Drinking Culture In South Korea

Topics: Alcoholic beverage, Korean language, Drinking culture Pages: 8 (685 words) Published: July 12, 2015
LITERS PER CAPITA CONSUMPTION
OF ALCOHOL IN SOUTH KOREA
PER YR

SHARE OF SOJU IN THE
SPIRITS MARKET
IN SOUTH KOREA

PRICE OF A BOTTLE OF SOJU
RICE ALCOHOL

Source: Quartz|Ritchie King

‘Sul’
def: general purpose Korean word for alcohol.
Signifies a culture, sharing between friends

Essential Social Activity in South Korea
Belief:

Alcohol brings people closer together

Long tradition of consuming alcohol to celebrate holidays in which they honour ancestors. Some of the holidays included Lunar New Year and South Korea’s Day of Thanks

FARMING

MEDICINAL VALUE

Once the harvest has ended farmers would
spend their downtime brewing and fermenting
alcohol as they looked forward to the spring.

Korean ancestors consumed Seju to drive out disease
and bad spirits. Korean ancestors took great pains to
pass down drinking customs

DAEBOREIUM
On New Year's first full moon night, Koreans
drink Daeboreium or "ear-quickening wine"
in hopes of hearing good news quickly for
the next year. Children do not drink alcohol
but are encouraged to place their lips to the
glass, and then pour the wine in a chimney.

TEMPERAMENT OF KOREAN PEOPLE
The drinking culture in Korea has much to do with the free and lively temperament of its people. Koreans have intense
feelings and high spirits, and love to enjoy themselves.
The Korean tradition of generous hospitality and the timehonored custom of sharing a drink to deepen relationships can lead to drinking in various social settings.

STRONG HIERARCHICAL SYSTEM
• Being invited out to drinks by a superior is one of the
biggest compliments a Korean worker can receive.
• If your boss is constantly re-filling your soju cup, it’s COLLECTIVISM
a sign that he really likes you.
Belonging to a group is vital to one's identity. To
succeed in a group, one must please the others.
Alcohol plays an essential role in lubricating this
system.

RESPECT
• Drinking is how you show your elders respect and how they show you respect
• Older people are more superior to those younger than them. A younger person cannot refuse a drink offered to them by someone older.

LOOSENING SCREWS
• Drinking is important because it lets you open a whole can of things that can’t and won’t be said!
• Prevalent attitude : the person who drinks less than his counterparts is hiding something or is afraid to let down his defenses.

Expenditure on alcohol by
Koreans per year

of alcohol consumed in one year

H o e s i k (회식)
a company sponsored meal that involves alcohol consumption. It is usually vital to sealing the deal on business engagements or helps welcome new members.

On the flipside…




Alcohol was a factor in almost a third of the 3 most serious crimes – including murder, robbery and rape
Drunkenness was cited in 76% of public order offences and 44% of cases of domestic violence.
Vicious drinking cycle – Men tend to resort to violence because they are drunk, and then drink more to avoid the shame of what they have done.

…But the trend is changing







People refrain from binge drinking which is pointed as a social problem Movement towards drinks with lower alcohol content
Businesses have created internal rules to prevent excessive drinking The 911 campaign – 1 round of 1 type alcohol by 09:00 pm
Socializing at homes rather than pubs and bars
Growth in sales volume of alcohol is decreasing

1. Fill up the other person’s glass if it is
empty
2. When someone is filling your glass
hold it with both hands
3. Turn your back to anyone of higher
rank as you drink

1.
2.
3.

Never fill your own glass
Never fill the glass if it is partially full
Refusing a drink offered by a higher
ranking official would hurt his kibun –
politely refuse if required

How to politely refuse a drink – Advice for teetotalers
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Excuse yourself citing health / personal or religious reasons Explain that you are taking...
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