AMPONTAN

Japan from the inside out

Saber-rattling in Seoul

Posted by ampontan on Sunday, August 24, 2008

“Of course you realize, this means war!”
– Groucho Marx as Rufus T. Firefly in Duck Soup

SOUTH KOREA LIVES in a rough neighborhood, surrounded by the Chinese dragon, the Russian bear, and its evil twin in Pyeongyang.

North Korea invaded the South in 1950 to ignite a bloody war, and their military provocations have continued over the ensuing half century. They tried to assassinate then-President Chun Doo-hwan in Burma in 1983. The plot failed to eliminate the primary target, but killed 21 other people instead, including four South Korean Cabinet members, presidential advisors, journalists, and four Burmese. They have kidnapped, tortured and killed countless private citizens from the South. Several South Korean sailors died in a naval battle with the North on the eve of the 2002 World Cup held jointly in South Korea and Japan. And just recently, the Northerners shot dead a South Korean tourist on one of their beaches, apparently just to watch her die.

The Chinese also invaded South Korea during the Korean War, and the two countries are involved in arcane territorial disputes that required extensive discussion in a 2006 summit meeting. While the Russians are not an immediate threat, they are in the habit of invading nearby countries every decade or so, as the world was reminded yet again in Georgia. Both have nuclear weapons, and who knows what the real story is with North Korea’s nuclear program. All three countries rank in the top ten worldwide in the number of army and navy personnel and military aircraft.

It should be no surprise, therefore, that the South Koreans have expanded and enhanced their military capabilities and plan further growth in the future. Of particular note has been the South Korean effort to develop a blue water navy.

International military analysts have cited the need to maintain the regional balance of power—especially with China—and participation in humanitarian relief efforts as the reasons for this buildup. But that is not what the South Koreans tell themselves, either for consumption among the general public or for a more specialized audience.

Instead, their justification is a scenario so unlikely it should be at the bottom of the list of potential military threats for South Korean strategic planners, assuming it should be on any list at all.

Here’s what the former chief of naval operations and the father of the South Korean blue navy concept, Ahn Byeong-tae, told a seminar conducted at a research institute in March 2005:

“If South Korean and Japanese military forces should clash over Dokdo, the islets would be taken from us in a day. It might not even take a day. I can’t say for certain, but it might not even take half a day.”

Admiral Ahn might be technically correct, but any assumption that Japan would take military action over Takeshima/Dokdo/the Liancourt Rocks requires either a suspension of belief greater than that required to watch an Indiana Jones movie, or a willingness to believe a hypothesis for which no evidence exists. In 24 years in Japan, I have never seen or heard anything in the mass media even remotely suggesting military action as a solution for territorial disputes or military threats from another country, much less as a figment of a hyperactive imagination.

Yet the quote from Admiral Ahn comes from a three-part article (in Japanese) from the Chosun Ilbo published last month, which you can see here, here, and here. It’s a description of the relative strength of the South Korean and Japanese navies based on the extraordinary assumption that the Japanese would try to seize the islets by force. The following is a sample of the discussion. The sub-headings are translations of those used in the articles themselves.

South Korean naval strength 30% of Japan’s

The combat capabilities of the South Korean Navy have rapidly improved in the three years since (Admiral Ahn’s comments). The first South Korean-built Aegis destroyer, Sejong the Great, was launched, as well as the largest amphibious assault ship in Asia, the Dokdo. (It is also the largest ship in the South Korean navy.)

But Japan’s capabilities are greater. They have two new improved Aegis vessels and six Aegis destroyers in all. The Japanese have also recently launched their first helicopter carrier and a 3,000-ton submarine. The Japanese fleet is an aggregate 428,000 tons, while the South Korean fleet is just 137,000 tons.

Japan’s six-to-one Aegis advantage

The Aegis destroyer can spot incoming missiles and aircraft from 1,054 kilometers, and simultaneously discover 900 targets, including aircraft, ships, and missiles, from 500 kilometers. The new Japanese Aegis of the Atago class controls the East Sea (the Sea of Japan), and their Escort Flotilla 3 could sail in a convoy and reach Dokdo first in the event of a crisis.

A heavyweight versus a flyweight in warships and anti-ship missiles

The South Korean navy has 40 warships in the 1,000-ton class or above, but Japan has more than that in the 3,000-ton class or above. Both countries have anti-ship missiles for use against enemy vessels, most of which are the American-made Harpoon, but Japan has many more.

More than 65% of Japan’s fleet has been launched since 1984, so it has a higher ratio of newer vessels.

