Why Do South Koreans Hate the Japanese So Much?

Here is an interesting theory on why South Koreans hate the Japanese so much:

Korean school children draw anti-Japanese pictures to post at a subway station.

If South Korea can only weakly legitimate itself through democracy, and with race-nationalism so powerful, Seoul must go head-to-head with Pyongyang over who is the best custodian of the minjok and its glorious 5000 year history. This is a tussle South Korea cannot win, not only because of the North’s mendacious willingness to falsify history, but South Korea’s Westernized culture, massive U.S. presence, rising multiculturalism leading to mixed race citizens, and so on.

The North’s purer minjok nationalism will always have resonance in the South, where for a generation former dictator Park Chung Hee invoked race for legitimacy, 10% of the public voted for an openly pro-North Korean party in the last parliamentary election, and the main left-wing party has consistently equivocated on whether the U.S. represents a greater threat to South Korea than North Korea does.

Enter Japan, then, as a useful ‘other’ to South Korea, in the place that really should be held by North Korea. All Koreans, north and south, right and left, agree that the colonial take-over was bad. The morality of criticizing Japan is undisputed, whereas criticizing North Korea quickly gets tangled up in the ‘who-can-out-minjok-who’ issues raised above.   [The National Interest]

I recommend reading the whole article at the link, but likewise the anti-Japanese hatred is irrational when compared to the Chinese as well.  The Chinese are actively conducting anti-Korean initiatives because of the THAAD issue, have a territorial dispute with Korea, are the chief benefactor of North Korea, a country committed to the destruction of the ROK, and China was the last country to invade the ROK and nearly destroyed it during the Korean War.  Heck the Chinese embassy even sent protestors into the streets of Seoul to beatdown Koreans during the Olympic torch protest.

Despite all of this, hatred is directed towards the Japanese who should be a natural geopolitical ally.  I have always believed that the persistent anti-Japanese sentiment and rotating bouts of anti-US sentiment is because South Koreans know they can protest both countries without repercussions.  As the current THAAD dispute shows the Chinese government does not sit idly by without retaliating against Korea, likewise for North Korea.  If South Koreans push North Korea too much a ROK ship may get sunk or artillery rounds may land in the ROK.  Protest Japan or the United States and little to nothing happens.  That makes both countries easy targets to direct Korean nationalism towards especially for domestic political reasons.

I don’t expect this dynamic to change unless South Koreans are put into a position where they have to forgive and forget with Japan for national security reasons.  As long as the US-ROK alliance this is something Koreans do not have to worry about.

Japanese Kindergarten Accused of Promoting Hate of Korea and China

What this Japanese Kindergarten is doing is wrong, but South Korea has little creditability to complain considering the anti-Japanese hatred taught to kids in their country:

Screen shot from Tsukamoto Kindergarten’s website. / Yonhap

Tsukamoto Kindergarten, a preschool in Osaka city, Japan, is being investigated for allegedly handing out flyers containing hate speech against Koreans living in Japan and against Chinese people, Kyodo News reported on Thursday.

“Korean residents in Japan and Chinese people are devious,” read the flyer that the kindergarten allegedly distributed.

Kyodo News also pointed out that the flyer called Chinese people “shinajin,” a derogatory term.

The kindergarten is known to have sent out flyers in December 2016, criticizing Korean residents in Japan.

“The problem is that people, who are Korean at heart, reside in Japan as Japanese,” read the flyer.

The school has previously been criticized for making students memorize the “Imperial Edict on Education,” used during Japan’s imperial rule of other countries.

During a field day in 2015, the school also allegedly made students take an oath blaming Korea and China for making Japan a malevolent nation.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link, but the Osaka government has sent a warning to the school to stop their anti-Korea and China activities.  Has the Korean government ever warned any of their schools to stop anti-Japanese activities?

Korean school children post anti-Japanese art at a subway station.

President Trump and PM Abe Appear to Have Developed Strong Relationship

It looks like out of the all the world leaders so far that have interacted with President Trump, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seems to be the one that has developed the best relationship with him so far:

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe arrive ahead of his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

With a hug and a handshake, President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe opened a new chapter in U.S.-Japan relations on Friday with Trump abruptly setting aside campaign pledges to force Tokyo to pay more for U.S. defense aid.

The two leaders appeared to have established a quick friendship during a day of talks at the White House and a flight together aboard Air Force One to Florida for a weekend of golf.

