Japan from the inside out

Smallness playing large

Posted by ampontan on Friday, December 28, 2012

AT what point does one’s reaction to the absurdities of South Korea’s preoccupation with Japan pass from amusement at a diversion that resembles the ramblings of a wild-haired street corner preacher to sadness tinged with dismissive indifference at the frenzied intensity of smallness playing large? This excerpt from an article written by Seon U-jeon that appeared in the Chosun Ilbo — which the newspaper translated into Japanese — comes close to defining that passage for me. It’s titled, What South Korea has but Japan doesn’t.

It’s tempting to answer, “Crazed irrationality about a neighboring country”, but I’ll leave that for you to decide.

There are 290,000 foreign students in China, of which the most, 60,000, are from South Korea.

Japan once sent many students abroad 100 years ago, but it has lost its vitality. This is reflected in the sharp decline in students going abroad, the popularity of Korean pop culture, the strength of Korean corporations, and education.

Today’s South Korea is just like Japan a century ago. From the 19th century to the early 20th century, the number of Japanese going abroad to study reached 24,700. They sent more students overseas than any country in the world. There were 43 students accompanying the Iwakura mission (1871-1873) to visit the Western powers, six of whom were young women. That gives one an idea of their passion for studying abroad at the time. The stunning development of modern Japan resulted from their bringing learning back with them, though many were dismissed overseas as monkeys. They served as a bridge to the Great Powers. It was these students who broke the chains binding Japan during its period of isolation.

The number of Japanese students now in China is fewer than half the number of South Korean students. The number of Japanese students in the United States is just 28% the total of South Korean students. It is not that Japan is a country with nothing to learn from other countries. Even after Japan became a member of the advanced countries, it continued to send many students abroad into the 1980s. The sharp decline in the number of overseas students began when economic growth stalled and society lost its vitality.

Students studying abroad are an accurate reflection of a country’s hopes and the strength of its people. We view Japan’s rightward lurch as the floundering of out-of-control old men, because we now have what Japan had 100 years ago. The passion for Korean pop culture sweeping the world is as resplendent as the Japonism that swept Europe and the United States a century ago. The ability of Korean companies to seize markets is reminiscent of Japanese corporations after the war. Times have changed.

Some observations, though you surely have many of your own.

* I’ve read some of the records of the Iwakura mission, which are still in print. They’re boring and not worth reading in their entirety because they are nothing but hundreds and hundreds of pages of the most basic travelogue. They’re like a postcard expanded into a book. The Meiji-era Japanese were literally visiting a new world beyond their imaginations. Nowadays, Japanese of average means can — and do — hop on a flight to New York after work on Friday to catch a Saturday night concert by a favorite performer and return in time for work Monday morning.

* Mr. Seon might be more accurate in his assessment than he suspects. In this article, Koreans do come off like the Japanese 100 years ago — going abroad to marvel at a new world beyond their imaginations. That says more about Korea, its degree of openness, and its entrapment in the mindset of a previous century than it does about Japan and its vitality.

* What is it exactly that Japanese students need to learn by studying at a Chinese university? Other than getting advanced practice in the Chinese language, very little. And what, for that matter, is it that Japanese students have to learn as undergraduates or masters candidates at the exorbitantly priced cesspools of political correctness that American universities have become?

* Japan sent so many students abroad a century ago because it was so far behind the West and wanted to catch up. Exactly what learning would they be bringing back from China?

* If Japanese universities are so inadequate that education needs to be supplemented by overseas universities, why are so many Chinese and South Koreans coming here to study?

* The only real reason that so many Koreans are studying in China is commercial — that’s where they think the money is. But then Koreans have a long history of fealty to the Chinese imperium.

* The Japonism of a century ago was a result of the admiration for the aesthetics of Japanese art and culture, such as ukiyoe and ceramics. Do Koreans think they have supplanted the Japanese in the West by offering chewing gum pop culture?

I’m glad I won’t be exposed to the internal Korean dialogue when the world forgets about Gagnam Style and they have to pick themselves up off the floor in a daze after the crash of the mother of all sugar highs.

* It always bears repeating: Saying that Japan has lost its vitality is prima facie evidence that the speaker knows next to nothing about today’s Japan.

* And yes, Japan is still the gold standard by which the Koreans judge themselves.

When he was assigned to Japan, the author of this article received the Japan-Korea Cultural Exchange Award as the representative of a Korean newspaper.

Speaking of Korean education, here are some photos of a demonstration earlier this month in front of the Japanese embassy conducted by primary school students and their teachers. Got to start washing those brains early, eh?

Japanese people apologize!


Japanese people, recognize your errors! (That’s a photo of the comfort woman statue on her sign.)


Apologize for the comfort women!


The photo prop on the left is the comfort woman statue and the photo prop on the right is holding a sign saying that Takeshima is our land.


If Korean primary school take their students on field trips such as these, it is a matter of extreme urgency for even more students to study abroad when they reach university age. Even at Chinese universities

65 Responses to “Smallness playing large”

  1. Camphortree said

    Years ago we lived in a town next to a huge U.S. Air Force base. Not far from a Japanese restaurant that was whispered to be affiliated with the Unification Church there was “Tokyo Spa Garden”. No one I knew ever saw anyone visiting the spa. The parking lot was always empty, but the signboard was there.
    Then a local T.V. news said that a Korean man was arrested along with several Korean ladies for a prostitution charge. According to the news the Korean man and the Korean ladies entered the U.S. from the Canadian border.

  2. jjokbalikilla59295 said

    rest in pieces. cvnt

  3. jjokbalikilla59295 said

    camphortree, odjebi

  4. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    “Japanese people apoligize!”

    Yes, as a Japanese, I do apologize for Korean people in that Japanese people could not help them albeit considerable effort. Helping these people could, in the end, help us and the rest of the world a great deal. But you cannot have a mule drink water when it is not in the mood.

    I think Korean people may have similar idea, and I am not so qualified to deny it rigorously. Everyone has right to pursue, and have, its life and opinions to its liking.

    After all, Samuel Smiles was all correct. Self-Help.

    So why don’t Japanese and Koreans stop looking at each other. I think I found some opinions close to this idea these days, although their way of saying so is sometimes very subtle and easy to be overlooked. I found such opinions on both sides of the strait. May be a more acceptable future emerges from there.

  5. lastnamekim said

    It’s very important to remember that we can’t let extreme (and sometimes uninformed individuals) from both sides of the political spectrum define the mainstream mentality or represent the whole group. Some demonstrators, activists, ultra-nationalists, etc. are just the extreme tips of the main spectrum and should be taken just as marginally. Not necessarily ignored, but just taken ever so lightly. Don’t let extreme sides sway your opinions of the groups, in general. I’ve found out that the people who sit at the extremes are just bastards or cowards (to put it bluntly).

  6. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    Lastnamekim: So could you tell us how you define the mainstream mentality representative of Korean people about Japanese people?

  7. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    Lastnamekim: Sorry for being sticky, but you said the extremes should be taken just as marginally, not necessarily ignored, but just taken ever so lightly. Assuming that you were pointing to the later part of Ampontan’s post beginning with “speaking of Korean education…”, I would follow your suggestion, taking them just as marginally and ever so lightly. Is that agreeing with you? Finally, I do not understand what you meant by “not necessarily ignored”. I would appreciate your elaboration.

  8. Trapped in Brazil said

    21st century, I think he meant to say that the extremists are a problem that can’t be ignored or left alone, but harsh measures against them are unnecessary because they represent only a fraction of their people.
    Personally, I disagree with that posture (that it is not serious). A big fire start with the smallest flames, and in this case, it appears to have got out of control already.

  9. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    Trapped In Brazil: Hi, thank you for your thoughts which seem very fair and neutral. But I am still interested to know, concretely, (i) Lastnamekim’s idea of the mainstream mentality of Korean People on Japanese People and (ii) if he meant that Korean education (which may be a only a fraction of the whole) nurturing anti-Japan feeling is one of the extremes he meant.

    While your point is taken in the sense that the smallest flames can start a big fire, and out of control might be the situation, I have my bad intention to strip down those goody-goody people talking nicely – but that intention comes from my very limited experience that some people frequently talk goody-goody and seemingly fair on both sides, IN GENERAL, but when it comes to particular cases, they, again frequently, redirect the steering.

