AMPONTAN

Japan from the inside out

They’re not happy unless they’re not happy

Posted by ampontan on Saturday, September 29, 2012

Today I happened to be talking to a former senior official with the Foreign Ministry about President Lee’s demand for an apology from the Emperor. He said, “Until now, we’ve been considerate of South Korea, and handled them with reserve, but South Korea has crossed the line. We now know just what the South Korean conservatives are like. This is a good opportunity for both countries to establish normal bilateral relations.”

There is now a consensus in political, bureaucratic, and media circles throughout Japan, however, that we’ve stopped putting up with whiny brats like the South Koreans and will just brush them off.

– Abiru Rui

SOME years ago, when the bloodletting in the region had subsided to a relative trickle, a geopolitical think tank reminded the readers of its website that “peace in the Middle East” was a mirage. Conditions in the region would always slide along a scale ranging from simmering animosity to outright warfare, and that the state of simmering animosity was the best anyone could hope for.

The behavior of the South Korean government and news media for the past two months suggests that the same observation can be made about bilateral relations between Korea and Japan. That is not to say there will be bloodletting and open warfare between the two countries. Rather, it is to say that the Korean view of Japan will always slide along a scale ranging from simmering animosity to outright hysteria, fueled by the permanent South Korean wildcat strike against reality.

Japan can do nothing to change that, because that’s how South Korea wants it.

This was confirmed by the most unlikely of sources: A column by Donald Kirk in the Korea Times. That’s the English-language arm of the Hankook Ilbo, a major South Korean daily. The column itself is remarkable only for exposing how little Kirk knows about Japan, though he once worked here and occasionally visits. He’s become marinated in the Korean weltanschauung after spending many years there, so refuting his shallow, inaccurate, and ill-tempered exercise in disinformation is a waste of time.

Reading one small part of it, however, was like reaching into muck and pulling out a diamond.

The article is called The Japanese Just Don’t Get It, and includes passages such as these:

Japanese have trouble understanding. Why do all the countries surrounding Japan seem so hostile? What is it the Japanese have done to incur the wrath of the Chinese, the Koreans, and the Russians? The sense here is that of Japan encircled, the odd power out, the pariah at the party.

Now someone`s saying the Japanese emperor, Akihito, should apologize. So what? As if that would make a difference…Not that the Japanese could not make amends. Compensation for comfort women? Abandonment of the claim to Dokdo? Revision of textbook accounts of Japanese imperial history and World War II? Forget it. The Japanese don’t get it. They’re not going to do any of these things. They’d rather fret and fume over “why Japan is not liked” than do anything substantive to repair the image, much less redress wrongs.

It makes no difference whether Kirk made all that up about “the sense here” because he likes the sound of it, or convinced himself that his alternate universe is real. It still constitutes journalistic malpractice. The Japanese attitude toward South Korea today is as expressed in the quotation at the top of the page. If someone in the country has fretted and fumed over why the Japan of the Kirkian imagination is not liked, it has been hidden very well in the daily, weekly, and monthly news media and the blogosphere. Mr. Abiru, a newspaperman, captures the tone of that commentary. Does Kirk access enough of that information in the original Japanese to say otherwise? I think not.

His piece also contains overwritten cheap shots more suitable for a ragged street corner pamphleteer:

So, aside from the economy, stupid, what`s grabbing headlines here? Nothing like a fracas with China to charge the atmosphere with memories of old times, of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s when Japanese troops rampaged over the Chinese mainland.

Yet despite having us forfeit irrecoverable minutes from our lives to read the column, he does say something of value:

The bitterness is a permanent condition. It won’t go away.

He even knows why, too, but gets it out of sequence.

The wounds, the sense of Hahn, go too deep into the Korean national sub-conscience.

Han

An understanding of han is critical to an understanding the people on the Korean Peninsula. Indeed, people often speak of the “han culture of Korea”. Kirk chooses to capitalize the word and add a second h, but it’s most often spelled han in English. (It is 한 in Korean).

The word is derived from the Chinese character 恨, which the Japanese are familiar with and use in 恨み (urami). It can be translated as grudge, hatred, or rancor. In Korea, however, the word has several other dimensions.

Translator D. Bannon quoted a Korean source to provide an explanation:

Han is frequently translated as sorrow, spite, rancor, regret, resentment or grief, among many other attempts to explain a concept that has no English equivalent (Dong-A 1982: 1975). Han is an inherent characteristic of the Korean character and as such finds expression, implied or explicit, in nearly every aspect of Korean life and culture.

Han is sorrow caused by heavy suffering, injustice or persecution, a dull lingering ache in the soul. It is a blend of lifelong sorrow and resentment, neither more powerful than the other. Han is imbued with resignation, bitter acceptance and a grim determination to wait until vengeance can at last be achieved.

Han is passive. It yearns for vengeance, but does not seek it. Han is held close to the heart, hoping and patient but never aggressive. It becomes part of the blood and breath of a person. There is a sense of lamentation and even of reproach toward the destiny that led to such misery. (Ahn 1987).”

The theologian Suh Nam-dong describes han as:

“…a feeling of unresolved resentment against injustices suffered, a sense of helplessness because of the overwhelming odds against one, a feeling of acute pain in one’s guts and bowels, making the whole body writhe and squirm, and an obstinate urge to take revenge and to right the wrong—all these combined.”

The extreme intensity of the feeling is self-evident.

Having observed the Koreans at close range for more than a millennium, the Japanese have their own explanations. Not being directly involved, they have no need to romanticize or glorify the phenomenon. Tsukuba University Prof. Furuta Hiroshi, a specialist in East Asian political thought, explains han in Korean culture as:

“…(arising) from a traditional framework, based on circumstances for which the responsibility can’t be imposed on someone else. It is the accumulation of dissatisfaction at the lower level in the hierarchical order, and the wish for its resolution.”

He also notes that longing and sadness are elements in the mixture, and cites as the origin “long years of oppression, both external and internal, by the ruling elites”.

Here’s another Japanese source. Note the last sentence:

Han is a sense of intoxication due to grief and self-pity as the sufferers of the Korean people for their history and hardships as an ethnic group. It arises as a shared feeling that transcends time and space, and is an emotional adhesive. For Koreans, one’s pain is identical to another’s pain, and your pain in the present is the same as the pain of your ancestors in the past.

Han accumulates over time, and its elimination can be expected if there is an interval, but the method for that elimination is revenge. Also, because han accumulates only among the sufferers of the Korean people, their racial memory of gratitude does not remain.”

Prof. Furuta explains one way that relates to Japan:

“Korean independence was achieved not as the result of their own efforts, but because of the Japanese defeat in the war. That becomes a source of han for later generations. Sports are now a substitute for the victory they were unable to achieve then.”

There’s the reason for the Dokdo is Our Land sign on the pitch at the London Olympics. There’s the reason Koreans became so defensive about the criticism they received for it, they concocted the story about the rising sun flag on Japanese gymnastics uniforms.

