Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Korean culture spreads like wildfire

I came across an article on the global newsblog detailing the thriving Korean community in Osaka, Japan known simply as Koreatown. What was once a neglected neighborhood is now a thriving community of shops, restaurants, and Korean culture. The Japanese are particularly interested in Korean culture claiming there are few differences between the two countries. I don't know how many Koreans would feel about that assertion, I am sure they could find many differences. It does not seem like Korean culture is universally in Japan but the fact that it has made some inroads after a dark history between the two nations is quite remarkable. Japan conquered Korea instilling a feeling of superiority in many the hearts of many Japanese. An interest in Korean culture in Japan is a testament to the openness of modern Japan. This article reminded me of the time I stayed in the Koreatown of New York about 8 years ago. I always knew about Chinatown but had never heard of Koreatown. It was a one street neighborhood with no distinguishing characteristics except for the signs in Korean. It was a gloomy, run-down neighborhood. The location was great though; on 33rd street right across the street from Madison Square Garden and Penn Station. An enclave of Korean culture halfway around the world was pretty impressive though.



  1. How bizarre that since the 2002 soccer World Cup was cohosted by South Korea and Japan, Osaka’s Koreatown has grown in popularity among Japanese. Apparently they are enchanted by Korean food, music, and the community itself.
    If you know of any great Korean restaurants in SLC or nearby, let me know! I'd love to check it out, since the last time I had it was probably at my best friends house in elementary school, :)
    That's cool that they actually have a sign at the entrance that says "Korea Town". I always thought most of the cultural towns were simply deemed so by the citizens, never officially labeled. They even have an arched entry! Great post.

  2. I think that relations between the two will continue to improve as generations continue to come and go. As you said, it is true that there are many Japanese--probably those of the older generation--who still maintain an attitude of superiority. I know this according to my best friend who is half Japanese, lived and served his mission in Japan. I not so naive as to believe that Korea will unconditionally forgive the Japanese any time soon--or even in my lifetime--but some day I think Korea and Japan could make one heck of combination, whether economically or otherwise.