PLASTIC SURGERY PROCEDURES IN KOREA
Common cosmetic surgery procedures performed in South Korea include double eyelid surgery (see below), breast enlargements, hip trims, lip enlargements, bellybutton alterations, facial reconstruction surgery that alters the cheekbones and chin, and operations to create a pointy nose, turn up nose, shrunken nostrils and full lips, Chin and cheek alterations and liposuction for thighs and calves cost several million won. Lipoplasty — which uses high-frequency sound waves to eliminate fat, rhinoplasties, or nose jobs, and glutathione injections, which slows pigmentation in the skin giving a fairer skin tone, are popular. The “anti-aging beauty package” included having the cheekbones shaved down and “double jaw surgery,” in which, according to The New Yorker, “the upper and lower jawbones are cracked apart and repositioned, to give the whole skull a more tapered look.” [Source: John Seabrook, The New Yorker, October 8, 2012]
Among the common nonsurgical procedures are Botox and laser wrinkle and hair removal.
Patricia Marx wrote in The New Yorker: “Options offered at various establishments we visited included Barbie-Nose Rhinoplasty (“Let it up to have doll-like sharp nose!”), Forehead Volumization (“Your beauty will increase!”), Hip-Up surgery (to achieve “a feminine and beautiful Latino-like body line”), arm-lifts, calf reductions, dimple creation, whitening injections (called Beyoncé injections by one clinic), eye-corner lowering (so you don’t look fierce), smile-lifts that curl the corners of your lips and chisel an indentation into the crooks so that your now permanently happy mouth looks as if it were drawn by a six-year-old (this operation is popular with flight attendants), and “cat surgery,” to fix your floppy philtrum. [Source: Patricia Marx, The New Yorker, March 23, 2015]
“But most of the surgery performed in South Korea isn’t usually too drastic, and seems technically superb. The blepharoplasty can take as little as fifteen minutes (“Less serious than getting a tooth pulled,” one man I talked to said). Unlike in America, where the goal is to have the biggest you-know-whats, the desired aesthetic in Seoul is understated — “A slight variation on what everyone else has” is the way my translator, Kim Kibum put it. “Koreans are still very conservative,” Kyuhee Baik, an anthropology graduate student, told me. “It would be a disaster for a girl to show cleavage — it would make you look shallow,” a nineteen-year-old who’d had her eyes and jaw done told me. “You don’t want to stand out,” Baik went on. “That goes back to our Confucian foundations. It’s a very conformist society.”
“I asked Kibum to explain the name Small Face. “Koreans, and Asians in general, are self-conscious about having big heads,” he said. “This is why in group photos a girl will try to stand far in the back to make her face relatively smaller. This is also why jaw-slimming surgery” — sometimes called V-line surgery — “is so popular.” The desirable, narrow jawline can be achieved by shaving the mandible using oscillating saws or by breaking and then realigning both jaws, an operation that originated as a treatment for severe congenital deformities. (Last year, a clinic was fined for exhibiting on its premises more than two thousand jaw fragments in two vitrines, each bone labelled with the name of the patient from whom it was carved.)
Most Popular Plastic Surgery Procedures In Korea
Double Eyelid Surgery: One of the most popular surgeries by far. This procedure aims to eradicate what is known as the "monolid" in order to achieve the "double eyelid". "Monolid" refers to having a single eyelid with no crease - a common trait amongst Asian people - and after undergoing this surgery, the individual will have what is known as the "double eyelid". This procedure involves the removal or repositioning of excess tissues. With an estimated 1 in 5 women from Seoul having had the procedure, it has certainly become somewhat of an essential. [Source: September 2, 2015]
V-Line Jaw Reduction: It is a well known fact that the Korean ideal face shape is the infamous "V" face which is essentially a slender jawline with a sharp chin. For those not born with such features, this surgery involves making an incision inside of the mouth and shaving off excess mandible.
Epicanthoplasty (Eye-Widening Surgery): This procedure slices the corners of the eyelids, in order to make the eyes appear larger. This surgery is often performed at the same time as double eyelid surgery and involves removing what is known as the "epicanthal folds" in order to soften the corners of the eye. It is reported that 80-90 percent of patients who undergo double eyelid surgery also opt for this procedure as well.
Rhinoplasty: Whilst the main use of rhinoplasty (nose jobs) in the west is for making the nose smaller, Korea utilizes the procedure to get a more prominent bridge in the nose which is very attractive in Korean culture. Cartilage from the patient's ears or ribs can be used to build up the desired area.
