The Ghost in the Shell movie that has come under criticism for “whitewashing” sounds like a pretty crappy movie, but this is what some Japanese actresses had to say after watching it:
Yoshihara: People in Japan worship white people.
Kato-Kiriyama: Even in the story, there are Japanese people involved in creating these beings and they also may very well see the ideal human being as a white woman. So you’re sort of messed up all the way around.
Agena: Yes! I felt more messed up watching this movie. It reinforced my own personal messed-up standards of physical beauty.
Okatsuka: This is an important conversation to have.
Yoshihara: Even my ex-boyfriend, who is Asian-American, said, “What Asian lady has a body like Scarlett Johansson?”
Agena: There are certain priorities there.
Okatsuka: It’s this weird thing where Asian-Americans or Asian nationals living here like me, working in film, are fighting both our motherland and white producers here. We’re walking this in-between where I scream at Hollywood but I’m also like, “Why’d you do that, Japan?!” Et tu, Brute, on both sides.
Yoshihara: Japanese people are self-loathing.
Okatsuka: Is it crazy that suicide rates are so high in Japan?
Yoshihara: Even my sister committed suicide. That’s how many people commit suicide in Japan. That’s how messed up it is. [Hollywood Reporter]
You can read much more at the link.
Labor activists unveil the model of a statue symbolizing Korean laborers forcibly taken abroad by the imperialist Japan during World War II at the Yongsan Station Square in western Seoul on April 6, 2017. They called for the government to allow them to set up the statue at the square on the Aug. 15 Independence Day. Early this year, the nation’s two largest umbrella labor unions unsuccessfully tried to establish the statue there on the March 1 Independence Movement Day. The government disapproved the demand, saying the square is state land. Up to 1.4 million Koreans are estimated to have been forced to work at coal mines, factories and construction sites abroad from 1939-45, when Korea was a Japanese colony. (Yonhap)
The Sea of Japan/East Sea issue has come back up again:
Shortly after North Korea’s ballistic missile launch on Wednesday, the U.S. military issued a statement that may add to the anger of Koreans over the naming of the waters between the peninsula and Japan.
In a five-paragraph document posted on its website, the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), headquartered in Hawaii, confirmed the North’s firing of a missile, saying it flew nine minutes before falling into the “Sea of Japan.”
Almost simultaneously, the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) here uploaded a statement on its own homepage with mostly the same content.
The only differences were the time, as PACOM’s version is based on Hawaii time and the USFK’s notes Korean standard time, and the name of the waters, which Koreans call the East Sea.
The USFK’s statement said the missile landed in “waters East of the Korean Peninsula.”
Some South Korean journalists stationed at the defense ministry’s press room complained about PACOM’s use of the Sea of Japan alone in the official document directly involving Korea and read by many people in the key regional ally. [Yonhap]
You can read the rest at the link, but USFK admitted they modified the naming in their statement which makes sense since their statement is directed more towards a Korean audience. PACOM on the other hand makes statements directed towards a regional audience that includes Japan, so of course they are going to use the internationally recognized naming convention for the body of water between the two countries which is the Sea of Japan.
Look who is back in town:
Tokyo’s top envoy to South Korea returned to Seoul Tuesday, nearly three months after he was called in home due to diplomatic friction over a girl statue symbolizing the victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery of Korean women.
Japanese Ambassador to Seoul Yasumasa Nagamine tells reporters that he plans to strongly request for the implementation of the Korea-Japan agreement to resolve the so-called comfort women issue after he arrives at the Gimpo International Airport Tuesday evening nearly three months after being recalled to Tokyo. [YONHAP]
The Japanese government recalled Amb. Yasumasa Nagamine in January in protest over the statue that civic groups erected in front of its consulate in the southern port city of Busan.
The Japanese ambassador arrived at Gimpo International Airport shortly before 10 p.m. Japanese Consul General in Busan Yasuhiro Morimoto, who was also recalled over the dispute, came back hours earlier.
Tokyo claimed that the statue built before its consulate, along with another one standing in front of its embassy in Seoul, runs counter to a landmark deal reached between the two countries in late 2015 to resolve the long-running rift over Japan’s atrocity of forcing Korean women into front-line brothels during World War II. [Joong Ang Ilbo]
You can read more at the link.
The yellow dust this year has been absolutely horrible in Korea and it seems to get worse every year:
Image from the Korea Herald.
Korean consumers’ concern about fine dust, which is believed to come from China, seems to be legitimate as confirmed by a report published Thursday in the peer-reviewed international journal Nature.
About 30,900 people in Korea and Japan die prematurely every year due to fine dust from China, according to the study jointly conducted by researchers in China’s Tsinghua and Peking universities, the University of British Columbia and the University of California, Irvine.
Analyzing the number of early deaths from heart, lung and blood vessel-related diseases and the density and movement of fine dust, the researchers found out that 411,100 people worldwide died prematurely due to fine dust from outside their countries.
The researchers especially pointed out that China, as the largest producer of fine dust particles, causes the greatest number of deaths because of the high population density of itself and its neighbors.
“It costs less to manufacture goods in places like China and Southeast Asia, mostly because those places have cheaper labor than the West,” Steven Davis, co-author of the paper, said. “But they also tend to have less stringent environmental protections.” [Korea Times]
You can read more at the link.
This does seem pretty stupid for the Japanese government to oppose this statue since it is sitting in a public park and not right in front of a Japanese embassy or consulate like we have seen in Korea. How would the Japanese public feel if the US launched a lawsuit to take down statues remembering atomic bombing victims?:
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce places a bouquet on a bench next to the bronze comfort woman statue in Glendale, California, in January 2014. / Korea Times file
The U.S. Supreme Court has dismissed Japanese government efforts to remove from California a “comfort women” statue that symbolizes victims of Japan’s sexual slavery during World War II.
The court on Monday decided not to review the case brought by U.S. plaintiffs who were supported by the Japanese government. It ended Japan’s three-year bid to remove the statue. U.S. politicians involved in the case and civil rights groups applauded the decision.
Glendale’s comfort woman statue is the first erected outside Korea.
U.S. Republican Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Japan Times: “By remembering the past, including the women who suffered immensely, we help ensure these atrocities are never committed again. [Korea Times]
You can read more at the link.
A protester expresses her objection to a 2015 Seoul-Tokyo landmark deal to settle the issue of elderly Korean women who were sex slaves for Japanese troops during World War II, as she takes part in a rally in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul on March 22, 2017, to support the former “comfort women.” (Yonhap)