How Do Younger Koreans Feel About Japanese People?

Last week, I made a post about why some older Koreans do not like Japanese people.  But this begs the question, how do younger Koreans feel about Japan and Japanese people?   On one hand, they were raised by the older generation and can share some of their views on life.  On the other hand, it’s very common for younger generations to look at life differently than the generation before them.  Since it is impossible for all younger Koreans to be lumped into one category, here is what some younger Koreans feel towards Japan and Japanese people.

Some Really Hate Japan

Korea, when it wants to or there’s money involved, tries to be welcoming to an international audience.  But you may not feel that way if you are Japanese and visiting Korea.   Highway signs and subway announcements are made in Mandarin, English and Korean, but not Japanese.  And some young people like it that way.  When a K-Pop idol got sick in Japan years ago, some felt he deserved it for being there in the first place.  One Korean man in his 30s proudly showed me a Korean cartoon showing a Japanese person on a subway as being a monkey.  He told me “All Japanese people look like monkeys.”  To some, Japanese people will always be the eternal enemy of the Korean people.

Some Really Love Japan

For other younger Koreans, they love Japan and Japanese people.  Japan is their favorite vacation and party spot.  Their favorite cartoons are actually Anime.  Korean popular entertainment has really embraced Japan with many popular acts making a name for themselves in the land of the rising sun.  Some credit BoA for this trend, and feel that this has helped to soften the tension between the two countries.  For them, they never felt the sting of what happened to the generation(s) past.  They only know the Japan of today, and that’s okay for them.

Some Are Indifferent 

For a lot of younger Koreans that I’ve met, they are indifferent towards Japan.  They don’t necessarily love Japan, but they don’t hate Japan either.   They simply don’t think about Japan in their daily lives.  This will cause some to wonder how do some Korean Americans feel about Japan and Japanese people.  I asked a young Korean American woman this and she told me that she doesn’t get involved in inner Asian disputes.  “I feel that I am a part of the Asian community and I have love for all Asians” was her feelings.  In general, Korean Americans are not as affected by what Japan does as people in the Republic of Korea would be.  So it is easier for them to detach themselves from the prejudice of the past.  Some are even open to welcoming Japanese people as long as they are decent people.  They are more concerned about he future than they are about the past.

While some in the media want to show Koreans as prejudice against anyone who is not Korean, this is simply not true in most cases.  If you are a Japanese  person reading this post, please know that many Koreans and Korean Americans are open to being a true friend to you and welcoming you into their family.  Yes, some Koreans are bigoted, but most are not.  With this being the mindset of the younger generation, it is hopeful that the future of relationships between Korean and Japanese people will continue to get better and be both loving and kind.