. And some “start” even younger.

          One of the strategies of traffickers is to move the women from country to country quite often, to keep them from searching help and escape. Here in France, most prostitutes are foreigners, from Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia. A lot of them “choose” it since it’s the only job you can do when you’re undocumented, but others were trafficked in their own country as teenagers and end up there. Again, a prostitute won’t tell you she’s being or has been trafficked. It would be bad publicity.

        • That would definitely alter my views on the subject. I’ve never seen anything that was anywhere close to child prostitution.

        • DemonicPIty

          I’ve lived in Vegas all my life, and I understand your perspective on prostitution and stripping. But your personal experience isn’t equatable to the statistics and scientific evidence of human trafficking (and coercion) that are very present in prostitution (universally). If it’s not regulated or legal, than you have no guarantee that things are kosher. Hell, Vegas isn’t even that great an example for ideal prostitution standards. There have been human trafficking scandals. Underage girls have been forced into prostitution here. There was even a case recently that dealt with a mother and her underage daughter who were caught ticking it up on one of the Fremont St corners. When it isn’t legal, and there are no protection and regulations, abuse is certain to happen. End of story.

  188. Kind of took me by suprise this TLDR… but you wouldn’t blame men for being horny… with all the nakidness in kpop – . -’ ….

    P.S: you blurred the first swear but you forgot the second :P

    Thank you!


  189. Isabel Ruby

    i knew about the “massage parlours” but i didn’t realize host clubs were a thing outside of japan [where they also have snack bars, with pretty women instead of sexy mens] … but yeah not super surprised about how rampant this is :P however…. TAXMANNNNNNN why u no sing song martina?

  190. Well in my opinion… going to massage parlors n all~! dint come as a shock.. i mean do people expect to believe that they don’t have sex? @__@.. n well.. where they go is up to them n all… what made me angry is the fact that he was in military service.. so like DUDE~!! COULDN’T YOU HOLD YOUR “NASTY” FEELS FOR 2 YEARS?? -_- thats where the issue got big~!

    • If anything military men goad each other on to do that sort of thing ;) I assume anyway since U.S. military folks only seem to get more horny while in the military… something about being around a lot of testosterone?

  191. I’m really glad you guys are starting to enlighten us on these controversial topics. The little advertisement cards are also very common in Las Vegas – people on the street hand them out to everyone, including women and children. Why? A lot of these people are forced into giving these cards out and the company watches them to make sure they give out *all* of their cards. It’s a harsh tough reality that you don’t realize is happening underneath the icky surface :/

  192. When this first broke out, I personally wasn’t all the shocked about the Prostitution thing. I’m not Korean, but I know that it’s almost expected that men participate in this kind of activity. I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s just what happens. Anyway, I’m really glad that Simon and Martina talked about this. It sheds some more light on the issue. :)

  193. Inaddition to the sunbae-hoobae relationship, I think the group mindset of Korean culture is also an excuse a lot of Koreans use. It’s also less accepted for someone to have a different opinion and not participate as a group/team and ‘cooperate’ by doing all the same things together or having the same opinions. This is what I noticed especially in netizens. Usually the bottom comments will say the exact same thing as the top comment.

  194. haruchi

    Since prostitution is illegal I was wondering if it’s the same like in Japan that you can do anything to satisfy the customer but not intercourse, so it makes it legal… (or so they say)

  195. I must be so naive that I did not notice this at all while I was there lol. I totally believe you, I just kind of walk around with rose colored glasses on. xD
    Nope, nuh uh, don’t see it.
    I did notice the blow up things with the girls in bikini’s on it though… didn’t think it was for happy endings however. xD

  196. “(…) don’t think that your favourite Kpop bands and Kdrama actors are all pure and innocent (…)”

    My thoughts exactly! Im not a big fan of kpop, i like a couple of songs and bands, however im not really into the idea of being a fan of somebody who is faking all the time, portraying a character… I don’t know if u guys understand.. Anyway, I tend to look at the fandom as an outsider perspective and i just think it’s so sick! Seeing people deny that their idol had plastic surgery (when some pictures are evident proof that they did) or genuinly believe that they don’t have sex partners or that everybody is straight or perhaps deny that they might be into some weird kincky staff is just beyond my understanding. Being a fan, to me, is similar to being on a cult or strict religion, following dogmas and shit… it’s creepy!

    Anyway, there is this japanese band which i happen to like. I really like one of the dudes in this band, accepting and understanding the fact that what i see of him is not really who he is. The thing is, i had a blog back in the day and some crazy people would write death threats to me when i showed my support for this dude, when a rumor came out of him dating a model. Since then ive been really hesitant about joining ANY community or fandom, not even fictional stuff, like my Little pony or shit like that (ive never seen it, btw, lol.). So yeah, i guess this whole rant was about how sick i think some people are… I really wanted to point out what i felt when i read this quote on your blog :-) So yeah… this concludes my monologue.

    PS: it’s hard for me to express my self in english, i hope everything got through though.

    • I am a huge kpop fan, but I’m not delusional like that. I know that idols and actors aren’t pure and innocent. I find it ridiculous that some fans are defending the idols like their life depends on it.. Idols and actors are people too, they can do all sorts of things, and some delusional fans should get that in their heads. >>”

      • And since most KPOP fans don’t even know the people (not truly know them), I don’t think they really have a right to defend someone they don’t know without knowing the real situation. Famous people are just that, people. They get angry, sad, some could drink and swear, smoke, have sex, and (the very good point made earlier by someone) could even be homosexual. Welcome to the real world :) (It’s a beautifully awesome and scary place)

        • Gracie グレイス

          I suppose the image that idols have is also what gets them international fans in the first place. I first started to like KPOP for the lack of “sex” portrayed in the MV’s (though that seems to be greatly on the rise -_-) and how idols seemed to be perfect. And in a sense, it made me gain hope for the American artists who seem to always talk about sex/drugs/”chicks” (keyword: Mainstream artists SEEM TO). I know that not all idols are perfect (as I started in my other post) but I do like how their music doesn’t always portray topics that are “adult” if you will. There is a way to do the “sex” concept in music tastefully, sadly, most groups (Korean AND American) seem to cross that line….. (Just realized how off-topic this is. Hm… EYK gets the party started!)

