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Height growth trends in southern Korea

luxemen
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June 13th, 2018, 1:58 pm #1

Black Man,

I'm not sure if this is the appropriate thread to post but here are the finds on the average male height by different regions in Korea.

You can see that there's a slight North-South cline, and this has always been observed throughout the rest of peninsula. The northernmost Koreans are slightly taller than the southernmost Koreans.

From 2015 military data:


(from left to right:

Seoul - 175.6cm
Kangwon - 175.5cm
Youngdong - 175.3cm
Daejeon - 174.3cm
Average - 174.2cm
Northern Kyeonggi - 174.2cm
Kyeonggi-174cm
Gwangju/Jeonnam- 174cm
Choongbuk - 174cm
Jeonbuk - 174cm
Jeju -173.8cm
Kyeongnam-173.5cm
Busan - 173.4cm
Daegu - 173.4cm (southernmost)
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luxemen
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June 13th, 2018, 2:05 pm #2

I should also add that it's possible that the Seoulites are taller because of relatively better economic conditions there, although technically Ulsan (another Southern city) has the highest GDP/capita in all of Korea.

Here are the GDP/capita per different region (2016, IMF data):

By GDP per capita (PPP, 2016)
RankRegionGDP per capita[4]Comparable country[5]

1Ulsan $71,984 Norway
2Chungnam $58,888 Switzerland
3Sejong $45,797 Denmark
4Jeonnam $44,754 Canada
5Gyeongbuk $43,443 United Kingdom
6Seoul $42,793 France
7Chungbuk $41,341 Finland
8Gyeongnam $38,035 Japan
-National Average$37,740 New Zealand
9Gyeonggi $34,858 Spain
10Incheon $32,850 Israel
11Gangwon $32,402 Czech Republic
12Jeju $32,284 Slovenia
13Jeonbuk $30,194 Portugal
14Busan $27,820 Poland
15Daejeon $27,631 Greece
16Gwangju $26,439 Russia
17Daegu $23,794 Croatia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_S ... ons_by_GDP
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Ebizur
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June 13th, 2018, 2:10 pm #3

Nurizone wrote:Black Man,

I'm not sure if this is the appropriate thread to post but here are the finds on the average male height by different regions in Korea.

You can see that there's a slight North-South cline, and this has always been observed throughout the rest of peninsula. The northernmost Koreans are slightly taller than the southernmost Koreans.

From 2015 military data:


(from left to right:

Seoul - 175.6cm
Kangwon - 175.5cm
Youngdong - 175.3cm
Daejeon - 174.3cm
Average - 174.2cm
Northern Kyeonggi - 174.2cm
Kyeonggi-174cm
Gwangju - 174cm
Choongbuk - 174cm
Jeonbuk - 174cm
Jeju -173.8cm
Kyeongnam-173.5cm
Busan - 173.4cm
Daegu - 173.4cm (southernmost)
Thank you for posting, Nurizone.

I might add that the axis for this cline appears to be not strictly N-S, but rather NW-SE. All of Jeju and the greater part of Jeonbuk are further south than Daegu. However, the percentage of the variation that may be explained by latitude does appear to be greater than the percentage of the variation that may be explained by longitude.
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luxemen
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June 13th, 2018, 2:12 pm #4

Ebizur wrote:
Nurizone wrote:Black Man,

I'm not sure if this is the appropriate thread to post but here are the finds on the average male height by different regions in Korea.

You can see that there's a slight North-South cline, and this has always been observed throughout the rest of peninsula. The northernmost Koreans are slightly taller than the southernmost Koreans.

From 2015 military data:


(from left to right:

Seoul - 175.6cm
Kangwon - 175.5cm
Youngdong - 175.3cm
Daejeon - 174.3cm
Average - 174.2cm
Northern Kyeonggi - 174.2cm
Kyeonggi-174cm
Gwangju - 174cm
Choongbuk - 174cm
Jeonbuk - 174cm
Jeju -173.8cm
Kyeongnam-173.5cm
Busan - 173.4cm
Daegu - 173.4cm (southernmost)
Thank you for posting, Nurizone.

