Korea and Canada are located on opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean. Despite the world biggest ocean between two countries, Korea and Canada have interacted with each other through various media: SNS, TV, newspaper etc.
Then, what kind of images would have been constructed through such indirect interaction? How are the impressions of Korea from Canada, of Canada from Korea like? Last time, we took a look at the images of Canada and Canadians from the Korean perspectives (https://korcan50years.com/2014/02/07/korea-from-canada-canada-from-korea-1-what-do-koreans-think-of-canada/). The following is what people in Canada think of Korea, which was surveyed via Facebook, Instagram and personal contacts.
[ 1st. Korean Wave (Hallyu) ]
The most popular answer is “Korean Wave (Hallyu).” Here in Toronto, whenever I introduce myself as Korean, it is impressive for me to see the people telling me the Korean dramas they have ever seen and their favorite k-pop stars. Recently, according to my friends in Canada, a Korean drama called “Heir (상속자들)” was famous. And in my history class, there is a Canadian girl whose bag is decorated with the badges of korean idol groups. Furthermore, University of Toronto has a group of k-pop lovers, “UT-Kpop”. The image below is the facebook page of UT-Kpop (https://www.facebook.com/utkpop).
[ 2nd. Solidarity ]
The second most popular image of Korea is “solidarity.” Even though Korea is increasingly multicultural these days, the legacy of the homogenous nation still has been deep-rooted in the Korean society. Korean people put emphasis on a sense of community, which has been fundemental to the Korean traditional community-based affection “Jeong (정).” Such cohesion and fellowship are likely to be seen as solidarity from the outsiders’ perspectives. A recent example is the Korean people’s solidarity against the results of women’s figure skating in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Within few hours, more than 1 million Korean people signed the petitions for re-examination of the performance by a Korean figure skator Yuna Kim who won the silver medal.
[ 3rd. Delicious Food! ]
The last but not least impression of Korea from Canada is “delicious food”! Studying in Toronto, I am often asked by my friends to take them to Korean restaurants. There are numerous Korean restaurants not only in the Korean town but also in the downtown of Toronto. Furthermore, those restaurants are crowded with both Korean and Canadian people. Especially, Korean BBQ, Bibimbap, Bulgogi and Potato Pork Bone Soup are well-known to people in Canada. For example, Bulgogi is one of the popular menus in my school cafeteria.
(To see the recommentations of Korean restaurants in Toronto, follow these links: Potato Pork Bone Soup https://korcan50years.com/2014/02/11/tasty-road-to-korea-3-korean-food-to-survive-canadian-winter-1-potato-pork-bone-soup/?relatedposts_exclude=12154 / Soft Tofu Stew https://korcan50years.com/2014/02/11/tasty-road-to-korea-3-korean-food-to-survive-canadian-winter-2-soft-tofu-stew/?relatedposts_exclude=12004 )
Except these three answers above, there were other images such as beauty, plastic surgery, etc. To sum up, the impression of Korea from Canada is a country with domestic solidarity, but also with internationally-loved culture of music, drama and food!
1st Photo of flight routes from: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/06/19/article-2161488-13AE3661000005DC-465_964x550.jpg