During the Japanese colonial rule of Korea, the term nambang 南方 (south), whichtraditionally simply referred to the cardinal direction, came in Korean minds to referto Southeast Asia in particular. This change in meaning was associated with thepolitical situation of that period. Nambang came to carry connotations of “undevelopedcountries inhabited by indigenous peoples” and evoked a sense of superiority bythose who used it. This was a manifestation of another form of Orientalism on thepart of Koreans, who were themselves colonized people. Following the way Japanviewed Southeast Asia, the Korean people during the Japanese colonial periodregarded the Southeast Asian region as the origin of life with a focus on its abundantnatural resources. Unlike the brand of Orientalism of the Western romanticist, whichfocused on the harsh and violent barbarity of Asia, the image of the Southeast Asianregions as created by Japanese artists tended toward the idyllic and lyrical. Ironically,the people of Korea held imperialistic illusions about Southeast Asia without a tingeof sympathy, although they displayed an infinite sense of affinity toward India. Thisreveals Koreans’ dual standard of Orientalism mixed with a sense of relative superiorityand unease.
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