Thursday, November 25, 2010

Korea in Japan

I guess I was slightly surprised to find so much love for Korean exports in Japan as I did.  Probably I was so surprised because I had really only learned about the historical history between Korea and Japan without having really learned about the cultural relationship between the two.

Back in Pittsburgh I have a Korean roommate.  He has expressed in the past somewhat of a dislike for Japan, because of Japan's continual denial of their mistreatment of Koreans throughout history.  He led me to believe that this was a common sentiment among the Korean population.  However, he also has taken to studying Japanese, and even has expressed a desire for a Japanese girlfriend.

The same can be seen in Japan.  Pick up numerous books and you can read about how Koreans living in Japan are continually mistreated and / or underrepresented in Japanese society.  At the same time there is an enormous interest in Kpop that also bring about a great interest in more traditional forms of Korean culture.

This love-hate relationship between Japan baffles me, and I wasn't completely aware of it before I came to Japan.

Most of the love for Korea, admittedly, seems to be for Kpop

{{  this is poster I purchased in Tokyo  }}
The same band featured in the poster above is very successful in Japan and even releases singles in Japan in Japanese.

{{  video content property of YG Entertainment  }}

Pressure for many emerging Korean groups with a Japanese fan base to learn Japanese is great.

Even many of the Japanese people I have met here are big fans of Korean groups.  In fact, those who haven't professed to loving a particular group are at least aware of all of the major Korean groups.

Although I don't really have an explanation for this love-hate relationship exhibited between Japan and Korea, it is something that I would like to explore in the future.

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