Korean- Folk Belief

” Whenever your ear itches, it means that someone is gossiping about you behind your back”

My informant has no idea where or when she first heard this folk belief. She thinks its just something people who are raised in Korea have all heard at some point similar to how people raised in America know that finding a penny is good luck. She doesn’t know how it originated or why people say it. She said, “If your ear itches a lot then it means people are always talking about you or at least one person is always talking about you” Recently my informant’s mother always jokes with her about her ear itching, meaning that some boy is talking about her.

I had never heard this folk belief before, but I found examples of it in Korean illustrated novels or comics known as manhwa. In several different stories a character who is being talked about in a particular scene will be shown scratching their ear or mentioning that their ear itches in the following scene.

Annotation: In the story Hot Blooded Woman by Hwang Mi Ri, the main character’s simple mindedness and violent tendencies are often discussed behind her back. So she is often seen scratching her ear.

Hwang, M.R. (2000). Hot blooded woman.