This is going to be a complicated thread, so I’m going to try to break it up into several different smaller threads since I know one subject will grab everyone’s attention and the other questions won’t get answered.
The heart of my question is this: Why do Taiwanese people view Japanese people and culture so much more favorably than Koreans?
I’ve been told that it’s because, at the time the Japanese took over the two places, the Koreans were already a defined people with a national identity and history, whereas Taiwan had yet to be unified. Therefore, while the different aboriginal groups in Taiwan and the scatterings of Chinese-origin farmers tried to mount various attacks on the Japanese, they were comparatively easy to put down. On the other hand, the Koreans were much more unified which made the fighting drag out and become much more brutal.
In the end, as the explanation goes, the Japanese didn’t have to be as brutal towards the Taiwanese, and eventually became the first to unify the entire island. The Japanese wanted to use Taiwan as a model for the rest of world to see that they too could be an effective imperial power. So, not only did they unify the people, but they built up the islands infrastructure.
This difference, therefore, is the reason that Taiwanese tend to view the Japanese in a favorable light while the harsh treatment of the Koreans caused them to resent the Japanese colonial powers.
Alas, I know this is not the whole story, which is why I’m asking. Though I’m quite familiar with Taiwanese history, I’m not so well-versed on Korean history. I’ve been told that many political parties, for instance, in Korea use demonization of the Japanese as a tool to rally people together. According to this belief, the Korean education system instills Koreans with an unrealistic view of Japan and their actions in Korea. I’m not saying that people who profess this belief to me believe that the Japanese are innocent of wrongdoing in Korea, but that it is intentionally exaggerated in present curriculum.
I also want to know how Japanese people view Koreans and Taiwanese in light of their past colonization? For instance, when I was in Japan last week, one of my good friends (who’s Japanese) spoke of how she was worried about the construction of a new Korean Cultural Center near her apartment. I thought this was strange because one of our best friends (from when we all met as students in France) is Korean. Yet, my Japanese friend was worried about an influx of Koreans in her neighborhood, saying that it could put her in danger.