Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Japan, Korea, and Little Politics

So, I was just talking to one of the Korean twins I've worked with this past semester. We were talking about Korean history and Japan.

At this point I'm not longer shocked at how little Asian history I know. I mean, it's not like we actually learn about non-European countries in the US public school system. And after working with two Chinese students from the Nanjing province... well, I can better understand the mixed feelings Asians might have towards the Japanese.

Anyway, my student told me that the word for Korea used to be spelled with a C instead of a K. Turns out the Japanese changed it because they didn't want Korea (Corea) to be listed before them (C comes before J in the alphabet).

Call me naive, but I am still amazed when I find politics in the most unlikely of places. (But perhaps this naitivity is not something I would wish to lose).


At 1:50 PM, Blogger Ontario Emperor said...

I'm confused. Why would the Japanese care about the order of words in the Western alphabet?

At 6:52 AM, Blogger Ovonia Red said...

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing as my student was telling me this story. I think it had something to do with the olympics because she told me a story about Korean athletes at the same time. Perhaps the Japanese did not want the Koreans before them in the opening parade (which she also mentioned). I may have to do some Internet research on this.

At 8:42 PM, Blogger Ovonia Red said...

After doing some informal research on the internet, I have begun to doubt the veracity of my student's information.

Some sites claim that both "Korea" and "Corea" and products of European culture and do not reflect either Japanese or Korean input.

On the other hand, there are a lot of sites that are pushing for a change in spelling from "K" to "C".


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