The difference in anti-submarine capabilities is as that between a man and a boy

The South Korean navy has nine submarines in the 1,200-ton class and one in the 1,800-ton class, but Japan has 16 larger subs ranging from 2,200 to 3,000 tons. It also has more than 90 P3C maritime patrol aircraft for anti-submarine activities, while South Korea has just eight. South Korea has 40 helicopters, while Japan has more than 90.

The KF16 naval aircraft can fight for only five minutes at Dokdo.

While South Korea has 500 naval fighter aircraft and Japan has 360, the Japanese planes have greater combat capabilities. They are also based closer to Dokdo, and the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces have superior refueling capabilities.

Dokdo’s distance from South Korean bases means that only the KF15 can fight in the skies above the islets for more than an hour. South Korea has 170 KF16s, which are capable of only five minutes of combat in the area…

*****

There’s more, but you get the picture.

Meanwhile, it was also reported that Vice Admiral Seong Yeong-mu of the Strategy Planning Department called for the continued expansion of naval capabilities to a level 70% to 80% of those of Japan. Admiral Seong’s justification was that doing so would prevent Japan from creating a problem over Dokdo.

To be sure, some of this lurid speculation by the navy brass could be a ploy to get a bigger slice of the national military budget. The military establishment in other countries employs the same strategy, as do some politicians to win elections; John F. Kennedy famously warned of a non-existent missile gap with the Soviet Union during his presidential campaign.

Even assuming that part of the motivation is bureaucratic gamesmanship, however, the question of why Japan must be used as the shuttlecock remains unanswered. North Korea has repeatedly demonstrated its malevolence and its willingness to use military options. The Chinese might not take overt military action (in the southern part of the peninsula, at any rate), but it must be assumed that their military buildup is designed, in part, to establish regional hegemony. Are South Koreans prepared to live on Chinese terms?

It would be far wiser for the South Koreans to find ways to encourage more amicable feelings toward Japan among its people than to exacerbate the tendency to indulge in unproductive emotionalism. They are the only two countries in the region sharing a commitment to democratic governments, free markets, and the rule of law. If they dropped the game, Japan could be the best friend South Korea has in the neighborhood. The potential benefits of partnership are enormous if the country ever chooses an option besides cutting off its nose to spite its face.

But it’s a lot safer to pick pretend fights with a country you know will never fight back. That allows the flyweight to keep talking tough without getting on the wrong side of the real thugs.

Finally, there is one more puzzling aspect to the Chosun Ilbo articles. They were translated into Japanese from the original Korean. Yet there doesn’t seem to be an English translation of those articles on their website. (That’s not to say English translations don’t exist, only that I couldn’t find any there.)

Does this mean that the South Korean intention was to rattle their new sabers just loud enough for the Japanese to hear, but quiet enough so that the United States and the rest of the English-speaking world wouldn’t notice? After all, why cause the guarantor of your security to think you’re goofy when it comes to the application of military force?

There might be a more innocent explanation, but South Korean behavior of late makes it difficult to extend the benefit of the doubt.

Afterwords: Here is an excellent summary of the strange territorial disputes between South Korea and China written by Andrei Lankov. Here’s a report of another Sino-Korean dispute over the submerged rock Ieodo. And here is a summary of the 2002 naval battle between North and South, presented by GI Korea. His post was particularly educational because it mentions a body of water called the West Sea.

A quick check of an atlas showed that what South Korea calls the West Sea is what everyone else in the world calls the Yellow Sea. That’s in addition to their claim that the Sea of Japan is really called the East Sea.

Don’t they realize how ridiculous it makes them look?

23 Responses to “Saber-rattling in Seoul”

  1. Aceface said

    There has been some concern from American sources from 90’s that SK’s new military build-up is heavily focused on naval and air power,but not enough budget for the ground forces.And CINPAC had concerened that it might cause tention with Japan for Korean naval authority had used Japan as potential enemy to justify the increase of budget.

    Group of retired Japanese MSDF admirals and Okazaki Insititute had organzied series the second track cnfidence building dialogue with Koran naval officers about a decade ago,called K-J shuttle.(It’s not J-K shuttle,a consideration from Japanese side after 2002 world cup naming fuss with Chung Mong-joon demanded the name Korea comes first by ignoring the alphabetical order.)

    Here’s overall analysis of Japan-Korea defense cooperation from
    Admiral(retired)Hirama.
    http://www.okazaki-inst.jp/hirama.defense2000.html

    Somehow the other content including the whole record of the dialogue with Korean admirals of which was on the web can’t be found now.Strange.

