The JoongAng Ilbo (Korean) reports that female North Korean defectors are increasingly popular with South Korean men as brides.

One 46-year-old man running a Japanese restaurant in Cheonan who married a 37-year-old North Korean defector said he was hesitant at first to enter a relationship because he thought there would be a huge cultural gap, but his thinking changed “180 degrees” after meeting her.

He said he liked her purity/innocense, which was hard to find in South Korean women. He also liked her deep thoughts and her vitality, a product perhaps of the great difficulties she has faced.

The JoongAng said while men might have prejudices against North Korean defector women, when they actually meet them, the responses are often good.

According to one matchmaking service, over the last year, 208 of the 320 men (65%) they set up with defector women applied to have a relationship. For South Korean women during the same period, the numbers were 48% for men never married and 53% for men looking to re-marry. The CEO of the service said North Korean defector women are very thoughtful and aren’t fussy about the man’s conditions (i.e., job, money), so the marriage rate was high.

A poll conducted by the North Korean Refugees Foundation last July and August of 8,299 North Korean defectors living in South Korea revealed that 10.2% of North Korean men married South Korean women after defecting, but 32.7% of North Korean women married South Korean men. An official from the foundation said as the number of female defectors increase, the number of South Korean men who thought them bride-material was increasing, too.