Korean Wave in Japan: How does Korean drama contribute to the way how Korea is perceived by Japanese
By Tae Yeob Kim
1K 11 1008
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement of the degree of B.A in the Liberal Arts
The Institute for the Liberal Arts Doshisha University
Supervised by: Professor Bruce White
Date: 2018 January 12
The purpose of this study is to examine the limits of the extent to which the cultural acceptance of the Korean Wave, the civilian dimension, has functioned positively to the way how Korea and Korean society are perceived by Japan. It generally investigate the attitudes of Japanese fans who consume the products of Korean Wave on the subject of their feelings towards South Korea and Korean society in the theoretical framework of culture. This study aims to answer the question if the consumption of Korean popular culture by Japanese fans affects their perception about South Korea and Korean society, the way it affects relationship and what are the main factors producing affection. In order to do so, I looked over the research to investigate the current relationship of Korean and Japanese societies, how the television dramas of Korean Wave influence Japanese audiences’ perception toward Korea, the negative aspects of Korean Wave including the obstacles that obstruct the positive effect of Korean Wave such as anti-Korean sentiment in Japan and also the way for Korean and Japanese societies to overcome. As a result of the study, even with the negative aspects of Korean Wave and several anti-Koreanism prevalent in Japanese society, various age groups of female fans in Japan were accessing the Korean Wave by using various routes, and accepting behavior of the Korean Wave also tended to be diversified and stabilized in terms of qualitative and quantitative aspects. Also, the interest toward Korean culture and society has been increased, and as the interest toward Korean society increases, the favorable attitude are being reproduced with active cultural practices such as Korean language learning, tourism to Korea, and network construction.
THE INSTITUTE FOR THE LIBERAL ARTS
B.A. GRADUATION THESIS DECLARATION OF AUTHORSHIP
I, Tae Yeob, Kim, declare that this graduation thesis and the work presented in it are my own and have been generated by me as the result of my own original research.
Study of how Korean Wave contribute to Japanese perception of Korea
I confirm that:
I completed this thesis wholly or mainly while in candidature for a B.A. degree at Doshisha University.
Where I have consulted the work of others, this is always clearly attributed.
Where I have quoted or otherwise drawn from the work of others, I clearly state the source. With the exception of such quotations and citations, this thesis is my own work.
I have acknowledged all main sources of help.
Where my thesis is based on collaborative research, I have clarified exactly what others completed and what I contributed myself.
Introduction: The Past and the Present Relationship between Korea and Japan
Although Korea and Japan have maintained close and cooperative relations with each other since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1965, they have continued several conflicts and war of nerves due to the historical problem of Japanese colonial rule by imperialism in the past. Historical issues such as the territorial issue, the compensation of the comfort women of the Japanese militarism, the distortion of history textbooks, and the Japanese politicians visiting Yasukuni shrine are not just past history issues but present political issues that strongly define today’s bilateral relations. The historical problems between the two countries have caused a negative mutual recognition of the distrust and antipathy among the people as well as intergovernmental diplomacy. According to “The Economist,” only about 25 percent of South Koreans view Japan favorably while only about 21 percent of Japanese view South Korea favorably. The relationship between Korea and Japan has often been described as "a close but distant country," notwithstanding the profound anti-Japanese sentiments of Korean society as well as the mutual opposition to the feelings that have existed at the base of postwar Japanese society. Compared to the anti-Japanese sentiments of the Korean society, which are caused mostly by memories of past history, the emotions of the postwar generations of Japanese society are due to the absence of historical awareness and indifference, which is a cause of repeated history distortion.
Politicians in Korea and Japan emphasize every year that the two nations need to cooperate in order to face the difficulties that they share. “The National Interest,” recently reported that the President Moon of South Korea delivered “a message striving to ensure a smooth restart of bilateral relations amid shared tensions over North Korea, uncertainties created by President Donald Trump and the growing assertiveness of China.” He termed it “future-oriented,” in order to emphasize the significance of the two countries` relationship. It is probably the most earnest time for South Korea and Japan to pull together.