Oshima Hiroshi wrote a book published as a trade paperback with short explanatory articles comparing and contrasting the Koreans and Japanese in their daily lives and culture. One article focuses on han. Mr. Oshima presents a review of a movie to help explain.

The film is titled Seopyeonje, and a photo from the DVD cover is shown at the top of the post. In Chinese characters, that’s 西便制, and it’s the name of one style in the traditional music of pansori, performed by a vocalist and a drummer. The style was developed by a master of the late 19th century, Bak Yu-jeon. The film was shown in Japan under the title, Kaze no Oka wo Koete.

Here’s the plot. Orphans Dong-ho and his sister Song-hwa were raised by the pansori singer Yu-bong, who treats them harshly and imposes a strict training regimen in his attempts to make serious artists of them. Yu-bong feels that a truly great pansori artist must suffer. The training is so difficult that Dong-ho runs away, but his sister stays behind. The singer gives Song-hwa some Chinese herbal concoction that causes her to go blind. His objective was to implant in her the concept of han, which would enable her to become a pansori singer.

On his deathbed, Yu-bong says, “Do not be buried by han, overcome han.” Later, the brother looks for his sister. After he finds her, she sings, and they part once again.

Writes Oshima:

Han is harsh and difficult, but nothing can be done about it. It refers to the emotion buried in the heart. The heart filled with the emotion of han is han itself. Yu-bong causes Song-hwa’s blindness to implant that emotion. It does not take root, however, because she remembers the father who reared her.”

He also notes that Dong-ho and Song-hwa have feelings of love for each other. Because they are not relatives, they could get married, but feel they cannot because they were raised as brother and sister. Some have pointed out that this also creates han.

“Grudges in Japan can be eliminated by revenge, but han cannot be immediately eliminated by one act. It is deeper than that.”

This reviewer called it “perhaps the definitive work of Korean cinema.” It was a cultural phenomenon in South Korea. In the age of multi-screen film debuts, it was shown first at only one theater, and later at three. It was the first Korean movie to sell one million tickets in Seoul alone, and roughly a million more people saw it throughout the country. The Dong-a Ilbo cited director Im Kwon-taek as the Man of the Year. Im has continued to explore han in the other films of his career.

More from the reviewer:

“Some critics have stated that this movie glorifies the father’s patriarchal power as he seeks to limit his daughter’s sexuality. [6] But most believe that the pansori singer is symbolic for (South) Korea, transcending a history of suffering to achieve greatness…

“Many Koreans commented on how the film represented the purest portrayal of Han they had yet to see on screen. ..To quote Chungmoo Choi, Han basically entails “the sentiment that one develops when one cannot or is not allowed to express feelings of oppression, alienation, or exploitation because one is trapped in an unequal power relationship”.”

Here’s a trailer for the film:

There’s also an expression in Korean for “resolving han”. South Korea’s feelings about Japan are unresolved han.

The following are excerpts of articles and op-eds that appeared in South Korean newspapers over the past two months. Reading them in the context of the foregoing might offer a new perspective on bilateral relations. Remember that the Japan-Korean merger lasted only 35 years, it ended 67 years ago, and the treaty between the two countries that legally resolved everything was signed 47 years ago.

“If Japan is to truly understand the han of the people of the Republic of Korea and seek our forgiveness, it must begin with the recognition that Dokdo is the territory of the Republic of Korea.”

– Jeong Ui-hwa, Saenuri Party, former deputy speaker of the national assembly, quoted in Yonhap

“Only the truth will make the Japanese king kneel. The South Korean government must investigate the truth and condemn those who committed the vicious crimes.”

– Ahn Byon-ok, Daegu University professor

“The piteous suffering inflicted on us by the Japanese has not changed for their descendants, 100 years ago or today.”

– Yuk Cheol-su, Seoul Shinmun, 29 August

According to a government spokesman, Takeshima for South Koreans “is sacred and inviolable land that is a symbol of our sovereignty and independence….Japan took it from us temporarily, but it is recovered Korean land. Now, Japan is finding a pretext to create a quarrel and trying to take it from us again.”

– Jiji news agency, Seoul, 26 August

“Here and there, the form of Japan is changing from that in the recent past. A particularly gruesome surge is evident. This is a typical Japanese political pattern of dispersing their accumulated domestic dissatisfaction through a policy of attack directed outwardly. In particular, the ulterior motive of putting South Korea on the cutting board instead of China or Russia is obvious.”

– Chosun Online, 25 August

“Tactics are the technique of warfare. Strategy is the means for understanding the entire battle, and for fighting resolutely. Tactics alone will result in defeat in a great battle.

“Victory in battle depends on a search in a greater dimension. The search involves what part of the enemy to avoid, and is a very important part of strategy. We think it is a mistake to expand this battle. We must conduct a strategic search to determine how to fight effectively while accurately observing the enemy as it fights.

“This battle with Japan is by no means an exception.”

– Joongang Ilbo Sunday

The Dong-a Ilbo interviewed Saenuri presidential candidate Bak Geun-hye, who said Japan must abandon its territorial claims to resolve Korean dissatisfaction. If not:

“It will harm all our interaction: economic, security cooperation, cultural exchange, the interaction between future generations. Both countries have much to lose…If Japan recognizes Dokdo as South Korean territory, this will be easily resolved.”

That won’t resolve it, and she knows it, but let’s continue:

In an interview with The Associated Press on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan said: “We are victims of Japanese colonial rule.”

Kim said Seoul wants to expand relations with Japan, including in military cooperation, but only if South Korean public sentiment allows it. In June, they put on hold an intelligence sharing pact after it provoked an outcry in South Korea.

“We have to try to overcome these differences. It’s up to the Japanese attitude. While they maintain their attitude … there should be some limit on the scope of cooperation,” he said.

Last week, there was a training exercise for the Proliferation Security Initiative to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, held near southern part of South Korea by Japan, the United States, Australia, and South Korea. A Japanese escort ship was to call on Busan, as one did in 2010, but the South Koreans refused to allow it to dock. Their pretext was a concern about demonstrations, but a Japanese official at the embassy said, “This is extremely rude for the host nation of a multilateral training exercise.” (They know. That’s why they did it.) Japan thought of backing out of the exercise, but the US rearranged the plans so a trip to Busan was not necessary.

And this:

“Of 1,493 Japanese companies that mobilized Koreans into forced labor during the 1910-45 Japanese colonial rule, 299 still exist, according to an investigation committee under the Prime Minister’s Office that published its findings Wednesday.”

Not in the English version: These are termed “War Crime Companies”, and efforts are being made to prevent them from bidding on public works projects. Here’s a photo of a politico-led demonstration:

Now compare all of that with this excerpt from the Chosun Ilbo:

“24 August marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and South Korea. South Korea fought China during the 50s in the Korean War, and opposed them as an ally of North Korea during the Cold War. This changed, however, after the end of the Cold War. Now, we are important trading partners, and have a political relationship based on a partnership of strategic cooperation. Unlike the Japan-South Korea and Japan-China relationships, clouded by the Takeshima and Senkakus disputes, our relationship is stable.”

