politics

S Korea opposes Japan's bid for heritage status of industrial sites

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By Ju-min Park

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I do wonder how an industrial site qualifies as one.

What about the first Model T Ford plant? Edison's New Jersey factory and patent mill? It's not too hard to imagine how an industrial site would qualify.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

brutal colonial and wartime past.

Korean peninsula was one district of Japan those days. There ware eight Korean Diets members, a lot of Korean local assemblymen, a lot of Korean policemen. Keijo(Seoul) Imperial University was founded in 1924 as the 6th Japanese Imperial University. It was founded earlier than Osaka Imperial University(1931) and Nagoya Imperial University(1939).

South Korea's ties with Japan have long been marred by what Seoul sees as Japanese leaders' reluctance to atone for the country's wartime past,

Japan and South Korea tied Japan-Republic of Korea Basic Relations Treaty in 1965. Japan paid huge amount of money, more than twice of South Korean national budget. The treaty made rules both sides gave up its right to claim compensation before WW2.

15 ( +24 / -9 )

WatchingStuffMay. 08, 2015 - 10:43AM JST

I will give you this link, If you have not read this news. http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/visitors-flock-to-unesco-world-heritage-site-recommendations#comment_1973765

Crowds, taking advantage of the Golden Week holidays, toured the sites, following Monday's announcement by a UNESCO panel recommending that 23 properties in eight prefectures be put on the its World Heritage list for their importance to Japan's industrial revolution and modernization in the Meiji era.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Most of Europe have forgiven Germany for its past crimes. Most of Asia have likewise done so regarding Japan, and perhaps it is high time that China and Korea join them. Nothing can change the past, but the future is shaped by today.

6 ( +18 / -12 )

I think that BECAUSE slavery played a big part in these factories it should be listed as a world heritage site. This is something that needs to be remembered and taught to generations to come. As long as there is extensive information provided on the slave labor that occurred there instead of just glorifying them as driving the industrialization of Japan, then I see no problem. I don't know why the Koreans aren't fighting for that instead of just trying to block it all together in a childish fashion.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

jerseyboyMay. 08, 2015 - 08:24AM JST

For example, if there was a historic site in the Southern U.S. -- let's say in Chalreston, S.C.-- that had ties to the American Revolution, but was also used later as a slave market, would UNESCO let that pass? I mean where do you draw the line?

How about some historic sites built on stolen land from Native Americans?

South Korea's foreign ministry said seven of the 23 sites were run as forced labor camps, employing about 57,900 Koreans during Japan's colonisation of Korea, and 94 workers died there.

It was during WW2 that forced labor was exacted per National Mobilization Act. Both Japanese and Koreans were taken as forced laborers by lottery as citizens' duty for war efforts. Such use of forced labor "for public purposes" was allowed by international law at that time.

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/SlaveryConvention.aspx

Slavery Convention

Article 1. For the purpose of the present Convention, the following definitions are agreed upon:

(1) Slavery is the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised.

Article 5. It is agreed that:

(1) Subject to the transitional provisions laid down in paragraph (2) below, compulsory or forced labour may only be exacted for public purposes.

What is regretable is that he uses the word "during Japan's colonization of Japan" to make it sound as if forced labor were exacted during the entire length of annexation period, whereas it really was only during the last years of WW2.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

I don't know the rules are as to what can or cannot be a UNESCO site but I do wonder how an industrial site qualifies as one. Temples, Statues etc. I can understand but a what is basically a factory? Does anyone know the sites that are being talked about?

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Japan sees the sites as evidence of its industrial modernisation, and has said the UNESCO listing relates to their use in the period before World War Two.

I don't know what UNESCO's policy is on historical revisionism/omission regarding UN World Heritage sites, but I would think for the sake of credibility and honesty visitor information at any such location would have to contain the whole history of the site — the good, the bad and the ugly.

