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.

Was North Korean Missile Launch In Response to Trump and Abe Meeting?

I think it is more than coincidence that the Kim regime decided to interfere with President Trump’s and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s golf game this weekend by firing off this missile:

This photo first released on Jan. 24, 2017, by North Korea’s state-run news organization, KCNA, shows a Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile being test-fired from a launcher in North Korea on June 22, 2016. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

Pyongyang fired a missile into waters off its eastern coast Sunday morning, the first test-firing by North Korea this year and since U.S. President Donald Trump took office, according to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Launched from Banghyon Air Base in North Pyongyan Province at 7:55 a.m., the missile reached an altitude of about 550 kilometers (342 miles) and flew 500 kilometers before splashing into the East Sea, both figures which indicate that it wasn’t an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), said an official from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

It appears that the missile was a Rodong medium-range class meant to target Japan, according to another South Korean military source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

The Rodong or Nodong missile is a missile developed primarily to target Japan which is further evidence that the Trump-Abe meeting this week is why they fired the missile when they did.  With that said it is important to keep things in perspective.  The Nodong is a missile they have fired plenty of times in the past and this test firing was on a known test trajectory that safely impacted in the Sea of Japan.  If it wasn’t for the fact that it was North Korea test firing this missile most people would not care.

Here is how President Trump and Prime Minister Abe responded during a hastily called news conference at Trump’s golf club:

United States President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have condemned North Korea’s latest missile launch.

United States President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have condemned North Korea’s latest missile launch.

Trump and Abe issued their statements on the North’s surprise ballistic missile launch on Sunday during an unscheduled joint news conference in Florida.

Abe said that North Korea’s most recent missile launch is absolutely intolerable, urging the North to fully comply with relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Trump said that he wants everybody to understand and fully know that the United States stands behind its great ally Japan 100 percent.  [KBS World]

Here is how the ROK has responded:

The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) denounced North Korea for its latest ballistic missile launch.

Following North Korea’s missile launch Sunday morning, the JCS issued a statement, calling the military action a “grave threat to peace and safety of South Korea and the international community.”

The JCS warned that the Kim Jong-un regime will only see its collapse unless it wakes up from the delusion of nuclear and missile provocations.

The JCS said the missile launch is unacceptable and the military is prepared to immediately respond to any North Korean provocation.

The South Korean military stressed that the missile launch came in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.  [KBS World]

I think the response was handled well by everyone because on the scale of North Korean provocations this is very low and people should not over react to it in my opinion which so far no one is appearing to do.

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.

Former Marine Claims He Accidentally Murdered Japanese Woman He Tried to Rape

Here is the latest development in the horrible rape and murder case on Okinawa by a former Marine turned base contract worker:

Rina Shimabukuro is seen in an image from a Fuji Television broadcast. Kenneth Franklin Gadson, a former Marine working as a civilian at Kaden Air Base, Okinawa, has been charged with murder and rape resulting in death in the slaying of the 20-year-old local woman.

A former U.S. base worker will admit to a charge of rape leading to the death of a Japanese woman last year, a new development in the case that rocked the tiny island prefecture and led to a surge in anti-American sentiment.

Kenneth Franklin Gadson, a former Marine who worked as a civilian at a Kadena Air Base cable and internet company, said through his attorneys that he killed Rina Shimabukuro, 20, while attempting to rape her, according to Naha District Court documents filed Friday.

“We do not dispute the charge of rape resulting in death,” the documents said, adding that Gadson admits to striking Shimabukuro on the head from behind while attempting to rape her. “As a result, the victim died … The defendant had no murderous intent, therefore we dispute the charge of murder.”

Gadson, who also goes by his Japanese wife’s surname of Shinzato, has maintained that he did not actually rape Shimabukuro.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read the rest at the link, but it appears Gadson has some serious mental issues as well.  The bottom line is whatever his intentions and mental state was, he murdered this woman and should be spending a long time in a Japanese jail because of it.

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.