China is the reason the Korean Peninsula is still divided into two countries. China is the reason the repellent regime north of the 38th parallel exists, and China is the only reason it continues to exist. It is possible to view North Korea as a contemporary vassal state of China, which the entire Korean nation once was.

China is directly responsible for the brutality suffered — right now — by those Koreans who happened to be northerners. China is causing Koreans to be killed or die — right now — in unspeakable ways.

The South Koreans seem to have a highly flexible set of standards for deciding who becomes the object of their feelings of han.

None of this is to suggest there is something intrinsically wrong about han. Were it not effective in some way as a survival strategy, han itself would not have survived, much less have been exalted.

The problem — both for Koreans and for others — is that they expect other people to arrange their lives to suit an emotional orientation that exists only for themselves. That they consider it a matter of cultural identity to stew in their own juices, and rather enjoy the stewing, is their business. It is not the business of the Japanese, who in any event no longer care.

Korean solipsism expects the Japanese nation today to hold itself responsible for behavior it isn’t responsible for. The responsibility for the past behavior of the Japanese nation would have been considered resolved for most people long ago. The Koreans are railing at the Japanese in a room full of mirrors, and most Japanese have left the room.

That is why bilateral relations between the two countries will never improve. The Koreans don’t want relations to improve. They’re not happy unless they’re not happy, and it’s become an imperative of cultural identity to keep it that way.

Afterwords:

* Donald Kirk is a member of the Institute for Corean-American Studies. Years ago, Korea was sometimes spelled with a C in the Anglosphere until they settled on the K as standard. Some Koreans think the standardization of the K spelling was a Japanese plot to have them precede Korea in alphabetical order. The C spelling, they believe, restores the Korean nation to the alphabetical supremacy that is rightfully theirs.

When they start using it for cimchee and Cim Jong-eun, then I’ll think about using it.

* Kirk has received many awards and commendations from the journalistic guild. It should now be apparent that those encomiums are not a reflection of his accuracy or professional integrity, but rather the low standards of the guild itself.

Consider, for example, the photographs the AP and Reuters chose to publish of Benjamin Netanyahu at the UN last week from among the many shots which they could have selected.

* The root of 恨, or han, is deemed to be one of the earthly passions according to Buddhist teaching. It arises concomitantly with anger, and is considered variously a poison, an unwholesome root, or an unwholesome mental factor. Attachment to it will lead to perpetual disquiet in one’s life, and mistaken thoughts in the Buddhist sense. The Buddhist ideal is to disassociate from these phenomena — which are empty — but Koreans choose to indulge this one.

Buddhism was the state religion for the four centuries of the Goryeo period of Korean history. That ended in the late 14th century when Confucianism was forcibly imposed from the top down and Buddhism oppressed.

That’s another reason the Koreans are less likely to be antagonistic to the Chinese than to the Japanese. It’s part of a larger concept that Japanese scholars refer to as Small Sinocentric Culturalism.

*****

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49 Responses to “They’re not happy unless they’re not happy”

  1. patfla said

    I like your explanation of ‘Han’. My wife is Chinese and we have my mother-in-law visiting from Malaysia at the moment. A propos of what I’m not sure but I just learned that the Chinese word for Korea is Han-guo. I seem to remember from Japanese that the contemporary politically correct word for Korea is Kan-koku while the older politically incorrect term was Chousen (?).

    After I’d been in Japan for a couple of years, new gaijin arrivals seemed to consider me some kind of expert. Sometimes the subject of Korean would come up. I knew a fair amount about Japan by then and had some indirect knowledge of Korea. They’d ask my thoughts on Korea for which I prepared this response: if Japan is like the iron fist in the velvet glove, in Korea you take off the glove.

    There’s an even older occupation of Korea that may be relevant. I was studying maps of the various Chinese dynasties (empires) over history and noticed that there were, by my count, only two places that had once been part of the lands of a Chinese dynasty that had not ultimately disappeared and been swallowed into Mother China: Korea and the Red River Delta which is essentially the heart of the former North Vietnam. My assumption is that this might breed a particular fierceness for cultural self-preservation.
    ————
    P: Thanks for the note. That Han pronunciation comes from a different root word, and isn’t related.

    – A.

  2. Camphortree said

    Due to my lack of deep understanding of J-K relations and comparative cultural studies Han sounds like a post-menopause woman’s symptoms.
    While her husband/state/Tenno is fighting his business in the imperfect world order his wife would tell her blood relatives unforgettable historical wrongs and unforgivable sufferings her husband/state/Tenno imposed on her in her trapped life. She could have been a free-willed dancer, doctor, lawyer or a movie actress.

  3. toadold said

    Patfla:
    You remind me of the 1979 Sino-Vietnamese war:
    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/prc-vietnam.htm

    The US writer P. J. O’Rourke was in Hong Kong when it reverted to China. He had recently been in Vietnam. If I remember correctly, he was talking to a native Hong Kong resident and said the that in Vietnam he’d found no particular bitterness toward him as an American but in Hong Kong there seemed to be quite a bit of animosity toward the British. The Chinese gentleman told him, “All you did was try to kill the Vietnamese, The British snubbed us.”
    In the US their is a prhase, “Carrying Paper” it usually refers to carrying a grudge so old that it is written down so the grudge carrier can remember the specifics. I’ve heard it said you can still bring up a gripe session in Southern Germany about Northern Germany over the Thirty Years war.
    ——
    T: I had a Vietnamese student this spring. She was from Haiphong, and I am old enough to remember mining Haiphong harbor. I bet her parents are too. No problem in the slightest. Very friendly, and she would wave and say hi to me across campus if our paths crossed.

    -A.

  4. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    Just two words: So depressing.

  5. patfla said

    Toadold> it’s more recent but, yes, I had the 1979 Sino-Vietnamese War also in mind when I thought of the long animosity between China and Vietnam.

    The wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sino-Vietnamese_War tells me that the ‘war’ lasted all of 28 days and there was a very large loss of life for such a short engagement.

  6. Jane said

    Excellent explanation of “han”, theme of innumerable dramas and movies (of which I have watched far too many.) Hoever, I believe that “hwabeong” is actually “fire disease”, a pschological condition recognized in the American psychiatric manual as being a mental disease specific to those of Korean cultural background. Carrying around too much “han” is, indeed, one of the reasons for the mental condition which makes people physically ill, often with a burning feeling either in the stomach or in the throat. (I wonder if there has been a rise in the number of sufferers this summer?)