    That is not limited to Korean or Chinese people neither. We have tons of double standards among ourselves. But it is another story. If and when I was persuaded not to sway my opinion because of the extremes, I need to know several things before I readjust myself. But as some other people here already know, I am a bit growth-restricted and might not be persuaded that easily.

  10. lastnamekim said

    Let’s remember that the “big fire” that was started by the smallest of flames are usually made worse by marginal opinions. A better example that comes to mind is the Los Angeles riots in during 1992. The media would let you believe that all blacks were anti-Korean due to a shooting of a 14 year old black girl. However, there were actual incidences on TV where certain community leaders wanted to speak out to say that it wasn’t a black vs Korean issue…but when they tried to voice their opinions, I remember commentators like Larry King interrupting them and not letting them finish. Instead, the very angry outspoken community leaders were allowed to be more vocal and I don’t believe these individuals necessarily represented the majority of blacks during that time. The blacks I knew in college, really didn’t have a strong opinion nor did they think it was a them vs us type of situation. Now, to address 21st Schizoid’s inquiry about asking me to define the mainstream mentality of Koreans towards Japanese: why would I be qualified to answer such an open ended question? Do you think I went around and asked several million people what they think? My experience would be limited to just a few around me and by generalizing based on that, I would be falling in the same trap that the outside observer (like yourself) is prone to doing. And as you have observantly noted about yourself in that you are a “bit growth-restricted”, what is the point of feeding your slanted curiosity if your mental growth and openness to try and understand the whole picture is already limited? Instead of trying to get overall generalized answers via the internet, go out and meet some people and experience life and then come to a light conclusion of your own. I’ve lived in several countries (including Japan for a few years) and this gives me a better perspective than I would have had if I just lived in one country (I realize I am saying this without knowing if you have lived in several countries yourself, but since you are self proclaiming to be growth-restricted, that is my conclusion). You asked me, but you already know there are Koreans who despise the past actions of the Japanese. But if you take one present-day Japanese and put that person in front of an average Korean…do you think that Korean would hate him/her? I would be inclined to say “no”. Just like there are many Japanese who hate Koreans…don’t tell me there aren’t. But for any Japanese person to simply “hate” an unknown Korean would be a very ignorant action. So, you can call me out and say that I am just talking “goody goody” or be “seemingly fair on both sides” but if you choose to stay on the extreme side, that’s your disposition. I choose not to do so, because it’s simply stupid. And don’t think we can’t read between the lines and see your mouth just watering when you notice a supposed ethnic Korean posting comments on here. You just love it. Don’t make it so obvious.

  11. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    Lastnamekim: Thank you. My questions are well answered.

  12. Trapped in Brazil said

    Oh Lord…
    LastnameKim, you are a bit of extremist yourself. While you say that there are japanese who hate a faceless enemy (korean), you say that the average korean don’t do that (hate an unknown person), but rather hate the past actions of the people. Well, pardon my ignorance, but I think your logic is reversed here.

    From all those protests, it’s clear that it is the koreans who hate everyone. If not, the parents of those children would take them out of those crazy-ass schools who got elementary grade kids to protest for something they can’t even grasp yet. Schools are meant to teach the basic knowledge, how to think, to learn, and not to brainwash and force the teachers or the government views on the children. The Government would shut down those schools and the owners or those (ir)responsible would go to jail. Imagine an US school taking a bus full of children to protest in front of an embassy, instilling hatred in them disguised as patriotism and awareness. Thus, you can see that the average korean AND their government hate japan, hate the japanese, and everything else related to us.

    Now for the japanese part. Of course there are the xenophobic ones, they are in every society, but you don’t see these kind of protests erupting in Tokyo. Most of the japanese who uh… “don’t think favorable” about koreans assumed this posture after all those decades of “demonstrations”, protests and other things, and even so, there are no school trips to the korean embassy to protest.

    Most japanese, specially those who never studied or lived abroad, live in a fantasy world, full of talking ponies and care bears, where everyone in the world thinks like them and have the same concept of philosophy and morals, namely, they are a god dammed bunch of hippies. 21SCM and others who traveled the World and/or can speak other languages saw how little the rest of the World thinks of Japan, the hate crimes, the biased news or documentaries, the stereotypes on tv, the double standard used in politics against japan, thus they are more aware of the hostility we face out here and what may came to get us even in japan. So I ask, is it being extremist or being aware?

  13. hussardbob said

    Sorry, but this comment below is stupid and demonstrates that everyone is biased in some way.
    “exorbitantly priced cesspools of political correctness that American universities have become”

  14. lastnamekim said

    Trapped in Brazil: You think I am a bit of an extremist? Wow..that’s an extreme accusation. If you knew who I was, I don’t think you would ever make such a sweeping generalization especially based on just the two comments I made above.

    But I’ll make this short and just answer your last question, “ it being extremist or being aware?”. My answer to that is it’s probably a bit of both as well as attributable largely to a self-inflicted complex. And I don’t mean that just to the Japanese you are referring to, but also to the extreme Koreans who make a constant fuss over some of these issues. I think a certain personality complex (inferiority or superiority) plays a part in determining one’s viewpoint. Wouldn’t you agree?

    And I do stand by my statement that the average Korean doesn’t hate a Japanese person they know nothing about. “Hate” is a strong word and just because there was this example above of the school taking their kids to demonstrate, doesn’t represent the whole nor does it represent the government’s position. What is your experience in dealing with Koreans and interacting with them on a personal level? Did these individual Koreans show much hate to you (unless it was provoked in some way)?

    Now for your third paragraph about Japanese in Tokyo not holding these kind of protests and the stance most took were formed after years of Korean protests, I would have to disagree with that statement. There have been protests throughout Japan in recent years against Korea/Koreans. And you can’t tell me there wasn’t anti-Korean sentiment rampant throughout Japan, especially in the Kanto region, during most of the 20th century? What was the basis for years of ethnic discrimination in Japan towards ethnic Koreans? Koreans at least can cite historical actions as the basis for some of their dislike, but what was the basis for the Japanese discrimination towards Koreans?

    I don’t want to get into a long winded dialogue of pulling out historical (or personal anecdotes) examples, but maybe it boils down to this: Koreans are more blunt about showing certain emotions while the Japanese tend to be more discrete about it. The edge of “dislike” may go to the Koreans (based on my observations), but again, the reasons for that are due to the reason just mentioned and also due to the historical reasons well understood by everyone here. However, even if you perceive Koreans to dislike Japanese more than the reverse, my point all along has been that it is ugly to let that get in the way of individual interaction and relationships and to conclude with sweeping generalizations. Nobody here said the protests, like the one in the article, were pleasant. It was just the generalized attacks towards all Koreans (presented in this blog) that were unpleasant. This blog has frequently posted stories or excerpts that had strong anti-Korean sentiment. However, there are volumes of stories and news where Koreans worked with Japanese that were hardly ever presented here. This goes to my point that you can’t pay too much attention to the extreme sides to form opinions on what’s in the middle. I don’t think my explanation of the situation warrants me being labeled as an “extremist”.

  15. American Kim said

    Lastnamekim, you wrote, “…what was the basis for the Japanese discrimination towards Koreans?”

    Racism, pure and simple.

    I suspect that both the Brazil-based nikkeijin on this blog, the native Japanese, and William Sakovich himself did not fully grasp that the ethnocentric mentality of Showa Japan – the so-called 家族國 (가족국 – kazoku koku – family state) ideology whereby all Japanese were united by bloodline and lineage and the emperor was the father-like figure. Foreigners, including Koreans, Manchurians, and Chinese could not become part of Japan. Some, of course, did hold Japanese citizenship, but they were still considered non-Japanese and therefore “outsiders.”

    Japanese people in their 1920s, those who partook in the vigilante raids that killed many Koreans in Japan, feared Koreans. There were stereotypes towards them as brutal, violent, and dangerous, not unlike the way many people in America today view blacks. Those fears were fed by separation, as the Koreans living in Japan at that time were restricted to lower-income areas because those Koreans were recent arrivals from the peninsula and were engaged mostly in manual labor.