On the other hand, the political views and historical perceptions between the two governments hardly narrowed the gap, and the Korean Wave phenomenon that occurred in Japan in the mid – 2000s has shortened the emotional distance between the two countries through private exchanges. Many related studies and reports from this period reveal that the ways how both Korean and Japanese society are perceived by Korean and Japanese are changing in a positive direction. The phenomenon of Korean Wave breaks the framework of the one-way cultural exchange between the two countries, it was hoped that it would help build a new Korea-Japan relationship.
Korean Dramas and Japanese Nostalgia
There is one significant thing that must not be missed to mention when dealing with Korea-Japan relationship. The Korean Wave. The Korean Wave, also known as K-POP, refers to the modern Korean culture including Korean dramas, music, dances, movies, fashion and etc. Today, according Michel (2011) the Korean Wave is grown huge that it is considered as a kind of a global phenomenon which a lot of people from various regions in the world are becoming fans of K-POP. At the end of the 1990s, the Korean Wave formed the dominant power centered on Chinese-speaking areas such as China and Taiwan, and in the mid-2000s boomed in Japan in the mid-2000s. Since then, it has expanded beyond Asia such as Thailand and Vietnam, and is currently accepting it in various genres and forms from Central Asia, Africa, the United States and Europe. However, the biggest consumer market of Korean Wave has always been Japan. The export volume of the content industry in 2012 shows that Korean Wave exports to Japan amounted to $ 1,348.98 million, and although the gap between it and China, including Taiwan and Hong Kong has been decreased recently, it still accounts for 30.2% of the total (US $ 4,459.1 million) with the largest market share.
Japan, as a nation which is closest to Korea in diverse meanings, was the first place where Korean Wave has begun to spread. Beginning with the “Winter Sonata” aired in Japanese network NHK in 2003, the “Stairway to Heaven” in 2004 and “You’re Beautiful” in 2009 continued the popularity of Korean dramas. It is the Winter Sonata that recorded the highest audience rating among Korean dramas broadcasted in Japan so far. Winter Sonata maintained an average of 14.4% on average at 11:00 pm on Saturday, and the last day of the Korean drama recorded a record high of 20.6%. Even though NHK BS2 broadcasted twice on terrestrial TV and it was set in a least-watching time zone, the fact that the audience rating was so high shows that the “Winter Sonata” fever was great.
There has been a lot of debate about the reason for the Japanese dramafever that started in “Winter Sonata.” The notable point is that, “Winter Sonata” boom is not the result of a project promoted by Korean broadcasters or the government, but rather the result of the subjective choice of Japanese people themselves. In Japan, the consumption of Korean dramas such as “Winter Sonata” is a mechanism that meets the desire for recreation of the past that people who have been culturally pushed around want to look back in the closed circuit of Japanese society. Of course, at the perspective of an ordinary Japanese person, the importance of the family community, the beauty of the image, the intimacy of the dialogue, and the fantasy of the main character were also significant and desirable factors. Minutely, Japanese fans sought for the factors as the warmth of people, the respect and courtesy to the elderly and parents, and the strong bond of family, and through the presentation of complicated conflict situations and the clear conclusions based on promotion of virtue and reproval of vice which were long gone in Japan. Iwabuchi (2004) emphasizes that the reason why Korean drama is accepted in Japan is different from that of other countries in East Asia. In short, the reason why Japanese are fascinated by Winter Sonata is not because of cultural identity or familism but because of nostalgia about the mentioned factors vanishing in Japan. At the same time, interest in Korea expanded due to the Winter Sonata has attracted attention to the cultural politics of Japan as well as the fact that it became a political and social recognition of Koreans in Japan (Iwabuchi, 2004). In fact, according to NHK’s survey of 2,200 adult males and females across Japan in September 2004, 50% of respondents said they had access to Korean culture through Korean dramas for the first time, and 26% of them said their perspective toward Korea has changed. (The Nikkei Newspaper, December 21, 2004)
According to Gössmann and Kirsch (2015), the television dramas have played a great role in reflecting and influencing Japanese identity, society, attitude and its relationship with others. The authors articulated the Japanese TV audiences’ attraction to the foreign drama as “salvation.” They cited an analysis of a media researcher Werner Faulstich, “the ‘Other’ in international film is constructed around notions of ‘exoticism’, ‘salvation’ and ‘horror’.” While exoticism represents “the unknown to be discovered” (Faulstich 1996: 414), salvation positions the “Other” as something to be desired and to seek out for salvation of the self (Faulstich 1996: 417). Lastly, Horror literally portrays the “Other” as “sinister, threatening, even frightening (Faulstich 1996: 418, English translations by the authors).” In Japan’s case, the domination of “exoticism” and “horror” upon the audience faded away while “salvation” gradually prevailed its effect on the Japanese audiences as time goes by.
