Koreans See Japan More Negatively Than Other Nations

      March 31, 2015 10:51

      Koreans have particularly negative perceptions of Japan compared to other Asians, a poll finds.

      The Japan Press Research Institute surveyed 6,000 people in Korea, China, Thailand, France, the U.K., and the U.S. on their perceptions of Japan. The results showed huge gaps not only between perceptions of Japan but also in terms of what came to mind first.

      Almost all the Thai respondents, or 94.1 percent, think favorably of Japan, as do 76.3 percent of French respondents, 74.3 percent of Americans and 65.9 percent of Britons.

      But fewer than one in three Korean respondents (29.5 percent) have a positive perception of Japan.

      Results from China were unavailable since the designated polling firm there refused to ask that particular question.

      Asked to mention the name of a Japanese person they know, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the first choice for Koreans, Chinese and Thais. But the differences became noticeable when it came to their second choices.

      Chinese and Thai respondents chose singer Momoe Yamaguchi and idol and adult film star Sora Aoi. But for Koreans the No. 2 choice was Hirobumi Ito (1841-1909), the first resident-general of Korea.

      The survey shows that even Chinese are not as preoccupied with Japan’s ugly history as Koreans.

      In France, the U.K. and the U.S. respondents cited wartime Emperor Hirohito as the first Japanese person who came to mind, but the No. 2 choices varied. Americans picked major league baseball star Ichiro Suzuki. French respondents chose movie director Hayao Miyazaki, and Britons John Lennon's wife, the artist Yoko Ono.

      Kazuaki Hasegawa of the JPRI said in a media interview, "It's interesting that Emperor Hirohito was the best-known Japanese in the West while he didn't even rank among the top 10 in Korea and China," which suffered under Japanese rule during World War II.

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