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America upset by Korea-Japan squabbles: The Economist

For what it’s worth, I strongly disagree that Korea-Japan ties “are at their lowest ebb since the two countries normalised relations in 1965″—I remember late President Roh Moo-hyun’s “diplomatic war” all too well—but this piece in The Economist was still interesting.

Of particular note is that the “hub and spokes” structure of America’s East Asian alliances does not promote regional security cooperation ala NATO. This is to say South Korea cares about America, and Japan cares about America, but Seoul and Tokyo care little about one another:

America’s problem is that for Japan and South Korea, the direct costs of falling out are bearable. South Korea’s tourist industry has taken a hit, but trade and investment flows continue. Nobody expects Japan to go to war over Dokdo/Takeshima. And some trilateral co-operation with America persists—over North Korea, for example. This week the three countries met in Washington to discuss curbing the North’s nuclear aspirations. Poor Japanese-South Korean relations can scarcely be blamed for the lack of progress on the North’s proliferation.

For Japan’s military ambitions, South Korean opposition matters far less than America’s encouragement; and for South Korea the lack of “spoke-to-spoke” security relations with Japan matters less than ties with the hub, America. So, rather than making its allies susceptible to pressure to co-operate, America’s security guarantees in effect facilitate their quarrelling. A strong trilateral alliance might alarm China and cause it to rethink the backing it provides North Korea—but South Koreans worry it might also make China more hostile to Korean unification.

A comforting poll in September by the Asan Institute, a think-tank in Seoul, showed 58% of South Koreans in favour of a Park-Abe summit without preconditions. But in neither country do leaders face strong popular demands to make up with the other. Unless the dangers of their quarrels become more evident, a slide into even sharper acrimony seems unavoidable.

I’d love to see greater security cooperation between Seoul and Tokyo, and we almost had it at one point during the Lee Myung-bak administration before everything suddenly went to shit. The problem, at least in South Korea, is that while Seoul is very happy to work with the United States (and, for that matter, Japan) when in comes to North Korea, it’s much less willing to do so when it comes to China, Korea’a largest trading partner and, allegedly, a major influence in Pyongyang.

I imagine this is going to be doubly so during the administration of President Park, who strikes me as something of a Sinophile.

Japan, meanwhile, is more than happy to stick up to China and probably would like Seoul’s help in doing so, but backed by a bilateral alliance with the United States, it has little reason to display the Willy Brandt-esque statesmanship to make greater security cooperation with Seoul politically feasible.

About the author: Just the administrator of this humble blog.

  • SJ

    South Korea will always step more carefully when it comes to China. In the event of reunification, China is going to be right there on its land border. Japan can be more provocative with an ocean between it and the Asian mainland. In the long run, South Korea has no assurances that the United States security agreement is going to cover them beyond North Korea; if they get into trouble with China, there is no guarantee that the US will support them… or even if they did, that they could really do anything to stop the full weight of a China adjacent to them by land. So better to play nice and hedge bets.

  • wangkon936

    I think this is a good start to getting a solution in order:

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Japan/JAP-01-301013.html?fb_action_ids=10153410954045434&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_ref=.UnFe8Fa5h4s.like&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582

    At the same time, why should the U.S. be upset? It helped get the difficulties in motion any ways by leaving a lot of things unresolved in 1945-50. It does have a responsibility to help right what was left incomplete.

  • Sumo294

    One of the worst fluff pieces written–less than half of the Economist’s predictions come true–they should simply flip a coin. China backs the Norks because they are afraid of a possible strong South Korea–Japan alliance and China backs the Norks because they do not want a unified Korea that is a partner to the US. The island dispute is very low key considering that Japan is considering to augment its armed forces to 5 times its current capabilities.

  • Eric0912

    Guessing someone shared this link already, but reading this post and the Economist article got me thinking about it again: http://asiansecurityblog.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/my-essay-for-newsweek-korea-on-the-current-korean-strategy-debate-in-the-media-k-caught-bt-the-us-and-china/

  • stereotype

    I am glad Choseon Ilbo is finally coming to senses.
    http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2013/11/13/2013111301651.html

    >But is Korea becoming more rational? On June 22, 1965, Korea and Japan signed a treaty confirming that all obligations to compensate Korean victims for colonial and wartime atrocities were settled with a lump payment. Korea signed another contract forfeiting any right to make any further claims for atrocities and then used the US$300 million to build steelmaker POSCO, the Gyeongbu Expressway linking Seoul and Busan, and power generation plants, which enabled it to achieve an economic miracle in record time.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    Writes Mr. Yang: “It is true that Korea suffered far more damage than other Asian countries due to the Japanese occupation from 1910 to 1945″

    Also: “Korea is the biggest victim of imperial Japan’s atrocities.”

    Rational? Not so much, I’m afraid.

  • seoulite

    How dare you suggest that Korea was not only the biggest victim of Japan, but also not mention that Korea is the biggest victim in the history of humanity, ever?

    Why can’t you silly people understand that no country, ever, in the thousands of years of shifting geo-political boundaries and divides and (ensuing wars and genocides), both ancient and modern, has ever suffered worse than Korea did for 35 years under a relatively benign occupation.

    You must learn the correct Korean perspective. Otherwise you are a Japanese nationalist.

    Long live the Dog-do island

  • redwhitedude

    Well it is one of the biggest victims not sure if it is the biggest. The only under region that has been under Japanese rule as long or longer is Formosa(Taiwan).

  • ChuckRamone

    I don’t know what’s more annoying: Korean and Japanese bickering, or the shit-seeking gadflies that can found in the comments of every online article about Korea and Japan.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    Don’t think you can fool us any longer, Mr. Yang.

  • wangkon936

    Scott, the general theme of the article was one of questioning Korea’s overall rational tone in these issues. The two lines you lifted do not properly convey the overall message of said article.

  • redwhitedude

    Who says that I was trying to fool anybody. Also are you saying that Korean side is invalid?

  • redwhitedude

    Good article in the economist. But really are all those responses for the article necessary? More pro right wing Japanese.

  • wangkon936

    I would have to say that China probably suffered the worse out of the wars of the Showa era, particularly in terms of loss of life. Having said that, Korea did suffer a lot, perhaps not in terms of loss of life but in terms of psychological damage.

    Psychologists comment that psychological torture is just as bad, if not worse, than physical abuse. Many times the wounds from physical torture heal without leaving a visible trace, but mental abuse can leave scars on the mind forever:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11313-psychological-torture-as-bad-as-physical-torture.html#.UoOtoPmfgQI

    Koreans in 1905 (and I start at 1905 vs. 1910 because 1905′s protectorate stage was virtually an annexation) had a very strong national character and Japan did everything they could to delete that national character because it was not compatible with their imperialistic goals for Korea and the rest of Asia.

    For the interests of brevity, the following are some of the major areas where Koreans suffered great mental anguish during Japan’s imperial rule:

    1. Annexation. This essentially meant that the Korean nation ceased to exist and directly made into just another province of Japan. Even in colonial history this is highly unusual. Most colonial situations will, at least legally, have rump representative bodies at least nominally represent the conquered people. The Japanese did not even do this in China (with the exception of Formosa/Taiwan, which was more agreeable to an annexation because they were a former Portuguese colony). Japan’s largest holding in China, Manchukuo, had a puppet government and was allowed to retain some semblance of it’s own national identity.

    2. Separate and unequal access to resources. The best example of this is how Korean per capita rice consumption decreased every year from the early 30′s to 1945. This is a well documented fact. This rice was grown in Korea and shipped to Japan. The Japanese, quite literally, ate better than the Koreans. The issue here is that what was substituted for rice in Korea, grains such as millet, are harder to digest and can also create health problems. Thus, for the average Korean, it made eating not only less nutritious, but also less comfortable.

    3. Overt racism. Member’s of Japan’s legislature (i.e. the Diet) were very cavalier with what they thought of the Koreans. The head of the Diet at around the time of the annexation said something to the effect of “they may look like us, but if you look into their faces and eyes you will notice a deficient and vacant appearance that shows mental deficiency.” The Koreans took the place of beneath the lowest classes in Japan- the burakumin class. The burakumin class took the brunt of the mental and physical abuse in Japanese society and the Koreans were given the “honor” of being placed beneath this highly abused class. The undeserved low esteem afforded to Koreans by the Japanese lead to inhuman treatment of Koreans, particularly in times of crisis. During the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1925 about 25,000 Koreans were rounded up and murdered by mobs of Japanese who acted on untrue rumors that Koreans were setting up fires and poisoning wells.

    4. Nonviolent ethnic cleansing. The Japanese understood that one of Korea’s greatest resources were it’s people. People to till the land, people to work in its factories, build its fortifications and “satisfy” their soldiers. The best way to maximize Korea’s population for Japanese endeavors was to make them Japanese, albeit second class citizens. So, Koreans had to replace their last names, destroying centuries of lineage based family history. This might not be a big deal to you, but it was a big deal to Koreans. For Americans, this would be equivalent to taking away all guns (i.e. the 2nd Amendment) or in abolishing freedom of religion. The Koreans of the Joseon era worshiped their ancestors. Abolishing your ancestorial name inhibited their ability to exercise their religion. The use of Korean in areas where the Japanese had direct control (schools, government offices, government functions and government jobs) was abolished. Only Japanese was taught in government schools. The inability to retrace your lineage or speak your own language and replacing them with Japanese substitutes is a form of ethnic cleansing, albeit a non-violent and “passive/aggressive” from of it.

    5. Repression and persecution of desires for national independence. In 1919, acting upon some rosey and idealistic words spoken by American president Woodrow Wilson, the Korean people decided to express their desires to be independent from Japanese rule in large, non-violent demonstrations. The Japanese violently cracked down on these non-violent demonstrations and the death toll is estimated to be between 5,000 deaths (Japanese estimates) to 50,000 deaths (Korean estimates). There is also the issue of the torture and persecution of thousands of Koreans who advocated independence. Nobody was ever given a trial by a court of competent jurisdiction or given a jury of their peers. Of those that fled, some of them became Americans, some went to support the Nationalist Chinese and many others became the most virulent Communists imaginable.

    6. Confiscation of land (without due compensation). A lot of people think that the abolishment of the Yangban class was an enlightened act by the Japanese. However, I don’t think that simple act was done out of enlightenment or kindness. When you annex a country, the next logical step is to abolish the ruling class where the former government’s power base resided. You then strip them of resources, titles, etc. Titleless and landless yangban, who were not given any compensation and saw their land given to Japanese carpetbaggers, where extremely bitter. The yangban may have only made up 10-15% of Korea’s population, but their influence on Korean society extended much beyond their numbers.

