Well, not only has NBC apologized, it has fired Joshua Cooper Ramo as an analyst. Good riddance, not simply because of this one comment about how Koreans view Japan but because of his overall vapid, superficial, empty-suit commentary that gives people from think tanks a bad name. Apparently Ramo was also a commentator for NBC at the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008 and made similarly cliche-ridden comments about Asian culture and so forth.
Very glad NBC won't have this guy around for either Tokyo 2020 or Beijing 2022 (as I'm sure they were planning).
-1 ( +6 / -7 )
I think I understand what Ramo was trying to say, but his words came out wrong and displayed profound ignorance about South Korea's history since its creation in 1948. South Korea was under undemocratic dictatorial rule from 1961 to 1988. The obsequious, pro-Japan lackeys who ran South Korea during that time were not at all representative of the preferences and views of the South Korean people. Major grievances vis-a-vis Japan were swept under the rug for the sake of fulfilling America's desire to draw South Korea economically closer to Japan. South Korea's own people had little or no say in implementing this policy.
Why did NBC hire some vapid, cliche-spouting empty suit from Kissinger Associates? Nobody associated with Henry Kissinger should be offering commentary at the Winter Olympics or anywhere else.
-10 ( +12 / -22 )
"Victory ? Yeah right...."
Read the article, or actually just read the title. The word "victory" is in quotation marks for a reason. I wish more people would be more openly critical of then Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro for having so wholeheartedly and enthusiastically supported America's invasion of Iraq in March 2003, 15 years ago next month. The counterargument is that foreign oil-reliant Japan was really in no position to oppose America, given the flak Japan had taken 12 years earlier in 1991 for not contributing soldiers to the multinational coalition that fought in the first Persian Gulf War against Iraq.
But still, I found the chumminess and camaraderie between Koizumi and George W. Bush to be absolutely embarrassing and cringeworthy. I hope that at least some Japanese citizens felt the same way.
0 ( +0 / -0 )
The comment by "IloveCoffee" above illustrates the failure of the internet. Personally, I know well-traveled ethnic Koreans who have found living in and/or visiting Japan to be a pleasant experience. And unfortunately, South Korea is a country where politicians resorted to hatred of Japan as one way of facilitating nation-building after 1945. This sort of thing was all too common in former colonial holdings after the imperial powers departed. South Korean society is still very bitterly divided along regional and ideological lines, more so than Japan and a lot of other countries. Democratically elected politicians in that country are therefore frequently tempted to demonize Japan as a way of shoring up support.
9 ( +10 / -1 )
A source close to the South Korean task force said the report was not intended to prompt the scrapping or renegotiation of the deal.
"By no means is this a review designed to worsen Japan-South Korea relations," the source said. "For the most part, the problems are domestic issues that have nothing to do with Japan."
I am glad that somebody in South Korea is willing to admit the last part in this quote, albeit anonymously. The big problem here is that Park Geun-hye was a totally incompetent and unqualified person for the job of president, and yet more than 15.7 million South Korean citizens voted for her in the December 2012 election. As they say, you reap what you sow. Her time as president was a disaster that set back South Korean democracy a good 15-20 years.
2 ( +2 / -0 )
If you change government to administration, my point still stands. Decisions made by corrupt administrations can not be considered valid in any developed democracy.
This reasoning is not only ridiculous, but factually incorrect. Richard Nixon's administration in the United States (a developed democracy) was corrupt, maybe the most corrupt ever until the present White House occupant. That didn't lead Nixon's successors to just renege on the opening to China and the withdrawal of American soldiers from Vietnam, among other things. Every civilian president South Korea has had since 1993 has been corrupt in one way or another. Perhaps Park was the most corrupt of them all. She was definitely the worst and the most incompetent. But that's not relevant here. She was the democratically elected president of South Korea when she decided to suddenly reverse her anti-Japan stance and conclude a deal with Abe & Co. on the Comfort Women in December 2015. South Korean voters put her in office through a free and fair presidential election. Maybe Park's domestic policy decisions can be more easily reversed, but bilateral agreements reached with foreign countries are another matter. To argue otherwise is to imply that any South Korean president's word is worthless to a foreign government.