    Four or five years ago, a young Korean man who is a close friend of our family (along with his parents and grandparents, the grandfather being considered “shinnichiha”, pro-Japanese becasue he grew up in Niigata druing WWII) told us that if we looked, we would find a “Dokdonun Urinara” (Dokdo is our land) graffitti message in “hangul” on the back of every toilet stall of a Japanese restaurant on the US. So far, I have found it to be true. At that time, the comfort women issue was not being linked to the Takeshima/Dokdo issue. The sense of “han” towards the Japanese has been carefully cultivated in the young people in Korea.

    the recent remarks by the Korean foreign minister also show that there will always be a new issue brought up to justify the feeling of resentmant. I am no psychiatrist, but is there a psychological condition of diplaced anger that arises whne a person (people) feel powerless and unwilling to take responsibility for their own actions (massacre of millions of Koreans by Koreans, split of a country)?

    I think that there is a rise in the number of people in Japan who feel that no matter what Japan does or says, Korea will continue to carry around its grudge to Japan, so it is useless to try to make peace.

    —–
    J: Thanks for the note. I’ll modify that comment.

    – A.

  7. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    Jane: “if we looked, we would find a “Dokdonun Urinara” (Dokdo is our land) graffitti message in “hangul” on the back of every toilet stall of a Japanese restaurant on the US. So far, I have found it to be true.” How many restaurants or how many toilet stalls did you find? Since you said so, I presume you found more than two. I won’t ask about minute locations.

    I did say so depressing in my previous note, but reading the quoted part, I could not help laughing out loud. And I thought that the writers of that hangul must have been laughing out loud, too, because I felt that thinking otherwise would make me sick However, I also had to think this: if the writers were doing it out of sense of mischief, they should have done it on the front rather than the back. So the relavation from all posts here including Jane’s surfaces again on my mind.

    Thank you for making me sick. We read South Korea “KANKOKU” (韓国) but I will call it “KANGOKU” (監獄) meaning a prison or a jail, from now. They are the volunteered prisoners.

  8. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    Oh… I also loughed a lot about C or K thing….. Why don’t they promote C than K right now? And I also guess that some Coreans would say that Japanese opted for the name Japan rather than Nippon or Nihon…. cause N would come after K!

  9. Ken said

    I had read a book by Prof O SeonHwa about ‘Han’. There were written following content as far as I remember.

    “It would be hard to understand it for non-Koreans and is hard to explain the sentiment to non-Koreans. Everyone would bear grudge against those who abused you. So do Koreans in that case of course. But Koreans feel grudge against a certain person who even did not do anything against him/her. For example, during entrance exam contend, a student make up their close friend who is aiming same university to his/her opponent for fighting spirit with thinking he/she is being teased because that guy is competing with him/her. So Japan which has more concrete history with Korea becomes right-on target of grudge with thinking the reason why Korea has to struggle is that Japan got wealthier by cheating something.”

    Also she says the Japanese forgive and forget once apologized like volatile Wasabi but Koreans hold the grudge like long-lasting hot chili pepper. And she says that though Japan and Korea are said to be the closest countries each other both physically and mentally, physically yes but mentally can be farthest. I agree with her and admire Yukichi Fukuzawa’s foresight.

  10. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    Ken: They have yet another inconvenient truth here about hot chili pepper, though it comes from Wikipedia. I wonder how the equivalent part in Korean wikipedia is written.

    朝鮮への伝来に関する諸説

    1613年の朝鮮文禄『芝峰縲絏』には「倭国から来た南蛮椒には強い毒が有る」と書かれ、1614年の『芝峰類説』では「南蛮椒には大毒があり、倭国からはじめてきたので、俗に倭芥子(倭辛子)というが、近ごろこれを植えているのを見かける」と書かれており、イ・ソンウが『高麗以前の韓国食生活史研究』(1978年)にて日本からの伝来説を示して以降、それが日韓共に通説となっている。伝来理由としては朝鮮出兵のときに武器(目潰しや毒薬)または血流増進作用による凍傷予防薬として日本からの兵(加藤清正)が持ち込んだのではないかとも言われている。『花譜』や『大和本草』(貝原益軒著)などには「昔は日本に無く、秀吉公の朝鮮伐の時、彼の国より種子を取り来る故に俗に高麗胡椒と云う」などと朝鮮から渡来したことが書かれている。これは一見相反するが、日本に唐辛子が伝わった当初は、日本国内では広まらないまま朝鮮に伝来し、その後、朝鮮から日本に逆輸入されたため、という解釈がある。

    一方で1460年に発刊された『食療纂要』にチョジャン(椒醤)という単語があるとし、それがコチュジャンを意味するもので、日本伝来の唐辛子とは違う韓国固有の唐辛子はすでにあったと主張する韓国の研究者も存在する[10]。しかし、1670年の料理書『飲食知味方』に出てくる数多くのキムチにも唐辛子を使用したものは一つも見られず、 韓国の食品に唐辛子を使用した記録が19世紀に少し出てくる程度であることから疑問の声も上がっている。

  11. American Kim said

    Bill, a few things…

    1. The Japanese occupation of Korea ended 67 (not 77) years ago.
    2. Most Koreans couldn’t care much about this C vs. K issue. It is a silly argument (that Japan changed Korea’s name from C to K so that Korea would come after Japan in the Latin alphabet) especially since late 1890s and even 1900s publications, stamps, letters, etc written in English had KOREA at times and COREA at others. Furthermore, Germanic language like German and English use K for Korea; Romance languages like Italian, Portuguese, and French use C. Granted, a lot of people in Korea may not know this. And, as a lover of all things Japanese, you apparently believe Koreans have NO reasons to resent Japan. I do think Koreans have at least a few reasons. But I do believe one thing: this K vs. C thing is stupid, and if anything it CHEAPENS any Korean claims against Japan regarding the past.
    3. I have at times asked people from South Korea (by this, I do not mean immigrants to the west who have lived 10, 15, 20, or more years outside Korea; rather, recent expatriates) about why South Koreans are so angry at Japan for what they say are Japanese crimes against the dignity and human rights of Koreans many years ago while even as I type, Chinese authorities collude with North Korean secret police and agents to arrest and to deport North Korean defectors back to Korea. I’ve never gotten a satisfactory answer, but the most I ever got was a Korean expatriate who told me that South Koreans see North Koreans differently than they see fellow South Koreans or the Koreans of the past. Sure, they do recognize North Koreans are ethnic brethren, but by virtue of the fact North Koreans come from “another” Korea – a Korean state right over the border but which is for all purposes a different world – South Koreans don’t have the kind of ethno-nationalist sympathy towards North Koreans one would think they have.
    ———
    AK: Thanks for the note. Interesting stuff. Now you know how bad I am at simple arithmetic off the top of my head!

    -A.

  12. Ken said

    21CSM,

    The origin of hot chili pepper is Latin America, isn’t it? It was brought in Japan by Portuguese as far as I remember.
    Koreans have few cultural thing except a few filty things as the origin and Kimchi is only one well-known internationally.
    So I think they want to insist that the origin of hot chili pepper is Korea like other things of Korea origin thesis.I

  13. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    Ken: Your understanding about the origin of the chili pepper is precise. Now, I excuse myself a bit for the mundane business I engage. Thanks to A and you guys, I could balance myself during these days of bitter taste, anxiety and anger (and some comical relief as well). I will keep reading this blog and all comments.