The authors puts emphasis on “traditional familial” versus “modern individual” in order to indicate the youth’s modern individualism in contrast to traditional family-oriented aspects. It is basically Japanese today can be divided into youths who have westernized characteristics and “Asian” seniors who have traditional characteristics. Thus, the “exoticism” and “horror” that Japanese feel from flowing-in Korean and Chinese culture, drama played a role of “salvation” that helped Japanese to understand the unfamiliar culture and rather to enjoy it.
This pattern is well shown in a two hours television film “Kankoku no obachan wa erai (Korean aunties are wonderful).” It was broadcasted by NHK on the New Year of 2002, backgrounds of a modern and ordinary Japanese family. Basically, the drama is about an ordinary Japanese women Rie who follows her Korean husband to Korea. There, she gets into conflict with her surroundings especially “Omoni (refers to mother-in-law).” She was willing to continue working as a working mother even after she moved to Korea. However, in the strict Confucian society of Korea, mothers were not allowed to do anything else except for housekeeping. Mothers used to dedicate everything into her families in Korea during the time. Rie was not acceptable in the Korean society and she could not accept the Korean society vice versa. However, things change after Rie’s mother visits Korea. Rie’s mother and her mother-in-law’s dialogue about Japanese colonization is what the author indicated as the “salvation.” The conversation goes from Rie’s mother saying “Japan once did bad things to Korea” and mother-in-law replies “It is difficult between nations. But you cannot hate people you know and cherish since we are all like a family.”
Forming differences of gender and family roles in Japan and Korea was praised by the subsequent announcement of the idea that the next generation of conflict could make generations cross cultural boundaries. Rie’s mother and Omoni understand each other’s values and worldview, and Rie and Omoni’s daughters are combined with a desire for professional self – fulfillment until almost the same age. However, even if this change in the younger generation in Korea is embodied by the daughter of Omoni, Korea is presented as a country where women must first be devoted to their families. It is important to note that the only woman with a professional ambition is the daughter of a divorced and childless Omoni who is a constant source of criticism in Omoni as a representative of the elderly generation.
This assigns the meaning of “salvation” delivering a message of the closeness between Japan and Asia through the relationship of the characters in the drama and it rediscovers Japanese qualities and traditions which was lost, and pass it down to the younger generation. This is clearly indicated with what the author wrote “As one producer of a television drama featuring a Korean character put it: the ‘Asian’ characters are there to ‘tell the younger generation off’.” This kind of regional-popular culture has its biggest role in contributing in intergenerational and interregional understanding of the nations. Asian dramas, this one different popular culture (Asian) from the western popular culture keep them separated from the western popular culture and become a very important part of the people’s identities. This is underlined by the popularity of Korean dramas and actors in Japan that they are already an inseparable part of Japanese popular culture.
In general, international exchanges of television dramas make it possible to create empathy on a level different from that of other cultural goods. Especially, in the region where geographical cultural homogeneity is great, like East Asia, there is no cultural discount, so it can easily contribute to the spread of cultural consensus.
