Anti-Korean sentiment: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anti-Korean sentiment involves hatred or dislike for Korean people, culture or either of the two states (North Korea/South Korea) on the Korean peninsula.



Anti-Korean sentiment is present, although not strong[1], in the People's Republic of China [2] and Japan originating from issues such as nationalism.


Anti-Korean sentiment has only come to prominence recently, due to issues such as the 2008 Olympic Torch Relay; however, some issues, such as the debate over Goguryeo, have historical roots. In Japan, modern dislike for Korea can be seen as a response to increasing nationalism, and can be traced back to events such as the 2002 FIFA World Cup.[3]

In China

Korea and China have historically maintained strong ties.[4][5] As Korea was annexed by Imperial Japan in 1910, Korea became under Japanese influence. Chinese believe that Some ethnic Koreans were in the Imperial Japanese Army which invaded China during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Additionally, some Koreans were involved into the operation of the Burma-Siam Death Railway [6][7]. However Most Korean were stationed in rear service.[8]

At the end of World War II, North Korea, aligned with the Soviet bloc, became friendly with the People's Republic of China, while the PRC and Republic of Korea did not recognise each other. During the Korean War, when China was engaged in war with South Korea and its western allies, efforts through propaganda were placed to intimidate hatred against South Korea, named a "puppet state" of the United States at the time by the PRC government.

From 1992 onwards, after South Korea’s normalization of relations with China, relations with the People’s Republic of China gradually improved. Within the Chinese population, Korean art and culture became popular from 2000 onwards. Amid improvements in relations however, there were also looming anti- South Korean sentiments involved in various disputes between the two countries. Incidents between the two countries during sport games, cultural and history claims, as well as treatments of Chinese citizens in South Korea have further boost these sentiments in the recent years.

From a psychological perspective, Chinese are seen as assuming Koreans to be part of a sinocentric East Asian regional order.[9] As a part of this group, Koreans are assumed to be inherently friendly to China. Chinese also emphasize hierarchy within their sinocentric order, where China is at the top of the hierarchy. In contrast, Koreans reject the sinocentric East Asian regional order and emphasize equality in diplomatic relations in East Asia. This rejection leads to conflict of existential identities, threatening the very meaning of being Korean and Chinese. Koreans and Chinese are seen as engaging in a relationship of negative interdependence, potentially comparable to Israeli–Palestinian conflict.[9]

In Japan

The relations between Japan and Korea have historically been bleak.[10] During the Ming Dynasty, Wokou pirate raids on Korean soil were frequent, and so there has been general discontent for either side for a long span of time as a result, which would eventually form the basis of hatred between the two sides. Such tensions built up further after the annexation of Korea in 1910.

Persecution of ethnic Koreans after the 1923 Kanto Earthquake
Kuniaki Koiso, Japanese Governor-General of Korea, implemented draft of Koreans for wartime labor.

During the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, widespread damage occurred in a region with a significant Korean population, and much of the local Japanese overreacted to rumours which spread after the earthquake. Within the aftermath of the event, there was a common perception amongst groups of Far-right Japanese that ethnic Koreans were poisoning wells, eventually setting off a killing rampage against Koreans, where Japanese would use the shibboleth of ba bi bu be bo (ばびぶべぼ) to distinguish ethnic Koreans from Japanese, as it was assumed that Koreans would be unable to pronounce the line correctly, instead as "pa pi pu pe po". All people who failed the test were killed, which caused many ethnic Chinese and Ryukyuans, also unable to correctly pronounce the shibboleth, to be indiscriminately killed in large numbers. Other shibboleths used were jū-go-en, go-ji-ssen (15円 50銭) and gagigugego (がぎぐげご), where Japanese people pronounce initial g as [g] and medial g as [ŋ] (such a distinction is dying out in recent years), whereas Koreans pronounce the two sounds as [k] and [g] respectively.

Much of the Anti-Korean sentiment present today however deal with comtemporary attitudes. During the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Japanese and Korean supporters clashed with one another, while Japanese media reported the conduct of Korean spectators in a negative fashion. Both sides were also known to post racist messages against each other on online bulletins. There were also disputes regarding how the event was to be hosted, as a result of the rivalry between the two nations. The island dispute over Dokdo/Takeshima also fuelled outrage within far-right groups. Manga Kenkanryu (often referred to as Hating the Korean Wave) by Sharin Yamano discusses these issues while making many other arguments and claims against Korea. Japanese also accuse South Korean companies of intellectual property infringement and copying Japanese designs for products (discussed below).

Zainichi Koreans in Japan are also publicly perceived to be a nuisance[11] and are seen as likely to cause trouble and start riots, a view shared by Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara. A Zainichi organisation, Chongryon, is commonly accused of providing funding and material to North Korea and indoctrnating the Zainichi Korean population to actively hate Japan.

