politics

Bitter memories, current rivalries straining Japan's ties with China, South Korea

34 Comments
By Linda Sieg

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© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012.

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34 Comments
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All much to do about nothing?? Sure some Koreans are still angry that Japan invaded them, some Chinese still want all of Asia to be part of China, blah, blah, blah, at the end of the day, $$$ talks, we all need to work together, we are in a global economy, the Koreans help Apple to make its Iphones etc.we all need each other to survive and make $$$.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Bitter Memories is just not true.

Most have no memory of what did/didn't happen then because they are too young, period.

It is not memory. It is state education of lies and hate that creates this "memory".

15 ( +18 / -4 )

The past is the past. We all have too much to worry about the present. All countries need to grow up and learn to live with each other. We all need each other's help now and in the future. Sever weather, earthquakes, etc. Why harp on past events. World leaders, wake up and smell the coffee! The fact is, one country cannot servive without another! Peace on Earth!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

oldsanno is correct. Everybody is brainwashed by their respective state sponsored educations:

Japan's Brainwashing: Some kind of war just "happened."

China's Brainwashing: The evil Japanese raped us

Koreas Brainwashing: The evil Japanese raped us.

China's and Korean's brainwashings are more useful, politically. Japan's, not so much.

Since it's been a couple generations already, these are deeply rooted in society, and won't change in the foreseeable future.

Eventually, though, money talks. While Korean and Chinese citizens opinions of Japan will play a part in how many of Japan's products they buy, people generally vote with their wallets more so than anything else.

The only problem with THAT is Japan is sinking fast in that respect.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

It's all politics. They do good things as well as bad things. It is important Japan not to be provoked.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Hey what about Russia?! Don't forget Japan's crappy relationship with their neighbour to the north as well!

1 ( +6 / -5 )

I think it' time tht the United States tells South Korea that if they want to single handely wreck the US strategic position in Asia then it's time USA troops were pulled out of South Korea and they should be left on their own. Maybe within 50 years they can happily be part of China's latest province andwoship the Kim dynasty.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

it doesnt matter what japan has done or will do in regards to this matter - china and korea will always bang the drum to stir up internal nationalistic sentiments.... they are on the way up economically while japan is on the way down

9 ( +9 / -0 )

“And neither China nor South Korea want to let the issues go because they are a way to get political advantage.”

“Very often, the Japan-bashing becomes a way to show one’s patriotic credentials, a good tactic for enhancing local support.”

These are key statements and it just shows that Chinese and Korean politicians won't give up the Japan political card in the near future.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@gaijininfo, "Japan is sinking fast..." Maybe because most Chinese and Koreans with J citizenships are J citizens only in paper. Deep in their hearts, they're out to destroy Japan. Hope I'm wrong but with the direct yuan and yen selling and most companies and factories setting up outside esp China, Japan is doomed. Doomed to being No.3.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

And my idea ever since is, we are what we are today because of the past. Just like my country, do I have to put in a bad light Spain for "enslaving" my country for more than 300 yrs and shooting our National Hero? No, I only revel on receiving Christianity from them and that Iam very grateful. In all wars atrocities happen even now. And lies happen to save face.. As other commenters say, we need each other. With Fukushima, everybody the whole world is affected. No time for bickerings.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

In 1993 Japan issued a statement in the name of then-chief cabinet secretary Yohei Kono apologizing and two years

it took japan only 48 years after the end of WWII to issue an apology. maybe it will take another 48 years for koreans to accept an apology. meanwhile, japan will just have to keep apologizing, not that it would help much. koreans know that whatever apology that are coming from japan is insincere and half-hearted at best. it seems inevitable that another war in Asia is looming upon us. the US will secretly be doing LMAO as their defense industry will thrive with the huge purchase orders coming from both japan and korea.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

@ oldsanno

Bitter Memories is just not true. Most have no memory of what did/didn't happen then because they are too young, period. It is not memory. It is state education of lies and hate that creates this "memory".