    • I know what you mean *sigh* actually I’m a big fan of Kpop but I still – hm, how to say it – keep my feet on the ground? I wouldn’t, even in a million years, believe that all the celebrities are pure, innocent people who have never dated, crushed on someone, had sex, etc. It’s sad that almost all fans believe that their idol is so pure and innocent :x
      And the issue when an idol dates someone – it’s just sooo scary what fans can do in those cases o.o

      • I can understand and respect your views, but there’s nothing “sad” in believing many idols are virgins, innocent, or actually who they portray themselves as. Sure, not all of them are, but if we don’t have some faith, then we might as well give up on all good possibilities in life. If we always only focus on the ugly truth or what could possibly be, we can’t be happy. So though I know not all idols are who they seem to be, there’s still nothing wrong with sane fans believing there are a good amount of idols who ARE the contrary.

        • Josh Chinnery

          I don’t think this person is saying that *all* idols have swan dived into the dark side, they’re just keeping their mind open to the possibility. The fact that so many fans freak out like they were just shot when they find out their bias is dating someone or that they might be intimate with someone (look no further than the crazy fans who found out that Victoria and Chagmin were on a so called “date” from their reflections on a spoon) is enough to make this person and myself uncomfortable.

        • Sierra Uhlinger

          This bothers me as you’re insinuating that it’s somehow bad or happiness-shattering to not be a virgin. The ~worth~ of virginity is something that I find damaging and stupid. You’re not automatically less of a person or dirty or ugly because you have sex or enjoy having sex or had sex at a younger age. I have a huge problem with terms like ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ too. And this whole industry’s focus on ~purity~ and ~innocence~ (especially in the girl groups) really disturbs me. Idols shouldn’t be shamed for having sex or smoking or wanting to get tattoos. Nobody should. If it’s not harming anyone else, leave them alone.

        • THIS!! your comment made my day! EXACTLY!! i remember about 6 months ago, somebody leaked a sex video of this famous couple on my country (Chile). The thing is, they were dating for about 2 years and people still called the girl a whore and a slut!!! It made me so angry! plus, if she was indeed a “slut”, who the hell cares! Virginity is seriously not a big deal, it’s not like you start your sex life and you suddenlt become evil, it just means you have disccovered a new aspect of life which you can enjoy.

        • Sierra Uhlinger

          Ahhh, yes, I do remember that being on the news a bit. And see how the guy didn’t get any criticism and name-calling over this? There’s also a huge amount of sexism involved around virginity and terms like “slut” and “whore” because women are shamed for losing theirs while men are praised for it. It’s completely stupid.

        • I agree with you. Although it is important to remember that not every person on the spotlight is how they portray to be, it doesn’t mean that everyone is fake as well. If we just think that about every single celebrity, then we could never be a fan of them ( of them personally I mean, not as in their music/acting/etc) because we’d always think that they’re not who we think they are. I know there’s also a dark side to kpop, like there is to everything, but the reason why I’ve stuck in what feels like this new world; what I choose to see in it is: the good will, the hard work, the effort, and let it inspire me to work hard towards what I want. I dont think it’s wrong to admire an artist/actor, as long as you dont idolize or think that they’re perfection themselves, but chose to see the good side that they portray if it brings something positive into your life. :) Sorry, I know this all sounds cheesy, but it’s just my take and personal opinion.

        • Mirya ( Mirka )

          I used the word “sad” because by portraying this image of purity and innocence for the fans actually is not a very good move (in my opinion (: ) Most fans start to believe that their idols are so perfect that they won’t and can’t do anything to harm the fans ( for example – when idols date, everyone freaks out and threats occur, and the most frightening : actions from fans ). The truth is that I do want to believe that there are idols who are virgins/innocent and are just waiting for their soulmate :3
          It’s just that all this “pure, innocent” image is kind of exaggerated and I think it’s one of the main problems why everyone freaks out when their bias dates (:

        • Very well said. ^^ Anything in exaggeration is bad. People need to know there is a limit & respect that they have their own personal lives as well.

        • i don’t think that idols not being virgins and innocent is an “ugly truth”… i think it’s just… ermmm… NORMAL! What really surprises me is people thinking having sex, being gay or having plastic surgery is a bad thing… it’s their choice anyway, and seriously, to me, them not having sex would be pretty weird, it’s normal behavior for all human beings. To think just because they are idols they somehow have different or better ethichs is just crazy.

    • I can understand you soo well. I am always amused by the thinking of some fans, that their kpop stars are “angels” and “pure”. I mean they are only human! Of course they are dating and of course they have flaws. I don’t understand: what is so bad about that? I like it more when a human is showing his real self. Now it is more like watching dolls. I still like them, but I can’t understand the fans that don’t even want them to be happily in a relationship.

      • I don’t mind the machinery behind the idol system, but I’m thoroughly creeped out anytime it shows itself in a negative manner.

        • I absolutely agree. I’m a little hesitant to write this (I don’t want anyone to feel offended.. I really enjoy lighthearted aspects of k-pop), but sometimes I get that feeling when you see young rookie girl *or* guy groups being marketed very sexually. Especially when you know that the group has had almost no input into their image. Maybe that feeling of uncomfortableness is tied to this TL;DR.

        • Josh Chinnery

          That’s the thing with K-Pop; sometimes it doesn’t feel like I’m watching an idol group, it feels like I’m watching a group of prostitutes showing their goods. Especially when they’re underage and selling a whole lotta sex (I’m looking at you TEEN TOP :P). That’s why the machinery bothers me; the fact that these guys are nothing but singing and dancing dolls 98% of the time. I love the light hearted side of K-Pop, but once you’re in deep… There’s no way you can ignore the dark side :/

    • This. I don’t believe for a second that oppar and unnie are innocent, or that all their feels go to their fans or band mates. It makes me a little sick anytime any idol says their fans are their ideal type; they’re encouraging the psychotic attachments these cray cray fans have towards their biases. In the comments of last week’s TL;DR, someone brought up that Taeyang said that he’s never dated or kissed anyone, and I just couldn’t believe that. Suffice to say that I made a very… not nicely worded comment that offended someone else and I just had to explain my disbelief in Taeyang’s words. Mind you, I don’t Taeyang for those words at all; I know that BIGBANG is one of the rare idol groups whose image and music isn’t completely controlled by their agency, but I know YG is not above encouraging rapid fan syndrome. Hell, the dude prohibits 2NE1 from dating. Who’s to say that he doesn’t prohibit BIGBANG from dating either (probably why that sex scandal with Seungri blew up like a firework show finale XD).

