“The main enemy” and “the most dangerous country” are very different.

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Jun 25, 2011 09:01 politics international
According to today’s Nikkei, one third of the high and junior school students in South Korea consider that the main enemy (主敵) of (South) Korea is Japan. Those who consider that it is North Korea are half of the answer “Japan” (17%). It is probably that young Koreans, that is, the next leading generation in Korea, strongly dislike Japan.

On the other hand, almost no Japanese people would be surprised at the result, except for rightists. Here is a serious problem.

The reason that most Japanese do not care of it is probably that they would feel people in South Korea are childish. Actually, the word “the main enemy” (主敵) itself sounds foolish in Japan.
In Japanese, similar concept can be written as “the most dangerous country” and such. “The main enemy” and “the most dangerous country” are very different. The former is a kind of one fixed word in kanji culture (even if it is written in Hangeul), while the latter is an exchangeable common phrase with normal words including adjectives.

The reason that I think here is a serious problem is that there is the big gap between the two people. A minds B seriously, while B minds A indifferently*. His “love” will be not returned after all. This gap is more dangerous than the one when two people dislike each other. It is like between European countries and their former colonial countries.

* In Japanese, this sentence can be simple without A and B: 一方は他方を真剣に思っているのに,その他方は一方に無関心. The big difference is that in Japanese, one can modify pronouns with adjectives. For example, 美しい日本の私. It is, word for word, “Beautiful Japan’s I/me/myself.” It was the title when 川端康成 (Kawabata Yasunari) spoke at the award presentation ceremony of the Nobel prize for Literature.
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