If that is true, then why do the comfort women who are living want reparation. Did you ever think that those women had family members and children whom they let know what happened to them? Peoples stories of their lives don't just die with them if they are not alone..

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Utrack

Japan has sent money to Korea as reparations which disappeared somehow when it fell into the hands of the Korean government.

China and Korea need to get over their loser mentality.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Your attitude will never earn Japan some serious influence or respect from its neighbors!

Um, sorry, but Japan's attitude will never earn Japan some serious influence or respect from its neighbors! The actions Japan in the first half of last century cannot be forgiven or forgotten. It should also be noted that, the islands disputed by these three countries have been disputed for centuries. However, Japan laid claim to them during their imperial blitz last century. Japan is responsible for the whole mess and should give these islands up out of respect for what they did to the rest of Asia last century.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Sorry Disillusioned. The islands were determined by the Allieds that they were incorporated legally without force based on international laws and customs at the time. However, it was the Koreans themselves who took the islands by force resulting in death/casualties of Japanese fishermen during the 50's.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Its all so counter-productive.

Imagine if all this so called nationalism was put into something positive.

If Japan and Korea for example worked together, and served the large majority of its citizens, who are simply trying to live their lives and pay their bills rather that the usually incoherent and nonsensical rants of the vocal minority imagine the potential benefits to living standards and both economies, the things that really matter to people living in the "now".

Im not suggesting that reparations and apologies shouldn't made however I suspect only time heals many of these wounds, all the money and sorries in the world don't mean a thing if they can't given or accepted with an open heart and eyes on the future.

Sadly with ageing populations, generally more conservative and opposed to change, we are stuck in a position where progressive forward looking policy and action are almost impossible.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hey, what happened to the "quiet diplomacy" for the past sixty-six years? I think we should celebrate the piss & vinegar. It beats war.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Someone commented about why countries in Africa who suffered years of European colonialism and slavery do not bring up "apologies" and such, while Korea and China do. Well, the peoples of these two countries each have 5,000 and 10,000 years of history and civilization, respectively. This is longer and richer than Japan's with only 2,000 years of history. That these countries suffered humiliation to the "upstart Western copycat" Japan is a dagger in the heart to their pride. You just can't compare Africa with Korea and China.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

NZ2011

Im not suggesting that reparations and apologies shouldn't made however I suspect only time heals many of these wounds, all the money and sorries in the world don't mean a thing if they can't given or accepted with an open heart and eyes on the future

Unfortunately that isnt the case.... Europe is full of ethnic groups who still harbour inherited resentment of injustices from 500 - 600 years ago and given the right (or wrong) circumstance, will still seek "revenge" for those actions

2 ( +3 / -1 )

NZ2011 - so help me out here - what has Japan failed to do in the way of apologies and reparations?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I apologize to all readers for being an ill-mannered jerk.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Everyone knows that before Japan invaded China and Korea were the lands of plenty and peace. All bad things happened because of the Japanese and their minions the Okinawa people. It all started when in 1912 3 Japanese lawmakers arrived in Korea, slipped into the country....

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Hikozaemon, I never suggested Japan that it had "failed" to make attempts at it, but I think as Nostromo is trying to point out it seems that what ever is said or done will be seen from one point of view more than enough and by another never enough.

I was speaking generally about the position of reparation and apologies for past generations actions as it exists in nearly every region in the world including where I come from. It is a long and difficult process which seemingly leaves people unhappy on both "sides".

If you want to speak specifically about Japan we can, though that wasn't my intention just your interpretation.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

trinklets2 You are from the Philippines. Am I right?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lets learn form the past and not let our families and friends go through the terrors of war. Drop the ego, drop the pride, drop the popuganda. We have much too common as a humanity than to focus on our differences.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

for breaking a rule against politicizing the Games.

every one grabbing a national flag should be banned in that case. Wish it would happen.