Gössmann and Kirsch finally concerns about to what extent will these dramas affect the youth generation to be harmonious in a reality. He also questions about the rising political problems and nationalism because they are the obstacles making the China, Korea and Japan to be unfavorable. The perception of dramas may only be successful if the audiences of dramas be able to see beyond the characters within them to the broaden chances that the dramas provide for the youth generation of East Asia and create understanding relationship between the societies.
In addition, according to Chua and Iwabuchi (2008), a sense of “foreignness” is a substantial idea of analyzing transnational media products. Foreignness makes sense of the reason why the audiences were interested in watching imported TV programs. In the case of Korean dramas, it is certain that foreignness for East Asians is discerned from the senses entailed in the western TV series. In general, foreignness is understood as a sense built in the engaged feeling of “otherness.” A clear identification of “us” from “them” is primary to perceive the sense of foreignness. In most cases with Asian people, foreignness is akin to the feeling toward things originated from the West instead of originated from Asia.
The authors argue that what differentiate the foreignness of Korean drama and the Western TV to Japanese audiences is the nostalgia. Nostalgia is defined as a longing for the past or a fondness for possessions and activities associated with days of yore (Holbrook, 1993); for example, Davis (1979) views that nostalgia can be claimed either as a positively toned evocation or a negatively provoked sense toward the present or future. This nostalgic sensibility tends to discover that things were better around sometime then than they are now. As Holbrook described, it is a preference both as a positive attitude and favorable affect toward objects (e.g., people, places, or things) that were quite common when individuals were young. In essence, the middle-aged Japanese fans were consumed by the sense of nostalgia as imagined from the Korean dramas and their active seeking of the Korean dramas and involving themselves in fan communities have empowered them to identify themselves as a social subjects again. Dreaming the nostalgic moment mediated by the Korean dramas, it extends the middle-aged Japanese women’s spatial consciousness.
Effect of mass media on the image of a nation
Does mass media actually have the strength to influence people’s thought on a nation? According to Kim and Lee (2007), it is cultural products such as movies and TV dramas that provide the most opportunities for indirect cultural experience for specific nations. Among them, television plays an important role in recognizing social reality to viewers. In other words, unlike the content of a film, which is perceived as fictional, television often reflects our social reality like news, and drama also depicts our lives more closely.
Ogles (1987) and Seiter (1986) argued the phenomenon that people accept the world represented by television as a real world is called the cultivation theory of mass media, which means that mass media can form or strengthen viewers’ perceptions or stereotypes. Therefore, depending on how the mass media describe the social reality, the individual stereotype of the social reality and the social reality itself are formed differently as a result. Moreover, in modern society, which is complex and diverse, it is true that people rely heavily on mass media rather than direct experience in defining and recognizing certain social realities.
Therefore, frequent viewing of foreign TV dramas will affect the perception of reality in the country, which will form stereotypes in the country and invite image formation or specific emotion to the country and people. Such images or emotions may also affect the attitudes and evaluations of products in the country concerned. For example, according to Kim (2002), Taiwanese citizens who watched dramas based on the past of Korea such as ‘Man Gang’ and ‘Mimang’ in the 1990s had a negative image on Korea, while the viewers of ‘Flame’ and ‘Autumn in my heart’ had a sophisticated and urban image on Korea.
Stereotypes created by mass media
According to Seiter (1986), stereotypes are a universal standard used to process information about the social environment and play an essential and functional role in effective social interaction. Although stereotypes are likely to distort social reality to a certain degree, stereotypes are based on truth and from a cognitive point of view, stereotypes are a useful framework for systematizing various information about the social reality environment.
In the formation of these stereotypes, mass media have a great influence because mass media have a stereotypical picture of the real world through repetitive learning to the audience (Babed, Birnbaum & Benne, 1983). In other words, the less the direct contact, the less information about the target group, and the less information, the easier it is to become a stereotype. Therefore, the social reality of people can be constructed differently by the social reality depicted by mass media (Ogles, 1987; Seiter, 1986).
