Korean........return to culture grid
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Korean is the official language but English is usually taught in schools.
Dominant religions are Christianity, Buddhism, Shamanism (spirit worship) and Chondokyo (religion of the heavenly way). Confucianism is also followed, more as a philosophy than a religion.
One's personal feelings about an issue are considered the 'truth.' Ideologies related to nationalism also influence decisions. Each person has a relative position that includes obligations and obedience. Decisions tend to be by group (family unit) with the oldest being given the greatest authority. Loyalty to kin always supercedes that to friends or organizations. One must save face and not cause others to loose face, therefore an outright "no" is rarely used. Status and security come from the extended family. Men tend to dominate public situations. Silence is often a sign of lack of understanding since to admit misunderstanding would cause embarrassment. Rephrasing and inquiring if more information is needed rather than making any references to misunderstanding is an effective way to clarify. Brute honesty, disagreement, or "no" is avoided because it is considered more important to leave you with good feelings than to be accurate or cause displeasure.
Bowing at the beginning and again at the end of an interaction is common. A longer ending bow is a sign that all has gone well. Elders are acknowledged first in a group. Hand shaking is common with eye contact maintained. Elders are often greeted with a compliment to his/her health.
.....When people first meet, often they inquire about family history. People ask about hometowns and bloodlines compared to ancient history. Knowledge about one's family is considered important.
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Negative responses may be indicated by a squint of the eyes or by tipping the head back while drawing air through the teeth. Pointing is rude. Pity is shown by clicking the tongue, making a "jjut jjut" kind of sound.
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