  2. Ken said

    Koreans regard Japan as the most dangerous threat for Korea.
    http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20080816-00000931-san-int
    Korea is planning to set up space army though it may be just a preparation to say Uriginal later.
    http://www.chosunonline.com/article/20080820000042
    If they have such space technology, they should not request Japan to lend space laboratory without charge and prepare by themselves.
    http://www.mext.go.jp/b_menu/shingi/uchuu/gijiroku/h20/honiin/08021519.htm
    Rather, they should recover their economy if they can afford to expand armaments as foreign currency reserve is decreasing Only IN Korea.
    http://www.chosunonline.com/article/20080822000004

    By the way, one of current world mysteries is why they do not endeavor to unify divided countries.
    North Vietnam unified more than 30 years ago with sacrificing their blood.
    West Germany unified almost 20 years ago with sacrificing their wealth.
    As for Korea, either side does not seem taking concrete actions although they always say whitewashing words such as brotherly love.
    Neither of the US nor China will stop the unification, though.

  3. ampontan said

    Some people think China might try to stop it. A unified Korea on South Korean terms would put a free-market, free-election society on China’s border with an ethnic Korean minority next door in China. They might not like that at all.

    For that reasons, some theorize that if the Kim family regime were in trouble, the Chinese might send in troops to “help keep order”.

  4. cadastralrob said

    5 paragraphs and 329 words into your article before there is any sense of recognition that Korea’s “rough neighborhood” might just possibly include Japan – at least in the Korean mindset, critically shaped as it is by Japan’s colonization. Which leads me to again suggest that you fail to understand or appreciate the depth of Korean feeling of historical antipathy towards Japan (the roots of this antipathy are real enough, are not imaginary, and are well within living history). While your article reeks of sweet reasonableness – and please understand I agree with your basic argument – the Korean psyche is not driven by such factors, and criticizing its apparent irrationality and illogicality is in essence not doing it justice.

    That Korea is ineffectual in realistically actualising its resentment of Japan stems merely from its comparative economic weakness.

    As a footnote, my (limited) understanding is that up to the eve of the North Korean invasion, South Koreans had little or no intimation of North Korean intentions. They were caught totally by surprise.

    And while I agree that Japan is highly unlikely to be an aggressor in future conflicts (at least in the forseeable future), who can tell with certainty? Radical changes in national psyches occur, the unexpected all too often happens, and it is the task of foreign policy to be ever ready…

    I think in the present situation, Japan would be well-advised to be tolerant and understanding of its neighbor, and perhaps a little forgiving. Maybe give Korea adequate space to develop a more mature foreign policy, while at the same time continuing to acknowledge and to apologize for Japanese transgressions in Korea, recognizing the deep and continuing distress Koreans feel about the occupation.

  5. Aceface said

    ここまで来るともう宗教だな。

  6. Topcat said

    Ampontan-san

    “Don’t they realize how ridiculous it makes them look?”

    No they don’t, because they are Koreans (sigh).

    Let’s wait and see what happens on September 9th and 10th.
    http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/takaakimitsuhashi/15826987.html

    Cadastralrob-san

    “you fail to understand or appreciate the depth of Korean feeling of historical antipathy towards Japan (the roots of this antipathy are real enough, are not imaginary, and are well within living history). ”

    Well, I fail to understand Koreans’ antipathy towards Japan, because I don’t understand why Koreans (pretend to) have forgotten the hundreds years as a subject race to China, while Japan’s annexation of Korea lasted only 35 years.

    I don’t understand why Koreans (pretend to) have forgotten that Samsung and Hyndai and some other big business groups have their roots back in these 35 years.

  7. Aceface said

    I can understand why Korean has resentments.
    But what I don’t understand is why they think there could be a re-run of imperialism in East Asia.Anyway wouldn’t it be more constructive to make Japan a friend and an ally instead of rejecting it as potential foe?

  8. Ken said

    “For that reasons, some theorize that if the Kim family regime were in trouble, the Chinese might send in troops to “help keep order”

    I think it the only possibility to unification when Kim Jong-il became desparate and wanted to divert domestic frustration to South Korea.
    South Koreans do not seem to have true brotherly love to help north brethren by bearing the cost with degrading their living level.
    Pro-North Korea education has filtered into South Koreans through Kim and Roh era and they consider replacing alliance with the US to with China.
    http://www.chosunonline.com/article/20060807000014
    Anyway, United Korea will be the satellite country of China like ancient age but rather better to solve current troubles such as abduction issue.

