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11:00-12:00 Panel 1 | Cultural Diplomacy

Venue: Laue-Saal

Discussant/Moderation: Prof. Dr. Gunter Schubert (Chair of Greater China Studies, Tübingen University)


Prof. Dr. Cho Kisuk (Graduate School of International Studies, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea) (online): Theoretical Review on Soft Power and Cultural Diplomacy

Since the seminal publication of Joseph Nye’s Soft Power, new public diplomacy emerged as one of the hottest topics in diplomatic studies. Soft power became the central concept of public diplomacy. Despite much progress, the conceptualization of soft power is at a Nye’s standstill, in which resources and assets define soft power. The most severe problem of this conceptualization stems from the fact that soft power is defined in a tautological way: some regard public diplomacy as the result of soft power, while others view soft power as the result of public diplomacy. I argue that there are two aspects of soft power: one is (Type I) inherited from the past, particularly from imperial-colonial history, whereas the other (Type II) is formed as the outcome of effective public or cultural diplomacy.

This study will present a theoretical model that not only explicates the two types of soft power and hard power but also how these powers are related to public diplomacy. This will help explain the ambivalent(polarized) image of South Korea in the East Asian region, while South Korea’s favorability is rising in other parts of the world. It also attempts to disentangle the close link between cultural and public diplomacy. Many idealize that culture and politics should be separated. Still, in the real world, both are entangled, particularly in UNESCO heritage registration due to UNESCO rules that foster contestation among neighboring countries. In the registration process, the role of hard power is ironically overwhelming. To understand complicated and ambivalent phenomena in East Asian cultural diplomacy, theoretical discussion and conceptualization on soft power, cultural diplomacy, and public diplomacy should be preceded.


Prof. Dr. Eun-hee Woo (Center for Language Education, Josai International University, Chiba, Japan):

The polarization of Japanese perceptions of South Korea

In the last two decades, Japanese perceptions of South Korea have been polarized. On the one hand, as in many other countries, the fandom of Korean pop culture including K-pop, drama, and fashion, has dramatically increased. Also, the Korean wave consumer groups became much younger. In consequence, the need for Korean language courses and departments of Korean studies at the university level has also risen. On the other hand, Japanese antipathy toward South Korea has also become palpable. In Japanese bookstores, for example, it is not difficult to find books with hateful content toward South Koreans. One of the main reasons for these polarizing perceptions is the rapid transformation of South Korea which provides different experiences for Japanese people. From the Japanese older generation’s viewpoint, South Korea is still a developing country that cannot politically and economically compete against Japan. From the younger generation’s perspective, however, South Korea is one of the leading countries in producing popular culture. In this talk, I will discuss anti-Korean sentiments in Japan as a xenophobic reaction to the popularity of the Korean waves