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Are cousins allowed to marry in Korea?

Are Cousins Allowed to Marry in Korea?


In this article, we will explore the topic of whether cousins are allowed to marry in Korea. This is a topic that has been debated for many years, and there are differing opinions on the matter. We will delve into the cultural and legal aspects of cousin marriage in Korea, and provide a comprehensive overview of the subject matter.

Cultural Views on Cousin Marriage in Korea

Korea is a country with deep-rooted cultural traditions, and one of these traditions is the practice of cousin marriage. Historically, cousin marriage was considered a way to keep family wealth and power within the family line. However, in modern times, attitudes towards cousin marriage have shifted, with many Koreans viewing it as taboo and undesirable.

Legal Status of Cousin Marriage in Korea

While cultural views on cousin marriage may vary, the legal status of cousin marriage in Korea is clear. According to the Korean Civil Code, Article 809, between relatives by blood within the third degree of kinship (including cousins) marriage is prohibited.

Reasons for Prohibition

There are several reasons why cousin marriage is prohibited in Korea. One reason is the increased risk of genetic disorders in offspring born to first cousins. Another reason is the potential for family conflicts and power struggles that can arise from such marriages.

Cultural Views on Genetic Disorders

Despite the legal prohibition on cousin marriage, some Koreans continue to view it as acceptable. This is partly due to a lack of understanding about the potential risks of genetic disorders that can result from such unions.

Genetic Risks Associated with Cousin Marriage

Research has shown that first-cousin marriages carry an increased risk of genetic disorders in offspring. These disorders can range from mild to severe, and can include conditions like Tay-Sachs disease, sickle cell anemia, and cystic fibrosis.

Alternative Marriage Practices

In recent years, there has been a trend towards alternative marriage practices in Korea. This includes an increase in inter-racial and international marriages, as well as same-sex marriages. These alternative practices are seen by some as a way to break free from traditional cultural norms.

Changing Attitudes Towards Cousin Marriage

While some Koreans continue to view cousin marriage as acceptable, there has been a shift in attitudes towards the practice. Many younger Koreans view it as outdated and undesirable, and are choosing other forms of marriage instead.

Debating the Legality of Cousin Marriage

Despite the legal prohibition on cousin marriage, there are some who argue that the law should be changed to allow it. Proponents of cousin marriage argue that it is a matter of personal choice, and that the government should not interfere in such decisions.

The Global View on Cousin Marriage

Cousin marriage is not unique to Korea – it is a practice that occurs in many cultures around the world. However, attitudes towards cousin marriage vary widely depending on cultural traditions and legal systems.


In conclusion, while cousin marriage was once a common practice in Korea, it is now prohibited by law. Despite this, there are still differing views on the subject, with some Koreans viewing it as acceptable and others as taboo. As with many cultural practices, attitudes towards cousin marriage are changing over time.

What cultures allow cousins to marry?

Marriage between cousins is a commonly accepted practice among people of Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Middle Eastern descent. It is also prevalent in some Indian communities, Irish travellers, and certain refugee populations, though to varying degrees of tradition.

Can Kim marry Kim in Korea?

Although there was once a law prohibiting marriage between individuals with the same surname and paternal ancestry, it was deemed unconstitutional by South Korea’s Constitutional Court in 1997. In 2005, the civil code was revised to only prohibit marriages between closely related individuals.

Can Asians marry their cousins?

In East Asia, first-cousin marriage is legal in Japan but has become less common. China banned first-cousin marriage in 1981, but in the past, cross-cousin marriage was prevalent in rural areas.

What is the closest cousin you can marry?

Marriage between first cousins is allowed in 19 states, while seven states allow it with certain conditions. Maine, for example, requires genetic counseling, while some states only allow it if one partner is unable to have children. North Carolina only forbids marriage between double first cousins.

What is the legal age gap for marriage in South Korea?

In South Korea, marriage is only permitted between individuals of different genders, as same-sex marriages are not recognized. Individuals over the ages of 18 (males) and 16 (females) may marry with the consent of their parents or guardians, but there are certain restrictions and prohibitions.

Can brother and sister marry in Korea?

The rule prohibiting marriage between individuals with the same surname and ancestral home was established in 1957 under Article 809. This article stated that marriage between blood relatives is not allowed if they share both a surname and ancestral origin.

It is important to note that the debate around cousin marriage in Korea is not a new one. In fact, it has been a topic of discussion for many years, and there are strong opinions on both sides. Those who support cousin marriage argue that it is a cultural tradition that should be respected and preserved, while those who oppose it point to the potential genetic risks and other negative consequences.

There are also those who argue that the legal prohibition on cousin marriage is not being enforced effectively, and that many Koreans continue to engage in such unions without repercussions. This raises questions about the effectiveness of laws in regulating cultural practices, and whether or not the government has a role to play in shaping cultural norms.

Ultimately, the question of whether cousins are allowed to marry in Korea is a complex and multifaceted one, with cultural, legal, and ethical considerations at play. While the legal prohibition on cousin marriage may be clear, attitudes towards the practice are changing over time, and it remains to be seen how this will affect cultural norms and traditions in the years to come.

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