I might add that the axis for this cline appears to be not strictly N-S, but rather NW-SE, although the percentage of the variation that may be explained by latitude does appear to be greater than the percentage of the variation that may be explained by longitude.
Very good point.

I was thinking NW-SE too actually but just reduced it to a basic "North-South" cline which I can see is not quite accurate.



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black man
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June 13th, 2018, 3:20 pm #5

Nurizone wrote:Black Man,

I'm not sure if this is the appropriate thread to post but here are the finds on the average male height by different regions in Korea.

You can see that there's a slight North-South cline, and this has always been observed throughout the rest of peninsula. The northernmost Koreans are slightly taller than the southernmost Koreans.
No problem. Thanks, Nurizone.

Topic split from http://www.anthropedia.science/topic/10039893/1/#new .
Ebizur wrote:I might add that the axis for this cline appears to be not strictly N-S, but rather NW-SE. All of Jeju and the greater part of Jeonbuk are further south than Daegu. However, the percentage of the variation that may be explained by latitude does appear to be greater than the percentage of the variation that may be explained by longitude.
If I'm not mistaken, Daegu is only "beyond" a partly moderately high mountain range when seen from a Seoul-centric perspective. But Ulsan is still "beyond" one more mountainous region. Similarly, one might go to Busan via Daegu with both Busan and Ulsan traditionally probably having been oriented towards the sea rather than Seoul because of the inland mountainous regions.

When the Mongols invaded Korea, they dispersed kind of "along" the mountain ranges. So only a subset of the Mongols arrived at Daegu. And peaceful immigrants from China etc could dispersed like that as well. In the thread on Gyeongsangnam-do and Gyeongsambuk-do I already indicated the probably gradual differences from Seoul. Maybe the plain around Seoul in relationship to SE Korea can be compared with the Kantou Plain in relationship to parts of inland northern central and northern Japan.
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kinem
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June 15th, 2018, 5:08 am #6

From personal experience. Korean Australians seem a lot shorter than Chinese Australians (with roots from Northern China). I would say that the average Korean Australian (mostly from Seoul/Incheon) average around 174 cm. I personally know about 46 Chinese Australian males between the age of 16-25 with roots primarily from Shandong, Hebei and Dongbei. If I average all their heights altogether, the average figure amounts to 180.6cm, with the tallest ones about 198cm and the shortest ones around 168-170cm.
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black man
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June 15th, 2018, 9:25 am #7

^
Welcome to this forum, kinem.

See http://www.anthropedia.science/forum/19303/ for our Social Anthropology forum section, which features overseas Asian topics.
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luxemen
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June 16th, 2018, 3:20 pm #8

kinem wrote:From personal experience. Korean Australians seem a lot shorter than Chinese Australians (with roots from Northern China). I would say that the average Korean Australian (mostly from Seoul/Incheon) average around 174 cm. I personally know about 46 Chinese Australian males between the age of 16-25 with roots primarily from Shandong, Hebei and Dongbei. If I average all their heights altogether, the average figure amounts to 180.6cm, with the tallest ones about 198cm and the shortest ones around 168-170cm.
I'd also agree with this observation based on my personal experience.

However, what I'd also add to this anecdotal impression is that among Koreans, the median and average are closely correlated whereas in a bigger population like the Chinese, there tends to be a difference between the actual average and the median. Averages are easily skewed by big outliers on both ends of the spectrum.

The median is actually statistically a more reliable and accurate measure of a group of people's height actually, controlling for all other factors.

So even though it is much easier to find a Northern Chinese who's very tall (over 6'3'' or over 190cm) for instance, you can also find the other extreme among Northern Chinese relatively easier than among Koreans.

My personal observation is that young Korean males' average is about 174cm, with the medium being close to 175-177cm.
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black man
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June 16th, 2018, 7:28 pm #9

Nurizone wrote:
kinem wrote:From personal experience. Korean Australians seem a lot shorter than Chinese Australians (with roots from Northern China). I would say that the average Korean Australian (mostly from Seoul/Incheon) average around 174 cm. I personally know about 46 Chinese Australian males between the age of 16-25 with roots primarily from Shandong, Hebei and Dongbei. If I average all their heights altogether, the average figure amounts to 180.6cm, with the tallest ones about 198cm and the shortest ones around 168-170cm.
I'd also agree with this observation based on my personal experience.