An interesting precedent here is the Hiroshima Peace Park's Monument (Cenotaph) in Memory of the Korean Victims of the A-bomb (韓国人原爆犠牲者慰霊碑), honoring 20,000 Koreans (many forced laborers) who were killed by the atomic bomb. Hiroshima Peace Park is also a UN World Heritage site.

Despite the park's many other monuments to different groups of people killed in the blast, the monument to Korean victims was not allowed in until 1999, after a great deal of time and pressure. As with the candidate sites mentioned in this article, inclusion of the monument to non-Japanese victims at the Hiroshima park makes the location much more credible as a site of 'world' heritage, rather than one that merely reflects the history Japanese nationalists aim to portray to the Japanese public and the global community.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

For example, if there was a historic site in the Southern U.S. -- let's say in Chalreston, S.C.-- that had ties to the American Revolution, but was also used later as a slave market, would UNESCO let that pass? I mean where do you draw the line?

Or was used as such prior to the American Revolution. I would think in such a case, the slavery aspect would be part of the cultural heritage associated with that site and would be commemorated as a teaching point. Slavery had a massive impact on shaping American culture, and still does. It has to be part of the historical discussion of any World Heritage site in the US that carries that aspect. The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are World Heritage sites with ties to the immigration experience-- and yet immigrants were turned away, quarantined, had their names changed and their ethnicities and nationalities erased, all negative aspects of the experience. Not quite on a par with slavery, but still not the shining perfection of the "melting pot" national narrative. Now if Japan wants to commemorate the negative aspects of these sites as well as the positive, then I can see this being well within those qualifying standards. If, on the other hand, this is another attempt at Japan's erasure of any and all of its less savory historical actions, then I think South Korea has a point. There's nothing wrong with Japan looking at the positive sides of its history and wanting to celebrate those, but it shouldn't be at the cost of recognizing reality or inviting cognitive dissonance.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

In other news, S. Korea vocally protests the latest opening of a local Lawson among Japan's refusal to atone for past war atrocities.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

@jerseyboy

Sounds a little convenient to me. For example, if there was a historic site in the Southern U.S. -- let's say in Chalreston, S.C.-- that had ties to the American Revolution, but was also used later as a slave market, would UNESCO let that pass?

Probably. Montecello is a UNESCO site, after all.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

if there was a historic site in the Southern U.S. -- let's say in Chalreston, S.C.-- that had ties to the American Revolution, but was also used later as a slave market, would UNESCO let that pass? I mean where do you draw the line?

@jerseyboy

Very well said.

And in your example (I'm assuming hypothetical), notions of both the site's glorious past and its shameful past are essential in terms of its heritage to future generations. So, the ugly portions of the site's history are certainly not something you would think would be left out of an application for inclusion as a World Heritage site.

It boggles my mind that whoever submitted the applications in Japan chose to do so.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

As far as I can see there's no attempt to hide anything on the news. So much for "distortion" and "hiding the truth". Doesn't fly when it's broadcast nationwide.

Also, this might shed some light,

http://www.kyuyama.jp/e/story/s01.html

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Is there anything that Koreans don't whine about?

3 ( +11 / -8 )

A member of the Japanese Imperial Family Masako married the Crown Prince of the Korean Imperial Family Yi Un in 1920. They had two children. This episode shows that Japanese government treated Korean as an equal.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I think the SK government would create a stink about ANYTHING positive happening in Japan, bleating on about the war... again and again and again................

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Japan’s bid, and South Korea’s objection, are likely to further fuel diplomatic tension between the Asian neighbors...

Ha! You kidding, you can't further fuel diplomatic tension between Korea and Japan, the fuel for tension will never die, it's a bottomless tank of tension fuel, if you could somehow harness this tension fuel you could light every home in the world for a dozen lifetimes.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@jerseyboy

I haven't been there in so long, I've forgotten how to spell it. Sometime in the late 80s. At that point, the slavery aspect was being downplayed a bit (insofar as that's possible on a plantation). Archetecture, gardens and Jefferson history were the focus at that point. I know that's changed in recent years.

