Korean man mistreated for ‘foreigner-like’ looks

By Kim Min-joo
  • Published : Jul 19, 2017 - 10:13
  • Updated : Jul 23, 2017 - 15:12

A Korean man recently shared stories of discrimination he has faced because of his “foreigner-like looks” on KBS2 talk show “Hello Counselor.”

On Monday’s episode, a Korean man talked about discriminatory comments and treatment he received because of his dark skin and “foreigner-like” facial features. 


In addition to being stared at, he has even heard derogatory comments like “Foreigners like you are the ones who drive our country into this mess.”

Despite his appearance, however, he is native-born Korean, raised in North Jeolla Province. He said he couldn’t find anyone of foreign origin in his family tree. 


Pulling out a photo of his wife, he then said, “She is Vietnamese but people say she looks more Korean than I do,” questioning the legitimacy of the “Korean looks” and “foreigner looks” dichotomy.

The panel at the talk show responded by sharing their experiences involving foreigner stereotypes in Korea. Co-host of “Hello Counselor” Shin Dong-yup said, “I almost got ripped off at a restaurant because the owner thought I looked Japanese. I told them in Korean to stop ripping me off. The owner was really embarrassed.” He added people should speak up against such bigoted prejudices directed at foreigners.

Co-host Lee Young-ja commented, “Our guest does not have any fault. The prejudice in our minds is the real problem.”

By Kim Min-joo / Intern reporter (