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5 Things you probably didn’t know about South Korea

Published on May 05, 2022 | Last Updated May 11, 2022
Four member of the South Korean K-pop group BlackPink hold a pose while performing on stage.
K-pop group BlackPink performs on stage during the 8th Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards in Seoul, South Korea. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)


South Korea is part of Asia, and it sits on a peninsula right between China and Japan. Also known as the Republic of Korea, it's a country of over 50 million people. Let’s take a closer look with some South Korean fun facts.

Four is bad luck

An elevator panel, showing the buttons for the third, fourth and fifth floors


In Canada, many people believe the number 13 is unlucky. But in South Korea, it's the number four that's considered to be bad luck.

As for why it's thought to be unlucky? That's probably because the Korean word for "four" sounds a lot like the Korean word for "death." In a lot of elevators, they will use the letter "F" instead of the number four.

K-pop comes from South Korea

Four members of the South Korean K-pop group BlackPink hold a pose while performing on stage.

K-pop group BlackPink performs on stage during the 8th Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards in Seoul, South Korea. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

K-pop is a super popular music genre in South Korea. Its name is short for Korean Pop.

The music is a combination of hip-hop, pop, rock and R&B. Thanks to the internet, K-pop is now a big hit with music fans all around the world — even with those who don't understand the lyrics! 

Korean ABCs

A woman looks at an enlarged version Hangul on a manuscript

 A woman looks at the first document written in Hangul, the alphabet created by a Joseon dynasty monarch in 1446. (Jung Yeon-Je/Getty Images/AFP)

South Koreans use an alphabet called Hangul for writing. It was created in the 15th century and consists of 19 consonants and 21 vowels.

Instead of being written in a row, like the letters you use in English, Hangul letters are grouped into blocks of syllables. So, when you see a letter like this — 한 — it's actually a block of letters.

Shop 'til you drop

A wide view of Times Square mall in South Korea

A view of Times Square shopping mall in Seoul, South Korea. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

South Korea is home to some of largest shopping malls in world. Customers can usually do some serious shopping. And since many malls stay open until the wee hours of the morning — that can mean until 4 or 5 a.m.!

Up, up and away

A person flies a kite with a Korean tiger on it

A person flies a kite in Seoul, South Korea. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Kite flying is a traditional custom and popular pastime in South Korea. During the Lunar New Year, kite-fliers cut the strings on their kites so that they soar away. It’s believed that when the kites drift off in the wind, all bad luck floats away with them.

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