I am a Chinese-American. Both of my parents were born and raised in main land China and whenever anything Korean comes into the conversation they immediately say "Korea is a part of China" or "Korean culture is just a variation of Chinese" or some other ethnocentric remark. They don't only think this way about Korea -- they also deny that Taiwan is a country in its own right, and think it is just an extension of China. I know that this attitude is just a result of my parents upbringing, but I was wondering if Koreans feel any connection with China.
The easiest way to explain is to examine the relationship between United States and Italy. Obviously, Italy is the modern heir of the Roman Empire. And as a part of the Western Civilization, America has many elements within it that reflects the influence of the Roman Empire. Our national seal involves an eagle, influenced by Roman standard of armies. Americans still frequently use Roman numerals. American colleges are made to look like Roman buildings. American lawyers (and assholes who want to sound smart) often resort to Latin phrases. And these are just a few examples.
But does all this extend to ordinary Americans' feeling any particular connection with Italy, like rooting for the Azzurri or suddenly thinking Snooki is not repulsive?? The answer is an obvious no. (And HELL NO with respect to Snooki.)
The Korean will still gag at the sight of Snooki
even if she is the second coming of Ung-Nyeo.
The same is true with China and Korea. Much of classic literature in China -- such as Romance of Three Kingdoms or the Analects -- are classics in Korea as well. Like the way the learned in America use Latin phrases, the learned in Korea use Chinese phrases. Many of Korea's traditional buildings reflect a strong Chinese influence.
But that does not extend to Koreans' feeling particular connection with China of today. This is even more so because until very recently, (South) Korea and (People's Republic of) China were in an antagonistic relationship, facing off in the Cold War. (Diplomatic relationship between Korea and China did not exist until 1992.) While Korea and China have been actively engaging each other in the last 18 years, few in Korea feel a particular connection with China because of the Chinese influence over Korea. It is, simply put, ancient history.
Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at firstname.lastname@example.org.