Koreans in Paraguay
재파라과이 한인
Jae Paraguai Hanin
Coreanos en Paraguay
Total population
5,205 (2011)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Ciudad del Este528[1]
Pedro Juan Caballero and others48[1][2]
Spanish, Korean, English[3]
Related ethnic groups
Korean diaspora

Koreans in Paraguay formed one of the earliest Korean diaspora communities in Latin America. However, they were always overshadowed by the larger Korean communities in neighbouring Brazil and Argentina and since the late 1990s, their population has fallen significantly.[4][5]

Migration history

The first Korean immigrants to Paraguay came from Busan on a two-month journey by sea to Buenos Aires and then overland to Asunción, finally arriving on 22 April 1965.[6][7] Exact numbers of migrants are difficult to calculate because Paraguay offered on-the-spot visas to all foreigners and did not distinguish between those who came to settle in the country as opposed to those who intended to remain only temporarily; 120,000 Koreans arrived in Paraguay between 1975 and 1990, according to official figures, but many migrated onwards to Brazil, both legally and illegally.[4] Paraguay's 1982 census showed 2,700 Koreans in Paraguay, but this was believed to have undercounted the actual population by as much as an order of magnitude.[8] By 1999, South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade estimated that 10,428 Koreans resided in the country, but by just two years later, that figure fell by more than 40% to 6,190.[5]

The population continued to decline after that, though less sharply; as of 2009, Koreans in Paraguay had fallen to the fifth-largest group of Koreans in Latin America, and 24th largest in the world.[9] Between 2009 and 2011, the population remained roughly stable. Of the 5,205 South Korean nationals or former nationals in Paraguay in 2011, 499 had become Paraguayan nationals, the vast majority (4,641 persons) had permanent residency, 16 were international students and 49 had other kinds of visas.[1]

Business and employment

The early Korean migrants who settled in Paraguay engaged in a variety of agricultural and commercial work, including beekeeping and door-to-door sales of imported clothing.[2] By the early 1980s, many were involved in importing consumer electronics as well.[8] Some also opened convenience stores in poorer neighbourhoods; they gained attention for remaining open through the siesta, unlike many of their competitors.[2] The second generation have largely moved away from manual labour or small retail business and entered into the liberal professions, such as medicine, law, pharmacy, architecture and accountancy.[6]

Language and education

Koreans in Paraguay opened their own school in 1972, the Colegio Coreano del Paraguay (파라과이한국학교), to provide cultural and language education to their youth.[6] It is located in the San Vicente neighbourhood of Asunción.[10] A Korean American Presbyterian church opened another school, the Colegio Presbiteriano Cerritos, in Villa Elisa (in the Asunción metropolitan area) in 1992.[11][12]

Little language shift is observed from Korean-dominance to Spanish-dominance among members of the Korean community in Paraguay, including those born locally; this contrasts sharply with the rapid shift from Korean-dominance to English-dominance among Korean Americans, especially of the second generation.[3] Many Koreans in Paraguay send their children to study in universities in the United States and Europe; as of 2007, there were also roughly 100 Paraguay-born Koreans studying at universities in South Korea.[6] They typically view English, rather than Spanish, as the most prestigious and economically important language to learn.[3]


Korean Christian missionaries are active among indigenous communities in Alto Paraná department.[13] Korean churches in Ciudad del Este include Jardín del Dios and Iglesia de la Asamblea de Dios.[14][15]

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f 재외동포 본문(지역별 상세), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2011-07-15, p. 171, retrieved 2012-02-25
  2. ^ a b c Espínola González, Zulma (2002), "La presencia coreana en Paraguay" (PDF), Corea del Sur: una puerta para el Paraguay, Banco Central del Paraguay, archived from the original (PDF) on 2003-07-24, retrieved 2008-10-02
  3. ^ a b c Choi, Jinny (May 2007), "English as an International Language: its power, influence, and effect on Koreans living abroad — A comparative study on language maintenance and language shift among Koreans in Paraguay and Koreans in the United States", The Inaugural Global EIL Congress — English as an International Language: Setting the Standards, The Asian EFL Journal, archived from the original on 2008-05-11, retrieved 2008-10-02
  4. ^ a b Lesser, Jeffrey (23 May 2001), "Asians in South America", in Ember, Melvin; Ember, Carol R. (eds.), Countries and their Cultures, Macmillan Library Reference, ISBN 978-0-02-864950-4, retrieved 2008-10-02
  5. ^ a b 재외동포현황 - 중남미 [Status of overseas compatriots - Central/South America], Overseas Korean Foundation, 2005, archived from the original on 2009-04-14, retrieved 2008-09-27
  6. ^ a b c d Park, Chae-soon (2007), "La emigración coreana en América Latina y sus perspectivas" (PDF), Segundo Congreso del Consejo de Estudios Latinoamericanos de Asia y de Oceania, Seoul: Latin American Studies Association of Korea, archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-17, retrieved 2008-09-27
  7. ^ "Piden a nuestro país eliminar visas", ABC Digital, Paraguay, 3 October 2004, retrieved 2008-10-02
  8. ^ a b "Immigrants", Country Study: Paraguay, United States of America: Library of Congress, December 1988, retrieved 2008-10-02
  9. ^ 재외동포현황 [Current Status of Overseas Compatriots], South Korea: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2009, archived from the original on 2010-10-23, retrieved 2009-05-21
  10. ^ "Encuentro infantil de danzas españolas en colegio coreano", ABC, 2004-07-03, retrieved 2011-03-13
  11. ^ Ruiz Díaz, Higinio (2011-03-05), "Atracan una escuela a 50 metros de comisaría", ABC, retrieved 2011-03-13
  12. ^ Quienes somos, Colegio Presbiteriano Cerritos, archived from the original on 2011-09-12, retrieved 2011-03-05
  13. ^ "Coreanos entregaron víveres a los indígenas", ABC, 2010-12-23, retrieved 2011-03-13
  14. ^ "Religiosos coreanos prohíben estacionar vehículos frente a su iglesia", Diario CDE, 2011-01-07, retrieved 2011-03-13
  15. ^ "Iglesia coreana dona equipos", ABC, 2011-02-26, retrieved 2011-03-13