    This discrimination and racism existed also in Korea during that time.

    “Japanese Assimilation Policies in Colonial Korea, 1910-1945,” a book by Mark Caprio (which I pointed out here, and which Will never bothered to examine despite the author having excellent credentials and having used Japanese-language original sources), details how despite the rhetoric of Korea-Japanese unity (“naisen ittai”), the Government-General authorities routinely employed discriminatory policies. Educational facilities were better for Japanese children than for Korean children. There are many cases. I can easily post more – at this moment, I do not want to get off my chair and get my copy from my shelf; were I to do so, this post would become quite lengthy.

    What strikes me is that Japanese people often find it hard to accept that other Asians may perhaps have legitimate reasons to resent their country because of things that happened in the past. I am not saying Japanese leaders have never apologized, and I’m not saying that it’s morally just to hate a Japanese person born after 1945 (or who was a toddler in the final years of the Pacific War) for what happened then. That would be unfair and quite silly. But even if some of the “complaints” from other Asians are unrealistic or simply untrue, there are some which ARE true. The events during the aftermath of the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake – the killing of Koreans on groundless rumors that they were looting, raping, and poisoning wells – is one of them.

    Finally, for anybody here who is open-minded enough to examine how discriminatory Imperial Japan was towards Koreans, you can look at Michael Weiner’s “Race and Migration in Imperial Japan.” This book is detailed and it was published in the mid-1990s. It unfortunately now costs nearly $200 as it is a rare book, but you may find a used copy in fair condition for around $70. I should invest in a copy. It was excellent reading back in the mid-1990s… if only I knew then how much it’d end up costing today.

  16. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    American Kim: Your paragraph beginning with “what strikes me is that Japanese people often find it hard to accept that” strikes me as being precise – therefore, agreeable – description. Also, the ethnocentric mentality of Showa Japan is probably undeniable. I am not sure how Ampontan would react to it, but I was impressed honestly, as well as the following part:

    “But even if some of the “complaints” from other Asians are unrealistic or simply untrue, there are some which ARE true.”

    Finally, the events during the aftermath of the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake was the thing came to my mind when Lastnamekim said “just like there are many Japanese who hate Koreans…don’t tell me there aren’t.”

    The above is frank impression of mine despite of my growth-limitation, after referring to my knowledge (from elementary to high-school studying plus).

    And why I am telling this? To expose myself as friendly or counter-goody-goody or whatever? Probably not. Just that your expression is really thoughtful and persuasive and I could sense it beyond my disgusted feeling (but according to Lastnamekim, my love) of the extremes.

  17. No.6 said

    I think we should learn from the past, not live in it.
    Who are being the racist fanatics today in 2013? Which governments promote racial fanaticism in their citizenry?

    The correct response to any nutjob crying “Kill the ______s!”
    is not to say, “Well, Mr. Nutjob does have some valid historical arguments…”

  18. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    No.6: Truly, for your entire post, but my elevated disgust for other causes and resulting elevated hateful feeling is neutralized by American Kim post this time.

  19. Trapped in Brazil said

    LastnameKim, yes it does, I will be more blunt this time. We are quick to defend Japan, and by your standards, we are extremists. You are quick to defend Korea, wouldn’t that make you an extremist too? If not you have to admit that none here is an extremist, including the late author of this blog, we are just people prone to defend our views, our races or our countries.

    Ampontan, besides giving precious insights of the current situation inside Japan, both political, and social, were extremely good at refuting “academical” and “investigative” articles bashing Japan, and was both admired and hated for it because he used logic and facts, thus dismantling the farces, which earned him the label of “right-wing”. Most sites that have “Japan” in the name, instead of doing that, just add to the bashing. This blog was a secluded bar were those who didn’t believed in the anti-Japan propaganda or simply wanted to know more about Japan gathered.

    If this were an extremist blog, full of brick-headed people, you would see posts and comments like: (Imaginary dialogue, it is only an example)

    “Goddammed Chinese, after all the good things we did for them!!! We protected them from the Russians, doubled their life expectancy, build everything for them and that is how they thank us?!?!?!?!?!?”

    “You meant Korean”

    “Korean, chinese, it’s all the same @#!@$!$

    “Hope you allllll diediediediedie @_@”

    “we took those zainichi from the jungle, dressed them, gave work, gave a purpose to their lives, and how they retribute us? They want to vote!!!”

    Or something CNN like.

    Also, the problem is that the case illustrated in this post, besides not being the only one, is really uh… controversial, in lack of a better word. I’ve never heard of any democratic country allowing schools to use children as tools to further it’s government political agenda (Except for Brazil, of course). Show me that the Korean government shut that school down or someone is facing trial for child abuse (as they are brainwashing the children and exposing them as tools for political propaganda) and I will change my views. Oh, and what happened with those brave and courageous souls that hacked, smashed and slashed those dangerous and ominous pheasants? Here in Brazil they would have being arrested, and we are talking about a third world country full of hillbillies.

    As for the Japanese people, you say Koreans dislike the Japanese for their past actions, well, I think those Japanese who dislike Koreans do so because of their past and present actions. I’ll say something that will be very uncomfortable for you and keep in mind that it is not directed at you, but most Koreans don’t er… behave well. I’ve never met anyone who would say good things of a real Korean (one born and raised in Korea). One could think it is biased, but:

    a) Seeing how Korea (both North and South) as a nation behaves (a lot of issues comprised in this item);
    b) The kidnappings of Japanese citizens by the NK and the denial of it (Which in itself is a declaration of war, but Japan is hippieland);
    c) The pro-Pyongyang Chongryon (as Japan is the only country I know of that allows foreign schools preaching ill things and the eventual end of that host country);
    d) Some people who came here to slander the deceased in recent posts;

    Even with itens a; b and c, still there are protests and an intense Japan bashing by Korea, even for little things, like: If we don’t see K-drama, we are racist, if we don’t listen K-pop, we are racist, if we don’t read manhwa we are racist, if we don’t lust for the new Korean model we are racist, but if we do, we are perverted beasts.

    One can’t help but think…

    I like to think that my thinking process would be similar to an angry Japanese (not a hippie). So let me say this about the comfort women. Although I question the scale of it (how many people were used), I acknowledge that it was a very tragic episode, but the higher ups were executed, Japan was nuked twice, apologies were made in numerous occasions and compensations were paid, but the Koreans keep claiming more money and more apologies. The way I see it, the comfort women episode become a political circus. All of the pain and traumas the Korean people suffered in the past became nothing more than an excuse for the Korean government to extort money and to put political pressure on Japan to get a better bargain, not for the it’s people but for the Government itself [and maybe for the rich people in Gangnam :)].

  20. Trapped in Brazil said

    American Kim, you are right, but the way people put it, it looks like only Japan was or is racist. People forget that everyone were (or still is) racist, the Japanese, the Americans, the Europeans, the Chinese, and yes, even the Koreans.

  21. No.6 said

    Is it still illegal for Japanese music etc. to be broadcast in S. Korea? If so, doesn’t that basically end any and all arguments about which country is being crazy nationalist right-wing?

  22. Trapped in Brazil said

    American Kim, also, you said “What strikes me is that Japanese people often find it hard to accept that other Asians may perhaps have legitimate reasons to resent their country because of things that happened in the past”. It is not that we don’t accept, we do. But if one person try to deny History (and every country has it’s wackos), the international media say that the whole of Japan is doing that. But what is really hard to accept is this:

    Japan: We ask what we can do to redeem ourselves;
    Korea: Apologies and money
    Japan: Okay, here, we are cool now?
    Korea: Also teach your kids how vile you are
    Japan, Okay, there, satisfied?
    Korea: Okay, we are cool
    –Sometime later–
    Korea: Japan! Apologize!!!!
    Japan: What? Okay, we apologize again
    Korea: We want money
    Japan: Okay, here, we are cool now?
    Korea: Okay, we are cool.
    –Sometime more–
    Korea: Japan never apologized and never paid! We demand apologies and compensation!
    Japan: Okay, Okay, here.
    Korea: Good..
    –Sometime again–
    Korea: Japan needs to apologize!!!! And now we want one of your islands!
    Japan: Gomen nasai Gomen nasai Gomen nasai and you can use the island
    Korea: Huh, but we still want the property…
    –Sometime later–
    Korea: Haha, we paid the Americans to force you to apologize once again!!!!
    Japan: If we apologize again, will you stop with it?
    Korea: You have my word…
    Japan: Okaaay, we apologize once again.
    –Later on–
    Korea: Japan apologize!! And pay again!!!