10 ( +14 / -4 )
Before taking action, I do think the leaders of South Korea should take a look at how the credibility of their major external benefactor (the United States) has been shredded to pieces by Donald Trump's unilateral abrogation of assorted agreements and deals with other countries. Park Geun-hye was a terrible president in South Korea and undoubtedly Moon & Co. would love to negate her legacy completely in the way that Donald Trump is trying to erase any trace of Barack Obama's 8 years as U.S. president.
But South Korea's credibility as a good-faith partner will be destroyed if it unilaterally abrogates the December 2015 deal with Japan about the Comfort Women issue. It doesn't matter that she got impeached later, Park WAS the democratically elected president of South Korea when she concluded that deal with the Japanese. More than 15.7 million South Korean citizens voted for that totally incompetent and unqualified woman in the December 2012 presidential election. They are at least partly responsible for the assorted disappointments and disasters that followed.
12 ( +14 / -2 )
"The prime minister’s insinuation that immigration is not an option to redress Japan’s declining population and labor shortages – the measure typically adopted by developed economies in similar predicaments"
Well, the record among countries that have imported workers to deal with domestic labor shortages isn't exactly impressive. It was mostly the governments of European countries that turned to this "solution" in the 1960s and 1970s. As some Europeans themselves have ruefully admitted, thinking they had imported machines only later did they come to realize they had imported humans. If people in Japan who want more immigrants basically view them as "live machines" that can relieve bottlenecks in the labor market, then such Japanese should be ignored.
Conspicuous by its absence from this list of countries that have turned to immigration to redress labor shortages are the United States, Canada, and Australia. When these countries, in rapid succession, liberalized their immigration policies in the 1960s and early 1970s it was not because they were facing labor shortages. The motive was purely geopolitical. Large-scale decolonization in Africa from the early 1960s suddenly made it imperative for the big 3 ex-British settler colonies to look more racially tolerant to counter the influence of the Soviet Union. Japan was a part of the American-led bloc during the Cold War, but it was never expected to liberalize its immigration policies as a way of countering Soviet and Chinese influence. All Japan (and South Korea as well) had to do was grow its economy rapidly and it did that quite well.
Have things changed in 2017? Is there some sort of geopolitical imperative for Japan to look more tolerant of ethnic and racial diversity so as to counter the influence of an ideological competitor? I see no such pressure.
1 ( +1 / -0 )
Posted in: If you brag about liberal democracy to Chinese people, you may hear: 'Are you still proud of your system, which has elected Mr Trump?' That was exactly the feeling I gained from dialogues with intellectuals in Seoul and Shanghai in August and September. It is not only the U.S. presidential election and the British national referendum about European Union membership. Policies on many other critical issues in liberal countries have shaken the premise that the Western system is far better than authoritarian ones at solving problems. See in context
No surprise at all that Chinese communists see great propaganda value in pointing to Donald Trump's being inaugurated as U.S. president as evidence that democracy is flawed and doesn't work as well as an authoritarian system. But what this typical Chinese communist analysis misses is that people who wish to defend Japan are just as inclined to point to Trump as evidence that Japan's democratic, multiparty political system is just as good as if not better than America's political system.
In other words, for a lot of people Trump's presidency is not evidence that democracy itself is flawed and ought to be junked in favor of one-party rule. Rather, Trump's presidency is evidence that there is something deeply wrong with how the United States governs itself.
0 ( +0 / -0 )
"Japan cannot attack other countries for the solution of international conflicts because of the constitution. But if it lets a large foreign military contingents station in Japan and lets them do whatever they want, for example, attack and invade other countries, isn't it the same thing as Japan itself is attacking? Probably, North Korea is bringing that sham to broad day light. Why should it attack another country that professes itself to be a disarmed, peaceful country?"
voiceofokinawa: Excellent points that cannot be stressed enough. I mean, a former Japanese PM (Nakasone) went so far as pledge that Japan itself would function as an "unsinkable aircraft carrier" for the United States military.
