Thoughts on Asian History of Westernization & Television

Recently I was in a nice debate with one of my fellow peers. He’s the kind of proud Korean. Somehow we got into a conversation regarding Asians and Western Culture. Being the Korean of course he would vote for his own country being the country that adopts Western ideology. I honestly was indifferent – I believe that modern globalization has bridged the gap between the East and West considerably. However, just for the sake of it, let’s look at the history:

I’d like to add that Western influence in Asia started since 1591; the Spanish introduced Western civilization ideals to the Philippines. The spread of Imperialism grew for the next 300 years. By the mid 1800’s, many European powers and the United States had their stakes in Asia. China and Korea practiced Isolationism – a method whereby the expansion was limited from land, but still vulnerable by the seas. Eventually this led to the Opium Wars forcing China into complete submission and consequently China was divided primarily by the European powers. From 1897-1997 the British exercised their 100 year lease on Hong Kong, and the Portuguese followed with their 1899-1999 takeover of Macau. Smaller regions also include Singapore in 1819 by the British, and Indonesia in 1602 by the Dutch.

Out of all the nations, Japan was actually the most open to Western Culture during the 19th Century with Commodore Perry from the US Navy arriving on Japan’s coast by 1853; and by 1867, Japan began its Westernization movement (Meiji Restoration).

As for Korea, they had practiced Isolationism the most out of all Asian nations. In 1945, after the defeat of Japan in World War II, Korea was divided in two nations. The US supported South Korea, and the Soviet Union backed the North.

As for television. I would consider it to be a medium for broadcasting information, and also a platform for broadcasters to lease advertising time for organizations. Shows are created with a target audience in mind, with an “ideal” lifestyle. Watch it long enough and you begin to also want that lifestyle as well. We begin adopting mannerisms that producers want us to believe, and we partially lose our own identity by accepting the collectivist ideology. No Asian country is free from this superficiality, nor are Western Cultures.

We want to see the hero kick some serious butt, and fall in love with the heroine. What makes drama so exciting is the glitz and glamour – the trials and tribulations of our hero. In a sense the hero is a catalyst for our own inner self. What kind of girl wouldn’t want to be swept away by a gorgeous and charming Asian man?

The bottom line, we love to escape into our fantasies, but don’t forget about reality.

One Response to Thoughts on Asian History of Westernization & Television

  1. 內酷超人 says:

    excellent excellent post, almost summarized the first task of my blog, which is to show how the present of collectivist ideology in Asia. Yet the Asian will have harder time to attain their current beauty standard, it may simply be an unattainable image for them.

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