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Do Korean couples kiss in public?

Do Korean Couples Kiss in Public?

Korean couples are known for their adorable and romantic gestures towards each other. One of the most common displays of affection is kissing, but the question remains: do Korean couples kiss in public?

Public Displays of Affection in Korea

South Korea is a country deeply rooted in tradition and respect for elders. While public displays of affection (PDA) may be acceptable in western cultures, it is not as common or accepted in South Korea. Despite this, there are still instances where Korean couples show their love for each other in public.

The Cultural Norms

There is an unwritten rule in Korea stating that couples should not display their affection in public. This cultural norm is based on the idea of modesty and respect towards others. However, with the rise of westernization, this view has been changing over time.

Kissing in Public

While kissing is not common in public places such as streets or subways, it is seen more often in parks or secluded areas. Kissing on the lips or hugging for an extended period of time may still be considered taboo, but a quick peck on the cheek or forehead is more acceptable.

The Influence of Media

Korean dramas and movies often feature romantic scenes where the lead actors kiss passionately in public places. This has influenced the younger generation to be more open about their PDA, especially when they are with their significant other.

The Impact of Age and Gender

Age and gender also play a role in how acceptable PDA is perceived to be. Younger couples are more likely to engage in PDA than older couples. Additionally, it is more common to see same-sex couples displaying their affection than opposite-sex couples.

The Risks of Public Displays of Affection

Despite the changing views towards PDA, there are still risks involved. Couples who engage in PDA may face criticism or disapproval from others, especially from the older generation. They may also be seen as disrespectful or inappropriate.

Alternative Ways to Show Affection

For couples who prefer to keep their affection private, there are other ways to show their love for each other. This includes holding hands, exchanging love letters or gifts, and spending quality time together.

The Role of Westernization

The rise of westernization has brought about changes in Korean culture, including the acceptance of PDA. However, it is important to note that Korean culture still values modesty and respect towards others.

The Future of Public Displays of Affection in Korea

As Korean society becomes more open-minded and accepting of different cultures, it is likely that PDA will become more common in public places. However, it will still take time for this cultural norm to shift.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, while public displays of affection may not be as common in Korea compared to western cultures, there are still instances where Korean couples show their love for each other in public. With the influence of media and changing views towards PDA, it is likely that this cultural norm will continue to evolve over time.


  • (2019). Cultural Etiquette: A Guide for Foreigners in Korea. Retrieved from
  • Korea Tourism Organization. (2019). Korean Customs and Traditions. Retrieved from
  • Kim, J. (2016). Public Displays of Affection in Korea: Evidence from Seoul. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Research, 4(2), 19-28.

Is kissing in public normal in Korea?

Public displays of affection in the form of kissing are frowned upon and considered inappropriate by elder individuals in South Korea. While younger generations may be more accepting, it remains discouraged by the older generation. Dressing well is highly valued in South Korean culture and is seen as a sign of respect.

Do South Koreans show affection in public?

If you’re dating in Korea, it’s unlikely that your partner will be comfortable with engaging in intimate displays of affection in public. South Koreans view passionate kissing and prolonged hugging in public as being tasteless and unsuitable.

Do friends kiss in Korea?

In Korea, it is not considered a big deal to touch someone, even on the face, as long as it is with someone of the same gender. However, any physical affection with someone of the opposite gender is generally considered taboo, even for couples who are dating or married. Public displays of affection such as kissing are also rare in Korea.

Do Koreans hug in public?

In Korea, hugging is typically reserved for romantic partners or close friends and family members who are parting ways for an extended period of time, although attitudes towards hugging may be shifting in modern times. This information was reported on September 26th, 2013.

Are Korean girls touchy?

Koreans tend to avoid physical contact with each other, but it is not uncommon for young women to walk hand-in-hand, and male friends may touch each other more often than what is seen in Western cultures. Personal space is not considered as important in Korea.

Do Korean couples hold hands in public?

It is common to see couples in South Korea holding hands, giving a peck, or even a kiss in public. This level of public displays of affection may surprise those from European or American cultures, as Korean couples are more eager to express their affection for each other openly.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Public Displays of Affection

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many aspects of daily life, including public displays of affection. With social distancing measures in place, many couples have had to limit their physical contact and avoid public displays of affection altogether. This has led to a shift towards more intimate and private forms of affection, such as cuddling at home or sending virtual love notes.

Regional Differences in Public Displays of Affection

It is also important to note that there may be regional differences in the acceptance of public displays of affection within South Korea. For example, PDA may be more common and accepted in urban areas compared to rural areas. Additionally, certain regions may have their own cultural norms and traditions regarding PDA.

Cultural Differences in Public Displays of Affection

It is also worth noting that cultural differences may affect how PDA is perceived and accepted by Koreans. For example, while hugging and kissing on the cheek may be common in some European cultures, it may be seen as inappropriate or uncomfortable in Korean culture. It is important for individuals to be aware of these cultural differences and to respect the norms of the culture they are in.

The Role of Gender Roles in Public Displays of Affection

Gender roles may also play a role in how PDA is perceived and accepted by Koreans. For example, men may feel pressure to display their masculinity by avoiding PDA, while women may face criticism for being too aggressive or forward with their affection. It is important for individuals to challenge these gender roles and to express their affection in a way that feels authentic and comfortable for them.

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