A hundred years or so ago, answering the call of nature in Korea was sometimes very dangerous:
In the countryside, Korean adults warned little boys not to urinate in the rivers and streams that provided water for their small communities. The boys were told that if they did, the guardian spirits would cause their male appendages to fall off.
In the cities, little boys often ran naked through the streets and would stop and squat wherever they pleased when nature called. Their little bottoms were sometimes licked clean by the many dogs that roamed the streets and, on occasion, these dogs became too zealous with their licking and ended up nipping away their young master’s manhood.
You can read the rest of the article here – at Korea Times. I am, however, a little puzzled as to why this part was cut out of the article:
But canines also proved to be a far deadlier threat to the children in the countryside – especially during the winter. John Blain, the son of an American gold miner in northern Korea, recalled during the winters of the 1930s that there were a number of Korean children attacked and killed by wolves when they went outside to use the outhouse.
I remember when I first arrived so many years ago that it was quite common to see men – and boys – relieve themselves along the side of the road or near bus stops by merely turning their backs to public view. Smaller children – unconstrained by the awareness of their own nudity – would merely squat wherever they were and relieve themselves. Things have changed and while there are some exceptions to the rule, it is rare to find someone openly relieving themselves on the streets.