Survey: K-pop, K-drama, K-food first come to mind when ASEAN youths think about Korea

Published January 26, 2022, 12:59 PM

by Jonathan Hicap

K-pop, Korean dramas and Korean food are the first things that come to mind among youths in countries under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) including the Philippines.

This is the result of a survey conducted by the Seoul-based ASEAN-Korea Centre (AKC) “aimed to identify the current perceptions of ASEAN and Korean youths of each other.”

K-pop, Korean dramas and Korean food are the top 3 things that come to mind among ASEAN youths when they think about Korea. (Clockwise from top left) K-pop group BTS, Korean drama “Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha” and Korean food bibimbap (Big Hit Music, tvN and Korea Tourism Organization)

The survey asked 3,319 people in the 19-34 age group consisting of 1,800 living in nine ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam); 519 youths from 10 ASEAN countries who are living in South Korea; and 1,000 Korean youths about their perception of one another.

The ASEAN youths in their respective countries were asked “What comes to your mind when you think of ‘Korea’?” Each respondent was asked to provide three answers.

Their No. 1 answer was “K-pop” with 685 respondents providing it, or 38 percent of the respondents.

“Korean drama” placed second with 353 (19.6 percent) followed by “Korean food” with 303 (16.8 percent).

Other answers were kimchi (257 respondents), culture (153), beautiful (133), Seoul (83), Korean people (77), city (71) and movie (65).

On the other hand, the 1,000 Korean youths were asked, “What comes to your mind when you think of ‘ASEAN’?” Each respondent was asked to provide three answers.

Their No. 1 answer was “developing country” with 122 respondents (12.2 percent) followed by “hot temperature” by 99 respondents (9.9 percent) and “poor” (57 respondents, 5.7 percent).

Other answers were “vacation spot” (49 respondents), “low prices” (46), “tropical climate” (42), “travel” (35), “underdeveloped country” (35), “hot weather” (32) and “tourist spot” (28).

When they think about “Korean people,” the ASEAN youths in their respective countries chose “pretty” as the No. 1 answer (256 respondents or 14.2 percent) followed by “light-skinned” (213 or 11.8 percent), and “friendly” (190 or 10.55 percent).

Other answers were “kindly” (123 respondents), “handsome” and “beautiful” (118 each), “polite” (94), “plastic surgery” (87), “good” (86) and “diligent” (64).

In contrast, when Korean youths were asked what they thought about ASEAN people, their No. 1 answer was “darker skinned” (131 respondents or 13.1 percent) followed by “small” (95 or 9.5 percent) and “poor” (88 or 8.8 percent).

Other answers were “friendly” (44 respondents), “foreign worker” (40), “yellow skinned” (35), “skinny” (33), “kind” (29), “dark skinned” (28) and “familiar” (26).

About their overall feeling about Korea, 73.5 percent (1,323 respondents) of ASEAN youths living in their respective countries have favorable opinion, 24.4 percent (439) have neutral opinion and 2.1 percent (38) have unfavorable opinion.

Overall opinion of Korea by ASEAN country (AKC)

Among Korean youths, 41.6 percent (416 respondents) have overall favorable opinion about ASEAN while 48.5 percent (485 respondents) have neutral opinion and 9.9 percent (99) have unfavorable opinion.

Most favorable ASEAN countries among Korean youths (AKC)

 
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