Ok, so this was a bit of a difficult topic for us to handle, because there’s so little to talk about. For starters, we’re not Korean teenaged girls. Kinda makes talking about it more difficult. Hell: we’re not even Korean! Also kind of an obstacle when it comes to talking about teenage pregnancy in South Korea. And, since Korean teenage pregnancy is SOOOOO low – just about one of the lowest in the world – what can we really say about it apart from talking about its lack? It’s a great thing, yes, that teenagers aren’t getting pregnant in Korea, but we’re not sure if the reasons for it is because of “wholesome” values, or for the purposes of saving themselves for marriage, or anything like that. Our guess as to why there’s so little teenaged pregnancy is because there’s so little opportunity for teenagers to have sexual relationships, primarily due to lack of free time and privacy. That’s our guess, at least. If anyone has any better ideas, please feel free to share them. We’re not fully convinced by our own explanation on the subject, love to see different standpoints on this topic.

Also, kind of like how we said that there’s very little crime in Korea, that’s not to say it doesn’t exist. Similarly, though there’s very little teenaged pregnancy in Korea compared to the US, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, either. It happens. And when it happens, from what we heard, it’s really quite difficult for the pregnant teenager. We spoke with Soo Zee about it, and she told us that there are centers for pregnant teenagers, because – in many situations – they’re kicked out of the house and aren’t offered any support from the family. We have no statistics on this, mind you, so we can’t say that ALL houses do this, but it happens enough to worth mentioning. There were also instances a few years ago in which pregnant teenagers were forced to drop out of high schools, which shocks us. Like we mentioned in our video, we had classes with pregnant girls in them, and they had a lot of support from the school, and we couldn’t imagine it any other way.

Side note: anyone see the movie Juno? You should see the South Korean version, “Jenny, Juno“, which was made long before the Ellen Page version :D

Back to the point, we’re only speaking here about the small glimpses that other people got from watching documentaries or reading the news on the matter. Our first-hand experience with the matter is non-existent, because teenage pregnancy in South Korea not that big of an issue. If you have more info on the matter, let us know in the comments, and maybe we can all together get a better understanding of what the situation’s like.

When we were planning for this TL;DR, we spoke with a few people about it, and the topic did generally turn to sexuality in Korea, which – FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE DON’T ASK US! We know so little about it, and can only tell you stories that other people told us, and that’d just be odd. “So, I knew a girl that _____” That’d be an awkward TL;DR. But I know that some of you Nasties take your name to heart, and probably will ask about it. PLOT TWIST: JUNSU IS SECRETLY A NASTY AND POSTS ON THE SITE.

  1. Korea’s dirty little secret is its sky high abortion rate. Thousands of girls have abortions before they show. And they are back in school quickly.

  2. What kind of facial image of girl which Korean guy like? The tone, shape, etc. Or the girl with a mole under her mouth maybe? hehehe

  3. They are probably marginalized and go into poverty like the US. Good teens aren’t getting pregnant as much there though.

  4. Theres a manhwa called Nan Eomma Nun Appa (I’m Mother, You’re Father) where it illustrates the life of a girl who ended up getting pregnant due to a one night stand. Despite its really frustrating and unrealistic story I just wanted to put this manhwa out there as like an example of teenage pregnancy in Korean media/idk-what-it-really-is-categorized-in. :)

  5. Koreans’ sense of honor and shame is also much different from westerners’. The family is so important and in Korea the family is one unit; whatever happens to one family member happens to the entire family, too. Any shame a teenage pregnancy would bring to the girl, it would also be felt just as much, if not more by her family members and she would never be able to remove the stain from her and her family’s reputations. So the pressure to stay clean and pure in their eyes is heavy. Even unmarried adult women in their late 20s get scolded by their parents and pressured to have abortions for the shame having a baby out of wedlock would bring.

  6. http://documentary.net/baby-box-unwanted-babies/

    What do you think about this and is it even something you knew existed?

  7. where’s the documentary link? D:

  8. I have a question! If you guys ever decide to have kids, what will you name them? What country would you guys have them be born in/raised citizens of??

  9. A big part of all this has to do with “saving face,” which is a concept that is HUGE in Asian cultures but not so much in the western world. It is linked to being a part of a collectivist, communal society versus an individualistic society. You touched on that when you spoke of the “lack of privacy” in living situations. It isn’t uncommon for Koreans’ living situations to include multiple generations. Kids grow up understanding that their actions don’t just reflect on/affect them, as well as having the understanding from early on that their parents, grandparents, etc. have invested a lot to ensure the best life they could for them.

    Not to say that Korean kids are perfect. I have an aunt who taught in Korean private schools for decades and is now a headmistress … and I’ve heard stories! ;)

  10. Are there many or any black people in korea?

  11. OMG korean game of thrones! I couldn’t stop laughing when Simon said that :)

  12. Question: Have you changed ever since coming to Korea? I know that Canada and Korea are different socially and stuff, but as a person, has Korea changed you? Do you act differently than you would in Canada, etc etc? (PS. I think there should be a video of Simon, Martina, Spudgy, and Memeers doing the gwiyomi song….. :D…)

  13. SimonandMartina, do Korean people really aigoo and aish? I’ve heard idols say it (especially Key) but do normal Koreans say it to? Just curious.