  23. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    No.6: My understanding about prohibition of broadcasting is affirmative and Ampontan wrote about it somewhere. You can also find some affirmative information somewhere else.

    Trapped In Brazil: You said you became blunt this time, but I should have been blunt your way long before, before I exposed myself as having bad intention of trapping or stripping down goody-goody. You call yourself trapped in Brazil, but you sounded like raised up and living in Japan like me and exposed to negative information about relation of the two countries and their people just like I had been in Japan.

    Anyway, I did say (in my Japanese posts here which Ampontan kindly translated here) that I was fed up. The so-called extremists in Korea are vast population and mass media/government-aided/promoted (at least I have that impression and I do not have obligation to correct my impression, just as everyone else does not have obligation to correct impression about me or Japan or Japanese as a whole). I am going to live away from things feeding me up to the extent possible, as a matter of natural reaction and as a matter of freedom. I have feeling that Ampontan was fed up even more because when he started this blog he had a series of posts tagged Japan-Korean amity (or something like that). From my reading of this blog, I felt that Ampontan initially was thinking positively about interactions between Koreans and Japanese (aside from Takeshima and comfort women issues), while he rang alarm bell for Chinese (both as a nation and as people) rather consistently.

  24. Mac said

    A Korean nutjob stabbed himself in the stomach at Seoul airport last Friday during a demonstration ahead of the arrival of a Japanese government official.

    I’d like to encourage all true patriotic Koreans to show the same courage of convictions … and do the same!

    (Needless to say, the protest also involved the traditional Korean diplomatic welcome of stamping on pictures of Japanese portrayed as monkeys).

  25. American Kim said

    Trapped in Brazil, you wrote: “American Kim, you are right, but the way people put it, it looks like only Japan was or is racist. People forget that everyone were (or still is) racist, the Japanese, the Americans, the Europeans, the Chinese, and yes, even the Koreans.”

    That is true – and irrelevant. That Americans, Europeans, Chinese, and Koreans are racist does not nullify the wrongness of Japanese racism towards Koreans, whether then or now. I agree – it is not good for anybody to be racist towards another, and if Koreans are racist, I don’t agree with it.

    But what I gave you is a tiny sampling of how the Japanese authorities which controlled Korea at that time were unequal and racist towards Koreans in KOREA. If you tell me that if it had been Korea which colonized Japan and that Korea, through its local administrative government, treated Koreans in Japan better than Japanese in Japan, and then later on Japanese people felt no resentment towards Koreans, then I think you’d be lying.

  26. American Kim said

    21st Century Schizoid Man, you wrote, “The above is frank impression of mine despite of my growth-limitation, after referring to my knowledge (from elementary to high-school studying plus).”

    I am glad you wrote this and even thank you for it. You have now honestly admitted that there were and are things you were not aware of as a Japanese growing up in Japan because your country’s schools and your society did not teach you. I have seen this often. Japanese people learn about certain historical facts concerning their country only when they LEAVE Japan.

    Does this mean that staying in Japan guarantees people will not learn these things? Of course not, but my point is made.

    Furthermore, given that you yourself, as a Japanese who learned English and has resided outside Japan are willing to acknowledge that you faced restrictions on your learning (“growth-limitation” as you put it), it is quite reasonable, feasible, and logical to conclude there are other Japanese who don’t know these things, just as you didn’t.

    And THIS is why I tried to have William Sakovich read that book by Mark Caprio (which he refused). I have read resources William put up here which were not easy for me as a Korean to examine, but at least I tried to have an open mind.

    How open-minded was William, and how open-minded are YOU and other Japanese here who think we Koreans have absolutely no legitimate reasons to resent Japan?

    And THIS is the irony. He and others here claim we Koreans are unwilling to examine certain resources that may challenge our understanding of history – and yet he was guilty of the same. I am willing now at ANY TIME to cite further examples of how Japanese people, whether in positions of authority (the Government-General; in Korean, 조선총독; in Japanese, 朝鮮總督), treated Koreans unequally – meaning, differently, and on worse terms, that they treated Japanese – IN KOREA.

    THIS is a reason we Koreans sometimes resent your country – but it doesn’t mean I shove my finger in the face of every Japanese I meet and demand an apology. I think it was you who said Koreans and Chinese are hating Japan “in your face” in Korea and China and that’s why you said you won’t go to Korea and China, and you even said you think it’s NOT unfortunate I have not been able to visit Japan again. Suit yourself; I respect your views and positions; we are all entitled to do what we want.

    I told you before I want to be part of the solution and not the problem. And if memory serves me right, YOU admitted you are part of the problem, and not the solution.

    But now that you acknowledge you didn’t know certain things involving the past of Korea and Japan that I AS A KOREAN KNEW ALL ALONG (and so do many other Koreans), then PERHAPS you may understand why so many Koreans apparently are part of the “problem” and not the “solution.” And some of those demonstrators may go overboard, be whacky, or even be irritating. But they know what I know, and again as you admitted, that includes things you did NOT know.

    And maybe NOW it may make more sense to you why some Koreans have been “hating” Japan “in your face in Korea.”

  27. American Kim said

    And since my last two posts were a bit more assertive, let me step away from now with a post that shows proof I actually have Japanese friends. Not nikkeijin, not immigrants to America. This man is a born-in-Japan Japanese who went to college in Japan and who happens to be a champion practitioner of kenjutsu.

    This is the only person whom I’m still friends from a bank I used to work at many years ago. He has gone out of his way to help me with my resume; he has given me positive recommendations on; and, he was one of few friends to send me a Christmas card. I did not send him one; I feel bad now.

    He also knows about Korea-Japan problems, but that never became an issue for us. In the past he and I went to Japanese izakayas in our area and had much fun having Sapporo beer, eating grilled shisamo, and just being friends.

    It is indeed correct this blog has a section called “Japanese-Korean Amity.” I’ve been a believer in such amity for many years, and it began when I first visited Japan. I know there are Japanese people who detest Koreans, but thankfully not all Japanese are like that, and I still insist it’s a good thing I do not actually hate Japan. I don’t like certain things ABOUT Japan, but it doesn’t mean I can’t visit that country, enjoy its attractions, and befriend its people.

    Being part of the solution. It’s always better than being part of the problem.

  28. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    Did he think he was committing Harakiri or Seppuku, or different?

    If he thought he was committing Harakiri or Seppuku (I do not mind him doing so as a form or substance), why did he choose to do so?

    If different, is there a tradition similar to Harakiri or Seppuku in Korea, or could it be more ancient and originated in China?

    I guess he was not aiming at suicide, but injured himself out of burning anger, or to gain added popularity (I heard he was a big shot among anti-Japan activitis), or both.

    I cannot laugh it away, but I am enough annoyed.

    Isn’t it considerably difficult to find and maintain amity with Korean people, represented by this type of event and the Korean higher court’s decision to neglect the extradition treaty by dubbing a mere arsonist a political offender?

    I think all of these are silly, just as they (Lastnamekim and American Kim) called as such. So let us not disturbed by stupidity and lead our own lives. In Japanese, we say simply like this: we do not spend time in hanging around with assholes (馬鹿に付き合っている暇はない).

    I think it is prudent not to visit Korea and China for the rest of my life unless my business demands me to.

  29. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    American Kim: You wrongly interpreted my writing (might be my fault not to be clear). I said I learned the very things you said I did not know until I live in outside Japan, in the elementary to high-schools …. in Japan already! I was referring to my past knowledge I gained through classes of history in my basic to mid education I got in Japan, public to private, and confirmed your description agree with what I learned there – in Japan!

    You may not believe it, but it is a fact.

    But can we end here? Please do not respond further. Seems like I have been more than stupid to start off this thing, first in responding to Lastnamekim. I really really regret it now, and even hope that any future operator of this blog, if any, delete my posts at this particular topic.

