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'Korean Wave' Creates Mixed Feeling in Korean-Japanese Community

2004/07/04 | 163 views | Permalink | Source

With the crave for Korean dramas sweeping Japan, there are increasing Internet sites devoted to Korean dramas. On the initial screen of "Drama Korea", there are pictures of Bae Yong-joon and Choi Ji-woo, the two leading characters of "Winter Sonata".

How does the Korean-Japanese community view the "Korean Wave" sweeping Japan following the broadcast of "Sinter Sonata?" Tokyo Shimbun looked at the response of Korean residents in Japan in an article entitled "Like or Dislike? Two Sides of Coin". In summary, the Korean residents feel perplexed to see the Korean Wave because there is a gap between the phenomenon and reality that cannot be filled.
Kang Young-ja from Tokyo said she watches "Winter Sonata" to find her roots but watching it makes her feel not only happy but also awkward. She pointed out that the "Yong-sama boom" (Yong-sama is the Japanese nickname given to Korean actor Bae Yong-joon) does not seem to affect the Korean-Japanese community. Kim Young, a Japan-born Korean who is the editor of "Hormone Culture", said that there has recently been a widespread atmosphere in Japan where foreigners are excluded and thus the gap between the popularity of "Winter Sonata" and reality is quite big. He also recalled Japan's "bashing North Korea" following the abduction of Japanese by the North and spoke out that his two children, who attend a Korean school, did not want to wear Korean traditional clothes after that incident. He said the contradictory phenomenon of the "Korean Wave" and exclusion of foreigners stems from the lack of Japanese understanding of history.

Seo Gyong-seok, a writer, expressed his critical view on the phenomenon by saying, "I do not think that the Korean Wave will lead to the dissolution of discrimination. With the democratization movements in Korea since the l990s, Koreans could freely talk about the dark side of its history and thus such movies as 'Silmi Island' and 'JSA' could be made. Japanese, however, see those movies just as macho movies without realizing their colonization of Korea and their support for the division of the Korean Peninsula". He also said, "Japanese like Korean actors and actresses in 'Winter Sonata,' but that does not make them think about the hardships that Korean residents in Japan suffer in everyday life. In other words, they will not have new interest in Korean Japanese who have been invisible to them for so time". Then, he added, "I feel at a loss when Japanese ask if I like Korean dramas saying he likes them. I do not know what to answer since we are not Korean but Korean Japanese who have been lived here since our grandfathers' or great grandfathers' generation".

Prof. Park Il at Osaka National University said, "If Bae Yong-joon is a symbol of good feeling toward Korea, Kim Jong-il is a symbol of hatred. They are like the two side of the coin in how Japanese feel toward Koreans. So, Korean-Japanese stuck between them are sometimes treated like Bae yong-jun and other times attacked as criminals that kidnapped Japanese".

Source : www.chosun.com...

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