“Japan has never convinced its neighbors that it has really repented,” “And neither China nor South Korea want to let the issues go because they are a way to get political advantage.”

said Columbia University professor Gerry Curtis,

This is it! Japan dropped the ball by looking to the west in it's pre bubble hay day and now they can't pick it up cause their former enemies keep playing political football with it.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Memory is important (and Japanese forces did horrendous things throughout Asia) but I have the daily misfortune of watching Korean TV; it swings between the utterly puerile (more so than anything one may see on Japanese TV) to nationalist clap-trap to the pure and simple racist; foreign teachers are often chiuld abusers or have HIV, many Chinese residents are part of a cannibal ring, and Japanese are..... (I need not continue, just watch MBC). Even Arirang, the English-language channel, is something Leni Riefenstahl would be proud of.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sir_EdgarAug. 15, 2012 - 11:23AM JST

"Well, the peoples of these two countries each have 5,000 and 10,000 years of history and civilization, respectively. This is longer and richer than Japan's with only 2,000 years of history. That these countries suffered humiliation to the "upstart Western copycat" Japan is a dagger in the heart to their pride. You just can't compare Africa with Korea and China."

Can you please define "history"? Clearly you are accepting Shang, Jeulmun, etc, but ignoring the Jomon.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yes, bitter memories hard to forget. Forgive, but never forget. If Japan was on the receiving end of the brutality, it would understand.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Peoples stories of their lives don't just die with them if they are not alone..

Yes Utrack, but memories of stories are not memories of the event.

oldsanno said to much, but is essentially correct. Precious few people have actual memories of war history before and during 1945, so what is this situation? A son hating the son of this father's enemy, for what the father did? That is pretty stupid since the sons didn't do it.

If there is any reason to be angry today its over politicians sowing hatred and for the lies and omissions in history books. But there is no sense hating a whole country for that. Its very particular people doing this, and its them that should be hated and no one else, save old soldiers and others who actually perpetrated the crimes.

I guess you could also hate the ones who cause trouble over tiny islands when ownership is clear. But there is no sense hating whole countries and their people when most of the people in those countries have nothing to do with any of this.

If I hate anyone right now, its South Korean president Lee Myung-bak for stirring the pot of hate for political advantage. Allowing him to do it however certainly does not endear me to Korea in general. But I don't hate them. I just shake my head at their weak minds for allowing themselves to be played that way.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

a matter Japan says was closed under a 1965 treaty establishing diplomatic ties.

The 1965 treaty should NEVER be mentioned so blandly, as if it was a typical treaty, and nothing really special about it. The most significant part of the treaty for purposes of this discussion was the part about compensation, and was kept secret by both governments and not publicly known until 2005. The people responsible for that are both crooks and deserve all the hate that can be spared. Those still alive should be locked up for life. So many citizens were screwed over by that its ridiculous. And no ordinary citizen of either side had anything to do with the agreement or keeping it secret. Its the source of a lot of trouble and misunderstanding. It ensured serious problems were never fixed. And you cannot blame all of Japan or all of Korea for that. Japan and Korea are not enemies. Its certain politicians of both sides who are the enemies of mankind actually.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I find the position of the Koreans and Chinese annoying and particularly immature. They were both subjugated in a time when the mechanization of war allowed advanced industrialized nations the ability to up the ante on old feuds and disputes and carry out hegemonistic campaigns they may have long dreamed of. It happened all over the place (twice in Europe in 25 years) and will be remembered as a time when humanity made some awful, awful mistakes. Which isn't an attempt to absolve Japan of the responsibility of what they did, but you don't see Europe carrying on like this. Their feuds are just as old, just as genuine. But the Chinese and Koreans - the vast majority of whom never saw any Japanese on their home soil except in a tourist bus, just clutch onto these stupid, outdated flagposts of hate just for the sake of it. I think them both rather pathetic for it.

-2 ( +2 / -3 )

we're seeing a rise in the occurrence of mutually antagonistic actions/reactions between countries around the world that have other problems the leaders should be focusing on.

let's hope that this mindless entrenchment mentality doesn't cascade further into the abyss of ignorance and jingoism.

there are some intractable issues, no doubt, but hostility is highly unlikely to bring about the desired outcome.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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