International Survey Shows Who Comes To Mind When People Think Of Korea + Further Evaluation Of Country’s Image
Government agencies have shared the results of their survey of Koreans and foreigners about the country’s image, which revealed that Korea’s most representative figures around the world are President Moon Jae In and BTS.
On February 4, the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and its affiliate the Korean Culture and Information Service released the results of their survey titled “2019 South Korean National Image.” The online survey gathered the opinions of 8,000 people from 16 countries (including South Korea) in July and August 2019, and it found that 76.7 percent of non-Koreans evaluated Korea’s overall image positively. Korean respondents showed a more than 10 percent increase in positive evaluations of their own country’s image (from 54.4 percent in 2018 to 64.8 percent in 2019).
Overall, the positive evaluations of the country have gone down 3.6 percent compared to the previous year. There was an increase in negative evaluations of Korea’s image in almost all countries surveyed, including England, the United States, South Africa, and Mexico. Nevertheless, the evaluation remains positive in the majority for almost all countries. Positive evaluations were over 86 percent in countries including Russia, Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, India, and the United Arab Emirates.
Japan has been in conflict with Korea recently over the Supreme Court’s ruling about compensation for Koreans drafted into forced labor by Japan during the colonial period, as well as over issues about export regulations. Negative evaluations of Korea from Japanese respondents went up 9.8 percent in 2019 to 53.2 percent.
Factors that encourage a positive image of Korea for foreigners are listed as popular culture such as K-pop, films, and literature (38.2 percent), followed by the country’s economic level (14.6 percent), cultural heritage (14 percent), and Korean products and brands (11.6 percent).
The sources of information on Korea included broadcasts such as via television or radio at 66.6 percent and the internet and social media at 63.9 percent.
Respondents were also asked to name the people who came to mind when they thought of Korea. Many of the responses were singers or actors, followed by politicians and athletes. 50.8 percent of respondents stated no one came to mind.
In first place was President Moon Jae In with 7.9 percent of responses, and BTS came in second with 5.5 percent. BTS rose from being in the No. 5 spot in 2018.
See the Top 20 below:
1. President Moon Jae In (7.9 percent)
2. BTS (5.5 percent)
3. Lee Min Ho (4.3 percent)
4. Song Hye Kyo (4.1 percent)
5. PSY (3.6 percent)
6. Park Geun Hye (3.2 percent)
7. BLACKPINK (3.1 percent)
8. Song Joong Ki (3.1 percent)
9. Ban Ki Moon (2.3 percent)
10. Son Heung Min (2.3 percent)
11. Bae Yong Joon (2.1 percent)
12. Kim Yuna (1.9 percent)
13. Park Ji Sung (1.7 percent)
14. Girls’ Generation (1.6 percent)
15. Kim Dae Jung (1.5 percent)
16. Rain (1.3 percent)
17. EXO (1.3 percent)
18. Super Junior (1.1 percent)
19. Park Shin Hye (1 percent)
20. Lee Byung Hun (0.8 percent)
Respondents were also asked to do a free association and name what came to mind when they heard “Korea.” K-pop or singers were the top result at 12.5 percent, followed by Korean food (8.5 percent), culture (6.5 percent), technical skills/cutting-edgy technology (4.8 percent), and corporate brands (4.5 percent).