-1 ( +0 / -1 )
"Allied POW's remember the Korean guards at Japanese camps in Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines being even more vicious and sadistic than the Japanese guards (and that is saying a lot)."
I've come across this kind of comment numerous times online. I don't doubt that Koreans serving in the Japanese military during World War II often behaved brutally, as I'm sure the motivation for "transfer of oppression" was even higher for them than for the almost as badly treated ethnic Japanese soldiers. But one thing I've always wondered is this--How did the Allied POWs distinguish ethnic Korean from ethnic Japanese guards at Japanese camps? The Allied POWs in Southeast Asia were overwhelmingly white people born in circa 1920 and coming from Britain or the United States (and maybe Australia/New Zealand in smaller numbers). Were such people really so adept at distinguishing Koreans from Japanese? Most white Americans, Britons, Australians, and New Zealanders cannot tell the two people apart even today. Or did ethnic Korean guards wear special uniforms to distinguish themselves as not ethnically Japanese? I would have to assume that ethnic Korean guards spoke proficiently in Japanese, so I doubt the language they were speaking gave them away.
1 ( +1 / -0 )
"Some universities and colleges will likely be forced out of business as the population decline among 18-year-olds is expected to pick up pace in 2018.
Already in fiscal 2016 that ended in March, nearly half of the 600 private universities and colleges across Japan had failed to secure the number of students stipulated in their plans."
I don't mean to sound harsh here, but that second sentence would appear to totally justify proceeding with the scenario outlined in the first sentence. Many "universities" in Japan are de facto vocational schools with total enrollment of far fewer than even one thousand students. How on earth are these private institutions going to continue paying their faculty members and whatnot if they can't even recruit enough students to attend? I definitely wouldn't want to be employed at one of these places.
2 ( +2 / -0 )
The game is up, after nearly 70 years. Following are the words of Steve Bannon, alt-right guru and the man largely credited with delivering victory for Donald over Hillary:
"I'm not a white nationalist, I'm a nationalist. I'm an economic nationalist. The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f—ed over. If we deliver we'll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we'll govern for 50 years. That's what the Democrats missed."
Donald is far more likely to listen to a guy who talks like this than to some Japanese bureaucrat. I can easily picture how quickly fed up Donald would become as his Japanese counterparts passed out their cherished, carefully prepared and stapled printouts with charts and data.
0 ( +0 / -0 )
At this point, Japan is as likely to get back those 4 islands as Germany is to get back Kaliningrad, or what used to be known as East Prussia. It seems like the eternal hope for Japan's hardliners on this matter is that because Russia in their minds is such a desperate economic basket case it will eventually give in and offer to sell those 4 southernmost of the Kuril Islands at a bargain basement price a la Tsarist Russia selling Alaska for only $7.2 million to the USA in 1867.
But re those islands we know Russia wouldn't do such a thing even in 1998, when its economy hit absolute rock-bottom and was in a much worse state than it is today. Note also that in 1998, according to The Economist, the economy of Japan was larger than the combined GDP of Britain, France, Italy, and Canada. Japan's GDP in 2016 is now far smaller than the output of those 4 countries. So Japan's time for lording over other countries as if it's an economic colossus has long since passed.
And if Russia ever offers to sell those 4 islands to Japan, you know Putin & Co. will demand that Japan pay an intolerably high amount of money. If Japan's government acts as if those 4 islands are as valuable as solid gold, then why not demand an outrageous sum?
4 ( +4 / -0 )
Posted in: I was born and raised in occupied Japan. That’s under the great influence of American culture — the good old days at the peak of American culture. Shows such as ‘Laramie’ and ‘Rawhide’ and ‘Father Kno See in context
"Except for Okinawa, the Americans I believe left in 1952."
Uh, no they didn't in case you failed to notice. It is true that the Occupation of Japan officially ended on 28 April 1952, when Yanai was only 3 years old, but that doesn't mean the American soldiers just left--as if they would have done such a thing with the Korean War still raging across the sea.