    What I did was disturbing other readers of this blog only. Including you and Lastnamekim. I rest my case and shut up.

  30. American Kim said

    21st Century Schizoid Man,

    I appreciate it that writing in English may be more challenging for you than writing in Japanese. Thanks for the clarification.

    If you wish not to speak to me any further, I will respect your wishes.

    I only ask you ONE final favor. I wrote a long post about William and about this blog. It is comment #36 on this entry. Would you please read it? In it, I make my final thoughts about William known to the rest of the blog.

    Thank you. Bye.

  31. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    Oh no… American Kim, I read it as soon as you posted that. You were wondering why Ampontan was (became) unfriendly. The interpretation of mine about Bill’s behavoir is, probably you would not accept it, that you were too diplomatic, contrary to your belief.

    Then I ask you ONE final favor. Please take this ultra simple explanation. 1. I learned Japanese suppression and atrocities, during the classes at schools in Japan. 2. I felt ashamed about Japanese. I saw the same sentiments among fellow Japanese, too (not everyone, though). 3. Then I saw anti-Japan activities pretty much. 4. I was fed up. Isn’t it very easy? And the degree of being fed up, you know it from my various posts. So the Koreans (and Chinese) behavior (not everyone, of course, but it is too obvious when it is done) turned the honest heart like me (!) to turn away. This is it.

    Thank you for responding so far, and I hope you at least keep your view favorable for Japanese for long as you can since you opts to be a solution. Be seeing you.

  32. Trapped in Brazil said

    American Kim, you wrote: “But what I gave you is a tiny sampling of how the Japanese authorities which controlled Korea at that time were unequal and racist towards Koreans in KOREA. If you tell me that if it had been Korea which colonized Japan and that Korea, through its local administrative government, treated Koreans in Japan better than Japanese in Japan, and then later on Japanese people felt no resentment towards Koreans, then I think you’d be lying.”.

    Americans did horrible things too with Japan, both during the war and during the occupation, but we don’t do what those Korean protesters do. And before you say that Japan started, how do you justify denying the surrender of a country just to demonstrate your new weapon, twice. The systematic use of incendiary bombs planned to maximize the death of civilians, Japanese sailors were shot to death when their ships sunk, because it was the most “humane thing to do”, while doing that with allied sailors was a war crime. Prisoners were mutilated and shot for fun. Upon arrival, the US troops started killing children, the elderly and raping the women. There were even cases of American soldiers keeping the skulls of Japanese and taking them home as trophies. All of this and while you get the “Americans go home” because of the bases, you can see that for the best part, Japan let bygones be bygones in interest of present and future-day people.

    Now if you tell me that the reverse, that if Korea ruled Japan the Japanese would be treated with respect, that, Sir, would be a lie. Even the one responsible for the blog askakorean, that would be a perfect example for a lying ignorant extremist wacko said that Korea always despised the savage-infested-and-tiny Japan.


    Also: “That is true – and irrelevant. That Americans, Europeans, Chinese, and Koreans are racist does not nullify the wrongness of Japanese racism towards Koreans, whether then or now. I agree – it is not good for anybody to be racist towards another, and if Koreans are racist, I don’t agree with it… ”

    That’s extremely relevant for past episodes, specially if that’s what everyone loves to bring back to haunt Japan. People can’t be judging past episodes with today’s ideals. Korea was a colony. How colonies were treated at the time? Churchill starved millions of Indians to death because it would be easier to control the natives if they were less in number. Look at all the rest of Asia, from everyone that were dominated, look what white rule brought upon them. Look at the three Americas and Australia. Look at Africa.That’s mistreating and racism to the extreme, although I can’t say it is the extreme as it was the majority. But does that justify Japan’s mistreatment of Koreans at the colonial times? Yes, because it was the norm in every part of the Globe, that’s what Korea would have done, and even so, Japan’s evil didn’t get anywhere near the other countries’ evilness.

    For today’s situation, there are still racists everywhere. The difference is the quantity (the number of racists), the quality (their actions and audacity) and Government’s position on the issue (if it’s allowed or even sponsored by the government). We even get some politician wackos whose better interests is not with Japan or the Japanese people, but with the international community. If there were a great number of racists in Japan, there would be no more Chongryon, as the students and teachers there would be beat up to death and the schools burned to the ground. If the Government wanted to further racism, there would be massive campaigns in the media as there are in Korea and China.

    For this blog and the later author, it did’t fabricated news, it didn’t distorted the facts, he presented the facts as they were, gave his analyses and opened it to discussion, with no censorship (I at least were never censored, even with all my ramblings), as everyone were free to present concrete evidence that would prove an post or comment to be false or misleading. If some Koreans decided to be international assholes and gained the news, is it the fault of the poster or the reader? It only appears to be anti Korean because on the international level, there are more diplomatic messes, or actions that could reflect on the diplomacy, against Japan.


    And on a final note, it’s good that you found a good Japanese to have as a friend, good for you and good for him that found a good Korean to be friend with. But I fail to see what relevance it has in the bigger scenery of Japan and Korea relations, as the recent actions of Korea seems to make you one of the few exceptions.

  33. Mac said


    I hope you can see that Koreans’ understanding of the modern Korean experience (20th C) is still in its infancy. For the most part they have not even learned how to discuss it. They are like toddlers who scream, crying, accusing momma, and self harm in order to get whatever it is they want.

    As you well know, across the Korean media and academia, real discussion and investigation has not been allowed happen … primarily because your ex-slave owning and profiteering dynasties have not allowed it.

    Here are some random observations I have had so far.

    • Firstly and foremost, ordinary Koreans have been considerable manipulated to see “the Japanese” as the enemy without distracting them from the “enemy within”. Their real enemy is their own elite classes. Their suffering is the suffering of class struggle, not foreign imperialism or nationalistic struggle. The elite classes did not suffer, it did very nicely out of the deal.

    • Much of the apparent suffering was not done to them by “the Japanese”, it was “done to them” by their backwards, feudalistic and largely enslaved nation (literally and metaphorically) being opened up to the world market at a tempestuous time.

    • “The Japanese” did not do to them what they consider was done to them, only a tiny minority of individuals born in Japan did at time did at a time when Japan was an entirely undemocratic nation. Therefore “the Japanese” have no responsibility whatsoever for the real or perceived suffering of Korea and have every right to say, STFU and bugger off to rabid Korean anti-Japanese activists (they won’t however, because they are Japanese and very nice).

    • Peoples do not go to war with Peoples, only elites do (see the above class war comment). Direct your ire at the right people and you might find you have allies within Japan.

    • The majority of American-Koreans are at a greater disadvantage of understanding the situation with Japan because they have been subjected to both Korean and intense American Imperial propaganda (I exclude some excellent American-Korean academics from this clause) and, whilst benefiting from the power of the English language and American volume controls, they from suffer a complex ‘small penis syndrome’ within the greater American society (even the female ones).

    • The majority of people of *all* nations associate with the history of the elite class as *their* history when, in fact, the majority of people of *all* nations are descendants from peasants and slaves and where treated like crap by the elite classes, regardless of which elite class was in power at the time. It’s a con trick the elite classes have learned to fool the peasant classes into dying for them.

    • Arguably, and on the evidence since, the Japanese elite classes are better and nicer than most.

    • The wealth of Yangban was derived from owning land and slaves. The power of the Yangban was derived from suppress those peasant class and castrating the middle classes (… the latter of which might not be a bad idea).

    • Rather than being upset at the Japanese for not getting enough out of them, Korean should be upset at the Americans for bombing the crap out of all the good quality infrastructure the Japanese did put in whilst they took care of their nation, during the bogus war against communism.

    • You cannot hold someone else responsible for someone else crimes. End of story. That is the rule of the modern world. If you want to join the rest of us in the modern world, you need to give that up.

    (No, I am not pro-Japan nor anti-Korea – I’d lift the skirt of a Girl’s Generation any day (Japan loves them) – I am against bullies picking on innocent individuals and “the Japanese” are innocent).

  34. Mac said

    Is it just me, or do the K-Pop girls not look like that have far more, better dirty sex than the J-Pop girls?

  35. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    Mac: Why did you post the last one while the penultimate one was breathtaking…

  36. Mac said

    It’s a wind up …. a deliberate provocation … but if anyone take the bait it will leads to some other more subtle and deeper points.