Forehead Augmentation is a simple procedure lasting just one hour and is performed by inserting an implant beneath the skin and will leave the patient with a smoother and rounded forehead.
Hair Transplant involves transplanting the hair of someone else onto your own head. This procedure is mostly desirable amongst people with receding hairlines, have suffered hair loss or simply don't have as much hair as they'd like more hair. This procedure is not nearly as invasive as the others on this list as it simply consists of grafting hair follicles to the desired area.
Chin Augmentation can include either implants or fillers in order to define one's chin and give the face a more angular look. The implants may be prosthetic or even bone donated from the patient's pelvis or rib cage with which the implant will be fashioned from (however this carries a greater risk of infection). This procedure often takes place alongside a rhinoplasty in order to balance out the facial features making for the perfect silhouette.
Teeth Capping: or "veneers" are thin layers of porcelain placed on teeth to disguise any damage or discolouration. An impression is taken of the teeth and the porcelain is modelled after this so it will be a perfect fit. The procedure is comparable to the application of false nails.
Blepharoplasty, Double Eyelid Surgery
One of the most common cosmetic surgical procedures in South Korea and Japan and Asia as a whole is the double-eyelid operation. Many Asian women don't have a crease over the top of their eyelid like Western women do. This crease, along with round eyes, in considered beautiful by some people. The double slit operation adds a crease above eyelids with a scar-making incisions and reduces excess skin in the upper eyelid to make the eyes appear bigger. Nearly all patients who have had the operation done consider it worthwhile.
The double-eyelid it's one of the cheapest operations, costing between US$1,000 and US$3,000. The procedure is so popular that some clinics have a lunchtime special that allows women and businessmen to get their operation during their lunch break and return to work. Many university students have double-eyelid operations done during their winter vacation. The procand it's less invasive than other options, leading to a shorter recovery time. After the surgery is completed people who have had it done are not allowed to wash or wear make-up for a week. Afterwards it takes a while for their swollen face to return to normal.
According to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, blepharoplasty, or double eyelid surgery, is the most popular plastic surgery operation in the world, with 1.43 million people getting it done in 2014. South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun had the operation while he was in office.
History of Double Eyelid Surgery
Drake Baer wrote in Business Insider: “ The double-eyelid surgery was reportedly introduced to South Korea during the Korean War, which lasted from 1950 to 1953. To critics, the surgery is a symbol of white America's history of cultural dominance over South Korea. It goes back to American plastic surgery pioneer Dr. Ralph Millard, who was stationed in Seoul from 1950 to 1953 to do reconstructive surgery for the war wounded. Millard is known among plastic surgeons today for his innovations in facelifts and cleft palates. [Source: Drake Baer, Business Insider, September 22, 2015]
“Millard was reportedly the first person to develop and perform the operation in Korea. But the surgeon who introduced double-eyelid surgery to Korea also projected the worst of Asian stereotypes onto people with "monolids." In a 1964 edition of the American Journal of Ophthalmology, Millard wrote that "the absence of the puerperal fold produces a passive expression which seems to epitomize the stoical and unemotional manner of the oriental." He wrote that he had the first opportunity to try the operation when "a slant-eyed Korean interpreter, speaking excellent English, came in requesting to be made into a 'round-eye.'"
“Many of his patients were reportedly Korean women working in the sex trade who wanted to get the operation to increase their appeal to American GIs. Other clients were so-called "war brides" — Korean women who married American soldiers and moved to the U.S. — who wanted to fit in more in their adopted home.
Historians and cultural critics say there are a few factors that have contributed to the prevalence of double-eyelid surgery today. In "Asian American: Historical Crossings of a Racial Frontier," Stanford comparative literature scholar David Palumbo-Liu argues that the double eyelid trend started after World War II, as Japanese and Korean women opted for it so that they could blend in better to the West, reflecting American — particularly white American — dominance.
“This was apparently the case in the U.S. as well. In a 1993 study of eleven Asian American women in the San Francisco Bay Area who received plastic surgery, ethnographer Eugenia Kaw found that patients underwent plastic surgery in order to "escape persisting racial prejudice that correlates their stereotyped genetic physical features ('small, slanty' eyes and a 'flat' nose) with negative behavioral characteristics, such as passivity, dullness, and a lack of sociability."