      • Yeah, about Taeyang, no matter how awkward you are with girls, if you’re over 20 you have dated someone.

        • Josh Chinnery

          Well, my other theory was that he was gay, so… XD

        • True. Only Taeyang will ever know…

        • Josh Chinnery

          Exactly ^^ I just want to point out that I’m not calling Taeyang a liar; I just find it hard to believe that he has never had a girlfriend. I mean, has the dude looked in a mirror in the last six years XD

    • With regards to fans being delusional, my theory is that it may have something to do with psychology – Impression Management in that how people see us or how we want people to see us is affected by the things we do. For example, it’s only normal(selfish, rather) we distant ourselves from people who has a crushed image/ failed in something and relate ourselves with successful people. So if somebody we like gets into a controversy, we protect them because in some sense, we are protecting our own image.
      But then again, this may not be applicable for everyone…

  197. Since we are on the sex topic, when are you awesome people going to make some awesome babies ?:D

    • Lauren Semple Stroman

      no no no! awesome babies mean no time for us! i will be selfish and veto any children!

    • Eh, babies are overrated… lol

      I only say that because I will be 33 next month… my fiance and I are not even close to having kids even though we have been together since 2008. Maybe we should get married first and then see how we feel eventually :p

      Kids are a lot of responsibility and I think more people shouldn’t rush into it. Just like marriage… in the last year my sister got married when she was 19 and her best friend got married (she is 20.) My bf’s family friend had a kid at 18 and got married at 19…. and these are all kids from rich areas in big cities (Dallas and San Francisco.) I really don’t get it.

  198. I get what you mean when you said Koreans pretends there’s nothing like this in their country! I didn’t know prostitution and those stuff were that big in Korea.. Haha Korea, ooh you so nasty!! :P And people always said that Korea was such a clean country. ..totally the opposite! xD …And those hooker cards, seriously? Kids must be scarred when they see it.. or not? :/
    I didn’t know what they meant by “Happy ending”, so thanks for mentioning it! :D When I read “Happy ending massage parlor” in articles, I was like WTF is a HAPPY ENDING massage parlor?! .___.”

  199. Durkee in Korea talked about the “business cards” in a video here: http://www.youtube.com/user/durkeeinkorea?feature=watch

  200. hooker cards…LAS VEGAS! saw them LITTERED on the floor everywhere. even though it was at night, there was still a ton of people(families). I was walking around with my little siblings with my dad and dudes even came up to him and tried to give him those cards.

  201. Hooker Hill (itaewon)

  202. PunkyPrincess92

    whoa!! didn’t know this was THAT big in Korea!!

    i think it’s nice how people respect their elders in Korea, cos that’s how i was raised, but there should totally be a limit!!
    like sometimes in dramas, holy crap i get so angry when one of the characters has to listen to an elders order and it’s just something so ridiculous!! i always at those times, that if that was me i’d be like screw you and be outta there!!

  203. Is like I always said: they’re so hush hush in dramas and banning MV, and trying to give the image of purity and we don’t talk about sex, and our idols don’t see porn o visit prostitutes, they’re angelic ect.. , but behind closed doors most of them are the contrary, like a lot a people in the world. I think that’s the reason birth % is so low, they don’t need a stable partner and don’t need to deal with all the complications and responsabilities a relationship brings to have sex, when they can have it anywhere XD

  204. Feygarden

    i’m not surprised prostitution happens in Korea, it happens everywhere. Just variations on a theme, I didn’t know they had host clubs in Korea, I’ve heard of them, in Japan though. There is an interesting documentary film called “The Great Happiness Space” about Japanese host clubs and the men that work there and women that partake. It’s kinda depressing actually.

    I think the scandal with Se7en is less about visiting a prostitute and more about the special treatment celebrities in the military get. Cause doing a musical in Seoul is equal to patrolling the DMZ boarder? yay right.

  205. I think I’m just slow, but what does this have anything to do with Se7en going to a massage parlor?

  206. One thing I want to say on this topic, all you Korean drama watchers out there, you know how a lot of the times there are scenes where the men go to noraebangs, or karaoke places, as a sort of second round after drinking? And there’s always these call girls, or women working there, for each of them to play with and drink with. I kind of find it funny that that kind of thing is shown on dramas, which are often very censored. I guess it’s such a normal thing among men in Korea, especially when office workers (many of whom are married men) always go out to eat together, which are called 회식, and go to noraebangs afterward. I wonder what happens if you’re a female office worker, that would be kind of awkward, hmm…

  207. I currently live in a big city, and my house is located is a very crowd area and that obviously mean a lot of people… so he have a lot of hostals like 3 blocks from here, and guys who make lines for their services =.=’ it’s a big business in the world I think…. it was funny how you talk about this xD

  208. Woahh thats insane… but to be honest im not that surprised, since from my perspective it seems like one of the main ways to meet people is through Blind Dates – which can be quite restricting, and in most countries guys have one night stands through clubs, and since thats not really what happens in Korean clubs (or so i am told).. so guys i would assume need to ‘release their sexual tension’ somehow. But its still surprising seeing as condoms/contraceptives etc aren’t openly sold.. How would a woman get a contraceptive pill? or do they just not even do that :O

  209. Even though it’s 1/5 guys pay for sex regularly, what about how many adult males paid for sex at some point in their life? Since some of them maybe did in their youth then got married and such.

  210. Wow, one would never think that about S. Korea, I’ve always thought about it as such a conservative society. I guess every society has it’s nasty parts. Thanks for making this video!

    • Same here. I never would have guessed. Thanks for bringing this up Simon & Martina!

    • Conservatism with stuff like this always means repression. It’s comforting to see that, okay, it’s out in the open.

    • Enslaving women for men’s pleasure goes well with conservatism, to me… They hide it to save faces, but of course it makes it worse. People were drinking the most under prohibition.

      • Lauren Semple Stroman

        I don’t think it’s about conservatism, so much as it’s about a culture that women have historically not been empowered. Confucius said women were, essentially, less than human, and were to serve men and do it gladly. In the West, women have fought this fight just a little longer, and are a few generations removed from the stage of the fight many Eastern women are currently facing. So, now, women are able to be the empowered, strong woman they should be, but there is still an old mindset to fight. Actual conservatism might include actually not engaging in sex, being boring while engaging in sex, or only using sex for procreation.