  9. ampontan said

    It doesn’t have anything to do with history or politics anymore, except the cynical politicans who manipulate it for their own ends, both in domestic and foreign affairs. (And newspapers for circulation.)

    Misery loves company, and some people fall into the trap of worshipping their own misery. It’s a form of self-hypnosis in which people don’t realize that they are the jailer and the doors to the cage are open.

    Some people like to prolong their unhappiness by dramatizing it for the thrill it gives them. We’ve all known people who love to complain about their health, even though they’re not really in bad health.

    They’ve wound up in a state of negative balance. People get comfortable with their unhappiness because that’s familiar and happiness is a threat because it’s new territory.

    Have you ever heard anyone say that a person doesn’t become an adult until they stop blaming their parents for their problems? Regardless of what their parents did to them?

    The source of the problem isn’t Korean. It happens everywhere.

    Understanding this isn’t a big deal. I also understand it’s a sham, a spell people cast on themselves, that can be ended right this minute–if they really wanted to.

    It’s even more of a sham because most of the people indulging themselves in these emotions weren’t alive at the time. None of this ever existed for them to begin with.

    Suppose your father told you that his father, your grandfather, whacked him when he was a boy because he thought he had done something wrong, when he really hadn’t. So are you going to hold it against your grandfather for the rest of your life? Even when your grandfather is dead?

    But since the people involved don’t want to hear about it and don’t even understand what’s going on to begin with, because they’re too wrapped up in it, there’s nothing anyone else can do except to stay out of the way when the tantrums start.

    It’s also becoming more difficult to discuss because emotionalism has been shoving rationalism aside everywhere for some time now, and some people actually think it’s a good idea to be controlled by their emotions.

    It’s not easy for anybody to control their emotions, but not making the effort is like a man walking into a public restroom and urinating without holding on.

  10. mac said

    > I think in the present situation, Japan would be well-advised to be tolerant and understanding of its neighbor.

    As an outsider to the situation but sitting within it, I would say that the Japanese government is hugely tolerant and the Japanese, as a people, too. Way more than one would expect from any WASP or Mediterranean equivalent …

    > While at the same time continuing to acknowledge and to apologize for Japanese transgressions in Korea, recognizing the deep and continuing distress Koreans feel about the occupation.

    … but if this is your complete position, and I cannot believe it is, it slides seriously into bullcrap particularly because;

    a) any “transgressions” (offset by any benefits) were not the responsibility of today’s “Japanese”
    b) the faux “deep and continuing distress” Koreans think they feel is deliberately being whipped up and willfully manipulated by Korean vested interests

    When did the peasant class get over their “deep and continuing distress” suffered under Chosôn and the yang-ban, never mind the post-war military dictatorships?

    Its funny but just as some elements within Asian have jumped on ‘the Jewish experience’ and are attempting to exploit its political usefulness (aka “Asian Holocaust Theology”), other elements, specifically within Korean, appear to be jumping on ‘the Black experience’ to exploit its political utility (the correlation between the Japanese occupation and slavery).

    Both are being used for fairly obvious political and economic leverage.

    Where the appeal of the Korean mal-adoption of Slavery fails, is in much the same manner as much of the present day Black exploitation of history of Slavery also fails. That is, that they appear to believe that every one else in the world, especially the peasant classes of their oppressors, were in someway living some perfect idyllic life as a lord and lady and so, hence, owes them a living now.

    Of course, this is bullcrap too. Wind back 50, 100, 150 years and the working and peasant classes of any nation were sharing pretty much the same suffering. So why should the Japanese peasant classes pay you anything now … money or respect?

    Is the Korean obsession with Japan not commensurate with its inability to express anger and have the wrongs of its own leaders righted; and when are the Korean going to pass on any of the same goodwill to … say … the Vietnamese?

    Or have your Korea history books been cleansed and people uninformed of any mention of your own more recent atrocities?

  11. cadastralrob said

    Actually I find many of these articles and comments to be quite patronizing – everyone appears quite happy to tell the Koreans how they should behave, and impose their own measure of appropriateness on them. Colonial attitudes die hard in this modern “enlightened” perspective.

    Perhaps you could tell one of the many thousand comfort women to their face how they should now grow up and get over it, that it is now time to move on.

    My basic argument is that Ampontan’s position presents itself as modern informed and rational objectivity, but in fact conceals a virulent Japanese nationalism, notwithstanding that he is (I presume) not native (as I am not a native Korean).

