It’s been ten years since Hallyu made its first waves in Japan; and with the ever-rising popularity of K-pop idols like Kara and Girls’ Generation, its seems like Japanese fans still can’t get enough.
Korean products and cuisine have found a popular home on a particular street in Tokyo. Even on weekdays, you’ll find Shin-Okubo street packed with Japanese citizens getting their taste of Korean food and culture, including favorite Korean treats like sweet pancakes and spicy rice cake, more commonly known as Ho-tteok and Ddeok-bokki respectively.
[Interview : Tokyo resident
Shin-Okubo street ] "It's my first time eating it. It was tasty. Even though I had it for lunch, I guess it's so good I'm having it again."
Though much of the effects of the Korean hallyu has greatly benefited the perception of Koreans living in Japan, there are still some concerns to be addressed.
Many frustrated Japanese residents have complained of illegal pamphlets and flyers, that advertise Korean events, littering their streets. Combined with a rise in Korean businesses in Japan being caught for tax evasion, the President of the Federation of Korean Associations of Japan, says more needs to be done to improve relations.
[Interview : Bak Jae-sae, President
Federation of Korean Associations of Japan] "Through communication and honest efforts, I believe we can try to work together with local residents to coexist in a peaceful community."
On the first anniversary of the 2011 Japanese earthquake disaster, the Korean organization made a direct donation to the local community and has volunteered on a regular basis to clean the streets. Though the Japanese community has praised the efforts to bridge cultural barriers and reach out to address Japanese concerns, many believe that it will still take some time for Koreans to be seen as equal citizens.
Paul Yi Arirang News