        • There is prostitution in any kind of society. In a conservative society there is the mother and the prostitute, one remains virgin till marriage, then becomes the “property” of her husband and have sex with him for children and not for pleasure, the other sells her body and gives up on having a family. It seems compatible with what Confucius said.

        • Lauren Semple Stroman

          you’re absolutely right that there is prostitution in any society. And, you’re right that sometimes women are “enslaved” by their husbands. This is not right at all, either. I guess i’m just caught up in the semantics; “conservative” is different from “patriarchal”, “abusive”, and other, commonly used words that aren’t actually synonymous. That’s why I don’t think prostitution “goes well with conservatism”. Although, I could be in the wrong, since, being from America, those words can be separated. Maybe in Eastern/middle-Eastern countries those words really are synonyms?

    • Korea was traditionally a conservative culture.
      But in recent years it’s been going through a sexual revolution.
      It’s a society still changing.

  211. I mean. I have HEARD of there being a porn/prostitute problem IN Korea. So, this doesn’t come as a huge surprise to me. But, at the same time, though, Korea is a slightly conservative society, so it’s weird to hear about it at the same time.

    But here’s my question:
    It just seems like that in Asia, there is a rising suicide rate, especially in Japan and China. How does suicide affect S. Korean society and how high are the rates?

    • They’re #1 in suicides in Asia sadly.

      • South Korea is second. The biggest country for suicide is Greenland. :)

        • Amanda Brohman

          Last time I checked Greenland wasn’t a part of Asia…

        • Candy Pires

          She means in the whole world

        • But the question specified Asia..

        • Amanda Brohman


        • I said in Asia :)

        • Jesus. I don’t care what you meant because I was putting across a point that I wanted to say. It’s like your desperate to make Asia the best place in the world to kill yourself.

        • Woaaaaa are you serious? I only reply saying that I said Asia and you are ranting about it? Calm down, are you ok? Very agressive o_O Someona ask something, I reply to her, you correct me and I explain myself I have the right to explain myself or reply back, is called manners. And saying that make me wanto to show what? Well let me tell you something dear, you look like and blinded fangirl trying to denying the fact that suicide happens in there and they have a big problem, very big. Not is not the best place to suicide but it happens. great day for you.

    • If I’m not mistaken, porn is banned in Korean

      • Nope, that is definitely not true. However, porn is banned in China.

        • “The Great Firewall of China” ;)

        • Korea has been blocking every Internet porn sight that they can find for the last year or so. Proxies are still used, but straight connections are blocked by the government.

      • It’s forbidden to produce porn in Korea, but not to watch foreign porn (which makes no sense if you ask me). Korea is the world’s biggest porn consumer.

        • Josh Chinnery

          That makes a lot of sense. Thank you for informing me ^^

        • 21tigermike

          It makes alot of sense because the ones ‘producing’ the porn are the ones making money off it (eg. selling it). You can shut them down with penalties/fines, etc. Also if you crack down on them, you take care of the ‘porn watching’ problem. For a country so proud of their ubiquitous Internet access, I don’t see why Koreans should be ‘banned’ from watching porn, no matter how morally reprehensible and ‘non-Christian’ it is.

        • Like prostitution, if Korea taxed it it would become the 1st world economy! ^^

    • Plot twist: What if sex is one of the biggest ways people in Korea relieve stress?

  212. Mafalda Panda Do Mar

    Can you please talk about #changeinkorea? Since you reently talked about racism, it would be awesome for you guys to spread the word about that iniciative and peharps discuss the problem of the missrepresentation of black people in South Korea.

  213. HI! I just wanted to get in a comment while there weren’t many… I love all your videos!! they are so interesting :) thanks for addressing some NASTYY topics :D

  214. I can’t phrase this another way without sounding awkward but I guess SK is being “westernized” or being “modernized” I guess. It’s about time they start teaching college/older high school kids about sex/puberty etc etc because I feel like Korea puts out an image on being “innocent” and I actually thought that SK was innocent compared to America or Canada (mostly cuz of the censorship things though. But after this post I guess I have a better more realistic understanding of Korea. I really like these types of TLDRs like someone said before, the “hushhush” topics :D You guys should do more ~ (btw, if you think that not everyone will like these darker topics, it’s all righty because I’m a nasty that will never stop my support~)

    • Prostitution has been around for millenia in every part of the world. This isn’t an issue of westernization or modernization at all. And let’s be real–this sort of “Korean” prudishness about sexuality exists in the U.S. to an extent, too. But that’s not to say that no one talks about sex, either. If you watch more adult, non-drama programs you’ll see plenty of humor involving innuendos and other kinds of sexual jokes.

      • Oh I should have phrased this better. I’m not saying that prostitution is the modernized part but the fact that all of this is coming out and there is (like you said) MORE sexual awareness. I need to learn how to express myself (properly through writing) more OTL

        • Gretchen R.

          It’s all right! It’s easy for us to misunderstand each other on the internet. What do you mean by “all of this,” though? I’m really hesitant about using the words “westernized” and “modernized”–a lot of people think those terms are linked to a growing sense of sexual awareness and changes in social mores in general, but I’m not so sure.

    • SK’s prostitution is not because of westernization. This comes from a cultural background obsessed with image and reputation, so sexuality is so far repressed that illegal prostitution has managed to become a very lucrative industry. It’s similar to how the US is so sexually repressed that it has the most thriving porn industries in the world.

      • I hope you realize that Prostitution was a big thing in their historical past as well. So my guess is that it just carried over to modern day. This is why prostitution is practiced in most every country.

        It’s not just because of the obsession with image, it’s also because well first off Asians, for some reason, are still seperating boys and girls & treating them as unequal genders.
        In schools you rarely see boys AND girls just “hanging out” to hang out. A boy and a girl are either friends from childhood, dating, or are friends with them just because they’re dating their friend.
        This makes for a lot of people, men, to not know how to sociallize with women -> lonley -> LUST FOR SEX
        But of course this isn’t the case for EVERYONE. Just for some people.

        • I completely agree! Prostitution has been a part of every long-standing culture, and it was even used in some cultures as a practice of religion. As for SK, which is a relatively new nation when compared to many of the other East Asian countries, it inherited many of long-standing social obligations about sex, sexuality, gender roles, etc. that are seen in places like Japan and China.

