Younger Generations are Indifferent toward Separated Family ReunionsOn August 17-18, JoongAng -ilbo and Lycose Korea (www.lycose.co.kr) conducted a survey of 1,300 netizens regarding the degree of interest in the separated family reunions. On a scale from 1-5, 1 being 'not interested'and 5 being 'very interested,' 50% picked 5, 35% 4, 8% 3, 6% 2, and 1% 1.
Surprisingly, 86% who indicated 1 or 2 were in their 10's and 20's. These results reflect the social and cultural alienation between the older and younger generations in Korea.
The younger generations' indifference in the separated family issue was also reflected in Internet communications. During the period of the separated family reunions, from August 15-18, there were significantly more articles on medical reform and Seo Tae-ji's return to the music industry on the internet than on the family reunions. Despite the fact that other forms of media reported a great deal about the reunions.
On August 18, a Chollian Internet user admitted, "It's finally over! I was fed-up with all the reports on separated family reunions".
Yoo Suk-choon, professor of sociology at Yonsei University, commented, "Younger generations were exposed to very limited information on North Korea. It was also forbidden to express any opinions about the North. It is not surprising that they are indifferent today". Yoo added, "It is time to allow the younger generations to learn about the North. For example by sending them on tours to the North".
The netizens agreed that cultural and social exchanges should be available to the younger generations by providing educational programs and youth group exchanges with the North.
by Kim Chang-kyu