Korean society is rapidly changing with each passing year, and the dating culture is changing quickly as well.
[Interview : Kim Ye-gyeong, Seoul resident] "Dating culture has changed so much. When we were young, we were afraid to even hold hands out in public, but these days couples aren't afraid to show their affection on the subway or on the street".
[Interview : Jeon Hyeon-suk, Seoul resident] "I think the culture has become more open, and now women are just as aggressive as men in dating".
In the 1970s and 1980s, dating in Korean society was conservative, consisting mostly of exchanging written letters or having tea. Dating was also mostly controlled by men.
Today, couples seem more free to actively pursue their relationships. What brought about this change
[Interview : Seo Byeong-gi, Culture critic] "Values in Korea were changed as society underwent rapid development. The Internet, TV, and cell phones also impacted the dating culture as well".
How do couples date in 2012 Korea[Interview : Jang Ju-yeong, College student] "It's our 100-day anniversary, so I came to buy a couple ring with the money I saved up over the last three months".
He's planning a variety of things for their 100-day anniversary.
[Interview : Jang Ju-yeong, College student] "I'm also planning a trip, and planning to go see plays and musicals. I generally try to do things that my girlfriend would like".
Korean couples have many special days in the year. Besides Valentine's Day and White Day, they also celebrate their 100-day, 200-day, 1-year anniversaries and holidays like Christmas.
Most special days come with gifts.
[Interview : ] "I prepared this for our 100-day anniversary".
[Interview : ] "Thanks".
[Interview : ] "I'll shower you with more presents in the future".
Some college students even take on part-time jobs to pay for these events.
[Interview : Kim Da-yeong, College student] "I'm really happy and feel loved".
How do Korean couples split the costs of dating
There are also new ways for couples to find each other. In Korea, smartphones have created a new dating trend among its 20 million users.
At this office in Seocho-dong, Yu Gae-young peeks at her phone at every chance. She's using a matchmaking smartphone application that lets her choose potential dates.
[Interview : Yu Gae-yeong, Dating application user] "It's a little embarrassing to ask my friends to set me up, and I have to ask what the other person is like, what he likes, what he likes to do. It's more convenient and discreet to use a smartphone application".
Applications that create matches according to the user's interests are very popular in Korea.
[Interview : Han Sang-gwon, Employee
Dating application developing company] "We have about 180,000 registered users, and the number is growing everyday. I think our biggest appeal is being able to meet people easily, anytime, anywhere".
TV also has a big impact on dating culture in Korea. Take a look at this couple, looking at wedding dresses.
They seem ecstatic about the dress.
Soon, the bride goes to get her makeup done. Are they getting married today
[Interview : PD] "Are you getting married today[Interview : Gong Ji-hye, "Virtual Wedding" user] "No. This is just a "virtual wedding""
The couple don a dress and tuxedo to read their vows, just as they would at a real wedding. But this is all just a fun experience.
[Interview : Gong Ji-hye, "Virtual Wedding" user] "We saw celebrities getting virtual weddings on TV, and thought it would be fun to do it ourselves. A lot of my friends were doing it too, so we wanted to create some memories of our own".
A TV program where celebrities have virtual weddings and lead virtual married lives has gained immense popularity in Korea, and non-celebrity couples have begun to show interest in virtual weddings.
[Interview : Gu Seong-wan, CEO
Wedding company] "Before, there weren't very many couples who took pictures together before they got married, but more couples are doing that now. It's a special experience to do so. They seem to like it".
A virtual wedding costs about US$345. It's not a small amount, but reservations are always full. But these changes in the Korean dating culture are also originating some concerns.
[Interview : Seo Byeong-gi, Culture critic] "Compared to the past, there seems to be less effort among couples to truly communicate and understand each other. I think that there needs to be education to help couples build more etiquette and trust in romantic relationships".
Romantic relationships in Korea are becoming more open and free, in step with the changes in society.
We hope that these changes will all be for the better, accompanied by mutual respect and understanding.
Somethings never change.
The ever-importance of good communication.
I'm so intrigued by the simulated marriage.
Sounds like good practice!
Source : www.arirang.co.kr/New... ( English Korean )
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