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Population and Distribution

The Korean minority in China has a population of 1,920,597, mainly living in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in Jilin Province. Some are widely distributed over Jilin, Heilongjiang, Liaoning provinces and the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region. A small number can be found in some provinces in the central plains.


The ancestors of the Korean minority in China immigrated from the Korean Peninsula. The immigration began in the latter part of the 17th century, but did not occur in sizable numbers until the 19th century. They first move to avoid the oppressive feudal landlords in Korea, but later mainly to avoid the famine of 1869 and the warfare launched by the Japan in the early years of the 20th century. These people settled in Northeast China and gradually developed into one of the minorities in China.


The Koreans have their own spoken and written language and a fairly developed culture and education. Their language is thought to belong to the Altaic family. They also use Chinese language and characters.


The early Korean people practiced totemism and ancestor worship. Now, there is no uniform religion for this minority. Among those people who believe in religion, most are Christians A small numbers of the Koreans also believe in Buddhism or Confucianism.


The Korean people are mainly engaged in agriculture. They are especially good at growing paddy rice in the frigid region where they live. The Yanbian area, where most of the Koreans live is the main production area of paddies in Northeast China.

This area also has abundant natural resources: animals, plants and minerals. The famous "Three Treasures" of the Northeast, namely ginseng, marten fur, and pilose antler are also found here. The oxen bred in Yanbian is one of the fines breeds in the five big producing areas of China. This area is also one of China's major sources of timber. It is also a habitat for many wild animals, including tigers.

This area also has rich deposits of mineral resources such as copper, lead, zinc, gold, iron, antimony, phosphor, graphite, quartz, limestone and oil shale.


Rice is the staple food for the Korean people. Rice is complemented with soup, catsup, pickles and kimchi. They also eat millet and corn.

Their cuisine is very spicy and includes kimchi (pickled vegetables), cold noodles, sticky rice cakes and dog meat.

Kimchi is a kind of pickled vegetables favored by Koreans. It is usually made in winter, and the main ingredients are cabbage and carrots which are spiced with garlic, capsicums, gingers, salt etc.

Korean Cold-noodles are well know for their unique flavor. They are a traditional cooked wheaten food of the Korean people. It is made of buckwheat, wheat-flour and amylum. Complemented with some beeves, chicken, capsicum and seasonings, the cold-noodles taste quite delicious.

The most popular meat, among the Korean people is dog meat. They are quite famous for cooking dog-meat. Visitors are very interested in dishes made with dog-meat. Dog-meat soup is especially delicious. The Korean people often treat their guests to a "Dog Meat Banquet". However Killing and eating dog is forbidden during weddings, funerals or festival periods.


The Koreans have the reputation of "the people in white" due to their special love of the color white.- a symbol of simplicity and serenity since ancient times.

Korean men often wear white short buttonless frocks with dark-colored sleeveless jackets outside. Their trousers are loose with the trouser legs fastened with two cloth-straps at the ankles. Nowadays most of the Korean men wear western-style clothes and their traditional costume is worn only on special occasions such as festivals or weddings.

The Korean women usually wear short buttonless jackets and long skirts. Their jackets, about 35 centimeters long, is tied with a red, blue or purple ribbon. Their silk skirts, have many folds at the waist.

Young women often wear short skirts, which reach their knees, while the older women wear the longer skirts down to their instep. Various fashionable dresses are now popular with the young women.


Most of the Korean villages are located near the mountains and rivers. Their houses are either, tile-roofed or straw-roofed houses with the door opening to the Southeast, South or Southwest. Korean house usually have a wooden framework and a roof of four sloping planes covered with a thick layer of straw or tiles. Their house usually has three doors in the front side and four rooms: bedroom, reception room, kitchen and warehouse.

The most striking feature of the Korean house is the flat heatable bed (known as kang) Built with bricks or thin stone slabs, the surface of the kang is covered with wooden boards or fiberboard which is decorated with yellow lacquer polish. A flue underneath heats the kang and keep it warm in the cold winter.

Social Life

The Korean people are especially good at singing and dancing. They sing and dance not only during the festivals, but also in the leisure time and during the breaks inwork.

The Korean dances are graceful and elegant, a harmonious combination of strength and flexibility. The famous folk dances include the Tambourin Dance, Fan Dance, Carrying Water Dance, Sword Dance, Dance of Happy Farmers, etc. The songs sung by the Korean people are beautiful, natural and full of inspiration and expressive force. The famous folk songs like balloonflower ballad, Alilang and Along Noduer River Side are widely known and sung by everyone. The Koreans value aesthetics, and educate their children to appreciate beauty.

The Koreas like athletic sports like. football, wrestling, skating, springboard and playing swing. The women are fond of playing gangplank and swing. The men like completing in strength skills or wrestling. Football is especially popular among the Korean men and Yanbian area has a reputation as of the "land of football".


Basically, the Korean minority celebrate the same festival as the Han people which including the Lunar New Year, the Mid-Autumn Festival, the Qingming Festival, etc. The Korean people also have three famous household festivals, namely, a baby's first birthday , the Huajia Festival and the Huihun Festival.

To celebrate a baby's first birthday many guests would be invited to attend a dinner party. Huajia festival is the sixtieth birthday and the huihun festival is the sixtyieth wedding anniversary.. On Huajia Festival, the old person whose birthday is being celebrated in his best clothes sits in the middle with the other old people sitting on both sides. His children, grandchildren and relatives kneel down in front, offering him wine one by one to show their respects and thanks.

The Huihun Festival, also named Guihun Festival, is the most ceremoniol family festival. It is a great honor for a family to hold this festival and is often a communal affair for the whole village. On this special occasion, the couple will wear their wedding dress and attend the banquet held by their children and grandchild. All the guests will toast the couple and wishe them a long life.

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