Extra! Korea

March 14, 2009

Are Korean schoolgirls following their Japanese counterparts?

Filed under: education, gender equality, prostitution, rapid cultural change — extrakorea @ 6:36 am

This blog post, by Brian in Jeollanam-do, and this blog post, by Korea Beat, describe how some Korean schoolgirls are hiking up their skirts up when they are not in school, like their counterparts in Japan (see a photo gallery here, courtesy of Lao-ocean Girl). This has been happening for a while, as can be seen in this blog post, by the Metropolitician, dated October 1, 2008.

This would not be the first time that Korean schoolgirls have imported unfortunate sexual notions from Japan. In Korea, there is a something called “wonjo kyoje (원조교제).” It’s described here, here

In Korea, a place where scantily-clad women are used to peddle toothpaste and toilet paper, a quarter of high school girls in one province have sold their bodies for spending money (as reported in a UNESCO-published paper) in the practice known as wonjokyojae (원조교제) …

and here:

This mentality is what leads to “education fever” that convinces healthy 18 year-olds to take flying leaps off buildings if they fail an exam, or the statistic that 1 in 4 high school girls has exchanged sex for money or favors in some form (in one study done by a Korean researcher for a paper on sex in cyberspace). If it seems high, let me tell you that after having worked in Korean public, private, and especially alternative schools – this number seems to reflect reality, believe it or not. There’s even a name for the concept of underage female girls having sex for “compensation” – wonjo kyoje (원조교제) – which may give you a sense of how everyday such acts are. I’m not saying everyone’s doing it – I’m just saying that it’s not unusual.

Wonjo kyoje played a prominent role in the movie “Samaria.”

In Japan, there is something called “enjo kosai ((援助交際 / 援交).” Its similarity to wonjo kyoje, in name and in practice, is not coincidental. It is the predecessor of wonjo kyoje.

South Korea has a kind of love/hate relationship to Japan. It could be better described as resentment/admiration. There are still wounds from past wrongs that have not completely healed, but also a looking towards Japan, as the first Asian country to industrialize. From time to time, trends originating in Japan find their way here, and some, like these, may have a dysfunctional effect upon a society that is already straining from trying to marry old traditions with a culture of new technologies.


I highly recommend this post by Gusts of Popular Feeling, one of the best blogs on Korea out there.

Further Update:

A group of underage girls have been running in a scam in which they would lure a john (who was aware that the girl was underage) to a hotel, then blackmail him for money. They did it 21 times, for a total of 3.4 million won.
(Hat Tip to the Marmot’s Hole)

And there’s more information to be read at the often-excellent Gusts of Popular Feeling (posts one, two, and three)


  1. […] The Chosun Ilbo and JoongAng Daily bring us news of the latest gadget in the struggle to stamp out “wonjo kyoje” (원조교제), so-called “compensated dating” in which men pay schoolgirls for sex. We found out this […]

    Pingback by Police hope minors will use computer program to report pedophiles « Extra! Korea — December 29, 2009 @ 7:01 am

  2. […] knowing that she was HIV positive. It looks like she was engaging in “wonjo kyoje” (원조교제), so-called “compensated dating,” in which men pay schoolgirls for sex. The kicker in […]

    Pingback by Teenager had unprotected sex with men knowing she was HIV positive « Extra! Korea — October 27, 2010 @ 9:20 am

  3. […] Another effects has been that schoolgirls have been shortening their skirts, a subject that I and other bloggers have written about before. […]

    Pingback by Short schoolgirl skirts to cost 820,000,000 won of new desks « Extra! Korea — May 10, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

  4. […] Another effect has been that schoolgirls have been shortening their skirts, a subject that I and other bloggers have written about before. […]

    Pingback by New desks to Short schoolgirl skirts | Waiguoren's Weblog — May 14, 2011 @ 6:33 pm

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