But is this apples to apples? Monticello's main function as a plantation was driven by slave labor for the entirety of its history. To what extent were any of the Japanese sites connected with conscripted labor? IIRC it's a relatively short period in the overall history of the sites. 1944-45, wasn't it?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@sandhonor: This is my guess, Notice no industial sites in Yamaguchi Prefecture is not included. Aso;s family owned industrial sites in Kyushu are elected - ,many. My guess is that Aso is going to be ready ro be PM candidate in LDP election.

Also none slavery places such as Kure in Hiroshima was not seledtee, While Abe was jn USA, Aso maneuvered. He probably wants rebuilding his families slave industry.

1 ( +11 / -10 )

I meant "during Japan's colonization of Korea." Sorry.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Japan has probably looked up the list and seen that China has almost 50 registered sites to their 18 and thought, "We can't be having that can we!". There are 10 criteria for becoming a WHS, of which the proposed site must only meet ONE http://top5ofanything.com/list/28beede4/Countries-with-the-Most-UNESCO-World-Heritage-Sites- I reckon my local pub would have a good shot at getting in there based on No. 1, "To represent a masterpiece of human creative genius"

1 ( +2 / -1 )

but I do wonder how an industrial site qualifies as one

@sandhonour

Various industrial sites in Western Germany (in the so-called Ruhr District) have gained UNESCO status - the cokery and coalmine Zollverein in Essen, for example - as well as Bauhaus style neighbourhoods in Berlin.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@NessieMAY. 08, 2015 - 07:48AM JST I do wonder how an industrial site qualifies as one.

What about the first Model T Ford plant? Edison's New Jersey factory and patent mill? It's not too hard to imagine how an industrial site would qualify.

FYI, FORD has been in Mich and Edison was never been in Japan, Sorry but Mich and NJ are never been in Japan. If you don't know, they are states in USA. Compare maps of Japan and USA.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@smithinjapan. Below are both very good points. It is sad that they have received so many thumbs down. Seems to me that people DONT want the truth at all. They want their own version of it. You keep riding Smith. BRAVO!

**If they include a monument to all the slaves the company forced into labor, and put it in front of the site, apologize formally, and say it will never be repeated, then I say let them be considered. If they refuse, which they will, then I say DON'T let them be considered further.

Pukey: to be fair, it's not just Japan trying to register many sites, but it DOES seem like they want world recognition for everything under the sun (except past wrongdoings!). Soon you won't be able to toss a stone without hitting a world heritage site, and that stone would be from a world heritage site remains. The irony of thm wanting so much recognition is that now they are getting it--for the reasons they DON'T want remembered!**

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Hashijima (Gunkanjima) is cultural heritage site(industry). It have nothing to do with the war. And Auschwitz is a world heritage site. Hiroshima Peace Memorial was too.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

unesco remembers..No alternations or forgetfulness.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Korean workers, no more than 500 people about, there can be no because tens of thousands. The warship island, uninhabitable even tens of thousands.

And, it is the workers who came to work in many "free travel", it is not a slave. Wages are paid.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The only thing more pathetic than Koreans fixated on hating Japan are westerners married to one and picking up their cause.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Back on topic please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sunrise 777:

Korean peninsula was one district of Japan those days.

This episode shows that Japanese government treated Korean as an equal.

Are you quite sure about those? Viewing objectively, I mean.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Cogito Ergo SumMay. 08, 2015 - 06:33PM JST

After all Japanese thought the Koreans were untermenschen or inferior people who must be colonized and civilized by the Japanese.A Japanese sage Yuichi Fukuzawa ,said so.

You mean Yukichi Fukuzawa?