    7. Forced mobilization for war related labor and military conscription. This is probably the biggest damage done to Korea. At least 4 million Koreans were drafted to work for the Japanese. Drafted or conscripted, but “forced” to work for all intents and purposes. About 1.5 million Koreans were forced to work within Korea, 2 million Koreans were shipped to Japan proper and about 500k Koreans were sent to Japan’s overseas holdings. Because of the annexation and political repression Koreans could not protest this. Americans couldn’t tolerate taxation without representation. The Koreans couldn’t even choose what they wanted to do without representation. Because of Japan’s overt racism towards Korea, most Koreans were given the the 3 D jobs. You know: dirty, dangerous and demeaning. The silver lining was that because the Japanese had such negative overt racist feelings towards the Koreans, they gave a relatively small number of them weapons to actually fight in their wars. Any ways, Koreans in these positions were not only given the crappiest jobs, but were also given less pay, less equipment to do their jobs, less concern for their safety, less healthcare and less food. Additionally, they were forced to do things like coal mining, munitions manufacturing, construction, waste removal, prison detail, prostitution, etc. all stuff I’m sure anyone would like to keep on their resume.

    I think this is enough to chew on for now.

  • redwhitedude

    I agree but china’s image as a potential superpower is a bit overblown with the way things are right now.

  • DC Musicfreak

    When you look strictly at body counts and war carnage, Korea got off relatively light. Even in the secondary WW2 theater of Vietnam, Japan managed to kill upwards of 2 million people through rice requisitions that caused mass starvation. Hate sound like G Bevers, but as a matter of fact Korea was part of the Japanese war machine and not on the receiving end of it. That helps explain the sensitivity of dealing with history in Korea.

  • DC Musicfreak

    I agree with WangKon that the overall tone of Yang’s essay was sober and not of a piece with those odd lines. He was probably trying to soften up his audience for a tough message.

  • redwhitedude

    I find the most annoying part is anything about Korea whether it be videos or articles that get littered with bashing. Perhaps it is the same with things about Japan but I haven’t read articles about Japan or videos about it flooded with negative commentaries. It’s mostly somebody puts up something about Korea and it gets pounced, it’s not necessarily that the author is going after Japan.

  • redwhitedude

    True but just going by that means missing out on how they got treated. I’m not denying that Korea was part of the Japanese war machine but you also had Koreans fighting on the other side as well. I’m sure there are french who collaborated with Germans during the vichy years and those that were part of the resistance similar analogy but not exact. Not necessarily something that the French like to dwell on. The sad thing is that those that had family members get the worst of it get lost in the politicization of the issue.

  • pawikirogii

    korea was part of japan’s war machine? was korea willingly part of japan’s war machine? did koreans want japan occupying korea?

    you hate sounding like bevers? no, ya don’t, freak. btw, are you saying others suffered more than koreans while you slam koreans for allegedly saying they suffered more than others?

    logic, freak, logic.

  • wangkon936

    Chill out sir. Mr. DC is not a part of the pro-Japan bandwagon. His question may be related to his ignorance on the matter, not to malice. You shouldn’t jump to conclusions.

  • DC Musicfreak

    Facts are facts, pawi. Even you should know that.

  • wangkon936

    DC,

    Every country that becomes a part of a larger colonial power has its collaborators. That’s just the fact of colonial history. It does not mean that the overall population of the conquered wanted to be a part of this system, especially since it was inherently unjust because conquered people never get fair representation in these naturally unequal systems.

  • http://www.rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    “The US was in a stronger position.”

    What makes you think so? Just curious.

  • http://www.rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Not to sound like a Japanese apologist—I’m not—but it is interesting to note that Taiwan’s historical recollection of colonial rule is very different from Korea’s.

  • http://www.rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Did Japan Probe, etc. ever get flooded by angry Korean commenters?

  • wangkon936

    Probably not because Japan Probe has “flood control.”

  • wangkon936

    They have been abused by the Qing dynasty pretty badly so the Japanese coming to town didn’t seem so bad to them.

    However, they also received a huge influx of new people once the Communists evicted the Nationalists out of the mainland in 1949. Thus, much of the population didn’t even live under Japanese rule. Plus, the Nationalists were pretty nasty to the Taiwanese aboriginals, so many of the rank and file population look at the Japanese imperial era a little nostalgically.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    I don’t know. The Korean War was more brutal than Vietnam and was certainly just as much of a secondary theater of WW2.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    Fair enough, but those statements reveal the myopia and lack of empathy for others that underpin much Korean nationalism, and undercut his argument as a result.

    The catastrophic Rape of Nanking alone should be enough to cause a reputable mainstream columnist to hesitate before making such exaggerated, and frankly rather narcissistic, claims.

    The Japanese also got millions of Chinese hooked on opium as a means of revenue generation and pacification, and in fact many Koreans collaborated in the trade, especially in Manchuria. Have Koreans ever apologized for that, or merely swept it under the carpet as they so often accuse the Japanese of doing?

    See, for instance, John M. Jennings’ “The Forgotten Plague: Opium and Narcotics in Korea under Japanese Rule, 1910-1945″ (Modern Asian Studies, Oct., 1995):

    “One of the most neglected aspects of the history of Korea under Japanese colonial rule is the significant role of the drug trade during the colonial period. Korea emerged as a major producer of opium and narcotics in the 1920s, and in the 1930s became an important supplier to the opium monopoly created by the Japanese-sponsored Manchukuo regime. The latter development sparked an international controversy due to Manchukuo’s unsavory reputation in connection with the illicit drug trade, and would later lead the International Military Tribunal for the Far East to identify Korea as the ‘principal source of opium and narcotics at the time of the Mukden Incident and for some time thereafter.’

    “Moreover, emigrant Koreans played an extensive role in drug trafficking in China, and especially Manchuria. This disreputable element of the Korean Diaspora was usually employed at the lowest rung of the drug trafficking ladder as poppy farmers, drug peddlers, or the proprietors of opium dens. As Japanese nationals, Koreans drug traffickers were immune from prosecution by Chinese authorities due to extraterritoriality.”

    I wonder if Mr. Yang has ever written a column about that?

  • redwhitedude

    One indicator would be their navy at the time. Didn’t the US have the great white fleet go on a tour around that time? Also where were the US ships built? Didn’t the Japanese at the time have ships that were ordered from British or French shipyards? Also industrialization in Japan was just beginning and the zaibatsus roughly date to just a decade or two from when they were officially founded.

  • redwhitedude

    True, it is less traumatic for them and the Japanese had less trouble there than in Korea where they had to keep a tighter leash. I mentioned it because it was one possession that Japan had at the time that ruled it in comparable length of time.

  • redwhitedude

    Look up videos in youtube. I haven’t seen any Korean making videos that bash Japan but for some odd reason I see channels filled with videos that bash Korea. The closest I’ve seen on videos that “bash” Japan are response videos that debunk Japanese claims.

    Japan probe gets dismissed and nobody bothers with that site.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Its a sea, not an ocean, and a small sea at that. In the days of modern navies, air forces and ballistic missiles, one would think a small sea should not give any feeling of security. ROK also has no assurances that the US would be on their side in the case of as conflict with Japan.

  • wangkon936

    Scott,

    The Koreans could not have gotten into the opium trade to the scale they may have done if it wasn’t for the system set up and encouraged by their Japanese enablers.

    How is it that Koreans can be collectively responsible for this event if it was the Japanese who were pulling all the strings? Could (or would) the Koreans have done this if the Japanese didn’t annex the peninsula?

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Its like blaming the Poles for the death camps that the Nazis set up on conquered lands.

  • http://www.rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Considering that the Americans wouldn’t complete said Great White Fleet until 1907, that Japan had just finished littering the floor of the western Pacific with the better part of the Russian navy, and that Tokyo was supported by an alliance with the world’s preeminent naval power (the same naval power that, incidentally, provided much of the coal for the Great White Fleet), I’d say no, the Americans were most likely not in the stronger position.

  • wangkon936

    Balderdash SMS! It was clear that those concentration camps from Dachau to Auschwitz were made with Polish labor, Polish engineering and built on Polish land. This makes the Poles 120% culpable for Nazi atrocities. It’s perfect logic you know…

  • wangkon936

    “… those statements reveal the myopia and lack of empathy for others that underpin much Korean nationalism…”

    I think most forms of nationalism are “myopic” and have a “lack of empathy for others.” That’s why it’s called nationalism.

    However, on the flip side, I don’t think you should put the blinders on for a whole article just because you see two statements you don’t like and come to a conclusion that is completely contrary to the overall theme of said article. It puts to issue your credibility if you don’t pass basic reading comprehension.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    Wangkon936, you’re obviously a quite reasonable guy on the whole, but there are times when you come off as a tad disingenuous.

    Would you not agree, for example, that there is a difference between forced or coerced participation in a colonial regime and active, willing collaboration? On the subject of Korean involvement in the opium trade in China, here is another interesting passage from a paper by Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi entitled, “‘Imperial Japanese’ Drug Trafficking in China: Historiographic Perspectives”:

    “Koreans and Taiwanese capitalized on their legal status as “imperial subjects” to sell drugs in China under extraterritoriality. Chinese and Western accounts, Tokyo Tribunal transcripts, and Lin Yu-tang’s Moment in Peking cite both Japanese and Korean traffickers flying the Rising Sun to fend off Chinese authorities. In 1935 a British observer found 47 Korean and 116 Japanese opium dens in Changli district, Luandong, in East Hebei and conditions were even worse in other districts. The GMD executed eight Koreans among 149 B- and C-class Japanese war criminals. Eguchi Keiichi cites Japanese Consulate figures in Kalgan that show 21 Japanese and 40 Koreans arrested on drug charges in 1939-40. He also cites a source proving that the future foreign minister Aichi Kiichi covered up imperial opium operations conducted through a collaborator regime in occupied north China “because it would be an unwelcome thing for other nations to find out.” Yet Eguchi does not mention that Korean traffickers appear in this very same document.”

    In Paul French’s recent, well-documented bestseller “Midnight in Peking,” he makes numerous references to Korean-run brothels and opium dens in Beijing in the 1930s, as well as large numbers of Korean prostitutes there. Are you saying that Koreans were “forced” to participate in such immoral enterprises, and that they had no choice at all the matter? Indeed, that the Japanese physically plucked them from Korea and transported them all the way to Beijing and other locales in China for this very purpose? Please.