    And his articles and many of the responses do not appreciate the depth of residual hostility of the Korean mindset. Those who support the Japanese position need in my opinion to stop blaming the victim, and take a cold hard look at the causes. Unless they do, and there is fair appreciation of the suffering of the Korean people the occupation caused (and continues to cause), neither side will be able to resolve the resentment and breakdown in relations.

  12. ampontan said

    Perhaps you could tell one of the many thousand comfort women to their face how they should now grow up and get over it, that it is now time to move on.

    Which comfort women? Since of the two Korean women who testified at the US House committee, one admitted under oath that she snuck out of her house with a friend without telling her mother to meet a Korean broker, and the other thinks her stepfather sold her to a Korean broker, there’s not much you can tell them.

    Particularly as the first is touring Japan and telling a much different story. (Six different versions, at last count.)

    President Pak took reparations in the mid-60s and chose not to use it for those women. Ponder the possible reasons why, including that he was an eyewitness to that history. But that’s not a Japanese problem.

    My basic argument is that Ampontan’s position presents itself as modern informed and rational objectivity, but in fact conceals a virulent Japanese nationalism

    You’ve never presented an argument, just emotional responses. You’ve never actually addressed anything I’ve said.

    And the Korean definition of “virulent Japanese nationalism” is no more valid in the world than are the terms “East Sea” or “West Sea”.

    And his articles and many of the responses do not appreciate the depth of residual hostility of the Korean mindset.

    Reread #9 please.

    neither side will be able to resolve the resentment and breakdown in relations.

    It is not possible for the Japanese to resolve the resentment. The Koreans aren’t willing to. Reread #9. They should start by having an honest discussion of the 1965 treaty with Park.

    By indulging your own emotionalism, you have failed to answer the most important question:

    Why should people who have done nothing apologize to people to whom nothing has been done?

    Honestly follow the answer to its source and you will find a nationalist mindset more profound than anything here.

    *****

    One fact unreported in the Korean media: For years in bilateral diplomatic relations, even with topics unrelated to the colonial/merger era, whenever the Koreans could not achieve their objectives, they played the “you brutalized us” card to get what they wanted. It usually worked.

    Prime Minister Koizumi ended this in 2001 by telling the Koreans those days are over. Events since then have represented a reaction to losing their diplomatic trump card.

  13. Cadastralrob said

    So much for informed debate…

    As I said, your writings – fine as they are – pose as objective neutral assessment, but mask an emotional pro-Japanese anti-Korean sentiment.

    In the same vein, can we now look forward to your readers denying the Holocaust?

    You ask: Why should people who have done nothing apologize to people to whom nothing has been done?

    …revealing an individualist present-bound mindset that does not do justice to the collectivist historical identification of Koreans (and I presume Japanese) with their (respective) collective, both present and past. It is not unusual for Koreans to be able to recount their genealogies back to the 70th generation – for the past in a very real sense lives on in the present. The contemporary Korean mindset has been – as I have argued – significantly shaped by the very real traumas endured during the Japanese occupation. That is a simple fact that one is likely to encounter as soon as one speaks to Koreans of Japan or Japanese culture in any sort of positive light. History (or for that matter one’s cultural bias) does not vanish so readily – or conveniently, as revisionists might wish.

  14. ampontan said

    It is not unusual for Koreans to be able to recount their genealogies back to the 70th generation – for the past in a very real sense lives on in the present.

    I understand that, having spent some time studying Korean. I once asked as an experiment a Korean college student where her guanhyang (貫郷)was (If that Romanization is right).

    She said, oh, young people don’t care about that anymore, and then proceeded to give me a precise, detailed description of a district in Busan.

    But their cultural-specific view of history is their lookout. It’s certainly not anyone’s else’s problem.

    Here’s a tip: If you want to use expressions like “virulent nationalism”, or “revisionist”, you’re going to have to back them up with concrete examples to get taken seriously.

    This isn’t Daily Kos.

  15. mac said

    Would “genealogies” be genuine ones or sang-in buying yang-ban ones?

    I would be surprise if the “yang-ban game” has not been covered on this site.

  16. ampontan said

    No, I haven’t done that.

    BTW, here’s a little something you in particular might enjoy (g).

  17. Cadastralrob said

    As you continue to patronize, here’s a tip for you – your comment in response #12 “which comfort women?” followed by a discussion of just two, reveals a remarkably insensitive and uninformed point of view. Begging the question of just who it is that on the evidence of their responses demands to be taken seriously…

  18. Aceface said

    Guys,Don’t mess with a Koreanophile.Lesson I’ve just learned today….

