Nothing brings a nation together like a common enemy and the Olympics give us an excuse to degrade every other country on the planet world without it seeming xenophobic.
It was in the midst of this festive atmosphere that Gallup Korea published their annual poll showing the country’s opinion of the rest of the world. The results? South Korea hates Japan even more than North Korea and loves America the most.
Okay, so the Japanese and South Koreans don’t get alone—what else is new? Japan hit the top of the same list back in 2002 and it shouldn’t be too hard to find a poll in Japan where Korea scores the same.
What is different about this year’s results is how much Korea seems to hate Japan: whereas 19.1% of South Koreans polled said they hold a unfavorable view of runner-up country China, a whopping 44.1% of respondents answered the same of Japan. While K-pop tops Japanese music charts and young Japanese women dream of bagging a Korean boy, nearly half of Korea is telling Japan to shove off.
Of course, the timing of the research was far from ideal: 1500 male and female Korean adults were polled over 16 days from July 14 to July 29—only a month after right-wing Japanese activist Nobuyuki Suzuki enraged the entire country by setting up a sign reaffirming Japan’s claim disputed islands and denouncing comfort women as prostitutes next to a comfort women memorial statue in Seoul.
Here are the 2012 results compared with 2002 in parenthesis (translated from Japanese):
■ South Korea’s Top 5 Least Favorite Countries
1. Japan – 44.1% (33.4% in 2002)
2. China – 19.1% (4.6%)
3. North Korea – 11.7% (17.3%)
4. America – 4.8% (18%)
5. Iraq – 0.7% (0.7%)
■ South Korea’s Top 5 Favorite Countries
1. America – 21.5% (16.5% in 2002)
2. Australia – 19% (12.5%)
3. Switzerland – 8% (8.8%)
4. Canada – 7.4% (6.6%)
5. England – 5.1% (3%)
On the other hand, South Koreans seem to love Americans more than ever before. This was especially true of respondents over the age of 60, 32.8% of whom said they felt America was still one of the good guys. Interestingly enough, America also makes the list for top 5 most disliked countries, but looking at the drop from 18% in 2002 to 4.8% this year shows that South Korea has been warming up to the country over the past decade.
A step forward for America in the eyes of South Koreans but a step back for Japan…we here at RocketNews24 wonder why we just can’t all get along gangnam style.