    Let me rephrase the problem slightly differently: There was widespread collaboration among Koreans during the Japanese colonial period, from the procurement of comfort women to drug trafficking in China to voluntary, even zealous participation in the Japanese war machine. I’d say that Koreans would have much more solid moral ground to stand on if their own middle-school and high-school textbooks acknowledged said collaboration first, before condemning the Japanese for whitewashing the past in their own middle-school and high-school textbooks.

    Well, do they?

  • wangkon936

    Your comment deserves a well executed response, which I cannot get to for the next couple of days. My response will be put in this comment and will replace the current text here.

  • redwhitedude

    Not sure about that. Considering that the British were tied up trying to contain russia which is why Britain allied with Japan. Also the British had to keep a wary eye on Germany which was very threatening by building up its navy along with Kaiser Wilhelm’s clumsy foreign policy back in Europe. Sure Britain was preeminent power but was also very stretched. The US had just acquired the philippines by sending most of the spanish fleet packing in the area.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    Sorry, but I find Mr. Yang’s column to be full of numerous objectionable statements, and only singled out the two most obvious examples above. It’s a typical form of propaganda in which the writer appears to be “reasonable” and “rational” on the whole, while smuggling in all sorts of subtler messages designed to reinforce, in this case, the myth of Korean exceptionalism. To wit:

    “Perhaps Germany compensated victims of its World War II atrocities and repented so wholeheartedly because it had to face France, the U.K, and the U.S. at the other end of the table, whereas Japan is behaving so brazenly because it only had to deal with Korea.”

    What, Japan didn’t have to “deal with” the US, China or any of the other countries it had colonized or invaded during its colonial era? More offensive to me is that Mr. Yang seems to be suggesting that postwar Japan had no moral motivation at all to atone for its past, but was only driven by craven realpolitik. I’d like to at least see some proof or evidence before making such a slanderous charge.

    “Korea is the biggest victim of imperial Japan’s atrocities. But the aggressor has ended up gaining more credibility and respect than the victim. That is why Japan has approval to reprocess its own spent nuclear fuel while Korea is still prohibited from doing that.”

    This is really just pure horse crap. Here Mr. Yang conflates a succession of postwar Japanese governments with Imperial Japan, when the two are distinct entities and postwar Japan has been the very opposite of an “aggressor” for the past seven decades, unlike both North Korea and the South (remember the Vietnam War?). Moreover, as a Korean I would personally find it quite offensive to have my country described in the present tense as a “victim,” thereby robbing it of any active agency of its own. Does Mr. Yang really hope to base Korea’s moral virtue on the foundation of such subaltern helplessness?

    “We have only ourselves to blame for this ironic outcome. As long as we turn to our emotions first and fail to deal with matters logically, all the while refusing to see how our emotional behavior may be perceived by others, we will never be able to beat Japan at anything.”

    I find this passage to be the most wrongheaded of all. Rather than worrying about one’s “image” in an attempt to somehow”out-Japan” the Japanese in the optics game, maybe Korea and Koreans should just try to focus on doing the right thing instead?

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    I was in Bali earlier this year and asked a number of Balinese and Javanese what they thought of the Japanese, given that Imperial Japan also colonized the Dutch East Indies and committed numerous massacres and atrocities there.

    Everyone gave me the same basic reply: “Why should we hate the Japanese? All that happened a long time ago.”

  • redwhitedude

    But for how long did the Japanese occupy Bali and Java. Compared to how long Japan was in China and Korea their stay in Bali and Java was a blip.

  • http://www.rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Sure, but then again, the Japanese situation in Indonesia was a bit different, no? In Indonesia, they kicked out a previous imperial power and worked with independence activists like Sukarno. And as RWD says below, they weren’t there all that long.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    Here’s a research project for you, sonny:

    How many Indonesian deaths were the Japanese responsible for during that “blip” versus the number of Korean deaths during the “eternity” that they were in Korea?

    One estimate puts the number at over four million Indonesian deaths:

    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/SOD.TAB3.1.GIF

    How about Korea? For more information, see here:

    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/SOD.CHAP3.HTM

    In any case, isn’t it rather tacky to engage in such sick dick measuring contests? The point is how one chooses to orient oneself to the past, as opposed to arguing over who “suffered” the most, isn’t it?

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    Surely your point isn’t that the irresponsible South Korean media, education system and politicians have nothing at all to do with maintaining and indeed encouraging the current climate of hatred against the Japanese here, is it?

  • http://www.rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    No, of course not. Korean media, education system and politicians have all played a role, and probably a negative one at that. But then again, said ill-will and distrust is not purely the result of the media, education system and politicians, either.

  • jk641

    There’s also a saying, “Out of sight, out of mind.”

    Indonesia is far from Japan.
    So they don’t see much of Japan.
    They’re not very interested in Japan; they’re more interested in countries in their neck of the woods.

    In contrast, Japan is close to Korea and China.
    These countries are in the same “neighborhood”.
    So Koreans and Chinese see a lot more of Japan.
    They often see/hear news about Japan.

    They are much more attuned to what’s going on in Japan, the things Japanese leaders say, etc.

    So basically this means Koreans and Chinese will think a lot more about Japan than say, Indonesians.

    PS: Burg sure is a simple-minded SOB, isn’t he?

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    “But really are all those responses for the article necessary?”

    Your commitment to genuine dialogue and exchange with those whose opinions might differ from yours is touching.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    My definition is a “simple-minded SOB” is anyone who uncritically laps up the crap the South Korean media serve up to the gullible masses daily.

    Here in Daegu, Japan is equally remote from most people’s lives and realities as it is for most Indonesians. Geographical distance is irrelevant; it’s the Korean media – and Korean politicians – that make Japan a constant presence in the consciousness of ordinary Koreans.

  • jk641

    I think you are fast turning into G Bevers. (or at least what he used to be like)
    You are very bitter.

  • redwhitedude

    “In any case, isn’t it rather tacky to engage in such sick dick measuring contests?”

    Even at that you fail. And for your information I am well out of reach of the Korean media. If you measure this purely by deaths you miss out in other areas. How about how they were treated if the Japanese just didn’t kill them? I suppose that the Japanese were not too kind to the indonesians either. Also the blip of being 4 years as opposed to being much longer means that you tend to remember 35 years more than just a blip of 4 years. You dismiss everything that comes out of Koreans as hogwash. You must have some kind of anti Korean agenda.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    You cling to your bitterness and resentment and I keep trying to promote better relations and understanding among East Asian nations.

    And you presume to call me simple-minded, lol.

  • redwhitedude

    Nope it is not just the Korean media. What about people whose family has had negative experience under the Japanese? Are you just blindly going to lump them as “simple-minded SOB”???

  • jk641

    Oh, puhleeze.
    Pretty much all you’ve been doing lately is Korea-bashing.

    You’re here all the time, and all you’re doing is bash Korea.
    Fine. Just let it all out.
    I hope you feel better.

  • redwhitedude

    True but I think that is a secondary reason.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    I am basing myopic Korean nationalism and not “Korea,” you simple-minded SOB!

  • redwhitedude

    Was France part of the German warmachine? There certainly were volunteers who fought for Germany same with the dutch.

  • redwhitedude

    Also Taiwan’s history of being part of mainland china politically is short. As I recall it wasn’t until the Qing dynasty conquered it that it became part of the mainland.

  • redwhitedude

    Well putting down some of the historical concerns no matter how irrationally you perceive it was expressed isn’t helping your cause.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    “What about people whose family has had negative experience under the Japanese?”

    Of course, if four million Indonesians perished as a result of Japanese aggression in the Dutch East Indies, you’d have to agree that quite a few of them had family members themselves, but only if you were actually able to remove the ethnonationalist filter though which you view the world and inhabit the perspectives of others from time to time.

  • stereotype

    These days, it is “Japan Today” that is flooded by angry Korean commenters.
    http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/s-korean-president-says-no-point-in-japan-summit

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    “It seems like the Korean media is getting to you. Maybe you need to take a break from Korea.”

    No,the Korean media is not getting to me because it is rather predictable at this point so I know what to expect from it, namely, not too much.

    What does get to me a bit, though, just a bit, is emotional Korean nationalists and Korean-Americans feverishly picking apart the most off-hand comments I make here and personalizing their attacks on me because they apparently don’t have the intellectual firepower to address points I make logically and rationally. Just because someone dares to challenge your orthodoxies doesn’t always mean it’s a “personal issue” for them, you know.

    In any case, I wonder how much you actually know about the Japanese colonial period in Korea. I know a Korean gentleman who is in his eighties now and was born in the northern part of Korea in the early 1930s, and went to school in Pyongyang. What he told me was that life under the Japanese was “far better” than what he had to put up with under the North Korean Communists, which is why he finally decided to come South during Korean War.

    See, life tends to be kind of complex like that: It’s not always as black-and-white as you and others of your ilk here keep trying to convince us, and even Koreans who directly experienced Japanese colonialism might not think that the period was uniformly “bad.” Who are you to say that their feelings and sentiments are somehow less legitimate than yours? Maybe they don’t want to think of their youths as nothing but a black hole of passive, helpless victimhood and unremitting terror? Maybe they’ve come to terms with the past, in other words, and simply decided to move on?

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    “Who says that I was trying to fool anybody.”

    You’re not the sharpest knife in the 떡집, are you?

  • seoulite

    Korea’s occupation was not even a ‘blip’ compared to European colonialism. And that ‘blip’ contains considerably less blood spilled.

    But you wont see those countries with far longer and brutal occupations demanding an apology, especially after they’ve received over twenty apologies, reparations, and signed an agreement normalizing relations. Quite simply, they have more dignity than that.

  • http://www.rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Right… the Third World never bitches about colonialism or blames the West for all their problems. Like the Islamic world never bitches about the Crusades. Must be that dignity thing.

  • seoulite

    Which country’s consecutive leaders are continually demanding apologies from their former colonizers? Which countries leaders are seeking consul with the leaders of other nations to bitch about the former colonizers, despite apologies and reparations having been paid?

    To keep in step with the analogy, how about finding a country that was occupied for less than 50 years and in which no massacre was committed.

