Work In Progress Seminar with Dr. John P. DiMoia


Topic: K-pop, and the Culture of South Korean Plastic Surgery
Speaker: Dr. John P. DiMoia

Why do so many Korean pop stars and singers opt for plastic surgery? How did this culture of changing one's body for economic gain develop? Starting with the elite clinics of Kangnam-gu (SE) in Seoul, this talk will offer an alternative history for cosmetic surgery in Korea.Following the history of one specific practice, the double eyelid surgery, the talk will briefly trace the procedure from its origins in Meiji Japan, to the Korean War, and through the subsequent development of a South Korean biomedical and surgical culture after 1954. From the original goal of "round eyes," to the present-day goal of possessing "big eyes," South Korean clients have adopted plastic surgery as a means of self-fashioning, transforming themselves to fit their own desired self-image.The question remains as to what this culture means for these individuals, as well as others in the region now exposed to it through the medium of popular culture.

The Tembusu (Fagraea fragrans) is a large evergreen tree in the family Gentianaceae. It is native to Southeast Asia. Its trunk is dark brown, with deeply fissured bark, looking somewhat like a bittergourd. It grows in an irregular shape from 10 to 25m high. Its leaves are light green and oval in shape. Its yellowish flowers have a distinct fragrance and the fruits of the tree are bitter tasting red berries, which are eaten by birds and fruit bats.