Who does that any more? I needed to meet this guy,” recalled the year-old freelance theatre producer with a laugh. After several rounds of shortlisting from a list of potential dates through the free app Norang Narang Korean for “you and me” , they finally got to exchange contact details and arranged to meet the next day. But Ms Chung was anything but impressed when her date, a freelance storyboard artist for TV commercials, showed up wearing a Burberry trench coat and driving a Range Rover, as if flaunting his wealth. Then we sat down to talk, and he realised I’m not the materialistic sort. I was more interested in his work, like he’s shot a short film, and his plans, and what’s he like as a person,” she recalled. After he drove her home, she bought him a cup of coffee to thank him – a gesture that surprised him as most girls he had dated expected him to pay for everything. That was the beginning of a relationship that culminated in their getting married in January last year, on the first anniversary of their first date. Ms Chung and her husband, Mr Song Kyung Heub, 47, are part of a growing number of couples who met with professional help – be they matchmaking agencies or dating apps.
Dating & Matchmaking Agencies
Matchmaking services, however, are legal in South Korea and about 2, Korean nationals sign up every year in hopes of connecting with a foreign-born spouse. Such matchmaking activities are also illegal in countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam and China, where a large number of foreign spouses in Korea are from. The Philippine government filed its first-ever complaint in January over Korean marriage brokers operating in the country, Kim said.
Last year, more than 80 percent of immigrants and foreign nationals residing in Korea were from Asian countries, the largest number coming from China and Vietnam. Call
South Korean nationals who run international marriage agencies in Matchmaking services, however, are legal in South Korea and about.
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South Koreans Turn to Matchmakers for Foreign Brides
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I’ve never used a specifically Korean dating service like Duo, but I did use quite a few online dating sites pre-tinder. Actually, I met my wife through one, and almost.
Seemingly unable to find an ideal mate in his native South Korea, the year-old carpenter joined an increasing tide of Korean men seeking brides outside the country and headed to an international matchmaking agency. The number of South Korean men marrying foreigners last year totaled 25,, more than double the 11, such marriages in , according to the Korea National Statistical Office. Japanese and Filipina followed at 1, and , respectively. The agency takes prospective grooms to Vietnam for a weeklong tour, where they meet as many as potential brides in their 20s, none previously married.
The candidates are narrowed down to a couple dozen based on looks, then interviewed through an interpreter. She is taking Korean lessons so that she can ask why. According to the Korean Nationality Act, a foreigner who is married to a Korean and has lived in Korea more than two years qualifies to apply for Korean citizenship. There are no statistics on how many foreign brides have fled their marriages.
Chinese matchmaking agency
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Perhaps it should start its own matchmaking service. Marriage is becoming an option, not a rite of passage, among South Koreans, with more campers insecure.
North Korean defectors mark the 10th anniversary of the Hanawon resettlement facility on July 8, , in Ansung, South Korea. She wanted to make a real effort to settle in her newly adopted country. She decided to marry a South Korean man. I didn’t know how things worked and I was lost,” recalls Kang, who escaped to South Korea in via Thailand. Hong opened the business in , a year after he and his wife were married.
As of last September, there were officially over 17, North Koreans living in South Korea, triple the number from , according to the Unification Ministry, the government agency in Seoul in charge of North Korean affairs. The couple’s agency, Nam Nam Buk Nyo , a name taken from a traditional Korean proverb saying that handsome men are from the South and beautiful women live in the North, has matched women like Kang with South Korean husbands in four years.
Hong says there are at least nine other similar agencies operating around the country, most of them established in , and he estimates about 1, similar matches have been made. Until recently, most North Koreans landing in the South, like Kang, had little or no contact with the outside world before they left home.
Korean, educated and female? Find a matchmaker
Choi Young-Hee took that adage and turned it into a business model. Choi is a matchmaker, bringing hundreds of South Korean bachelors and single North Korean female defectors together. It’s an idea that on the surface appears hopelessly flawed, given the current geopolitical status between the North and South. But Choi had a hunch when she opened her matchmaking agency five years ago that this sort of pairing would work. Nearly marriages later, with only three divorces among them, this self-made Cupid is seemingly a statistical success.
Vida is a bespoke, international, professional matchmaking agency specialising in helping successful individuals across the globe.
Dating had never been easy for Kim Jeong-soon. It was with a certain reservation, then, that she went on a blind date with a South Korean man three years ago; Kim Jong-il — whose name in the south is pronounced slightly differently to the late North Korean dictator. They dined on fried chicken and beer and launched right into conversations about marriage, divorce and what a future together might look like. Six months after that first date they were married. Not only was it a cause for celebration for them, it was another success story for the woman who arranged their meeting.
Han Yoo-jin has helped about couples marry since she started her matchmaking company, Love Storya, four years ago. Amid a skewed gender ratio, cultural differences and a desire among many North Korean refugees for a sense of security in their adopted home, an industry has sprung up catering for lonely South Korean men and North Korean women interested in marriage.
Her service is part matchmaker, part therapist because frequently mediates conflicts between couples, sometimes even after their wedding. But the industry has its problems, not least the fact that in the south suspicion of North Koreans still remains.
Upper class matchmaking
Kim Joon-hyup recently went on his first date in three years. But the year-old student wasn’t looking for a girlfriend, he was completing a college assignment. From picking the right partner to coping with breakups, the “Gender and Culture” course at Seoul’s Sejong University teaches students the various aspects of dating, love and sex. The class is particularly popular for its dating assignment, in which students are paired with random partners to go on four-hour-long dates.
Such classes may be necessary.
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Find Korean Matchmaking
SEOUL Reuters – If you are thirty-plus and a woman with a masters degree in South Korea, you may need the help of a matchmaker to find love — and your worried mother may even end up doing the legwork for you. As women in this rich Asian country have become better educated, with five times as many now getting advanced degrees as in , they have also become more choosy and are less likely to settle for the role of meek spouse traditionally expected of Korean women.
The age at which Korean women are getting hitched has risen by an average 4. At DUO, a matchmaking firm, its 26, members can choose between five different membership programs with fees from 1. In a bid to attract clients, the site displays the average annual income of its male and female customers, as well as statistics on their professional standing.
Critics say the industry prioritizes income, status and materialism.
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Korean matchmaking tradition goes high-tech
Dating is not enough. The nation’s No. It’s time we branched out into other business, and believe me, weddings and marriage consulting is right up our alley,” said Kim Hyae-jeong, president and CEO of Duo in an interview. Dressed simply but tastefully in a violet-colored jacket and matching slacks, Kim explained that she felt it a part of Duo’s responsibility to take part in the after-process after the couples tie the knot. Duo Wed and Duo Remarry are the affiliates that carry on the Duo name; the former offers wedding planning services while the latter finds the right match for people looking for a second chance in marriage.
Some say Kim had it easy over the years?
Matchmaking services can now be accessed by North Korean cell phone users seeking romance. Usage fees for the service are processed.
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