Korean consulate upset with Korea Society over Dokdo pamphlets: Chosun Ilbo

According to the Chosun Ilbo’s New York correspondent, tensions are flaring between the Korean consulate in New York and the Korea Society over Dokdo.

On Sept 14, the consulate apparently gave the Korea Society headquarters in New York about 100 copies of a promotional brochure on Dokdo produced by the Foreign Ministry, asking the Korea Society to distribute them in several places. As of Sept 22, however, those pamphlets were being left untouched at the Korea Society office.

A Korean consulate official told the Chosun Ilbo that it appeared there was some discord within the Korea Society over the pamphlets. The Chosun Ilbo says a Korean employee of the Korea Society placed the pamphlets on a table next to the office entrance so that visitors could take a copy. When Korea Society president Mark Minton found out about this, however, he strongly berated the employee.

Or so said the Chosun Ilbo. Or so the Chosun Ilbo said somebody said.

Minton reportedly said something to the effect of, “We’re an American non-profit organization, not an agent of the Korean government. There is no reason to just transfer Korean government propaganda.” Minton was Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul from 2003 to 2005. Interestingly enough, he was also ambassador to Mongolia from 2006 to 2009. A note, though—I don’t believe his nose is nearly as pointed as the Chosun’s cartoonist makes it out to be.

Korea Society vice president Daniel Levine told the Chosun Ilbo on Sept 20 that the Korea Society was considering possibly distributing the pamphlets in an appropriate place, but that afternoon, the Korea Society told the consulate that the removal of the pamphlets happened while the office was being put in order, not for political reasons.

Likely story!

The Korea Society works to promote mutual understanding and cooperating between the peoples of Korea and the United States. The Chosun Ilbo notes is gets over 60% of its annual US$3.7 million operating costs from Korean businesses. Of the 10 businesses and groups that have given US$100,000 or more to the Korea Society, nine were Korean companies, including Samsung, Hyundai Motor, the Korea Foundation, SK, POSCO and others.

I’m guess what the Chosun is really trying to say is “We want our money to talk. Show us the Dokdo!”

Lest we forget—actually, I’m reading this for the first time—the Korea Society once tried to hang up in the office of former President Evans Revere an ornamented map of Northeast Asia with the East Sea marked as the “Sea of Japan.” According to the Chosun, Revere refused to remove the map—a gift from a Japanese acquaintance—despite a request from the consulate.

Despite a request from the consulate! What a cheek!

Can’t really blame Revere here, though. The Japanese are just sneaky that way—-one minute they’re slipping you gold-encrusted maps marked the Sea of Japan, the next they’re sinking the US Pacific Fleet.

(HT to Mulboyne)

  • http://koreanlanguagenotes.blogspot.com/ gbevers

    Minton reportedly said something to the effect of, “We’re an American non-profit organization, not an agent of the Korean government. There is no reason to just transfer Korean government propaganda.”

    Good for Mr. Milton. Or he could put the Korean pamplets next to Japanese government pamplets and let people read both sides of the argument.

  • ecorn

    In an attempt to immediately throw this thread off topic, I have to ask, a question with a blatantly obvious answer:
    “How can the Chosun publish that cartoon without complaint when Hollister models making squinty eyes get fired?”

  • Dram_man

    No, no. It really is that pointy. I mistook him for a coat rack at an Amcham event in 2004.

  • Q


    Why not place at USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor Japanese pamphlet that demands apology of US pilots who dropped atomic bombs over Nagasaki and Hiroshima and claims The US, not Japan, was the Aggressor for Japanese fairness?

  • Avaast

    I almost spat out my water when I read the last paragraph – thanks for the laugh!

  • http://populargusts.blogspot.com/ bulgasari

    Love the ‘barbarian’ cartoon, with the exaggerated tossing of the Dokdo pamphlets on the floor, turning a non-event into ‘America disrespects Korea/Korean culture, chapter 2,333.’

    I think he was just pissed off the Korean employee wouldn’t do the horse dance.

  • Q

    Korean consulate was unwise. They might have to distribute the pamphlet around Korean American societies, not Korea society that seems a group of people having interests in Korea study and not necessarily accords every position Korean government and people represent.

    I also hope the cartoonist not to exaggerate the nose. Could it be better if ears were emphasized like the popular Barack Obama or George W. Bush cartoon? I don’t know.

  • Avaast

    A bit off-topic, but talking of horse dancing, did you all hear about Tiger JK’s explosion at a recent concert?


