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Japanese web newspaper returns fire over Korean daily's abrasive editorial

19 Comments

On Sept 25, the influential Korean-language daily newspaper Chosun Ilbo ran an op-ed in its "Reflections of Nature" column titled "The desecration of national flags." Its author was senior editorial writer Park He-Hyon.

The article, which appeared in Japanese and Chinese translations on the Chosun Ilbo's website, was accompanied by a cartoon of a man wearing a "hachimaki" (head band) emblazoned with characters that mean "Il Guk U" (Japan's extreme right), stomping on a representation of South Korea's "Taegukgi" (national flag), in which the black trigrams are made to appear as bugs.

Park was inspired to write the piece following anti-Korean demonstrations in June and July by rightists in Japan, who stomped on South Korea's "Taegukgi" (national flag). At a demonstration last November, rightists gave similar treatment to a Russian flag outside the Russian embassy in Azabu.

The op-ed notes that some countries, such as Denmark, have laws making it a crime to burn or deface national flags (although not its own flag) so as to avoid "worsening of foreign relations."

"Japan has a similar law, but for a long time extreme rightist groups have defied it, openly defacing foreign flags," Park writes.

Internet newspaper J-Cast News (Sept 27) took objection with wording of the Chosun Ilbo piece, which among other things alleged that the Japanese rightists had described the four sets of black trigrams on the corners of Korea's flag -- which stand for justice, fruition, wisdom, and vitality -- as "resembling cockroaches" and suggested the rightists regard Korean people with the contempt normally reserved for such bugs.

The rightists also were also alleged to have described the red and blue "taeguk" (yin-yang) symbol at the flag's center as being the "Pepsi-Cola logo" (which it resembles slightly), and proceeded to stomp it underfoot.

"This behavior," wrote Park, "evokes images from Shusaku Endo's novel 'Silence,' in which Japanese Christians in the 17th century were persecuted by being made to tread on an image of Jesus Christ, called a "fumi-e." Christian samurai who refused to stamp on the fumi-e were executed on the spot.

"I wonder," wrote Park, "if this instinctive sadism in which pleasure is derived from such actions, still flows in the genes of some Japanese. Even when countries engage in disputes, the presence or lack of values that call for treating an adversary with decency represent the final thread that should definitely be maintained."

Park then closes by writing: "From the past the Japanese culture has had many 'ryoki-teki' (bizarre or perverse) and 'kaiki-teki' (grotesque) elements, but at present the whole Japanese archipelago seems to be metamorphosing further into some sort of enormous insect."

Needless to say, J-Cast News is not amused.

"Rather than a first-class newspaper representing South Korea on the Internet," J-Cast counters, "this is the kind of contents that even third-class gossip rags don't run. Our sense of having been struck dumb over this continues to grow."

On Sept 24, the same Chosun Ilbo had reported that some 200 Japanese rightists had held an anti-Korean demonstration in Ginza, at which time they had shouted "We won't stand for Korean demands that the Emperor apologize," "Kill Koreans" and other inflammatory slogans.

Despite the Chosun Ilbo's position, a large number of photos and videos showing demonstrating Koreans who behave in a similar fashion have been posted on the Internet, following which numerous posters comment about the irony of Japan being criticized when desecration of national flags appears to be "one of Korea's special techniques."

In response to Park's column, readers have posted such comments on the site as "Aren't you [Koreans] actually referring to yourselves?"; "Substitute 'Korea' for 'Japan' in the text, and you've described the whole thing perfectly"; and "The real source of infection is that you feel no shame over what you've written."

A final footnote: While the original Korean editorial was translated into both Japanese and Chinese, readers of Chosun Ilbo's English site appear to have been spared a translation.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

19 Comments
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That's bizarre- desecrating the Japanese flag seems to be a very popular pastime in Korea. When I was there a few years ago I saw people in a demonstration throwing eggshells full of red paint at a Japanese flag and have seen flags getting similar treatment from Koreans on the news here countless times. How can the newspaper criticise Japanese extremists for doing exactly the same thing that their own activists regularly do?

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Get used to it Japan. You may have convinced yourselves that you are perfect unique special world citizens without a blemish, but other countries can print whatever they want in their newspapers.

Freedom of the press is useless if you have a tizzy anytime somebody writes something you don't like.

Unless Japan wants to join the Islamofascists in calling for a restriction on free speech.

-9 ( +4 / -14 )

Apsara, Japanese does this everytime. Blame Korea for everything, even their war crimes.

-12 ( +3 / -15 )

"Park was inspired to write the piece following anti-Korean demonstrations in June and July by rightists in Japan, who stomped on South Korea’s “Taegukgi” (national flag). At a demonstration last November, rightists gave similar treatment to a Russian flag outside the Russian embassy in Azabu."

What??? But Ossan said this never happens!