I get the sense that the official end of the Occupation in April 1952 is a moment that holds little significance in the minds of Japanese who were alive at the time. PM Abe has tried hard to promote 28 April as "Restoration of Sovereignty Day" to instill patriotic pride in people's minds but I don't think the feeling has caught on at all. So no surprise that a Japanese man born in 1949 and whose first clear memories of life probably date from the mid-1950s is inclined to think that he grew up in occupied Japan. I'm pretty sure there were still over 100,000 American soldiers stationed in the country as late as 1960.
1 ( +1 / -0 )
Posted in: It's one of the absolutely worst countries -- among Asian countries, among rich countries, among democracies. There is no political will to increase women, and the system doesn't really favor female c See in context
Well, I fully expect this quote of the day to elicit some strong comments below. I understand that criticizing one's own country is a fairly common thing. I haven't hesitated over the years to point out some glaring deficiencies and shortcomings in the country of my citizenship. But really, regardless of gender quotas, there is just NO WAY you can argue that Japan is in any way worse than Saudi Arabia or South Sudan regarding almost anything. OK, maybe in contributing to the coming extinction of elephants through the ivory trade and the insatiable demand of Japanese people to have personal seals made of that substance. There's that. I doubt Saudi sheikhs or South Sudanese herders covet ivory-made goods as much as Japanese people.
But on the gender issue, I really don't care how many female lawmakers there are (proportionally speaking) in Riyadh or Juba compared to Tokyo. You're just not going to convince me or too many others on that one.
-4 ( +0 / -4 )
"It would be great if one day reports of people awarded a Nobel Prize didn't have a prize count by country as if reporting the Olympics. It's not a contest that people enter to 'win.'"
I agree, but try telling that to some people who work in the Japanese government. I think some people in the Japanese government see little or no difference between the medal counts at the Olympics every two years and the Nobel Prize count every year in October. For me, what followed in Japan after the awarding of the Nobel Prize in chemistry to Tanaka Koichi in 2002 remains one of the craziest overreactions I've ever witnessed by members of the media and government in any country.
Again, I would emphasize that this Nobel obsession in Japan is far more common among elites in the government and media than among ordinary people who care little or not at all.
4 ( +5 / -1 )
"Just because you are haafu, does not mean you have 'overseas roots.' You can be half Japanese and half Korean (Zainichi) with no "overseas connection" at all other than the nationality of one parent."
Your definition of haafu is quite expansive and also very different, I would guess, from how the term is defined by the vast majority of your fellow Japanese citizens. I don't think a majority or even a plurality of Japanese people would classify the child of an ethnic Japanese and a zainichi or any ethnic Korean as haafu. If that were true, then people like Haku Shinkun (former TV commentator turned House of Councillors member who has one zainichi Korean parent and one Japanese parent) and Ito Yuna (Hawaii-based singer with a Japanese father and Korean-American mother) would be regarded as haafu by many Japanese people and treated as such by the Japanese media. But it doesn't look like they are. And this is because they and those who share their mixed background are physically indistinguishable from Japanese people who claim "homogeneous" heritage.
No, the term "haafu" in Japan has nothing to do with anything except the most superficial of attributes--the physical features of one's face, in particular the shape and color of one's eyes and the size of one's nose. This is one reason why the term is so disliked and why I personally find it embarrassing to use the word in conversation. No connection to stuff that matters, e.g. personality traits or language proficiency.
The word "haafu" is essentially shorthand for referring to somebody as big-nosed and round-eyed.
0 ( +1 / -1 )
"None of what I wrote is anything to do with the US, which as we all know has plenty of its own problems."
You are absolutely correct about that, and I'm sure Priyanka Yoshikawa would agree. Why on earth an Indian-Japanese pageant winner should care about how well citizens are treated in a country she has perhaps never visited is beyond me. Unless, of course, you think the entire world revolves around the United States and what goes on in that country.
