Picture of the Day: Anti-Japan Protest In South Korea

Rally against Seoul-Tokyo deal over comfort women

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)

With Park Out, Japan Comfort Women Agreement Could Be Next to Go

The below article once again uses the term that Japan has not given a “sincere apology” for its transgressions during World War II, but I have yet to see these critics demand that China apologize for their transgressions during the Korean War that killed millions of Koreans and ensured the continued division of the country.  The same Chinese government is now actively trying to economically punish the country for defending itself from the Kim regime the Chinese continue to back.  Despite all of this just one guy can be found protesting outside the Chinese embassy while critics can’t wait to end a security deal with Japan that enhances the ROK’s security:

Calls are expected to mount for reconsideration of former President Park Geun-hye’s controversial policies following her removal from power, Friday.

They include the county’s sex slavery deal with Japan, which has drawn strong protests from victims.

In accordance with the agreement in 2015 to resolve disputes over Tokyo’s sexual enslavement of Korean women during World War II, Japan offered 1 billion yen ($8.3 million) to give aid to the surviving victims of wartime sex slavery. But it still has faced strong objections from opposition parties and civic groups, arguing that Tokyo has yet to offer a sincere apology for its wrongdoings conducted during the 1910-1945 colonial rule of Korea.

The country’s leading presidential contenders, including Moon Jae-in from the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) and Seongnam Mayor Lee Jae-myung, have called for a reassessment of the accord.

The General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with Tokyo is one of the Park administration’s key policies that is likely to be reviewed.

The military intelligence-sharing pact — signed in November last year — has stirred up a strong backlash from opposition parties and civic groups, who accused the Park government of pushing for it despite the then growing calls for Park to step aside from all state affairs due to the corruption scandal involving Park and her long-time friend Choi Soon-sil.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

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.

Two Japanese Men Continue Search for Loved Ones Six Years After Tsunami

Here is a very sad story in the New York Times about two Japanese men who have searched for six years for their wife and daughter that were swept away by the 2011 tsunami.  Their search has now shifted to the ocean as they have increased their scuba training to look for bodies at sea:

Yasuo Takamatsu with his wife, Yuko, before her disappearance.

Yuko Takamatsu was somewhere in the sea off the coast of Japan. Two and a half years had passed since the tsunami, and no one had found her; but no one was really looking, either, except her husband, Yasuo Takamatsu, who loved her very much. Takamatsu first searched on land, at the bank where she vanished, and along the beaches of Onagawa, and in the forests in the mountains. After two and half years, in September 2013, when he still hadn’t found her, he turned to the sea.

He contacted the local dive shop, High Bridge, to ask about lessons. The dive instructor, Masayoshi Takahashi, led volunteers on dives to clean up tsunami debris along the coastline. Takahashi and his team had encountered bodies locked inside cars or drifting through the water. Takamatsu felt sure Takahashi would be the one to help him find Yuko. On the phone, he said, “Let’s just meet and talk about it.” At the shop, he confessed his plan. “At the age of 56,” he said, “the reason I’m actually interested in learning to dive is that I’m trying to find my wife in the sea.”  [New York Times]

You can read much more at the link.