*This whole post is just copied from an American living in KOrea's blog.
The article "More Koreans seek foreign spouse for 2nd marriage" was in the Korea Herald last week, citing statistics that show marriages between Koreans and foreigners are becoming more common, especially among those Koreans marrying for the first time.
More Koreans opted for foreign spouses when marrying for the second time, the national statistical office said yesterday.
According to Statistics Korea, the number of Korean men who married foreign women stood at 28,163 last year, more than quadruple the number nine years ago. Of them, 9,930, or 35 percent, were remarried, up from 24.6 percent back in 2000.
The percentage of Korean women remarrying foreign husbands also increased from 36.4 percent in 2000 to 41.5 percent last year. In 2008, a total of 8,041 Korean women married foreign men, up 72.6 percent over the cited period.
The article goes on to say the number of Korean men married to foreign women is seven times the number of Korean women married to foreign men.
On Twitter a couple days ago I wrote
Which in hindsight was kind of mean. But, I wasn't thinking about the change in attitudes toward divorce---which in September was 58% higher than last September---or to greater tolerance of foreign men with Korean women, but I was instead reminded that many of these "international" marriages are unhappy. The Herald article continues:
"Korean men preferred women from China or other Southeast Asian countries after their failed first marriage, while Korean women chose men from developed countries such as Japan and the United States," said an official at the agency.
Say what you want about a "failed" marriage, but I'm reminded that mail-order marriages are increasingly popular in rural areas among men who are otherwise unmarriable: men living in sparsely populated areas, men in undesirable industries, older men, men with physical disabilities or mental handicaps. It would be interesting to look at why Korean men are turning to foreign women from China and Southeast Asia. Is it because they're, for a number of reasons, easier?
In April we read that divorce rates around the country are decreasing, in part because of
a mandatory system under which couples are required to take a one- to three-month cooling off period.
(what?), but divorces among Koreans and foreigners are up. The Hankyoreh writes:
Experts are interpreting the rapid rise in divorces among international couples as having a direct correlation with the large increase since the 1980s in rural South Korean men’s rate of international marriage. The number of marriages between South Korean men and foreign women, which was 6,945 in 2000, roughly quadrupled to 28,163 marriages last year. During the same period, South Korean women’s rate of international marriage nearly doubled as well, increasing from 4,660 marriages to 8,041.
An article from 2008 says that the divorce rate among interracial marriages is 41%, and says that four out of five couples were married less than four years.
I'm reminded of numbers that say 46% of foreign women in Jeollanam-do want to divorce their Korean husbands, or that 80% of foreign women surveyed in 2005 said they wouldn't marry a Korean again:
A survey by the Corea Image Communication Institute released yesterday has some interesting observations on cross-cultural communications and romance. Perhaps the most eye-opening was that eight out of 10 foreign women with Korean spouses said that they would not marry a Korean again, while over half the foreign men said they would go looking for another Korean woman to marry.
Here's a link to the original post: CLICK HERE