    My apologies if it is not to your taste … but I also mean it. I have/had Korean friends and find them perfectly attractive too. It’s also worth noting I have Japanese friends who frustrate the hell out of me by their adoration of Korea soap operas and stay glued to their TVs when they are on.

    There’s obviously some kind of tempestuous attraction between the two nations and I am tempted to write a psycho-sexual analysis of it.

    There is a difference in the body language of the two nations, the way they express themselves and their ideals of what is attractive. If I were to use a European metaphor, I’d say the Koreans were more Latin or Mediterranean and more in their bodies. In Japan there is always this worrying tendency towards adolescent or pre-adolescent female sexuality whereas in Korea they seem to tend towards a more mature sexuality.

    But, please don’t hold me to such statements, I am merely writing ‘off the cuff’ and have not thought all this through.

  37. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    Mac: I got it, but I am not a fan of K-Pop or Korean female stars particularly so I did not get it where you said Koreans tend towards a more mature sexuality. May be the name of the group 少女時代 is misleading.

  38. yankdownunder said


    And THIS is why I tried to have William Sakovich read that book by Mark Caprio (which he refused).
    He refused to read the whole book as do I. How much of Caprio’s crap do I have to read to have an “open mind”? I think I have wasted too much time reading his racist rants.

    From a letter written by an American during the occupation of Japan.
    “The Koreans have been a pain in the neck all along. They have some strange notion that they are the Occupationaires, and really give these Japs a hard time. They go into shops and board street cars with no intention of paying. The poor Jap was scared to do anything about it because he got beat up. ”

    I have been told by reliable sources that this fear of Koreans lasted long after the occupation.

    “While Rhee regime violated most basic tenets of democracy in authoritarian police rule imposed on Korean people, it has also in past done violence to most fundamental principles of international conduct and morality by committing acts of piracy on high seas around Rhee Line and then imprisioning and holding as political hostages Japanese fishermen and by seizing and holding non-Korean territory by force. The uncivilized practice of hostage diplomacy is one of our serious charges against Communist China and if continued by ROK it will be a great liability to a new democratic ROK regime.”
    U.S. Ambassador to Japan Douglas MacArthur II

    Koreans have kidnapped Japanese children. And killed Japanese to steal their identity.

    All these are post WW2. They reflect Korean attitude to Japan now and in recent past.

    AK you are the problem! not the solution.

  39. American Kim said


    If according to your strange logic, the fact that I, a civilian not involved in any government actions (foreign policy) who happens to be of Korean ethnicity am the “problem” because North Korean agents kidnapped Japanese children and killed Japanese people, then YOU are the problem since you’re a Yank (American) and US foreign policy has caused untold suffering to millions since 1945.

    US foreign policy has been far more destructive, damaging, and evil than anything either the governments of North or South Korea have done. I will call you out right now on this. I’m fully aware of how the North Korean government is oppressive, and it’s killed many of its own. But bodycount wise, North Korea has nothing on the United States.

    I won’t get into the rest of your post – it’s not even worth it.

  40. mac said


    interesting to read your quote from “an American during the occupation of Japan”. A friend’s father was a POW in a Japan camp during WWII. What he said was, “the Japanese officers were tough, but it was the Korean guards who were vicious”.

    I wonder how many allies mistook Korean guards for being Japanese and came to a bad impression of the Japanese from that.

    Kim, I’d say you’re more American than you are Korean. There seems to be some kind of polarisation going on within the Korean-American community, perhaps you would like to discuss that. On one hand, it’s produced some excellent feminist academics but, on the other hand, there seems to be a primarily male and populist elements who are dragging it down to the lowest levels combine American racism towards Japan with a low rent maladaptation of the Holocaust industry’s tactics.

    Of course, for the most part, they really have nothing to gripe about because, unlike the highly decorated Japanese-Americans who were fighting on the Allies side, the Koreans were fighting on the Japanese side. Apparently only 100 at the most enlist in the U.S. Army against the 20,000+ or so Japanese who served.

  41. American Kim said

    Mac, then more shame on the United States not only for its foreign policy that as I wrote has killed so many people since 1945 (YDU, I’m sure, knows something about this), but also for both using soldiers of Japanese ancestry even as it stripped Japanese people born in the US of their rights and stuck them into internment camps.

    As for western POWs, Korean guards were vicious? The Japanese were vicious to the Koreans, and the Koreans just crapped down the totem pole. And besides, plenty of western POWs were maltreated and some killed by actual Japanese troops/guards.

  42. yankdownunder said

    I wrote has killed so many people since 1945 …

    Why 1945?

    Fire bombings in Japan and Europe didn’t kill people?
    2 atomic bombs didn’t kill people?

    United States attacks into the countryside often included scorched earth campaigns in which entire villages were burned and destroyed, the use of torture (water cure) and the concentration of civilians into “protected zones”. In November 1901, the Manila correspondent of the Philadelphia Ledger reported:”The present war is no bloodless, opera bouffe engagement; our men have been relentless, have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people from lads of ten up, the idea prevailing that the Filipino as such was little better than a dog …

    Read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown.

    Americans(USA) started killing from day 1. What’s special about 1945?

  43. mac said

    The Japanese on the whole were far from as bad as the demagogues seek to portray them.

    Life in Korea under the Japanese imperial rule got better, as documented by the increase in population and life expectancy, the abolition of slavery, the establishment of public health and education systems and so on.

    You should try reading some of the academia on all this.

    I remember a typical report of conflict between young activists and elderly Koreans who refuted their claims and refused to buy in to the propagandic myths they had been indoctrinated with. (This is in Korea, not the USA which has its own propagandic myths).

    In essence, what the elderly Koreans were saying was that life under Japan was the same as it ever was for the majority of the people, and got better. The young reacted negatively and angrily at the dissonance between what they were saying and what they had been brought up to believe.

    It’s all wrapped up with the early development of national identity.

    In the USA, you have got these other dynamics going on, such as American-Koreans place in the pecking order of America, and the second hand adoption of strategies borrowed from the Zionist holocaust industry.

    Quite clearly certain individuals have witnessed how successful a strategy holocaust theory are and have emulated exploiting the a background acceptance of such ideas, e.g. the ridiculous placing of emotive memorials in order reinforce the myths, the call for legislation to protect the myths, the exploitation of the mythic version of event for the sake person political and financial power and so on.

    It’s just cynical ‘business as usual’.

  44. American Kim said


    Then YOU are the problem since America has killed since day 1.

  45. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    I think it is endless and I believe my friends here are wise enought to call it a day now.

  46. mac said


    how long with it take Korea to get over the chip on its shoulder and be comfortable with modern Japan?

    I mean, look at Europe. Germans live in England, English live in Germany, both go holidaying to the South of France and the EU is one big trading block.

    It would be a lot more in China-Japan-Korea and the rest of NE Asia to operate likewise. Quite frankly, if they worked together, they could kick the rest of the world’s butt.

    You accuse America but you are also American.

    What concerns me most are people who are essentially out of the equation – Americans with Korean ancestry – whipping these things up.

    We all know the tendency of ex-pats of all nationalities to be “more patriotic” and over romanticized an idealized “homeland”. All nationals do, e.g. the Irish in America.

    From my point of view as an outsider, it is in America to keep the three main players in NE Asia apart and sometimes I wonder if clandestine American influences are not deliberately working to keep them apart.

    After all, it would not be the first time.

  47. American Kim said

    Mac, it’s not “accusing” America. It’s looking at US foreign policy’s horrific track record of meddling in other nations’ affairs and this oftentimes meant toppling their leaders and enabling their state security mechanisms to become even more proficient at deploying violence to subjugate the native populations.

    Yankdownunder claimed I am part of the problem and for this argument he mentioned misdeeds by Korean authorities. By his twisted logic, he’s the problem too. This is far more than a simplistic “accusation” as you naively put it.

    And as for me being a nationalistic “expat,” you’ve got no authority nor right to speak about how much I do or do not idealize any “homeland” given you don’t know me and are simply going by posts here. Moreover, trying to be open-hearted towards Japan and Japanese people hardly qualifies as having a chip on one’s shoulder (unless you like Yankdownunder think in a rather peculiar way – I’m not going there though).

