Since the early 1990s, there has been a critical shortage of marriageable women in farming and fishing villages in Korea. This shortage, which has become a major social problem, resulted from a mass exodus of Korean women to cities and industrial zones. Korea's efforts to give rural bachelors a chance to marry have succeeded in providing 120,146 brides from 123 countries. However, the Korean government has proven to be ill-prepared to deal with the problems that foreign brides have encountered: family squabbles, prejudice, discrimination, divorce, suicide, and many adversities. The UN Commission on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination warned Korea to stop mistreatment of foreign brides and their children, those of so-called mixed blood, on account of human rights violations.
This book comprehensively covers Korean multiculturalism, with a focus on the foreign brides. In a two-pronged ethnographic approach, it offers a historical account of Korean immigration and naturalization, while also relating that past to the contemporary situation. As more and more people cross national boundaries, this detailed description of Korean multiculturalism serves as a valuable case study for an increasingly globalized world. Kim tells the stories of these voiceless women in a compassionate manner.
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About the Author
Choong Soon Kim is president of the Cyber University of Korea and professor emeritus of the University of Tennessee. He is the author of a number of books, including One Anthropologist, Two Worlds: Three Decades of Reflexive Fieldwork in North America and Asia (2002).
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Koreans as Descendants of Immigrants
Chapter 2. The Epic Journey of an Archaeologist in Search of His Ancestress
Chapter 3. The Emergence of the "Pure-blood" Myth and Human Rights
Chapter 4. Tales of Foreign Brides Who Married via International Marriage Brokers
Chapter 5. Stories of Foreign Brides Who Were Married by a Religious Organization
Chapter 6. Foreign Brides Who Fell in Love with Korean Men
Chapter 7. The Characteristics of Korean Multiculturalism and Its Outlook for the Future
What People are Saying About This
Kim’s latest book is a ground-breaking masterpiece.His argument that Korea has become a multicultured society despite the myth of its homogeneity is fascinating, informative, and persuasive.It is valuable reading for anyone interested in ethnic studies and must reading for students of contemporary Korean culture.
Choong Soon Kim’s Voices of Foreign Brides is as much a thought-provoking study of multiculturalism (in a country not known for its attention to cultural differences) as it is a rich, nuanced, and engrossing chronicle of the many Chinese and Southeast Asian women recruited by the Korean government to marry rural Korean men. With compelling ethnographic descriptions, Kim describes the dilemma of both the rural bachelors left behind as women flock to cities and the plight of these new immigrants. In the process, Kim sheds new light on the conflict between Korea’s imagined homogeneity and its real cultural and ethnic diversity.
Kim’s is the seasoned voice of mature observer of Korea. Through the voices of ‘foreign brides,’ Kim interrogates Korea’s foundational myths. This intellectual odyssey invites us to observe a transforming South Korea through new eyes.