Koreans fear China, not Japan

Discussion in 'Asia' started by Robert Urbanek, Dec 1, 2020.

  1. Robert Urbanek

    Robert Urbanek Active Member

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    China, not Japan, should be considered the main adversary of South Korea, according to a recent conversation I had with my Korean friends.

    They said recent controversies, like grievances over Japanese use of Korean “comfort women” in World War II, were being stirred up by politicians. Relations between the Japanese and Korean people are quite good, they asserted.

    They noted that China had, in the past, occupied Korea twice, including a time when they abducted many Korean women. A more recent issue, they said, is that China is now claiming that Korea is really part of China because the Korean people have roots in northeastern China.

    They also noted that long ago, many Koreans had migrated to Japan and became part of the Japanese ruling class, which led to an odd racial standard among the Japanese, who considered those immigrants to be superior to Koreans who stayed in their own country.
     
  2. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    It's a little bit of a complicated situation.

    China is paranoid that Japan will invade them again, even though that's very unlikely. In China's mentality, they would try to keep expanding their influence until a conflict was provoked, and probably would be willing to occupy a foreign country nearby just to preeminently prevent a future possibility of invasion. China also feels that the small Japanese islands to the South "box them in", and in time of war could be used to help cut off their access to the ocean and outside.

    Historically, China has been happy to use Korea as a buffer. That is also why they tolerate the existence of North Korea.
    The territory of Korea simply just was not as valuable as the rest of China. Most of Korea is colder, the agricultural land is not as productive, and the area of resources in Korea is more limited.
    However, Korea is also very close to the Chinese capital Beijing, and these days with modern high speed military capabilities, China might not want to have a foreign country so close to its most important city. Think historically how Russia invaded Finland and stole 350km of their territory to have more buffer space surrounding St. Petersburg.
     
  3. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I can tell you that some of that is wishful thinking by your Korean friends.

    Yes, Koreans might be held in higher regard than immigrants from India, Africa, or Malaysia, but they were still traditionally treated poorly.
    There are many cases where when there was a mysterious rape and murder in a small village, the local police in the Japanese village started investigating the Koreans who were there first, and often they were right.
    (Probably mainly because the Korean migrants in Japan were poorer and confined to lower level jobs, poverty being correlated to higher crime rates, and these Korean migrant groups had an over imbalance of men, but the point is that the stereotype persisted)

    The Japanese ruling class probably actually came from China (not Korea), but that was in very ancient times, and very few Japanese proud of their culture would be willing to admit or concede this.

    Anyway, back to the point, all I'm really saying is that these theories your Korean friends will throw at you are not actually going to give you much insight into how Japanese think.
    They all each have beliefs about history and how their countries relate to each other that make their own nationality seem the best.
     

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