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애증, two sides to a coin in this relationship

Happy Valentines Day!

I would like to draw attention to two articles, one in Korean in DongA on Korea-Japan relationship for the last 1 year and 6 months and the other in English- another one by Mariko Oi on Japan-China relationship for seven decades.

I came across the first article in Korean a couple of days ago and thought, this is a rather excellent summary of what has been happening. Why 1 year and 6 months? Because the article pinpoints the start of the souring of the relationship as when LMB visited 독도, but says it will refrain from discussing whether it was the right move or not. Throughout the article it does an excellent job of refraining.

Then it goes onto summarize what has been happening in 5 points. Again this is such a good summary that I feel it’s a pity that somebody hasn’t done the translation already that I could just easily link to, and I need to do a rough-and-quick summary/translation.

First, it discusses the leaders at the helm of each country – Abe and Park. Abe’s strong historical stance is at the heart of the problem, and Koreans are having a harder type separating the Japanese politicians from the Japanese people as his popularity is very strong in Japan and unlikely to wane. Park of course, has drawn the line of her reply so very final by giving interviews and making speech home and abroad, and these two extreme stance give very little leeway for diplomatic channels to work under.

Second, it points out the change in the feelings of the ordinary Japanese people. Before when criticized or asked for an apology by Koreans, ordinary Japanese would not like it but have the attitude that they did do wrong in the past…now, the atmosphere is “Again, it’s the apology demand” and call this symptom of “being sick and tired of apologizing”. I especially like how the article then goes on to say this is how it is, that the Koreans should just accept this as reality and a phenomenon. It adds that the weakening of the Japanese opposition Minju party and its weakened role as a opposition is contributing to the overall shrinking of pro-Korean sentiment within Japan.

Third, it says now the Kyopos abroad are involved in this – highlighting the Glendale Comfort woman statue, French manga festival etc. and when things get played out on foreign turf, it exacerbates the situation as it gets the local media involved and subsequently each country’s pride is involved.

Fourth, it mentions that the rise of China, and Chinese heckling of power. It very clearly says that the current camaraderie felt by Korea towards China is a big illusion, and that China will make its decisions with no regards to Korea, that Korea should separate itself in its stance from China and make the relevant points against Japan it needs to make.

Finally, it says that the US has become ambiguous in its position between Japan and Korea. This is because there is a rise in US public figures voicing their opinion against the Japanese historical perception. However the article says that the US needs Japan very much so it will never go against Japan becoming a normalized country by defense arming, and Korea should just accept this with a cool head.

미국은 현재 일본을 매우 필요로 하고 있다는 사실이다. 따라서 미국은 일본이 ‘집단자위권 확대’ 등을 통해 소위 ‘보통국가’나 ‘정상국가’가 되는 것을 끝까지 지지할 것이며, 말리는 일은 없을 것이라는 사실이다. 한국은 이 점을 냉철히 받아들여야 한다

I like this article so much that I am looking forward to the next installment where the writer says he/she will come up with some suggestions to improve the relation.

The BBC article by Mariko Oi about Japan-China, you can read it yourselves in English. As I have said in the past, she is somebody I could very much identify with, having both a domestic/foreign education and probably friends across the globe including from the respective countries, trying to get her head around the situation.

I would like to say that there is a word in Korean/Japanese/Chinese called 애증・あいぞう。愛憎..from Korean point of view, I think this is something quite relevant towards the Japanese in the modern history. Constantly wanting apology/approval/comparison. It’s the inferiority complex, which should become irrelevant once the mentality of the people develop to match the rest. I used to worry what Aung Sang Suu Kyi would do with her life/emotion if she were released.

I would have thought that there is “apology demanding fatigue” phenomenon just as there is “apology giving fatigue” phenomenon. Maybe Koreans should eat less ginseng.

UPDATE: There is a video of BBC interview with Mariko Oi and Haining Liu. Interesting that Mariko says that she actually felt vulnerable as a Japanese in Nanjing that if anybody asked she would pretend to be Korean. Actually I also know that she visited Korea and felt comfortable at wondered how similar and nice it was to be Korea as a Japanese..

UPDATE 2 : There is another BBC Newsnight interview of the Japanese ambassador and the Chinese ambassador by Jeremy Paxman. IN DIFFERENT ROOMS! Paxman walked from one room to the next!!! I guess the two Voldemorts cannot be in the same room otherwise anti-matter-matter collision might occur. They should make the same video as they did here between the loop quantum gravitist and string theorist..with Jeremy Paxman in a cleavage-revealing skirt ..I know that Korea shouldn’t be the shrimp between two whales but it’s funny that in both the first Mariko Oi video and the Ambassador’s video Korea is mentioned even though there’s not a Korean in sight.

  • chooNryusk

    At least somebody in Korea gets it.

    “Happy Valentines Day!”

