I would not be too quick to judge with such a broad stroke the "shallowness" of the Korean society and culture. Such a stance and attitude are usually very revealing. The need to belittle a group of people and culture as whole usually reveals a sense of insecurity concerning one's own place in relation to the other. Why not just celebrate that your neighboring country is doing well by going global? As you point out, they are driven by the need to expand their market because they have a smaller domain. And since Japan does not need to go global because they have a large local market, and they are satisfied being local, why not leave it at that? Why do you feel a need to talk about the "shallowness" of K-pop, K-drama, and Korean society as a whole? If you truly think that Japanese society, culture, J-pop, and K-drama, is so very "deep" (as opposed to the Korean "shallowness") and secure, such "shallow" thinking, attitude, and expressions on you part are truly unbecoming of you.
-3 ( +0 / -3 )
You can't have your cake and eat it too. Your claim that "there's no competition" "sour grapes" or jealousy of J-pop in relation to K-pop is contradicted by the second part of your post where you feel the need to demean both the K-pop as well as K-drama. Perhaps if you argued for the relative strengths as well as weaknesses of both K-pop and J-pop, I might have been convinced (and perhaps even impressed), but the second part of your post was a give-away.
-4 ( +0 / -4 )
What amazes me about this thread is how much negative reaction that it's getting in Japan. So what's the big deal about Quincy Jones promoting K-Pop globally? Why is that such a big news in Japan that it would generate so many posts and passionate negative reactions? Why would this news be an occasion for belittling and demeaning K-Pop music and Koreans as a people (see for example hidingout's comments above)? Instead of stating the obvious, I will let 800 pound gorilla speak for itself.
1 ( +4 / -3 )
I am a recent observer of the Japan Times. What I am amazed about as I read the most discussed topics and forums in this newspaper is how much the topic of Korea dominates Japanese news, culture, politics, and social consciousness. It's as if Japanese people, in recent times, lack an identity of their own but constantly feel the need to define themselves (news, culture, and politics) in relation to the Korean people, usually by feeling the need to demean and degrade them as an inferior people (e.g. "But what do you expect from Koreans!). This strikes me as a most strangest phenomenon. I also read the Chinese and Korean newspapers as well. I could say that, although they too have serious concerns about the Japanese, it doesn't seem to so passionately dominate their news, culture, and politics. Most Chinese and Korean people, especially the younger generation, seem have other concerns that dominate their consciousness. I think the Japanese paranoia that Koreans (and Chinese) are single-mindedly concerned to "undermine Japan on every level" reflects more of the Japanese psychological insecurity at the current moment of their history then what reality actually seems to suggest.
3 ( +6 / -3 )
I would underscore Mitch Cohen's point that the Korean haters in this thread have not touched the fact that this petition did not originate with the Korean group (VANK) but was begun by a Chinese American physicist living in American and that it is an "international" movement. As of today, there are some 25,273 people who have signed this online petition. One has but to look at the nationalities of these signators to realize that South Koreans are not the only nationality represented in this international petition. They are from countries like Australia, Canada, Singapore, USA, China, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Greece, Germany, Belgium, and on and on. In this light, could you Korean haters answer for me basic two questions:
1) Why do you only target the Koreans as if they began this petition? and that they were the only ones participating? 2) If the Koreans act the way they do because of their anti-Japanese educational indoctrination, how do you explain the fact that so many other nationalities are participating in this petition? Have they also been indoctrinated through their national education? Or did Koreans educators go to each of these countries and write textbooks for their school curriculum as well?
I await your response.
-1 ( +2 / -3 )
One cannot but wonder about the media's role in all this. As I previously pointed out, it was not the Korean group (VANK) that began this petition but an American from New Jersey, USA. He translated his petition into Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, and Korean and circulated the letter so that it is an international movement that began in the USA. However, this article makes it sound like it was the Koreans that began this movement and they are the only group involved. Why this selective bias? There are only two choices: Either the journalist did not know about the origin and the scope of the international campaign or he/she neglected to mention it on purpose. If the former, it is a sign of incompetent journalism; if the latter, it is down right dishonest and manipulative. I would like to think the former but the latter is more probable. Many Japanese politicians and media purposely manipulate facts in order to create tension between Japan and Korea for political benefit. This type of tension encourages nationalism at the expense of countries like Korea and serves to strengthen their ultra-conservative base.
