I saw two surveys recently that perhaps didn’t get as much press as they should have, so this is my attempt to redress the balance. The two subjects were comparing the expectations of Koreans and Japanese for the 2006 FIFA World Cup™, and the perception of body image and beauty amongst asian women (found via 3Yen).
First, football. According to a survey carried out by the Japan Research Centre and Gallup in South Korea and published on May 12th, 64% of South Koreans expected Japan would not get past the first stage, versus 12% of Japanese who thought the same of the Korean team. Korea do have an easier group; Togo should be easier than Australia, and France and Switzerland are perhaps not as tough as Brazil and Croatia, although Brazil do have a habit of starting slowly. However, I strongly suspect that the majority of Koreans are not using logic but emotion to do down their neighbour.
For their own teams, for South Koreans the most popular choice at 42% was that they’d reach the last four, whereas the most popular choice for the Japanese at just 27% was for a last 16 position. 20% of Japanese thought Japan wouldn’t even get past the first round.
51% of Japanese, versus 93% of South Koreans, said they were interested in the World Cup.
Next, beauty. The survey does make rather depressing reading, with Japanese women having the most poor image of themselves in just about every category.
How long has it been since these women have felt beautiful? Some countries fared far worse than others. Two-thirds of Japanese women (66%), and half the Singaporean women (49%) said it had been since last year or longer that they had felt beautiful. Indeed, in Japan, a large number said they have never felt beautiful or could not remember feeling beautiful (42% total combined).
Again, the Japanese bucked the trend with half saying it had been since at least last year since anyone told them they were beautiful which showed up in low feelings of one’s own beauty.
In addition, 25% of Japanese thought they were too heavy, with another 44% rating themselves as slightly heavy, which are laughable figures to anyone who has ever spent any time here.
However, the one statistic that really took me aback was given the statement “Media and advertising tends to portray women in very cliché and shallow ways”, only 25% of Japanese women agreed with the statement (see text for full explanation of the figure), 20 percentage points lower than the next lowest country.