  • redwhitedude

    So what are you saying? That should thank Japan for taking over Korea? Look you are committing the very thing that you are accusing me of doing which is paint that colonial period with one broad stroke as being bad. Overall it is bad for Korea I’m sure most people probably did what the Japanese told them to do and/or were left alone as long as they didn’t have run ins with the law.

  • redwhitedude

    What? Do you think the comment I made was because of my blind ultranationalist tendencies?

  • redwhitedude

    Then those islamist with suicide bombings take it to a whole new low.

  • redwhitedude

    But Korea’s history with Japan goes further back than the 20th century. How about the Hideyoshi invasions?

  • http://www.rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    You’re right. They don’t seek apologies. Instead, they expressed their anger through disastrous foreign and domestic policies during the Cold War and guilt-tripping (or trying to guilt-trip) the West into providing foreign aid, debt relief, etc.

    Since we’re apparently going with the “dignity” thing, at least the Koreans had the dignity to at least turn their nation into a functioning country. Which is more than anyone can say for much of the rest of the colonized world.

    Anyway, sorry you apparently feel Japan has been put upon by Koreans/Chinese demands for a sincere apology. All I can really say is “life’s a bitch when you’re a former Axis power.” It might not be fair—heck, I think the Soviets were a lot worse than the Japanese and they’ve never apologized to anyone—but there are diplomatic consequences to being one of two major aggressors in the worst global conflagration in the history of man. Japan is held to a different standard, and clearly, its immediate neighbors feel it hasn’t satisfied said standards. Some of that is due to domestic issues within Korea and China, but Japan hasn’t helped itself.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    From today’s WSJ China Real Time Report, quoting former PM Junichiro Koizumi at a recent press conference: “Since I stepped down, not a single prime minister has visited the Yasukuni Shrine,” Mr. Koizumi said, in reference to the shrine where Japan’s war dead—-including convicted Japanese war criminals—-are worshipped. “Has that improved China-Japan relations? Has that allowed for summit meetings?”

    “During his 2001-2006 premiership, Mr. Koizumi visited Yasukuni every year, angering China and South Korea who see such pilgrimages as a grave offense to the suffering of their people under Japan’s wartime colonial rule. But that didn’t stop Japan and China from holding periodic summit meetings.”

    Translation: During his two terms as PM, Abe has refrained from officially visiting Yasukuni out of deference for his Korean and Chinese neighbors. But has it done him or Japan any good? Has it helped improved Japan-Korea and Japan-China relations at all?

    In other words, is Japan the only party responsible for the current poor state of relations among the three East Asian nations, or might Korea and China also share some of the blame?

  • To stereotype

    “Japan Today” may have some Korean and Chinese (siding) commentators, but they are few and far in between. The tone of the articles and the types of commenters they attract are overwhelmingly Japanese nationalists (and Japanese nationalists who pretend to be Americans or of other nationalities, like OssanAmerica). YouTube videos are the worst in terms of comments and content, but you’ve got to admire the guts of people who actually post their faces (like PropagandaBuster and RandomYoko2) and continuously post their videos with clear agendas, which sound like the rambling of people with nothing else to do in their lives.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    No, what I think is that you’re too dim to understand that I was actually making a joke about Mr Yang. The “you” in my comment was not actually you, in other words.

    Try a bit harder to keep up, OK?

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    “So what are you saying? That [sic ]should thank Japan for taking over Korea?”

    When Korean nationalists so willfully twist and distort the arguments of their opponents, you really have to wonder if they are operating in good faith.

  • Yem

    I think South Korea cannot and should not trust any of the 4: USA (despite all of the chest beating about a “blood alliance”), Japan, China, or Russia. Each of the 4 has their own agendas and too many times, they conflict with SK’s agenda. For example: it is in SK’s best interest to resolve the NK situation (for human rights, for the nuclear weapons issue), but it is ***NOT*** in the US’ best interest to resolve the NK situation (because NK gives the US a logical reason for having so many troops stationed in East Asia without having to attribute it exclusively to China, and the US clearly does not care about NK’s human rights situation – words of “concern” are meaningless, actions are everything). I think the US and Japan are threatened by China, and for South Korea to even consider getting into a trilateral alliance against China with them is a huge mistake, especially because China is the only country with influence over North Korea. There is no “reunification” or resolution of the NK issue, SK’s most pressing foreign policy issue, without China’s approval and involvement. None. The US and Japan have no influence whatsoever over NK, and they don’t care either. There’s only one country that is trying to force greater SK and Japanese military/political cooperation, and that is the US. While the economies inevitably suffer somewhat due to tense relationships, you ***CANNOT*** force countries and people that don’t like each other to cooperate with each other, and in that sense, the US is delusional. SK should be well advised to look at the US without the rose colored lens of “they were our saviors during the Korean War, therefore we must obey them no matter what” and realize that the US of *today* (totally different government and policies from 60 years ago) is leading them down the wrong path – on a confrontation with China, arguably the most important country to SK now, economically and politically.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    Interesting comment, but what makes you think that China, unlike the US, has any interest in helping to “resolve” the North Korea issue or promote reunification between the North and the South?

    As for China supposedly being the most important country to Korea now, the combined economies of the US and Japan are roughly three times the size of China’s, and their combined military capabilities dwarf those of China. Some might even argue that China is a paper tiger, or dragon if you like, whose economy and government could implode at any time now or in the near future.

    Given all that, pretty risky for South Korea to bet all its chips on China, wouldn’t you say?

  • redwhitedude

    Yup you really have to wonder about that coming from a guy who cites only one gentleman from the colonial period. Maybe you should get a good sampling before you make statements of people who supposedly claim it is bad. Overall though it is still bad for Korea because the Japanese were intent on eventually wiping out Korea as a separate identity. And FYI Japanese isn’t necessarily uniformly good in its conduct either.

  • redwhitedude

    Well excuseee me. Consider the sort of comments you’ve been posted directed at me I couldn’t help but read it like that.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    “And FYI Japanese isn’t necessarily uniformly good in its conduct either.”

    For fuck’s sake, your reading comprehension really does suck. Let me quote myself again:

    “See, life tends to be kind of complex like that: It’s not always as black-and-white as you and others of your ilk here keep trying to convince us.”

    My point about the gentleman from Pyongyang is that regardless of how bad life may have been under the Japanese, and I am not claiming that wasn’t in all major respects, he seems able to have moved on and no longer bears a backwards-looking grudge against them.

    In other words, if a direct victim of Japan colonialism can do it, why can’t you? What makes you so much more special?

  • pawikirogii

    you know, here on this board the expat always says he’s interested in discussion but then spends most of his time disparaging the poster while ignoring the argument. that’s a common tactic. a good example of that is this mr bergson or whateva his name is, he almost never addresses the argument, he simply attacks the poster. he doesn’t spend all his time doing that though, he also spends a lot of time telling koreans what they need to do to get over it. yet, to this day, this man of discussion hasn’t once told us what the japanese need to do. why is that? he says he’s balanced but i don’t believe him. he just goes on and on about what the victim needs to get over it while saying absolutely nothing about the criminal’s responsibilities. this man ain’t here to discuss, he’s here to bash koreans just like so many of the others.

    anyway, how bout that, expat? why is it we never hear any of you tell us what the japanese need to do to resolve this issue? why is that? why is it an endless prescription for what koreans need to do?

  • wangkon936

    Personally, I would like to see the Japanese courts rule that PM and cabinet visits to the Yasukuni shrine as illegal, a violation of the Japanese constitution’s separation of church and state. Thus, it would be hard coded into Japanese legal precedent that active high level, politicians cannot visit Yasukuni to venerate the spirits of class A war criminals. If this is the case then China and Korea wouldn’t have to put their finger in the air of Japanese politics to see which way the winds are flowing and worry every year that a PM or high ranking Japanese politician would make the visit. It would then become a non-issue, exactly what all parties want. Ex PMs and nonactive politicians can visit Yasukuni all they want.

    Better yet, whoever is in charge of the shrine (the Shinto church?) to just admit that those class A war criminals are not holy Shinto gods at all, but have actually gone to hell… where they belong.

  • stereotype

    >”life’s a bitch when you’re a former Axis power.”
    >Japan is held to a different standard, and clearly, its immediate neighbors feel it hasn’t satisfied said standards.

    Korea was on the Axis side. I really hope Koreans keep that in mind and stop whitewashing history. Korea’s place is at the opposit end from China’s.

  • stereotype

    >the reason why they go is exactly because Yasukuni HAS those criminals enshrined there.
    Class A war criminals were enshrined in 1978. But between 1945 and 1978, Showa Emperor visited Yasukuni 8 times, and the Prime Ministers visited Yasukuni 38 times.
    As always, accusations by Koreans are based on misunderstanding or misinformation. That kind of accusation will not contribute anything to the better relationship between the 2 countries.

  • http://www.rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Yes, in the same sense that Poland and Czechoslovakia were Central Powers in WW I.

  • seoulite

    ‘Since we’re apparently going with the “dignity” thing, at least the Koreans had the dignity to at least turn their nation into a functioning country. Which is more than anyone can say for much of the rest of the colonized world.’

    Self-made man and all that, right? Except that’s not quite the case, is it? Where did all that lovely start-up money come from to start project ‘dignity’?

    Like some Louis Vuitton bean-paste gold-digger, you seem to be suggesting that, unless a country has made a shit tonne of money, they cannot possibly be classed as ‘dignified’.

    Fair enough, but remember, if that’s the case, what does that make those Korean politicians demanding more money to add to their pile of ‘dignity’?

    ‘”life’s a bitch when you’re a former Axis power.”

    Seems the same could be said for former colonies. Some more than others.

  • pawikirogii

    yet the japanese pay homage to war crminals. who cares if their pm doesn’t go but says he’d like to? how do you think japan can resolve the yasukuni issue, mr bergster?

  • que337

    “Abe has said he regretted not visiting the shrine in person when he first served as prime minister in 2006-07. And last month, he made his third offerings to yasukuni shrine.” Many Japanese government officials and more than 100 Japanes politicians visited the shrine this year.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/20/us-abe-shrine-idUSBRE99J01320131020

    Jeffrey Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Temple University Japan, described the shrines as “the talismanic ground zero of the unrepentant view of Japan’s wartime history.” “To say that they’re going there only to venerate the war dead is disingenuous on their part,” he said.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/21/world/asia/yasukuni-japan/

  • stereotype

    Do you know the names of the class A war criminals?
    What wrong did they do to Koreans?
    I can understand if Chinese or SE Asians complain about Yasukuni, but Koreans?

