The expectations of Korean adoptees who return to their country

From the LA Times comes this story of the difficulties Korean adoptees face when trying to make connections with their Korean culture. What I think is most interesting about this article is that it isn't focused much on the adoption aspect, rather, that adoptees as well as other gyopos, face some of the same barriers in South Korea when we attempt to return and connect with the culture and people.

South Korea's complicated embrace of gyopo

welcome the many ethnic Koreans raised abroad who come each year to
reconnect with their roots, but they also judge these gyopo by very
high standards, expecting them to fit in seamlessly.

Expatriate in Korea

Ann Babe, who was abandoned as an infant and adopted by an American
couple, has returned to South Korea to reconnect with her cultural
roots. (January 29, 2010)

In South Korea, returnees such as Babe are known as gyopo.

The term connotes "our Koreans who happen to be living overseas in
another country," said David Kang, a second-generation Korean American
and director of Korean studies at USC.

He emphasized the tribal focus of the word: "It's this very atavistic view of Koreans as our blood overseas, almost."

For some ethnic Koreans who come here, the term gyopo has carried a negative connotation, singling them out. But most accept it as a practical label.

About 7.5 million ethnic Koreans live outside Korea, 2.5 million of them in the United States, Kang said.

You can read the entire story here.

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

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