2 ( +6 / -4 )
I forgot to press the link button for the American, Don Tow's (a physicist from New Jersey, USA) online petition that started this whole international campaign:
2 ( +6 / -4 )
This article, while not completely inaccurate, gives the false and biased impression that a group of Korean citizens began this campaign to have Tokyo dropped from the 2020 Olympics. The fact of the matter is that is was an American named Don Tow, a physicist living in New Jersey, USA, that began this petition in English and had it translated into Chinese, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish as well as Korean. The Korean group is only one of the many participants in this international movement that began in the USA. So to target only the Koreans as circulating this petition (or implying that they started this petition) is completely inaccurate. Just in case some of you are thinking that I made this up, the following is the link to Don Tow's original link:
2 ( +8 / -6 )
I don't think I should be investing too much of time explaining such basics of Northeast Asian politics but, suffice it to say, the strategy that US is using is not a "direct move toward containment." It is very much an "indirect move" vis-a vis the tension between North and South Korea. China strategy is very much the same. If you don't understand the complexity behind this concept than let's just leave it at that.
-1 ( +1 / -2 )
I don't want to continually repeat my previous posts so if you're interested in my response to your point, please refer to them, I will just repeat here that US has multiple reasons for continuing to remain in South Korea even after the Cold War 50 years ago. Like some others who have previously posted in this thread, you are making the mistake of thinking that the US is stationed in Korea simply and only to counter the attack from the North Korea. That's just one of our objectives which is not our main reason for being there. As I pointed out previously, the US uses the tension in Korea as a useful pretext for staying in the region and having military, economic, and political presence. Also, at the top of our priority is to containing the influence of China. Developing closer ties with the North, while important, is not the only or the primary objective of the US as they remain stationed in Korea.
-1 ( +1 / -2 )
While you are completely correct that the Korean peninsula is both a buffer zone and stepping stone during military advancement, you are incorrect to think that it is "nothing more, nothing less." Don't forget that the Korean peninsula is located at an intersection of land and sea which boarders China and Russia. As such and therefore it is also a key beachhead and bridge for US in maintaining maritime influence in Northeast Asia and beyond not just militarily but economically and politically. It acts as a bridgehead for transportation and trade, and being at the easternmost tip of Eurasia, also serves as a hub for various global networks. South Korea's market technology and industrial facilities and tourist industries are invaluable for China's economic rise. The US strategy in Korea is therefore built primarily on the need to maintain balance of power by keeping China and Russia in check and preventing further expansion of especially China. US uses the tensions in Korea as a pretext for flexing its muscles vis-a-vis China. It is therefore in the interest of US to keep our troops there. This is all part of Northeast Asian politics 101.
-1 ( +1 / -2 )
You lack the basic understanding of Asian and global politics. Do you really think that US's only purpose for having troops stationed in Korea is simply to counter North Korea's advances southward? There are today multiple reasons for having US troops continuing to be stationed in South Korea the most important being to contain China's influence and to insure America's continued military (and therefore economic and political) presence in the Korean peninsula which is a gateway to the continent of mainland China. I'm surprised that you, being a Japanese, don't know such a basic reason why Japan always tried to conquer Korea both in the 16th century and earlier in the last century. It was always as a means to conquer China. The geographical location of Korea has always been important for this reason. Why would the US voluntarily give up such a strategic position? Oh really? US is stationed there only for the sake of Korea? Do you think this type of economic and military sacrifices make sense for the US if it didn't serve our own interest?
0 ( +2 / -2 )
The United States should terminate it's defense agreement with South Korea and pull our forces out. Let the Chinese PLA be stationed in South Korea,
That is ridiculous. Why would the US do something so stupid as to terminate it's defense agreement with South Korea and pull our forces out? Do you think we have our forces in Korea just for the sake of Korea? No, it is in our best interest to have our forces there because it gives us military influence in the region and allows us to check the expansion of Chinese influence. I don't know whose side you're on but having the Chinese forces stationed in South Korea would mean American suicide in the region. Do you really want that as an American? (I'm assuming you're an American from your name). But even for Japan, this would be the worst thing that could happen. The Korean peninsula is a very strategic location from the standpoint of military and economic power and advantage. And just because South Korea chose to prioritize her relationship with China over Japan does not mean that she still does not prioritize her relationship with US over China. Remember, the first country President Park visited in her capacity as president was the US, not China. Her choice to visit China second, instead of Japan, as other presidents have done, is due in large part to how Japan has been behaving in recent times. President Park has made it very clear that her relationship with Japan will be predicated on how they behave. If Japan was smart, they would not continually isolate themselves in this manner. The Chinese alliance with South Korea spells bad news for Japan.
