Inter-Korean wedding agent assumes on a niche market

Hong Seung-Woo (L) along with his spouse whom defected from North Korea during a vacation to Manripo coastline in Taean county.

Seoul: These ought to be a down economy for North-South Korean matchmaking, but Hong Seung-Woo claims the seek out the proper wife or husband out-trumps all the factors — also threats of nuclear war.

“None of my customers actually worry about the threats, or perhaps the situation that is political the 2 Koreas. Probably the most issue that is pressing their everyday lives is getting married,” Hong states.

Korean culture has an extended, founded tradition of marriage broking, extending from conventional neighbourhood matchmakers to devoted sites.

Few get excited about the specialised market that Hong’s agency catches the eye of.

Once the newly-divorced Hong re-entered the Seoul dating scene in 2006, he finished up conference and – much to their shock – fundamentally marrying A north korean defector.

“We came across at a romantic date arranged with a shared friend, and I also remember thinking, imagine if she had been a communist spy?” Hong told AFP.

It ended up she wasn’t and, seven 12 months later on, Hong isn’t just nevertheless gladly hitched but has aided to complement around 400 South men that are korean brides through the North.

He started out organizing times between males he knew and defector friends of his spouse, before establishing himself up being a expert matchmaker.

Inter-Korean wedding is approximately because niche as niche areas could possibly get.

Sixty years following the end for the Korean War, the 2 Koreas stay technically at war and cross-border contact between ordinary individuals within the Southern and North is basically non-existent.

Permanent low-level tensions involving the two nations often escalate to dangerously levels that are high.

The existing crisis, which expanded from the North’s nuclear test in February, happens to be marked by mad warnings on both edges, using the North’s bellicose BlackWink quizzes rhetoric including threats of the pre-emptive strike that is nuclear.

But Hong’s company keeps ticking over regardless.

“It doesn’t matter what the North claims, i recently give attention to my work, that is finding love for these gents and ladies,” he stated.

In fact, the marriages Hong helps broker are probably more created in pragmatism than relationship – on both edges.

Considering that the end for the Korean War in 1953, some 25,000 North Koreans have actually escaped home – most after a famine that is deadly the mid-90s – and settled in the Southern.

About 70 % are ladies: a sex discrepancy caused by stricter settings from the tasks of North Korean males that ensure it is harder for them to flee.

Life when you look at the contemporary, capitalist, hyper-competitive Southern could be extremely tough for such ladies, whom generally lack marketable abilities and generally are widely discriminated against.

With assimilation this type of challenge, numerous turn to wedding as an easy way ahead.

“I would personallyn’t suggest marrying another defector in the event that you genuinely wish to begin a brand name life that is new the South,” said Choi Hae-In, whom fled Pyongyang last year and hitched a South Korean guy per year later on.

“You can discover things much faster and adjust to the brand new globe quicker by marrying a southerner,” Choi stated, including nearly all of her defector buddies had were left with South Korean husbands.

There is absolutely no formal data regarding inter-Korean marriages, nevertheless the amount of partners is expected at around 1,000. Hong’s is certainly one of 10 agencies that specialise in North-South match-ups.

Usually, females through the North for the peninsula that is korean been considered more stunning compared to those into the Southern, however the genuine attraction of defectors for many southern guys is based on their lowered expectations.

Fast development that is economic had profound social implications in Southern Korea where few ladies now aspire to marriage in a rural area, or even to a conventional spouse’s part in identical household as her husband’s moms and dads.

The pool that is dwindling of brides generated lots of men when you look at the countryside “importing” wives from Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam.

Hong admits that numerous of their customers are guys who does be challenged to locate a south wife that is korean. Some will be considered too short, while some have low incomes or live not even close to the town.

Ladies through the North, Hong said, were more ready to adapt.

“Unlike numerous overeducated, spoiled South Korean girls who have actually impossibly high objectives, these females are less calculating, more modest and much better chefs,” he stated.

Lee Keum-Soon, a researcher in the Korea Institute for nationwide Unification, stated Hong’s characterisations fitted a label of North Korean females that is extensive into the Southern.

“there is a fantasy that is common South Korean guys that ladies through the North are submissive, docile, much less judgemental about their back ground,” stated Lee, whom voiced severe doubts in regards to the future of any wedding centered on such assumptions.

While acknowledging the down sides defectors face in assimilating into the Southern, Lee recommended that the image of this susceptible woman that is northern to help make any compromise had been most likely wide of this mark.

Any girl strong sufficient to flee North Korea, just take the risky journey through Asia and then make it towards the south would quickly adjust and develop beyond the dream role a normal southern guy had envisaged on her behalf, Lee stated.