    Quite right, that damn ‘horse dance’ has destroyed years of concerted efforts by quite a few people to promote Korean music overseas. Anyway, sorry for the distraction.

  • Avaast

    Hmm, it appears I didn’t notice the Psy post. Sorry!

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    At the Korean Studies Graduate Student Conference Europe meeting in Warsaw last week a pile of these brochures seemed to appear out of nowhere after an on the spot inspection of a Korean Embassy rep. Since the Korea Foundation subsidizes the conference, no objection to such propagandizing per se. But though the brochure is very slickly produced, it’s laughable as something to present to a bunch of scholars; everyone just snickered at them. So Fail.

  • frogmouth

    Hey if Japan is going to highjack international organizations to push their territorial issues, why shouldn’t Koreans?

    For example Shimane Prefecture utilized the Japanese branch of Junior Chamber International to make vids that depicted Koreans Chinese, Russians and Taiwanese as kidnappers and thieves.


    Japan’s national goverment also employed Junior Chamber International (JCI) to make their propaganda video. This video uses ugly charicatures of Koreans Chinese and Russians as well.


    “JCI’s mission statements are as follows:
    That faith in God gives meaning and purpose to human life
    That the brotherhood of man transcends the sovereignty of nations
    That economic justice can best be won by free men through free enterprise
    That government should be of laws rather than of men
    That earth’s great treasure lies in human personality
    And that service to humanity is the best work of life.”

    Someone should contact the head office of JCI in New York and pull the plug on these clowns who manage the Japanese branch

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936


    We must take some solace in the fact that the Japanese were not as successful at Pearl Harbor as one may think. Enough of the U.S. Pacific Fleet survived to sink four of their carriers at Midway and sustain the important Guadalcanal campaign in late 42-43.

  • cm

    #11 amusing videos. Round eyes for Japanese, slanted eyes for Koreans and Chinese. It’s good to know it’s not the right wing organizations that are putting out these terrible racist videos, it’s the Japanese government itself.

  • DLBarch

    Believe it or not, Minton probably did Korea a huge favor.

    One of the real challenges facing organizations like the Korea Society and the Korea Foundation, et al., is that they are seen, rightly or wrongly, as propaganda organs of the Korean government. In fact, one way to undermine the scholarship of a Koreanist academic is to simply note that most or all of his or her funding came from places like the Korea Foundation, etc.

    Indeed, some Korean scholars have actually advocated directing academic funding from Korea to those U.S. and foreign scholars who are deemed “pro-Korea,” without any regard to, you know, the actual quality or objectivity of their scholarship.

    Minton’s move effectively ups the Korea Society’s overall credibility, which it a good thing for both the Korea Society and for Korea.

    No doubt, all of this nuance is lost at the predictably knee-jerk anti-American editors of the Chosun Ilbo.


  • cm

    Agree 100% with DLBarch. Korean government and its leaders just don’t understand how American institutions work.

  • frogmouth

    CM there is a whole bunch of brainwashing going on in those Japanese Government videos.

    First notice how Japan is depicted as an innocent girl wearing traditional Japanese clothes. She sits on a traditional Japanese house and agonizes how to defend her “home” from ugly hostile neighbors who scowl, huff and shake their fists.

    The videos begin with the false premise that disputed territories are Japan’s home and then attempts to rile Japanese citizens to say they’ve been invaded.

    It’s funny how Japan’s neighbors are depicted as rats and thieves. (at 3:15) Also notice average Japanese citizens are drawn as benign fuzzy pussy cats!

    Again, I don’t know if it’s intentional or not but notice how when the Japanese girl gets all militant, rays of light around her look at lot like the Japanese Rising Sun flag !(at 4:55)


    The Shimane Prefecture video is right out of a North Korean Propaganda 101 Handbook.

    The Japanese Gov’t tries to lay a huge guilt trip. They craftily attempt to say to fight for Japan’s territorial disputes is to love your children and house. They equate Korea’s ownership of Dokdo to kidnapping. They depict Korea as some creepy pedophile or killer in drab clothes. (at 1:22)

    It’s also sneaky how the Japanese drew hearts over all of the disputed areas around Japan. In other words, to support Japan’s territorial issues means “love yourself, community and country”
    The message is don’t be an individual just follow your leader.


    The Japanese government does not want you to see these videos. They were intended for the Japanese domestic audience and they are an embarrassment to Japan.

