(Han Mi OK before and after injecting the oil)
(Japanese Magazine KEJ on Korean plastic surgery)
As mentioned in my previous blog, foreigners invest thousands of dollars in plastic surgery in Korea. However, as much as other Asian countries desire the same Korean look, there are Asian magazines and TV programs criticizing and raising awareness of the blooming trend, especially in Japan. In 2009, a famous Japanese magazine, “Asahi,” published an article regarding the dangers of plastic surgery in Korea, targeting Korean entertainer Han Mi Ok as its main example. Han Mi Ok, also known as “fan lady,” first drew attention to herself by making an appearance on a Korean show called “The Things That Happen in This World.” There, she spoke of her addiction to plastic surgery, which ultimately led to the active injection of cooking oil in her face. As a result, her face expanded outwards, much like a fan, thus her nickname. The magazine warned Japanese readers that cheap plastic surgery in Korea can result in extreme distortions of the face, much like the case of Han Mi Ok. According to a Korean news site Kukinews, Japanese netizens (internet citizens) also responded by criticizing Korean plastic surgery, claiming that the procedure is dangerous and that it can lead to severe side effects. Japanese TV programs are also focusing on the plastic surgery fad in Korea, asking random Korean women on the street whether they have undergone plastic surgery.
(Song Hye Gyo and Kim Tae Hee are considered the most beautiful Korean actresses in Asia)
(Average cost to look like Korean top stars: $5000.00)
The Korean wave, also known as Hallyu, is the permeation of South Korean culture around the world, and is considered a phenomenon throughout East Asia. The term was originally coined by Chinese journalists who were shocked by the rapidly growing popularity of Korean celebrities and culture throughout Asia. But now the trend has transcended its broad cultural quality and a new term has been coined – “Medical Hallyu”—to refer to the phenomenon in which Asian tourists fly to South Korea for cosmetic purposes, usually surgery. According to ThePlasticSurgery.com, Asians are willing to pay three times more to receive surgery in Korea than in any other country, in an attempt to craft a more “natural” look.
This week, I decided to focus on the advertising of plastic surgery in Korea. The number of plastic surgery advertisements has climbed steadily over the past decade, and currently are everywhere: all over the internet, magazines, on the sides of buses and subway cars, and even added to vocal announcements, which announce the next subway stop. These cosmetic surgery advertisements, mostly scattered around the main parts of Seoul, are raising issues of whether the plastic surgery clinics portrayed in these ads are, in fact, legitimate.
In order to write a piece about the plastic surgery craze in South Korea, I decided to start off by researching its beginnings. Notably one of the most popular surgeries of all time, double eyelid surgeries are very much prevalent in Asia not only because women yearn to achieve a Western look, but also because having big round eyes is what is considered beautiful in Korea. However, during the 1800’s, when the eyelid surgery first developed, it was primarily performed for reasons beyond aesthetics.