At a joint news conference with Abe, Trump avoided repeating harsh campaign rhetoric that accused Japan of taking advantage of U.S. security aid and stealing American jobs.

It was a welcome affirmation for Japan in the face of challenges such as China’s maritime expansion and North Korea’s nuclear and missile development.

“We are committed to the security of Japan and all areas under its administrative control and to further strengthening our very crucial alliance,” Trump said. “The bond between our two nations and the friendship between our two peoples runs very, very deep. This administration is committed to bringing those ties even closer,” he added.

A joint U.S.-Japanese statement said the U.S. commitment to defend Japan through nuclear and conventional military capabilities is unwavering.

The statement amounted to a victory for Abe, who came to Washington wanting to develop a sense of trust and friendship with the new U.S. president and send a message that the decades-old alliance is unshakeable.

Japan got continued U.S. backing for its dispute with Beijing over islands in the East China Sea that China also claims. The statement said the two leaders affirmed that Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan security treaty covered the islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.  [Reuters]

You can read more at the link.

Secretary Mattis Confirms that US Will Help Japan Defend Senkaku Islands

Will we one day execute Operation Senkaku Freedom?  According to Secretary Mattis we will if the uninhabited islets are ever occupied by China:

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis walks with Japanese Minister of Defense Tomomi Inada during a pass and review at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis chastised China on Saturday for “shredding the trust” of its neighbors, while reaffirming that the United States would defend Japan-administered islands claimed by China if they were ever attacked.

Mattis also praised the current cost-sharing agreement for hosting U.S. bases in Japan as a “model agreement,” despite comments by President Donald Trump during his campaign that Japan and South Korea were not paying enough for hosting U.S. troops.

In 2013, China declared an Air Defense Identification Zone over the uninhabited Senkaku Islands, which lie near Okinawa prefecture and Taiwan.

Japanese and Chinese fighter jets regularly overfly the uninhabited territory. Coast guard and other vessels have shadowed one another in nearby waters.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link.

Poll Shows Japanese Citizens Do Not Want to Pay More for US Forces

I am surprised this poll showed 5% of people wanting to pay more to keep US forces in Japan.  It will be interesting to see what this number is whenever a similar poll in Korea is done:

A C-5M Super Galaxy arrives at Yokota Air Base, Japan, last year. A Nikkei poll taken this past weekend found that 57 percent of Japanese favored maintaining spending on U.S. bases at current levels, while 30 percent said Japan is spending too much. YASUO OSAKABE/U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO

Japanese citizens do not want to pay more for hosting U.S. military personnel and are now more likely to predict a downturn in bilateral relations, according to a Nikkei poll released Monday.

The survey taken this past weekend found that 57 percent of Japanese favored maintaining spending on U.S. bases at current levels, while 30 percent said Japan is spending too much. Five percent said Japan should spend more, the poll said.

Japan pays an average of 189.3 billion yen — or between $1.65 billion and $1.95 billion, depending on currency exchange rates — per year to support U.S. bases in the country as part of a five-year deal signed in 2015.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link.

Japan Signaling It May Want Its Own THAAD System As Well

It looks like Japan is thinking of introducing their own THAAD system as well:

Japan’s Kyodo news agency reports the government may be following in South Korea’s footsteps on deploying U.S.-provided THAAD missile defense.

Kyodo says Tokyo will soon set up a THAAD review committee to examine the system in detail.

Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada visited a THAAD unit on Guam Friday and was briefed by U.S. officials.

She says there’s no concrete plan to introduce THAAD quite yet, but warns that North Korea’s missile and nuclear development has entered what she calls a new phase.  [KBS World Radio]

Japanese Coast Guard Rescues 26 North Koreans from Sinking Ship

According to the article the ship was transporting rice from North Korea’s west coast to its east coast.  I wonder if there was anything else was on the ship?:

Twenty-six North Koreans have been handed over to a North Korean tanker after being pulled from a sinking cargo ship off the coast of Japan late Wednesday.

The Japanese Coast Guard (JCG) went to the rescue after receiving a distress signal from the ship, which had run into difficulties off Japan’s Kyushu Prefecture, 38 miles (61 kilometers) southwest of the Goto Islands, a spokesman said.
The crew members spent a short time in Japanese custody before being collected by a tanker to take them back to North Korea.  [CNN]
You can read more at the link.