As a popular boom in Korean drama has been spreading over Japan, did our view toward Korean Japanese meet any changes?
Korean Japanese are everywhere in Japan and it is not rare that you get to know them or friends of yours are Korean Japanese. General images about Korean Japanese are just like in the movies, “パッチギ” and “Go”, we tend to think Korean Japanese are liable to discrimination and they are hostile to Japanese society considering the facts happened in the past history. Some Koreans Japanese I knew before, they seemed they didn’t want to announce to the society that they were actually Korean Japanese, and rather than doing that, they liked to merge with Japanese society as Japanese.
But after the Korean Drama boom arrived in Japan, I feel people started to look at matters of Korea in a different way. More and more Japanese has come to want to know about Korean people and its culture. Many of those Korean Drama fans study Korean language, travel to Korea, or some even want to live in Korea for some time. Like this, the booming in Korean drama became a bridge to connect Japanese and Korean in a better way.
Reflecting the changes I said the above, I came across with the funny scene at a fast food shop, a person who sat next to my table was talking about her child, she said to her friend that “ I am wondering if I should talk with my son in Japanese or in Korean, my husband wouldn’t understand Korean so it should be better I talk with him in Japanese..” and her friend said, “that’s so cool. I wish I could speak Korean just like in the drama..so that I could make my kids a bilingual..” Then, I thought Korean Japanese today are more open to their identity. They don’t dislike the fact they are Korean Japanese, but they live with that. And Japanese people accept them as Korean Japanese.
Korean drama boom obviously kept the distance between Japanese and Korean Japanese closer. I think the boom gave Japanese people an impression to feel Korean Japanese familiar to them. This is a good thing, but the pop culture boom always make people blind that they can only see good aspects of both sides. We still have to remember what Korean Japanese really overcame in Japanese society, their struggles. We cannot ignore the controversial issues over Korean Japanese and I believe the boom is a good start for Japanese society as a whole to welcome and accept Korean Japanese.
by Eri Kobayashi