However, what I'd also add to this anecdotal impression is that among Koreans, the median and average are closely correlated whereas in a bigger population like the Chinese, there tends to be a difference between the actual average and the median. Averages are easily skewed by big outliers on both ends of the spectrum.

The median is actually statistically a more reliable and accurate measure of a group of people's height actually, controlling for all other factors.

So even though it is much easier to find a Northern Chinese who's very tall (over 6'3'' or over 190cm) for instance, you can also find the other extreme among Northern Chinese relatively easier than among Koreans.

My personal observation is that young Korean males' average is about 174cm, with the medium being close to 175-177cm.
It's also not unlikely that primarily a few very tall individuals tend to skew the average in some populations nowadays. Anecdotes in particular will tend to be restricted to people from special occupational groups, hobbyist circles etc because these are the surrpundings in which people prefer to stay today*. Btw, internet users seem to be typically from relatively tall groups/circles of people maybe because taller people generally tend to explore new things more spontaneously than others, I could imagine.

* This can btw be observed among athletes from different disciplines, too. As I indicated in one thread on social transitional phenotypes in northern Han, I compared the pictures of 12 180-189cm Liaoning Han female Olympians with those of 13 170-179cm Shandong Han female Olympians and was under the impression that they tended to have different facial shapes: IMO the taller sample had on average longer faces than the shorter samples. Both of you are probably anyway more familiar with such athletes or othan I am. So you'll probably know larger numbers of athletes than the small number of athletes of which I am aware...
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luxemen
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June 16th, 2018, 10:30 pm #10

^ That's a good point in theory, but I'm speaking more from a statistics perspective.

The genetic diversity among Northern Chinese is arguably greater than among Koreans. Therefore the variations you see with height among N.Chinese would be greater than that what you'd observe among Koreans. In stats, these variations would translate into fewer or greater number of standard deviations.

This is an illustration of two curves having the same median, mode and average but the distribution is different; in one (blue), you get a much bigger standard deviation (more outliers from the median), whereas the other (black) has fewer outliers.



My observation is that it's difficult to find very tall or very short Koreans, whereas I've seen the entire spectrum with Chinese individuals.

That being said, it's still probably correct that certain N.Chinese groups (I would think Dongbei Chinese) are on average taller than Koreans, although in reality Koreans don't really appear shorter because of the fact that their heights tend to cluster around the middle range.
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black man
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June 17th, 2018, 6:17 pm #11

Nurizone wrote:^ That's a good point in theory, but I'm speaking more from a statistics perspective.

The genetic diversity among Northern Chinese is arguably greater than among Koreans. Therefore the variations you see with height among N.Chinese would be greater than that what you'd observe among Koreans. In stats, these variations would translate into fewer or greater number of standard deviations.

This is an illustration of two curves having the same median, mode and average but the distribution is different; in one (blue), you get a much bigger standard deviation (more outliers from the median), whereas the other (black) has fewer outliers.



My observation is that it's difficult to find very tall or very short Koreans, whereas I've seen the entire spectrum with Chinese individuals.

That being said, it's still probably correct that certain N.Chinese groups (I would think Dongbei Chinese) are on average taller than Koreans, although in reality Koreans don't really appear shorter because of the fact that their heights tend to cluster around the middle range.
When we go into the details of mate selection strategies, I'd suppose that Confucian ideology could influence Chinese people as follows: since people are expected to honour their ancestors, they might be relatively proud of their features and, thus, favour mates whose families have these features, too. I'd say, that's the reason for which I came across both Chinese people who found, e.g., beard growth "normal" and Chinese people who found it "strange" both online and offline. Apparently, they all tend to consciously or not find partners from families with similar features and might intuitively tend to avoid partners from different kinds of families. And accordingly, small people would probably choose small partners, too.

Apart from that, there can be a certain kind of matriarchy within patriarchal Chinese families. In such surroundings mothers might prefer their sons to choose wives who could be push-overs who could not defend themselves against their respective mothers-in-law. Possibly, such "ideal" daughters-in-law would be small to very small because that would decrease their physiological chances to overcome anybody within the patriarchal/matriarchal household where she would go. The possibility of that kind of historical development could have been relevant as for the backgrounds of certain "inland Chinese" phenotypes more or less common among the Chinese gymnastics competitors of the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.