1 ( +3 / -2 )
Obviously you don't understand the "dialectic" (and even a" trilectic") that always operate in politics, especially Asian politics. In an interdependent, global situation like what you find between China, Korea, and Japan, there is always already an interdependence that cannot be denied. That is precisely the reason these three countries have to talk whether they like it or not. On the other hand, the recent actions of the Japanese government have resulted in Japan being increasingly isolated from both Korea and China, as well as the world opinion. That is precisely the reason why Japan is so desperate to engage in talks with South Korea and China, even if it is a sideline dialogue. Yes, none of the three countries could afford to isolate themselves for their own benefit, which is why that they have already decided to engage in a threeway FTA talks. This does not preclude the other dynamic of self-imposed isolationism which the Japanese government have brought about through their recent fiasco. That there is a dialectic (even a trilectic) means that there are both dynamics at work at the same time. "Nothing but politics?" Obviously, you lack an understanding of these complexities or the power that politics have on other dimensions of human existence (like for example, economics).
0 ( +2 / -2 )
As Chucky3176 pointed out, it is not the Koreans but the Japanese government that is desperate to meet with both with Korea and China's ministers. With the recent historic trip taken by President Park to China, a stronger, unprecedented, alliance has formed between South Korea and China. By visiting China before visiting Japan, as previous presidents have done, South Korea has made a clear statement as to where their alliance priority will be - with China and not Japan, as in the past. China has also reciprocated in this regard. They are united in their criticism against Japan with regard to her unreasonable interpretations of history as well as territorial disputes. This puts Japan at a significant disadvantage both politically and economically (not to mention culturally, morally, and militarily). It is in Japan's interest to meet with both South Korea and China in order to fight off the impression (and the reality) that they are becoming an increasingly isolated power continually losing influence and significance in Asia (and worldwide). I for one agree with all of you who wished that Japan does not meet with South Korea but for a different reason. Unless Japan is willing to change their positions on the "comfort women" (i.e. sexual-slavery), confront the truth of their war crimes in their educational textbooks, and not have its politicians continually visit the war shrines, I hope South Korea (and China) do not meet with the Japanese minister. This will further isolate Japan and put pressure for change. That seems to be the only type of motivation for change that they understand.
-1 ( +1 / -2 )
I want to second Minello7 in thanking you for bringing these articles to our attention. It seems that the more we look into these matters, including Japan's dispute with Korea about the "Dokdo" island, Japan is on shaky ground both historically and academically. I hope they will honestly study their geographical histories and make informed decisions rather than stand unreasonably on their nationalistic, right-wing agendas.
-4 ( +1 / -5 )
Your reaction to the flag controversy is deficient in these four ways: 1) Have you heard of the Korean Independence Movement? Have you heard of the March 1st Movement of 1919? Have you heard of the Korean government in exile (KPG)? And have you heard of the Korean Liberation Army? Do you not know that Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty, 1910, as well as previous treaties were declared void after the war because they were obtained under threat of force and without the legal consent of the Korean emperor? Japanese government officially acknowledged this point in the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and Republic of Korea (1965). This is a historical fact. 2) Once you recognize the above point, the rest of of your claims make minimal sense. Yes, there were Korean soldiers that participated in the Japanese war crimes. But their participation were as individuals not as representatives of the Korean government. Rather, they acted on behalf of the Japanese army and government. Some of them were tried an killed as war criminals, and rightly so. However, they were condemned as part of the Japanese army and government. To imply that Korea, as a state, must apologize for these individuals who acted on behalf of the Japanese government is completely irrational and ridiculous. 3) As far as Taiwan is concerned, it has a significantly different history from Korea. While Korea had a long history of sovereign existence, Taiwan was a colonized island beginning with Dutch(1622-1662) and Spanish Formosa (1626-1642), to Kingdom of Tungning (1662-1683), and the Qing rule (1683-1895). Fifty years of Japanese colonization was simply another stage in their colonized history. Coupled with this, it is the immediate failure of the Kuomindang that perpetuated this colonial legacies after WWII that has led to the relative antipathy of the Japanese rule compared to other Asian countries. 4) As I mentioned in a former posts, to blame the Korean educational system or the government for their legitimate concerns concerning Japan's distortions of history, white-washing of their crimes against "comfort women" (sexual-slavery), outrageous statements made by politicians, and their refusal to teach correct history in their textbooks (in other words "brainwashing" their children), and their ultra right-wing reactions that is ostracized by the world-wide community, all point to their general moral deficiencies and immaturity. Before you go ahead and blame the Koreans, it will serve you well to re-examine your own checkered history and it's relation to the present flag controversy.