1 ( +1 / -0 )
This is a positive sign of the times. People who insist that "haafu" is not a racist term are only partially correct. It is my general impression that mixed-race people in Japan who have one Japanese parent and one white parent have had a far better chance of integrating well into society and living happily in the country compared to those such as Ms. Yoshikawa who have one Japanese parent and one parent who is also not white but not Japanese (or of similar East Asian complexion like Han Chinese or Korean) either. I know, there is always anecdotal evidence of half-whites in Japan also having a tough time, but it just strikes me as not terribly plausible that half-whites in Japan as a whole have had as difficult a time as half-Filipinos, half-Thais, and half-Indians in Japan.
Japan, after all, does share with Korea and China the unfortunate East Asian tendency to equate lighter skin pigmentation with the refined, sophisticated, non-agricultural upper classes. And if I'm not mistaken, at least some of Japan's leaders during the Meiji Era openly advocated breeding between Japanese and whites in order to improve the nation's genetic stock. So a positive sign of the times, I'd say.
1 ( +1 / -0 )
"You may believe everything you read. I don't. I go for facts and hard data."
Why are you so confident that these numbers released by the OECD and World Bank are so trustworthy and unbiased? The OECD is an organization dominated by white-majority European countries. The World Bank's president has always been an American with some cause to promote. If data released by the World Economic Forum and other agencies regarding gender equality and press freedom in Japan are bogus and biased and unreliable, as you have suggested elsewhere, why such faith in numbers put out by the OECD and World Bank? Is it just because these particular numbers make Japan look relatively better and back up whatever point you're trying to make here?
-1 ( +1 / -2 )
On his worst days, Donald Trump is STILL a better Republican candidate for president than George W. Bush ever was. The rot in the U.S. Republican Party has been a very long time in the making. As somebody who likes Japan, I found few images more nauseating than those of former PM Koizumi Junichiro ingratiating himself to such an extent with George W. Bush during their meetings. But I digress...
The above article is about a stupid, tiresome point that Trump keeps making. Unlike Japan, the continental United States is impervious to conventional military attack. The only ways America's adversaries can directly attack it are via terrorism or nuclear missiles. It's not like an enemy force can amass itself along the border in Mexico or Canada and successfully take U.S. territory a la North Korea against the South in 1950. Therefore, I've always found the idea of reciprocity in defense treaty obligations to be kind of dumb.
-25 ( +8 / -33 )
"In her TV-series, her male co-star is of Korean descent but acting as of Chinese descent. Where is the complaining there?"
Yes, excellent point. Nobody can tell Wu what ought to bother her the most, but I find it ridiculous that a native-born U.S. citizen who speaks unaccented American English in real life is best known for a role that requires her to speak "Chinglish." That bothers me more than Matt Damon's getting cast in some movie that's a fantasy involving dragons and other creatures. By the way, that TV series starring Wu and Korean-American Randall Park as the Taiwanese father (called "Fresh off the Boat") is really not funny and has been more or less disavowed by Eddie Huang, the chef and author whose memoir is the original source material for that program.
1 ( +1 / -0 )
"For example, the American historian Bruce Cummings"
That historian's family name is spelled Cumings, not Cummings.
0 ( +0 / -0 )
Nobody can know for sure what's going on here. But if it is the case that tradition-bound reactionaries in the IHA and elsewhere are the main opponents of Akihito's abdicating and living out the remainder of his life as an ex-emperor, that's a bit ironic. You'd think reactionaries would want Akihito off the throne, period. Nativist reactionaries in Japan dislike the man because they feel he was unduly influenced as a boy by Elizabeth Gray Vining, the white American Quaker educator who served as his official tutor from 1946 to 1950.
0 ( +0 / -0 )
"I have no objection to (Japanese) bureaucrats looking to foreign models for ideas."
Sorry, but I don't think you actually believe what you wrote there. In your comments, whether intended or not, you consistently come across as a person who thinks Japan has nothing worthwhile to learn from any foreign country regarding anything. It's quite common for citizens of wealthy, stable, successful countries to feel this way, and there's nothing wrong with feeling that way about Japan or anywhere else. Just come out and express that opinion if you really feel that way, rather than running around in circles pretending otherwise for who knows what reason.
