The relationship between Japan and the Republic of Korea remains puzzling according to international relations theory. The two countries have failed to develop stable peace relationships even though they are both democracies, bound to each other by security arrangements with the United States, and have considerable interdependence between them. So, why have these two countries failed to produce equitable trust? Scholars tend to focus either on structural causes, or nationalistic actions and remarks by political leaders as possible reasons. While these reasons may explain their unstable relationship, it does not explain the worsening public perception in both countries. This article advances domestic economic inequality, which has been largely neglected in the literature, and argues that the growing economic inequality has aggravated the public’s opinion. Findings from statistical analyses and case-study methods largely show that public opinion with nationalistic movements have fluctuated following the growing socio-economic inequality.
Ⅱ. Conditions for Rivalry Conflicts and Reconciliation
Ⅲ. Inequality, Nationalism, and Worsening Relationship
Ⅳ. Research Design and Analysis
Ⅴ. Case Studies