Monday, March 1, 2010

March First

An insightful article in the Korea Times about Kim Yu-na and Korea-Japan relations:

Culture Bridges Korea-Japan Relations
(Kang Hyun-kyung)
« Some foreign news outlets have shed light on the alleged bad blood between Koreans and Japanese based on Japan's annexation of Korea a century ago to interpret why Koreans were so attached to the [Kim Yu-na]. They said Koreans were overjoyed because Kim outperformed her Japanese rival, Mao Asada.

But evidence supports the claim that the "Yu-na fever" has little to do with Koreans' deep-seated nationalistic antagonism against Japan.
Kim's winning of the Olympic gold medal came just a few days before the nation celebrated the 91st anniversary of the March 1 Independence Movement in 1919.

This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the Japanese annexation of Korea. Japan's colonial rule continued until 1945.

What's really happening inside Korea betrays the media report.

Japanese skater Asada received a warm welcome from home fans when she became champion at the 2010 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships held in Jeonju, South Korea.

Korean fans in the stadium were excited and applauded when Asada used the music of local girl group Brown Eyed Girls during the gala show after winning the competition.

A public opinion survey conducted last year by the Seoul-based Northeast Asian History Foundation found that Koreans' attitude toward Japan and its people has changed.

Young Koreans in their 20s and 30s, in particular, answered that not only is Japan close to Korea in terms of geographical location but also they feel an intimacy with the Japanese, the survey showed.

The survey also found more Japanese answered that the Tokyo government should officially offer an apology to Korea for "comfort women," sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II, a shift from a survey result a year ago where 54 percent of Japanese said the government didn't need to.

Experts say culture has brought the two nations together and played a role in facilitating the trend of Korea-Japan relations in a positive manner.

As for the sweeping Yu-na fever here, Koreans are overjoyed at her winning the Olympic gold medal not because she outperformed her Japanese rival, but because the skater prodigy inspires a "can-do" spirit.

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"Todo lo que puede ser imaginado es real."
"All that can be imagined is real."
- Pablo Picasso