  14. American Kim said

    “Koreans have few cultural thing except a few filty things as the origin and Kimchi is only one well-known internationally.”

    Mr. Ken, given the strange structure of your English, it appears to me that English isn’t your native language and that you are a Japanese.

    It is regrettable you would attack Koreans by saying Koreans have “few cultural things” and to label those few as “filthy.” There’s no need for such attacks.

    In Korea last year, I was at a souvenir shop within one of Korea’s palace complexes, where a Korean woman in her late 50/early 60s (couldn’t guess the age) was behind the counter. Two women in their early 60s were conversing with her in Korean – in a very friendly tone. Turns out they were Japanese tourists and from what I overheard of the exchange they loved Korea and visited Korea often.

    Unless you yourself, Mr. Kim, are as old as those tourists and have visited Korea often as they have, it’d be better for you to present evidence to support your claim as to why Koreans have few cultural things. Those two women from Japan loved Korean art and architecture. Surely in their age they knew Japan itself too has a variety of cultural and artistic icons to visit – when I visited Japan in the early 1990s (I toured a small part of the northwestern section of Honshu), I noticed lots of Japanese visitors wherever I went, wearing banners or t-shirts or bandanas, I guess for group ID purposes. They were, I assume, not from the region; possibly they hailed from other prefectures and were getting acquainted with a part of Japan they had not yet seen.

    Yet those women from Japan invested time and money to get to know the next-door country. Both they and the Korean woman wearing a 한복 (look it up, Ken, I’m sure you can find out what that means) let no historical grudge get in the way of a congenial exchange. Granted, the visitors were buying and the employee was selling. Capitalism. But there is plenty of capitalism going on between people on the peninsula and on the archipelago, with a lot of friendship as well (something the owner of this blog has alluded to repeatedly). I would speculate that the islanders engaged in cultural and commercial exchange with the peninsulars not only know Koreans and their culture better than you do, but that they have a higher opinion of Korean culture than you, mr. Ken.

  15. American Kim said

    I meant “Unless you yourself, Mr. KEN.”

  16. Ken said

    >Mr. Ken, given the strange structure of your English, it appears to me that English isn’t your native language and that you are a Japanese.
    O? Koreans would think so but you do not have to attach Mr as I am called just Ken in the US. And do you think there is need to attack other’s English to discuss here? Though I could not understand well your strange English context, what I would have liked to say is Koreans have few worldwide-known cultural things AS ORIGIN. If you have many, why don’t you advocate them? Why do you steal others’ culture like this; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaOCQ9AQyP0
    You know there was not a Samurai warrior in Korea because you have a higher opinion than me, don’t you? Evidence of non-existence? It is Probatio Diabolica just like coercion of comfort women. Above-mentioned You-tube is circumstantial evidence. Grudge? Grudge is Korean nationality, isn’t it? 한복? I do not think the ratio of foreigners who can guess that it is Korean wear exceeds half though that of even Kimchi may barely surpass half. Besides, do you know only high class peerage could have worn colorful 한복 like that in Korean drama because Korea did not have dyeing technology and dyed ones were imported from China as follows? http://msp.c.yimg.jp/image?q=tbn:ANd9GcQBvwX2DJqvSoUOywLM8OnCI4aOJbIT-rdJPpg7p9dgcPEEEJ8s7fXarZdQ:http://jeogori.web.fc2.com/pictures/19.jpg
    Do you know why this woman is showing off her breast? It is because only such woman who had baby boy were allowed to do it. Imperial Japan banned such queer custom as this and insanitary culture like following sites and frustration was accumulated.
    http://megalodon.jp/2011-1208-1130-14/www.gnnews.co.kr/index.html?section=KNJK&flag=detail&code=173716&cate1=KNJ&cate2=KNJK
    How deeply these ancient culture was rooted in Korean mind would be understood by revival of those as follows.

    Imperial Japan performed good conducts too. AK seems positive but the starting point of many Koreans is different from the Japanese and it can be judged that Koreans had gone too far by not so anti-Japan sentiment of the Taiwanese who were annexed for longer 50 years. It could not be helped that Korea had such dark history because it had been tributary of China for thousands years.
    Btw, was your-mentioned woman a pure Japanese? Most likely middle-aged Japanese woman would not be able to speak Korean because they did not have either of interest or curriculum in their university days. On the other hand, there are 1.4 million Korean-Japanese who speak Japanese better than Korean.

  17. American Kim said

    “what I would have liked to say is Koreans have few worldwide-known cultural things AS ORIGIN. If you have many, why don’t you advocate them? Why do you steal others’ culture like this”

    Koreans are doing pretty well on their own with their traditional arts such as tae kwon do and Korean dance forms. Koreans are secure in their own traditions and customs and there is no need for Koreans to steal anything. If anything it was your Imperial Japan which stole a lot of things from other countries’ peoples – their actual lives, for example.

    “You know there was not a Samurai warrior in Korea because you have a higher opinion than me, don’t you? Evidence of non-existence? It is Probatio Diabolica just like coercion of comfort women. Above-mentioned You-tube is circumstantial evidence. Grudge? Grudge is Korean nationality, isn’t it? 한복? I do not think the ratio of foreigners who can guess that it is Korean wear exceeds half though that of even Kimchi may barely surpass half. Besides, do you know only high class peerage could have worn colorful 한복 like that in Korean drama because Korea did not have dyeing technology and dyed ones were imported from China as follows? ”

    Wow, English really is not your forte. It’s too bad your English is like this and that unlike this blog’s author, I am not fluent in Japanese. We’d probably understand each better that way. But I’ll give it a stab.

    Grudge is Korean nationality? HUH?

    If today the people outside Asia will recognize a geisha’s outfit more readily than they would a 한복 is that Japan has been part of the western world’s entertainment/sci fi/TV & movie culture for longer than Korea has. Americans for example first became acquainted with your country when it and the USA were wartime enemies. The end of the war, the marriage of many US GIs to Japanese women, and the growth of the Japanese-American community were factors as well. Korea was largely unknown in those circles by comparison. The 1988 Seoul Olympics were probably Korea’s “arrival moment” in perhaps the sense that the Tokyo Olympics were, when your country welcomed the world’s athletes in an event of peace and goodwill, where the Imperial Japan which committed so much evil not too long before was no more.

    “Imperial Japan banned such queer custom as this and insanitary culture like following sites and frustration was accumulated.” – well, given the strange festivals that still exist today in Japan, where women of various ages parade with plastic penises attached to themselves and where penis structures and souvenirs made of plastic, wood, and stone exist, i wonder if perhaps Imperial Japan or its bakumatsu predecessors missed on a few queer customs.

