New excuses for being Anti-Americanism

No it’s not gonna work.

Sobering Words from White House’s Next Asia Chief

She says South Korea’s “swift and largely negative reaction” came from two factors. One was a gradual buildup of anti-U.S. sentiment due to Bush’s rejection of engagement with North Korea, and the other “cultural insensitivity on the part of the Bush administration.” By calling North Korea “evil,” Bush offended against Korean norms of relationship management and communication, which focus on face-saving and “kibun,” she said.

“If the president had demonstrated an awareness of the importance of maintaining kibun in relating to Koreans (North or South), perhaps the South Korean response to his statement would have been more muted,” she writes.

In the notes, Fraser explains that “kibun” is equivalent to “feelings” or “atmosphere.” According to Fraser, maintaining good “kibun” is the key in relations and communication in Korea. “Flare-ups due to a lack of cultural nuance in our public statements seem both unnecessary and avoidable,” she said. “Were U.S. policy more sensitive to Korean communication norms, the Bush administration would be able to pursue its interests with less collateral damage to public opinion in South Korea.”

But the same article in Japanese version goes little differently.

 フレイザー氏はまた、「“気分”とは、ある出来事を受けて感じる印象や、人々の間に広がるムードを指す。韓国では“どういったことを実際にするか”とい うことよりも、“どういう風にするか”ということをより重要視する」と指摘した。対人関係において、良い「気分」を維持することが何よりも重要だ、という わけだ。

The bold line should be translated more like “maintaining good “kibun”or how you do it is more important than what they really do in relations and communication in Korea”

Anybody think it’s kind weird? It does not matter WHAT they do, but it matters HOW in Korea??

CRAZY. Don’t blame some one for being that crazy. No Japanese would understand that either.

By the way, the term “Kibun” is a Japanese word just like “Yakusoku” for promise. Korea adapted those words from Japanese since they did not have ideas like that. I believe more than 70% of nonscientific and medical terminologies are taken from Japanese.


Interesting analysis at The Marmot’s Hole.

Heck, if he’d called Japan “evil,” it would have been met with spontaneous street celebrations, even today. The difference is that over the last 10 years, South Koreans have moved away from viewing North Koreans as “horned communist devils” and more towards viewing them as part of the tribe, so to speak.

Is it only me feel like Japan became the scapegoat? The change came from inside South Korea and was made by an artificial force aka education. The same force worked for Anti-Japan sentiments in South Korea IMHO.


As GI Korea points out, Anti-Americanism in South Korea existed well before 2002. I pointed out that too for example, here and here.


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