Given the fact that stereotypes are stronger in the absence of direct experience, stereotypes will be easier to be perceived by other people or other countries that have limitations in direct experience. Although the perception of a particular country is based on objective facts such as political, economic, social, cultural or geographical circumstances of the country, because it is difficult for an individual to grasp all objective facts, the interpretation will be made by evaluation. In this way, national perception is related to objective facts, but it is not the case in fact, but rather is oversimplified, abstracted, or overstated because it is formed by inaccurate information or indirect experience (Seo, 1990).
Therefore, it is inevitable that stereotypes and prejudices act largely in the image and mutual recognition between countries, and the more cultural, racial and unfriendly the opponent, the more severe it becomes (Kang & Morgan, 1988). As such, people are likely to form stereotypes when they perceive other social circumstances, which are again strongly influenced by mass media.
Cultural development effect of mass media
According to Gerbner and Gross, (1976) the effects of mass media on stereotypes can be explained by the cultivation theory of mass media. According to the cultivation theory, viewers will accept the world represented by mass media as real world. In other words, the facts or characteristics shown on television form a perception of social reality, and this phenomenon will be more evident in people watching a lot of TV.
Gerbner and Gross argue that mass media influence people by developing more basic assumptions about social reality situations and also socialize people to standardized roles and behaviors. In other words, the cultural development effect can be seen as forming some idea of social reality to the social members.
Can Korean Wave be a remedy for the historical and social conflicts of Korea and Japan?
In recent years, the debate over whether the Korean Wave, which has been widely discussed since the early days of the occurrence, is gradually disappearing. It is common to see that the Korean Wave, which has passed the second boom a few years after the first boom of the mid-2000s, has now settled in the Japanese society as a genre of culture outside the category of temporary fads. The Korean Wave, which has been around for more than 20 years, is being launched in the everyday life of Japanese society. Moreover, the K-Pop fandom centered on the younger generations has formed a wider audience for the Korean drama fan.
The fact that the first Korean boom has already helped raising interest and awareness of Korea in Japanese society has been proven through numerous related researches in the past. However, such interest tended to stay in a superficial phenomenon mainly in consumption culture such as popular culture and sightseeing. Thus, it is still questionable whether Japanese’s interest in Korean Wave can arouse the interest in the historical misunderstandings and the nationalist conflicts between the two countries.
In order to investigate if Korean Wave actually change the historical misunderstandings and the nationalist conflicts of Japanese, the study of Jung (2014) conducted a group interview survey of the Japanese people in Tokyo and Seoul. The survey subjects were all female whom have been interested in Korean culture with various age groups. The younger participants were not interested in the Korean Wave during the first boom of the mid-2000s in general. Most of them rather felt strongly against the Korean Wave at the first time. The reason why they felt rejected is because they do not want to see the family (mainly mother) falling into the Korean wave so intensely, the Korean people come out every day in broadcasting and magazines suddenly made them feel the distance, and Korean Wave was recognized as a culture for elders. The author argued that this is not a problem about the content of the Korean Wave itself, but rather the viewpoint of the Korean Wave boom at that time and the viewpoint which was somewhat negative in the Japanese society, especially media. On the other hand, most of the participants, including those who started to accept Korean Wave recently, had positive evaluation of the Korean Wave phenomenon in Japan. In the case of mostly young people who has been consuming the Korean wave with the effect of K-Pop, most of them did not have any interest in the Korean Wave during the first boom. They rather had objection to their surrounding family or acquaintances who were immersed in the Korean Wave. This means that Japanese’s general interest in Korean society and Korean culture, has increased due to the consumption of Korean Wave.
According to the relatively young participants of interview had reference to Korean fashion and scenery of streets lined with high-end shopping malls, tasty food and warm hospitality. However, they were barely aware of the complex conflicts of the history between Korea and Japan, and also the relationship between them.