  • seouldout

    That’s an interesting question. Were any of the war criminals convicted of committing crimes against Koreans?

    I recall reading, and I may be wrong, but the Koreans were not invited to participate as either judges or prosecutors in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, a.k.a. Tokyo War Crime Tribunals. Contrast Korea’s situation to that of the Philippines’ which sent a judge and a prosecutor. Heck, even the Soviets were invited and they were at war with Japan for like 2 seconds. I wonder why Korea was ignored.

  • pawikirogii

    who said i wanted them removed for what they didn’t do to koreans? i’ve never written anything like that- EVER. i want them removed because of what they did to asians. i want them removed for what they did to asians like that little infant that one of your people stuck with a needle directly into it’s finger so it wouldn’t clutch it’s hand as one your people froze it. that’s why i want those criminals removed.
    わかりますか、しばるせきや?

  • seouldout

    Let’s see… in one country senior political leaders visit a shrine, and in another country the government convenes a commission that clears 83 co-ethnics of WWII war crimes. I know which one is more repellent. Do you?

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    Lol, anyone with basic reading comprehension can see in this thread that I address the points of my opponents head on, thoughtfully and as logically as possible. If posters like you can’t even spell my name right, or posters like jk641 call me a “simple-minded SOB” (even after I apologized at his request for “personally” attacking him in previous threads, despite the fact that he’s anonymous here and therefore cannot logically be attacked personally), or posters like redwhitedude willfully distort my comments, I wonder why you think I should just roll over for that and take it up the ass. Would you even respect me if I did?

    As to your main point, what can Japan do to resolve this issue?

    For starters, we have the problem of shifting goal lines, to wit: Since the Koreans and the Chinese got pissed off when Koizumi visited Yasukuni as Prime Minister, Abe and subsequent Japanese PMs refrained from so doing. And yet here we see commenters complaining because Abe actually wanted to visit Yasukuni even though he didn’t. Hmm, isn’t that precisely the point? He wanted to visit Yasukuni but decided not to because the Koreans and Chinese didn’t want him to do so. Hello?

    Another goal line egregiously shifted: The 1965 ROK-Japan Normalization Treaty, in which Japan made a lump sum payment of reparations for war crimes and the ROK government at the time agreed that the matter of compensation for the Japanese occupation of Korea was settled once and for all. And yet South Korean courts and individual South Koreans keep on making demands for further compensation to this day. Hello?

    In the case of Dokdo, the Japanese have proposed numerous times to take the matter to the International Court of Justice as its legal status remains unclear and unresolved under modern international law, and I support this proposition myself. If Korea is so confident of their claim that Dokdo is indisputably Korean territory, shouldn’t it in fact welcome a chance to humiliate Japan before the eyes of the world at the ICJ? For some reason, however, they choose not to do so. Hello?

    In the case of the comfort women, the Japanese government set up the Asian Women’s Fund in 1994 to compensate the surviving women in Korea (and other countries), despite the 1965 Normalization Treaty (did Park Chung-hee bother to give any of the money he received from Japan at the time to any of those women?). Moreover, Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama offered a signed apology to each survivor that read, “As Prime Minister of Japan, I thus extend anew my most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women.” If you’d be so kind, I’d like to hear your version of why this apparently wasn’t good enough, with a large majority of the former Korean comfort women rejecting this offer outright.

    Finally, the single greatest thing that Japan has done to “resolve this issue” is to follow a peaceful path of nonaggression since 1945, living as an exceptionally responsible player among the global community of nations for the past seven decades. Can the same be said of South Korea? Not really: It sent some 300,000 troops in support of the US war of aggression against Vietnam – and that wasn’t the last time, either. We need not really mention North Korea here, which has attacked and provoked the South repeatedly (and also abducted Japanese citizens), nor China, which continues to conduct the brutal colonial occupation of Tibet and Xinjiang to this day (one that is all to reminiscent of Imperial Japan’s occupation of Korea and Manchuria in the first half of the 20th Century), and is widely perceived by many of its Asian neighbors today as a territory-hungry regional bully. The absurd hubris of China especially complaining about “Japanese militarism” today really does take the cake, I must say.

    Well, this should be enough for starters. I’d only like to add that my personal motive here is not to “bash” Korea but rather to provide more balance on this issue, given how overwhelmingly pro-Korea this site is, including The Marmot himself. At the very least, you might welcome the chance to refine your arguments against Japan by engaging in some lively debate here. I also think that rather than simply saying “no” to meeting with Japan, Park might gain much and lose little by showing a bit more flexibility here. Surely if she were to meet directly with Abe, they would have a more fruitful chance to work at least a few things out? Simply snubbing him is hardly going to help things, is it?

    Enjoy your weekend!

  • ChuckRamone

    You bring up the same tired talking points as everyone else, conveniently ignoring the counter arguments. I swear, every East Asia news site on the Internet you have a group of people saying the exact same thing over and over again, and it basically boils down to: Korea bad, Japan good. This is expected on sites like JapanToday, JapanProbe, etc. But even the Korean news sites offer no reprieve from this irritating, hounding behavior. It’s clear the Japanophiles are outsize in their numbers.

  • wangkon936

    Question. When did the Koreans and Chinese start to get offended by Yashukuni visits? Before or after 1978?

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    Look, buddy, I simply tried to answer a question that was put to me directly. You don’t exactly have much of use to say for yourself, do you?

    i think I’ve made a number of salient points, such as the fact the North Korea is at least partly responsible for the rise of Abe in Japan, since he made his name on the abductee issue back in 2002. I’ll go even further and argue that China is also at least partly responsible for his second reelection as Prime Minister, since many Japanese have grown weary of China’s provocations over the Senkakus in recent years, and seem to want a “tougher” leader at the national helm for now.

    In other words, blowback’s a bitch, ain’t it? I guess Korea and China can keep pressing Japan even harder, but they shouldn’t be too surprised if it bites them right back in the ass.

  • wangkon936

    Korea was barely a country back then. It was barely two countries back then. The tribunals were between 46-48. South Korea was got its constitution in 48.

  • ChuckRamone

    1965 treaty, Korean troops in Vietnam, Yasukuni, ICJ, China bad, Korea good. That’s useful? I see the same thing written in various ways every single day by lots of different people.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    I think you are putting the cart before the horse here, bud.

    It’s the Koreans and Chinese who keep bringing this crap up ad infinitum. I find it rather tedious myself, and am no fan of Abe or Japanese right-wingers, either.

    Anyway, let’s see if we can work out ChuckRamone’s position here: International treaties don’t matter, wars of aggression don’t matter, international law doesn’t matter, China is good, Korea is good and Japan is bad. Oh, and Yasukuni doesn’t exist. Or something.

    Is that about right?

  • wangkon936

    Stereotype,

    There is another reason why Koreans don’t like Yasukuni and it is unrelated to the class A war criminals enshrined there. There are Koreans (as well as Taiwanese) also enshrined there as Shinto gods. Many of the families of those Koreans (and the Taiwanese) have spoken out against inclusion of their names in the shrine and have gone to Japanese courts numerous times to have the names of their loved ones removed. Every time they have failed.

    http://japandailypress.com/south-korea-slams-japan-for-court-ruling-on-yasukuni-shrine-names-2438469/

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2006/08/02/national/taiwanese-to-sue-yasukuni-to-have-relatives-names-struck/#.UoZREBqfgQI

    Apparently, one has to have died in the war to be enshrined there. However, sometimes the administrators of Yashukuni make mistakes. There is a Korean man who is still alive (as of 2011) who has his name enshrined at Yasukuni. He has repeatedly asked that his name be removed because he doesn’t want to be a Shinto god. He has gotten a lawyer in Japan and has taken his case to court. Again, the Japanese courts have denied the request.

    http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2011/07/22/2/0302000000AEN20110722005400315F.HTML

    Here is the issue. Koreans during the imperial period had their religion suppressed and had to worship the Emperor of Japan. Shintoism, like in Japan, was the national religion of “Chōsen” as well whether the Koreans liked it or not. So, after the war, Koreans would be free of this religion and free to practice whatever religion they want. However, Japan’s continued refusal to take out the names and de-deify those who’s family have made the request and/or in Kim Hui-jong’s case, his request while he is still alive makes Koreans still feel as if they cannot escape Japan’s colonial period and that they do not have control of their own religious freedom ever after the end of the imperial period.

  • ChuckRamone

    Okay there, pal. Listen, amigo, I’ve seen on this site alone people debate those issues back and forth for hundreds upon thousands of comments. Where does it lead? Nowhere. It’s like people on CNN arguing conservatives vs. liberals. The end result is further entrenchment in one’s original position. Eventually, all the passive aggressive arguing turns to outright hostility until people are exchanging personal insults.

    Korea got reparations in 1965, end of story. Korean troop atrocities during Vietnam are tantamount to Japanese imperialism. Korea should agree to go to the ICJ where they’re certain to receive a fair hearing. Mainstream Japanese politicians issuing statements of denial is perfectly fine and does not negate any past apologies by Japanese politicians because I say so. Yasukuni is like Arlington cemetery is for the Americans.

    And then some Koreans refute these points. And then the other people simply state their arguments again, but maybe with a touch more arrogance or hostility. Koreans respond angrily. Other people say offensive things. Ad nauseam.

  • pawikirogii

    the nyt had an editorial about korea and japan in today’s edition. sorry forgot to copy link so just google. the nyt says japan should compensate the comfort woman. japan cannot win this. i hope they wake up.

  • redwhitedude

    You do have a good point. It’s gotten to the point that sometimes it gets tiring.

  • redwhitedude

    What are they going to say? Not apologize? That would cause outrage directed at them.

  • jk641

    Koizumi visited the Yasukuni.
    But I don’t remember Koizumi (and other Japanese leaders from that period) making controversial comments about WWII.

    See? You’re being simple-minded again.

  • jk641

    Question:
    Should or shouldn’t Japan offer official government compensations and an official letter of apology delivered by a representative of the Japanese govt, to the former comfort women?

    The Asian Women’s Fund was quite controversial.
    It was controversial because the funds did not come from the Japanese govt but from private donations.

    This is why almost all the Korean comfort women, all of the Taiwanese women, many of the Filipino women, and the Dutch women as well rejected the AWF’s compensations.

