Written by HyunCheon Kim / Translated by JaeMin Woo
The number of Korean parents worrying about their children’s late marriages is significantly large. Finding a suitable marriage partner in Boston is not easy because the small Korean population and cultural differences make it difficult for one to meet someone around his or her age with a similar background.
Also, Koreans born and raised in America have a high preference for second generation Koreans if not Americans or people of other ethnicities as their partners because of the Koreans’ cultural differences created by their American upbringing. These cases happen more among women.
According to a study called “Korean American Marriage Studies” by the Asian American Studies Program of the University of Maryland, in 2009, 54.7% of female second generation Koreans married someone of a different ethnicity. The majority of their partners were Caucasian.
Kim, whose daughter was recently engaged to an American, was satisfied with his daughter's partnership. Kim said, “The children who are born and raised here cannot understand the Korean marriage culture which prioritizes family and educational background. I happily approved of my daughter’s marriage because they get along very well.”
Similarly, the concern is also true for the parents with sons. Lee, with a second-generation son in his late 30s who is now a doctor, said, “Although I favor a second generation Korean as my daughter-in-law, I do not insist.” He preferred not to intervene in his life, saying, “I do not care what his partner’s ethnicity is, as long as my son wants to marry her. The only thing I know for sure is that he will have a difficult time getting along with girls who were born and raised in Korea because of the cultural gap.”
However, the ones who struggle the most are the “1.5th generations”, the Korean immigrants who moved to America as teenagers. Although these Koreans have American sentiments, they prefer Korean partners because a part of them still possess Korean ideas. Moreover, their parents also strongly prefer Korean son or daughter- in-laws.
Jeon, who has a 35-year-old son with a professional practice, is asking people around him to look for a partner for his son. Jeon is living in a house with three generations of his family and his son wishes to continue to live with them after marriage. Therefore, he wishes to have a Korean daughter-in-law with Korean sentiments. “My daughter-in-law must be Korean,” he said.
It is extremely difficult for 1.5th or 2nd generation Koreans who are looking for Korean partners to find the perfect match. Although Boston has many intelligent young Koreans, most of them are international students with strong Korean sentiments who came from Korea to study abroad. Additionally, the majority of these students are looking for fellow international students rather than 1.5th or 2nd generation Koreans as partners.
Some “marriage networks” that realized this issue are entering Boston. “Zzack USA”, a marriage network firm which has its headquarters in New York, and “Gori”, a social event hosting firm also from New York, both recently entered Boston.
While “Zzack USA” is a professional wedding firm that arranges blind dates aimed towards marriages, “Gori” hosts social events for young adults with professional practices and already has 750 members.
According to D.J. Moon, the founder of GORI [previously Gori wasn’t all in capital letters; should it be?] Social Club, people share information and date through the events and sometimes end up with successful marriages.
Jeon, who prefers to have a Korean daughter-in-law, said, “A marriage agency finally entered Boston. It’s good news for Korean parents like me.”
However, the Koreans who do not prefer to have Korean partners do not feel the need use these agencies.
ⓒ 보스톤코리아(http://www.bostonkorea.com), 무단전재 및 재배포 금지