lifestyle

The changing face of Shin-Okubo and decline of Korea Town

58 Comments
By KK Miller, RocketNews24

If you are looking for some Korean food while in Tokyo, the place to go is Shin-Okubo. The famed “Korea Town” in the middle of the metropolitan Tokyo area has served as a gathering place for fans of Korean TV dramas, K-pop music and Korean cuisine.

Sadly, though, what was once was a bustling consumer zone for people who loved all things Korean, though, has seen its fortunes decline in recent years, and there are a number of theories as to why.

Back in the early 2000s, many Japanese TV viewers loved Korean dramas. These gripping shows captivated audiences and helped fuel the popularity of Korean products and food all over Japan. The 2002 FIFA World Cup that was shared by Korea and Japan really cemented a partnership in modern popular culture that largely ignored the historical issues between the two countries.

The craze was a real boon to the two Korea Towns in Japan: Osaka’s Tsuruhashi and Tokyo’s Shin-Okubo. These two areas saw a huge influx of Korean restaurants and businesses that relied on the popularity of Korea to drive their sales. However, presently the relationship between the two countries has soured quite a bit due to political stands taken by each country’s leaders. Many Japanese news outlets mention former of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s unexpected visit to Takeshima/Dokdo in 2012 as one of the catalysts for their poor views of the country. These islands are a constant reminder of the tension that exists between the two countries, as both claim sovereignty over them.

As a number of other events have continued to sour relations, both Korea Towns have been feeling the squeeze. Shin-Okubo in particular is seeing a dramatic drop in visitors and sales. Famous Korean restaurants like Taishikan and Ozakkyo have shuttered their doors, while some restaurants that are still open state that they have seen their business drop by 30%. Around 70 shops in the area have closed up, including the well-known Hankyu Department Store, which has been replaced by a duty-free store aimed at Chinese shoppers.

The great number of business closures in the area means ample opportunity for other enterprises to swoop in and capitalize on the familiar territory. Recently there have been many restaurants and grocery stores that cater to halal food in Shin-Okubo resulting in an area being labeled as Isuramu Yokocho (Islam Alley). However, that is the nature of commercial ventures, trends will rise and fall and it’s up to savvy entrepreneurs to stay on top of the current trends.

If you read about the declining businesses in Shin-Okubo, you may hear the rise of "kenkan" (a hatred of things Korean) as one the reasons. However, when this same information was reported to Korean Internet users, they offered some other theories for the decline.

“Really? Is the problem only 'kenkan?' When people study abroad in Tokyo, they will understand. There was an issue of labor exploitation carried out by Shin-Okubo’s Korean managers. They will understand that the enemy of Koreans is other Koreans.”

“I live close to Shin-Okubo, but there aren’t many 'kenkan' demonstrations here. The restaurants closed because they are expensive and not that delicious. This 'kenkan' problem is just an excuse.”

“I live in Osaka, I’ve never been discriminated against just because I’m Korean. I have to be more careful of how I’m treated by other Koreans.”

These are widely differing opinions on the decline of Shin-Okubo, and perhaps the real reason lies somewhere in the middle. We can only hope that the continuing escalation of problems between the two nations can find a resolution and we can all go back to celebrating each other’s culture.

Source: Focus-Asia

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- From garbage to gourmet: Six famous spots in Osaka that people in Tokyo don’t know exist -- Koreans angry as iPhone’s new iOS 7 displays disputed islands as Japanese territory -- Our Japanese reporter shares three interesting revelations he had after studying Korean

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58 Comments
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You know it could be because of the ease in going directly to Korea now a days. LCC's have made it convenient to go to the source. There has been a huge increase in Korean tourists to Okinawa, and vice versa.

One other thing not even mentioned is the fickle Japanese consumer, if the product is good, they WILL buy. Maybe something wrong with the owners and how they did business, expecting to make a killing and then realizing the market here is demanding.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Back in the early 2000s, many Japanese TV viewers loved Korean dramas. These gripping shows captivated audiences and helped fuel the popularity of Korean products and food all over Japan.

The early 2000s was really the heyday of warming Japan-South Korean relations. Unfortunately, nationalist groups and politicians on both sides of the Sea of Japan intentionally put and end to that trend. I'm just amazed at how easily and readily swayed citizens of both countries are to rallying cries of their own politicians. Where is the outrage among citizens toward their own reckless governments?

