South Korea Jamming Japanese Broadcasts

I saw this on Wikipedia:

I fully realize Wikipedia isn’t always 100% and I understanding the South Koreans jamming North Korea, but why Japan? Other than historical tension, I can’t think of a reason.


It’s not just historical tension, it’s historical hatred. It also makes them look like a bigger threat to the rest of the world and Japan isn’t much of a danger for direct retaliation.

SOUTH Korea, dude - they may be a little dysfunctional there, but I’ve never noticed any interest on their part in being “threatening.”

ETA: OP, what article was this in?

Oh man, read that totally wrong. :smack:

I have no idea why they are jamming Japan except for the residual animosity from WWII.

Plus some animosity from Japan’s occupation and colonisation of Korea between 1910 and 1945.

Here is the Wikipedia source:

Most of the remarks in the article are unreferenced.

I note that Wikipedia articles on South Korea are often vandalized, or filled with poor info.
North Korean propaganda is the obvious suspect.

The answer is that following WWII, South Korea passed laws banning Japanese popular culture. In the past decade or so, some of these laws have been relaxed but I believe Japanese television and radio are still censored. Not a great Wikipedia article, but something to get you started:

Are there any other “free world” examples of this? For example, are there severe restrictions on broadcasting Australian TV programs on Swedish networks? If I attempt to mail-order Icelandic comic books and have them shipped to my apartment in Samoa, am I going to get a visit from the lawman and a citation for Aggravated Attempted Posession of Unlawful Un-Samoan Pop Culture in the Second Degree?

I’m not sure how you censor over the air broadcasts.

Many Japanese signals used to be jammed but aren’t anymore. They also aren’t censored, for obvious technical reasons (how would one selectively censor an over the air radio broadcast?).

With Korean cultural products (music, TV dramas, etc) as popular as they are across East Asia, they realize there’s little to gain by heavy handed censorship of Japanese cultural products - some of which are very popular in South Korea and a ton to lose in lost revenue.

There’s a ton of back and forth tourism, too, which wouldn’t have been as true 20 or 30 years ago.

I imagine there may be some remnant censorship and jamming, but I can’t imagine it’s a lot. There’s too much money to be made by sidestepping it.

For what it’s worth, I was in Seoul and in Tokyo back in April and there were Japanese TV broadcasts in the Seoul hotel room without any obvious signs of censorship. Not a ton, but they existed. And a lot of Japanese (and Chinese) tourists in Seoul with a lot of Korean (and Chinese) tourists in Tokyo.

You outlaw them and jam the signals. I didn’t mean that South Korea selectively censored the programmes, but rather that all Japanese over the air broadcasts are illegal. I don’t know for a fact whether the jamming still takes place, but the ban is still in effect.

Since 2004, some Japanese television dramas have been allowed on cable networks. Since 2000, certain categories of programming that were deemed as not “mass culture” had already been allowed – news, documentaries and sports.

South Korea may be a democracy now, but it too was for a long time a dictatorship. The laws banning Japanese media are a leftover from the post-war era, but as you can see, instead of repealing the whole thing, it’s being slowly taken down piece by piece.

Some mentioned “historical hatred” between Japan and Korea. That’s a common explanation for various issues but it’s simplistic and it misses several important points. One of which is that Japanese and Koreans love each other. Really. As Antibob wrote, there’s a huge amount of cultural exchange between the two countries. About ten years ago, there was a massive influx of Korean culture (television dramas, movies, music) in Japan. The wave has died down, but K-Pop is still popular and there are still Korean soaps on television here. Japanese novels were until very recently banned in Korea, but since then Japanese authors have all but taken over the bestseller lists in Korea. Of course, Korean food is hugely popular in Japan and vice-versa. On a cultural and individual level, there is a lot of affinity between Japanese and Koreans, even if there is no lack of blowhards on either side who hate each other.

Politically, however, the situation is different. After living in Japan for many years, it’s hard not to take a very cynical view of East Asian politics. One of the reasons that there are frictions between Korea and Japan is because it suits some politicians’ short-term interests. Like anywhere else in the world, the best way to draw attention away from local politics is to find yourself a convenient enemy abroad. The cynic in me thinks that Korean politicians are loathe to get rid of the ban on popular Japanese culture in part because they’re afraid, for strictly personal reasons, of Koreans and Japanese liking each other.

That’s why the law is dying the death of a thousand cuts, IMO.

Just an extra note: Korea may be a democracy now, but this is a recent development. We should not forget that South Korea also was for many years a military dictatorship. Overly protective legislation from that era remains and the ban on Japanese popular culture is a good example.