    “Imperial Japan performed good conducts too. AK seems positive but the starting point of many Koreans is different from the Japanese and it can be judged that Koreans had gone too far by not so anti-Japan sentiment of the Taiwanese who were annexed for longer 50 years. It could not be helped that Korea had such dark history because it had been tributary of China for thousands years.” – It is interesting that between you and me, ken, you were the first to mention “Imperial Japan.” I didn’t even mention Imperial Japan earlier on when I told Ampontan about the K vs C issue. And the fact you say Imperial Japan “performed good conducts too” shows me you are aware that in addition to “good conducts,” “evil conducts” happened. And as for being a tributary state of China, Japan too was subordinate to China within the old Sinocentric world order. Do not make it as if Japan was a paragon of advancement when Commodore Perry’s black ships arrived in 1853. The violence that convulsed Japan during the shogunates hardly speak of enlightenment.
    ————-
    AK: I might not use the word “subordinate”:

    “Mizuno Norihito (2003). “China in Tokugawa Foreign Relations: The Tokugawa Bakufu’s Perception of and Attitudes toward Ming-Qing China”. Ohio State University. pp. 109. “It was not that Japan, as China’s neighbor, had had nothing to do with or been indifferent to hierarchical international relations when seeking relationships with China or the constituents of the Chinese world order. It had sporadically paid tribute to Chinese dynasties in ancient and medieval times but had usually not been a regular vassal state of China. It had obviously been one of the countries most reluctant to participate in the Sinocentric world order. Japan did not identify itself as a vassal state of China during most of its history, no matter how China saw it.””

    We all know that much of that was not political, but just an arrangement to conduct foreign trade with the most advanced country in the region at the time. The Chinese overlaid that with their own philosophical predilictions.

    They think Himiko paid tribute (for those reasons), but it would be hard to say that was “Japan”; it was before “Japan” existed. It was the settlement/domain that Himiko ruled.

    – A.

  18. American Kim said

    Ken you also said: “Btw, was your-mentioned woman a pure Japanese? Most likely middle-aged Japanese woman would not be able to speak Korean because they did not have either of interest or curriculum in their university days. On the other hand, there are 1.4 million Korean-Japanese who speak Japanese better than Korean.”

    Yes, they were “pure” Japanese. It may be hard for your hidebound mind to accept that some of your compatriots wouldn’t share in your benighted view of other Asian people to the extent they’d gladly visit Korea repeatedly and do what they could to converse to the locals in their language, but thankfully such folks do exist. And as for the Korean-Japanese, how shocking that they’d speak Japanese better than Korean given that their forefathers arrived in Japan many decades ago and that the deep discrimination your country pushes on them all but encourages them to assimilate. Then again, it’s not as if Nikkeijin here in America all speak Japanese – their English is better than their Japanese, which is often non-existent. Kristi Yamaguchi and Lance Ito, whom I’m sure you’ve heard of, for example.

  19. Ken said

    AK,

    I am disappointed to have known you are same with VANK and in a sense relieved to have confirmed all Koreans are alike. You demanded evidence and I exhibited some. But you returned unrelated questions without either of admitting or denying each. And you are bringing up other topic to substitute and exhibiting your utterly subjective opinion without showing evidence while demanding it to opponent. These are initial steps of 목소리鬪, Korean way of dispute. If I respond them and those are unfavorable for you, you will divert the topic to others one after another till I am fed up with. I have neither intention to besmear this blog any more nor spare time to read your redundant English.
    Next step of 목소리鬪 is to declare victory by yourself. Go ahead and stick to holding the grudge. lol

  20. American Kim said

    Ken, unfortunately for you I’m not affiliated with let alone aware of who or what VANK is. As for subjective opinions, perhaps you should look in the mirror before you criticize anything about what others write. You wrote Korean culture is “filthy” and when I replied to you, you used “evidence” (Korean women & breasts) and you used offensive qualifiers (“queer”). Now that I’ve pointed to some queer things about Japanese culture (those penis-fests your country calls “matsouri”), you talk about 목소리.

    As I wrote earlier, you alluded to “good conducts” by Imperial Japan without me even making reference to “good” or “bad” conducts by Imperial Japan.

    Likewise, it’s strange that a country like Korea which you claim has no cultural value at all attracts many Japanese visitors (as those two women I mentioned who joyfully and pleasantly spoke in Korean to the shopkeeper)… and all you talk about is the zainichi.

    Your last post has confirmed my previous thoughts: it is indeed difficult if not impossible for a narrow-minded person like yourself to consider that some Japanese people do not hold your misbegotten attitude towards other Asians.

    As for “redundant English,” I suggest you actually learn how to read and to write it properly.

  21. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    僕は英語がうまくないから、もう日本語で失礼する。

    American Kimさんは英語が上手なようだし、このブログで英語できちんと自己主張ができないだけでも、僕は典型的な弱い日本人なんだって、小馬鹿にされるだろうかね。それもそれでよし。

    まず断っておきたいのは、American Kimさんは罵らないで理性的にものをいっているということ。だから、次に書く僕の嫌いな韓国人や中国人とAKさんはぴったりとは重ならない。だけど、過去を持ち出し続ける点では変わらない。日本人は広島と長崎と東京大空襲と沖縄戦とを経験したけど、そのことを米国に対してほとんど持ち出さない。持ち出しても、米国人が非道だとはあまり、いわない。いつまでもそんなことを持ち出しても意味がない、と思っているからだ。だけど、外国人(米国人以外の)からみると、これも米国人へのへつらいとか、原因は日本人の侵略で自業自得だ、ということでかたづけられてしまう。死んだ多くは軍人ではなかったけれども。

    僕が嫌いな韓国人や中国人は、僕自身は何もしていないのに、「お前は泥棒の息子か孫だぞ」と言われているように感じさせる。それが、僕がうんざりするところなんだ。そんなことはいってません、というのなら、それはそこまでの話。こっちはそう感じてるんだから、仕方がないよ。

    そしてそのことによって、彼らは自分が精神的に優位に立っていると思っているように、僕には思われることなんだ。また、それは「侵略」された民として当然の権利であり優位性だ、と思っているように、僕には思われることなんだ。

    一回や二回なら、忘れることもできる。だけど物心づいてからほとんどずっと、今日まで、だからねえ。

    僕自身が泥棒だったなら、僕は反省するべきなんでしょう。けれど、オヤジや爺さんが泥棒だったから、お前も泥棒なんだ、って言われ続ける気分が、彼らにはわかるだろうか?その結果、「父親や祖父が泥棒で申し訳ありませんでした」って心から言う人がいるのかな?日本人は割というようだけど、僕は普通の日本人とは違うのかもしれません。あるいは、日本人は、みんな口に出して言わないだけで、心の中では辟易しているのかもしれない。Ampontanはそう理解している。

    これが英語で表現できたらいいんだけど、AmpontanかKenが英訳してくれるのかな? あるいは、日本語で書いたことで、Ampontanに削除されるかもしれない。それはどっちでもいいや。

    とにかく、そういう経験をしてきていて、中国人や韓国人と対等に付き合うのは元々無理だ、というのが僕の正直な感想です。ですから、無理なことは無理にやらないように、生きていきます。できるところで相互理解があり得れば、その小さなところで満足すべきなんでしょう。多くを求めることは、できない。

    でも、元々外国人同士のつきあいは、多かれ少なかれそういうことかもしれませんね。もっといえば、同じ国の人同士でも、本質的には大差ないと思います。

    Ampontan: If you find this post non-compliant with your policy, you can delete it.