Many Japanese news outlets mention former of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s unexpected visit to Takeshima/Dokdo in 2012 as one of the catalysts for their poor views of the country.

This is extremely one-sided and disingenuous on the part of the Japanese media. They make it sound like President Lee suddenly, inexplicably and out of nowhere went to the islets, conveniently leaving out events leading up to the visit.

April 2012 — Ishihara said he wanted Tokyo to purchase the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands on behalf of Japan August 2012 — President Lee visited Takeshima/Dokdo.

Although we have Ishihara to thank for getting the ball rolling, overall it has been a vicious tit-for-tat circle of provocative statements and actions on both sides — Ishihara and other nationalists/politicians and those of President Lee and other South Korean nationalists/politicians — eventually leading up to Lee's ill-advised visit. And after Abe became Prime Minister in December 2012, relations soured significantly more.

There is lots of blame on nationalists of both sides for doing serious damage to positive Japan-South Korean relations.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Japan doesn’t have laws banning hate speech or protecting non-Japanese against discrimination. Few years ago, when an anti-Korean protest was held in Shin-Okubo, a neighborhood with many ethnic Koreans and immigrants, counter-protesters showed up to support their Korean neighbors. Japan could be doing a lot more to protect minorities and foster a more friendly environment for foreigners. Those who don't speak Japanese may be unaware how racist assumptions are regularly thrown around in casual everyday conversation. If you are a Korean or Chinese living in Japan and being interviewed by someone for a job, a question might conclude with "and is that why your country is so backward?" In most cases, no-one else in the room will bat an eyelid and nobody will intervene. Such statements are just part of everyday normal conversation in Japan where the underlying assumption that Japan does everything better than every other country is, in certain circles and among certain people, never far from the surface.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

...racist assumptions are regularly thrown around in casual everyday conversation. If you are a Korean or Chinese living in Japan and being interviewed by someone for a job, a question might conclude with "and is that why your country is so backward?" In most cases, no-one else in the room will bat an eyelid and nobody will intervene. Such statements are just part of everyday normal conversation in Japan...

@sfjp330

You make a very good point that these sorts of statements are overwhelmingly acceptable and nearly ubiquitous — which is a sad fact of life in Japan, but certainly not limited only to Korean and Chinese people (although admittedly particularly these days they get considerably more of this sort of treatment than some other nationalities). This is also a drawback to learning Japanese in that when you know the language as a non-Japanese person you are no longer blissfully unaware of this sort of statement.

Anyway, I definitely hear significantly more inappropriate statements regarding Chinese and Korean people than I did in the early 2000s. I'm sure the same is true on the other side of the Sea of Japan as well. Little do they seem to realize, or care, how badly they make themselves look in the eyes of others when they make these statements.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

This neighborhood is always in flux. When I first arrived, it was filled with Japanese day laborers and sex workers. Then a hangout for Filipinos and some other SE Asians in the 90s. Then Koreans.

My bet is next will be Vietnamese or Chinese setting up shop.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

there is a simple reason why these shops are shuttering: like any boom, or wave, there is a peak and then a slow decline. people just naturally move on from things that they are really interested in. there was a massive build up in the area, and there were just too many shops being opened. they all couldn't have survived.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

My theory: People realized Korean food is just not that tasty. Everything is red, and tastes the same. Gyu-kaku has also made Korean BBQ a bit more affordable, and Korean restaurants abound, like, on every street. So no need to schlep all the way to Shin-Okubo for what you can basically get around the corner - if you're into all that red stuff.

-9 ( +8 / -17 )

Jalapeno: you obviously have not had much Korean food if your takeaway is "everything is red, and tastes the same" What a narrow minded view to have.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Tokiyo - had lots of Korean food. Even went to Korea. Aside from that chicken soup thingy and some of those side dishes, everything else was red and tasted the same and exhausted me. Although, I dug the free kimchee.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Jalapeno: noodles? the little pancakes which you can wrap different vegetables in? Most of the banchan isn't spicy, sweet marinated meats, yukke, fish cakes....I mean the list goes on....

5 ( +6 / -1 )

There are people in Japan that still like korean pop culture, and saying that there is not keikan is a lie. But is coming from some people not everyone. So it is not a excuse it exists but then is not only Koreans but other kinds of foreigners too.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Still, my friends who love Korean dramas continue to watch them like every day and visit Korea at any chance they get. I would not say that there is not so much kenkan as a feeling of unease and unwillingness to go to places where you feel you might not be welcome. And the Japanese media have indeed contributed a lot to creating this feeling of uneasiness in the general Japanese public.

@Sfjp: If you are a Korean or Chinese living in Japan and being interviewed by someone for a job, a question might conclude with "and is that why your country is so backward?"

I would love to know if your comment based on your personal experience. I have three Korean friends who have been working for Japanese companies and while we sometimes talk about the difficulties for foreigners working in Japan, no one of them has ever mentioned being asked such questions.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I would not say that there is not so much kenkan

What's kenkan?

I have three Korean friends who have been working for Japanese companies and while we sometimes talk about the difficulties for foreigners working in Japan, no one of them has ever mentioned being asked such questions.

My point person for my biggest client, a muti-billion dollar company, is Zainichi Korean. I asked her one time when we were out drinking if she faced much discrimination when looking for a job. She said she did from a number of companies (she also said she felt this was a good way to determine quickly that she didn't want to work for those companies). I didn't ask her specifically what discrimination she faced, but it was pretty clear that she faced some.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Strangerland:

Kenkan is mentioned in the article above.

If you read about the declining businesses in Shin-Okubo, you may hear the rise of “kenkan” (a hatred of things Korean) as one the reasons. However, when this same information was reported to Korean Internet users, they offered some other theories for the decline.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Thanks, I missed that.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

eventually leading up to Lee's ill-advised visit.

Why? Dokdo is Korean territory. (Although if Japan negotiated over the Diaoyu islands in the ICJ, perhaps they might get a bit of leeway) It's unfortunate Shin-Okubo is declining

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

@strangerland:My point person for my biggest client, a muti-billion dollar company, is Zainichi Korean. I asked her one time when we were out drinking if she faced much discrimination when looking for a job. She said she did from a number of companies (she also said she felt this was a good way to determine quickly that she didn't want to work for those companies). I didn't ask her specifically what discrimination she faced, but it was pretty clear that she faced some.

Yes, discrimination (as perceived by many foreign residents here) does exist. Unwillingness to work with foreigners, choosing Japanese over foreign (Korean or Chinese in particular) counterparts, etc. I have seen this a lot. But I wonder how many of the Koreans and Chinese living and working in Japan have heard questions like "and is that why your country is so backward?"

3 ( +6 / -3 )

The article emphasizes discrimination of Koreans at the hand of other Koreans, something I'd never heard of. If any commentators have experienced such a phenomenon, I would be interested in learning.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I just do not find the food varied enough. Gets boring.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

The boom tends to get worn out very easily in Japan, so the decline in K-Pop boom seems to be a natual course of Japanese culture. TV idols or commedians or any kind of entertainers are consistantly disappearing one after another unless they have extraordinary talents or characteristics which cannot be immitated by others. As far as I've seen, Korean artists (i.e. actors, singers, dancers) look the same and sound the same, and K-Dramas simply follow the same story line. Audiences and consumers always like to see something new. I also do agree that Kenkan had somewhat contributed to the decline of K-Pop but I believe that is insignificant. If you live in Japan, you hardly ever find Kenkan in your daily life because the most of Japanese are not much interested in politics. Afterall, Japan is a tiny isolated island in East Asia so no need to worry about interacting with foreigners unless you work in global companies.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Sensato JUN. 15, 2015 - 09:25AM JST Anyway, I definitely hear significantly more inappropriate statements regarding Chinese and Korean people than I did in the early 2000s. I'm sure the same is true on the other side of the Sea of Japan as well.

These days, when Japan needs labor from overseas, properly protecting foreigner rights sends an important message that people are welcome here. In 2007, South Korea began enforcing the “Basic Act on Treatment of Foreigners Residing in Korea". It demands that national and local governments strive towards measures to prevent irrational cases of discrimination. This law is the result of strong demands for improvements in the human rights of foreigners, who are propping up South Korean society and economy.

Japan still has no fundamental law protecting the livelihood or rights of non-Japanese. There are thousands of cases of discrimination towards foreigners, a figure that is increasing year on year. However, even in cases determined to involve discrimination, the Japan Bureau only has the power to issue “explanations” (setsuji) or “warnings”, not redress measures. Many are deterred by lawsuits and the enormous investment of time, emotional energy, and money they demand. In the end, many people just put up with it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This article is completely biased, and attempts to turn the blame onto the Korean shops. I look at the source, and it figures, it's from Rocket24 News, a Japanese language blog source, headquartered in Tokyo.

Go ask all the Korean shops there and ask them why the area is in decline. They will tell you about the weekly hate marches that has gone on there since 2012. Any remaining Japanese who want to shop there, are scared off the area.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Maybe something wrong with the owners and how they did business, expecting to make a killing and then realizing the market here is demanding.

Japan is a tricky market. Despite their falling incomes, the people here haven't given up on their superior tastes they acquired during the property bubble lol.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@papi2013: They will tell you about the weekly hate marches that has gone on there since 2012. Any remaining Japanese who want to shop there, are scared off the area.

And you know that because... A) you live there and you have been witnessing the weekly marches first hand B) because you have talked with the Japanese who are scared to go there C) because you believe that everybody in Japan hates everything Korean despite the fact that you do not live here and have no way of getting first hand experience.

I think I know which is the right answer.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It's unfortunate Shin-Okubo is declining

This is exactly what the the ultra-nationalists want. Sad that in modern Japan, hate speeches, marches and stirred-up anti-korean sentiment can produce these results.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Jane, I lived in Shinjuku 7-chome. I can tell you that there were such marches from time to time. Definitely not every week. More like once every few months. There were also police at hand. The simple reason for the decline of Shin Okubo? The "hanryu boom" has gone. It's the same with anything in Japan. Japanese love new things. Most people are bored of k-food, k-pop, and k-dramas.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

If people want to argue about politics, then let them do it, but it becomes a problem when their hatred bleeds into non-political people's lives. People who are not political people and don't care about Korea and Japan shouldn't have to suffer when other people are fighting, keep them out of it. Now, I would also agree that maybe anti-korean sentiment has nothing to do with it, but it's got to affect it somehow, the question is to what degree

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

"The changing face of Shin-Okubo and decline of Korea Town"

Well, with regular hate-speech demonstrations, who will go there. Only in Japan, hate-speech demonstrations are legal and promoted. What a country with so many savages! Instead of deleting this posting, think about it.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

There were 358 anti Korean demonstrations that were held throughout Tokyo in 2014.

And this.

Citing a survey of some 900 Japanese citizens, the Korea Economic Daily reported in December that nearly 10 percent of them said they are satisfied with the quality of Korean products in general, but won't buy them because they were made in Korea.

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/culture/2014/02/386_152045.html

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

There are a few mentions (gripes, it seems) here about hate-speech and hate-based demonstrations being legal in Japan. That's fine - it ought to be legal. Freedom of speech means enduring the bad in order for the good to be protected. The answer to putting an end to such ignorant nonsense isn't for the government to police it more - it's for the average people on the street to put a stop to it when they hear it. The anti- hate-demonstraters who showed up in support of the Koreans against the racist anti-Korean demonstrators are the true heroes, and everyone ought to aim to emulate them, both in big and small ways. It's the people who do nothing and leave it up to the government to regulate that are allowing these problems to persist.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

There are a few mentions (gripes, it seems) here about hate-speech and hate-based demonstrations being legal in Japan. That's fine - it ought to be legal.

No, hate-speech should not be covered under free speech. Free speech has limitations. If you disagree, walk up to a police officer and tell them you are going to shoot them in the head. Or go start yapping off about a bomb in an airport. There are already exceptions to free speech, and hate speech should be part of those concessions.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

@Jalapeno: "People realized Korean food is just not that tasty. Everything is red, and tastes the same."

This sounds exactly like the Koreans who say "Take the raw fish and fried batter out of Japanese food, and what's left?"

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

slowguy2 - Yeah, I feel the same about Japanese food - miso, shoyu, and mirin in pretty much everything. Although, I think Japanese food has a bit more range than Korean. Is there a Korean version of kaiseki?

Anyway, I retract my statement about Korean food all being red. Only about 95% is red, or will be once you add kimchi or that red sauce - which most people do.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The anti- hate-demonstraters who showed up in support of the Koreans against the racist anti-Korean demonstrators are the true heroes

Those demonstrators are requesting Zaitoku ho (Koreans special privilege law) stripped. I don't think stopping the cause is the true heroes.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

tinawatanabe: Those demonstrators are requesting Zaitoku ho (Koreans special privilege law) stripped. I don't think stopping the cause is the true heroes.

Perhaps that's true in a few specific cases, but it's impossible to generalize all of them like that. There have been plenty of hate-based protests that were not so specifically political in nature, and people who stand up to that kind of general ignorance should be applauded.

Strangerland: No, hate-speech should not be covered under free speech. Free speech has limitations. If you disagree, walk up to a police officer and tell them you are going to shoot them in the head. Or go start yapping off about a bomb in an airport. There are already exceptions to free speech, and hate speech should be part of those concessions.

The examples you mentioned are specific, direct threats of murder, and there are rules against that which do not interfere with free speech. However, I don't see the connection between that and general hate speech. One's illegal. The other is disgusting. Both are morally bad, but they are not the same and should not be lumped together in terms of legal definitions.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The examples you mentioned are specific, direct threats of murder, and there are rules against that which do not interfere with free speech. However, I don't see the connection between that and general hate speech.

The point was that there are cases where other things take priority over free speech. Free speech is not absolute. There are conditions under which it is suspended.

One's illegal. The other is disgusting.

Both should be illegal.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

There have been plenty of hate-based protests that were not so specifically political in nature, and people who stand up to that kind of general ignorance should be applauded.

I don't see any hate-based protests (no such placards or voices on news), but even if there were, it would be much less hostile than the anti-Japan demonstrations Koreans do in Korea. Are you telling the Japanese people just endure their hostile demonstrations?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

tinawatanabe: Are you telling the Japanese people just endure their hostile demonstrations?

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. It's a sign of maturity to be attacked or disrespected, and not return that action. Would you tell a child "If someone says something bad about you, just walk away and ignore them"? Or would you tell a child "If someone says something bad about you, immediately say bad things about that person in return"?

Strangerland: Both should be illegal.

Why?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Why?

Because inciting hatred of people based on ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation etc. should not be allowed in a civilized society. It brings down the overall quality of the entire society, and is not something that should be tolerated.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I believe the most of Japanese find it very disturbing to see some of signs by ultra-rightwingers in demo, such as "Kill both good Koreans and bad Koreans", "Korea equals enemy, therefore, kill them", etc. At the same time, some of counter-protesters (Racist Kick-ass Squad) sticking their middle fingers, shouting F-words, and the presence of Yakuza with violent behaviors are also very disturbing too. I guess both anti-Korean and anti-racist parties scared off people who just happen to come shopping in Shin-Okubo district. In that sense, the objective of anti-Korean party was fulfilled regardless of what the anti-racist party intended.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It's a sign of maturity to be attacked or disrespected, and not return that action

That's what Japan has been doing for a long time, which only made the situation worse. The maturity attitude does not work for some people.

"Kill both good Koreans and bad Koreans"

Could you show the evidence? And if somebody said it, how do you know it is a Japanese? The fact that many Japanese stopped going to South Korea and more SKoreans coming to Japan shows that which side is more hurt.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I feel that it is so sad what has been happening in the world. Japanese should NOT hate Koreans. We are really the closest nations in terms of our cultural similarity. We have learned each other. Creating "ianfu" Korean women statues in the United States are wrong. I heard that the bad image of Japanese produced "ijime" to the Japanese children in American schools. Yes, it is IN THE UNITED STATES. I saw a Youtube by a Japanese man who explained the inferiority of Koreans comparing with Japanese. He pointed out the general features of a Korean woman such as small pointy eyes and angular chin. (If you find the youtube similar to what I describe here, please notify to YOUTUBE company as HATE crime.) I am Japanese, but these Korean feathers this man described on the youtube is what I have. Hate speech only create more hate and eventually the 3rd world war. And, we all die. Maybe that is what we need now, isn't it? But, in Salsa dance hall in the United States, we, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean, all, continue to dance together.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@tinawatanabe

"Kill both good Koreans and bad Koreans"

Could you show the evidence?

https://cosmopolitanstateofmind.wordpress.com/ You can find plenty other offensive signboards by google search "Shinokubo demo".

And if somebody said it, how do you know it is a Japanese? The fact that many Japanese stopped going to South Korea and more SKoreans coming to Japan shows that which side is more hurt.

Neither you nor I can be sure whether these people with signboards are Japanese or foreginers or any kind of provocateurs, but the fact of matter is, they were marching demo on the side of anti-Korea protesters.

@SpeaklikeGandhi

Why are you so sad about? You don't have to get along with someone you don't like, just because she lives right next door. It is quite clear that neither Japan nor Korea like each other, so it would be better to just keep their distance one another.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It's not a "chicken and egg situation", it's very clear what the egg is (what came first).

To solve the problem, or even to have avoided all the problems rising to a head in the first place, all the problematic Koreans have to do is renounce the additional special privileges they have; to accept 2 or 3 generations later, that they really are Japanese by now, and to accept equal rights with other Japanese.

No special privileges, no problems.

The way this is being presented is as if Japanese are being "crazy", "evil", "extreme right wingers" again. It appears that foreigners don't understand the roots of the problem.

Actually, the Japanese have been hugely tolerant and accommodating of these specific Korean-Japanese - and we are mostly talking about groups with allegiances to North Korea - providing income and services to North Korea.

Foreign observers ought to look a little deeper, understand the extent of tolerance, accommodation and special privileges, and then ask whether their own country is as accommodating or would allow it.

Once you understand the facts and the history of it, you will see how these specific Korean-Japanese people acceptance have strained toleration to the limits and practise their own brand of exploitation and race huckstering. (They do illegal things and exploit the state; and then when people complain, they accuse them of racism etc).

With respect to Shin-Okubo, before jumping to conclusions, you would need to compare it to other inner city market streets and I think you find they are all declining. Yes, the article is correct, Japan is very faddish and once the fad moves on old fads die quickly. That's why there are so many new ideas and constant refinements.

But people should be quick not to classify all Korean in Japan as one group and, especially, a discriminated group. They simply are not. The problematic ones, demanding additional privileges native Japanese do not have, are causing problems for the reasonable ones by association.

Believe it or not, Japan even used to fund North Korean schools in Japan teaching Juche, even though North Korea is a criminal, terrorist dictatorship; Japan's sworn enemy and point long range missiles at it.

In any discussion of Koreans in Japan you need to separate the South Korean and North Korean leaning groups, and remember most are just happy to have integrated and have nothing to do with these tiny minority politics.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

tictactogo, your link is hardly of any evidence as you admit. The person who has the sign is hiding the face.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

It's worth mentioning that even the most vociferous of groups, “Zaitokukai” (who I do not support), means "Citizens against Special Privileges of Zainichi".

Not "Citizens against Koreans".

The problem is the special privileges, right which can are not granted to other foreign nationals or even Japanese, and their exploitation of them.

And probably the Korean domination of Yakuza criminal group.

Before anyone goes jumping to false conclusions, I would look into Chongryon crimes and Yakuza connections too.

I don't know but there may be specific reasons why they were targeting who they were targeting.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@tinawatanabe

your link is hardly of any evidence as you admit. The person who has the sign is hiding the face.

You asked evidence for "Kill both good Koreans and bad Koreans", so I did. I mean what kind of evidence were you expecting? The guy holding the discriminatory signboard along with his passport and birth certificate? If you have a good reason to believe some Korean provocateurs blended into the crowd with offensive signboards, you must present your case along with your side of evidence first. Just hiding behind the signboard doesn't prove anything.

@Luce-A

I believe the whole demonstration initially started to protest against Lee Myung-bak visit to Takeshima/Dokdo and his comment urging Emperor to kneel down and apologize. It seems what was initially intended in demo had drifted over time toward the criticism against "special privileges for resided Koreans in Japan".

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Creating "ianfu" Korean women statues in the United States are wrong. I heard that the bad image of Japanese produced "ijime" to the Japanese children in American schools.

And there in lies the perfect illustration of how the current Japanese government is manipulating the public, while the Japanese media complies, and is exactly the reason why those Korean merchants on that street are suffering.

It's the Japanese government that fabricates that Japanese kids were getting bullied by Korean Americans

http://www.fccj.or.jp/number-1-shimbun/item/471-tracking-souther-california-s-elusive-bullies.html

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Far from a "perfect" illustration, Schreiber writes, "I’ve given up on substantiating or refuting the allegations".

The article confirms the statues of the prostitutes are having the desired effect on Japanese communities overseas, turning hate and public opinion against them, and are a cynical exploitation by ... who?

North or South Korean government?

You can never take any of these issues on face value. There are more than one set of hands behind the scenes seeking to manipulating the public against innocent Japanese victims.

No wonder other Japanese become upset at it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It's a minority of Koreans and Korean-Americans who started and are playing the heavy handed "guilt by association" game attacking innocent Japanese in Japan and overseas, and its has been going on for decades now.

I'd like to know who is behind co-ordinating these recent statue campaigns, whether it is racism or for some other politically motivated reason.

Sadly, of course, innocent Koreans will also get hurt due to their actions but the blame is on the offending Koreans.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"attacking innocent Japanese in Japan and overseas,"

Really? That's shocking. Who has been attacked overseas specifically? How many arrests, etc? What do the local police have to say?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I did not write "physically attacking" the campaign is targeted at another level and for various reasons depending on which group is behind it, e.g. N/S Korea or China.

This statue campaign has no moral element whatsoever. It's merely designed to damage the interests of today's Japan.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@laguna

The article emphasizes discrimination of Koreans at the hand of other Koreans, something I'd never heard of. If any commentators have experienced such a phenomenon, I would be interested in learning

Hi laguna; I worked for a Korean guy - a total cowboy and a scumbag to boot - in Canada who had no qualms about ripping off naive young Koreans who were there on working holiday / study abroad trips. I suppose he was ripping me off too actually, but I needed the work! (I'm not Canadian and was also on a working holiday visa). Of course I can't and don't judge all Korean bosses by this one example I've experienced, but I can imagine that similar individuals could be operating in Shin Okubo. When in Canada I was also aware that some of the Korean restaurants where my Korean friends worked were somewhat "flexible" regarding work regulations, visa laws etc and one of them did get busted at the time - for employing staff without visas and paying them absurdly low wages with no overtime, holiday allowance etc.

@luce-A

The problem is the special privileges, right which can are not granted to other foreign nationals or even Japanese

Hi Luce, I'm curious as to what you mean by that second part - what rights are they granted that Japanese are not? I thought the whole purpose of the special privileges was to effectively give them exactly the same rights as japanese passport holders.

Foreign observers ought to look a little deeper, understand the extent of tolerance, accommodation and special privileges, and then ask whether their own country is as accommodating or would allow it

Hmm, I'd say the special privileges are a sign of less tolerance in Japan, speaking in terms of administration & bureaucracy. What I mean is that in my country (UK), no there wouldn't be special privileges; such a concept isn't necessary, because these people would already be full British citizens - without having to renounce their original passports, i.e. they would be dual citizens. So I'd say my own country is far more accommodating.

It seems to me, as an interested outsider, that the easiest solution to this 'problem' would be for Japan to start recognizing dual nationality, which would make the idea of special privileges obsolete and would drastically increase the take-up rate of Japanese citizenship among the Zainichi population (and would probably also be a good idea with the increasing number of mixed race japanese these days)

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"I did not write "physically attacking"

So you mean holding peaceful demonstrations etc? Well, nice use of hyperbole there.

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@JeffLee

No, I mean internationally coordinated and well funded campaigns to damage the reputation and political support for Japan and Japanese.

That is a serious attack.

And I think you don't understand the meaning of hyperbole.

@Yoshitsune

No, the special privileges are additional privileges that ordinary Japanese people are, and these are ordinary Japanese people, e.g. they were born in Japan, perhaps even second or third generation Japanese yet, on one hand they continue to claim additional benefits and, on the other hand, they exploit the situation by claiming any investigation into them is discrimination.

In short, they what they call in the USA "race hucksters" or, more accurately, a mafia acting like race hucksters to cover illegal activities connected to the North Korean terrorist state.

The dual nationality issue is a separate one. Yes, they want to claim benefits in both countries and it already goes on, e.g. dodging the draft in Korea, not paying tax in Japan, illegal moving assets between the two nations etc.

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Hi Luce, thanks for your reply. I'm afraid I'm still not quite clear what extra privileges you mean they have compared to other Japanese though - what exactly are the additional benefits you refer to? Also I've never heard of them not having to pay tax - I have a few Zainichi friends and acquaintances and I believe they all pay tax, and have no extra benefits that I'm aware of.

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You need to do your homework then. The internet is your friend.

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As far as I'm aware, the special privileges allow Zainichi to vote and to claim benefits the same as japanese citizens, and also mean that they can't be deported if they commit a crime - the same as japanese citizens. I am not aware of any privilege they have which is over and above what a japanese citizen has. You claimed there are some, but then when I ask you to explain them you tell me to do my homework. That is not an answer Luce; if there are some, please tell me what they are! - otherwise iit suggests to me that your claim had no basis.

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