Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Koreans' superiority/inferiority complexes

An analysis of Korean mentality in terms of Sinocentrism and Confucism. This was very good for me.

Two Cents Said:

August 17, 2005 at 7:55 am

This is only my personal opinion, but in China-Korea-Japan relationship, one can’t ignore the factor of 中華思想 (Sinocentrism) and Confucism. Confucism lays down a strict hierachy in terms of teacher-student. (This may take the form of father-son, master-servant, etc.) Once the relationship is established, it cannot be changed. That is why some scholars contend that Confucism may have inhibited the modernization (westernization) of Korea, as people would be forced to follow conservative ways. Sinocentrism views China as the central flower of civilization, and the level of enlightment is assumed to form a concentric circle around China.Considering the magnificence of ancient Chinese culture, I think it natural that the Chinese held this view. Thus, people on the periphery were regarded as barbarians and named as such (東夷、西戎、南蛮、北荻: the east, west, south, and north barbarians). Ironically, those people on the periphery were the ones who were able to develop cultures unique from China as they remained relatively free from the chains of Sinocentricism and danger of physical occupation. In ancient times, Chineseness was regarded as the standard of sophistication. However, today, diversity and uniqueness take precedence, and Korea who was once the No.1 student of Chinese culture stands in an awkward position. Enough of the Sinocentricism and Confucism views remains in the Korean mentality to make it look down upon Japan, making it difficult to accept that better things may exist and be imported (learned) from the “less sophisticated” Japan. That is why I think you come across articles in Korean media saying that all bad habits come from Japan while anytihing successful in Japan must have originated in Korea.

As for the claim that these copies are originals, I think it’s simply a matter of ignorance. I have seen many Koreans express their embarassment even at places like NAVER about xerox copies of J-pop and some manga characters. Once information gets out, I think such rip-offs will eventually fade from reputable businesses.
Occidentalism : Koreans - Original?

Two Cents Said:

August 18, 2005 at 2:14 am


I think it has nothing to do with what happen today. And you’re being too theoretical.

That’s why I said it’s my personal op. Your opinion against mine. But I have read many books by Korean writers who express this view. Also, if you read some journals left by Korean envoys to Japan during the Edo period, you see the same complex attitude towards Japan. I think you would be foolish to ignore the effect of Confucism, as it was its extreme form that was highly valued in Korea before the 20th century. Old habits die hard. Compare Korea’s attitude with Taiwan which experienced colonization under Japan. Because Taiwan has formerly ben regarded as 化外の地 (land beyond enlightment), her mentality is not so deeply affected by Confucist or Sinocentric views towards other Asian nations, including Japan. Thus, it appear to me that their attitude towards Japan does not have the eternal soreness or grudge that Koreans have of having been occupied by a “lesser” nation, and so the pros anc cons of Japan past and present are discussed in a more open manner there, without resulting in any purging of professors from universities.

And at this point you’re speaking by interest.

I’m assuming you mean economic benifits when you say “interest.” The reason why I included the phrase “reputable businesses” is because backstreet peddlers will always continue to make rip-offs. You will see some peddlers in Japan selling CHANNEL T-shirts, but that does not mean that the whole of Japanese accept rip-offs. You’d get laughed at for wearing one of those, and it would be ridiculous for some blogger to present that as an example of Japanese backwardness. There are also pirated Vuitton bags going around, but if the owner finds that it is not authentic, chances are, she will not let herself be seen in the public with it. Reputable businesses refraining from making rip-offs are the reflection of such high public morals. Certainly, it will have economic benefits for them since a 2-nd rate image will only hurt their sales. But what is important is that they are acting according to the higher level of business morals expected of them from the public.
Occidentalism : Koreans - Original?

takeshima dokdo dokto tokdo tokto
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