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Pictures | Mon Jan 21, 2013 | 6:28am EST

South Koreans face lonely deaths as Confucian traditions fade

Kong Kyung-soon, 73, who lives alone, does kitchen work in a space that consists of a toilet, bathroom and kitchenette in her tiny rented apartment that has two square meters of living space in Seocho-gu, adjacent to the posh Gangnam suburb, in Seoul January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Kong Kyung-soon, 73, who lives alone, does kitchen work in a space that consists of a toilet, bathroom and kitchenette in her tiny rented apartment that has two square meters of living space in Seocho-gu, adjacent to the posh Gangnam suburb, in Seoul...more

Kong Kyung-soon, 73, who lives alone, does kitchen work in a space that consists of a toilet, bathroom and kitchenette in her tiny rented apartment that has two square meters of living space in Seocho-gu, adjacent to the posh Gangnam suburb, in Seoul January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won
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Kong Kyung-soon, 73, who lives alone, walks after washing her hands through a space that consists of a toilet, bathroom and kitchenette in her tiny rented apartment with two square meters of living space in Seocho-gu, adjacent to the posh Gangnam suburb, in Seoul January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Kong Kyung-soon, 73, who lives alone, walks after washing her hands through a space that consists of a toilet, bathroom and kitchenette in her tiny rented apartment with two square meters of living space in Seocho-gu, adjacent to the posh Gangnam...more

Kong Kyung-soon, 73, who lives alone, walks after washing her hands through a space that consists of a toilet, bathroom and kitchenette in her tiny rented apartment with two square meters of living space in Seocho-gu, adjacent to the posh Gangnam suburb, in Seoul January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won
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Kong Kyung-soon, 73, who lives alone, closes the door of a refrigerator in her tiny rented apartment that has two square meters of living space in Seocho-gu, adjacent to the posh Gangnam suburb, in Seoul January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Kong Kyung-soon, 73, who lives alone, closes the door of a refrigerator in her tiny rented apartment that has two square meters of living space in Seocho-gu, adjacent to the posh Gangnam suburb, in Seoul January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Kong Kyung-soon, 73, who lives alone, closes the door of a refrigerator in her tiny rented apartment that has two square meters of living space in Seocho-gu, adjacent to the posh Gangnam suburb, in Seoul January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won
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Kong Kyung-soon, 73, who lives alone, looks out of the door of her tiny rented apartment that has two square meters of living space in Seocho-gu, adjacent to the posh Gangnam suburb, in Seoul January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Kong Kyung-soon, 73, who lives alone, looks out of the door of her tiny rented apartment that has two square meters of living space in Seocho-gu, adjacent to the posh Gangnam suburb, in Seoul January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Kong Kyung-soon, 73, who lives alone, looks out of the door of her tiny rented apartment that has two square meters of living space in Seocho-gu, adjacent to the posh Gangnam suburb, in Seoul January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won
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Kang Bong-hee, representative of a federation of funeral directors that manages funerals free of charge for people who are unable to afford their own, carries the funeral ashes of Yoon Sook-hee to bury them together with the ashes of people without family or friends, at a cemetery in Daegu, about 300 km (189 miles) southeast of Seoul January 11, 2013. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Kang Bong-hee, representative of a federation of funeral directors that manages funerals free of charge for people who are unable to afford their own, carries the funeral ashes of Yoon Sook-hee to bury them together with the ashes of people without...more

Kang Bong-hee, representative of a federation of funeral directors that manages funerals free of charge for people who are unable to afford their own, carries the funeral ashes of Yoon Sook-hee to bury them together with the ashes of people without family or friends, at a cemetery in Daegu, about 300 km (189 miles) southeast of Seoul January 11, 2013. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
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Kang Bong-hee, representative of a federation of funeral directors that manages funerals free of charge for people who are unable to afford their own, pours a drink just before he buries the funeral ashes of Yoon Sook-hee together with the ashes of people without family or friends, at a cemetery in Daegu, about 300 km (189 miles) southeast of Seoul January 11, 2013. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Kang Bong-hee, representative of a federation of funeral directors that manages funerals free of charge for people who are unable to afford their own, pours a drink just before he buries the funeral ashes of Yoon Sook-hee together with the ashes of...more

Kang Bong-hee, representative of a federation of funeral directors that manages funerals free of charge for people who are unable to afford their own, pours a drink just before he buries the funeral ashes of Yoon Sook-hee together with the ashes of people without family or friends, at a cemetery in Daegu, about 300 km (189 miles) southeast of Seoul January 11, 2013. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
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Choi Gyeong-ja, who lives alone, watches TV in her apartment in Seocho-gu, adjacent to the posh Gangnam suburb, in Seoul January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Choi Gyeong-ja, who lives alone, watches TV in her apartment in Seocho-gu, adjacent to the posh Gangnam suburb, in Seoul January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Choi Gyeong-ja, who lives alone, watches TV in her apartment in Seocho-gu, adjacent to the posh Gangnam suburb, in Seoul January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won
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Graves with the ashes of people without family or friends are seen at a cemetery in Daegu, about 300 km (189 miles) southeast of Seoul January 11, 2013. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Graves with the ashes of people without family or friends are seen at a cemetery in Daegu, about 300 km (189 miles) southeast of Seoul January 11, 2013. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Graves with the ashes of people without family or friends are seen at a cemetery in Daegu, about 300 km (189 miles) southeast of Seoul January 11, 2013. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
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