South Korean Cosmetic Surgery Culture Exposed In New Book

Fiction and Reality in Kpop Cosmetic Surgery Culture.

Frances Cha picked a grimly fascinating subject for her debut novel:'I wish I looked like you'  the very in-your-face look at the South Korean Cosmetic Surgery Culture and the very underground “room salon” culture — and the ways they are troublingly intertwined.

Embed from Getty Images

The weird cosmetic surgery culture in Seoul which dominates the celebrity media and helps fuel the whole Kpop ethos provides the background for this novel.. This is a fascinating documentary I unearthed on the whole kpop phenomenon.

Seoul is the world’s plastic surgery capital, where more than a million procedures take place a year at the “pretty factories,” everything from eye re-stitching to armpit whitening.

Cha portrays a world where many of the patients are young teenage girls. A common operation is jaw reduction which along with eyelid surgery is a mainstay of South Korean Cosmetic Surgery.

This whole beauty culture aspect of South Korean society is reflected in TV shows such as ‘Let Me In' which created a viral social media star from Ms Huh ye eun who was spectacularly transformed in 2012 by the show.

Heo Ye Eun now works for the marketing team of a plastic surgery clinic, but before that she had a go at running an online shopping mall, worked at a duty-free shop, and even appeared in a movie in 2015.

Even the “lucky” patients face a post-operation year struggling with teeth that won’t align, their chins often so numb that they use their mobile phone cameras just to check if they are dribbling their food. But the Seoul cosmetic beauty industry grows from strength to strength and the vast majority of surgeries are first class although some procedures might be ill-advised.

If you are considering travelling to Seoul to get cosmetic surgery treatment, once air travel returns, you should check our listing of recommended clinics in South Korea.  Hopefully your experience won't be anything like the experiences describe in Frances Cha's fascinating novel.