The MCST to Launch the “Korea–Japan Future Cultural Partnership” for the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Kim Dae Jung–Obuchi Declaration and the “Open Door Policy” on Japanese Pop Culture ... Building on the Success of President YOON’s Historic Visit to Japan

Date Mar 22, 2023

Beginning with the first field trip to Korea since the COVID-19 outbreak, the two countries will resume exchange between both of their “MZ” generations

The two countries plan to engage in “shuttle diplomacy” between the cultural ministers and appoint “Honorary Cultural Partnership Ambassadors”

 The MCST will also expand on sports by organizing Kor–Jpn sports exchange for teenagers, as well as exchange programs, including webtoons, K-pop, and Esports


On March 19 (Sun), the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) announced its plan to launch the Korea–Japan Future Cultural Partnership Project along with other projects across various sectors to promote cultural exchange and cooperation between the two countries. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Japan–Republic of Korea Joint Declaration 1998 (KIM Dae Jung–Obuchi Declaration), which lifted the previous ban on the import of Japanese cultural products to Korea, and the 20th anniversary of NHK’s airing of Winter Sonata, one of the first Korean TV shows to gain a large following in Japan. The ministry will celebrate these momentous events by strengthening the foundation of K-culture in Japan, and organizing and conducting systematic efforts to support exchange and collaboration programs between the two countries’ younger generations (often called the “MZ”[1] generation in Korea).


“The ‘Korea–Japan Future Cultural Partnership’ consolidates and expands on the success of President YOON Suk Yeol’s historic visit to Japan while upholding and building on the Kim Dae Jung–Obuchi Declaration,” said Minister PARK Bo Gyoon, adding, “We will widen the scope of cultural cooperation by fostering various cultural exchange and communication forums, starting with the ‘MZ’ generations.” The minister also commented, “K-culture is held in high regard around the world, and Japan has long been considered a content powerhouse. The two countries will lead the global cultural content sector and create tangible synergy through ‘cooperation within competition and competition within cooperation.’”


Japan to Resume Field Trips to Korea as Both Countries Launch Shuttle Diplomacy between Cultural Ministers


On March 21 (Tues), 37 students from the Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, started their visit to Korea for the first Japan-to-Korea field trip since the COVID-19 outbreak. Members of the MCST’s 2030 Youth Advisory Group from the “MZ” generation, also known as the “Dreamers,” presented at the welcoming event to celebrate the resumption of exchange between the two countries’ future generations.


In addition, the MCST will engage in “shuttle diplomacy” between the two countries’ cultural ministers to methodically act on President YOON’s vision, which states that “the future of Korea and Japan rests with our future generations.” Through this endeavor, the ministry will build on the mutual trust between Korea and Japan and their shared commitment to improving the relationship between the two countries to launch more refined and concrete programs for cultural, sports, and tourism exchange and cooperation.


The ministry also plans to appoint ten or more people who represent the past, present, and future of the two countries’ culture, art, and sports as “Honorary Korea–Japan Cultural Partnership Ambassadors” for more dynamic and organized collaboration in the relevant fields.


 The MCST to Encourage Exchanges in the Content, Sports, and Tourism Sectors


This May, the MCST will launch a program called “K-comics in Japan” which aims to help Korean companies with competitive comics/webtoons IPs access the Japanese market. Other programs include “Korea Spotlight,” a K-pop showcase event scheduled for October, and the third iteration of a Korea–Japan Esports competition (November in Korea), where esports pros will forge friendships for the two countries’ future generations. The public sector’s efforts will be accompanied by cultural exchanges in the private sector, including K-pop group Blackpink’s Tokyo and Osaka tours in April and June, respectively.


In April, Korea and Japan will resume and expand on sports exchange activities after a long COVID-19–induced hiatus. Current exchange efforts feature 436 athletes (218 from Korea and Japan, respectively) across 5 summer disciplines and 444 athletes (148 from Korea, China, and Japan, respectively) across 4 winter disciplines; the Ministry intends to discuss plans to broaden the list of sports and the number of athletes covered by the exchanges. The ministry’s plan also includes programs to invite outstanding young athletes to participate in cultural exchange through sports and experience Japan’s culture (692 athletes across 14 sports; 346 from Korea and Japan, respectively), as well as sports exchange competition events for Korean and Japanese teenagers.


The MCST will also encourage efforts to restore tourism between Korea and Japan to celebrate the 2023 Visit Korea Year, including the K-Tourism Roadshow tour in five cities (Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, and Nagoya) in April. In order to make 2023 “the First Year of Korea’s Transformation into a Tourism Powerhouse,” the ministry will work collaborate with the Japanese Association of Travel Agents and online travel agencies (OTAs), such as HIS and Rakuten, to promote the “appeal of Korean tourism powered by K-culture” before Japan’s Golden Week (a period with multiple holidays in Japan) and the summer vacation season.


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Additional Information


Shuttle Diplomacy between Cultural Ministers = Korea and Japan are in talks for a plan to launch shuttle diplomacy by the end of April. In the scheduled video conference, representatives will discuss ways to increase cultural exchange among future generations. The MCST will set up a meeting with the Japanese Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in the near future.


K-content = K-culture has been expanding its presence in Japan; in 2021, Korea’s cultural export to Japan was 14 times larger than its cultural import from the same country. Japan is the world’s third-largest content market (USD 208.2 billion in 2021). It is also one of Korea’s key partners for cultural collaboration, taking up 15.4% of K-content export in 2021. Korean TV shows such as The Glory ranked no. 1 on Netflix Japan, and BTS earned one of four Golden Discs in the country.


In the 2000s, K-wave, or Hallyu, was a phenomenon mainly concentrated around middle-aged or older women watching Korean TV shows. Currently, Hallyu has gathered avid followers across all ages and sectors, such as K-pop, TV shows, webtoons, films, and publications. In addition, the Japanese animated films The First Slam Dunk and Suzume recently became box office hits in Korea.




[1] Generation MZ was created by combining the words "Millennials" in their 20s and 30s, as well as "Gen Z" in their teens. MZ generation generally includes millennials (born in early 1980’s~1996)  and Generation Z (born in 1997~early 2000’s)