Do Asians Get Double Eyelid Surgery to Look Like Europeans
Drake Baer wrote in Business Insider: “Blepharoplasty is also controversial. Critics say that the operation makes patients look "less Asian," while proponents say that it's simply a matter of beauty — bigger eyes equals more attractiveness, essentially. "Most Koreans don’t have a double eyelid line, so in that case, sometimes they look sleepy and tired," says Hang-Seok Choi, the director of JK Plastic Surgery, a Seoul-based clinic that sees 10,000 patients a year. "Ladies want to have a beautiful look, defined look," Choi tells Tech Insider, and the 20 percent of his patients that are male "want some beauty too," so they also often opt for eyelid surgery. [Source: Drake Baer, Business Insider, September 22, 2015]
Seoul-based plastic surgeon Minhwa Na — who's been doing double-eyelids for 15 years — tells the Korea Herald that her clients aren't trying to looks less Asian. "I would get serious complaints if I performed the procedure and the Korean patient gets a crease like the one of a Caucasian person. What people want is a natural crease that is suited to Asian faces," she said. "The whole idea that undergoing this surgery is an attempt to look white is absurd."
But as history shows, it's probably more complicated than that. Cultural critic Moonwon Lee tells the Korea Herald that while people don't personally believe they're trying to look white by getting their eyelids done or other plastic surgeries, they're still moving away from Korean-ness. The big eyes, small faces, and perky noses that are hallmarks of beauty in Korea aren't natural to most Koreans, he says.
Regardless of the history, the double eyelid surgery seems to be a matter of pragmatism for clients. Dr. Choi explained to us, going to the plastic surgery center carries as much weight as getting a haircut — it's an everyday thing. Also, he says, Korea is a remarkably competitive society. "Nations have different need for beauty," Choi says. "In Korea, the land is small and crowded, that everybody can see, can look at each other in the face."
Korean Plastic Surgery Prices
Korean Plastic Surgery Prices (www.seoultouchup.com) Surgeries Easy (From) Hard (To)
Eyelid Surgery US$2,000 US$4,000
Nose Surgery US$4,000 US$6,000
Premium Laser Skin Therapy US$4,000 US$9,000
Female Surgery US$4,000 US$7,000
Hair Transplant US$6,000 US$10,000
Facelift US$7,000 US$12,000
Breast Surgeries US$8,000 US$12,000
Liposuction (Arm, Thigh, Belly) US$4,000 US$7,000
Facial Contouring (Jaw, Chin, Cheeks) US$5,000 US$7,000
Advanced Facial Contouring US$10,000 US$30,000
Entire Body Makeover US$20,000 US$35,000
Entire Face Makeover US$25,000 US$55,000 [Source: seoultouchup.com]
According to seoultouchup.co: The more in-demand a product gets and the more sources offer the product, the more similar in price it gets. This is all due to the theory of “Perfect Competition”. The cost will be significantly cheaper for simple surgeries, such as a single procedure (i.e. double eyelid surgery). As it gets more complicated, multiple procedures may be needed and the total cost increases (i.e. epicanthoplasty together with some other combination of eye surgery).
“The table outlines the average cost and ignores clinics that charge these very same procedures at a much higher cost. However, a higher price does not necessarily mean better skill or service. It is common for clinics in Korea to claim expertise in certain kinds of surgeries. However, almost every clinic would claim that they are the best in these surgeries, so taking it at face value is a risky venture. Seoul TouchUp has witnessed those who end up dissatisfied with the results of surgery and how often they have had to undergo several revision surgeries. To avoid such a nightmare predicament, it is important to get it right the first time. This is especially the case for those who travel for seven to ten hours just to come to Korea for plastic surgery.