-4 ( +1 / -5 )
@black_jack I agree. The second reason you stated is also telling. There are other Asian countries who also suffered under the Japanese during the war such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, etc. Yet these countries don't have anti-Japanese education in elementary schools like Korea does and their younger generation are more inclined to move on from the past than to dwell in it obsessively like the Koreans do. This speaks volumes about Korea and Koreans; it's no wonder nobody takes them seriously.
Genuro, There is a simple reason why the Koreans are taking the lead in this flag controversy . Please remember that while Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia were occupied for few years in the 1940's Korea was forcibly annexed (under false legal pretext) for 36 years. In comparison, Vietnam was occupied during 1940-1945, Philippines (1942-1945), Indonesia (1942-1945). Korea, more than any other of these Asian countries, experienced full and systematic brutalities and atrocities under the Japanese government (followed by China). Therefore, they are in the best position to criticize Japanese war crimes with complete legitimacy. The worldwide community looks to them to take the lead in this matter and we are grateful for their voice. Please take time to study your own imperialist history and war crimes.
-5 ( +0 / -5 )
The main problem here, as JanesBlonde and others have already pointed out, is the anti-Japanese education Koreans receive from school courtesy of the Korean government. Normally people who go and study overseas away from their home country and culture expand and broaden their world vision as they experience cultures different from their own. However, the brainwashing and hate Koreans receive at an early age become so deeply imprinted that they carry it on to their adult years. So it's not surprising this student acted the way she did.
If there is any "brainwashing" here, it's not the Koreans but the Japanese. For clearly, the facts of history are on the side of Koreans and the world community that have already acknowledged the Japanese war crimes. Only the Japanese are in denial. Notice it's not simply the Koreans who are reacting negatively to how Japanese politicians and the ultra right-wingers have been acting childishly in recent times, it's China, Korea, rest of Asia, and, yes, the commonly held world wide opinion. To blame this on Korean education is to forget the fact that it is Japan that is whitewashing their war crimes and distorting it in their educational system and textbooks.
-5 ( +1 / -6 )
*To me it looks like Koreans just came up with a stupid excuse to bash Japan and to satisfy their inferirity complex against Japan,... The best thing that we can do is to ignore them.... Koreans should realize that they look very immature and insecure bunch to outsiders by trying to find whatever they can come up with to critisize Japan.
Black_Jack, Judging from the reactions of the Japanese to this flag incident, the impression that I get, as an American, is not that the Koreans are acting out of an inferiority complex or that they look immature and insecure. It's exactly the opposite. It's the Japanese reaction that seem insecure and immature. The reason that Japanese people cannot simply "ignore" this incident as you suggest, is precisely because they feel threatened by their own decline (economically, politically, and culturally) and feeling so insecure about other Asian countries (like China and Korea) gaining greater influence. That's what seems to be triggering these ultra right-wing reactions. To the outsider, it doesn't look pretty. It looks immature.
-4 ( +0 / -4 )
The big difference between the Iron Cross and the Kyokujitsuki is in what these flags symbolize in "today." Germany has sincerely and convincingly been repentant of their wrong doings to such an extent that they would today never think of denying (or whitewashing) their past war crimes. They have had the moral courage to face up to their moral failings and are collectively determined to never let such crimes of humanity never occur on their soil ever again. Japan, on the other hand, continues to deny and minimize their wrongdoings. They continue to misrepresent history in their textbooks. They continue to minimize, if not completely deny, their involvement with sexual slavery. Their politicians continue to make outrageous statements. Yes, they have apologized, many times- but their apologies are not sincere. Anyone could verbalize an apology. What matters is whether these apologies are offered in sincerity, true regret, and determined to never let such crimes occur again. But any objective observer could readily see this is not the case. Please don't forget that flags are "living symbols." They symbolize the Japanese people in the present. And the Japanese people are not repentant of the past crimes but outright defiant. The German people are the opposite. That's where the big difference lies between what the Iron Cross and Kyokujitsuki today. These symbols point to the two diametrically different attitudes that characterizes the two nations toward their past war crimes.
-3 ( +1 / -4 )
I agree that the attack on the flag might have been little bit overboard, but not by much. If you look at the action itself outside the current context, yes, it was overboard. But look... the majority of Japanese are in denial about the past crimes of Japan. They don't want to admit that there were tens of thousand of comfort women that Japanese soldiers used as sex-slaves. They refuse to teach correct history about the past in their school textbooks. Then there's their totally unreasonable claims about "Dokdo" islands. Finally the outrageous actions and statements by the politician in recent times all contribute to the Asian (Chinese, Korean, and many other) resentment about Japanese symbols. Given this context, I don't think the action by the Koreans are too outrageous in comparison.
-2 ( +4 / -6 )