    (The Dutch victims of Japan’s war crimes asked for and received state compensations from Japan.
    This is in spite of the fact that Netherlands signed the San Francisco Treaty and waived all rights to claim further compensations from Japan.
    Japan decided to give additional compensations, “in order to express sincere remorse”.
    Not only once, but twice. In 1956 and 1998.)

    The letter of apology from the Japanese PM was also controversial in its own way.
    The AWF only delivered the letter of apology to the women who accepted the AWF’s compensation.
    Also, the letter was delivered not by a representative of the Japanese govt, but by an AWF official.
    So this too was criticized by the victims.

    So you tell me.
    Could Japan have done this better, or not?

  • jk641

    As for Dokdo:
    Korea has a strong case for Dokdo.
    But the problem is that all of Korea’s maps made prior to 1905 (when Japan annexed Dokdo for military purposes), are pre-modern in nature and not exactly up to modern standards.
    Also, there are some old maps which are ambiguous.

    So this, on top of the fact that Korea already controls Dokdo and has nothing at all to gain from taking the dispute to the ICJ, is why Korea doesn’t want to go to the ICJ.

  • jk641

    Can the same be said of South Korea? Not really: It sent some 300,000
    troops in support of the US war of aggression against Vietnam

    Did I read this right?
    The “US war of aggression against Vietnam”?
    I thought South Vietnam was fighting communist North Vietnam and the Viet Congs?

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    Twisting my arguments into cheap caricatures doesn’t make you look smart, my friend.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    “Did I read this right?”

    Yes, you did. For once.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    What I think is that the Japanese Emperor could personally apologize and offer whatever amount of compensation is demanded, and some Korean nationalists would still find something to bitch about and continue to manipulate these unfortunate women for their own cynical ends.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    For once we both agree on something!

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    “But the problem is that all of Korea’s maps made prior to 1905 are pre-modern in nature and not exactly up to modern standards.”

    Well, that’s the point, isn’t it?

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    “the nyt says japan should compensate the comfort woman.”

    The NYT also said that Iraq had WMDs and that Obama would deliver “hope and change.”

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    Well, I can certainly get behind Mr. Kim Hui-jong’s case if he’s still alive.

    However, the matter of ethnic Koreans who were Japanese subjects and fought for the Imperial Japanese Army is a more complicated matter, and not really the same issue as freedom of religion.

    Frankly, I have a lot of problems with anyone who fought on the side of the Japanese.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    Well, which is it: The main problem is visiting Yasukuni or not?

    Seems like shifting goal posts to me.

    And for the record, Abe has also “expressed remorse to Japan’s WWII victims,” which you should know perfectly well because I posted his comments to you directly in a previous thread.

    It’s pointless debating with you because you only listen to what you want to hear. And that’s precisely why I dislike Korean nationalists: They’re predictable, boring and no fun at all.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    Follow-up comment: I just read the op-ed contribution by Victor Cha and Karl Friedhoff, and if that’s the one to which you refer, I’m sorry but they do not say that Japan should provide compensation for the comfort women, so that’s just flat out wrong. This is what they actually wrote:

    “Finally, the United States should encourage Japanese good faith in resolving the biggest historical sticking point, comfort women. The practice of conscripting young girls as sexual slaves for the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II requires a formal acknowledgment and apology. Mr. Abe should also meet with some of the survivors.”

    There are a number of other statements in the article that reveal their bias, such as:

    “Japan may have lost the war, but the Japanese have maintained an attitude of national superiority over Koreans, which is matched by a Korean sense of resentment and outrage.”

    I’d like to see some evidence and proof before making such an inflammatory statement as, “the Japanese have maintained an attitude of national superiority over Koreans.” That kind of language isn’t really helpful, is it?

    “Meanwhile, South Koreans are nervous over Mr. Abe’s plans for a stronger Japanese military, which they fear could be used for offensive operations (currently prohibited by the Japanese Constitution).”

    Does any serious, reputable analyst really think that Japan poses a military threat to South Korea today? By uncritically parroting such unrealistic, paranoid views, Mr. Cha and Mr. Friedhoff diminish their own claims to impartiality and objectivity considerably.

    “During Japan’s stagnation, however, South Korea transformed itself. Not only did it become a complex democracy, but it is now the world’s 15th largest economy, with companies that outperform their Japanese rivals. South Korea now views Japan as a declining power.”

    More wishful thinking that does not reflect reality. When I first moved to South Korea in 1996 it was the world’s 11th largest economy, meaning it has slipped four places, whereas Japan has slipped just one, from second to third largest in the world, and only because of China’s rapid move up the scale of late (and propped up by questionable numbers at that, many argue). Who’s really declining, in other words? Moreover, Japan’s economy is still well over four times the size of South Korea’s, so again, there’s no need to feed into South Korea’s own rather distorted – and at times exceedingly self-aggrandizing – view of reality here, is it?

    BTW, Pawi: Are you aware of the difference between an official editorial and an op-ed contribution? The latter is in no way comparable to the former, which represents a paper’s official position on a given issue, quite unlike the former.

    Have a nice weekend!

  • ChuckRamone

    This is clearly more a case of Koizumi is far more charismatic than Abe.

  • ChuckRamone

    There’s no twisting involved. These arguments are caricatures themselves. You sound like a mouthpiece. I’ve literally seen the exact same talking points argued the exact same way by myriad different people.

  • redwhitedude

    Yea. If I trigger threads like this I tend to let it run by itself.

    However on the question of territorial disputes I will say this. If a country’s territory is at stake obviously they will say something to the like of that it is inseparable and it is not negotiable or disputable and refuse to take it to the ICJ. However if another countries is at stake it is bound to say that it is reasonable to take it to the ICJ. All countries tend to be like this not just Korea. Japan pretty much gave china the same treatment with the Senkaku/Diayou dispute that Korea did to Japan over Dokdo.

  • pawikirogii

    i think we can pretty much ignore you now. thanks for answering my questions.

    otaku.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    Where have I equated South Korea’s involvement in the Vietnam War with Japan’s colonization of Korea? You have completely missed the point of why I brought it up in the first place. And where have I ever compared Yasukuni to Arlington?

    You may think I sound like a mouthpiece, but I’ve lived in Korea, Japan and China for nearly twenty years and am merely offering a broader perspective that goes beyond uncritically siding with Korean nationalists and apologists. Sorry, but Korea is not the only player in this game, however much that may upset you.

    Again, you have nothing interesting or useful to contribute to the debate beyond childish name calling and petulant whingeing, so just fuck off already.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    Well, fine, then why don’t Koreans just shut the fuck up about Dokdo once and for all? Obviously, Korea controls it, Japan is not going to try to take it over and Korea is too chicken shit to bring the matter to the ICJ.

    Seems like a perfect stalemate to me. So why won’t Koreans stop bleating and ranting about it?

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    Hey, at least I’m an “otaku” who actually knows how to read English!

  • Anonymous_Joe

    Scott, thank you for the direct quote from Prime Minister Murayama. I googled it (don’t take it personally), and it’s valid.

    I looked up the reason for ROK’s objection to the apology and Asian Women’s Fund. According to the Wikipedia article, which provided Japan Focus as its source,

    “The fund was set up by the Japanese government and run with state funds, and it was under the direct supervision of the Cabinet and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was a quasi public organization, but it was managed by volunteers who were private citizens. South Korea claimed that state redress was what was required, and that the fund was not state redress.”

    I don’t know the diplomatic difference between set up with state funds and under direct supervision of Japan’s Cabinet and Ministry of Foreign Affairs but run by private citizens and state redress, which I assume means run by government employees.

    My opinion on the comfort women/sex slaves remains unchanged. I don’t even call the problem an issue because there are real people behind the “issue” and both sides, Japan naturally but also Korea, seem to have put the women at best second to the “issue”.

  • ChuckRamone

    Right, I’m sure people are rushing to discuss these topics with someone who comes off as condescending and sententious as you.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    From today’s JoongAng Ilbo: “President Park Geun-hye proposed yesterday that Northeast Asian countries work together to write history textbooks for their young students, as Germany did with France and Poland in the past.”

    Nice idea, I agree, but South Korean liberals and conservatives can’t even produce textbooks they agree on, and you have to be high on philopon to think that the CCP or DPRK have any interest at all in a transnational – i.e., non-nationalist – and relatively objective account of local history.

    Ironically, Japan may be the only player willing to cooperate in good faith on such an initiative.

  • redwhitedude

    Yeah, I was wondering about that too. Korea controls it so what is the big fuss about it. Let the Japanese make all those claims.

  • jk641

    The point is that visiting/not visiting Yasukuni is just one part of the equation.

    Koizumi did not ever make inflammatory comments.
    Abe, on the other hand, has had a history of making inflammatory remarks (that upset Japan’s neighbors), then backtracking and paying lip service to Japan’s previous apology.
    This is why Abe has no credibility.

    And it’s not just Abe, but his right-wing friends and subordinates as well.
    Talking of revising the Kono Statement, trying to remove the pacifist clause from the Japanese constitution, whitewashing Japan’s actions in WWII, etc.
    And not only this, but Japan’s school textbooks which are becoming more revisionist.

    Do you now understand what I mean by Yasukuni being just one part of the equation?

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    And you’d be right. Look at this thread and every other one in which I participate.

    On the other hand, I don’t think too many people about what you have to say at all!

  • redwhitedude

    I’m not sure about that. They’ve been accused of omitting certain stuff in their texts.

  • jk641

    But.. but.. you’re always decrying the Soviet Union and Communist China and NK and all that.
    I thought you hated communism.
    Did you actually support North Vietnam?
    So you wanted more countries to fall to communism?

  • jk641

    You’re probably right. Koizumi was good looking. lol

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    Also from today’s JoongAng Ilbo: “‘Our government looks forward for a normalization in atmosphere,’ said Cho Tai-young, spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, yesterday, ‘so that constructive dialogue between Korea and Japan can happen as soon as possible.’”

    “When asked to clarify what Japan has to do in order to achieve such a normalization, Cho said, ‘Japan should know that very well already.’ He referred to Korea’s stance that Japan should look at history squarely and take responsibility for its past.”

    I agree that “looking at history squarely and taking responsibility for the past” is an excellent idea.

    Can South Korea genuinely say that it does so itself? Certainly one should lead by example first, before making such demands upon others.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    True, but under a joint project they’d obviously have a much harder time getting away with that kind of thing.

  • redwhitedude

    The problem is not getting away with it, it is their stance on this which will probably cause a breakdown in cooperation if Japan refused and were stubborn about it.

