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Korean tourism in Tsushima

May 22nd, 2006 . by Matt

Korean tourism to the Japanese island of Tsushima has proved a boon for the local economy of the isolated Japanese island. However, some Korean tourists are making a bad reputation for Korean tourists overseas, like the Korean airport protesters. In Tsushima (called Taemado in Korean) the Korean tourists are especially badly behaved, according to a report on NTV Real Time News.



Koreans believe that tossing stones on the shrine arch is a way to attract wealth. For Japanese, this is desecration.


The shrine has some wishing plates. Here some Koreans have written some rude things in Hangul. Here it says “Koizumi is a bastard”.


Here a Korean has written “if Dokdo is Japanese territory, then Japan is Korean territory”. Shades of G-Masta. Keep in mind that virtually all the tourists seem middle aged, not youthful vandals.



Another problem is Koreans eating inside supermarkets… before they have paid the bill.


This shop staff says the Korean tourists break open packages and eat inside the store.


Korean anglers leave a mess that they dont clean up.


When this guy was told that the ‘bait spiking’ method of fishing is illegal, he said “Then tourists should be banned and anglers shouldnt be allowed to come and go!


I would be better for you to ban Koreans from coming!


I wont come to Tsushima again!


The Korean angler then dumps the fish he caught back into the water!

Some shops in Tsushima have banned Koreans. Here is an interview with a shop owner that has not banned Koreans.


Koreans bring their own kimchi and alcohol


And the bill is about 1200 to 1300 yen each


It is a real pittance

The first time I traveled overseas was when I was four years old. My mother warned me that I was the ambassador of my country while we were in another country, and I was on my best behavior. Going overseas and visiting the country of another people is an honor and a privilige in my opinion, not a license to engage in any kind of behavior just because you are a ‘paying customer’. One of the problems here are probably the demographics. The middle aged Korean people who seem to be the majority of visitors to Tsushima tend to be a little on the rough side, while the younger generation is more sensitive, in my opinion.

At the end of the newsclip, the newsreaders inform us that part of the behavior may be stemming from bad feeling about the Takeshima/Dokdo dispute. I hope it is just a case of people inexperienced with international travel rather than people that feel justified in doing things like this because of political disputes.

Click above to view the video. Thanks to stumpjumper for finding it!

Update: Japan Probe also picked up the story. Japan Probe is a new blog but looks promising. Give it a look!

9 Responses to “Korean tourism in Tsushima”

  1. comment number 1 by: tomato

    So much for self-proclaimed “Eastern Polite State”(東方儀礼之国)- more like “Eastern Rude State” (東方失礼之国). Talking about self reflection…just unbelievable.

  2. comment number 2 by: terry66

    Its not just japan where koreans are rude, I have seen rude korean travellers in every country i went on holiday to from korea. I was always really amazed at how they would stand up and get their bags and cases out of the overhead compartments when the plane was coming into land, even though they were being told in korean to remain seated! then once the plane had landed they would try and line up to get out once the plane had “docked”. Then to see them around town was just as insightful! They would continue on with their jumping in front of lines, pushing their way into whatever place they wanted to go!
    While some may argue that its a cultural thing, there is no defense for Bad Manners!!
    Can you imagine the uproar if Japanese tourists wrote in japanese over a korean temple? Damn koreans just dont get it!

  3. comment number 3 by: Travolta

    terry66 I think you’re spot on about the airplane thing. At least half of the people on every flight to and from Korea I’ve been on stand up well before they’re supposed to. As if rushing off the plane will actually make any difference. Everyone has to wait for the baggage to be unloaded and that takes at LEAST 20 minutes usually. By the time you get through customs and get to the baggage check even if you’re the last one off the plane you can still see the people off the plane waiting there to get their bags. At most it saves you maybe 10 minutes. Is 10 mintues worth being an ARSEHOLE? What a bunch of dopes. When my mother visited me in Korea recently she was almost knocked over on the plane by people rushing to get out. People are like that in the subways as well. They also stand RIGHT in front of elevator doors and make it hard for people to get out and then act as though you are making THEIR life difficult by having the gaul to be on the elevator when they want to get in. Im sure this isnt unique to Korea but it seems like a basic lack of manners to me. I have heard that Chinese people are like this when traveling as well.

