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What is South Korea’s main religion?


South Korea is one of the most advanced and developed countries in Asia, known for its technology, food, music, and culture. However, religion also plays a significant role in the lives of many South Koreans. In this article, we will explore the main religion of South Korea and its impact on the country’s history and culture.

History of Religion in South Korea

Religion has been a part of Korean culture for thousands of years. Shamanism was the earliest form of religion in Korea, which was followed by Buddhism during the Three Kingdoms period. Confucianism was also introduced to Korea during the Joseon Dynasty, which lasted from 1392 to 1910. Christianity was introduced to Korea in the late 18th century by Catholic missionaries, followed by Protestant missionaries in the late 19th century.


Buddhism is one of the major religions in South Korea, and it has a long and rich history in the country. According to statistics, about 23% of South Koreans identify themselves as Buddhists. Buddhism’s influence can be seen in many aspects of Korean culture, including art, literature, architecture, and philosophy.


Confucianism is another major religion in South Korea that has influenced Korean society for centuries. Confucianism emphasizes the importance of family values, education, social order, and respect for authority. It has played a significant role in shaping Korean society’s ethical and moral values.


Christianity is one of the fastest-growing religions in South Korea. According to statistics, about 29% of South Koreans identify themselves as Christians. Christianity has had a significant impact on Korean society since it was introduced to the country in the late 18th century.


Protestantism is the dominant form of Christianity in South Korea, with over 19% of the population identifying as Protestants. Protestantism has had a significant impact on Korean society, especially in the areas of education and social welfare.


Catholicism is another significant religion in South Korea, with over 7% of the population identifying as Catholics. Catholicism has had a significant impact on Korean society, especially in the area of social justice.

Other Religions

Apart from Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, and Catholicism, there are other minor religions in South Korea. These include Islam, Hinduism, and traditional shamanic practices. However, these religions have a relatively small following in the country.

Religious Tensions

Despite religious freedom being guaranteed by the South Korean constitution, there have been religious tensions in the country. Some religious groups have been accused of being too aggressive in their proselytizing efforts, while others have been accused of discriminating against non-believers.

Role of Religion in Society

Religion continues to play a significant role in South Korean society. It provides a framework for ethical and moral behavior and acts as a source of comfort and guidance for many people. Religion also influences politics and social issues in the country.


In conclusion, religion is an essential part of South Korean culture and society. Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, and Catholicism are the major religions in the country, each with its own unique history and influence on Korean culture. Despite religious tensions that exist in the country, religion remains an integral part of Korean life.



What is South Korea’s most popular religion?

South Korea does not have a dominant religion among its populace. The largest group of people (46%) do not identify with any religion, while a significant portion of the population follow Christianity (29%) and Buddhism (23%). This information was reported on August 12, 2014.

Why is Christianity so big in Korea?

The reason why Christianity became widely accepted in Korea was due to its connection with Korean nationalism during the Japanese occupation from 1910 to 1945. Many Christians identified with this cause as Japan attempted to assimilate Korean culture during this period.

What’s Japan’s main religion?

Japan’s two primary religions are Shinto and Buddhism, with Shinto being a part of Japanese culture for centuries and Buddhism introduced from the mainland in the 6th century. Despite their differences, the two religions have co-existed peacefully and have even influenced each other in various ways.

Do they celebrate Christmas in South Korea?

Korea celebrates Christmas with a lot of enthusiasm, and it is a time when malls and streets are adorned with giant light displays, and shops are stocked with festive decorations. One of the most popular places to see the holiday lights is at the Cheonggyecheon Stream.

Is Christianity allowed in Korea?

There is a variety of religions in South Korea, with a significant portion of the population not identifying with any religion. Christianity (including Protestantism and Catholicism) and Buddhism are the primary religions among those who practice a formal religion.

Why do most Koreans have no religion?

Certain experts suggest that the present-day lack of religious affiliation in South Korea can be partly explained by the population’s mistrust of hierarchical institutions such as religious organizations. These same experts also identify South Korea’s rigorous education and professional systems as reasons why a relatively small number of young people in the country participate in organized religion.

In recent years, there has been a growing trend of religious pluralism in South Korea. Many South Koreans are embracing multiple religions, blending elements of different faiths into their personal beliefs and practices. This trend is especially prevalent among younger generations who are more open to exploring different worldviews.

Despite the country’s increasing religious diversity, traditional religious practices remain an essential part of daily life for many South Koreans. Buddhist temples, Christian churches, and Confucian shrines can be found throughout the country, often coexisting in close proximity to one another.

Religion also plays a significant role in South Korea’s relationship with North Korea. Many North Koreans practice a form of state-sanctioned Juche ideology that emphasizes self-reliance and loyalty to the ruling Kim family. However, there are also reports of underground Christian and Buddhist movements in North Korea.

In recent years, South Korean religious leaders have played prominent roles in efforts to promote peace and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula. In 2018, Catholic Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong led a delegation of South Korean religious leaders to meet with North Korean officials in Pyongyang. The delegation carried messages of peace and hope for improved inter-Korean relations.

Overall, religion remains a vital aspect of South Korean culture and society, shaping the country’s history, values, and identity. Whether through Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, or other faiths, religion continues to provide guidance, comfort, and inspiration to millions of South Koreans.

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