Having recently rekindled an interest in Korean dramas, I’ve again noticed something that made me wonder long before but this time, I did something about it…I “Googled” it!
My question is: Why do doors in homes in Korea open outwards?
While it appears that many houses and apartments in Korea have sliding doors within the house (such as bedroom doors), the main front doors leading to the outside are usually hinged doors. The curious thing is, these main front doors open outwards, instead of inwards like I’m used to here in Malaysia and also from my observation, in most parts of the world.
My initial thoughts…
Since I’m not used to this, I can imagine myself being hit in the face by an outward-swinging door as the person I’m visiting excitedly opens the door to welcome me. Obviously, this never happened in the shows I’ve watched because everyone’s accustomed to this and stand a decent distance away from the door to make sure there’s enough room for it to be swung open.
I’d be concerned about security. Imagine a scene whereby someone knocks on the door or rings the doorbell. You have no idea who it is (and have no peep hole to look through). At least with an inward-opening door, you can crack it open a tad, take a peek, then hopefully be strong enough to slam it shut should it turn out to be a would-be intruder or someone you just don’t want to allow in. But I imagine it’ll be even tougher with an outward-opening door, wouldn’t it?
So why have their main doors been designed that way?
In my search to find the answer for Korea, the results reminded me it’s basically the same in Japan too.
One highly probable explanation is the norm of removing shoes in a landing immediately inside the door. All the shoes would get pushed around haphazardly if the door opened inward.
(Reference: ““Double Indemnity” Outward Opening Door Not So Rare.” Web log post. Dispatches by John P. Gamboa. Ed. John P. Gamboa. N.p., 30 Dec. 2010. Web. 5 Sept. 2013.)
Now, the interesting reason I found on Yahoo! Answers. Here, someone stated that due to cultural reasons, doors in Japan (and I would think the same applies to Korea too) open outwards because the door would be “imposing” itself upon the house it would be entering should it open inward. Confusing? Yup, that’s what I thought too. To an extent, the “swinging” door represents an outer element of the house and people find it unfavorable for an outer element to intrude into their home.
Wow, I never imagined that to be answer. Anyway, I would love to hear if these reasons are founded and of course, the true reason behind the mystery of the outward opening doors so write me your comments.