  48. Mac said


    You have a capacity to twist statements, draw the most absurd conclusions, and stick the knife in whilst apparently making neutral statement, how on earth do correlate “being open-hearted towards Japan” as having “chip on one’s shoulder”?

    To be honest, I was not address you but the general chip on the should Korea and Koreans embody. I really wish they would get over it. Your finger-chopping compatriots and land-grabbing, sabre-rattling dictators are making a fool of your nation within the international community. So too are the “you’ve not apologised enough, give us more” brigade.

    It’s becoming counter productive and driving people to the modest Japanese side.

    Until Korea does something really great to establish itself within the international sphere, no one’s going to care a damn about it. And if it keeps demanding something without doing so, everyone’s going to look down upon it like it’s some rudderless, bankrupt and amoral country.

    As I made a sideways reference to above, unless Korea sorts itself out, all the world is going to know of it is about its hookers and whackjobs.

    The Korea “chip on the shoulder” or inferiority complex (meaning someone who nurses a grudge or grievance that readily provokes fury or disputation) is really just based on being a more backwards country than Japan (thank the Yangban caste for that) and evolving more slowly out of the feudal state which lead to its being colonised by Japan and Korea’s indebtedness to it.

    It’s not a unique relationship. Had Korea not been held back and run into the ground by its own rulers, the situation probably would have been the reverse.

    If you want to discuss the American-Korean psyche, we can. Hopefully the stylish Mr Psy has done wonders for their standing with society but referring back to #11, I’d say the problem was more caused by the more visual members of the community being so f***ing rude and racist in their grocery stores.

    To be honest, having dipped my toes into these troll infested waters a few times before, I would not even trust that you were an American, a Korean or a LastNameKim, but instead just judge and respond to your comments and methods alone.

  49. American Kim said


    Yep, you do think in a peculiarly odd way. A quite trollish one I might add.

  50. American Kim said

    21st Century Schizoid Man,

    I only wish to say one thing to you – Kotoshimo Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu.

  51. @Mac, American Kim is not Lastnamekim….just similar handles but different folks. @AmericanKim, I wouldn’t waste too much time trying to argue your point with some of the individuals on here….just present your point and then leave it at that because they won’t stop as they sit comfortably behind their hidden handles. Also, I don’t believe Yankdownunder is really a “yank” down under, judging by the writing. I’ve found out that when you start some comments on here and they see it’s from somebody they perceive to be “Korean”, they jump all over it and pull up as many red herring issues as possible. Notice how sensitive and personally many took it when I initially said those that sit at the extremes are bastards and it’s as if they took it to mean themselves and then started trying to label others.

  52. Mac said

    @American Kim,

    Accusing someone else of being a troll is the easiest way of discrediting what they are saying. You’ve notably gone out of your way not to ignore my posts which, while having a certain dry sense of humor, have a lot of truth to them.

    I guess you are too young to the killing of Latasha Harlins by Soon Ja Du and the dynamics behind the Race Riots in Los Angeles ’92?

    Actually, I know a whole lot more about these issue than in possible to fit into this little box. I actually have nothing against Korea and individual Koreans (and speak well of American-Korean academics) … except they go off on the comfort women, land grabbing, finger chopping ‘excesses’ at which point, all it or they deserves is ridicule.


    What on earth are you inferring? You’d better spit it out and say it straight. I questioned the two Kim’s ethnicity and so in reply you are suggesting we’re all evil Japanese in disguise?

  53. No.6 said

    Being extremely offended by something that might have happened to your great-grandparents 70 years ago? Crazy.
    Hating Country X because of what it did 70 years ago, and ignoring the good things they did 30 years ago
    while hating Country Y because of what it did 30 years ago, and ignoring the good things they did 70 years ago?

    If it weren’t for double standards, some people wouldn’t have any at all.

    Gotta keep the hate alive? Try something new, rather than live in the past that neither you nor your parents even saw!

    Get a hobby, and a girl.

    P.S. A real one.

  54. Mac said

    Or consider a career in comedy, like Whang or Cho … Actually, this is from about 5 years ago and their production quality has gotten a lot better recently (warning: you know it’s time to give it up if even the Taiwanese comedians are beating on you).

  55. Again….Red Herrings. You guys would make great fishermen, if you’re not already.

  56. American Kim said

    Thanks, Lastnamekim. Point well taken. It’s what I said when I wrote my post in the thread “eulogizing” William Sakovich. When I began to disagree with him, it was almost as if he took it personally, and he behaved as if he felt he needed to ‘educate’ me on certain things about Korea. I now remember the exchange in which he and I stopped being cordial to each other. He made a certain comment about Korea and Koreans (not a flattering one at all) and I replied by making a likewise harsh comment about the United States. He never replied to that point, and from then on, William was no longer cordial to me.

    A pity, though. This is a great blog, and I don’t think I ever thanked him for it.

  57. Mac said


    In English, a “red herring” is a kind of fallacy designed to derail the conversation or lead towards a false conclusion.

    If you scroll to the top of the page, you will read, “South Korea’s preoccupation with Japan … Crazed irrationality about a neighboring country”, so,

    a) It’s bang ‘on topic’.

    You’re obvious a little humorously or educationally challenged, so let me spell the point I was making

    b) Once an issue become the meat of third party comedy or satire, you can be 100% sure it has gone too far.

    Perhaps you really meant some other kind of fallacy? We generally use comedy or satire as a sign when people should lighten up a bit and get the message. I thought the bit about the Japanese apologising for the Japanese dinosaur killing the Korean dinosaur was very funny, however, I have seen funnier … (like the way Koreans keep claiming to have invented everything first).

    My conclusion so far … an increasingly large proportion of the world conclusion … would either be that;

    a) “South Korea’s preoccupation with Japan is a crazed irrationality (and tiresome)”,

    b) “A preoccupation with Japan is a sign of a crazy, irrationally (and tiresome) person from South Korea”,

    c) “Crazy, irrationally people in South Korea become preoccupied with Japan”.

    All appear to have some truth, however, I am not sure which statement is more true.

    (And I am not Japanese).

  58. Haha…ok, Mac. Whatever.

  59. mac said

    Yes, “whatever”. How American of you.

    The useful thing about insolent people like you is that it inspire me to keep learning more about the issues involved and I must go off and read a few papers on the negotiation of national identity within American-Koreans.

    It’s no wonder Japan offers a straight deal with no dual nationalities.

  60. Trapped in Brazil said

    Okay, my rational side says to let it go, but there are somethings that I just can’t ignore…

    Lastnamekim, you said: “Notice how sensitive and personally many took it when I initially said those that sit at the extremes are bastards and it’s as if they took it to mean themselves and then started trying to label others.”

    First of all, you are the one who started to label everyone. All those protests in Korea says that their people and representatives hate Japan. You said that it is not true. 21CSM asked you what is the Korean stance in this and to provide solid proof. You took that a a personal offense and labelled him an extremist “whose mouth just watering when you notice a supposed ethnic Korean posting comments on here”. You labelled me an extremist too, because I pointed out that you show some traces of being one too, which get us to the second point.

    Second, you label all of us who defend Japan to be extremists, just because we don’t stay put with the accusations and biases. You do the same about Korea, so are you not an extremist by your own words?


    You also said: “they won’t stop as they sit comfortably behind their hidden handles”.
    Yeah, because you give up every discussion and you are not like us, because we can clearly see your face, social number, workplace and address 🙂


    Americankim, you say Bill tried to “educate” you, I don’t know what you two were talking about, but have you ever reflected on what you two argued? Here in Brazil there are people who think that the Westerns were right in colonizing everyone. I have a (white) friend who told me this: “Of course the colonies were rightful theirs (Europeans), they arrived there first!” and “the natives were just that, natives, there were no civilizations there, so it was only natural for Europe to take it”. At our time, all school books said that the white man civilized Asia, when Europeans arrived in Brazil, they happily interacted with the natives, educating them and showing them the love of Christ. They never mentioned the slavering, the killings, rapes, tortures and genocide. By this, I say that we can have some ugly, profound misconceptions about the truth, some even drilled in our heads by schools, media, parents, or the government.

