Sunday, November 24, 2013
Mainstream press and academic attention to China, Korea and Japan
I'm working on a paper with a Korean colleague for the annual conference of the Pacific Telecommunications Council next January in Honolulu and was just making a point about the limitations of much Western scholarship when it comes to an in-depth analysis of Korea. Quite simply, my hypothesis is that scholarly literature, like the mainstream press, carries so much more information about China and Japan, that it becomes easy for researchers to conflate characteristics of those countries with Korea. This results in egregious errors, like the one in the ITU’s otherwise excellent Broadband Korea: Internet Case Study report, published in 2003 and widely disseminated via the internet. It suggested that the Korean alphabet, Hangul, weighed against ICT development because it was pictographic and not easily suited to computerization. In fact, the opposite is true as Hangul is nearly perfectly phonetic and an important factor that accelerated computerization in Korea.
Google Trends provides a measure of search activity worldwide which presumably correlates highly with mainstream press attention. So I decided to test my hypothesis using this tool, and it resulted in the above line graph.