Anyway, the Chosun Ilbo's response is a microcosm of the Japanese response in general -- pretend to play the highroad and then resort to the same thing you condemn, but quietly.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

That's bizarre- desecrating the Japanese flag seems to be a very popular pastime in Korea. When I was there a few years ago I saw people in a demonstration throwing eggshells full of red paint at a Japanese flag and have seen flags getting similar treatment from Koreans on the news here countless times. How can the newspaper criticise Japanese extremists for doing exactly the same thing that their own activists regularly do?

Hypocritical of them, isn't it? But stomping and throwing eggshells aren't the only things Koreans do to flags. They also try eating them.

http://www.who-sucks.com/people/the-exciting-world-of-south-korean-protests

1 ( +5 / -4 )

gaijinfoSep. 30, 2012 - 09:40AM JST Freedom of the press is useless if you have a tizzy anytime somebody writes something you don't like.

Clearly you don't understand free speech. A Korean newspaper published an article, the Japanese newspaper published a rebuttal. That's free speech.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Genjuro, like this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-EAso-E_Dk

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Ones as bad/stupid as the other

10 ( +10 / -0 )

I think the references to Japan being "sadistic," "bizarre" and "grotesque" mean that the Korean writer has formed his opinions after perusing too many Japanese adult manga and adult videos.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Clearly you don't understand free speech. A Korean newspaper published an article, the Japanese newspaper published a rebuttal. That's free speech.

And I posted a comment on a message board. Another shining example of the free speech that I don't understand.

The J-rebuttal,

this is the kind of contents that even third-class gossip rags don’t run

suggests that the original content is BELOW the level of the free speech afforded to mainstream newspapers.

He didn't argue with their point, which is what a rebuttal does, he attacked the very nature of the content, insinuating that it wasn't up to "free speech" standards.

It's the standard Internet logic:

Person 1: I believe X

Person 2: You're an idiot.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I don't know what's worse, Japanese description of Korean flags as roaches or the Chinese and Taiwanese people description of Japanese flag as a used tampon.

I mean , I can't tell that those lines are roaches. They are just wiggly lines to me. But for the Japanese flag on the other hand, and I don't mean no disrespect but one does wonder. If you are the land of the rising sun, maybe include the land at the bottom or some sun rays... Just red dot on white... and when people who dislikes you make that inference, if given another context, they are not wrong either. Let's just say your flag gives people who hate you lots of laughs and it really doesn't take much to do it either. I'm just saying.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

Is this kind of garbage even worthy of a post on JT?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

CalmeB

I'm just saying.

Sometimes It's better to hold the thought.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Gaijinfo

It's the standard Internet logic:

Person 1: I believe X

Person 2: You're an idiot.

No, that is not the case here. Here, it's this:

Widely discredited J person: Koreans are all cockroaches.

Formerly respectable K person: Well Japanese are all sick.

Still respectable J person: Hey, I thought you were supposed to be respectable! I guess not.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

One word to describe this scenario: Hypocrisy. Disparaging the desecration of the Korean flag without reflecting on how many times the Korean people burn flags (Japanese, American, Chinese, etc.) then calling stereotyping a culture as sick. No wonder there is no English translation. The writer ought to be ashamed.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Sourpuss, its call free speech, something you Japanese don't quite yet understand after all these years. But what can I expect from a culture of salarymen.

And everything I said is the truth, you people just can't handle it. Don't believe me, get a girlfriend and have her show you during her MS. Tell me that doesn't look similar to your flag. At least, that's what those pictorials on goggle news seems to depict. Maybe your own media blocks them out for whatever reasons. Again, I'm just saying, its public information.

-13 ( +0 / -13 )

“I wonder,” wrote Park, “if this instinctive sadism in which pleasure is derived from such actions, still flows in the genes >of some Japanese. Even when countries engage in disputes, the presence or lack of values that call for treating an >adversary with decency represent the final thread that should definitely be maintained.”

Extremists will be extremists everywhere but this kind of over-generalization just reflects very poorly on the author and is indeed a total lack of judgement from the publication. Isn't that what the J-Cast News suggested? Why even spend time reading it in the first place?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Both Koreans and Japanese need to relax! While, or should I write whilst?? Any way, all our readers will surely understand the deeper meaning here is that CHINA is enjoying the stupidity between SOUTH Korea and Japan! This is not the regular NORTH Korea, South Korea is also an enemy of China as is Japan, so 2 enemies of CHINA at each others throats of some stupid islands??? What a bargain! Let the fools in both SOUTH Korea and Japan fight, while Big Brother CHINA keeps making $$$ hand over fist!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If Japan has a law against defacing flags (and I don't think it should have one) it's a valid question to ask why the police do not enforce the law against the fascists?

Police persecution of communists is well documented, but they seem to allow the fascists to do as they please. Such bias should not be permitted; the police must enforce the law equitably, otherwise they deserve to be held in contempt by the people.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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