  14. what is ur all time favorite korean movie and drama? i would love to hear what both of u have to say about it…i know that Simon doesn’t watch that much but i would still like to know both of ur guys oppinion..

  15. Canada has 10 provinces. Quebec being the only all French speaking one. So that being the case, Martina do you know how to speak french and or understand it? Does anyone in your family speak/understand it OR is one of your family members French?

  16. How did you deal with culture shock? You mentioned that you studied a little bit of Eastern culture, but most people who visit still get it. Was it hard adjusting to living in Korea?

  17. I can’t remember if I asked this or not already or if Im too late (if I am you shall see this same question on the next video) buut I’m curious about korean variety shows? how popular they really are? Thoughts on running man? are any other variety shows as/more popular than running man? Koreans/Your opinion on variety shows? What was it like being ON a variety show??

  18. SimonandMartina, How did you guys become interested in Korea, and make the decision to finally move there?

  19. for singaporeans,teenage pregnancy is looked down upon too…at this time and age,you need a degree to save yourself a job, a high school cert or college cert is nothing anymore

  20. Dear Simon and Martina, could you please talk a little bit about your understanding of ‘fanservice’. I understand it from both the perspective of a fan, and because I’ve studied psychology (specifically collectivism as it applies to Korea). However, not even my MUM is patient enough to listen to me explain anything more than ‘they’re not gay, it’s just fanservice….’. Please make a TL;DR for us to show our parents that we don’t necessarily get off on seeing Jonghyun pull TaeMAN’s hair (though it was very hot), but it’s just ‘fanservice’.

  21. Simon and Martina, I would really like to know if there is any difference you noticed between Korean Kpop fans and International Kpop fans. Sometimes, I feel that fans from other than South Korea feel Korean Kpop fans are obsessive of their Kpop Idols while Korean Kpop fans think that International fans are being disrespectful towards them otherwise. Can you give your own personal insight of the matter? Thank you.

  22. Lolololol I’m an American high school student on exchange in South Korea (I go to an all girls school, I don’t know if that makes a difference) and we had to talk about pregnancy the other day in my Domestic Science class… I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know how all of that worked, but some of the girls in there seriously seemed like they were hearing it for the first time… Like I think they knew the jist of it, but it seemed like they had never heard the details discussed at length.

    After the lesson, a bunch of people were asking me if teenaged girls really got pregnant in America, and they were shocked to hear that there are twelve pregnant girls currently at my American high school, and that one of my sixteen year old friends just had a baby… I even know a girl who had a baby when she was thirteen back in the States :| I asked, and they all said that they had never personally seen nor heard of a girl getting pregnant in high school.
    And to think that my parents were worried I would get into trouble if I came here on my own for a year… I’m pretty sure I could be doing much worse things if I were in America right now xD
    Anyway, sorry in advance for the plug, but if you want to see more about Korean high school from an inside point of view, subscribe to my YouTube channel at SarahsSeoulSearch :) Thanks!

  23. can u tell us abt the haunted room in ur studio??

  24. I think, generally, Asian countries are more conservative and not very supportive of teenage pregnancy. i’m not sure whether all countries are like that, of course, but in general (and the country i’m living in), we are not very open to it. we would always encourage ‘pregnancy after marriage’ even during our class’ sexuality education. and i guess this culture that we have also play as one of the factors as to why S.Korea has such low rates of teenage pregnancies :)

  25. Hey. I’m a teenage living in Korea and pregnancy does happen, but it’s regarded as a extremly immoral thing to do. So even teens get pregnant, they hide it from their families and go in to centers protecting them, or well…erase the baby. I know it’s a big problem coz as abortion is illegal here, girls go to unlicensed places and get their body all messed up. My school teacher once told me that teen pregnancy is actually quite freaquent here, but they don’t get enough concern and protection they need coz Korea is still very conservative about things like this.

  26. Well, teenage pragancy is a greatest shame there. Your whole life is ruined anf it will follow u forever and ever. Virtually no support and yah girls are rejected by family and friend. Its a social death sentense. On the other hand, ppl do’t really think bad about AAabortion at all. Its iligal, but like prostitution. I never heard of many majoy crack down. Conclusiin. 99% teenage prag Go through aabortion. Never tell anyone Aand take Athe secret to the grave.

  27. What is the Korean health care system like?
    Danielle from Canada

  28. Hi guys! I really enjoyed this week’s TL;DR! I also just watched your live chat, and your comment about wedding rings makes me wonder, how is marriage different in Korea? I know you’ve already talked about wedding ceremonies and maybe even living situations, but I was wondering specifically about marriage. What are the expectations? What are the gender roles? How is it changing?

  29. Ha! on the Junsu comment in the blog. This was a pretty serious TLDR, and funny enough very related to my job, just realised I have a ‘Nasty’ profession…well not really. From the Koreans I do know, it does seem like, especially for girls, there is a strong emphasis on Christian values of celibacy before marriage and Confusion filial piety to not do anything that would disgrace your parents/family. That being said a lot of my westernised Korean girlfriends don’t stick to this, but it is definitely something they would not openly share with their parents, unless said Parents are very westernised.