Plastic Surgery Area of Seoul
Seoul has more cosmetic surgery procedures per capita than any other place in the world. nation. The tony neighborhood of Gangnam there reportedly has 500 aesthetic centers alone. JK Plastic Surgery, one of South Korea's leading cosmetic centers, is located there. [Source: Drake Baer, Business Insider, September 22, 2015]
Patricia Marx wrote in The New Yorker: “I spent a couple of weeks in Seoul’s so-called Improvement Quarter. This area is in the high-end Gangnam district, the Beverly Hills of Seoul. I realized that getting stuck in traffic would give me more worry lines, so my translator and I took the subway, which is equipped with Wi-Fi, heated seats, and instructional videos about what to do in the event of a biological or chemical attack. The walls of the stations are plastered with giant ads for plastic-surgery clinics, many picturing twinkly cheerleader types, sometimes wearing jewelled tiaras and sleeveless party dresses, and often standing next to former versions of themselves (“before” pictures) — dour wallflowers with droopy eyes, low-bridged noses, and jawlines shaped like C-clamps. “This is the reason celebrities are confident even without their makeup,” one caption read. “Everyone but you has done it,” another said. [Source: Patricia Marx, The New Yorker, March 23, 2015]
You know you are in the right neighborhood by the preponderance of slightly bruised and swollen-faced men and women in their twenties and thirties going about their business, despite the bandages. Another clue: there are between four and five hundred clinics and hospitals within a square mile. They are packed into boxy concrete buildings that look as if they were all built on the same day. (The area consisted largely of pear and cabbage farms and straw-roofed houses until it was treated to its own speedy face-lift in preparation for the 1988 Seoul Olympics.) Some clinics occupy as many as sixteen floors, and the largest encompass several high-rises. Most are more modest. Tall vertical signs in Korean jut from the buildings and overhang the sidewalk like unwrapped rolls of surgical tape. They advertise the names of the clinics, several of which my Korean friends translated for me: Small Face, Magic Nose, Dr. 4 Nose, Her She, Before and After, Reborn, Top Class, Wannabe, 4 Ever, Cinderella, Center for Human Appearance, and April 31 Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. There is also a maternity clinic that specializes in beauty enhancement for brand-new mothers and mothers-to-be.
Plastic Surgery Clinics in Seoul
Christoph Neidhart wrote in Tages-Anzeiger: In Seoul on Nonhyeon-dong Furniture Street in , Cheongdam-dong luxury district there are many beauty clinics with names like Grand, Reborn, Euros and VIP. Those concentrated in Gangnam district have a luxurious external look. Corridors are made of glass and imitation marbles. Many look like the receptions of luxury hotels or private banks. We visited BK Plastic Surgery Hospital. BK stands for Beauty of Korea. It is housed in a sleek blue glass skyscraper. Many women enter the BK building very often. Inside you can see a human-size-standing banner with a photo of beautiful lady. There is also the Museum of Plastic Surgery. [Source: Christoph Neidhart, Tages-Anzeiger, October 27, 2015, Tages-Anzeiger, also abbreviated Tagi or TA, is a Swiss German-language national daily newspaper published in Zurich, Switzerland]
Patricia Marx wrote in The New Yorker: “We visited three clinics that day, including one that featured a plastic-surgery museum (complete with, among other oddments, deformed skulls, postoperative shampoo, and a fun-house mirror) and a flashy medical center (white leather sofas and marble floors) that was investigated last year after photographs turned up on Instagram showing staff members whooping it up in an operating room — blowing out birthday candles, eating hamburgers, posing with a pair of breast implants — while the killjoy patient lay unconscious on the table. We met with three consultants and two doctors. The protocol often involves talking to a consultant, who then briefs a doctor, who then looks you over and draws lines on your face before you meet again with the consultant, who closes the deal. In most of the offices, there was a skull on the table for educational purposes. [Source: Patricia Marx, The New Yorker, March 23, 2015]
Visiting a Plastic Surgery Clinic in Seoul
Patricia Marx wrote in The New Yorker: “My translator, Kim Kibum, agreed to pose as a potential patient, and I tagged along with him as we went from one clinic to another, conferring with doctors about possible ways to remodel ourselves. “Let’s ask if they can make us look alike,” Kibum whispered, at Small Face Plastic Surgery, a hospital that specializes in facial contouring, before we met with a consultant to discuss surgical options and to haggle over the price. (The cost of procedures and services in South Korea varies tremendously, but it is not uncommon to pay a third of what it would cost in the United States. As with Bloomingdale’s towels and sheets, it’s impossible not to get a discount.)... We were seated on a leather sofa in a purple-lit reception area that looked like the Starship Enterprise, redecorated by Virgin Atlantic. The women who work there — as in all the clinics that I visited — wear uniforms of short skirts, high heels, and tight tops. Their bodies and faces, aside from the occasional nose shaped too much like a ski jump, are advertisements for the handiwork of the Korean medical profession. Everyone is female, except most of the doctors and the barista at the coffee bar (complimentary cappuccino!) in the waiting room of I.D. Hospital. [Source: Patricia Marx, The New Yorker, March 23, 2015]
Kibum and I paged through the “Look Book” of testimonials and photographs of former patients. (From a similar binder at Grand Plastic Hospital: “Pain for a short moment! Living as a perfect, beautiful woman for the rest of my life!” “I used to look like I had been starving for a while, with no hint of luxury. My eyes were sunken, my forehead was flat....” “Now I’m good-looking even from the back!”) “When I was growing up, in the eighties, the ideal look was Western — sculpted, well-defined faces with big eyes,” Kibum told me. “I would argue that that has changed as a result of the plastic-surgery culture. Everyone started looking alike, so ‘quirky’ and ‘different’ came to be prized.” Many dispute the notion that Korean plastic surgery today emulates a Western aesthetic, pointing out, for example, that big eyes are universally considered appealing and that pale skin connotes affluence. Still, just about everyone I talked to in Seoul confirmed the trend toward a baby-faced appearance. The Bagel Girl look (short for “baby-faced and glamorous”), a voluptuous body with a schoolgirl face, was all the rage. Another popular procedure is aegyo sal, meaning “eye smiles” or “cute skin.” It entails injecting fat under the eyes, which gives you the mug of an adorable toddler.