    • I had this view about SoKo too, that initially their media makes them come off as just really innocent. I think a lot of people are attracted to that aspect of Korean society but that sure is a lot of pressure to uphold a “perfect” image.

      I hope that someday Koreans can be more open about sexuality yet still enjoy that innocent facet of their society that so many people love :)

      • “I hope that someday Koreans can be more open about sexuality yet still enjoy that innocent facet of their society that so many people love :)”

        You can’t do that. You can’t say to a group of women that they should be more sexually open and still expect them to look/sound/act innocent. Once Korean men/women lose touch with their traditional values, they will lose much of the ‘charm’ of what makes Korea such an interesting culture/place. The two forces are inextricably linked. Seoul’s traditionalism is what keeps it from becoming Los Angeles, which is a very good thing.

        • To each their own. Some might think it’s a good thing, while some might not. However, I feel that if SK was slightly more open it would be better because from what I’ve heard, the environment is judgmental and as Cari said, your image matters a lot. However in North America I feel that there is more “space” to express yourself and you’re pushed to be an individual~

    • “I can’t phrase this another way without sounding awkward but I guess SK is being “westernized” or being “modernized” I guess.”

      It sure wasn’t last time I went to Gangnam/Seoul, but okay. Yes they have Shopping Malls in Korea. That doesn’t mean they’re westernized. :| It’s a super traditional society.

  215. Ah yes. I lived in Gangnam and there were toooooons of places with prostitutes.

    Interesting thing, though – I actually taught a girl who worked at a host bar. Haha She was really sweet and really matter-of-fact about her work. She goes, “Yeah, I serve the drinks and then sit with the ones who seem really lonely.”

    It was a challenging thing to force myself not to look shocked about what she said haha

  216. Gosh, I love that anime <3

  217. Dang. Your TL;DRs just got more interesting with all these “hush hush” topics about South Korea. Major props. It’s good to learn other facets about the place instead of just the one we see in dramas. No one should get uptight about what you have to share though. There is no utopia. People tend to forget this when they keep their rose-tinted glasses on for too long.

    • xuan6793

      I think it tends to happen because of the somehow overbearing nature of asian culture. You see, there is a strong sense of fraternal justice, honor, and responsability. Sometimes, asian people tend to bear their parents’ responsabilities, ties, relationships, or burdens, even if they haven’t taken part of it. Also, if you dishonor your work/family/relationship, r if you fail to do your responsabilities, you are often ostracized, bullied (although I think that’s not the word). All of this weighs down heavily on the person, and thus they may take that kind of iniciative…..=/

  218. btw i cant find jay park’s new song on kpopcharts

  219. They have those same hooker cards in Las Vegas. Dudes stand on the street and flick them at you when you walk by. Day or night, hooker cards EVERYWHERE.

    • They should ban that. I remember seeing them as a kid when I went there for the first time. Some of the kids I saw picked them up and started collection them for fun before trashing them.

      • Feygarden

        free speech, so um yeah……… but they should nail them for littering, those things get all over the place- that could slow it down. probably not…….

        • Or they should just litter where the brothels are. They were in very family friendly areas throwing them everywhere. It was ridiculous. I was a kid with a bunch of kids and we thought they were Pokemon cards or something.

        • DemonicPIty

          Haha, I live in Las Vegas and they passed a law banning those cards a few years back. It didn’t work of course, but whatever. And they don’t advertise prostitutes, they advertise strip joints mostly. Besides, there are news paper stand on every street corner on the strip that have porn in them… like right up on the glass are topless women… so you can’t avoid it. I’m 25 now but when my friends and I were in high school we would go walk the strip sometimes. Once I collected a bunch of those cards (like hundreds) and gave them to one of my friends. He walked in front of the rest of us and started throwing them on the ground like confetti while we held hands, skipping, and singing, “follow the porn brick road.” So, yeah… Vegas isn’t really that much of a family place despite all the lame re-branding the city has been trying to do for the last thirty years or so. Not that I’m complaining.

        • Dang. That’s unfortunate. I actually visited Vegas probably ten years ago and I’ve never seen what you described. Guess the parents really sheltered us there.

        • Cari 캐리

          Free speech should have a limit when it comes to little kids…. c’mon.

      • You know, prostitution is considered legal in the State of Nevada. Although it kinda sucks that kids are exposed to that side as well. But the parents should be responsible for watching their own kids.

        • I should clarify. They should restrict where these guys can litter those hooker cards. They literally had them thrown around very public and very family-friendly areas. Las Vegas is still a tourist attraction. It’s not just for adults. So whether the parents are responsible or not, kids are going to see these cards right under their feet. That’s how I saw them. Literally splattered on the sidewalks…

    • Yeah, but that’s VEGAS. It’s called Sin City for a reason. No one thinks Vegas has any moral standard to uphold. It’s a pretty sleazy place, come on.

    • Well it’s not just vegas. I’ve been offered those cards when i was there vacationing but sorry nope not interested. Hooker cards are also prevalent in Thailand as well. Not in those shopping districts but those pretty sleazy places where you know you’re gonna get/have sex. And it’s not just catered to the heterosexual people too. There would be pimps who would actually advertise go-go boys and attempt to talk your way into it *shrugs*

    • yeah that’s exactly what I thought of too. Ugh those guys handing them out were annoying.

  220. Dana

    all that’s left is a TLDR about drugs in korea! or did i miss that one? (i’m genuinely interested, especially the prevalence of soft drugs like marijuana and insight into whether korean youth are also affected by the recent upsurge of mdma use etc)

    • Maybe they could talk about Daniel from DMTN’s case as well…

      • I never found out how they handled that. He wasn’t smoking it but passing it out to others to smoke it.

        • Actually, I think Daniel eventually confessed to smoking it too. His court case isn’t over yet so we still don’t know what’s going to happen to him.

        • Ouch. I feel like they’re going to treat him more harshly than GD

        • Yup and being a “nugu” from a barely known group and company isn’t going to help. But to be fair, what Daniel did was worse than what GD did so he was going to be punished more harshly regardless.

        • Yeah, passing it out and smoking + nugu status = a lot more punishment

        • Paola Diego

          of course they will, he sell the thing, not only smoke it HE SELL THE damm thing XD, i like DMTN Music, but he will maybe go to jail, or probably because he is an Idol, the law will be blind or something like that and give him community service or whatever.