There is also much concern in Japan regarding North Korea and its nuclear and long-range missile capabilities, as a result of missile tests in 1993, 1998 and 2006 and an underground nuclear test in 2006. There are also controversies regarding North Korean abductions of Japanese, where Japanese citizens were abducted by North Korean agents between 1977 and 1983.

In recent years, Japanese Wikipedia has a growning number of articles describing Anti-Korean sentiment or ja:嫌韓, where its representation of the topic is more focused on describing how Koreans are disliked or literally hated[12], for various 'legitimate' reasons, by various nations and people all over the world, rather than representing the aspects of discrimination.[13] Some Japanese accuse Koreans of a "copy-culture", some inspired by TV shows and media coverage[14], such as the dispute between K-pop singer Ivy and Squaresoft over a music video which resembled scenes from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, and the design of the Yakult bottle used in Korean products.

In Mongolia

Some South Korean men take sex tourism to Mongolia, often as clients of South Korean-run businesses in Mongolia, has also sparked anti-Korean sentiment among Mongolians, and is said to be responsible for the increasing number of assaults on South Korean nationals in the country.[15]

In Taiwan

Although general dislike for Korea is rather low, there is nonetheless a growing attitude of the shunning of Korean culture and cuisine.[16] As a result of the Korean wave, there is widespread contact with Korean culture in aspects such as film, television and food. There are large numbers of Korean restaurants in Taiwan, which may be the cause of jealously and resentment amongst some working Taiwanese. However, such attitudes can be seen as a simple annoyance rather than absolute hatred, and do not represent any political, historical or social implications therein. A survey conducted by Taiwan's yahoo website found 73% of Taiwanese had a more of a negative view than positive view of South Korea as opposed to 16% which chose the opposite.[17]

In the Soviet Union

Many ethnic Koreans were relocated to Central Asia under the national delimitation policies.

During the era of the Soviet Union, ethnic Koreans in the Russian Far East were subject to deportations under the national delimitation policy, with the majority of Koreans relocating to Soviet republics in Central Asia.[18] The deportation was preceded by a typical Soviet scenario of political repression: falsified trials of local party leaders accused of insurrection, accusations of plans of the secession of the Far Eastern Krai, local party purges, and articles in Pravda about the Japanese espionage in the Far East.[19]

The resettlement plans were revived with new vigor in August 1937, ostensibly with the purpose of suppressing "the penetration of the Japanese espionage into the Far Eastern Krai". This time, however, the direction of resettlement was westward, to Soviet Central Asia. From September to October 1937, more than 172,000 of Soviet Koreans were deported from the border regions of the Russian Far East to Kazakh SSR and Uzbek SSR (the latter including Karakalpak ASSR).[20][21]

In the United States

The majority of resentment against Koreans in the United States and much of the western world is only in regards to North Korea, although there have also been minor historical incidents.

In 1866, the United States merchant marine schooner General Sherman was destroyed by fire as it entered Pyongyang in an effort to open up trade with the Joseon Dynasty. This incident then resulted in the United States expedition to Korea of 1871.

During the Korean War, the United States fought a bloody war to assist South Korea from communist invasion. Since the war, the common perception of North Korea is that of an oppressive state. Anti-communist education in the United States, as well as allied countries such as South Korea, demonized North Koreans as ruthless soldiers.

Following heavy re-militarization and a series of missile tests, Americans were made to fear of a possible attack by a "rogue state" such as North Korea. In United States President George W. Bush's State of the Union Address on January 29, 2002, he described North Korea as a part of the "Axis of evil". Following the Nuclear program of North Korea and subsequent 2006 North Korean nuclear test, the United States imposed UN sanctions on North Korea. These economic sanctions are very unlikely to be lifted by the United States due to North Korea's incompliance to the Six-party talk agreements.

The Los Angeles riots of 1992 were partially based on Anti-Korean sentiment. On March 16, 1991, Korean-American store owner Soon Ja-du shot and killed 15-year old African-American Latasha Harlins. Ice Cube's song Black Korea which would later be accused of inciting racism was written in response to the death of Harlins and the preponderence of Korean grocery stores in primarily black neighborhoods. The event resulted in mass ransacking and destruction of Korean-American owned stores in Los Angeles by groups of young African-Americans.

Derogatory terms

There are a variety of derogatory terms referring to Korea. Many of these terms are viewed as racist. However, these terms do not necessarily refer to the Korean people as a whole; they can also refer to specific policies, or specific time periods in history.


