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South Korean National Identity Gaps with China and Japan
Region: Asia
Theme: Domestic
Published June 7, 2012
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Read the Chinese Internet and mainstream publications, and you will find virulent charges against South Korean attitudes toward China.1 Peruse even a small sample of a vast outpouring of Japanese popular books on South Korea or previous copies of Sankei shimbun, and you cannot miss the hyperbolic accusations against South Korean attitudes toward Japan.2 Both nations’ sources often attribute to the South Korean public obsessive emotional reactions to historical memories and cultural issues.3 At the same time, Korean sources find the Chinese Internet replete with intense emotionalism toward South Korea and charge Japanese with skewed perceptions of history and of Korean culture.4 The culture wars are not receding in East Asia despite the widened divide over security issues, such as North Korea’s nuclear threat, and the uncertain state of economic growth at a time when China’s development model has begun to teeter a little and the world’s financial picture remains cloudy. How do we explain the current preoccupation with the national identity divide in both Sino-South Korean and Japanese-South Korean relations?

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