  30. I remember reading an article earlier this week that focused on single mothers in Korea. Being a single mother is looked down on by a majority of Korean society – to the point where it can cause the single mother to lose her job, or get kicked out of the family. Single mothers also don’t receive much support from the government either. (Single parent families have it tough). The article said that there’s a Korean saying that goes along the lines of “single mothers sleep around and are not trustworthy.” This may also affect the rate of teenage pregnancy in Korea.

    I wish I could find that article again and link it. It also discussed abortion and adoption rates from single South Korean mothers. Anyone know the article I’m talking about?

  31. what do you think about the strictness of Korea’s penal system and the
    treatment their celebrities like Kang Ho Dong and MC Mong receive for
    breaking the law?

  32. Wonderful post! I find it pretty sad, honestly, that they don’t have the sex education we do in Canada where we go into details about everything about it so we can understand how it happens, why it can be dangerous, and how to keep ourselves safe. Abstinence methods never seem to work that well as it leaves sex a mystery, so teenagers are free to believe whatever they hear or whatever they want (many with the idea “It will never happen to me.”). If you compare Canada and the United States, two very similar countries, the average of teenage pregnancies is much higher in the States.

    Of course, that could be due to many variables but I truly think education is a big part of it. Many US schools try to avoid the subject and just tell their students not to have sex unlike in Canada where we are educated about it. I really think that many other countries need to step it up! Teenagers aren’t that dumb and can handle a lesson on sex, but they can be very easily misguided. This doesn’t just prevent unwanted teen pregnancy but benefits people later on in life.

    On another note, this is more of a universal thing, I find it very sad when parents won’t support their children. I think it’s terrible as well, kids having kids, but if it has happened, what can you do? It’s not the end of the world, is it? What teenagers need is support so they can still get an education and be able to fulfill the life they desire. And it’s even more disappointing that the education system would actually kick them out as well. However, I suppose in very conservative societies like South Korea and Japan where reputation reigns, that won’t be happening soon at all.

    But wow! Simon, where were you? I’ve only known three pregnant girls, two I had just heard about. I guess it truly depends on the area.

    Ugh, I just feel gloomy about this topic. I guess even if the parents are supporting the teenager and she is educated on sex, it’s still very depressing subject on its own.

    Forgetting all of that, I actually had a question. I was curious about the differences between the young and old generations. I understand that South Korea is very homogenized and relies heavily on gender roles but I’ve also heard that the younger generation doesn’t care as much. I was wondering if that was true and if it is, how so? Do you think the young generation will be able to change South Korea’s views a little when they become older?

  33. I
    don’t know if this will work or not or if I’m gonna seem like a total
    weirdo to even try this…but I have a favor to ask. My boyfriend and I
    have been together for almost four years and on Monday he broke up with
    me because he didn’t think I was as serious as him. Anyway, he won’t
    pick up the phone or answer his emails but I’m almost positive he’s been
    watching EatYourKimchi episodes because they always made him happy.
    *deep breath* If there is any way you could mention briefly in one of
    your videos that Lydia Lutz misses John Kwak and really is as serious as
    he is about the relationship I’d be so happy. He is a fellow Canadian
    from Korea and so I can’t just drive up there and convince him in person
    (I was supposed to be up there this summer). I love him so much and he is super important to me. Please please please help
    me! Thank you.

  34. South Korea is amazing.
    I truly love the focus on family… I have yet to hear “get out when you’re 18″ or some “omg he lives at home and he’s 25″ talk.

  35. Question: Hello, I’ve heard of a lot of Korean cults and have been approached by them in Australia. I’ve been approached by the ‘Heavenly Mother’ cult as well as the ‘Mannam’ / Shinchonji. They seem to like approaching foreigners – have you had experiences with them? What is the attitude of Koreans to them?

  36. From my experience, people from America would often say that South Korea’s mentality is several decades back. That would be why they would frown upon homosexuality, masturbation and teenage pregnancy. I’ve actually been raised with this type of mentality.

    Even 20-ish years ago, kids who had unmarried parents would be teased and made fun of. Being gay was also a huge sin.
    Now if you look at us today, you’ll see mothers who just barely grew into adults (without getting married), and hear rumors of guys getting it on with guys (I was one of those rumored ones XD). It’s prevalent, but the older generations still don’t approve of it.
    Now the 20 years ago would be like the South Korean mentality of today, and our mentality today would reflect America’s current one. At least that’s the way I think of it ^^

  37. I know Christianity is one of the largest religions in Korea , but are they any other big or lesser know religions in South Korea .Like …..Islam???

  38. you should watch 14 sai no haha. it has to do with a 14 year old pregnant girl in Japan.

  39. I think a major thing is people just get abortions. Or they use contraceptives. I mean I’ve talked to Koreans, and they say they knew a couple of girls who got pregnant, but they got abortions right away. Also, they disagree about the time and place thing. Teens are just too scared to get kicked out, so they will do anything to not get pregnant.

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