Japan from the inside out

Discretion is the better part of censorship

Posted by ampontan on Friday, September 7, 2012

In South Korea today, the people who are anti-Japanese and anti-American are on the left. Anti-Japanese and anti-American sentiment is linked to patriotism, so in South Korea, the left is nationalistic. The (previous) Roh Moo-hyun administration, and its predecessor, the Kim Dae-jung administration, were left-wing nationalists. I want to emphasize this so it is not misunderstood.

-Furuta Hiroshi

THIS might come as a surprise to American readers, but people in East Asia still read the local editions of Newsweek magazine. Ikeda Nobuo, who is sometimes referenced on this site, writes for the Japanese edition. The Yonhap news agency of South Korea explains why the 10 September Asian edition had to be specially edited for that country.

The American magazine Newsweek has created a controversy with the latest issue of its Asian edition, which includes an article about Dokdo (Takeshima) that tilts toward Japan.
Yokota Takashi, the editor of the Japanese edition, said the article, titled “Why are Japan and South Korea Fighting over Rocks?”, “shows the irrationality of the South Korean attitude”. This is a one-sided presentation of the claims of the Japanese right wing. Such extreme phrases as “an out-of-control South Korea” and “a difficult-to-understand thought pattern” are used, and it is critical of South Korea throughout.

Mr. Yokota includes statements critical of South Korea by Thomas Schieffer, the former ambassador to Japan, such as “the irrational behavior of South Korea”. The article starts by saying the current Dokdo controversy was touched off by the sudden visit of Osaka-born Lee Myung-bak to show that he was not pro-Japanese. The article presents the view that the discord deepened with the “Dokdo Performance” by the South Korean footballer at the London Olympics, and President Lee’s demand that the Emperor apologize.

Further, it repeats the Japanese government’s claim that the islets have been Japanese territory since 1905, five years before the merger with Korea, that President Lee Sung-man (Syngman Rhee) unilaterally established the Lee Sung-man line in 1952, and that the South Korean occupation of Dokdo is illegal.

In consideration of the one-sided argument presented in the Asian edition, Newsweek Korea revealed that article was not in the Korean edition.

(end translation)

* Has Newsweek ever been accused of tilting to the right before? There you are. Pigs will fly.

* If this is how the country’s premier news agency deals with the facts, you can imagine what the country’s newspapers are like.

* “Irrational attitude…out of control…difficult-to-understand thought pattern…” When did Newsweek start practicing objective journalism? More pigs will fly.

* While it is regrettable that the people who most need to read the article won’t be able to, the decision to substitute some space filler in the Korean edition is understandable. The bottom line is more important than The Courageous Quest for Truth and Justice in journalism. The company is in enough financial trouble as it is without stimulating the Korean imagination to devise unusual ways of mutilating the magazine in public. That’s a shame, considering the entertainment value of Korean street demonstrations.

* Left-wing nationalists, eh? Let’s just say national socialists and be done with it. Statolatrists all. By the way, some of those Koreans who claim Tsushima is really their land too like to use as evidence shared blood characteristics. Isn’t that another one we’ve heard somewhere before?

* Reader Nigelboy yesterday sent in some links reporting that the Japanese Foreign Ministry was quietly presenting their side of the story to foreign embassies. Perhaps they applied their persuasiveness to Newsweek as well.

Considering the facts at issue, they shouldn’t have many difficulties making the case.

Miki Mie plays Rameau’s L’Egyptienne on the accordion. Borderless!

5 Responses to “Discretion is the better part of censorship”

  1. panthera2 said

    Interesting. I’ve only ever heard the Korean perspective on Dokdo (from Korean friends).
    P: Thanks for the note. For a start on the Japanese perspective, try the two articles on the masthead with Takeshima in the title.



  2. slim said

    That Newsweek article was slightly flip in tone, but factual and balanced — at least in its mission of explaining the evolution of the current flare-up. It’s not going down well among Korean partisans, even those who should know better.

  3. nigelboy said

    The Korean government is contemplating on submitting a counter argument to the article.

    A third party non interested individual would simply reply, “why not take your counter argument to ICJ?”

  4. toadold said

    Can you imagine the fall out for a S.Korean administration that took the issue to the ICJ and then lost? I think that even if they thought the odds were 10 to 1 in their favor they still wouldn’t risk it.

  5. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    A: I do not subscribe for Asahi so I cannot read through. If you subscribe, you may go but I think you really do not have to, since this must be another Asahi’s same old arrogant self-claimed cure for itself (and possibly, Korea). According to this, the President hinted about the comfort women issue that Korea is not insisting on compliance with law and principles necessarily and by so doing showed Japan the way to go.

    Who really needs compliance with law and principles? No, not Japanese government, at least at this time and on this subject.
    2: If Lee really wants to make some headway on this, he’s going to have to ditch the “Japanese king” business. By saying that the Japanese are insisting too much on law and agreements, it is an admission that those are on the Japanese side. I’m really starting to think the Foreign Ministry might really have been effective in the explanations it offered to foreign governments, and Lee knows it. He’s down to “You have to make us feel better”, which is a losing argument.


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