    American Kim: Sorry for posting in Japanese.

  22. Ken said

    21SCMさん、ご苦労様です。日本語で書かれたので日本語で返信させてもらいます。

    そんなに英語力を卑下される必要は有りませんよ。考えてみて下さい。或る言語が下手な外国人が喋ったとして、その言語が母国語の人なら何を言いたいかは判るでしょう?判らないなら何をか言わんやです。英文契約書では、例えばメーカー側が地域・品目・販路等で代理権を限定したく、代理店候補側にそれを気付かれたくない時「~ならば・~の限り・~を除いて」などを一文に繋げてわざと(?)判り難くする事が有りますが、どちらの言葉に掛かるのか何通りかの解釈が成り立つ訳でネイティヴスピーカーでも判断出来ず、聞いて来ます。こう言う場合、最も危ないのは誰かのように自信過剰な上に相手に聞くと言う事は相手より劣位になると思い、勝手に解釈し、持ち帰るヤツです。怠け癖が付いてしまった新人を鍛え直して欲しいと上長に言われ、大学まで米国で学んだ男に英文契約書を読ませた所、notwithstandingをnot with standingと別々の単語だと言い張り、違う解釈をしたので引き取らなかった事が有ります。たかが英語、されど英語位に考えましょう。

    所で最初の例の場合、当該外国人を嘲りますか?真面目に議論する気のあるそれなりの人ならしないでしょう?事ほど斯様にブーメランのような投稿をすると言う点から鑑みるに彼らは度々「鏡を見ろ!」と言いますが自分達同士でそう言い合い、その時は火病になって本当の意味は判っていないのだと思います。と言う訳で彼に対する貴殿の印象には賛成し兼ねます。本ブログの権力者を気持ち悪い位ヨイショし、他の投稿者には声闘を仕掛ける。某国の歴史と似てませんか?そのうち尻尾を出しますよ。

  23. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    Ken: Thank you very much for your comments. I just thought I should go back to English since we should not go on forever in Japanese in light of Ampontan’s spirit here (or something I felt as his spirit here). I was not sure enough about my skill in English about my previous comment. Ampontan’s translation seems very good, simple and beautiful. So I thought I did something effective with Ampontan.

    About American Kim, you may be right. But American Kim at least tries to understand the good side of Japanese ruling over Korea. To the extent that he took Ampontan’s tone of writing as being full of pro-Japanese ruling, he felt he should point out the other side.

    On the other hand, I agree with you regarding, and I am a bit skeptical about, American Kim’s portraying the two Japanese middle aged women he claims he “overheard”. But my pointing out would be pretty much low quality entertainment, so I refrain from bringing it up here. Rather, I assume there are two middle aged Japanese women who spoke fair level of Korean language in Korea praising Korean culture including its construction work and art (I thought American Kim overheard such praise, but since I dare not to re-read his post, I may be wrong). There is nothing wrong there. Everyone has its taste.

  24. Chelsea said

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  25. I just happened across this blog, or whatever it is, with all your sweeping criticism of a column I wrote last year. I’m curious who you are, where you’re coming from etc., both geographically and intellectually. I would hope you would not hide behind the name, Ampontan. You seem to know who I am am, so let’s make it a two-way street. One interesting aspect of your mentions of my column is you backed up none of the criticism with quotes or examples but did quote lines that you thought were on target. Ok, how about the stuff you didn’t like? Any corroboration? Or just more insults?

  26. yankdownunder said

    D K U R A D B

  27. Hi hero, it would seem that you, like Ampontan, are too frightened to reveal your identity — better to hide behind anonymity rather than face the world. How courageous.

  28. No.6 said

    Mr. Kirk,
    You’re embarrassing yourself. Ampontan’s identity is public. Do some research and you’ll figure out why you’re committing a major faux pax right now.
    You might also want to consider how some people feel semi-anonymous commentary is necessary in a world where it’s hard to know which pundits will debate things honestly on their merits like a man, and which will prefer to hire lawyers and file “defamation” claims and use other slimeball tactics (their first salvo is almost always “don’t hide behind anonymity!”).

    I hope we can assume you’re one of the former type?

  29. Donald Kirk said

    I did do my “research” — I went to the source and asked who this guy is, or was. No, I don’t buy your argument for “semi-anonymous commentary.” It’s an act of cowardice not to attach a name to a message. Would you kindly tell me who you are? You mention the need to debate “honestly…..like a man.” The same would apply to women. No, I’m not litigious. How about you, Mr. Anon?

  30. Mr. Anon said

    The person called Donald Kirk making several comments above is unable to look at the right column for quotes, to know at the end of the quotes the name of copyright holder of this blog (or “whatever” according to Kirk) and to search the name of the holder on internet by which he must have known the identity of the owner of this blog.

    That resulted in Donald Kirk being unable to identify the owner of this blog as William Sakovich and to know that Sakovich passed away in last December.

    Or, if Donald Kirk tries to read some other posts and comments thereto a little bit more, he must have the same information. Getting curious about William Sakovich and his blog here, or “whatever”, could have prompted Donald Kirk to do so.

    Donald Kirk discloses his incapacity to do “research” or whatever.

    The above is my interpretation of the comment by Yankdownunder simply saying D K U R A D B. I thought my interpretation might help the person by the name of Donald Kirk a bit. If it does, I would be delighted.

  31. Instead of playing silly games,why don’t you have the nerve to say who you are? No,your comments are unhelpful — and stupid.
    Thanks,
    Don

  32. No.6 said

    Thank you for at least claiming to be a man and not being one of those litigious jerks who pay lawyers to try to silence those who beat them in debate.
    Though maybe you’re one of those types who think getting in the last word means you “win”?
    That’s pretty easy if you’re calling out man who has been dead for half a year.

    I’m beginning to doubt you are really Donald Kirk..more likely are someone trying to make him look bad. Your comments show no sign of even being within 50 IQ points of his level.

  33. Donald Kirk said

    I’m very sorry about the passing of the gentleman who used to run this site. Had never met him or heard about him previously, but obviously he had a lot to say and made a great contribution to debate and understanding. Now I think it would be a good idea if the site died with him. If your contribution is any indication, it’s clearly a waste.

  34. Mr. Anon said

    Don’t worry “Donald Kirk”, even before your good idea this site is dead. You just saw the dead and barked. Now, go on your merry way and don’t touch the dead and the truth. Both are totally unrelated to you.

  35. Donald Kirk said

    When are you going to have the guts to identify yourself?

  36. Mr. Anon said

    Retarded. Forget everything and get some sleep.

