Do North Koreans look different from South Koreans?
Ms. Trophy Wife
Short answer: not really.
One thing to remember about North and South Koreas is that they were the same country for a couple of millennia before having split into two countries for the last 60-odd years. So whatever differences that North and South Korea have in terms of language, customs, etc., tend to be minor. For example, the difference in the languages used in both North Korea and South Korea do not amount to more than differences in accent and certain diction, somewhat like the American and Australian English.
Likewise, there is no fundamental difference between the way in which North and South Koreans look. Having said that, however, 60-plus years is not a short amount of time, and the two Koreas did live through two very different worlds. South Koreans now live in one of the world's wealthiest countries, North Koreans one of the poorest. In particular, the crushing famine that North Korea suffered in the mid-1990s has left a visible impact on North Korean people's physique. While the average height of adult South Korean men is 171.5 cm (~5' 7.5"), the average height of adult North Korean men is 165.4 cm (~5' 5"). Because North Korean youths have become so malnourished, North Korea had to lower the minimum height requirement for its soldiers from 140 cm (~4' 7") to 137 cm (~4' 6") in 2010. (In contrast, South Korea recently had to extend the maximum height requirement from 196 cm (~6' 5") to 204 cm (~6' 8") for its conscripts.)
Aside from the difference in physique, the difference in the looks between North and South Koreans is essentially the difference in the wealth available to decorate oneself with fashionable clothing, cosmetics, hair care and (sometimes) plastic surgery. When given the chance to catch up to those additional "boosts," North Koreans--such as these defector ladies from a popular South Korean TV show about North Korean life--look like they will fit right in the streets of Seoul.
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