You may be talking about this. http://ja.wikisource.org/wiki/%E8%84%B1%E4%BA%9C%E8%AB%96

Even though they see and hear about the Western civilization, they stick to the old way of life of 1000 years ago. Their only education is Cofucianism even in this age of civilization, and they only teach values of Confucius at school. They only care about vanity and are not interested in knowledge of principles of facts. Even their morals have fallen and are too proud of themselves without reflection. As I see the West advances to the East, there is no chance of maintaining their independences. If, with fortune, leaders emerge out of themselves, largely reform their governments like what we did during Meiji restoration, and change the mind-set of their people, the result may differ. Otherwise, within years, their countries will be lost and will be divided by the countries of the world of civilization.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@smithinjapan

You mean like you're doing here? Or like Japan over the abductions? Or is that suddenly relevant and something that needs to be addressed?

The abduction issue is an ongoing issue that is still happening right now. North Korea has not returned most of them yet.

To me it looks like the Koreans love to complain about Japan at the slightest opportunity. It is how they keep their identity. Let's not forget that Koreans were Japanese citizens back then and many Japanese citizens (including Japanese and Taiwanese) were drafted for forded labor at the end of the war. Not only Koreans as they love to portray. You don't see Taiwanese people still crying and complaining about it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In the first place it is not matter because it is a story before the Korea merger.

It is a race annoying to pester it for money as ever.

Coal labor is a bad worker of conditions . It is the same conditions in Koreans in Japanese . Claim that had been forced to work at cheaper than Japanese salary is simply because their skill's immature workers .

It is only to say that was deceived it .

Of course, it is at the time of the coal mine the difference between the now of working conditions so is intense .

It is different from slave labor and the forced labor such as the plantation management that a British, a Dutchman, the French performed in Asia went to in those days

Among people contributing it in JAPAN Today, how long will there be people who I can understand this, and talk?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But is this apples to apples? Monticello's main function as a plantation was driven by slave labor for the entirety of its history. To what extent were any of the Japanese sites connected with conscripted labor? IIRC it's a relatively short period in the overall history of the sites. 1944-45, wasn't it?

Hokkaidoguy -- pure rationalization/garbage. Since when does the length of time the horrible acts occurred have anything to do with the history of the site? Hell, following that logic, neither Hiroshima nor Nagasaki should be any kind of site, since the horrors were inflicted in a matter of minutes. Sorry, that argument carries no weight, and in fact, shows how hypocritical Japan is in these applications. Forget what happened during WWII, unless, of course, we were the victims.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Monticello's main function as a plantation was driven by slave labor for the entirety of its history.

Given that there haven't been slaves at Moticello for some time, I find your claim fanciful.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Japan as usual 1step forward, 2-3 steps back!!

Hey to the 9 who have negged me so far on this one how about some of you tell where I have this wrong eh???

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Indeed, Smith, just my thoughts. Auschwitz Birkenau didn't get on the list because it was pretty and kawaii. It had a lesson for humanity.

My other problem is the Japanese obsession with these heritage sites. What is it with them trying to register every single shack in this country? I was just watching the TV the other day when all of a sudden a news flash alert appeared on the top of the screen. Waiting for an earthquake alert or something else that was earth-shattering, my eyes rolled when it was yet another attempt to register yet another site on the UNESCO list. Will people not be satisfied until every damn river, cave, mine and brick is registered?

-3 ( +11 / -14 )

Slave labor or not, I can't really see how a coal mine would qualify as a world heritage site.