        • Not really sure but isn’t he Korean-American this might end up being like Jay park and him just leaving.

        • His last court appearance was about a month ago and there’s been nothing since. And THAT appearance was sort of overshadowed by the news that Bianca (a TV personality and one of the other buyers/users involved) had fled SK to return to the US.

        • Kaitlyn Gulick

          From fan perspective: He only confessed to passing the drugs from one person to another not “pssing it out to people” (aka selling it) or smoking it”. There is a lot of confusion, though, because of several misinformed allkpop articles that the company has pleaded with them to take down but they have not. Yes, it was stupid of him to posses it at all with the extra pressure put on him as a star, but his crime was small so I, personally, am hoping this trial finishes soon and he gets off with some public service or something so that my DMTN can be back together and making beautiful music once again. With him as one of the lead singers in the group, it’s difficult for them to continue promotions without him, though they have been trying…

    • Yeah that would be interesting. I know they make a really big deal about it, but idk if there’s any specific reason besides being “this is a drug” or “you’re an idol” reason. Like the GD issue where he had 3 puffs apparently, I don’t get it. And it’s unfortunate because people should care about the singer’s music more. Maybe it’s just me, but in the US no one really cares anymore, and I guess we just got to that point. People do it, unfortunately, but now we’re just like whatever.

      In my CRJ class I took about a year ago, my prof says the US spends a few billion only to prevent less than 2% from actually getting into our country. He says they needa stop treating the use of marijuana like it’s a social ill, because people still gonna do it regardless. And we don’t die from usage of marijuana, unlike smoking cigarettes or other drugs. It’s interesting stuff hahah.

      • ” Like the GD issue where he had 3 puffs apparently, I don’t get it.”

        lol It’s funny because i don’t get your way of seeing things. Different cultures i guess.

      • The funniest thing is that they get crazy over these 3 puffs of weed, but they don’t consider alcoholism to be an isssue!

        • Meanwhile, people passed out drunk in our stairwell every weekend…

        • Dana

          from a complete outsider’s perspective, it appears to me that korean people tend to hold up their stars to super high moral standards, as if the way people act in k-dramas (super innocent and “pure”) is what people are really like in real life. it completely baffles me! perhaps people are scared to recognize those very real human desires (alcohol, sex, drugs, etc) within themselves and feel like they’re proving to the rest of the world how “moral” they are when they admonish celebrities for acting how they, in reality, act themselves. is everyone simply in denial? wonder how that’s working for them when they’re passed out in the stairwell…

        • elizabeth mefford

          I am currently reading about the Korean culture and one of the main points is that in Korea “face” or “image” is a large part of the way people view each other. The whole levels of respect and image is about showing yourself at a high standard. I would guess that the Koreans would want the people in the eye of the public (especially international) to hold themselves to a very rigorous safe/good image. This would make the country look better and bring more positive views from others.
          When comparing America (I know it is mainly the USA) to other cultures I think it is important to remember that the USA is a relatively young country and that it has tried to allow for freedoms in diverse cultures. However, it is not to say that Americans are ok with sex, drugs, etc it has just reached the point that people here are numb to it happening. We see it on tv, hear it in music, see in our neighborhoods, and we know it will happen but there is not enough police to stop it and not enough room in the jails to hold all the people doing it. Also, by making it such a taboo, it has become an excitement giver until a person realizes it is not that major of a deal.
          Personally I feel education about sex should be more widespread, especially considering the diseases and consequences. I think our kids would be better off forewarned then “pure” and at risk because of their ignorance-it allows them to make smarter decisions. I don’t care what country, religion, race, etc we are losing our futures to the aspects of our lives we want to protect them from.

        • “Face” or “image” and respect for elders is ingrained in every Asian culture. Just that Korea has a very strong Confucius system where there are clear demarcations on respect. Other Asian cultures don’t carry it to the extreme Confucius teaching like in Korea.

        • AnneToTheEmm

          I don’t think it’s about denial, it’s more about knowing what’s right and what’s wrong, and act accordingly. Weed is illegal, prostitution is illegal. You gotta control your desires sometimes. If you don’t control your desire for say, alcohol, you’ll become alcoholic.

        • Maybe it is because of the confucious culture that has been around forever. I don’t know I’m very proud of some aspects of Korean culture, like giving up your seats on public transportations for elders, but I’m afraid it is also keeping Korean people or government from actually solve the problems.

        • Min Danica Kim

          Totally agree with you! In MY opinion, the reason all these pure and innocent covering up very human desires is related to Confucianism playing as underlying “rule” in society. People don’t tend to talk about those desires and illegal things because supposedly it’s uncomfortable and “inappropriate” to tell in front of everyone. Well then how are we supposed to figure out how to stop all those things? I’m quite concerned with this.

        • Cyber_3

          Rather that S. Korea being a partying nation, maybe everyone’s drunk because they’re unhappy? Kpop idols have this fake happy fantasy land that’s held up to “regular people” like a dream they can never catch to give them some hope, if the idols break the illusion, it’s bound to make people angry/unhappy.

        • sannetussch22

          So true. I live in the Netherlands and here they allow drugs and prostitution. And we sometimes just say something like alcohol is just as good a hard drugs like all the others. It’s also damaging your body and it can also be addicting. While soft drugs does almost no damage to the body and is actually saver then alcohol. I all ready told my friend once I never want to touch drugs (I don’t drink much alcohol aether) but if it ever happens that someone made a space cake and asks me if I wanted a little bid of it I would maybe even consider in trying it.

        • Dana

          definitely! it’s a point of view that people should really consider more, not that i am keen to promote drug use, but… imagine this – if you legalize things like marijuana and prostitution like in the netherlands, not only can you regulate it and make it safer, but you can tax the sh*t out of it! i would have thought most countries would be salivating at the mouth at the prospect of a cash influx of that magnitude, especially if in korea prostitution is already apparently so prevalent. (then again korea doesn’t seem like the kind of place that is particularly lacking in money these days :P)

        • sannetussch22

          I’m not keen on drugs aether I know how damaging it can be same goes for alcohol seen it all in front of me with other people and learned my lesson from it. That’s also why I’m not drinking a lot of alcoholic drinks + I only like those expensive drinks but that’s an other story whahaha. But it does feel a lot saver but now that I see that Korea actually has a red light district I’m also wondering if they actually have loverboys? Or what Dutch people call loverboys. The kind of men that tries to seduce some shy innocent girl with presents and a lot of love and tries to break contact with family and friends and get to the point that she needs to go to the prostitution or other things like that. (I think they do know I see that they have this)

        • Well weed and THC is actually proven to be healthier than most meds doctor tend to give people with skin or other forms of cancer. Still doesn’t make it right but, smoking other creates people for those who tend to abuse it, just like alcohol.
          And now I can’t help but think of my loving infinite and B.A.P when this topic comes up red light district and kpop I wonder???