In English

  • "Gook" - (U.S. military slang) a derogatory term for all Asians, first used against south-east Asians[22] . The etymology of this racial slur is shrouded in mystery, disagreement, and controversy. The Oxford English Dictionary admits that its origin is "unknown".[23]

In Chinese

  • 高丽棒子 (gāo lì bàng zǐ) - Derogatory term used against all ethnic Koreans. 高丽 (Traditional:高麗) refers to Ancient Korea (Koryo), while 棒子 means "club" or "corncob", referring to how Koreans would fit into trousers of the Ancient Koryo design. Sometimes 韓棒子 (hán bàng zǐ, "韓" referring to South Korea) is also used.[24][25] Additionally, 死棒子 (sǐ bàng zǐ), Literally "dead corncob", is used.
  • 二鬼子 (èr guǐ zǐ) - A disparaging designation of puppet armies and traitors during the Anti-Japanese War of China.[26][27] Japanese were known as "鬼子" (devils), and the 二鬼子 literally means "second devils". During World War II, some Koreans were involved in Imperial Japanese Army, and so 二鬼子 refers to hanjian and ethnic Koreans.[24][25] The definition of 二鬼子 has changed throughout time, with modern slang usage entirely different from its original meaning during World War II and the subsequent Chinese civil war.[28]

In Japanese

  • 三国人 (sangokujin, literally "the third country people") - Derogatory term referring to colonial nationals of Taiwan, Korea and China. Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara famously referred to Chinese and Koreans as 三国人 sangokujin in context of foreigners being a potential source of unrest in the aftermath of an earthquake.
  • チョン (chon) - Vernacular nickname for Koreans, with strongly offensive overtones.[29]
  • チョーセンジン (chōsenjin) - Derived from the non-derogatory term 朝鮮人 chōsenjin used to describe Koreans in a neutral manner (for example, 北朝鮮 refers to North Korea, while 朝鮮半島 refers to the Korean peninsula, also noting that "韓" is typically preferred by those from South Korea), the term written in Katakana often involves negative connotations against South Koreans.[28]

See also


  1. ^ (Chinese) 中国人“反韩情绪”是伪命题 2008年09月02日
  2. ^ 韓總統:必須明智解決中國反韓情緒- 香港文匯報
  3. ^ Ugly Images of Asian Rivals Become Best Sellers in Japan, NYTIMES, November 19, 2005
  4. ^ (Chinese) 推动“中韩战略合作伙伴关系”迈出坚定一步, 中国社会科学院院报, 2008-9-9
  5. ^ (Chinese) 温家宝:巩固发展中韩关系是中国坚定方针, 联合早报网, 2007-04-10 --"...温家宝在出访前接受记者采访时说,中韩有着数千年的友好交往史。"
  6. ^ Historical Fact on the Burma Death Railroad Thailand Hellfire pass Prisoners conditions
  7. ^ Spared Korean war criminal pursues redress - The Japan Times Online
  8. ^ Wartime Cabinet Document Discloses Conscription of Koreans in 1944
  9. ^ a b Gries, Peter Hays. The Koguryo Controversy, National Identity, and Sino-Korean relations Today. p. 14.  
  10. ^ Tong, Kurt W, Anti-Korean sentiment in Japan and its effects on Korea-Japan trade, Center for International Studies, MIT Japan Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1996
  11. ^ Brett Fujioka, Go: Japanese Anti-Korean Sentiment Personified, 4/23/08
  12. ^ to "嫌う" in English
  13. ^ a rough machine translation of the "Anti-Korean sentiment" conterpart in Japanese Wikipedia
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ "In Mongolia, sex tourism by S. Korean males leads to anti-Korean sentiment: With Korean men contributing to growth of industry, the damage to Korea’s image has increased", The Hankyoreh, 2008-07-15,, retrieved 2009-01-28  
  16. ^ Anti-Korean Sentiment in Taiwan - Muninn
  17. ^ [ TVBS&Yahoo 台灣人民世界觀調查]
  18. ^ Martin, Terry (1998). The Origins of Soviet Ethnic Cleansing. The Journal of Modern History 70 (4), 813-861.
  19. ^ Pavel Polyan, "The Great Terror and deportation policy", Demoscope Weekly, No. 313-314, 10-31 December 2007 (Russian)
  20. ^ German Kim, "Korean diaspora in Kazakhstan", Slavic Research Center, Hokkaido University, 1989
  21. ^ "History of deportation of Far Eastern Koreans to Karakalpakstan (1937-1938)" (Russian)
  22. ^ John McCain's racist remark very troubling, Thursday, March 2, 2000, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
  23. ^ Interactive Dictionary of Racial Language, Prof. Kim Pearson
  24. ^ a b 【噴水台】高麗棒2008.08.28JoongAng Ilbo(Japanese)
  25. ^ a b 韩国中央日报:高丽棒2008.08.28 JoongAng Ilbo(Chinese)
  26. ^ Comprehensive Chinese-English Dictionary
  27. ^ mdbg Chinese English Dictionary
  28. ^ a b 高麗棒2008年8月28日 中央日報 (Cached version as of 2008年9月19日 17:25)
  29. ^ Prof. Arudou Debito, July 17, 2005, ON RACISM IN JAPAN: WHY ONE MAY BE HOPEFUL FOR THE FUTURE. Hokkaido Information University. Accessed 18 July 2009


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address