These could be two explanations for the presence of relatively many small to very small people within the Chinese population if you meant you observed this.

Moreover, the largest number of northern Han men measured by Shirokogorov was about 163cm tall. And there were more guys who were taller than guys who were smaller in his pooled sample. Figures and tables like Shirokogorov's from back then are nowadays less common if I'm not mistaken. So I don't know, e.g., how tall the modal type would be today. And that's that until further notice. Height growth depends on relatively many different genetic and environmental factors. But it would be interesting if we could start a discussion on how height growth could be a factor concerning mate choice in those East Asians whom we personally know and those whom we've just seen.

That said, it's interesting that both of you mentioned Dongbei above. According to Shirokorov, the Dongbei Han whom he measured in the 1910s or 1920s were not particularly tall. Among those samples he measured his Hebei Han sample was the tallest with having been 167,89cm on average. Unfortunately, I did not note down the respective heights of the Beijing 2008 Olympians. But judging from the pictures of the female 2012 Olympians from Liaoning taller than 179cm, I'd say, relatively many of them had certain trait combinations all in all rather different from those of the Lin Daiyu ideal. Besides the flat eye region and the long face typical for northern China in general, they relatively often had relatively wide mouths in combination with full lips.

As you mentioned on a different occasion, part(s?) of northernmost Korea could have a high level of potential height growth as well. But I don't know what kinds of facial features the tallest people there tend to have. In theory it could be the same type like in Dongbei Han and possibly also Manchus. Just mentioned that in order to emphasise the typological diversity of the region as a whole and to indicate how difficult it could be to reconstruct potential typological diversities within premodern Manchu-Tungusic populations.
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luxemen
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June 18th, 2018, 5:39 pm #12

black man wrote:
Nurizone wrote:^ That's a good point in theory, but I'm speaking more from a statistics perspective.

The genetic diversity among Northern Chinese is arguably greater than among Koreans. Therefore the variations you see with height among N.Chinese would be greater than that what you'd observe among Koreans. In stats, these variations would translate into fewer or greater number of standard deviations.

This is an illustration of two curves having the same median, mode and average but the distribution is different; in one (blue), you get a much bigger standard deviation (more outliers from the median), whereas the other (black) has fewer outliers.



My observation is that it's difficult to find very tall or very short Koreans, whereas I've seen the entire spectrum with Chinese individuals.

That being said, it's still probably correct that certain N.Chinese groups (I would think Dongbei Chinese) are on average taller than Koreans, although in reality Koreans don't really appear shorter because of the fact that their heights tend to cluster around the middle range.
When we go into the details of mate selection strategies, I'd suppose that Confucian ideology could influence Chinese people as follows: since people are expected to honour their ancestors, they might be relatively proud of their features and, thus, favour mates whose families have these features, too. I'd say, that's the reason for which I came across both Chinese people who found, e.g., beard growth "normal" and Chinese people who found it "strange" both online and offline. Apparently, they all tend to consciously or not find partners from families with similar features and might intuitively tend to avoid partners from different kinds of families. And accordingly, small people would probably choose small partners, too.

Apart from that, there can be a certain kind of matriarchy within patriarchal Chinese families. In such surroundings mothers might prefer their sons to choose wives who could be push-overs who could not defend themselves against their respective mothers-in-law. Possibly, such "ideal" daughters-in-law would be small to very small because that would decrease their physiological chances to overcome anybody within the patriarchal/matriarchal household where she would go. The possibility of that kind of historical development could have been relevant as for the backgrounds of certain "inland Chinese" phenotypes more or less common among the Chinese gymnastics competitors of the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.

These could be two explanations for the presence of relatively many small to very small people within the Chinese population if you meant you observed this.

