The Korea Herald


S. Koreans divided on traveling to Japan during Liberation Day

By Moon Ki Hoon

Published : Aug. 14, 2023 - 17:45

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A photo shows passengers at Incheon International Airport, August 6. (Yonhap) A photo shows passengers at Incheon International Airport, August 6. (Yonhap)

As South Korea marks the 78th Liberation Day from Japan on Aug. 15, a recent poll highlighted a societal divide on how to approach traveling to Japan – a top destination for South Korean tourists – during the holiday.

A recent poll by research firm PMI surveyed 3,000 South Koreans aged 15 to 69. Of those polled, 50.6 percent said they believe it is inappropriate to visit Japan on Liberation Day, the most popular view across all age groups. Some 19.9 percent responded they are against traveling to Japan on all occasions, highlighting persistent deep-seated animosity from Japan's 1910-45 colonization of the Korean Peninsula.

On the other end of the spectrum, 29.5 percent found no issue at all, saying that travel decisions during the holiday should be a personal choice.

The results highlighted a generational divide. Some 32.6 percent of Gen Z respondents (born 1995-2009) had no concerns about traveling to Japan on the holiday, while only 26.6 percent of Baby Boomers (born before 1965) felt the same. This disparity aligned with varying levels of understanding about the holiday's history: 92.3 percent of Baby Boomers said they were well aware of its historical significance, compared to 73.2 percent of Gen Z.

Despite the mixed feelings, Japan remains a favored destination for South Korean tourists. Recent data from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport identified Osaka and Tokyo as the top destinations for South Koreans in the first half of this year.