How does a Korean compare him or herself to a Japanese or Chinese person? In other words how do Asians compare themselves amongst other Asian populations. I am not talking about Asian Americans and their opinions of themselves versus each other. Rather I am curious whether or not Asians from Asia (Mostly Japan, Korea and China) see each other. This has been a fascination of mine for a long time now. And I hope I don't come off sounding European-centric or discriminatory.
For now I can only answer this question based upon my own opinion, knowledge and with some observations from Bo Kwan.
Perhaps lets talk about geographic size. China is obviously larger than both Korea and Japan. Yet Japan is larger than Korea.
As we all know these three countries have centuries of history behind them. During this time their borders were sometimes closed and open, there has been war and peace, but what I am interested in is how the modern day Chinese, Korean or Japanese views each other.
I think when searching for this answer there will likely be a difference of opinion between the old and the young generations.
For today's tidbit of exploration into this subject matter I am going to give an example of a recent observation I saw by Bo Kwan.
The other day we were lounging in my room and he was searching on YouTube. In the search criteria field he entered Ugly Korean and came up with a number of results.
This video shows that during the 2002 FIFA WorldCup series Korea got away with fouls and wasn't flagged for them. Bo Kwan expressed how they were able to do this because they were playing at home. He also nodded and agreed with the video that indeed Korea played unfairly.
This just goes to show that as I start to explore the opinions Koreans and other peoples of Asia's opinion of each other that neither one country is innocent of possessing good and bad traits.
As Bo Kwan continued his search he found videos of how Chinese soccer players are more brutal than Korean soccer players.
The Chinese players here are playing against Japanese and it seems they seem not to hold back on being brutal. However, I don't have much experience in watching or understanding the game of soccer so I can't really say which country amongst this sport plays more bloodier than the other.
What was interesting was Bo Kwan's reaction and agreement that the Chinese played too rough.
The point of this post is not to delve into Bo Kwan's opinion but see the overall idea of one's perception of other people and cultures.
For now I can only understand this from my placement in America. Living in San Francisco I have become accustomed to hearing many different languages on the bus and around town. But diversity in America is not a new thing and has been around for ages, only depends on where you are in this country.
I am curious to know how Koreans embrace others from different cultural backgrounds. For now I believe that I am sure it is of no real big deal over there. That they coexist in a peaceful and sometimes hostile way. But I can't help but think that underneath the surface that some people may still feel some kind of historical and cultural opinion towards an outsider.
I hope I get the time to not just be an observer of this phenomenon abroad but get the chance to research it and understand it from all sides.