  • TheKorean2

    Thanks frogmouth. Funny video indeed.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    The Japanese girl’s eyes in the cartoon are bigger than the Russian girl’s eyes… hahaha.

  • cm

    #18, hahahaha..

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    I just don’t quite understand the Japanese and eye size in their cartoons. I remember manhwa characters looking decidedly more Asian than corresponding manga characters.

    This is particularly odd:


    Seriously, are Japanese eyes “bigger” than Korean eyes?

  • Q

    I think it is hard to generalize and it depends on person. One thing that might have created the stereotype is gyaru (ギャル: Japanese pronunciation of ‘girl’) makeup that transfigures eyes akin to Western eyes.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    I guess another way to phrase that is if the Japanese themselves believe they have bigger eyes than the Koreans.

  • yuna

    Gawd, frogmouth, those videos are so cringe. I am embarrassed for the sake of Japan, but it describes their position very well – all innocent and wide-eyed victims and “wondering vaguely about why the neighbours are so nationalistic”.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    On the positive side, at least they gave you bigger eyes than the Chinese.

  • yuna

    About the eyes, no big deal – it’s just one of those things they are obssessed with, along with the lightness of the skin even among themselves.
    Even between brothers and sisters they have completely different eyes (w.r.t. size) one would constantly tease (jokingly) the other with smaller size eyes. It’s true to some extent in most other Asian countries in judging of the beauty, but in Japan I would say the manga and the anime culture hasn’t helped much.

  • Q

    Some cartoonists in Korean newspapers are tasteless. Kim Yongmin at Kyughyang depicted PGH like a monstrous figure. Lee Gunhee of Samsung after loss of lawsuit v. Apple was featured ultimate ugly itself.

    The Japanese girl with big eyes in the Japanese propaganda cartoon actually reminds me of Lee Young Ae:



  • frogmouth

    I think the most disturbing thing about the videos is that they were produced in part by Junior Chamber International, an organization that is meant to promote understanding between Japan and other nations.

    About the “eyes” it’s no big deal for the Japanese to draw themselves with big eyes at all. However, the Koreans and Chinese are ugly asns sin and quite hostile. It’s clear the video is meant to villify Chinese and Koreans. I like the way the Korean girl shakes her fist for extra measure.

    The Shimane Prefecture video shows the warped Japanese mentality with regard to historical issues and territorial disputes.

    Here the Japanese government blames common hardworking Japanese citizens for the country’s unresolved territorial issues. The Japanese government accuses their own citizens of being lazy, selfish and unpatriotic.

    Shimane Prefecture hardly even mentions Korea at all in the Takeshima video. It’s as if Korea doesn’t even exist. This is typical of Japan, an inward looking country, out of touch with foreign policy.

    The video even goes to quote “Takeshima is an internal problem of Japan..” Seriously WTF?


  • Koreansentry

    Such a shame for Korean Society because all Japanese funded organizations in U.S are supporting Japanese propaganda – see how difference between Korean funded organizations and Japanese funded organizations.

  • mickster

    “The Japanese government does not want you to see these videos. They were intended for the Japanese domestic audience and they are an embarrassment to Japan.”
    I totally agree and is appalled. I did not know our government was this dumb. I never saw that before; I wonder where they’re shown.

    Having said that, I just address some of the trivial questions raised in the thread. Please understand I have no intetion to defende any part of it.

    ” rays of light around her look at lot like the Japanese Rising Sun flag !(at 4:55)” I guess it’s just coincidence. Rising sun flag does not appeal to the non-nationalistic audience that the video is intended for.
    Maybe the right-wing producer of the video thought they were beautiful.

    Big eyes — not that Japanese think our eyes are actually bigger, but there is a yearning for bigger eyes. The propaganda video being what it is, it makes the Japanese girl look pretty and innocent with manga-like eyes, while applying racist stereo types to others. yuna@23 is right on the mark about this. Slanted eyes are common stero types applied to Koreans and Chinese as the Morning Musume photo and story show well.

    Gyaru (ギャル) is a Japanese transliteration of the English word gal, that of girl being gaaru (ガール), according ot wikipedia. Isn’t there a similar yearning for big eyes among Korean girls? I saw on Japanese TV Korean girls being introduced as experts at making eyes look bigger with natural-looking makeup.

    And more on the serious front,
    I agree with DLB@14 and cm@15 and hope that Koreans don’t make the same mistake as Japanese lobbyists.

  • MrMao


    You’re shocked? I was more shocked by these: