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The centuries-old mines stirring Japan-South Korea tensions

47 Comments
By Sara HUSSEIN

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47 Comments

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Japan is absolutely obsessed with these UNESCO world heritage sites. If they had their way, an old vending machine by the side off the road would be a world heritage site.

-7 ( +27 / -34 )

Discrimination did exist

Discrimination still exists and you don't have to be a professor of Japanese history to see it.

How embarrassing for the high pride Japanese involved to have clarification that Japanese weren't responsible or perhaps capable of all the hard and dangerous work that was done.

-4 ( +17 / -21 )

If you change or hide the true history, then at some time in the future the same mistakes will be made. We must learn from history not hide the bad bits that we do not like.

10 ( +21 / -11 )

Those animatronic robots are freakish and look like a twilight zone episode

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

BigP

Does history repeat itself regardless of those that try to hide details ?

Curious.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

When I've worked with Japanese people on research or statistics, they have a bizarre tendency assume that anything that happened before 1945 is either irrelevant or didn't really happen. I've seen this with statistical records, public figure's biographical info, etc.

-8 ( +16 / -24 )

The panels note that Edo-era miners were often homeless or unregistered people who were captured and forced to work, and that child labour was used at times.

Seems like many Japanese had it as bad as the kidnapped and conscripted Koreans.

Often the horrific exploitations of capitalism are reframed as nationalist and ethnic divisions . It is a convenient distraction and benefits the exploiters on both sides.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

"Every nation has its dark history, those nations who are completely exempt do not exist."

Obvious statement that many still somehow find controversial. Are Korean officials using these situations for their own gain? Sure, but the Japanese establishment (and, in my anecdotal experience, often the public) gives them way too much to work with.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

For better or worse all of the Korean miners were citizens of the Japanese Empire at the time. Every citizen was subject to either military or civilian conscription during the war. As dangerous as it was to work in the mines, I don't think it was more dangerous than being put in uniform and sent to the front-lines.

8 ( +18 / -10 )

It's a view shared by some visitors, including 79-year-old Hideji Yamagami.

"Of course they should (explain), I didn't know about it at all," he told AFP after a trip through the Aikawa site. "I thought it was Japanese who had done all the hard work."

If a 79-year-old Japanese didn't know about the use of conscripted Korean labor on the mines, what more the younger Japanese?

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Divide the number of years since the 12 century, to when the mining started to when it commercially ended. Then add up the years that SK slaves worked there. Then calculate the amount of money made over the 800-900 years. Then from that sum, give SK their percentage based on years share. It will be almost zero, but problem solved.

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

The mines at Sado were used for a long time as places of punishment for Japanese political prisoners who offended the Shoguns. The island itself was a place of banishment and general misery where mine workers were worked to death in primitive conditions. Koreans would have been a minority in the history of the mines.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Thanks Jeff for that info!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Japan is absolutely obsessed with these UNESCO world heritage sites. If they had their way, an old vending machine by the side off the road would be a world heritage site."

Absolutely right, every dump has to find something that can be pushed for listing.....its that inferiority / superiority complex on full display again.

I wonder if the 英会話 schools will be made UNESCO world heritage anytime soon!

Yep, their time is coming, no doubt.

-13 ( +5 / -18 )

The World Heritage effort has been years in the making, inspired in part by the successful recognition of a silver mine in western Japan's Shimane region.

A bad precedent.... Despite the successful recognition in 2007, the number of tourists on the mine sites in Shimane has since been decreasing. It's now teased as one of the "most disappointing Heritage sites" (But I personally like the place, with nice onsen springs and landscape)

インバウンド、聖地、秘境…でも「がっかり観光地」石見銀山の観光客減少

https://www.yomiuri.co.jp/fukayomi/20180409-OYT8T50005/3/

While some Heritage sites (e.g. Yakushima, Shirakawa-go) in Japan have become better off after the recognition, others have failed to receive visitors whose numbers have remained either constant (Hiroshima A-bomb Nikko) or decreasing (Shimane, Tomioka).

Japan's latest bid for the UNESCO list is a bit more obsessive. I'm not sure if it's worth campaigning at the expense of public money to rally support.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Japan is absolutely obsessed with these UNESCO world heritage sites. If they had their way, an old vending machine by the side off the road would be a world heritage site.

I agree. Though I still believe that Sado is qualified for the UNESCO Heritage list, public money and other resources should be spent more effectively for the sake of the local Sado economy.

The UNESCO recognition will never guarantee making the island better off, just as I noted in the previous post.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I have been Sado. It is a great place.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

For better or worse all of the Korean miners were citizens of the Japanese Empire at the time.

'Citizen' isn't the right term. It's correct to say:

For better or worse all of the Korean miners were subjects of the Japanese Empire at the time.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Japan is absolutely obsessed with these UNESCO world heritage sites.

And the west is obsessed with Guns and drugs. I think I would rather live in a country with people obsessed with UNESCO sites than a country with people obsessed with guns and drugs.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Slavery not a big deal to the Japanese mindset.

Feelings of innate superiority are still strong too.

Yep, discrimination is still ongoing in Japan and a week ago I was refused entry to a business in Kobe.

Some things never change....

-5 ( +9 / -14 )

As I always said "" and the saga shall continue ""

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sado is on my bucket list to go snorkeling and chat with Mr Jenkins about his experiences. Of course the mines.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Honestly I don't care, I agree with the people that think Japan has gone a little UNESCO nuts.

As for the Koreans they will find a reason to complain one way or another.

The way the Koreans go on and on, you would think Japan had held the place for hundreds of years like many western powers did elsewhere.

Take India the British ruled one way or another for 200 years and India and Indians don't whine as much as Koreans.

Despite discrimination Japan at least recognized them as "Japanese" or at least a Japanese citizens, something the most western nations never did to the places they Colonia ruled.

Koreans were conscripted like the rest of the Japanese, while Indians Africans, etc..were conscripted by their western colonial powers in segragated units, segragated everything and not given even half the rights of the white citizens of those western colonial powers.

So as colonial rule goes Korea's was short and had far less institutional discrimination than had they been ruled by a country like the UK or France, just look at Vietnam, by the time the French left few if anyone remembered or even cared to use Chữ Nôm used since the 13th century.

Honestly not saying it was right, acceptable, fair, etc...but as Colonial rule goes Korea had it better than most places, look at the Americas see how well the indigenous population fared, how about Australia?

The way Koreans go on and on one would think they were placed in concentration camps and killed.

While the reality is even after removing the ethnic Japanese from the peninsula the population of ethnic Koreans doubled during the colonial period of 35 years.

Was it a nice time were they treated equally probably not any Gaijin here can attest to that, but was it as bad as the Koreans try tobmake6it seem like? No!

The biggest thing that bothers the Koreans is their pride got hurt they lost an got conquered and that fuels everything we see now.

I am not Japanese or Korean, Japan is where I live but I am not treated equally if I became a citizen I still wouldn't, I have no loyalty to either place so the above is said in that context

1 ( +13 / -12 )

NPR news report July 24,2022

"""Although smallpox has been eradicated from the human population since 1980, there is the potential for monkeypox to fill this void," the study says. "An extended chain of person-to-person transmissions of monkeypox in 2003 in the Republic of Congo reveals the potential of further adaptation of the virus to become a more successful human pathogen."

Before the 2022 outbreak, nearly all monkeypox cases found outside of Africa – where some rodents and non-human primates potentially carry the virus – were tied to international travel and imported animals.

GOATS AND SODA

Monkeypox can look different than what doctors thought. Here's what they're learning

The reason it's called monkeypox is because it was first discovered in colonies of monkeys used for research in 1958. But that doesn't mean it originated with the animals as the source of the disease remains unknown, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.""

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I didn't know the miners on Sado Island suffered from Monkeypox, with Africa being so far away. I guess groups of local monkeys were the most likely cause of any such outbreak.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

South Korea is actually not seriously opposing to registration itself of Japan' historical heritage at all. It actually welcomes as much registration as possible as long as it comes with their fake narratives in those epitaphs , cuz , that way, they can make the world remember their fake narratives as truths of history

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Sado is a world heritage site-worthy! Beautiful place with rich history!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

When the articles on South Korea wanting to cool things down and try mending the relationship problems with Japan was published, my first thought was:

" Korea will now find something more to complain about"

And here we are!

Didn't even take a week!

3 ( +12 / -9 )

My grandfather told me that the Koreans were so happy to have jobs. I don't understand all the ROK complaints?

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Readyfortakeoff ( aka : awhaleofatime )

Today  09:11 am

Japan is absolutely obsessed with these UNESCO world heritage sites.

And the west is obsessed with Guns and drugs. I think I would rather live in a country with people obsessed with UNESCO sites than a country with people obsessed with guns and drugs.

- japanese are so obsessed with guns they hand make them themselves and assassinate politicians.

-don't kid yourself, japan has a drug and alcoholism problem.

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

It is whitewashing of history that is also very common in China.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Paul

Today  11:25 am JST

It is whitewashing of history that is also very common in China.

And yet another j-troll.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

Sado, home of the beautiful Ibis.

https://static.wikia.nocookie.net/animals-are-cool/images/8/8d/201316020316141.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20180419054447

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

When the articles on South Korea wanting to cool things down and try mending the relationship problems with Japan was published, my first thought was:

" Korea will now find something more to complain about"

And here we are!

Didn't even take a week!

Right, what could possibly go wrong this time around.

Japan explanation of Korean wartime forced labor insufficient: UNESCO (https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2021/07/8423f0f870f1-japan-explanation-of-korean-wartime-forced-labor-insufficient-unesco.html)

....