  19. Topcat said

    Cadastralrob-san

    Comfort women did exist.
    They were prostitutes who were duly paid.
    There were no such women as had been abducted and forced into slavery.

    That comfort women were abducted sex slaves, that Dokdo belongs to Korea, that the water between Korea and Japan is East Sea (not Sea of Japan), that the water between Korea and China is West Sea (not Yellow Sea), are all Korean propaganda.

    The problem is not nonexistent slaves of Japanese militarism, but numerous Korean pimps and prostitutes illegally staying and working in Japan, Amercia, Australia, etc., today.

  20. Ken said

    ““which comfort women?” followed by a discussion of just two”

    Your evidence is zero. Show your evidence.
    Or will you escape again with knee jerk reaction?
    Although those who were required to show first must show first in global standard manner, I will show you first the evidence which contradicts to your possessed impression.
    Following site is uploaded by Korean government as the evidence of coerced comfort women.
    If you can read Japanese or Chinese, you cannot miss what it means though there is translation.
    http://www.geocities.com/eastasianissues/ComfortWomen/AdForComfortWomenWWII.htm

    Talking of it, I will let you know true condition of Korea before Japan’s annexation.
    There is a photogaraph of barren mountain which also contradicts to your opinion that Japan desolated forest.
    There are also illustrations of your illusions of the same era in your books beneath.
    http://www.geocities.com/eastasianissues/KoreaAnti-Japan/PhotosChusen.htm
    Don’t you wonder why there is no corresponding photographs in your textbook though camera was already invented?
    Don’t you have intellectual curiosity? Do you know how to study history?
    It is Only IN Korea that those who cannot demonstrate with evidence can fit for scholar.

  21. mac said

    We have ‘reductio ad absurdum’ underlined by Leo Strauss’s ‘reductio ad Hitlerum’ (the unwritten rule of internet discussion being that who ever plays the Nazi card first … loses).

    Surely, ‘reductio ad femina levamentum’ follows fast behind in weak defenses?

    Personally, I do not find myself in the “denier” camp. War is dirty, life is brutal, Confucianism patriarchal and I am sure that a bit of everything happened … just as I am that it is being hugely exaggerated for political reasons.

    But putting aside the Korean commoners (sang-in) buying rank and diluting the “moral purity” of the nobi owning Yang-ban (and no doubt access to bought concubines) what of the conditions of the Choson nobin, Cadastralrob?

    The Korean slaves of Koreans accounted for at least 30% of the population and it is very well documented (there have never been any proper surveys of comfort women). Even the fetus of female bi were legally accounted for as a store of wealth handed down via the patriarchal line. Was sexual slavery or being whipped by one’s countryman preferable to conquest by an aggressor or were both not equally iniquitous?

    Incidentally, the Japanese invasion of 1592 was good for Korean slaves (they absconded in hordes and the slave market crashed) just as the Japanese occupation was for the sang-in (they were able to access education for the first time and rise in society) which leads us on to ask why half of Korea claims to be descendant from Yangban and no one from the nobi? Was this 3,500 year heritage, as you are suggesting, something to be proud about or does it tell us something about the national mentalities? It is said to be a mere 3,000 years ago when Saint Kija instituted slave law in Korea, some time before the British and Japanese.
    Nobi were commonly named after animals or excrement. Their names ended in kae, a “tool”. 30% were parentless (3 times higher than black slaves of the same time), children of slaves became slaves even if their father was not.

    As to the personal suffering of the comfort women being retrospectively usurped for political purposes in Korea by the same governmental masculine culture which in Park’s time was officially whoring its daughters off and leaving its war widows to be yanggalbo … give me a break and go ask them to apologize to the Vietnamese girls they raped long after the Japanese had stopped doing so. Were any of these girls sold off to pimps descendant from nobi or sang-in? Probably all. Were the panjatjip any different from the comfort stations?

    As I say, I am not a denier but the one thing I don’t understand is why between 1950 and 1971 did upward of one million South Korean women work as “sex providers” for the US Army? How, if it was such an abhorrence to Korean society and such an onerous task for the individual, could it have not just continued but increased 5 times straight after Japanese surrender?

  22. Left Flank said

    The Struggle to Become the Ugliest Asians…

  23. Ken said

    Bill,

    I found an interesting film which tells totally dependent Korean real intention about unification as follows.

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