      • It’s a little different. In Korea the idols develop pseudo “relationships” with their fans and fellow idols by participating in variety shows and developing this image as Elizabeth described as being “good” and in some cases “pure”. Therefore the shock is a little bigger (for international fans at least) when they find out that their favourite actor smokes or their favourite K-Pop idol was caught coming out of a rub and dug.

        In North America you don’t have that same interaction between the celebrity and their fanbase, so the shock isn’t as big. Or, in some cases, it’s almost expected. See your favourite rock star going to prison because of a DUI? No shocker. It’s such a huge part of our culture to see that kind of stuff in the news that no one can really be disappointed or surprised.

        • Dana

          yeah… in western culture/north america people seem to love to watch celebrities crash and burn… it’s sick if you ask me. both cultures seem to be on two extreme ends of it – one wants their celebrities to be “trashy” for entertainment, the other one wants them to be “pure” for entertainment! very strange and interesting i think..

        • Yeah, I totally agree with you. Both aren’t great.
          I was kind of thinking about this subject (celebrities acting out) earlier today. On the radio news they were talking about how a popular US singer peed into a mop bucket at a restaurant. I was thinking it’s really as that a). he thought it was ok to do that and b). his actions were considered “news.” It’s just more junk to gossip about. Sigh.

        • I won’t say North Americans love it. We like a good Cinderella story or a comeback also. Look at Britney Spears recovery after 2007 when people thought it was over for her. After she went away she was able to have a very successful comeback tour and album with Circus. Robert Downey Jr and his incredible comeback after overcoming drugs and going to jail he became box office star he is today. I’ll say we tend to like to see flaws in our celebrity, but we like a good Cinderella story to go with it. There are more examples.

        • irritablevowel

          I think it has to do a lot with philosophical and religious foundations. In the US it doesn’t matter how badly you screw up, you can always be forgiven. Hello there Christian values! Didn’t notice you hiding there! Ah, the colonists hid you in our cultural memory. The US loves a good redemption story (ala Downey) because it doesn’t threaten our cultural values, it reinforces them. On the flip side, as I understand it, part of Confucianism believes that whatever your particular roles in life are, you should do your best to do them well and correctly. So that would mean that in a confucian based culture a moral or ethical failure is also a cultural failure.

      • I think it’s good that they crack down (omg no pun intended lol) on celebrities doing illegal things because they set the example for young children and impressionable teenagers. They’re called ‘idols’ for a reason. The breakdown of America caring isn’t a good thing in my opinion; I feel like now we have more problems than before :c

        • Then why allowing idols to shoot commercials for alcoholic beverages???

        • Chillymilly

          Consuming alcoholic beverages (at the appropriate age) is legal in South Korea. Cannabis and prostitution are not legal, which definitely contribute to how taboo they are for idols to partake in. Whether or not it’s “fair” or “right” for certain things to be legal or not is something Korea needs to openly discuss and talk about, which goes beyond holding idols to a higher standard.

          Whether we like it or not, idols and celebrities are role models. Personally, it’s refreshing that society helps to ensure accountability to that role, unlike the US where vices are glorified in the media. Of course, some people take it too far. As the saying goes, everything in moderation.

        • But alcohol is illegal for teenagers, you implied it. Who do you think Big Bang’s “So Fresh So Cool” aims at, for instance?

        • AnneToTheEmm

          You can drink alcohol, just don’t become an alcoholic. It’s about knowing your limit.

        • These ads aren’t exactly encouraging teenagers to evaluate their limits… But rather teaching them than getting as drunk as possible is funny!

        • AnneToTheEmm

          Ads are meant to sell. It’s your responsibility to know when to stop (teenagers can’t even drink in the first place) and it’s adults’ responsibilities to monitor and teach the youngsters.

        • I don’t have the feeling that adults in Korea would show the youngers a good example about drinking reasonably! If a brand of alcohol wants to sell, they can make ads with older celebrities. Using KPop idols clearly means they aim at teens.

        • AnneToTheEmm

          Well then obviously the company is not the one we should put the blame on; it’s the parents’ fault then. Although I do know you can’t blame everything on the parents. Using idols can also target young adult, not necessarily teens. Young adults likes Big Bang too, and they are of legal age to drink. There are also brands that hires adults, not all brands hires idols.

        • Sure, but it doesn’t change the absurdity of the regulation. Songs get banned because they contain the word “alcohol” or “drunk”, because according to the Ministery of Banishing Everything it’s a bad example for the youth, yet there is no problem for an idol group to openly promote drunkness as long as it is an advertisement.

        • AnneToTheEmm

          I think you’re missing the point. When McDonald’s advertises new burger, it doesn’t mean they promotes obesity. It’s your fault that you eat excessively and become obese. It’s pretty much the same thing with alcohol. It does seem absurd to ban a song because it contains “drunk” or “alcohol”, I agree. The way I see it, they ban it because teens might think it’s cool to get drunk (because they heard in a song). In the ad, however, the idols are not drunk. They drink, but are not drunk.

        • I would agree if it was the case! But to keep the exemple of Big Bang’s ad for Hite, the first thing you hear is “everybody drunken party” and the last thing you see is all of them downing a beer straight. Even though we don’t see them wasted, for me the message is clearly “a party is funnier when people are drunk”. While some of the banned songs have just lyrics like “I’m drunk with love” or “you’re like alcohol to me”, not even showing alcohol in a good light…

          Anyways, I didn’t imagine my question would lead to such a debate, I don’t want to hijack this thread any longer. I thought the absurdity of this was obvious and that the Ministery of Banishing Almost Everything was just closing their nosy eyes whenever it was about selling a Korean product, but apparently there are differing opinions!

