Intercultural Communication

Course Website for Tunghai FLLD Seminar

Taiwanese not fond of Koreans?

Posted by thuicc on July 6, 2008

Muninn reports about and speculates on reasons for “anti-Korean sentiment” that he has noticed in Taiwan. He suggests a few possible reasons why a lot of Taiwanese people he has run into say they “hate” (討厭) Koreans:

  • personality clashes (he says that he has noticed that Koreans are “sometimes more intense and aggressive” in their style of expression than Taiwanese)
  • “a kind of insecurity complex” on the part of the Taiwanese when they compare themselves to the more internationally visible South Korea.

Muninn continues,

When it comes to Taiwanese sentiments towards Korea, if my very limited exchanges are at all suggestive of anything, the Korean brand power, food culture, and drama fandom seen here are not incompatible with a degree of emotional disdain.

This is all very new to me because I never noticed any kind of anti-Korean sentiment in Taiwan before. In fact, there was a Korean student in my Freshman English class last year who seemed well-liked by his classmates, as far as I could tell.

So what do my readers (or maybe there’s only one reader anymore!) think? Do you think Taiwanese have personality conflicts with Koreans any more than they do with, say, Japanese or Chinese from the PRC (maybe they’ll have more of the latter now that we’re letting PRC tourists in!)? Let me know…

4 Responses to “Taiwanese not fond of Koreans?”

  1. tara said


    just accidentally discovered your blog,very interesting topics.
    Hope to learn more about intercultural communication, it interests me as I am Indian, live and work in Germany and also provide trainings.

  2. thuicc said

    Hi Tara,

    These days I post to this blog only once in a while, but maybe some more posts will come out once I get a chance to teach the ICC class again.

    Can you tell me a little more about your work? Are you training Germans, Indians, or both?

  3. Anonymous said

    You should really get out and talk to people. Maybe not university students, but people who will be honest with you if you think your university students might not always. Taiwanese people often say Hangou 韓狗 instead of Hanguo 韓國。 I think the mutual distain between many of the East asian races is rather complicated. I think its hard to say exactly where the hatred is, if it even come from one place, regarding Japanese, Korean, etc. Whenever people discuss this “dislike” or “discomfort” there’s always this vague discussion of personality differences and clashes. I think it comes down to ignorant and blatant racism that is simply passed down from the older generations. Obviously (or maybe not), this kind of dislike or prejudice will be hidden in the university setting or in the more modern and somewhat PC-conscious cities, but its certainly there. There’s one thing people in Taiwan certainly can never be accused of is being ultra-progressive and holding really transcendent racial views. Remember this society really exists on two pillars, the Chinese identiy, and the Taiwanese identity. Everything regarding race in societies where ethnicity is the sole backbone is obviously going to strange. You can take the kid out of the ghetto, but you can’t take the ghetto out of the kid.

  4. thuicc said

    Well, I finally heard about a Taiwanese who doesn’t like Koreans–my doctor’s daughter told me her father doesn’t like Koreans. Does this prove that Taiwanese all hate Koreans, though? (Or even that there’s some “hidden” prejudice against them among university students?) I’m not yet willing to assume this. Maybe I’ll ask my Korean student when he comes back.

    Interestingly, there was a Japanese student in my ICC class a few years ago who felt, I think, that there was some prejudice against him in Taiwan. (Correct me if my memory is wrong, Kazu!)

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