"In other words, if the Koreans have done great things in some area, let's learn from them. If the Norwegians have done great things in some area, let's learn from them."
Again, I think you just write this kind of stuff to get people to take your bait. I can easily predict what would happen if somebody decided to engage with you and cited Country X as a place that has put into practice an effective way of stopping would-be mass killers: You would upload a comment with a link to an article from somewhere showing that Country X failed to stop a mass killer from carrying out an attack, etc. Therefore, Country X doesn't offer a good model for Japan to follow.
"If there are no better, no more effective models, what is the point of criticizing the Japanese system?"
To vent one's feelings of frustration. You may view this as being pointless, but others see it as an effective stress reliever. What I find truly pointless is to object to and complain over and over again about a bunch of anonymous comments written by people whom you don't know and will never meet in real life. You may find this hard to believe, but not everybody uploads comments to an anonymous online forum with the intention of changing the world, not even one tiny bit. In fact, virtually nobody uploads comments anonymously with that intention.
0 ( +0 / -0 )
"The most effective way of getting those defects fixed is to point to a system that is more effective."
Uh, no. The most effective way of getting defects fixed is...to fix them. Who besides you decided that pointing to an overseas system that is more effective is the most effective way of fixing defects in any kind of system?
"Japanese officials are always citing foreign models to justify change in Japan. So, which foreign model demonstrably does a better job in preventing mass killings?"
You have repeatedly made it clear in other comments that you really, really don't care for Japanese officials who cite foreign models to justify change in Japan. So why on earth are you asking people here to do something that you clearly don't care for and find objectionable?
2 ( +3 / -1 )
"Perhaps one or more of those critical of the Japanese system would be so kind as to suggest a national system that has a better track record of preventing psychos from carrying out a mass killing."
For your edification? No thanks. A double-digit mass killing takes place in Japan, and you react by looking for a way to lure others into taking your bait and then showing that other countries are no better at dealing with would-be mass killers? Again, no thanks.
5 ( +6 / -1 )
I wish the ratio of variety programs to dramas on Japanese TV could be reversed, i.e. more dramas and fewer variety programs. As saccharine sweet and melodramatic as TV dramas in Japan can be, I've always found it vastly preferable to watch a Japanese celebrity playing a role in a drama as opposed to playing a role on some variety program (they're playing roles in both--obviously Becky isn't like that in real life). I've watched all or parts of some worthwhile Japanese dramas over the years--Aoi Tori, Hitotsu no Yane no Shita, and Double Score come to mind. And some genuinely good actors (meaning not just celebrities) have appeared on Japanese dramas--Toyokawa Etsushi and Nagasaku Hiromi to name but two.
I sense that Japanese TV devotes fewer hours to home-grown dramas than was once the case. Perhaps the overwhelming popularity of Korean dramas caused Japanese networks to throw in the towel and stick to the cheaply produced variety programs as their main source of revenue. Too bad.
0 ( +0 / -0 )
I suspect that at least some hardliners in the Chinese Communist Party are now searching for their own Marco Polo Bridge-like incident at sea (either East China or South China, or hell maybe both) to serve as a pretext for taking bigger action the way Japan did against China in July 1937 (the time of the original Marco Polo Bridge incident). Not a great situation, to say the least.
People should be aware of how dangerous the current situation is with respect to China. No one-party authoritarian regime has survived beyond the "age" of 71 or 74, depending on how you count the years in power of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (that started in either 1917 with the Bolshevik Revolution or 1922, when the civil war ended, and lasted until 1991). The longest-lasting non-communist one-party reign was that of the PRI in Mexico from 1929 to 2000.
We're in year 67 of the CCP's rule in China. If it survives to celebrate 75 years of nonstop rule in October 2024, that will be a milestone without precedent in modern history. But I'm sure the Chinese communists are aware of how great the odds are against them staying in power for even 8 more years--unless they get that Marco Polo Bridge-type incident at sea, perhaps.
3 ( +3 / -0 )