Japan from the inside out

Reprise: The oppressors and the oppressed

Posted by ampontan on Friday, September 17, 2010

THE MARMOT HIMSELF at The Marmot’s Hole links to this article in The Korea Times by Prof. Andrei Lankov about Korean members of the tokko butai, or the kamikaze squadron, during WWII. It’s well worth reading, not only for the facts it presents, but also because it leads to other issues that defy facile explanation. For example, here’s a previous post from March 2008 about an article in the Choson Ilbo of South Korea titled, Were Koreans Oppressors in the War, or its Victims? That piece is a review of a book released two years ago in South Korea called A Metahistory of Korean-Japanese Disputes over Historical Awareness. In addition to Korean kamikaze pilots, it also discusses such subjects as the lives of Japanese women who married Korean men during the period of colonization/annexation.

Here’s a passage from the Choson article:

The editors of this book are Kan-Nichi Rentai 21 (Korea-Japan Solidarity 21), a group consisting of Korean and Japanese intellectuals launched in 2004 to seek a new Korean-Japanese relationship appropriate for the 21st century. They are searching for a means to achieve solidarity by examining themselves and achieving a more mature viewpoint that transcends the antagonistic relationship that has arisen between the two countries. In brief, they now want to leave behind the intolerant nationalism with which one party views the other for a closer study of history. That’s why the authors of this book have chosen to step back from knee-jerk nationalism itself and develop a new viewpoint of their own through self-reflection.

Not all of those commenting on the Marmot’s post–which is here, by the way–are interested in leaving intolerant nationalism behind, however.

But then, they also probably wouldn’t be interested in this post about a South Korean history textbook from the New Right, or this post about the dream of Koreans relocating in Japan, or this post about the days when Japan and Korea were one.

Their discomfort is understandable. Crossing a minefield of inconvenient truths isn’t easy for anyone, especially when it contradicts one’s self-created identity.

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10 Responses to “Reprise: The oppressors and the oppressed”

  1. Roual Deetlefs said


    In the South African Border War, there was quite a number of black combatants as well …

  2. bender said

    Well, Buddha said that perception is the source of all sufferings.

  3. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    Oh, Amanda,,,\\\/////Buddha nicely defends you.

  4. Roual Deetlefs said

    @ Bender

    … to suffer … is to perceive …

  5. Edward said


    I think the following PhD dissertation gives an interesting perspective that you may not have considered:

  6. Aceface said

    Former Associate Press/Sunday Mainichi reporter,Bae Yeonhong’s 朝鮮人特攻隊~「日本人」として死んだ英霊たち~was a fine read.Highly recommendable.

  7. Yaki said

    Korea and Japan were never ‘one’.

  8. bender said

    It goes both ways:
    Oh Sariputra! Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.

    Anyways, any perception of the past is bound by the present- as such is our nature. Instead of writing a PhD thesis, just ask the elders while they’re around.

  9. Roual Deetlefs said

    @ Bender

    Me, I’ll just amuse myself with the implacability of converse and contrapositive. So what is the difference between these two ? Well with any theory you start out with a hypothesis and work yourself to a conclusion or :

    hypothesis >>> (system of reason) >>> conclusion.

    Now what is converse ? You see those two concepts at both ends of the phrase above ? Well you switch them around !!! Or :

    conclusion >>> (system of reason) >>> hypothesis.

    So what is contrapositive ? You see that phrase above ? You add the word “Not” or “No” at both ends !!! Or :

    (Not) conclusion >>> (system of reason >>> (Not) hypothesis.

    And the beauty of this system is this : While the converse of a theory is not always true, the contrapositive always is ….

    So here is a real life example :

    Theorem : If the person is a lawyer >>>> (system of reason) >>>> then he is a ba$##rd !!!!

    Converse : If the person is a ba$##rd >>> (system of reason) >>>> then he is a lawyer !!!!

    But as I said the converse of a theorem is not always true. In this instance that ba$##rd might be a politician !!!

    Contrapositive : If the person is NOT a ba$##rd >>>> (system of reason) >>>> then he is NOT lawyer.

    This is always true 🙂

    So your hypothesis is this :

    If there is perception >>> (system of reason) >>> then there is suffereing.

    And the converse :

    If there is suffering >>> (system of reason) >>> then there is perception.

    Which might be true, but I won’t stake my life on it.

    But the contrapositive is definitely true :

    If there is NO suffering >>> (system of reason) >>> then there is NO perception !!!

    In other words happiness is an inability to understand anything … ahhhh …. the implacability of converse and contrapositive ….

  10. bender said

    That’s the beauty of it, the way it makes people wonder about its true meaning, and also its simplicity! This must be why it was passed on for hundreds of years…

    Here’s one translation:

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