While I'd agree about Japan
, and am not qualified to speak one way or another about China
, my perception of Korean
attitudes towards America
is a little bit different than that expressed in the above writeup.
I'm Canadian, and have been living in South Korea for about a year and a half at the time of this writing. Of course, America is very much in the public eye here, as everywhere else, as evidenced by the fact that everyone, especially little kids, assumes that I am Miguk (American), just because I'm white.
The attitude towards the United States is very mixed, however. There is a certain amount of imitation of Western culture, but it is much less America-oriented than Japan. All the big American chains are here of course, but also chains from many other countries, especially European countries. I get BBC news, not CNN. The big department store in my town is Carrefour, a French company, not an American or Korean one. I see almost as many products with French names as English. There are "Western" (as in cowboy) style bars here, but the most popular style of bar is based on the German hof.
So there is definitely a certain amount of mystique and respect surrounding European and North American culture, but it isn't focussed on America. I think that part of it is that as a small country overshadowed by two larger ones (China and Japan), they have a sort of sympathy for other cultures that are often overlooked in favor of American culture.
It's true that there is a certain amount of ill-will towards America, and it's been massively heightened in the last year, for two main reasons. First, there was the Winter Olympics short track speed skating fiasco, where the Japanese-American racer Ono finished second, but was given the gold medal, because Kim, the Korean who finished first, was disqualified on a bad decision by the referee. Part of Korea's bitterness is that most of the rest of the world never even heard of this scandal, whereas if a similar thing happened to an American athlete, we would never hear the end of it, and American pressure would probably force the decision to be changed. The second reason was George W. Bush's axis of evil address, in which he bashed North Korea. Since South Korea is seen by the North as an ally of the Americans, Bush's accusations undermined all the efforts of the Sunshine Policy adopted by the South, aiming towards a future unification of the Korean peninsula.
In conclusion, the Korean's accept Western influences, although perhaps not as much as other Asian countries. An important difference, however, is that South Koreans have considerable contempt for America, and particularly its current government, and so seek to dilute the American influence by importing many aspects of European culture, as well as taking pride in their own cultural heritage.