Category Archives: Asia

Japan,Korea,China

Why is Modern Korean culture so shallow?

Why is it shallow? If you mean by they care about their physical appearance more – I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Our physical appearance is something that everyone always sees, and its the first thing people see about us. Whenever we buy a Macbook or an iPhone or gaze our eyes upon a stunning 4K OLED TV, or an Aston Martin, we are effectively being ‘shallow’ because we care about the appearance of other things in our life. So why not with people? We only have a limited amount of time on this Earth? Why not strive to improve our physical appearance as long as we have the youth and the time and capability to do so?

Koreans realize that there is value to be had in caring about appearance- actually all human beings subconsciously care about appearance (ask any guy who assigns ratings to girls on the scale of 1–10) – its just that Koreans realize this more than other people do. There’s value in looking good – people who look better are often treated better than ugly people – and this is true across different cultures. 
Ask anyone – How would you treat a guy who is wearing baggy shorts and a tshirt and completely bearded compared to that same person clean shaven wearing a suit? How would you treat a girl who is wearing slacks, hoodie and no makeup compared to the same girl wearing full makeup, one piece dress and high heels?
If your answer is ‘exactly the same’ then you are lying.

In any case there’s value to be had in caring about your outer beauty – (inner beauty of course is also important but it can’t be changed as easily) – and Koreans realize this. Other cultures are shallow too but in other ways. Why do Chinese people put so much value into showing off name brand items and wealth? Isn’t that a form of shallow-ness as well? Except in this case I would say there’s less benefit to be had. I would not treat someone who drove a Mercedes or carried a Louis Vuitton bag any different than someone who drove a Hyundai Accent and carried a no name wallet. And most people wouldn’t across the world. Perhaps in China there’s some value to be had but its not a transferable value. Unlike physical appearance which has transferable value anywhere in the world because EVERY CULTURE cares about physical beauty to some degree.Koreans just care about it more. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Between Korea, China, and Japan, which country has a more “intense” work culture (on average)?

I’ve only worked in Korea, not in Japan or China but I’m inclined to say Korea because:

  1. they have 눈치 culture which means you gotta respect your seniors and boss and cannot say anything back. For example you cannot leave your work until your boss does
  2. 회식 which is a type of dinner you have with your coworkers, but you cannot refuse. Your boss invites you to go drinking, you have to go because of 눈치 and sometimes your work details can be affected as a result of these dinner meetings
  3. There’s no separation of personal and work life. Your work life is your personal life. If you got pregnant, you have chance of getting fired. If you got a needy bf/gf? too bad that decreases your chances of getting hired or keeping your job.
  4. 9–6 is the common Korean work hours shift, but its not uncommon to see people working until 9pm, 10pm, midnight, or even 1–2am. Working weekends is normal too.
  5. Its frowned upon to switch companies. If you have too many companies on your resume your new employers might question your loyalty and refuse to hire you.

In my experience meeting Japanese and Chinese people, it seems Japan work culture is very similar but maybe not quite as intense as Korea (90% as intense?) after all Korea’s strict hierarchical work culture comes from Japanese work culture.

In contrast Chinese work culture seems more similar to American work culture and they seem to have little of any of these things. Sure people work overtime in China too especially in cities like Beijing or Shanghai but I think overall Chinese work culture is more flexible and loose.

What will it take for KPop to overtake American pop music?

Kpop will never overtake American pop music.

  1. Patriotism factor – Americans will support American artists over Korean artists
  2. Korean artists don’t speak English well. This is a massive barrier. No American is going to listen to some song where they don’t understand the lyrics. And no, most Americans are not crazy BTS ARMY fans who will google translate all the lyrics either
  3. Korean artists usually don’t sing. They mostly dance. You see with American musicians, a lot of them actually play instruments. Jason Mraz, John Mayer, Bruno Mars etc yes I realize Beyoncé and Ariana Grande dont play instruments but they sing a heck of a lot better to compensate for it, *in addition* to dancing. In kpop groups there’s one girl or guy that sings and the rest dances. It’s more similar to JabbaWockeez than Rihanna tbh. And that’s why I hate the comparison to the Beatles, a band that sold 600 million records, revolutionized their industry and all played their own instruments. A better comparison would be N’Sync or Backstreet Boysor Spice Girls.
  4. Korean culture is different than American culture. Kpop boy bands look way too effeminate for Americans. Kpop girl groups look like strippers and are strongly anti-feminist in the way they project themselves (they are selling themselves as sexual objects). They dance in groups rather than solo. American pop music is mostly solo artists. It’s unlikely to go over well in mainstream America.
  5. The songs all sound similar. It’s EDM / hip hop based. American pop music has way more variety than that. An Ed Sheeran song sounds quite different from a Sam Smith song or a One Direction song or a Maroon5 song or a Jonas Brothers song. Kpop groups.. could you really tell a Red Velvet song from a BlackPink song if I didn’t show you the music video and you didn’t know already who came out with it?