When antisemitism and philosemitism go hand in hand: attitudes to Jews in contemporary East Asia

Rotem Kowner, Mary J. Ainslie, Guy Podoler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite their number in East Asia never exceeding 36,000 (currently around 10,000), Jews there are the subject of both distinctly strong positive and negative views. The presence of these attitudes is astounding not only because most of those who hold them have never come across a Jew, but also because the region misses most of the ‘classical’ motives for either philosemitism or antisemitism. An analysis of contemporary attitudes towards Jews in China, Japan and South Korea, including reactions to the still ongoing Israel–Hamas war, reveals that the distinctions between antisemitism and philosemitism are more blurred and nuanced than is often acknowledged. In East Asia, these two attitudes tend to reflect similar functions, and people often express both views without being aware of their historical and religious context elsewhere. Accordingly, this study by Kowner, Ainslie and Podoler calls for a reassessment of antisemitism beyond the Christian and Islamic spheres, to address this new and changing world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-201
Number of pages27
JournalPatterns of Prejudice
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • 2023 Israel–Hamas war
  • China
  • East Asia
  • Japan
  • Jews
  • South Korea
  • antisemitism
  • ethnic attitudes
  • philosemitism
  • prejudice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History


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