SEOUL, Jul. 29 (Korea Bizwire) — Despite the anti-Japan sentiment prevalent in South Korea following Japan’s recent export restrictions, Japanese residents or visitors in South Korea feel more or less accepted in the country.
Many Japanese residents or visitors in South Korea said they have no direct experience of being threatened by anti-Japanese sentiments in the country, despite recent media reports that claimed otherwise.
“Despite what they say in the media about the anti-Japanese sentiment, I don’t feel the difference between now and before all this happened,” said a Japanese national who runs a Japanese ramen restaurant in South Korea.
“I’ve never experienced any threats here,” said one Japanese student on a study abroad program in South Korea.
“The Japanese government should make efforts to dissolve anti-Korean sentiment in Japan in order to improve South Korea-Japan relations.”
Many Japanese tourists are also surprised by friendly Koreans, despite media reports.
“South Koreans are nice overall, and we are enjoying our trip,” said one Japanese traveler. “The younger generation in Japan doesn’t really care about the deteriorating Korea-Japan relations.”
Some Japanese visitors showed regret and disappointment towards the ongoing standoff between the two countries.
“It is a very sad situation,” said one Japanese middle school student travelling South Korea. “I think Korea and Japan are friends, but I guess friendship is harder to build than I thought.”
Experts argue that South Korea’s anti-Japanese sentiment and Japan’s anti-Korean sentiment led by extreme conservatives have different intent to start with.
“Anti-Korean demonstrations in Japan are based on racial discrimination and xenophobia, while anti-Japanese sentiment in South Korea is caused by political issues,” said Prof. Lee Byung-ha from the University of Seoul.
“The anger that South Koreans have toward Japan is not against the Japanese people, but against the militaristic sentiment in Japan,” said Prof. Kim Seok-ho from Seoul National University.
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)