A Special Kind of Korean Love – Jeong (정) – Seoulistic

A Special Kind of Korean Love – Jeong (정)

In Korea, there is a special type of love that really explains a lot about Korea. It is called jeong (정). It’s a really difficult subject to tackle, so Keith invited Hyojin from TalktoMeinKorean.com to help explain!

Jeong (in its Korean meaning) is a very broad concept in Korea and is a really important part of Korean people and culture. But it’s really hard to define (even in Korean!). It can be considered love, but that’s too simple of a definition. It also includes affection, compassion, sympathy, community, attachment, etc. And of course jeong is between humans, but it can also be felt towards objects. Jeong can even be felt toward someone you fight with constantly as there’s a sort of connection that builds up (called miunjeong). See the video!

Think you’ve felt jeong in your life? Write a comment and let us know!

Thanks again to Hyojin from TalktoMeinKorean for agreeing to help!

Keith Kim is a Korean-American who has been living in Korea for almost a decade. Being in a unique position as both a Korean and a non-Korean, he's put all his experience and knowledge for surviving in Korea in Survival Korean . Read it to learn how you can survive in Korea. Follow him on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.


  1. Lillie says:

    nice pound… and the video was alright too 🙂 Love your work guys! keep going 🙂

  2. Michaela says:

    Great video! Ironically, 6 hours after watching, I heard “우리 정” in a drama (돈의 화신). Thanks to your video, I was able to grasp the nuance of the conversation – not just the vocabulary. Learning the culture of a word or phrase makes it easier for me to remember. Thanks again! BTW, I love the Keith & Hyojin vids for TTMIE as well – very entertaining.

  3. Kevend Balint says:

    GOOD i will be going to korea so this website and videos are good…. Anything at all on korea i need to know!! you both are cute together think about dating or meeting!! SO DATE HER !!! BEAUTIFUL GIRL and HANDSOME MAN …. …its nice to know i went too far .. and there are a few people reading this going ….Yes You Did

  4. Sarah says:

    Your comment… thanks guys – your videos helped immensely when I visited Seoul with my daughter last month! I experienced jeong when travelling on the subway with a suitcase. So many men (some older than me) grabbed my case & hauled it up or down the stairs, organised a T-money pass & even demanded people offer me a seat on the train. I thought it was because we were foreigners, but now I know it was jeong! And I feel a lot of jeong towards Sth Korea and already planning a return trip!

  5. Vanessa says:

    Nice video! I have a question about it 😀
    You Koreans use “우리” a lot, right? Like, even if you’re talking to someone who is not your sibling, you say “우리 어머니”, or someone who hasn’t attended the same school as you and you say “우리 학교”… is that a part of 정?
    I’ve read you 한국사람들 use 우리 because it’s about that feeling of nation-family that is cultural to you, and while watching the video I could relate to 정.
    Because, for example, about this “offering what you’re eating to others” we do that here in Brazil, but it’s basically about etiquette, while the feeling I have from this video is that is not just this, it’s more about empathy because you’re all a big family (한국) – even if you do it with 외국인들. Is that so? ^^

  6. Philippa says:

    Jeong sorta seems like community spirit mixed with affection??? anyway – whatever it is – I like it 🙂

  7. Princess says:

    Keith is really cute. 🙂

  8. Amanda says:

    This sounds a lot like “compassion” 🙂

  9. Sabina says:

    This concept comes up in a multitude of variations throughout many cultures when you look at their pre-Christian roots (Christianity has a huge focus on the self, as opposed to the community). Because so many pagan and shamanic societies were centered around people working together, this got super ingrained in a lot of places. Proto-Indo European even reconstructed a word, *ghosti, that is the root of words like “guest” and “host.” It refers to the reciprocal relationship between two people, and the sharing that is expected to be able to be hospitable.

    • Kim Kyeong-Ji says:

      Though I see where you’re coming from, I have to correct you on your understanding of Christianity. I’m unsure what sort of Christianity you are referring to, or if you mean Christians in general, but Christianity is very much opposed to self-thought and indulgence and centers around community. Mark 12:31 and Galatians 6:2 are examples of this.

      It is unfair to say Christianity is hugely focused on a person’s individual self, though I commend you on your research on the pre-Christian era and shamanism.

    • Warren says:

      Sorry(not) Christian focus is wanting the best for others. Charity and sacrifice is rewarded. Hangul culture actually cares about their neighbor, even when they are not nice people. There is an unspoken responsibility toward others. Jeong social is akin to Christian agape. Past that, deeper affections are possible. Keep that love alive.

  10. Robin says:

    Love Hyojin’s reaction to Keith and vice versa…plus Hyojin has a cute voice and great style

  11. sakuramiyabi says:

    Ohhhh. 10 years on. Finally understand how I went from one day not knowing any of the Koreans in the special English classes (International school XD) to the next pretty much knowing all 15 of them because a girl was staring at my food and I asked if she wanted some (if you ask or look like you want my food you will get some XD). Fascinating. Thanks <3

  12. jon says:

    What do you know about being a Christian.Christ was for himself…?ha ha.Those who are Christians are not for themselves at all.The I has died and Christ is living in them.

  13. 컵 타싸 says:

    The way I would describe 정 would probably be sentiment. You feel a sentimental attachment to certain objects because you’ve had them since you were young or you’ve had a lot of memories with it, and even if it’s an old, smelly, tatty toy you got for your 2nd birthday, you still would never get rid of it because you’re attached.

  14. Anne Petersen says:

    My Korean name was Kim Me-Jeong

  15. Mary Carroll says:

    This seemed good but you were laughing 2/3 of the time and that was exhausting.

  16. Jjosiejo says:

    I am often struck by the similarities between Korean and British culture! 정 is such a great word, I think we have lots of words that we use to describe the same thing but none of them are as succinct or clear – politeness, decency, kindness, charity, warmth, humanity, care, attachment, affection, generosity… 정 is much more elegant! Also we often use “Love-hate relationship” too. Thanks for the vid.

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