In the Small Face reception area, a TV was showing a program called “The Birth of a Beauty.” The episode was about a woman who had always wanted to be an actress but, because of her looks, had had to settle for being an extra, until... you guessed it. Meanwhile, Kibum answered a new-patient questionnaire. Here are a few of the questions:
Reason you want surgery?
Preparing for job
Suggestions from people
What kind of a look do you want?
Which entertainer do you most want to resemble? ______________
Do you have other friends who are considering plastic surgery? How many?
If you get the result you want from plastic surgery, what’s the thing you want most to do?
Upload a selfie without using Photoshop
Get a lover
Find a job
Enter a competition for face beauty
Advise from a Plastic Surgery Clinic in Seoul
Patricia Marx wrote in The New Yorker: “When Kibum asked the practitioners what they thought he should have done, most asked, “Do you really need anything done?” When I asked what procedures I might need, I was told that, in addition to laser therapy and a forehead pull (“Asians don’t have wrinkles there, because raising your eyebrows is rude,” a doctor told me), I should get a face-lift or, at least, a thread-lift — a subcutaneous web of fibre implanted in the face to hoist my skin upward, like a Calatrava suspension bridge — except that, because I’m Caucasian, my skin is too thin for a thread-lift. I also heard so many tut-tuts about the bags under my eyes that I started to worry that Korean Air wouldn’t let me take them aboard as carry-ons on the flight home. [Source: Patricia Marx, The New Yorker, March 23, 2015]
“One doctor, as he talked to me, made a broad, swiping hand gesture that suggested that a lot of erasing was in order. Kibum translated: “He thinks you should get Botox around your eyes and forehead, and reposition the fat under your eyes.”
Me: Does he think I should put filler in my cheeks?
Kibum: He doesn’t recommend filler, because it’s gone in eight months and you’d need a shitload of it.
“Kibum and I didn’t have the nerve to request that we be turned into a matching pair, but it wouldn’t have been much of a stretch. Every doctor I interviewed said that he had patients who’d brought in photographs of celebrities, asking to be remade in their likenesses; or, for instance, with Kim Tae-hee’s nose and Lee Min-jung’s eyes. One doctor told me that he had a patient who showed him a cartoon that she wanted to resemble. (He said no.) Also, an increasing number of women are having procedures at the same time as their daughters, arranging for matching operations so that the daughters’ looks are attributed to nature rather than to suture.”
Dr Kim Byung Gun, One of South Korea’s Leading Plastic Surgeons
Dr. Kim Byung Gun is the Chief Plastic Surgeon of BK Plastic Surgery Hospital in Gangnam district. When asked what were the most common plastic surgery procedures he performed, he said: “Eyelid surgery is the most popular plastic surgery because the surgery will make the eyes look bigger, wider and rounder depending on the patient's different demands and types. Asians and Koreans in particular tend to have a desire for bigger eyes which is why double eyelid plastic surgery and the lengthening of the inner and outer corner of the eyes are extremely popular. [Source: Karen Lee, fashionone.com, October 28, 2016]
What kind of plastic surgery procedures will help women shave off the years on their faces? “The demand for anti-aging procedure is constantly rising, as middle-aged customers are increasing. There are various procedures to make the patient look younger. A facelift using threads is a popular surgical procedure to tighten wrinkles and sagging skin on the face and neck caused by aging. Procedures with minimal downtime and short recovery time such as Botulinim toxin injection and filler injections also help tighten wrinkles of various types. Autologous fat injection is also one of the most popular anti-aging procedures. It gives you an overall volume to your face without the need of incision to achieve a beautiful youthful look. While facelifts and other rejuvenation procedures do not actually stop the aging process, they can improve visible signs of aging to restore years of youth and beauty to your appearance.”
