The Art of Korean Etiquette

Korean etiquette
Korean etiquette

Korean etiquette, deeply rooted in Confucianism, is a fascinating aspect of Korean culture that reflects respect, humility, and social harmony. Whether you’re planning a trip to South Korea or simply interested in global customs, understanding Korean etiquette is essential. In this article, we’ll delve into the intricate world of Korean manners, exploring the do’s and don’ts that shape social interactions.


The Basics of Korean Etiquette

  1. Greetings

The importance of greetings in Korea cannot be overstated. When meeting someone for the first time or entering a room, it’s customary to bow slightly as a sign of respect. The depth of the bow depends on the age and status of the person you’re greeting. Handshakes are also common, especially in business settings.


  1. Removing Shoes

Before entering a Korean home or even some restaurants, it is customary to remove your shoes. Be sure to wear clean socks without holes as a sign of respect for the cleanliness of the space.


  1. Dining Etiquette

Korean dining is a communal experience. Wait until the eldest or the most senior person at the table starts the meal before you begin eating. Do not lift your rice or soup bowl off the table, and always use both hands when passing or receiving dishes.


Navigating Social Interactions

  1. Age and Hierarchy

Korea places a strong emphasis on age and hierarchy. Addressing people by their title or using honorifics based on age is crucial. Younger individuals should always show deference to their elders.


  1. Business Etiquette

In Korean business culture, exchanging business cards is common. When receiving a business card, do so with both hands, study it briefly, and express gratitude. During meetings, wait for the senior person to initiate discussions.



Understanding Korean etiquette is a key to unlocking the warmth and hospitality of Korean culture. By showing respect for age, following traditional customs, and practicing humility, you can create meaningful connections and truly immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Korean society. So, whether you’re sharing a meal or engaging in a business negotiation, embracing Korean etiquette is a sure way to make a positive impression and build lasting relationships in this captivating culture.