The opinions of younger generation on the Korean wave and the perception of Korea suggest that the interest in Korean society, which has been improving due to the previous Korean Wave, is still in the superficial category. However, it can be said that the increased opportunity to meet various elements of Korean culture today in Japan’s daily life, which has been consistently indifferent and ignorant about Korea in the past, is enough positive evaluation.
On the other hand, many of the participants who are relatively aged have expanded their interest in Korea to Korean history and traditional culture after consuming Korean Wave, thus showing more active acceptance of culture. In 2005, the popularity of the drama “Dae Jang Geum” was accompanied by an increase in interest in the history of Korea as well as the Korean dramas boom in Japan. With the motivation of Korean historical dramas, the elderly participants have been enjoying touring trains to the historical attractions and historical sites that they had seen in the Korean drama. They explore the joy of Korean Wave consumption and the inquiry into Korean society, culture and history stemming from it, not only brings energy to individual life, but also provides an opportunity to reflect on Japanese society that was not particularly interested in neighboring countries and the majority of them believe it will help improving the Korea-Japan relationship. Therefore, the current Korean Wave which has been downturned but recently changing its perception toward Korea, is a very encouraging phenomenon for Japan as well as Korea.
However, the author stated that the interest in Korean history due to the Korean Wave caused a sense of discomfort in the sensitive perception of Korean society. The elders of Japanese society who still have memories of the colonial past of the two nation thought what happened in the past is all Japan’s fault and all the issues and the conflicts about it must be solved entirely by the politicians of both countries thus they were likely to avoid becoming aware of the conflicts. However, they recently been heard that the "Korean Wave is playing a role of civilian diplomacy" and as a fan of Korean culture, they have been watching news and broadcasts on the subject of history in the awareness that they should be more interested in the relationship between Korea and Japan.
Some of the participants were also interested about the historical issues and conflicts thus listened to the related reports in Japan. According to the reports, there were problems in both sides, and the participants realized that the attitude of the Korean side that considering Japan’s fault unilaterally was what is causing the conflicts. They have come away from the vague sense of guilt based on the fragmented knowledge they have received from the previous generations, and now they face the reality and wish to normalize the relationship by covering up the reality. Of course, the dissatisfaction and criticism of the participants toward the perception of Korean society on these subjects is directed not to the civilian but to the comments of the Korean government and the politicians. They were also aware of the possibility that there is some error in the claim of the Japanese side since the reported information is unilaterally given by Japanese government. As a result, they have shown a mature sense that history issues should be understood and solved through sufficient conversation and bilateral understanding of both sides. On the other hand, most of the respondents were relatively calm in response to the recent upsurge of anti-Japanese sentiments and anti-Koreanism in Japan.
As a result of the interviews conducted by the surveyed subjects, the situation did not seem to be so serious, and the aggressiveness of the anti-Koreanism did not form consensus in Japanese society at all. However, it is considered that there is a limit to interpretation as a general view of Japanese society, since it can be assumed that the tendency of the subjects to be surveyed is generally a positive attitude toward Korean Wave.
On the other hand, Japanese young people who frequently access the Internet have access to the Korean Internet with pure interest in Korea, but they see extreme anti-Japanese posts, gossip about Japan, and slander. It was a great shock to see the kind and distaste of the Korean people, and pointed out that the exclusive nationalism above the anti-Koreanism is widespread in Korean society. The development of Internet media, which is providing various kinds of web-based translation services, has enabled exchange of information across borders, which also contributes to the private communication between Korea and Japan. However, due to the nature of Internet media, where the information and opinions of senders are passed directly to recipients without omitting verification and filtering processes, the Internet is often used as a controversy where nationalism between Korea and Japan collides.