Maybe if it was the very FIRST coal mine ever, then yea. But I'm pretty sure it's not.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Why don't the LDP vampires just get it over with and declare every place and thing in Japan a UN Cultural Heritage Site.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Monticello and the University of Virginia, both designed by Thomas Jefferson a keeper of slaves, should be immediately removed from the world heritage site registry.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@smithinjapan, You rock man! Factually, your no-nonsense-facts only -straight - shooting does sting all apologists,right wingers and the paid pro-establishment cyber mercenaries. @sunrise777 Remember Korean Peninsula was a Chinese vassal state,Japanese invaded it in the 1894-1895 war which they worn and forcef the Qing dysnasty to pay 3 times Japan's GDP in kuming taels. THIS is the money Japanese used to develop Korea AS A STEPPING STONE to futuristic plans of conquering Asia and the World. Out of necessity, ALL coloniasts were compelled to recruit from the very populations they were going to rule over NOT as equals , for , there can NEVER be equality when there is no power equity. Japan built the infrastructure and the Seoul university to train minions who would help in the immediate pacification and for its future wider empire building quests . After all Japanese thought the Koreans were untermenschen or inferior people who must be colonized and civilized by the Japanese.A Japanese sage Yuichi Fukuzawa ,said so . There's absolutely no need to defend evil.

-3 ( +3 / -5 )

Probably. Montecello is a UNESCO site, after all.

hokkaidoguy -- good point. Should have thought of that. Have you ever been to Monticello? I have. And if my memory serves me, it does not try to hide or romantasize in any way, Jefferson's sort of confused involvement with slavery. In fact, it is an integral part of the overall message, since, as I'm sure you know, he had slaves at Monticello, but also was one of the earliest statesmen to call for the abolition of slavery.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Japan sees the sites as evidence of its industrial modernisation, and has said the UNESCO listing relates to their use in the period before World War Two.

Before WWII you say....... that's bloody convenient aint it, then you don't have to deal with the nasty bits of history!

Maybe the rest of the world should say since Japan was clearly finished near the end of WWII that the Hiroshima & Nagasaki bombings are "really" connected to WWII so lets leave them put of that part of history so we can keep things tidy..........

Of course that is offensive, SO IS Japans quote above!

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Black_jack: "Is there anything that Koreans don't whine about?"

You mean like you're doing here? Or like Japan over the abductions? Or is that suddenly relevant and something that needs to be addressed?

-5 ( +10 / -15 )

Pukey: to be fair, it's not just Japan trying to register many sites, but it DOES seem like they want world recognition for everything under the sun (except past wrongdoings!). Soon you won't be able to toss a stone without hitting a world heritage site, and that stone would be from a world heritage site remains. The irony of thm wanting so much recognition is that now they are getting it--for the reasons they DON'T want remembered!

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

I'm with Korea on this one, POW sites are are not heritage sites!

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

What does UNESCO remember in Auschwitz? Horrors of Nazi Germany, and all their victims.

What does UNESCO remember in Hiroshima? Horrors of a nuclear destruction and all their victims.

What do Japanese want when they apply for UNESCO for these industrial sites? It certainly is not going to be about horrors of slave labor camps of non-Japanese victims. But it will be about great Japan's industrial rise.

As usual, Japanese only point to partial truths and hold them up as their justifications of things that are not justifiable.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

If they include a monument to all the slaves the company forced into labor, and put it in front of the site, apologize formally, and say it will never be repeated, then I say let them be considered. If they refuse, which they will, then I say DON'T let them be considered further.

-7 ( +18 / -25 )

Japan sees the sites as evidence of its industrial modernisation, and has said the UNESCO listing relates to their use in the period before World War Two.

Sounds a little convenient to me. For example, if there was a historic site in the Southern U.S. -- let's say in Chalreston, S.C.-- that had ties to the American Revolution, but was also used later as a slave market, would UNESCO let that pass? I mean where do you draw the line?

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

Japan is horribly delusional if they think they can get those sites registered without recognizing the tens of thousands of forced laborers who worked there. UNESCO knows this and are probably laughing at Japans attempt to get the sites registered.

It would be like Nazis trying to register Auschwitz as a historical rubber and soap factory without mentioning forced laborers or gas chambers.

HILARIOUS. UNESCO is rolling their eyes right now. 100% going to fail.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

Japan as usual 1step forward, 2-3 steps back!!

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

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