History of Japan-Korea Relations: How Japan Refers to Korea

Unearth the past between Japan and Korea to uncover what they now address one another as! Delve deep into the annals of their shared background to find out what terms are used in present times. Uncover the depths of their entwined history to see what names are given today!

A past of tumult and harmony, Japan and Korea have been intricately linked for centuries. From political connections to cultural exchange, their relationship has left a lasting imprint on both nations. To comprehend the current discourse between them, we must delve into the annals of their shared history.

In antiquity, Japan was known as Wa and Korea was called Choson. During the Silla Dynasty (57 BCE – 935 CE), they were unified under the banner of “Daehan Jeguk” or “Great Han Empire”, a period of commerce and amity between them.

The late 19th century saw a drastic shift in Japan’s relations with Korea when it annexed the latter in 1910 and governed it for 35 years until World War II’s conclusion in 1945 brought about Korean independence. During this time, Koreans were made to take on Japanese names and customs so as to be accepted by their rulers.

Present-day Japan and Korea are no longer foes but rather friendly neighbors who cooperate in many areas such as economics and politics. When conversing with each other today, they use words like “Nippon” (Japan) or “Hanguk” (Korea). They also refer to each other by their respective national flags: the Hinomaru (Rising Sun Flag) for Japan and Taegeukgi (Korean Flag) for Korea.

Their history is complex yet full of tales of friendship and rivalry that have formed both countries over time. By looking back into their intertwined past we can gain insight into how they now address one another today: Nippon/Hanguk or Hinomaru/Taegeukgi!



The complexities of the modern relationship between Japan and Korea are no secret. A period of Japanese colonization (1910-1945) saw the Korean Peninsula referred to as Chōsen, meaning “morning freshness” in English. This was a term employed by the Japanese government in official documents and maps, but after World War II it became obsolete as both countries began using the name “Korea” instead.

– The Historical Relationship Between Japan and Korea

An intricate web of connections, marked by cultural exchange, colonization, and war, has long bound Japan and Korea together. From the late 19th century to 1945, Japan had a firm grip on Korea’s destiny; though this period saw significant economic progress, it also bred deep-seated bitterness. After WWII concluded in 1945, Japan relinquished its control and both countries began to rebuild their relationship. Since then, there have been times of cooperation and discord.

In 1965, a treaty was signed that formalized diplomatic relations between the two countries. This agreement provided for Japanese financial aid to South Korea as well as legal protection for Korean citizens living in Japan; furthermore, it acknowledged Korean sovereignty over certain isles near the countries’ border.

Despite the treaty’s implementation, tensions still remain due to divergent perspectives on their shared past. Many Koreans feel that Japan has not done enough to apologize or compensate them for its colonial rule during World War II. Additionally, ownership of several small islands close to both nations remains contested ground.

Nevertheless, since 1965 numerous instances of collaboration have occurred between the two countries: trade deals and other economic endeavors have been struck up alongside joint military exercises with the goal of increasing regional stability. In more recent years, efforts have been made from both sides to strengthen diplomatic ties through dialogue and working towards mutual understanding of their histories.

The complex relationship between Japan and Korea is far from resolved due to unresolved historical issues; yet with continued discourse and partnership there is hope that they can move forward together in harmony.

– Japanese Colonial Rule in Korea: Its Impact on Modern Relations

The consequences of Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule in Korea are still felt today, with mistrust and animosity lingering from the oppressive policies and exploitative practices implemented during this period. The annexation of the Korean Empire by the Empire of Japan at the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese War marked the beginning of a long and arduous journey for Koreans, as Japanese forces sought to subjugate them through forced labor, land confiscation, and attempts to erase their culture. Natural resources such as coal, iron ore, and timber were also exploited for economic gain.

These actions have left a deep scar on modern relations between South Korea and Japan, with South Koreans often viewing Japan with suspicion due to its past actions while many Japanese remain ignorant or apathetic about their country’s role in colonization. Despite efforts towards reconciliation over time, these negative sentiments continue to impede progress towards a better future together.

It is clear that Japanese colonialism in Korea has had an immense effect on contemporary relations between the two countries – one that both sides must address if they are to move past their troubled history.

– Korean Resistance to Japanese Occupation During World War II

Amidst the tumult of World War II, a stirring saga of valor and fortitude emerged from the Korean people’s struggle against Japanese occupation. From 1910 to 1945, Koreans endured unbearable hardship and subjugation beneath the oppressive rule of Japan. Nonetheless, many brave souls chose to stand up for their rights by engaging in acts of resistance.