According to the above interview survey results, it was confirmed again that the general interest in Korean Wave among the Japanese fans could be increased dramatically compared to the previous consumption of Korean Wave. Although there may be individual differences, the older fans were more likely to have interest in wider range of Korean culture beyond superficial range such as traditional culture, history, politics, society and etc. than younger fans. This deepening of interest seems to be the possibility that the Korean Wave will develop more gradually in the future as it is settled in daily life in Japan. However, in the case of young people, the acceptance of the Korean wave is stronger than the intervention of the political viewpoint, which is the place of conflict between the two countries. It should be considered that there are some parts that do not meet unilateral expectations.
On the other hand, the contact and information acquisition of various routes with South Korea, which are increasing due to the Korean Wave, has the effect of enhancing the intimacy toward Korea but at the same time, it may cause the sense of incongruity caused by the collision of the two countries’ narrow-minded nationalism. In addition, as what have been found in the interviews, it may be desirable for the Korean Wave to appeal interest to the Japanese-Korean relations and past history between two nations but if they are exposed to distorted information when facing the conflicts between the two nations, it should be noted that it is potential to be multiplied into new antagonisms and oppositional relations.
The Negative Aspects of Korean Wave and the Anti-Korean Wave
It is expected that diversificated and stabilized trend of Korean Wave and active culture practice by fans will positively affect Korea – Japan relations as well. It is also expected to play a role as a defense mechanism and a buffer against the adverse reaction. In this process, however, the mass media showed that it could perform not only a positive influence of the Korean Wave but also a negative function of promoting the anti-Korean Wave. This is due to the fact that the gap of misunderstanding and distrust is widened by the continuous and repeated circulation of historical arguments and use of the over-enlarged reproductive reports of Korean Wave and the issues between the two countries, fragmentary, sensational and un-contextual reports about the other.
In the study of the Korean Wave consumers in Japan, negative opinion and caution about the Korean Wave was defined as anti-Korean wave which means that the Korean Wave contains negative aspects of emotions, and both of hatred and resistance. The beginning of anti-Japanese sentiment in Japan came out in the mid-2000s when the term "disgusting Korean" appears. Anti-Korean Wave and the anti-Korean sentiment that started in Japan has been formed from hostile and negative emotions with distrust, antipathy, border, and resentment about everything related to Korea, and also to the Korean residents (Zainichi) in Japan.
This is because, according to the research of Black, Epstein and Tokita (2010), after the entry into the Korean Wave, the Japanese media outlets reported that "there is a ‘Korean Wave’ in Japan but not a ‘Japanese Wave’ in Korea". In this way, the articles that promote anti-Korean wave such as dissemination of unrealistic articles that degrade or dislike Korean-style programs, as well as Korean-language cultural contents, are overflowing and affecting Asian countries including Japan. In this case, diplomatic disputes with South Korea should lead to anti-marginalization. Right-wing groups in Japan are making speeches and actions that encourage emotions by promoting the issue of "Takeshima (Dokdo) and the comfort women" as political topics and undermine the Korean Wave directly or indirectly. Thus, it is true that Japanese media are raising anti-Korean sentiment by encouraging anti-Korean wave by making it into a sensitive title such as "the Korean Wave has cooled down", "the downward path of the Korean Wave." In addition, right-wing groups in Japan use all elements related to Korea, such as society, country, history and culture in order to cause nationalistic emotions which stimulate the hatred toward Korea and Koreans of Japanese people. Moreover, the subject of ‘history and culture’ is raising the feeling that the media is distorting the events based on the historical facts of the two countries. As a result, Japanese anti-Korean sentiment has been fueled by Japanese right-wing groups making political issues such as the Takeshima (Dokdo) issue and the comfort women issue and it expanded to the media which actually call for even more anti-Korean sentiments.
The authors compare Korean Wave to an educational toy when describing the role of Korean Wave. Educational toy refers to an object of play, generally designed for children, which are expected to stimulate learning. The Korean Wave is the medium that connects the Korean culture to Japanese society which plays significant role in introducing Korean culture to the people who are uninformed about it. They argue that is important to let Japanese people know the actual Korea before more Japanese gets blinded by the anti-Korean wave. As previously mentioned, the Japanese anti-Korean groups are using the facts like “there is no Japanese wave in Korea” and “the whole Korea is anti-Japanese society” to provoke Japanese people and giving a witness that they are hated. This means that it is not only important for Japanese society to understand Korean culture but also for Korean society to accept Japanese culture.
