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Why are Korean boys circumcised?


Korean male circumcision is a practice that has been carried out for centuries. It is a cultural and religious practice that is deeply rooted in Korean society. In this article, we will explore the reasons why Korean boys are circumcised.

The Historical Context of Korean Male Circumcision

The history of Korean male circumcision dates back to the Goryeo Dynasty, which lasted from 918 to 1392. During this time, circumcision was performed for hygienic reasons and to prevent diseases. The practice was also adopted by the Joseon Dynasty, which lasted from 1392 to 1910. Today, circumcision is still widely practiced in Korea, but the reasons for it have evolved.


One of the primary reasons for Korean male circumcision is hygiene. Koreans believe that circumcision makes it easier to keep the penis clean and reduces the risk of infections. This is particularly important in a country where public bathhouses are a common feature of daily life.


Religion is another reason why Korean boys are circumcised. Christianity and Buddhism are two of the main religions in Korea, and both require male circumcision as part of their religious practices. For example, many Christian families in Korea have their sons circumcised as a sign of their faith.

Social Pressure

In addition to religious and cultural reasons, social pressure is also a factor in Korean male circumcision. Many Korean men feel that being circumcised is more socially acceptable and desirable than being uncircumcised. This can lead to pressure on young boys to undergo circumcision.

Medical Benefits

There are also medical benefits to circumcision that are recognized by some doctors. These benefits include a reduced risk of urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted infections, and penile cancer. However, the medical community is divided on the issue, and circumcision is not universally recommended.

Family Tradition

For some Korean families, circumcision is a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. It is seen as an important rite of passage for young boys and a way to honor their ancestors.

Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is another reason why Korean boys are circumcised. Boys may feel pressure from their friends or classmates to undergo circumcision in order to fit in or be seen as more masculine.

Sexual Function

There is also a belief among some Koreans that circumcision can enhance sexual function. Some men report increased sensitivity and pleasure after being circumcised.

Cosmetic Reasons

Cosmetic reasons are another factor in Korean male circumcision. Many men believe that being circumcised makes the penis look more attractive and desirable.

Surgical Techniques

The surgical techniques used for circumcision have evolved over time. In the past, traditional methods such as using a bamboo stick to crush the foreskin were used. Today, modern surgical techniques are used to perform the procedure.

The Debate Over Circumcision

Despite its long history in Korea, circumcision is a controversial topic. Some people believe that it is a violation of human rights and that it can cause physical and psychological harm. Others argue that it is a personal choice and that there are medical benefits to the procedure.


In conclusion, there are many reasons why Korean boys are circumcised. These include hygiene, religion, social pressure, family tradition, peer pressure, sexual function, cosmetic reasons, and medical benefits. While the practice remains controversial, it continues to be an important part of Korean culture and society.

Why is circumcision so popular in Korea?

South Korea has a high number of teenage or adult circumcisions, potentially the highest globally. The practice was introduced during the Korean War through contact with the American military, resulting in a unique history and tradition of circumcision in South Korea.

Is circumcision common in Korea?

In South Korea, circumcision became popular starting in the 20th century, with a rate of around 80%. However, prior to 1945, circumcision was not practiced in Korea due to the cultural value placed on preserving the body as a gift from parents.

How popular is circumcision in South Korea?

In a recent report, it was found that South Korea has an unexpectedly high rate of circumcision, with some age groups reaching over 90%. This data was published on December 11, 2012.

Why do cultures circumcise males?

Male circumcision is a surgical procedure that has been around for a long time and is often performed as a cultural or religious tradition. It is one of the most common surgical procedures.

Do Koreans remove foreskin?

Circumcision of male infants is a common practice in the United States, with up to 60% of baby boys undergoing the procedure. Globally, the rate is approximately 33% of males, with high rates found in the U.S., Middle East, and South Korea. Circumcision is less common in Europe, other parts of Asia, and South America.

Are Japanese men circumcised?

In Japan, circumcision is not a common practice for newborns and children, and adult males usually only undergo the procedure for aesthetic reasons at specialized clinics. However, recent reports suggest that there is a growing trend among Japanese mothers to consider circumcision for their sons.

In recent years, there has been a growing movement in Korea against male circumcision. Some activists argue that it is a violation of human rights and that boys should have the right to make their own decisions about their bodies. They also point out that there are risks associated with the procedure, including bleeding, infection, and complications with anesthesia.

Furthermore, some studies have suggested that circumcision can have negative effects on sexual function. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that circumcised men were more likely to experience erectile dysfunction and difficulty achieving orgasm than uncircumcised men. However, other studies have found no significant differences in sexual function between circumcised and uncircumcised men.

Despite the controversy surrounding male circumcision in Korea, the practice remains widely accepted and continues to be performed on a large scale. It is estimated that up to 90% of Korean men are circumcised. As with any medical procedure, it is important for individuals to carefully consider the risks and benefits before making a decision.

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