  4. comment number 4 by: Yoshi_UK

    I’ve been to quite a lot of countries, but I’m not quite impressed by some of the tourists from Korea. I really have no clue why they have to talk about some sort of mythical “fact” about their history in the middle of nowhere to me, who is a total stranger to them. Once my flight was heading for Seoul via Tokyo (Narita) so it was full of Koreans. Believe me. I really missed Vladivostok Air or even a domestic flight in Ukraine (Lviv Air). I’m really sick of all this.

  5. comment number 5 by: stumpjumper

    Then, there is a young Korean hero.

    Link here

  6. comment number 6 by: Matt

    Then, there is a young Korean hero.

    Link here

    Very heroic.

  7. comment number 7 by: rena_kim

    I was always really amazed at how they would stand up and get their bags and cases out of the overhead compartments when the plane was coming into land, even though they were being told in korean to remain seated! then once the plane had landed they would try and line up to get out once the plane had “docked”.

    Koreans are always in a hurry, and I’ve seen (humourous) lists of what Korean people do in a hurry like: (This was written by Korean people)

    – Holding the paper cup while coffee/tea is coming out of the vending machine and then their hands get burnt
    – Never seen this happen tho;;

    – When watching a movie at the cinema, they always leave as the credits start
    – Australians seem to do the same thing;;

    – When waiting for a bus they run towards the bus as they see it coming but then have to run back to the bus stop while banging on the door of the bus
    – I didn’t go on buses much when I was in Korea, I used subways more so I don’t really know about this

    there were at least seven more but I can’t remember them right now

  8. comment number 8 by: bacixx

    I think that the residents of Tsushima have every right to be irked about some Korean tourists not being as respectful as they should. However, this “newscast” on Japanese television is nothing short of racist. Think about it, in America or the UK singling out a certain ethnic group touring our countries as having “bad manners” and BROADCASTING IT on TV would be considered discriminatory. Sure certain foreign tourists are challenging at times, but what is truly unacceptable is for a group of people to point the finger and say “look at what their kind is doing.” Plus, trying yo ban people from stores solely on their ethnicities shows just how racist Japan can be. And in case they haven’t noticed, Japanese people’s manners are rather UNgenteel much of the time too. In Europe, “No Photography” signs apparently means “take pictures” in Japanese. Also, “Large Bills not accepted” apparently translates into Japanese as “Please use $100 to pay for a $5 T-shirt!” AND THIS IS AFTER THEY LOOK AT THE SIGNS IN JAPANESE! I just love it when they act sulky when you tell them YOUR CASH DRAWER DOESN’T HAVE $1000s IN IT! So the bottom line is that I think these Japanese need to get their heads out of the sand and realize that when people come to their country their country, they will probably behave differently. Not everyone has their “worldly” Japanese sense…thank God!

  9. comment number 9 by: RWilson

    We westerners would call it racist, but that’s only because we’re hyper-sensitive. It’s not racist. They’re pointing out a fact. Just because it’s a certain ethnic group perpetrating the acts doesn’t mean they have immunity from being called out on it. Also, banning people from businesses seems to be common in Asia. Many Koreans have banned Americans from their businesses.

    As for the Japanese being rude, I strongly disagree with you. Having lived in Japan for nearly four years now, I can tell you that the Japanese generally go out of their way to be polite. The things you’re referring to are most likely a result of them not carefully reading the signs around them, which doesn’t surprise me. The Japanese can be quite oblivious to their surroundings for some reason. I’ve almost run over a number of them with my bicycle because they darted out in front of me while text-messaging on their cell phones. Also, in Japan, it’s common to carry around large denominations of money, so they probably assume that people in other wealthy nations (like Europe) do the same thing. So when they travel, they bring large denominations with them from Japan.

    Overall, I’m amazed by the manners of Japanese people. I’ve never been to a country where people were so polite and eager to help us foreigners when we’re confused or lost.