Moreover, the largest number of northern Han men measured by Shirokogorov was about 163cm tall. And there were more guys who were taller than guys who were smaller in his pooled sample. Figures and tables like Shirokogorov's from back then are nowadays less common if I'm not mistaken. So I don't know, e.g., how tall the modal type would be today. And that's that until further notice. Height growth depends on relatively many different genetic and environmental factors. But it would be interesting if we could start a discussion on how height growth could be a factor concerning mate choice in those East Asians whom we personally know and those whom we've just seen.

That said, it's interesting that both of you mentioned Dongbei above. According to Shirokorov, the Dongbei Han whom he measured in the 1910s or 1920s were not particularly tall. Among those samples he measured his Hebei Han sample was the tallest with having been 167,89cm on average. Unfortunately, I did not note down the respective heights of the Beijing 2008 Olympians. But judging from the pictures of the female 2012 Olympians from Liaoning taller than 179cm, I'd say, relatively many of them had certain trait combinations all in all rather different from those of the Lin Daiyu ideal. Besides the flat eye region and the long face typical for northern China in general, they relatively often had relatively wide mouths in combination with full lips.

As you mentioned on a different occasion, part(s?) of northernmost Korea could have a high level of potential height growth as well. But I don't know what kinds of facial features the tallest people there tend to have. In theory it could be the same type like in Dongbei Han and possibly also Manchus. Just mentioned that in order to emphasise the typological diversity of the region as a whole and to indicate how difficult it could be to reconstruct potential typological diversities within premodern Manchu-Tungusic populations.
What an interesting (but also very thought-provoking) explanation of the supposedly wide range of heights seen among the Chinese samples. You write eloquently. I'll need to think more about it but my first intuition is to say that your explanation involving the distinct Chinese Confucian culture around mate selections and the preferences of the in-laws may have a rather significant impact on the heights of the offspring.

As you point out yes we don't have enough evidence to confirm our anecdotes about the Dongbei Chinese supposedly being among the tallest in China and also supposedly among the tallest in all of E.Asia. But it appears to be that way for my experience, although I do admit my interactions with Northern Chinese individuals have been very limited. So please feel free to enlighten/educate me otherwise.

Bringing the topic back to the Korean context of mate selections and heights, I can definitely say that there's a strong pressure among Korean men to be as tallest as possible, as height has come to be associated with an "asset" synonymous with income or ability in the mating pool.

Some Korean women have this (rather ridiculous) notion that a man below 180cm is not suitable as a marriage partner (I will quote a newspaper article for this, it's a rather widespread belief). I'd say about 1 or 2 out of 10 Korean males is over 180cm but of course it's still far from the majority, so I'm not sure where this arbitrary number came from. Most Korean guys are in the middle range of being 173-178cm tall.

Korean women don't face as much pressures as the men, although if a woman is shorter than the average which is 162-163cm, she is indeed seen as "smalll" and will be expected to compensate for her lack of height with "other assets". The ideal height for a young Korean woman is of modest height, somewhere between 168cm.
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black man
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June 18th, 2018, 7:55 pm #13

Nurizone wrote:What an interesting (but also very thought-provoking) explanation of the supposedly wide range of heights seen among the Chinese samples. You write eloquently. I'll need to think more about it but my first intuition is to say that your explanation involving the distinct Chinese Confucian culture around mate selections and the preferences of the in-laws may have a rather significant impact on the heights of the offspring.

As you point out yes we don't have enough evidence to confirm our anecdotes about the Dongbei Chinese supposedly being among the tallest in China and also supposedly among the tallest in all of E.Asia. But it appears to be that way for my experience, although I do admit my interactions with Northern Chinese individuals have been very limited. So please feel free to enlighten/educate me otherwise.
Thanks for your reply, Nurizone.

I already came across height-related internet discourses back in the 2000s. And as far as I remember, overseas(?) Korean users wrote, the tallest northern Han tended to be "too lanky" to perform well as athletes. Actually, Liaoning province was represented relatively well by Olympian athletes in 2008 and 2012. But the tall female Liaoning Han "type" described above didn't occur among the male athletes. The male athletes were not only fewer in number per se but also generally by far more robust, I suppose. So it might IMO not be wrong what the Korean netizens wrote back then. While trainers could select female athletes in favour of the tallest ones, height as such is just one of many criteria concerning male athletes. Similarly, the tallest men might generally have advantages when performing special tasks in certain occupational groups but not benefit from their height while they're not performing these special tasks.

