Nowadays, though, although the skin whitener business still has to do with that quaint old custom, it also has to do with globalization and Hollywood movies imposing their beauty standards on Asian countries. If you've lived in an Asian country for more than a few years, you'll probably have noticed how much the people there love/hate white people white they look down on dark skinned people like African-Americans or Latinos. Well, it's not just Hollywood movies, either; Western countries have been sort of "colonizing" Asia, as well. Japan, with the opening of the ports and the Meiji era; Korea, with the Korean war and the division into N. and S. Korea, and all the other countries too. Since for many years they've occupied both countries and influenced them culturally, perhaps it's natural that some Westernization of beauty standards has occurred. There used to be a time when round, moonlike faces, crescent moonlike eyebrows and eyes were beautiful--not so anymore, you see all these women getting cosmetic surgery to narrow their noses and get their faces to thin out. So yeah, a number of factors figure in into this "white is good" business.
If your misguided notions of cultural imperialism were true then Japan and Mongolia would be the dominant beauty influences because they had bigger empires in Asia than any other European countries or the USA. This doesn`t even take into account imperial China`s tributary system. Anyway, the dominant pop cultural force in Asia these days is the Korean Wave which is sweeping Asia. This from a country that didn`t have an empire in Asia. The Korean pop culture stars are the really bankable ones in Asia these days........not black/white Hollywood stars.