    Love day was yesterday and this is what Korea thinks of love with Japan…

  • kaizenmx

    China is just gonna keep growing like Russia did back in 19th-20th century. There is no stopping them from growing bigger. If japan right wingers are so stuck up with their glorious past of raping and pillaging civilians in other countries, let them. I could care less if japan will end up enraging China just like what they are doing as of today. There is no way in flying fuck South Korea will side with japan. That’s just asking for trouble with China, plus pretty sure South Korean government couldn’t care less if japan continues sour relationships with Beijing.

  • GoingGone

    Fun fact about Japanese education:

    Japanese history after the 1870s is not mandatory for high school students. Japanese students literally have no idea what went on during their blood thirsty imperialistic war mongering days because its not even a required subject. The few students who do decide to take history during this time period are taught the heavily censored version(the one thats approved by right wing revisionists).

    This is the reason why so many of them believe they were the victims of WW2. Its the reason why they believe apologizing is unnecessary(they have no idea what they are apologizing for).

    Its also the reason why they DO NOT protest right wing politicians backtracking on past apologies and continue to elect them. Compare and contrast to German where it is mandatory for students to learn about Nazi atrocities and WW2.

  • redwhitedude

    China has a whole slew of issues domestically. They could blow up if the leadership is not careful.

  • Sumo294

    redwhitedude is correct–China has a lot of domestic problems that are just not reported on. Their economy will start to fatigue and that will increase their woes. The initial knowledge productivity injection is largely now over and its very obvious that the Mainlanders are unwilling for now to try to create an independent financial hub. The Russians–unlike your average Chinese–were very willing to die for the State and believed in a New World State and had a clear and present existing Enemy. The issues uniting China as of now is the belief the Chinese are surrounded by many potential enemies and the desire to rule Taiwan. Most Chinese just want to get rich.
    It is very hard to sum up how many Chinese think–one example–an office worker in Shanghai might publicly hate Americans but have a yearning to study at an American college and work for an American firm. He may hate the sight of the American flag but enjoys talking to and eating dinner with American colleagues. He may vaguely hate all Japanese but he really truly despises the racist northern Beijing Mandarin dialect speaking Chinese man. He accepts he is Chinese but only loves his parents and feels a vague affinity for hometown.

  • cckerberos

    That’s not really true.

    You’re right that Japanese high school students are not required to study Japanese history after the 1870s. The truth is, they’re not required to study Japanese history before the 1870s, either. They have to take one course in world history and one course in either Japanese history or geography.

    The problem with your conclusions is that, even accepting the somewhat bizarre conclusion that only a few Japanese students choose to study Japanese history (geography is that awesome, huh?), WWII is covered in the world history course they have to take and they also have to study 20th century Japanese history in junior high school.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    Two more very interesting BBC video updates..I’ve also put it in the post at the end:

    Mariko Oi and Haining Liu:

    JP ambassador CHN ambassador separately interviewed by Jeremy Paxman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbLaPRh71Tc

  • DC Musicfreak

    Where is China going to grab all the land that Russia did to “grow” in the 19th century? Russia’s still quite backward today (although a regional menace), so if I thought your analogy held I wouldn’t worry too much. I see China as heading toward the classic “middle income trap” and the stagnation we’ve seen in Japan since the early 1990s, at a much lower per capita standard of living.

  • Sumo294

    I don’t think they will hit that “middle income trap” quite yet–as they have been astute enough to avoid social health care. I believe their worker productivity issues will begin to be unmasked–their immense labor pools of cheap internal labor will dry up within a decade. The FTA deals will maintain growth for the foreseeable future. I do not believe they will be able to stem corruption–and many of their rich will continue to leave or hedge their wealth into financial havens.

  • DC Musicfreak

    The middle income trap has little to do with social health care (which in any case China is trying to rebuild) and is as you note a function of worker productivity falling off as wages rise. IMHO, unless the character of the PRC regime changes dramatically for the better, the world may be better off with a China that stalls.

  • Dan Strickland

    Interesting essay as usual, Yuna. And as usual, I’ve learned a bit more language – your understanding of 애증 is one I’d not heard before.

  • Sumo294

    Medicaid as of now is thirty percent of the US budget–contrast that to the US military budget of about 5.8 percent of GDP. Social medicine has a lot to do with productivity. Nobody knows yet what Obamacare will end up costing the US. Just servicing the interest on US debt is about 6.8 percent of the US budget. The Chinese understand their problems–they just don’t have a clue on how to fix their political malaise without risking an all out meltdown.

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  • Koreandumbdumb

    These are just steps down toward war and destruction. There are lots of garbage along the way, PGH, Abe, Xi, and more to come. Just another name and another fool. The history marches on toward a war and death. No one can rescue Korean people. No, the opposite. PGH, for example, has no idea what to do. Koreans have no idea how to behave either. Just stepping toward war and death. After few decades later, historians will wonder why Koreans did not overturn the wartime command. Koreans bite the hand that protected them. They do not even know what Rho did. At the end of next year, the US just become a helper, not the main player in the defense of Korea. A kind of onlooker who may or may not help SK defend itself. Most Koreans have no idea!

  • Koreandumbdumb

    This is no time to argue about Kim Yuna deserve a gold medal or not. SK itself will disappear from the face of the earth within a decade or two. What matters when the country itself no longer exists!

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