  • wangkon936

    The vast majority of Koreans in the Imperial Japanese armed forces were non-combatant laborers. I covered the topic well here:

    http://www.rjkoehler.com/2010/08/10/japanese-pm-naoto-kan-apologizes-in-tears-to-korea/#comment-97538219

    And here:

    http://www.rjkoehler.com/2010/08/10/japanese-pm-naoto-kan-apologizes-in-tears-to-korea/#comment-97538224

    All in all there were 300k Korean conscripts (i.e. draftees) meant for combat and 17k Korean volunteers meant for combat in the Imperial Japanese army. However, how much combat these troops evidently did was not that extensive because the Japanese 1) thought Koreans would make poor soldiers than the superior Japanese race and 2) the inherent nervousness the Japanese experienced when giving too many Koreans guns.

  • ryuNchoosk

    “Koreans suffered great mental anguish during Japan’s imperial rule”

    When a Korean(boss) fires someone illegally they say they’ve suffered from “mental anguish”. This “mental anguish” is overblown and misused in S. Korea.

    Now it all makes sense. So, what have Koreans done to deal with all this “mental anguish”?

    Oh yeah, hardly anything at all which is why things might seem so weird. It is very bad for Koreans to have “mental anguish,” you are like pariah if you have mental problems in S. Korea, go to a shrink, or spend time at the white house.

    If only Koreans could deal with their “mental anguish” or could even define it.

  • redwhitedude

    When did the NYT say that? Before or after the invasion of Iraq?

  • wangkon936

    Kim Hui-jong’s story is interesting. The L.A. Times had an interesting article on him, but the link is broken now.

    However, in this forum is a copy of the article:

    http://www.asiafinest.com/forum/lofiversion/index.php/t284034.html

    Here’s some lines from the article:

    One morning in 1944, during a walk in his village outside Pyongyang, Kim had a life-changing run-in with the occupying military.

    A Japanese soldier waved him over, barking commands. A Japanese-language student in his youth, Kim said, he immediately grasped what had befallen him. He was being conscripted.

    Kim was ordered to join tens of thousands of other young Koreans to assist the Japanese military. He was soon aboard a flotilla of ships heading toward Saipan.

    Never issued a gun, he dug ditches and tunnels, he recalled, adding that he escaped torture by guards because he quickly understood their orders. During one U.S. attack, Kim recalled, the conscripts were ordered to run for nearby caves to avoid capture by the Americans.

    “One conscript stopped me,” he said. “He said: ‘Don’t go there. The Japanese are going to lock you all in and dynamite the cave.’ ” But in the fog of battle, the Korean workers were spared.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    OK, fine, but are non-combatant Korean laborers also enshrined in Yasukuni? I would imagine not, but I could be wrong, of course.

    BTW, nice line: “He must have borrowed that onion of lofty emotions from 2MB.” Lol!

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    Have you ever seen “Apocalypse Now,” arguably the greatest American movie ever made?

    I recommend the “Redux” version. Vietnam really was our own “Heart of Darkness.”

  • ryuNchoosk

    “Overall though it is still bad for Korea because the Japanese were intent on eventually wiping out Korea as a separate identity.”

    It “is bad” or was bad?

  • ryuNchoosk

    “Overall it is bad for Korea”

    It still “is bad” for Korea? Oh yes, the mental anguish it still must cause!

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    Look, we’re just going around in circles at this point.

    The problem seems to be that you actually expect politicians to behave “morally” and with the best interests of the public at heart, when in reality they’re mostly just puppets cynically manipulated by others, even as they cynically manipulate the public themselves.

    I don’t expect much from any politician, in other words, which is why it’s hard for me to take this whole “debate” or “controversy” too seriously. Abe is obviously playing to his right-wing supporters since that’s his power base, not teenage “Netizens” in South Korea who like to get all huffy and puffy. Park has her own historical baggage and issues to contend with, and for now it seems to be in her interest to turn up the heat against Japan. In any case, Japan is never going to take over Dokdo, never going to recolonize Korea, and I personally don’t care if Japanese politicians visit Yasukuni or not because I’m a Nietzschean and consider all religions kind of absurd, to be quite honest.

    It’s all theater, my friend. And if you’re feeling rather upset about it, the question you might want to ask yourself is this: In whose interest is it for me to be feeling the way I do at this very moment?

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    Both. Never heard of Judith Miller?

  • redwhitedude

    Are you intent on belittling Korea?

    It is bad because Japanese intentions were to try to wipe Korea out as a separate distinct culture.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    I agree that the court’s ruling against Mr. Kim was overly legalistic. I don’t know if he’s still alive now, but if so, perhaps he could take his case to a higher court in Japan, or even abroad?

  • ryuNchoosk

    “Out of sight, out of mind”

    Doesn’t work for countries. But if you don’t like Japanese tourists no worries, the numbers are down 26%. Not as big of a decline as Chinese tourists but congratulations anyway.
    http://japandailypress.com/number-of-japanse-tourists-to-south-korea-hit-record-low-3038727/

    Can Koreans see Japan? NO! But yes Koreans and its media like to paint a Japan/Japanese picture for you that you just refuse to forget. Living in the U.S., I was surrounded by Canada and Mexico but didn’t have much interest in either place. Heck, I didn’t even think much about the Canadian or Mexican people.

  • bandwagonjumper

    I whole-heartedly agree with this. I think the second tragedy of the comfort women is that their humanitarian cause has been hijacked by a bunch of nationalists seeking to use their genuine protests as a means of attacking Japan.

    I wonder, how many of these men involved in the calls for more compensation for the comfort women are doing anything about Korea’s comfort women of today (the Filippinos and other SE Asian sex workers hoodwinked into prostitution, which is profligate in SK.

  • ryuNchoosk

    I yawn at this never ending, multiple, and correct apology thing, but you’re right it’s not just a S. Korean thing. Why don’t Americans submit to all these perfect and multiple apologies? America needs to repeatedly tell Japan to apologize to S. Korea and tell American citizens to get on their knees saying sorry every morning before work to PGH and Xi Jinping and then when an American/American company disses any Korean/Chinese person/people then another apology would be in order and more after that until it’s done correctly.

    The Chinese want ABC and Jimmy Kimmel to apologize for a 3rd time for an unscripted joke. The Chinese foreign ministry demands ABC respond to protestors who want Jimmy fired. Is ABC an agressor? How dare anyone feel “put out” for being asked to apologize again and again.

    “ABC has already issued two public apologies over a racially insensitive Jimmy Kimmel Live sketch
    in which a child suggested the U.S. “kill everyone in China” to solve
    its debt problem in an unscripted moment, but that didn’t stop a Chinese
    official from demanding Monday that the network say sorry again — and
    this time, “with a sincere attitude.”
    Read more: China Wants Jimmy Kimmel to Apologize… For a Third Time | TIME.com http://entertainment.time.com/2013/11/12/china-wants-jimmy-kimmel-to-apologize-for-a-third-time/#ixzz2kmeXdY9h

  • Anonymous_Joe

    ” ‘When asked to clarify what Japan has to do in order to achieve such a normalization, Cho said, ‘Japan should know that very well already.’ He referred to Korea’s stance that Japan should look at history squarely and take responsibility for its past.’ “

    Such utter BS. Cho is playing the politicking game. Instead of answering “Japan should know that very well already”, he should have said what the JoongAng Ilbo reported. The way the JoongAng Ilbo imputed his statement… err, I mean reported it, the Ilbo inserted itself by editorializing the news and Cho has deniability: “I never said that.”

    A real reporter would have pushed by following up with “what should they know very well already?”

  • ryuNchoosk

    Let me help you see the difference between saying something and actually doing something. Haven’t you really ever been taught this difference yet or are you being Japan blocked? If I told my wife I’d like to have sex with our neighbor lady, she would just tell me I’d better not do it. But if I did the deed with my neighbor lady then my wife would probably take some kind of action against me, possibly leave me for awhile or divorce me. If I threatened to kill someone, I could be punished but if I actually did it then I could be put to death or spend my life behind bars. Ding ding ding ding ding!!!!!

  • ryuNchoosk

    Your sympathy for other asians is touching, but do SE asians count? If you and many S. Koreans only showed those same feelings toward N. Koreans who die in public executions and disappear in N. Korean prison camps.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/10288945/Up-to-20000-North-Korean-prison-camp-inmates-have-disappeared-says-human-rights-group.html

  • Anonymous_Joe

    pawikirogii: “yet the japanese pay homage to war crminals. who cares if their pm doesn’t go but says he’d like to?”

    Pawi, what did you think about PGH paying respects at her father’s grave?

    (BTW, please don’t infer that I have any Japanese sympathies or am a paid Japanese poster; I don’t, and I’m not. Let me toss you another bone: I think that war criminals should be removed from their national war cemeteries. Now answer the question.)

  • ryuNchoosk

    Hope and Change has already been delivered, the NYT was right on that one. When I go back to America I’ll easily and immediately be able to find/afford health insurance despite any insurance co. denying me or employer knowing when I get a rectal examination, without the ACA/Obamacare that wouldn’t have been the case.

  • seouldout

    300k Korean draftees meant 300k more Japanese soldiers, many of whom were coincidentally also conscripts, available to fight on the front lines.

  • pawikirogii

    that you would equate pak chong hee to hideki tojo means you’ve already lost, sir.
    say, did you know andrew jackson was hitler?

  • Anonymous_Joe

    wangkon936: “Personally, I would like to see the Japanese courts rule that PM and cabinet visits to the Yasukuni shrine as illegal, a violation of the Japanese constitution’s separation of church and state.”

    I know nothing about Japanese constitutional law, but the “violation of church and state” ruling sounds about as probable as getting such a ruling against the American president, members of congress, governors, mayors, or dog catchers.

  • jk641

    If you’re looking for specifics about the Asian Women’s Fund, this article provides some details.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6530197.stm

    “It is true that it was not state compensation.
    Although the Japanese government spent lots of money on this, we were not able to give the impression that the government was taking full responsibility.”
    (Hiroki Wada, former president of the AWF)

  • jk641

    In whose interest is it for me to be feeling the way I do at this very moment?

    For the good of Korea/Japan relations, of course.
    As I said before, I want the two countries to sort out their differences and achieve a true peace.

    This will also stabilize the Northeast Asia region and make things easier for the US as well.

