– The Chinese have moved their aircraft carrier to Qingdao, which is being read over here as aimed at strengthening China’s military clout around the Korean Peninsula as tensions rise after North Korea’s nuclear test.

– A Korean doctor at Emory University thinks he’s found the reason for the growing number of head and neck cancers in Korea—too many blowjobs:

“We believe that oral sex is the cause of the rapid increase in head and neck cancer over the past 10 years. It is vital that anyone with symptoms receive vaccines against the human papillomavirus (HPV).”

Such was the statement from Prof. Shin Dong-moon of Emory University who is a specialist in head and neck cancer.
Prof. Shin, 62, said some 34 percent of women aged between 18 and 79 are infected with HPV, most of which is associated with a more open sex culture in the country. The rate of infection is as high as 50 percent for those aged between 18 and 29.

– Macquarie Korea is saying no to Seoul’s request that it lower the guaranteed profit margin for Seoul Subway Line No. 9

– Park Geun-hye’s ministers are apparently refusing to express their opinions on Park Chung-hee’s 1961 coup during their confirmation hearings.

– The Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism is playing a dangerous game here:

The two Buddhist statues stolen from Japanese temples and found in South Korea may not be returned to Tsushima, Nagasaki Prefecture. The Jogye Order, the biggest Buddhist sect in South Korea, is calling on the government to investigate first how the statue came into Japan’s possession in the first place.

The “Kanzeon Bosatsu Zazo” which belongs to the Kannonji Temple was designated a cultural property by the Nagasaki Prefectural Government. A document dated 1330 (Goryeo Dynasty) was discovered inside the statue and included the name of a temple in Korea. The other statue is called “Dozo Nyorai Ryuzo”and was stolen from the Kaijin Shrine also in Tsushima. The statues were eventually recovered and last January 29, the South Korean police said they were detaining a member of a theft ring. The Jogye Order believe that the statue is of Korean origin and should be thoroughly investigated first before deciding to return it or not to Tsushima.

The Japanese government will now demand that the statues be returned, but honestly, it should never have reached this point. We might not know how they got to Japan during the Middle Ages, but we clearly know how they returned to Korea—they were stolen. Asking Japan to return plundered cultural properties is one thing. Rewarding theft is quite another.

– Speaking of Japan, if it weren’t for the Chosun Sports, I would never have known Saki Takaoka had the best rack in Japanese show business. Or so they said. And they say reading the sports dailies is a waste of time.

– The Chosun Ilbo’s Lee Seong-min—whom I generally like—has penned a column on the announced rebuilding of Gansong Museum of Art, one of Seoul’s hidden gems. In the JoongAng’s piece about the project, they don’t specify what will happen to the old building, and when I called the museum up today, they didn’t seem to know, either. I happened to agree that the museum’s collection of Korean art—one of the best in the country—deserves a better space, but at the same time, the old building in which they are now kept is itself a work of art. Built in 1938, it’s a lovely piece of early 20th century modernism and one of the few remaining works of Park Gil-ryong, one of the fathers of Korean modern architecture. It would be a true shame if the museum couldn’t figure a way to restore the old building and work it into a newer space better suited to its needs.

– If you get a chance, do read Jack Large’s open letter to Park Geun-hye at his blog. Thanks.