Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Looking for Someone?

Dear Korean,

How do I go about finding someone in Korea? I only have a name, and what he used to be back in the 1980's. Any help would be much appreciated.

F.V.


This is a very frequent question for which the Korean has no good answer. Just think about the absurdity of the question -- how can F.V. seriously expect to find someone with just a name, from the 1980s? It is not as if the Korean knows everyone in Korea across all time and space. Yet this type of questions continue to come in.

The Korean suspects that part of the reason why this question is so frequent is because people often do not realize is just how populous Korea is. Korea is a country with 50 million people. It has more people than Spain, Argentina, Poland or Canada, just to give a few examples. Finding one person among the 50 million will not be easy.

Short of hiring a private detective in Korea, there is no "good" -- as in, high-percentage -- way to find someone in Korea. If one is willing to try even a very low percentage shot, the best option for someone living outside of Korea is, in fact, Facebook, as approximately 8 million Koreans are on Facebook now. But it would be wise not to get your hopes up.

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at askakorean@gmail.com.

8 comments:

  1. Reminds me of high school when a British classmate kept asking me if I knew this Korean friend of hers from *her* former school. She played the violin and she was such a nice person and would I perhaps know her?

    Me: No. I don't even know who she is.

    Girl: But she's Korean too, maybe you've heard about her somewhere?

    Me: Pretty sure I never did. How on earth would I know her? She was in *your* old school, not mine.

    Girl: Yeah but, you guys are both from Korea (who is studying outside Korea), there could be a chance you know her.

    Me: There are MANY Korean people studying outside Korea, I don't know all of them!

    Girl: Well, okay, but still...

    Me: UGH.

    I DON'T KNOW EVERY 50 MILLION PEOPLE IN MY COUNTRY, WHY IS THAT SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, as a Somali girl, I have gotten that type of question countless times.
      Them 'Oh, do you know so and so?'
      Me: 'Err, not really.'
      Them: Ahh, you sure? She was Somali!
      Me: 'Yes, pretty sure'

      Understandably, there are far less people in Somalia than in South Korea, but c'mon. There are approximately 6 million people living in Somalia at the moment, how am I supposed to know them all??

      Delete
  2. Haha :D. Wonderful :D. Well, okay, but still... Hehe :P.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Korean is actually wrong. I'm not a gumshoe but I can find people long long lost people.

    If you want to find somebody it is quite possible, maybe not easy but possible. It requires WORK, which people who are emailing TK aren't willing to put in I'm guessing.

    I managed to find a woman who I only spoke to via email 14 years ago. In Japan. Japan of 130 million people where I don't speak the language can't read it.

    I also managed to arrange a 20th year high school reunion. I had not seen spoken or had anything to do with these people for 20 years.

    You have to think that people are creatures of habit, they leave finger prints and no man is and Island. Unless they REALLY hide online sometimes they can always be found. I laid in stealth mode for 10 years because I never wanted anything to do with my past. They still found me via my posting style on forums.

    So you look for their parents, their former friends, work places, clues add up.

    Korea is difficult because of the low number of surnames, and language difficulty.

    But off my head I can think of several leads you can explore. The fact Koreans MUST have an identity card for instance.

    If its a male you've got some decent leads already. As South Korea still (for now) engages in conscription. Which means you may remember where he was based and therefore be able to track down people who were his fellow conscripts. Who may have kept in touch or have an idea. IIRC Korean conscripts tend to develop close bonds. Or his home town, university alumini those kinds of things.

    Or look for things which are a PITA to do, which grow into even bigger PITAs as people grow older. Parents often hate moving home as it is a PITA.

    Even long lost dead webpages are stored on the waybackmachine and you can find contact details on those things.

    Sure these require work and a LONG shot, but if you're not willing to jump through these hoops. Maybe you are idealising the relationship you once had with this person.

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  4. I too thought of searching through Facebook or Cyworld; however, I would give up if the friend's last name is Kim, Lee, or Park.

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  5. Yes, seems like absurd to find someone with just a name and what he looks like few decades back. I think yes try social media. By some miracle you might find what you're looking for there.

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  6. I am a filipina and I am looking for my friend Yang Jae Yoon, 43 years old in South Korea..I lost my cellphone a while ago and now I am Trying to look at him in internet..I lost my contact with him..

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've met 2 Korean girls here in Macau, they are came from Hongkong to Macau. and they want to go to "San Malo" so i helped them to go there, after that i left without even asking their name or phone numbers.. is there anyone who might know these girls? i met them here in Macau this March,31,2014 around 3:00pm..

    ReplyDelete

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