When the Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution were added to the World Cultural Heritage list in 2015, Japan promised that it would explain the situation surrounding the Korean wartime workers, based on an understanding that they were "brought against their will and forced to work under harsh conditions."

Why would anyone see an issue with this, right? They merely promised to tell the whole story in order to receive approval, and then went back on their word last time. But no, you're at fault for complaining the next time around, even though you have been lied to before.

UNESCO calls for info on wartime Korean labor on Battleship Island (https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14401656)

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has expressed strong concerns that the Japanese government is not doing enough to disclose the negative aspects of a World Heritage site where Koreans were forced to work. 

The committee passed a unanimous resolution on July 22 criticizing the inadequate explanation about workers brought from the Korean Peninsula to work at the Hashima Coal Mine on a tiny island off the coast of Nagasaki city.

...

And it's not like Korea is the only nation seeing it this way, as the article on The Asahi Shimbun shows. The committee mentioned here is made up by 21 nations, and neither Japan nor Korea were part of the committee at that time of the 44th session.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Just in time for the South Korean Foreign Minister’s trip.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Lets not forget that most Japanese are the descendants of Koreans

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Let's not forget that a lot of Chinese are the descendants of Mongols and other minority groups!!

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Slavery not a big deal to the Japanese mindset.

Feelings of innate superiority are still strong too.

Yep, discrimination is still ongoing in Japan and a week ago I was refused entry to a business in Kobe.

Some things never change....

The last 3 years have been a real eye opener

Locals actually running away from if in close contact (I'm a blue eyed tall fit westener,so imagine what it's like for other racial groups since covid

All I used to have to put up with was shocked Japanese women clutching their handbags every time I strode by

But with all the mask wearing I now know the Japanese have super beady eyes-just see the(barely visable) pupils shifting left to right at super speed when a foreigner is spotted

Really like a mud fish imo

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Welcome to the REAL J-Pan, Ssrp. Now you know.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Japan needs to stop turning everything in sight into a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You'd think they were giving out money or something.

South Korea needs to stop getting into Japan's face with every little insignificant thing. I doubt there were any involuntary Korean laborers there during 1603 and 1867.

Really couldn't care less about this issue. Both Kishida and Yoon need to bury this kind of nonsense.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

RodneyToday  08:33 am JST

Divide the number of years since the 12 century, to when the mining started to when it commercially ended. Then add up the years that SK slaves worked there. Then calculate the amount of money made over the 800-900 years.

Korea didn't become part of the Japanese Empire untl 1910. Korean conscripted workers were from 1939-1945 for 6 years.

The mines started in the 12th century.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

SsrpToday  12:57 pm JST

Yep, discrimination is still ongoing in Japan and a week ago I was refused entry to a business in Kobe.

Some things never change....

The last 3 years have been a real eye opener

Locals actually running away from if in close contact (I'm a blue eyed tall fit westener,so imagine what it's like for other racial groups since covid

All I used to have to put up with was shocked Japanese women clutching their handbags every time I strode by

LOL. BS meter off the charts. But not a bad description of Japan 1950s to mid 60s.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Goals0Today  09:09 am JST

For better or worse all of the Korean miners were citizens of the Japanese Empire at the time.

'Citizen' isn't the right term. It's correct to say:

For better or worse all of the Korean miners were subjects of the Japanese Empire at the time.

No, "Citizen" is the correct term. Korea was part of the Japanese Empire by annexation and Koreans were given Japanese citizenship. Other Asian nations which were invaded became subjects of the Empire but not citizens of Japan.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

South Korea playing Squid Games again.

Korea hates Japan 100x times more.

Korea backs away from deals with Japan, even those as Final and Irreversible. Backs away from compensation paid and apologies given.

Unification Curch, a South Korean virus, is responsible for stealing and taking all the resources of Japanese citizens, praying on innocent women who lost husband. Just like the story of the shooter. Shady, predatory practice on Japanese land and soil.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

South Korea is not the only victim of Japan! Yet they receive all the money and apologies that should have been given to multiple countries!! Stop giving anything to the hating Korea who lies, cheats, takes the money, takes the apology, then later say it Never Happened!!

I hope your country gets what it's deserve, for being so shady, so nasty to deal with.

Yet the Korean will come knocking, wanting better relations. Korean anti-Japan Games can only be played if Japan allows it too.

2015 Comfort woman Deal. Japan hold strong for the past 7 Years!! Korea back down In 2022!!! Koreans will back down if Japanese stands it's ground!!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Mr. Abe was assassinated because of Korea or Korean involvement in shady practice of Unification Church taking money from Japanese citizens!!

Yet Koreans gave no apology. No apology from the Korean government FOR ALL THE MESS THEY CAUSE JAPAN.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The South Korean government is not responsible for the Moonie Church.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

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