Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Rite of Passage

While it might not be the most pleasant topic, I think it is an interesting one. Korean boys have their own rite of passage to manhood. The Jews have their Bar Mitzvah. The Japanese have the Genpuku and the west has the Debutante. Well, Korea has their own rite of passage to manhood as well: adolescent circumcisions.

Circumcision is a religious commandment in both Judaism and Islam and most Americans have it done as well. In fact, 30% of men worldwide have had the procedure, mostly in developing countries where it is common for religious or cultural reasons. However, there are very few Jews and Muslims in Korea. Circumcision in South Korea is largely the result of American cultural and military influence following the Korean War. Still, why do they have to wait so long? If they got it from us, then why not take it off right away?

It has become a passage to manhood of sort. In fact, South Korea is thought to have the highest number of adolescent circumcisions in the world. (Make sure to read the section about "Natural Circumsicion". I thought the "uniquely Korean" aspect was interesting)I

In short, I feel bad for these boys. Sure, this is what they know and they don't see it in the same way I do, but the idea that they know its coming must be difficult. 고운 told me that most of the time they wait to have the operation done on a vacation so as to minimize the publicity of it. From what I understand though, most peers know when the operation is and hiding the fact that you got it done is close to impossible. When you get it done on vacation, at least you can limp around in private. And they do limp.

There are tons of people who protest circumcision is general, but I'm glad I had it done when I was a baby.

Does this guy care that much about an operation that happened when we were just hours old? Also, if he is not circumcised, how does he know what he's missing? And if he is circumcised, how is he so sure that he's missing something?

*Upon reading more on this subject (for some reason) I will have to updat this later. It's too classic!


Goose! said...

What an interesting topic of which I have absolutely nothing to add!

Rodger said...


Oncle Jean said...

The whole subject is enough to make one "limp"!