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Can Koreans Have Green Eyes?

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Last updated:

While it is not impossible for ethnic Koreans to have naturally green eyes it would be highly unusual. Koreans with a European parent or grandparent are more likely to have green eyes than Koreans without any European ancestry.

Read our article to find out more about green eyes in Koreans generally as well as some of the most striking light-colored eyes in the Kpop world and amongst Korean celebrities.  

What Is the Chance of Having Green Eyes for Koreans?

Unless they have European ancestry, the chance of someone Korean having naturally green eyes is extremely low. Most Koreans will have eyes which are naturally some shade of brown ranging from light to dark brown.  

If someone Korean has a European parent or grandparent, especially one with green or blue eyes, their chance of inheriting green eyes will be higher than others. 

What Determines Eye Color?

Eye color is inherited from parents and determined by several genes which control the production of the pigment melanin in your iris. Because these genes are inherited from your parents, it’s likely that your eye color will be similar to one or both of them. 

Even when looking at the more ethnically diverse US population, a child whose parents and grandparents all have brown eyes, will be +95% likely to have brown eyes. Amongst a Korean population, this figure is probably even higher. 

Determining eye color likelihood is not an exact science. Researchers have so far discovered +150 genes which can influence the color of eyes. Some of these genes play a major role in the color of eyes, while others have only a slight influence.

The gene OCA2 codes for a protein called P protein, which affects the amount and quality of melanin stored in the iris. Genetic variations in this gene result in a lighter colored eyes. The other important gene on chromosome 15 is called HERC2, and controls the expression of OCA2, activating it or deactivating it as required.

Given the number of genes involved, the inheritance pattern for in determining eye color is complex. Although you can make a reasonable prediction by looking at the color of the parents’ eyes, natural genetic variations could well give a child unusually colored eyes.

Where Does the Green Color in Eyes Come From?

To understand green color eyes we must also look at brown and blue eyes. All eyes have some of the pigment melanin in their iris. Darker color eyes have more melanin, and lighter eyes have less. 

Melanin absorbs light and when anything absorbs light, it appears darker. When something reflects more than absorbs light, the object appears to be the color of the reflected light. The light reflected from the eye is from the blue part of the electromagnetic spectrum and the effect observed is known as Reyleigh scattering.

Brown eyes with lots of melanin absorb light and appear dark. Blue eyes have the least melanin present and reflect the most light, appearing lightest. Blue eyes are an example of structural coloring, where color comes from the physical structure rather than a blue pigment. 

Hazel eyes have less melanin than brown eyes, but more than green eyes, and also contain some lipochrome. Hazel eyes can appear to vary slightly in color, shifting between different shades of brown, green or gray according to the light. 

Colored contact lenses are a way for people to temporarily change their the color of their eyes. People of any natural color of eyes could wear green contact lenses for the appearance of green eyes. Celebrities often use colored contact lenses to change their appearance for music videos and public appearances.

Can Asians Have Green Eyes?

Yes, it is possible for Asians to have green eyes but the chances will vary according to which country someone is from and their individual ethnicity and ancestry. 

There are many different countries on the continent of Asia and green eyes will be found in some populations (e.g. Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan) more than others (e.g. South Korea, Japan). 

Do South Asians Have Green Eyes?

Some South Asians may have green eyes. South Asia encompasses a number of countries with a wide range of ethnicities. From Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka to Afghanistan and the Maldives, you will find many natural variations in hair, skin and eyes. 

While brown is the most common color of eye in all these countries, a small proportion of green and hazel eyes are also found among some South Asian populations. Blue eyes can occasionally appear. 

Examples amongst celebrities include the Indian actor and former Miss World, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who has green eyes.

Can Koreans Have Blue Eyes?

As with green colored eyes, it would be extremely unusual for any Korean without European ancestry to have blue eyes. 

Koreans with albinism may have blue eyes due to a reduced amount or complete absence of melanin from their eyes, hair and skin. 

Blue contact lenses are a way for people to temporarily give themselves the appearance of blue eyes. Some Korean celebrities use blue or green contact lenses to film music videos or make striking media appearances. 

What Nationality Has Mostly Green Eyes?

Green colored eyes are amongst the rarest colors in the world, with an estimated 2% of the global population having this color of eye. There is no country where the majority of the population has green eyes. 

The largest concentration of green eyes is probably found in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Europe. In Ireland and Scotland 86% of the population apparently have either blue or green eyes. The proportion of this figure which is green eyes is hard to establish. In Scotland it may be around 30%. In the USA, around 9% of the population have green eyes

What Is the Ideal Eye Color in Korea

According to a 2019 survey on global attitudes toward beauty, about 38% of South Korean respondents said that they preferred brown eyes in women. Only 1% percent considered amber color eyes to be a beauty ideal for women.

6 Kpop Idols with Light Eyes

While medium and dark brown eyes are the most common in Korea, here are a number of Kpop idols and other Korean celebrities with notable light colored eyes. If you’re interested in seeing who they are, here’s a selection of eight famous personalities who all have hazel or light-brown colored eyes.  

Go Ara

Korean actor Go Ara, known for her appearances in “Black” and “Hwarang”, possesses unusual light hazel eyes. The color of her eyes appeared almost green in photographs from when she was younger and have settled into a darker hazel color. 

Lee Young Ae

Actor Lee Young Ae is famous among Korean celebrities and also known for her golden brown eyes. Gong Seung-Yeon

Before turning to acting, Gong Seung-Yeon first trained as a singer for seven years under SM Entertainment after winning a spot in the 2005 SM Youth Best Contest. She has light honey-brown colored eyes.

Lee Sung Kyung

Lee Sung Kyung is an actor and singer known for her role in the K-drama, “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo”. Her eyes are a striking light brown color.

Seo Kang Joon

South Korean actor and singer, Seo Kang-joon, is a member of the group 5urprise and also known for his TV and film acting appearances. His eyes are a light caramel brown shade. 

Kim Sung Oh

Well known in both movies and TV, Korean actor Kim Sung Oh’s eyes are a light hazel brown. 


I hope we’ve answered some of your questions about green, blue and other light-colored eyes in Korea and elsewhere in Asia and the world. From dark brown to light blue, with every natural shade in between, all eyes can be beautiful. 

If you ever feel like a change, there’s always colored contact lenses, whether you want to try out a natural green, an alien violet, or even red colored eyes.  

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    About The Author

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    Jason Park

    Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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