One such act was the student-led March 1st Movement in 1919, where thousands of Koreans took to the streets in defiance. Unfortunately, this was met with a brutal reprisal from Japanese authorities that resulted in numerous deaths and injuries. Nevertheless, the movement persisted and eventually bore fruit with a declaration of independence on March 1st that same year.

The clandestine Righteous Army (Cheondogyo) formed in 1925 to organize armed combat against Japan also played a vital role in Korean resistance. This group carried out multiple raids against Japanese forces until it was officially disbanded in 1933 due to an onslaught by Japanese authorities.

Korean resistance extended beyond military action as well; citizens organized boycotts and strikes as peaceful forms of protest against Japanese rule. In 1920, Koreans launched a boycott against Japanese products which lasted three years before being called off due to insufficient international support. A similar campaign occurred ten years later when workers went on strike at various factories across Korea over unfair working conditions under Japan’s dominion.

The story of Korean resistance during WWII is an inspirational reminder that even when faced with insurmountable odds, one can still fight for what they believe is right and strive for freedom.

– Examining the Cultural Exchange between Japan and Korea Throughout History

A web of perplexing history weaves between Japan and Korea, with both positive and negative experiences. From the dawn of time to current day, the two nations have been exchanging ideas, technology, art, language, and culture. In recent years, further efforts have been made to strengthen ties between them. To fully comprehend this relationship is vital for continuing progress.

Before 1868 (pre-modern period), trade between the two countries was common; goods such as textiles, foodstuffs, and weapons were traded as well as cultural items like books and artworks. Diplomatic relations were also established which included marriages between members of nobility from both sides plus treaties regulating military conflicts.

From 1868–1945 (modern period), Japan began to take control over Korea through colonization and occupation. This caused a period of enforced assimilation of Korean culture into Japanese culture; however, some components of Korean culture survived this process. The end of World War II saw sovereignty returned to Korea; there followed an influx of travel between the two countries for business or leisure trips.

Today’s cultural exchange is mainly centred around tourism and business opportunities; however, elements from their shared history still remain in both cultures today. From calligraphy to K-pop or J-pop music genres, it is obvious that each has had an influence on the other throughout their pasts. As these nations move together towards a promising future, understanding their shared history will be key for fostering strong relationships based on mutual respect and understanding.

– Exploring the Political Tensions between Japan and Korea in Recent History

A period of discord between Japan and Korea has been present in recent history, stemming from the cessation of Japanese occupation in 1945 after 35 years of colonial rule. Despite the 1965 Treaty on Basic Relations that ended the state of war and established diplomatic ties, disagreements remain over various matters such as Dokdo/Takeshima Island, comfort women, and textbooks believed to be revisionist. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visits to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine – a memorial dedicated to convicted war criminals – have further exacerbated tensions.

Trade issues have also become a source of contention with South Korean companies boycotting Japanese products due to export restrictions on semiconductor materials used by Korean companies like Samsung and LG. In response, Japan has tightened export regulations resulting in an increasingly strained relationship between the two nations.

In an effort to reduce hostility, President Moon Jae-in held talks with Prime Minister Abe in 2018 but these attempts at reconciliation have been met with mixed results as both sides still differ on issues such as reparations for victims of Japan’s wartime colonization.

It is uncertain how long it will take for the political tensions between Japan and Korea to be resolved but continued efforts towards understanding are essential for both countries if they are ever going to move past this turbulent chapter in their shared history.


The relationship between Japan and The Republic of Korea has been far from simple. During the Japanese colonial period, a term was used to refer to the Korean people and their nation which, in hindsight, is seen as derogatory. After World War II, it wasn’t until 1965 that Japan officially acknowledged the independence of South Korea. Since then, there has been a complex history between the two countries.


Some questions with answers

Q1: What does Japan call Korea?
A1: Japan has historically referred to Korea as Chōsen or Chōsen-hokoku.

Q2: When did Japan begin calling Korea by this name?
A2: The name was first used during the Japanese occupation of Korea in 1910.

Q3: How did the name originate?
A3: The name is derived from an old Chinese term for Korea, which was also used by the Japanese.

Q4: How long did Japan occupy Korea?

A4: Japan occupied Korea until 1945, when it was liberated by Allied forces at the end of World War II.

Q5: What is the current relationship between Japan and South Korea?

A5: Despite their history, Japan and South Korea currently maintain a close diplomatic relationship.

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