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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 14:53 03/09/2007
News Review #293: May 6, 2005

Korea Still Hot in Japan Despite Political Chill

Reviewed by Hitoshi URABE

Korea Still Hot in Japan Despite Political Chill
The Korea Herald


Introduction of a Korean media article would more often than not mean to show difference of views between the Japanese and the Koreans on various matters including the war -- most of the time on WWII but sometimes on the Korean War. As vividly displayed in the recent burst of territorial disputes, there is countless number of elements of conflict between Japan and Korea, just as any neighboring societies with a long history of interactions would.

Nevertheless, there is a totally different trend of sentiment in Japan, especially among women, as reported in the article introduced above.

Some say it started, very vaguely and unnoticeably, when Japan and Korea co-hosted the 2002 Soccer World Cup. Instead of evoking hostility, as it seems to have become the norm recently when a game of soccer is involved, the co-hosting apparently had the effect of at least partly removing the feeling of mistrust and skepticism toward Korea especially for the younger generation, and women.

The trend became evident when later in the year, NHK, Japan's public broadcasting station, quietly on its less penetrating satellite wave, televised a Korean drama series "Winter Sonata" produced by KBS, a Korean TV station, and originally shown to the Korean public. It turned out to become a big success, resulting in reruns and other Korean dramas to be broadcasted on major channels.

Since then, the "Korean Wave," so referred to in Japanese to describe the long enduring the fad, has been supported enthusiastically, and that mostly by women in their late 20s to 50s. As women in the age bracket have either or both of leisure time and/or money, they have contributed significantly to the economy of both countries. The article cites an estimate of 1.19 trillion won to the Korean economy and 120 billion yen to the Japanese economy in 2004.

The situation, incidentally, reminds of a work by a Greek named Aristophanes. In the year 411 B.C. the author published a comedy titled Lysistrata, the third and concluding play of War and Peace series. For those not familiar with the play, a bit of synopsis follows:
It is now the twenty-first year of the War, and the women of Athens, led by Lysistrata and supported by female delegates from the other states of Hellas, determine to take matters into their own hands and force the men to stop the War. They meet in solemn conclave, and Lysistrata expounds her scheme, that every wife and mistress is to refuse all sexual favors whatsoever, till the men have come to terms of peace.

Although the Japanese people are already proven to be peaceful people, the existence of peace-loving women and their active participation in the society still could have significance in providing a stance of extreme pacifist, as not many nations have had the luxury of incorporating such faction.

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