  37. Donald Kirk said

    What made me assume you wouldn’t have the guts to identify yourself? Your innate cowardice?

  38. Mr. Anon said

    By insisting on the identification in addition to the identity of the original writer/owner of the source blog where anonymous posts are permitted (and the anonymous posters let you know the identify of the original writer/owner), and calling unidentifiable posters lacking “guts”, you are insulting yourself and worse, human intelligence in general.

    I really hope that you are not genuine Donald Kirk, as No.6 wonders. The name Donald Kirk does not bear the clickable link anymore after the comment No.29 (but I do not know if it is a bug or not).

    Mind you, you cannot delete these. May be you, if you are genuine Donald Kirk, assume another thing – that nobody would really care about your insulting posts at this dead blog. In that case, here is my hope that your assumption turns out to be correct. Otherwise, your name can be disgraced. If I were Donald Kirk, I would try everything to delete every comment you posted here.

  39. Donald Kirk said

    Ah, now you’re engaging in intimidation and bullying — from behind your cover of anonymity.

  40. The Cover of Anonymity said

    What a moron Donald Kirk is.

    He cannot address the content or issue so he has to look around for the smallest excuse and engage in ad hominem attacks.

    Just because he is happy to make a jerk off of himself in public, he expects everyone else to!

    WTF … and your website is shit, Donald. Please pay a web designer to sort it out for you and I might pay it more than 10 seconds worth of attention.

  41. Donald Kirk said

    I thought this coward might have crawled back into his hole. Guess, like cockroaches and rats, he won’t go away — even if he’s still too frightened to reveal his identity,.

  42. Aceface said

    Brings me back the memory of Bill sent me an e-mail regarding Donald Kirk’s piece on Japan-ROK relation about three years ago.I’d imagine he’s smiling somewhere up there confirming his opinion was correct..

  43. Mr. Anon said

    I still care for Donald Kirk’s honor. Such a disgrace to his name. He should have exited here earlier. He should not have touched the dead and other things he found here.

  44. Donald Kirk said

    As one who doesn’t hesitate to vilify someone while cowering in anonymity, you should worry first about your own basic integrity. Sorry I didn’t get to communicate with Mr. S. about Japan-ROK relations — could have been interesting.

  45. There is a very good reason why people on this blog are anonymous. If you really want to know, leave a comment on my blog and I will tell you.

  46. Donald Kirk said

    Thanks — just left email address under the top entry on your blog. Look forward to your response (by email in case I miss it on your blog).

  47. Trapped in Brazil said

    I really shouldn’t feed the Troll but…

    Mr. Kirk, I’m not as smart or capable as Ampontan was, but your arguments here proves his point. You talk like the typical hater who came here to attack the man just after he passed away and could no longer answer any “challenge”.

    If you truly knew Japan and Asia, you would have know that Japan did everything it could to try and make amends for WWII, short of ordering it’s citizens to commit nation-wide sepuku. And even if it did, Korea and China would not be satisfied, and the rest of the World would forever mock Japan as a country of idiots. What I fail to understand, or “don’t get”, is why the double standard toward what Japan did and what Europe did, what America did, and yes, what China and Korea did (and do). Everyone’s faults and crimes are washed out by time, while Japan must remember, regret, apologize and pay forever and ever.

    About making revision to text books, trying to deny History and all that bull, I ask thou, does Japan celebrates the invasion with a sort of thanks giving day? Does schools in England teach about the famine induced in India by Churchill? Yes, induced, because Churchill took the food from India to Greece, and watched millions of Indians die of starvation as ships with food came from Australia and took off to England, ignoring the pleas of the people. Is he a war criminal? No, he is a “Sir” Winston Churchill. As far as I was indoctrinated in school, colonialism was a good thing, because the white man spread the wings of civilization to those poor lost souls of… the rest of the World. Slavery was treated as an economic matter, and it was forgivable, because “they didn’t know better”.

    If Japan was like any other normal country, it would say in History books that the invasion saved many more koreans, because Japanese rule more than doubled life expectancy, food production, brought sanitation, health care programs, etc. Just like american books say that the two nukes actually saved millions of japaneses. China claims that Tibet was always part of it’s territory. The people living there says the contrary. Why no one is giving it as much attention as they give to Japan’s militaristic past? China, who accuses Japan of lying, also says that Dalai Lama is a power hungry opportunistic man, now, is he?

    The reason for the hatred of Japan by China and Korea is, as you said (and was noted by Ampontan), a matter of grudge and shame (of course there are the political aspects too). Europe was taking over all of Asia, and who stopped that? The “tiny monkey island” who was despised by both China and Korea. Not only it was not colonized, it actually stroke back. So Japan is a constant reminder that while the rest of Asia was “bowing before their Gods”, it was actually tiny little Japan who made the Sun finally set in the british empire.

    It may be childish, but I think the situation was much like in the Stargate SG-1 series. The european arrived in ships, the natives who never saw that kind of technology perceived them as invincible beings and bowed down, serving the Goa’uld Que.., I mean, the British Queen. Then came along some meddlesome people who showed the Jaffa, I mean, the mainlanders, that they could fight back and overthrow their masters.

    Also, I read your post cited by Ampontan, and I couldn’t help but notice your comment about Takeshima and Senkaku. What can I say? If you really think that proximity is the best way to settle territorial disputes, well, Alaska should be canadian, Hawaii (if not independent) should be mexican, Guyane should be brazilian, the Falkland should be Argentinian, etc.

    Why Japan doesn’t give Takeshima and Senkaku for peace sake? As the USA and the rest of the World are learning now, bargaining with China and Korea is no easy task. You give a hand, they take your arm. You lower your head and will get a knee in your face.

    Now, about anonymity in the net, I can’t say about everyone, but people who don’t make a living out of expressing their opinion (and are not inclined to say only what the majority wants to hear) could get a real impact in their lives if their thoughts are not aligned with the general consensus. Snowden may have thought the Word to uphold justice and righteousness and it got him screwed. So forgive me if I remain with my alias because I live in an imperfect World.

  48. Ok, thanks, appreciate your views — though I certainly never attacked Mr. S., whom I’m sorry to say I hadn’t previously heard of and had not the slightest reason to “hate.” So suggest dropping the personal stuff. Meanwhile, will read your comments again and consider them seriously. Clearly you have a lot to say.
    Don

  49. American Kim said

    Trapped in Brazil, 21st Century Schizoid Man, and whoever else:

    It has been more than 6 months since William Sakovich passed away, and thankfully, the website remains intact. As this is a precious and rich website loaded with deep insights and interesting information on many facets about all things Japanese, will the website remain intact indefinitely? (Which I hope for?)

    Not only did Sakovich do a great job of putting together this website, but even the menu with many links to other Japanese cultural/groups/websites is a gem. Granted, one may need to be fluent in Japanese to make use of them, but it’s a handy list nonetheless.

    I thank you in advance for any information you may be able to provide regarding this blog’s future.

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