    This may be only me, but for all I know, I’ve never saw Bill slap his truth in the face of someone without concrete evidence of his viewpoint, unlike some people we know :p

    Now for the two Kim’s: You both accuse others of judging you by your posts, and say that we have no right to do so because we know nothing of you two. That’s right, we know nothing of you two, except for what you say here, and that’s what people use to form their opinion about others. You also do it when labeling everyone here without knowing their backgrounds.

    For the opposition you encounter here by me and others, this is a blog primarily focused on Japan, not Korea. You want to say how great Korea is and attack Japan without using solid evidence, go to a Korean blog.
    Consider this, a Nazi enter a Jewish underground bar and start saying whatever he wants, is he not in for a beating?

    I would like to say that I give up this endless discussion, but in my experiences with Koreans, giving up is a sign of admittance of being wrong, which would cause them to drink, and dance, pointing to you and chanting “we are right, you are wrong haha!!” But you know what, pardon my language, but whatever, screw this (endless discussion with the two kims), I have work to do.

  61. American Kim said

    Trapped in Brazil,

    First of all, “Feliz Ano Novo.” Is that how it’s said in Brazil?

    At this very moment, TiB, I don’t remember exactly what it was. But I do remember one thing. I was involved in a discussion with I think 21st Century Schizoid Man (again, I am not completely certain at this point; I do not wish to go back and check, but I can do so later when I have time and actually wish to do so). I was telling him about my pleasant experiences in visiting Japan, and how I was a waiter at a Japanese restaurant in my early 20s, and how all the native Japanese staff were nice to me save for one surly old chef who had a track record of mistreating Korean employees (and he stopped being very mean to a certain Korean waitress when she began to date and later married the restaurant owner’s younger brother, who was a chef there too).

    The conversation was mainly between 21st and myself, and it remained civil, until William Sakovich interjected and made an untimely post about how certain young Japanese visitors to Korea were not well-treated. That William would have thought that I needed to be told that perhaps certain visitors to Korea (or to whatever country for that matter) are not well-treated was rather silly and unnecessary, especially given the tone of the exchange between 21st and myself up to that point. I would venture to say that (assuming 21st remembers the conversation), that I was respectful and polite and wrote nothing hurtful or insulting to Japanese people.

    “Here in Brazil there are people who think that the Westerns were right in colonizing everyone. I have a (white) friend who told me this: “Of course the colonies were rightful theirs (Europeans), they arrived there first!”

    Well, ignorance exists in South America as well, doesn’t it.

    “At our time, all school books said that the white man civilized Asia, when Europeans arrived in Brazil, they happily interacted with the natives, educating them and showing them the love of Christ. They never mentioned the slavering, the killings, rapes, tortures and genocide. By this, I say that we can have some ugly, profound misconceptions about the truth, some even drilled in our heads by schools, media, parents, or the government.”

    Sounds like a certain island country in Asia we all know, doesn’t it. 😛

    This last sentence, I do not mean insultingly or provocatively. If anything, the Brazilian schools’ failure to remind students that the colonizers of the America were often violent and racist shows that education is but a tool of the state, and that there are reviewers who select what goes into textbooks. The exact same happens in Japan. Now don’t get me wrong – I may not like certain Japanese textbooks, but I recognize Japan’s schools are free to use whatever books they wish. The absolute same for Brazil.

    And as for me saying how great Korea is, I frankly don’t remember having spent much time here writing about “how great Korea is” and I haven’t really “attacked Japan” either. If anything, I think I’ve done a pretty decent job in voicing my views about things Japanese I dislike without being rude. That William actually had a blog post whose main content was a letter sent to him in Japanese about me (in which William said that I was not trying to run anybody down and that I was being reasonable) would stand as proof of my appropriate behavior on this blog. But if you did find posts here where I wrote about how great Korea is or where I attacked Japan, go ahead and show me. You did after all just praise William’s habit of using evidence; follow his example.

    And if you come up with posts where I was critical of certain things Japanese, so what? William himself often wrote critically about things in Japan he didn’t like. Such as some of Japan’s politicians.

  62. American Kim said

    Correction: it wasn’t William who said that; it was his English translation of the Japanese poster’s letter.

  63. One more comment about the “extremist” accusations. I pointed out that people on both ends of the spectrums are extremists. So, for example, the people who have their elementary school kids demonstrate in front of the embassy over past actions was considered to me to be extreme. I don’t feel offended if you label these people extreme because I never considered myself a part of that movement (read my original post above). Now, if I said that people who are extreme are simply “bastards” and there were some of you who started to get defensive about that….wouldn’t that mean you see yourself as extreme? If you don’t consider yourself at the extreme end of the political spectrum, you could have easily shrugged it off and said “yes, they are bastards”. I think the Korean “nutjob” that Mac pointed out in post #24 is an absolute extremist and most Koreans think he IS a nutjob. So, I won’t get offended by any comments about that.

    Trapped in Brazil, as you said: “…you label all of us who defend Japan to be extremists, just because we don’t stay put with the accusations and biases. You do the same about Korea, so are you not an extremist by your own words?” Of course I wouldn’t label somebody who necessarily defends their own country or ethnic origin an “extremist”! It’s natural to do so. But my original post was misinterpreted because I feel that whenever a Korean comments on here, the natural instinct for many of you is to take it negatively and go on the offensive and start dirt digging and mud slinging with unrelated items. Comments are then perceived with a “chip on the shoulder” and it starts the accusations. As American Kim already pointed out, where did either of us say that Korea was so “great”?

    When I look back at the comments, I see Trapped in Brazil’s #12 is where the “extremists” labeling starting. I don’t recall labeling any of YOU on this blog an extremists, unless, as I pointed out just now, you were taking my “bastard” comment personally. In which case, you saw yourself as an extremist.

  64. mac said

    “Well, ignorance exists in South America as well, doesn’t it.”

    That was insolent, and also uninformed. If you knew anything of the existing Amazonian tribes, e.g. the Yanomami , you would know that until very recently, and probably still, they spend most of their time killing each other, killing their own children and so on without any technology or healthcare. Their life expectancy is under 40 years old.

    Due to a high level of infant mortality, at the end of the Joseon dictatorship, it was 24 years for males and 26 for females.

    Lucky for the Korea people, the Japan disposed of them. Under the Japanese it doubled, as did the population. There really are any better indicators than that.

    There is no doubt the quality of life, rights, and prospects for the Korean people increased exponentially under Japanese investment and rule; and if it had not had the crap bombed out of it by America and China, it would have been the leading nation in Asia, not Japan, because of its superior natural resources.

    Young Koreans, let’s say under 40 or 50 years old, have been heavily indoctrinated with a false view of Japan and the colonial period for a reason. In short, life got much better and the ruling class of Korea went out of its way to obstruct and denigrate Japan creating it as the enemy, not them. If any wishes to challenge this view, I’ll unpick the post-wars and the total censorship of Japanese media and culture within Korea until recently.

    Perhaps the only people to be pissed were the ruling elite that the Japanese usurped or removed, but the Korean people much better off for it happening. The Japanese were better rulers, and far better technocrats.

    One should also ask why so many Korean chose to remain in Japan after the war if it was so terrible. The answer is simple. Life was much better for them there.

    Having face the ‘Korea Wave’ of politically motivated and government funded internet activists, a further obfuscation of the facts have happened as young American-Koreans have joined in the fray without actually knowing very much about Korea at all and having suffering American conditioning against Japan.

    Really, I don’t know what all the fuss is about. Of course, I do know and could discuss at length but what I mean is, look at Great Britain … it was invaded and ruled by the Roman, the Germans, the Vikings and the French … and how did it turn out? One of the highest qualities of life, that went on to rule the world and remains the most culturally influential nation even in its retirement.

    You should watch Monty Python’s Life of Brian, “What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us?”, and realise that it is about Korea too.

    What Have the Japanese Ever Done for Us?

  65. American Kim said


    This is what Trapped in Brazil said:

    “Here in Brazil there are people who think that the Westerns were right in colonizing everyone. I have a (white) friend who told me this: “Of course the colonies were rightful theirs (Europeans), they arrived there first!”

    If you think this isn’t ignorant… oh well.

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