Conclusion: Korean Wave and the future of Korea-Japan relationship
It is important to note that Korean Wave is not the result of a project promoted by Korean broadcasters or government, but rather the result of the subjective choice of Japanese people. In Japan, the consumption of Korean dramas such as "Winter Sonata," "Kankokuno Obachanwa erai" and "Friends" is a mechanism that meets the desire for recreation of the past that people who have been culturally pushed around want to look back in the closed circuit of Japanese society. It is reasonable to assume that these Korean consumers, who were once called "auntie troops" in Japan, produce goods to be consumed independently and consume them economically.
In 2005, shortly after the first Korean wave, the "anti-Koreanism" and anti-Korean discourse in Japan became a great issue in Korean media in the wake of the publication of the cartoon-related anti-Japanese sentiment. However, in Japan, controversy surrounding the Korean Wave has been overcome with the downturn of the Korean Wave without forming a common consensus in society. It seems that the movement of the new ‘anti-Korean wave’ which resumed with the recent second Korean boom is still not regarded as representative opinion of Japanese media, despite the anti-Koreanist groups’ aggressive organizational activities. However, aside from the intentions of the forces to develop such a theory of rhetoric, it is easy to see reports that the nationalism of ordinary citizens has been strengthened along with the direction of the Japanese government, which has recently come to light.
Iwabuchi (2008) stated that media culture has a publicity that expresses and shares the pluralism of society. However, it is pointed out that the tendency to utilize this media culture to promote the national interest is intensified, and the exclusive nationalism appealing to each patriotism in the field of cross – border cultural exchange is being enhanced. This intensification of the nationalist attitude can be a cause for maintaining the exclusive attitude toward the culture of other countries, especially Japan which has political or diplomatic conflicts with Korea. As pointed out earlier by Jung, Japanese consumers tend to think of cultural acceptance and political conflict as separate areas of their own. However, in the case of non-Korean consumers, especially those who are not actively consuming the usual popular culture, it is necessary to pay close attention to the strategy of the Korean Wave to advance into Japan in order not to antagonize them. In addition, it is expected for a common historical awareness and an understanding of the relationship between the two nations to be built through the increase of interest in Korea in Japanese society due to the Korean Wave. However, the right-wing and nationalism in Japan may result which does not meet those expectations.
To conclude, it is not necessary for the Korean Wave adopters who have a deep affection for Korea and Koreans to take a negative view of the current situation, which has different historical perceptions from the viewpoint of the Korean side. The growing interest in the Korea-Japan relationship and the historical issues between the two Koreas is certainly encouraging for future-oriented bilateral relations. It is not necessary to accept the present situation negatively because the Japanese fans who are favorable to Korean culture and Koreans have different historical awareness from the viewpoint of the Korean side. The growing interest in Korea-Japan relations and historical issues between the two nations are certainly encouraging for future-oriented bilateral relations. If the people from the two nations are able to achieve self-reflection and understanding of others through cultural exchanges including the Korean Wave, and if mutual sharing of historical awareness based on the facts are possible, the current complex issues of past history can be cleared and consequently, a friendly Korea-Japan relationship will be established. Therefore, the current view of the historical awareness of Korean Wave fans in Japan, who has just begun to be interested in the relationship between Korea and Japan and the history issue, may be contradictory from the viewpoint of the Korean side. However, this kind of interest and awareness development is another step toward a more positive direction on the assumption that correct historical awareness will be constructed based on accurate information in the future. It is expected that the Korean Wave will develop in the future as the possibility of improvement of bilateral relations is becoming clearer as a result of the change in the perception of the Japanese by the acceptance of the Korean Wave in Japan.
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