Do you get many patients who undergo plastic surgeries after childbirth to get their figures back? It is not a common case but they do exist. Patients with C-section scars after delivery usually visit more for removal of scars with surgical procedures.
Do you see an increase in males getting plastic surgeries as well? About 80 percent of customers are female. But we definitely see an increase in our male visitors every year.
Undergoing Cosmetic Surgery in Korea
When asked how he prepares a patient going the knife for the first time, Dr. Kim Byung Gun is the Chief Plastic Surgeon of BK Plastic Surgery Hospital said: Most patients tend to get nervous before their first plastic surgery. A support system can help you remain calm and reassured that you are in the best hands. Emotional support is important for the recovery as well. Therefore when nerves do set in, the doctors and staff members will support the patients emotionally and make sure that they are safe and well-taken care of. [Source: Karen Lee, fashionone.com, October 28, 2016]
How long does it take to recover from a plastic surgery procedure? It really depends on what kind of surgery procedure the patient will be going through. Some plastic surgery procedures only take days to recover from (the more minor ones), while others can take weeks or even months. It is important to speak to your plastic surgeon prior to the procedure to know what to expect in terms of your recovery. It will likely impact many other spheres of your life, such as your work life and ability to go out with friends, so it is important to be able to plan for this.
Patricia Marx wrote in The New Yorker: “I never thought about doing plastic surgery,” said Stella Ahn, whom I met at a coffee bar with her friends Jen Park and Sun Lee, all college sophomores. “But then my father told me, ‘You have my eyes, so I spoke to a plastic surgeon who’ll make you more beautiful.’ Afterward, I regretted it a lot. I felt: I’m not me, I lost my true self. My eyes were bruised at first, so they seemed smaller.” When the swelling went down, Ahn came to like her eyes. Lee also had her eyes done at her father’s urging. “He told me that beauty could be a big advantage for girls. For instance, when you go on a job interview if the interviewer saw two women who had similar abilities, of course he’d go with the better-looking one.” It bears mentioning that, among the twenty-seven countries in the Organization for Economic Coöperation and Development, Korea, where the pressure to get married is significant, ranks last where gender equality is concerned. Ahn continued, “Before I got double eyelids, the boys didn’t appreciate me so much.” Lee concurred. I asked if they were ever tempted to lie and say that they hadn’t had surgery. “These days, the trend is to be open,” Park said. “The reason girls don’t lie is that we don’t feel guilty,” Lee explained. “We are congratulated for having plastic surgery.”[Source: Patricia Marx, The New Yorker, March 23, 2015]
Remember “Queen for a Day,” the TV show in which a jewelled crown and prizes, such as a washer-dryer, were awarded to the woeful housewife contestant who could convince the studio audience that she was the most woeful of all the other housewife contestants? A version of that show, “Let Me In,” is among the most widely viewed programs in South Korea. Each contestant on the show — given a nickname like Girl Who Looks Like Frankenstein, Woman Who Cannot Laugh, Flat-Chested Mother, Monkey — makes a case to a panel of beauty experts that his or her physical features have made it so impossible to live a normal life that a total surgical revamping is called for. The contestants’ parents are brought onstage, too, to apologize to their offspring not only for endowing them with crummy genes but also for being too poor to afford plastic surgery. At the end of every show, the surgically reborn contestant is revealed to the audience, which oohs and aahs and claps and cries.
Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons.
Text Sources: South Korean government websites, Korea Tourism Organization, Cultural Heritage Administration, Republic of Korea, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Library of Congress, CIA World Factbook, World Bank, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, “Culture and Customs of Korea” by Donald N. Clark, Chunghee Sarah Soh in “Countries and Their Cultures”, “Columbia Encyclopedia”, Korea Times, Korea Herald, The Hankyoreh, JoongAng Daily, Radio Free Asia, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, BBC, AFP, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Yomiuri Shimbun and various books and other publications.
Updated in July 2021