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Changes in the sex toy industry in Korea

Changes in the sex toy industry in Korea 0

Changes in the sex toy industry in Korea

A doll model of Team4U.

Team4U is the only domestic sex doll manufacturer in Korea.

`When Korea banned the import of foreign-made sex dolls, there was no way to own them,` said Kim Seong-sik, owner of Team4U company.

The company operates a forum on Navar, South Korea’s largest search engine.

Team4U declined to disclose sales, but while the company is doing well, a new court ruling could end its monopoly.

`Although the doll’s appearance makes people feel uncomfortable, it is not enough to weaken and distort human dignity,` the court announced.

This decision was made after customs banned the import of sex dolls from Japan in 2017 on the grounds of degrading social morality.

In 2017, local media valued the Korean sex toy industry at about 177 million USD.

Red Container, Korea’s largest sex toy store chain, opened its first store in early 2017. Now, it has 14 stores across the country.

Kang Hye-young, owner of sex toy store Piooda in Seoul, said importing toys is easier now than three years ago.

`Previously, many products were banned, and applying for import procedures was very complicated,` she said, adding that toys that resemble the human body were very difficult to obtain customs procedures for.

Kang believes that the law change will create great opportunities for the sex toy industry, while also bringing new prospects to the industry.

`The store is very bright, plays good music, makes customers feel welcome,` Noh Soojeong, 29, said about her first recent visit to an adult store.

`Before, I didn’t dare go in. I would feel like I was a pervert. In Korea, we keep these things hidden because of our conservative culture.`

Changes in the sex toy industry in Korea

A bustling shopping street with sex toy stores in Seoul.

These days, sex toy shops in Seoul resemble cosmetics stores, with bright lights illuminating the pink silicone products lining the shelves.

`Opening stores near schools is a great idea,` commented Andrew Kim, professor of Korean social studies at Korea University.

Kim said not long ago, the only place to buy sex toys in Korea were trucks in a few neighborhoods at night.

Na Hyojin is the owner of Monster Warehouse, a two-story sex toy store in Hongdae.

Japan’s adult toy industry is much more developed than South Korea’s, estimated to be worth $2.6 billion by 2012, according to market researcher Technavio.

It’s part of a growing global trend in an industry expected to be worth more than $29 billion by 2020. Na says the customer base is also changing.

`Now the majority of young women come to our store. Many come alone,` Na said.

But some experts question whether this change is entirely positive.

`In the beginning, the stores can be helpful,` she said, explaining that some sex toy stores sell shady products that make people uncomfortable, while others hire female CEOs to profit.

`Owning a toy does not mean sexual liberation,` Eunhasun commented.

The sex toy industry’s profits can outpace education, according to Kang Hye-young, owner of Piooda toy store in Seoul.

`A lot of women don’t know about their bodies. A lot of men don’t know how to satisfy themselves or their partners. We don’t educate them about sex, but sex shops keep popping up.`

Changes in the sex toy industry in Korea

Kang Hye-young, owner of Piodda store in Seoul.

Kang believes there needs to be a balance between education and the growth of the sex toy industry to bring about real change in Koreans’ views on sex and toys.

`They are lacking knowledge. It’s just like how Korea developed. We build things very quickly and then the house collapses, then we learn the lesson,` she said.

Kang encouraged adult toy stores to be more active in educating customers, and called on schools to promote sex education.

Meanwhile, Team4U remains optimistic about the impact of changing social perceptions and court decisions on the growth of the sex toy industry.

`Conservative views on the sex toy industry make it difficult for us to do advertising and sales,` Kim said.

`Our company wants to nurture the doll industry in Korea. We hope the import and export of dolls will be opened as soon as possible, so the market will have more product diversity, develop

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