        • AnneToTheEmm

          To be honest, the Ministry need set their standard, as to what level is accepted. They’re going around banning everything without a reason. It’s ridiculous.

        • Kaitlin Beranek

          Because that’s an accepted, and sometimes encouraged, part of Korean life.

        • Don’t forget that songs are banned for containing the word “drunk” or the word “alcohol”! But if it’s for an ad, no problem…

        • Kaitlin Beranek

          Because the point of an ad for soju is to sell alcohol. The point of a song isn’t to sell alcohol, which is why they ban it.

        • …so it’s ok to sell alcohol, but not to talk about it! Just like sex, actually…

        • Kaitlin Beranek

          You’re moving away from the original point of this discussion. Idols set the example, so it’s good that their misdeeds are reprimanded. This is my opinion.

        • Idols are still normal people, they don’t decide the law. they sing. they should not be the reason of a fan’s behaviour. by all the crazy expectations of fans how their idol should be, should behave like. they should realise, you take away some freedom of your idol. people make mistakes, people learn from it. give them a chance to live, because they are just like everyone else of us. they wanted to sing, not to be the perfect person ever so that others can behave just like them

        • Kaitlin Beranek

          Yeah, but they’re still examples set before the entire country. Which they knew they would be when they chose that lifestyle. They weren’t forced. I’m not saying they have to be perfect, but it doesn’t seem so hard to avoid drugs, prostitution, and public drunkenness does it? I don’t think so.

        • well, many singers manage to do what they want; sing and have a private life. I think if people have a dream to become a singer, they know about that lifestyle but perhaps they underrestimated it. many singers write songs to put their frustratitions in it. that the world is watching them 24/7 etc.. did they ask for that? I don’t think so, they want to be famous , sing , etc but they never wanted to be the example of how other people should behave. being an example or being a singer is a huge difference. about public drunkenness, in korea it’s very normal. so if every korean person can be drunk in public without anyone who makes a scandal of it because it happens so often, why korean singers can’t? but that’s just my opinion, I don’t try to make you think the same as me. everyone is different and that’s fine :)

      • I am not saying that America has their crap together…I mean obviously if you have access to the internet it glaring that we don’t. I mean the sex industry here is treated similarly it seems. There are places were I can go and buy accessories or clothes and down the street is a strip joint…and a place were prostitutes were really famous for standing in the broad daylight. I mean the fact that marijuana use is looked down upon as deviant or women not wanting to be seen as sexual objects and protesting about it is considered too progressive…the idea of prostitution seems far more serious. I am all for respecting elders, but using them as a excuse to cover up personal behavior or questioning morality issues is pretty low. These guys should use their heads for more than a hat rack. (No matter how good looking or amount of influence they possess)

      • We had to do a thing on Marijuana legalization in Health Class last year, and there was a Korean in my class. I don’t even know if the idol part factors in, they’re just really against it in general, no matter how much convincing the people in my group did, we couldn’t win the Korean over, it just seemed pointless to him. I looked it up a while ago and from what I understand they’re uber-strict about weed in general, if they do blood tests and find even trace amounts of marijuana in you, whether you were in Korea or not when you smoked it, you can get into shit. (and that stuff stays in your blood stream for a huge amount of time, thus gdragon’s case) I really don’t get the whole big “war on drugs” thing there or here, people smoke it but it doesn’t even do that much harm unless they’re spending all day er day getting high.. the ridiculous amounts of cash that go towards getting rid of it when it could be sold legally and taxed for profit is just too much.

        • It’s not the blood. There’s usually a urine test (most jobs in the States seem to require passing this to get officially employment), but it passes out of that within days. It’s the hair (and possibly fingernails? not sure on that) that it stays in for a while – hair absorbs chemicals as it grows, and the test looks for the chemical markers. That’s what nailed both GD and DMTN’s Daniel (Dan’s urine test was negative, but the hair test came back later as positive).

        • I thought they did blood tests too.. hm, I didn’t even know Daniel got nabbed at all, last I checked he was going by the whole “I just dealt it” excuse (I didn’t pay much attention to that case, it upset me orz) Korea is ridiculously strict on the whole thing, if there’s any way whatsoever to detect weed, I think they’d be utilizing it..

        • From what a quick google search shows, blood tests *can* be done, but they’re (obviously) more invasive and less reliable due to how quickly it passes out of the bloodstream. 2-3 days and it’s gone, unless the person is a really heavy user, so it seems to be used more in cases of suspected DUI or accidents. It wouldn’t have been an option for either GD or Daniel, since they were accused of it months afterward.

          As for Daniel’s case… first they were saying he’d only hooked people up (as in, ‘where can I get it?’ “oh, lemme give you this guy’s number” or whatever) and translations of the early articles said his tests for it were clean… which is why you could practically hear crickets chirping from the direction of Dalmates when a follow-up article later said the hair was positive. Couldn’t really shield him on the basis of, ‘…well at least he wasn’t smoking it?’ after that.

      • You can die from smoking marijuana… It puts like 10x more tar in your lungs per puff than a normal cigarette does…

        • People simply don’t smoke pot the same way they smoke cigs, though.

          There may be a few people out there who can afford, and have a supplier for, enough pot to smoke the equivalent of a pack a day… but the average smoker does it recreationally, once in awhile. It’s akin to having a beer on Saturday night while playing poker with the guys – as opposed to going through a 12 pack a day.

          Also, this: http://adai.uw.edu/marijuana/factsheets/respiratoryeffects.htm
          “…three-fold greater amount of tar inhaled and retention of one third more tar in the respiratory tract.”

          And not necessarily because of the pot itself, but because of how it’s smoked.

    • South Korea is SUPER DUPER against marijuana.

    • drugs are not that widespread as prostitution and alcohol is and it’s definitely done less then in America.

      Drugs is a big culture amongst American students from high school to undergraduate but in Korea it’s extremely not common and if done, done very secretly unlike America where it’s done inside the school or with the school officers.

    • i want them to talk about the crazy sasaeng fans in South Korea :)

    • i want them to talk about the sasaeng fans in Korea….

    • You passed the most voted suggestion! Ha! Congrats I guess…

    • There’s a great book on an American ex-pat’s experience with selling drugs and going to prison in korea – Brother One Cell, by Cullen Thomas. Not sure if Simon and Martina read about this book, it also gives some insights into Korean culture in a very off beat manner.

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