The year 2019 passed and so did the decade from 2010 to 2019. South Korea had experienced a lot of changes and garnered much attention from the world. Based on the data from Google Trends, this article looks into what people around the world searched most about South Korea in 2019 and in the last decade.
Searches about things related to South Korea in 2019 came from South Korea, North Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, China, Ghana, Singapore, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Malaysia, in this order, with East Asian countries showing the biggest interest in the country. The most used keyword about the country last year was “South Korea,” which was most searched in Japanese, English, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Korean, in this sequence. The search word “South Korea” was followed most by “movies” in Vietnamese while “news” was the most common following word in Japanese.
Search words related to South Korea saw the biggest increase in Japanese from 2018 to 2019. “South Korea GSOMIA,” “Korean won-U.S. dollar,” “South Korea expert regulations,” “blue diner South Korean drama,” were some of the popular search words made in Japanese. Meanwhile, search words examples in other languages include: “South Korea movies” in Vietnamese, “South Korea-Japan trade war” in English, “Ecuador-South Korea” in Spanish, and “South Korea versus Hong Kong” in Korean.
The most dominant topics of South Korea-related search words in 2019 were conflicts with Japan and football matches. Due to the heightened trade conflicts between South Korea and Japan, the Japanese showed greater interest in South Korea for over a month. In the case of football matches, countries competing against the South Korean national football team searched the country. The search trend of the last decade shows that South Korea, North Korea, Vietnam, Macao, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Singapore, and China looked up the country most.
The Olympics and K-pop seem to have drawn attention to South Korea in the last decade. The biggest attraction for general visitors to South Korea was “leisure.” Football and K-pop seem to open the gate of conversation. Last year’s trade conflicts between South Korea and Japan seemingly has the biggest impact on bilateral relations during the last decade. The issue is too deep and complex to be resolved with public diplomacy alone. However, there need to be efforts to ensure safe and continuous interaction between the South Koreans and the Japanese.