  • jk641

    Abe is obviously playing to his right-wing supporters since that’s his power base

    But I thought you said only 10% of Japanese were right-wingers.
    Why does he have to play to such a small minority and ignore the other 90% of Japanese?
    (Could it possibly be that, *gasp*, the right-wingers make up more than 10%?)

  • Yem

    Gerry Bevers, you completely misread my comment. I never said South Korea should “bet all its chips on China.” I personally think South Korea should be the Switzerland of Asia. That means, no military alliance with the US/Japan (all US troops have to removed, otherwise there is no way China would believe SK is being neutral), and no alliance with China either.
    With regards to China and US – neither care about resolving the NK situation presently because both are satisfied with the status quo. The US is no saint and as I mentioned before, doesn’t give a f— about the NK human rights issue. You see how they constantly meddle in international affairs around the world, but they have done nothing about the NK human rights issue other than express utterly meaningless words of “concern.” That being said, China is no saint either – it repatriates NK refugees, it is the reason why NK exists, but it holds all the power. The US has no power over NK (how many times can you implement the same economic sanctions as punishment?), China has all the power, and is the only chance to resolve the NK situation. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t continue to hold up NK, but I guarantee you one thing, should SK continue to stay in this so-called “blood alliance” with the US, nothing will change. SK **CANNOT** win when it chooses sides.
    BTW, stop combining USA and Japan as one entity in order to “win” your argument. All empires and superpowers do come to an end eventually, and no offense, but It looks like the US is in serious danger of imploding from within, due to all the hatred, division, and debt inside. When the fall comes, it won’t be due to external enemies. Look at the US – it’s still undoubtedly the most powerful country military-wise, but it’s diplomatic influence has pitifully waned – look at Russia defying the US by granting asylum to Snowden. Not to mention how much money they owe to China, so who’s the real paper dragon here?

  • ryuNchoosk

    S. Korea the next Switzerland, hehehe and defending itself hehehe. What an imagination you have but S. Korea is addicted to American money and refuses to even pay 50% for its own defense. And, It’s S. Korea that doesn’t even care about its own Minjok brethren up north(as evident by the discrimination they face in the south) so you shouldn’t be blaming the U.S. for the North Korean human rights issue. btw, the U.S. has given tons of food over the years but there comes a time when you have to start blaming the Kim regime for food shipments being put on hold. I noticed you didn’t, it’s like the north holds no blame according to you. I wouldn’t be surprised to see you on the next Dennis Rodman trip so you can meet and pay tribute to Kim, Jong-un?

    Watch the video below and read the article about how S. Korea is happy to see North Koreans repatriated.
    http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/30/world/asia/north-korea-laos-defectors-hancocks/
    “M.J.’s wife said they repeatedly called the South Korean Embassy in Laos for help. “We pled our case with the embassy because this was not just about one life but nine lives of young people … for the embassy it was extra work and a burden to them and why should they care about these children from North Korea?”

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    “I personally think South Korea should be the Switzerland of Asia. That means, no military alliance with the US/Japan (all US troops have to removed, otherwise there is no way China would believe SK is being neutral), and no alliance with China either.”

    Thanks for the lolls, bud.

    BTW, does “J. Scott Burgeson” look at all like “Gerry Bevers” to you? Perhaps you might want to get some new glasses.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    “The man who finds his homeland sweet is still a tender beginner; he to whom every soil is as his native one is already strong; but he is perfect to whom the entire world is as a foreign land.” – Hugh of Saint Victor (12th Century AD)

  • Yem

    If the troll acts like Gerry Bevers and talks like Gerry Bevers, then it must be Gerry Bevers (under a new username and a fake photo). Or were you also the troll that kept posting Gerry Bevers-like comments on the Korea Times website as well?

  • Yem1

    You are extremely and laughably naive. What exactly did the US do about the North Koreans being repatriated, in the article you mentioned? Not one thing other than “words of concern.” They don’t care one bit. Yes, China repatriated them, but the US and their “ally” Japan – did they raise one finger to help? That makes them equally as bad, because these are hypocrites who supposedly care about “human rights.” They only care about maintaining their status in East Asia, hence this so-called “pivot to Asia.” Pinpointing to one example in a news article does about lazy, incompetent officials in an embassy doesn’t do anything for your point when SK has done more for NK refugees than any other country. The US did NOTHING in that case. Okay?

  • Yem

    What exactly is it that the Japanese have done for you that you must spend so much time defending them? Or is it your dislike of South Korea, Gerry Bevers? Did they pay you, what is with your obsession, for fuck’s sake? MOVE THE FUCK ON, South Korea and Japan don’t like each other, and nothing you or anyone will say will change that fact.

  • yem

    You are extremely simple minded, Gerry Bevers. I just have to wonder, Gerry Bevers, what makes a white person (providing that you’re not just a Japanese nationalist in disguise, which you very likely could be) so in love with Japan you go to this much trouble to post so many comments defending the Japanese and bashing the South Koreans? I remember someone with the same user name posting endless pro-Japanese comments on Korea Times and Twitter. You honestly think your opinions are of such relevance and importance that you post them regularly on Twitter? Thanks for the laugh. You’re tackling subjects you know nothing about, just cherry picking “facts” for your fallacious arguments.

  • http://www.rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Two different people in this case, Yem.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    You must be new around here. I’ve been writing under the name “J. Scott Burgeson” here in Korea since 1996.

    Who the fuck are you?

  • stereotype

    Great, pawikirogii. South Korea will be likewise against China for what they do in Tibet and Uigur, and what they did at Tian An Men Square. President Pak will not meet President Xi, unless he admits wrong doing and apologyzes.

    Likewise, any foreign leader may condemn what President Cheon Du Hwan did, and will not meet president Pak unless she admits his wrongdoings, revokes his pardon, and executes him right away.
    But you know that is called hypocricy.

  • wangkon936

    It’s a bit more complex then that Joe. Yasukuni is a specific religious institution, in other words we would see it as a specific denomination. When an American president visits a cemetery to visit war dead he is careful to visit a non-denominational and largely secular location such as Arlington National Cemetery.

    If… an active American president was to visit an overtly religious cemetery maintained by a specific religious denomination to observe a national event (i.e. such as a major war), then there would most certainly be whispers of separation of church and state. Now, let’s compound that with a particular denomination’s history with their contributions to starting that war. Let’s just say for the sake of argument that the Presbyterians played a central role in starting the American Civil War. They did support many abolitionist movements, but any ways, let’s just say that they played a really big role and it was firmly established in history that they did. So, let’s also say that for Memorial day instead of laying a wreath or visiting Arlington National Cemetery, the President of the United States visits a cemetery that’s owned and maintained by the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. as the main gesture to celebrate a major event in American history. Not only would this bring hackles of separation of church in state from the appropriate critics, but it would not be looked upon too kindly by Southerners, don’t you think?

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    “Bill Maher Interviews NSA Whistleblower: Obama Worse Than Bush! Impeach Them All! – November 8, 2013″:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWyUOWte3vQ

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    Don”t you understand that you perpetuate and reinforce a kind of mental colonization when you keep going on and on about these issues?

    Genuine independence from Japan means no longer giving a fuck about what Japanese right-wingers think about the past, simply because you’re beyond all that yourself.

    Is it so hard to grasp?

  • pawkirogii

    yeah, the right wing pm elected by the majority of nipponese. learn the meaning of small minority, goon.
    as for our obsession, we’ll worry about us and you worry about you. tokyo olympics are coming and we plan to use the event to promote our concerns. nothing you can do about it so move on.

    btw, did you see the cover of that mag w a foreigner? he did’nt look anything like you and anon joe, did he?

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    Yeah, and you seem unwilling to understand why many Japanese have become more conservative in recent years – not that being “conservative” and a “rightist” are the same thing, but I don’t expect you to grasp the distinction, of course.

    As you can see here, in 2006 a majority of Japanese were opposed to their prime minister visiting Yasukuni:

    http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/world/archives/2006/07/25/2003320314

    However, this year a majority are now in favor of such visits:

    http://bbs.english.sina.com/viewthread.php?tid=132674

    What changed during the intervening years? I’ll let you do the math yourself, In any case, if Koreans and Chinese keep hammering away on these issues, whatever your worst fears are may very well turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    But perhaps that’s exactly what you want, isn’t it?

  • seouldout

    “You dirty Japs, we’ll show you!”

    In 7 years. Go get ‘em, buster.

  • wangkon936

    JSB,

    It would be nice if Korea could be Asia’s Switzerland, but Korea is not ringed by the towering (and defensible) Swiss Alps like Switzerland. Nor is it small enough to be semi-ignored like Switzerland. The better analogy is Poland or Italy.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    A serious question to readers of TMH, especially anyone familiar with Japan and Wangkon936 in particular:

    It is well-known that ultranationalist Japanese politicians and “uyoku dantai” or right-wing groups often have deep, long-standing ties with assorted yakuza crime syndicates, or as they are commonly known these days within Japan, “boryokudan” (lit., “violence groups”). Moreover, Korean-Japanese are well-represented among the ranks and even top leadership of the yakuza, comprising as much as 30% of membership according to some estimates. Indeed, even the Unification Church, founded by South Korean national Sun Myung Moon, is known to have worked closely with Japanese ultranationalists and yakuza crime bosses so as to counter the activities of pro-Pyongyang Korean groups in Japan. (Perhaps our friend Charm Lee might know something more about that, eh?)

    What I wonder is if there are many instances of Korean-Japanese yakuza publicly denouncing right-wing Japanese politicians who have denied Japanese war crimes, or who have visited Yasukuni Shrine while in office? Or is it also possible that in an attempt to insinuate and assimilate themselves further into Japanese society, many Korean-Japanese yakuza in fact actively support ultranationalist politicians there, and therefore also share some blame in worsening relations between Japan and South Korea today?

    Again, this is a serious question. I look forward to reading the comments of anyone with additional information on this subject.

  • J. Scott Burgeson

    Hate to say I told you so, but, well, I told you so:

    “Bali Businesses Ban Annoying Korean Tourists”

    http://iamkoream.com/bali-businesses-ban-annoying-korean-tourists/

    More here:

    http://populargusts.blogspot.kr/2013/11/denial-of-service-then-and-now.html

  • Anonymous_Joe

    SBS, naturally trying to put the best spin on, downplay, and rightly project for its Korean audience, had the following to say:

    “ ‘There’s a pervading belief that Korean customers are evil,’ the SBS report said.”

    Yikes, if that’s the best SBS could do to polish that turd, makes me wonder about the unvarnished truth.