Saturday, May 20, 2006

Can You Feel the Love?

Is "Hating the Korean Wave" a backlash to an Anti-Japanese Media and Educational System in Korea?

Just one of many Children's Anti-Japan drawings found lining the walls of a Korean Subway last summer. Courtesy of Toron Talker.

I remember seeing these pictures on the Toron Talker last summer and being absolutely stunned. At the time I knew even less about the tensions between Japan and the rest of Asia than I do now ( a situation of which I admit I remain almost completely ignorant, but working to understand).

"I think we should make nuclear weapons and fire them at Japan!"A Korean man interviewed by Asahi TV.

A short time after these children's drawing surfaced, Asahi TV went to the location where they were discovered to investigate, interviewing adults and offering an interesting, if not disturbing, glimpse into a Korean classroom, and the children's views on Kim Jong Il. Korean-based Occidentalism not only reported on the program, but also provided images, translations and a video link on his website. Check it out.

"He's a good person (Kim Jong Il)." A Korean elementary student.

Something to think about:

While the "Hating the Korean Wave" article provides insight into the tensions between the two countries, it is important to remember that less than 1% of the Japanese population had bought it back in Novemeber (360,000 copies sold). In fact, during the 2002 World Cup, Japanese spectators cheered for both Korean and Japanese teams alike, while Koreans often booed when Japan scored a goal.

When I first arrived in Japan back in August of 2004, at least 1 student in every class at each of my 16 schools asked me if I liked Yon-sama (the highly respectful name given to South Korean soap opera idol Bae Yoon Joon by his adoring Japanese fans). At first I didn't know the name, but once the teacher showed me his picture, I recognized him immediately. Star of the enormously famous (in Japan) "Fuyu Sonata," Yon-sama adorned the desktop calendars of many middle aged female teachers. His smiling face had followed me through subway stations and stared down at me from train advertisements. Both he and Choi Ji Woo, the heroine of 'Winter Sonata', can be seen on Japanese TV commercials every day.


Patty said...

Yeah, "Winter Sonata" was apparently huge in Japan. When I went to Chung-do in Chunchun SK, they had signs in Japanese and a Japanese tour simply because they filmed some scenes there!

I can understand the feelings of animosity the Koreans have towards the Japanese, though. They weren't all too fond of the Japanese colonization and the fact that there was a time during which Koreans had to adopt Japanese names and give up their own. And it seems as though nothing is really being done by either country to address the tension.

deod1 said...

I don't know if you've received any of messages. I sent the photos to you from the tea ceremony at the Kamogawa odori. I hope you got them.


Melissa said...

Patty: Thanks for your comment. Are you living in Korea?

Konnichiwa Dawn! Nice to hear from you! I didnt realize you had left a comment on the Kamishichiken post! I didnt get your pix from Kamogawa Odori :( I wonder if they were blocked as spam? I would love to see them though!Thanks for trying (^-^). How`s Kyoto?

zorro said...

hello there...this is quite a nice blog there...and as to the question...does this tension between koeans and japanese still exist nowadays???

or how do koreans or japanese get along with each other?

Marius Muscalu said...

i could make a mistake and say, what a nice grafitti... :) but i did not...i have read what you sayd and i think that children are children and they don't have to participate in the stupid world of adults...

Patty said...

Melissa: I was in SK two years ago, though I'm thinking of getting a job there after graduation.

Zoro: There's still tension between the Japanese and the Koreans. It isn't really the feelings of the majority, though, but the people who feel that way are the most vocal. And tensions between Japan and other East Asian nations has been rising recently.

zorro said...

yeah we just foud out about the expansasion policy

what about japanese or other east asian teens...teenagers usually always get along well with each other (as long as they don't belong to any racist gangs or something)

like, do you have any korean friends or do they always have this prejudice attitude going on and stuff

Zocko said...

Interesting post Melissa. What *is* going on between Japan, Korea ... and China too? My mother told me there was tension in Asia and not to get blown up while visiting Japan, but when I was travelling I didn't see any tension.

I met a really nice Korean guy who could speak Japanese much better than I could. He didn't seem against Japan at all.

Kushibo said...

This particular program has been mentioned on other blogs. What they don't tell you is that the teachers of the students in question are from a left-wing nationalist (and pro-North Korean) teachers' union that was, until very recently, outlawed for its pro-Pyongyang stance. There raison d'etre is to whip up anti-government, anti-American, anti-Japanese, anti-corporate, and anti-capitalist sentiment. Many parents complain about what their kids are being taught, but the union is powerful.

Anyway, I have little tolerance for the people in Korea and in Japan who try to whip up animosity toward the other.

Melissa said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melissa said...

Kushibo: THANK YOU FOR YOUR comment and insight. I visited your blog, and recommned it for anyone interested in Korea.

Yes, I know this program has been covered in other blogs, which is why I provided a link to Occidentalism, which is how I became aware of it. Actually, it was mentioned that the teachers were a part of the left-wing movement, but I didn't know that that it had been outlawed. But passing laws does not change the way people think. As you could also see on the program, the adults interviewed were not very fond of Japan either. I'm sure not every South Korean hates Japan, but and the fact that these anti drawings were displayed in a public area with no outcry was also disturbing, in my humble opinion.:)

I certainly do not want to whip up animosity between anyone, but i would like to bring the serious nature of these tensions to other people's attention. As I said before, passing a law does not stop a person from believing something they have been taught to believe.

I would like to learn more about Korea :) and look forward to exploring your blog. Thanks again for visiting (^-^)

Sydney Arrows said...

i did read somewhere there was a deep seated resentment with Koreans from both the North and South against America and Russia. This follows their agreement after world war II to split the country in two after the second world war.

Lindizzy said...

hahaha Yon-sama....I still don't get it...

Brittney said...

I probably won't talk to you for a while but, until then, I love you and be safe!!
Your beautiful and all around wonder ful cousin, Brittney
LOL........Luv ya ('-')