South Korea Tops Plastic Surgery Tables Again, Netizens React

When British magazine The Economist reported on global rates of plastic surgery on April 23, South Korea emerged as the most-cosmetically enhanced population in the world. Naturally, when the story was carried by various news outlets around Korea, it set chin implants wagging, with some netizens opening their wide, double-lidded eyes in disbelief while others lamented the demise of natural Korean beauty.

The data used in the report was from a 2010 survey by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ISAPS). While the total number of aesthetic surgical procedures carried out was highest in the US, when the data was adjusted for population size, it was revealed that for every 1000 Koreans, 16 had undergone plastic surgery of some description. However a Chosun Ilbo article commented that almost half of these procedures were non-invasive treatments such as botox and peeling.

Kim Ah Jong Before and After

The Evolution of Actress Kim Ah Joong

Although plastic surgery is relatively common in South Korea, some foreign netizens have pointed out that the data presented in the Economist infographic may not give the full picture, since it does not include all procedures carried out by all surgeons (or by unlicensed practitioners), and also does not appear to have been adjusted for those patients coming into Korea from other countries, most notably China, for medical tourism. Furthermore, although most netizens assume that the majority of the recipients of this surgery are women, the data provided by the chart does not indicate the ratio of male to female patients.

Lee Min Ho and his Nose

He nose we know.

Korean netizens were generally accepting of the fact that plastic surgery is a South Korean socio-cultural phenomenon, but their comments also highlight a backlash to the artificial beauty popularized by the media and picture-perfect celebrities.But what do you think? Are Koreans plastic fantastic? Vote in the koreaBANG poll below.

Emoticon Plastic Surgery

Comments from Naver:


Though for some time preoccupation with appearance has been spreading and plastic surgery is now a very natural thing, I’m just sick of it. So people with natural beauty are all the more beautiful. Do you absolutely have to be attractive? Rather than seeking artificial beauty or having plastic surgery, it seems to me that standard procedure should be for those who really need plastic surgery (like people who’ve had an unfair accident)


Just what you’d expect from the Chosun Ilbo…This article was also translated in the Japanese edition; I guess it’s supplied for people who hate Korea. It’s like a newspaper for national traitors.


Unfortunately, it’s become the norm, so that’s just that, but the fact that the way of thinking has spread that women have plastic surgery for self-development and that they try [to have surgery] really annoys and frustrates me.. Honestly, if you think that way, then don’t hide that you’ve had it, just proudly reveal it. And please, don’t say ridiculous things like you’re doing it for self-fulfilment. I might accept it if there was like an uninhabited island where you went and lived alone, but where is there such a place, honestly..Don’t say stuff like that, if you don’t lie about the reality of plastic surgery, it won’t be seen negatively.


At the height of the 1990s a song called ‘Plastic Beauty’ by a group called Noise had already foreseen this, I guess.


A few days ago there was an article about how we’re an Asian nation who are worse at gender equality than Pakistan, yesterday there was an article ‘Unmarried Korean women want a husband who earns at least twice as much as they do’ and today there’s even an article about how Korea is number one in the world for plastic surgery. What does all this mean? Ultimately the only conclusion is that Korean women’s independence and desire to work is at the lowest level in Asia , and that their way of life is to remodel their appearance and sponge off men.


So one out of five Korean women is a fraudster, are they? When they pop out a few kids, the truth will become clear.


So where are all the kimchi girls hiding who say that there is more plastic surgery in Japan or Brazil than there is in Korea? ke ke ke


From now on, when you look at a woman, look at her body and her capability rather than her face.


Nowadays it seems like even total munters can be made pretty and flawless… Korean surgeons totally have the hands of God.

assa**** :

Ah, now the reality is that you can’t even trust someone’s high school graduation photo ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke


But when you have plastic surgery, aren’t there side effects…? For example if your flesh sags and goes wrinkly, the outline of breast and nose implants become visible and stuff.

Comments from Nate:

The way I see it is that the plastic surgeons in our country are good businessmen. And stop putting adverts for plastic surgery on trains, I want to see a real woman instead of an artificial human being.


In the total numbers there are plenty of countries that do more plastic surgery than Korea. But when you determine the ratio of plastic surgery per person, there is no country that exceeds Korea. Honestly, in countries around the world plastic surgery is still seen as a procedure that is not very desirable. When people have plastic surgery overseas, they don’t have extreme faces like a total loser, or strange bodies with breast implants, I guess we have a lot here, though. They don’t all try to all desperately have plastic surgeries on their faces as though they’re crazy. On Korean TV every day they’re like do plastic surgery, and live with confidence~~! There are loads of comments where people flip out, but having plastic surgery in itself is fucking embarrassing. Especially in the East, excluding Korea, if you say you’ve had plastic surgery, for the most part these countries look at it negatively. On Japanese TV, whenever they have a shocking programme about Korea, the regular theme is plastic surgery. While in other countries, they don’t go out and talk about it proudly, they hide it completely, keep it secret, and just live with their own face, so why are these kimchi bitches like this? I don’t know why they are embarrassing Korea and making a fuss. There is so much demand for prostitutes and plastic surgery, and wild personalities are famous, like, they do all kinds of things.


A foreign friend of mine said this…actors noses and eyes are all exactly the same….if you go out looking around Seoul, everyone’s noses are the same -.- ke


Looks like there are also a lot of Korean men getting plastic surgery, frightening ㅡㅡ;


A nation of artificial humans. A nation without self-confidence or self-respect. A nation without a philosophy.


Artificial human robot.


Korean women insist: Korean women are beautiful.
The reality: the countries that have won Miss Universe.
America, 7 times: 1954, 1956, 1960, 1967, 1980, 1995, 1997
Venezuela, 6 times: 1979, 1981, 1986, 1996, 2008, 2009
Puerto Rico, 5 times:1970, 1985, 1993, 2001, 2006
Sweden, 3 times: 1955, 1966, 1984
Mexico, 2 times: 1991, 2010
Japan, 2 times: 1959, 2007
Canada, 2 times: 1982, 2005
Australia, 2 times: 1972, 2004
India, 2 times: 1994, 2000
Trinidad and Tobago, 2 times: 1977, 1998
Thailand, 2 times: 1965, 1988
Finland, 2 times: 1952, 1975
Philippines, 2 times: 1969, 1973
Brazil, 2 times: 1963, 1968
Korea, 0 times.
I wonder why, even when they have plastic surgery and cover their faces in make-up, Korean women can’t win Miss Universe?


This is embarrasing.


They go crazy because they want to meet a rich man.


You’re telling me that out of a thousand Korean women only sixteen of them have had surgery? More like out of a thousand women only sixteen haven’t had it! Korean women make me shudder with anger and I detset them. Their souls are pretentious, their bodies are fake, and their ugly mugs are fake too.

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