Since I haven't been posting much on Dongbei Han for quite a while, I can add one or the other literature review based on sources which I already know but so far didn't review in the light of our updated paradigms. Apart from that, we can of course address and contextualise some more information. But our current focus is primarily on updating the paradigms for administrative purposes. See http://www.anthropedia.science/forum/6000458/ for Han ethno-genetic topics.
wrote:Bringing the topic back to the Korean context of mate selections and heights, I can definitely say that there's a strong pressure among Korean men to be as tallest as possible, as height has come to be associated with an "asset" synonymous with income or ability in the mating pool.

Some Korean women have this (rather ridiculous) notion that a man below 180cm is not suitable as a marriage partner (I will quote a newspaper article for this, it's a rather widespread belief). I'd say about 1 or 2 out of 10 Korean males is over 180cm but of course it's still far from the majority, so I'm not sure where this arbitrary number came from. Most Korean guys are in the middle range of being 173-178cm tall.

Korean women don't face as much pressures as the men, although if a woman is shorter than the average which is 162-163cm, she is indeed seen as "smalll" and will be expected to compensate for her lack of height with "other assets". The ideal height for a young Korean woman is of modest height, somewhere between 168cm.
According to, e.g., Pak 2004, height-related sexual dimorphism is quite significant in South Korea and might have decreased rather than increased as for certain age cohorts addressed in the according paper. If the latter was actually a trend, it would definitely make sense since increased sexual dimorphism concerning height can be perceived as a burden to couples in Western Euroepan societies, where sexual dimorphism is also very marked.

Certain types of women from traditionally very patriarchal societies might naturally feel attracted to archetypical male providers. But those women might be more common within certain urban milieus rather than elsewhere. Interestingly, Elizabeth Cashdan wrote an interesting essay on a potentially related topic: high WHR in non-obese women in the context of reproduction. If what she summed up is also relevant to in terms of, e.g., body height, increased sexual dimorphism might appear to be desirable among people who want to procreate quickly without having to invest much time in a cross-sex friendship. By contrast, moderate sexual dimorphism might be better from the POVs of people who prefer to spend a lot of time with their respective partner(s) doing all kinds of things together, including, e.g., sports.

So far, trends within, e.g., China can be interpreted as 'ambiguous', too. But in case that hard-working women end up left over or with fewer children than 'doll-like' women, maybe the former should actually get legal allowance and support if they want to live in polyandric relationships. It would be detrimental to society as a whole if only one type of women and one type of men could procreate, especially if it's the living stereotypes of androcratic utopias. The data of North American indigenous populations from prior to the colonial period indicate that they were based on matrilateral to bilateral groups, in which average sexual dimorphism was moderate. And among those groups which survived the conflicts with aggressive invaders, the more patriarchal ones tended to suffer more statistically significant losses. However, the colonial period per se seems to have caused increased levels of militarisation, patrilaterality and peer orientation even among previously probably more peaceful and matrilateral Amerindians. Maybe therefore, American anthropometrists noticed quite significant differences between the average body heights of men and women in some Amerindian populations. So they might have selected in favour of tall men in particular. But as known from what happened after the colonial period, long-term consequences of these developments included that...
- traditional communities of many indigenous peoples dissolved due to factionalisms caused by indigenous men competing against other indigenous men under Anglo-American rule
- there is still a lack of social basis for stable nuclear families in many communities due to young people having received ambiguous information about their cultural heritage

That said, note that we so far didn't address the specific dynamics of urbanisation and masculinist factionalisms in modern(ised) rural settings in this forum. Though less well-known, it's a big problem in at least parts of formerly colonial parts of Asia, too. In the light of this, urbanisation and apparent decrease of matrivicinity in rural mainland Korea can be seen in very negative ways despite of the refreshing findings concerning alternative survival strategies in 1970s Jeju-do.

Sources:
Cashdan 2008: "Waist-to-Hip Ratio across Cultures: Trade-Offs between Androgen- and Estrogen-Dependent Traits"
Pak Sunyoung 2004: "The biological standard of living in the two Koreas"; doi: 10.1016/j.ehb.2004.09.001
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