Even First-Rate Korean Newspapers Are Plagued with Anti-Japanese Fundamentalism
By Nishimura Kohyu,
Korea, a Pitiful Third-Rate Nation
Even First-Rate Korean Newspapers Are Plagued with Anti-Japanese Fundamentalism
By Nishimura Kohyu, journalist/critic
Calling the Emperor “Japanese King” is the Greatest Insult
The illegal landing on Takeshima conducted by South Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak on August 10 sounded like a big fanfare heralding a war against Japan by specific Asian nations. From this day on, especially from September 11 through 18, anti-Japanese riots spread throughout China. Today, the East Asian situation surrounding Japan is getting tougher and tougher.
Recent anti-Japanese riots broke out in at least 108 cities and regions across China, including medium to small ones, and have become the largest xenophobic upheavals since the establishment of normalized relationship between Japan and China forty years ago—possibly even since the Boxer Rebellion or the North Qing Incident in 1900.
On August 15, the anniversary marking the end of the War, anti-Japanese activists from Hong Kong aboard a fishing vessel broke into the waters around the Senkaku Islands and 10 Chinese, including a TV crew managed to land on one of the Islands, despite Japanese efforts to prevent them. On the previous day, August 14, the Republic of Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak reportedly told an audience during a symposium held at Korea National University of Education that if the Japanese King (the Koreans dishonorably use these words when referring to the Emperor) “wants to visit Korea, he should sincerely apologize for the victims of the independence movements,” according to an August 14 article from the Jiji Press, demonstrating his view that it is necessary to apologize to activists of the independence movements of the Colonial Era before an Imperial visit can be realized. This Jiji Press article specifically states the subject as the Japanese Emperor. The Korean Yonhap News reported in its Japanese-language edition that President Lee said, “To my knowledge, the Japanese Emperor wants to visit Korea, and if so, he should first deeply apologize for the victims of the independence movements.”
However, President Lee Myung-bak actually said “the Japanese King”. Despite that, neither the Japanese media nor the Korean media in Japanese editions reported the crucial fact about the President’s wording. I can hardly believe that the Jiji Press regards the “Japanese King” as the right and proper translation of the Emperor.
The point is, such a manipulation of information is every-day practice of the Japanese media, and this is the biggest factor in bringing about an adverse effect over the relationship between Japan and its neighboring countries. Fearing that if the naked truth were to be told, then Japanese anti-Korean
sentiment would worsen all the more– thus the media control arbitrary pieces of information. It is an essential rule for both an individual and a nation to correctly comprehend what others are saying before any mutual communication develops. If one fails to correctly understand others as they are, the basic premise for the exchange of views will never exist.
Pitiful President of a Pitiful Country (Photoshot/PANA)
Behind the reality of the Koreans calling the “Emperor” a “Japanese King” lies an anti-Japanese loathing based on the Korean idea of self-identifying as Small China. The most respectful appellation of “Emperor” could be rendered a Chinese Emperor without hesitation, but the Koreans’ paranoiac self-image and world view would never allow the Japanese to use the revered word, who the Koreans despise as subservient inferior people. In other words, a kind of insistency based on a discriminative consciousness toward the Japanese prompts Koreans to this kind of arrogant behavior.
In reality, we must not overlook the fact that behind the recent chain of anti-Japanese riots is an undercurrent of contempt against the Japanese. A cultural, anthropological and historical background needs to be understood so that one can understand why Koreans despise Japan, ever referring to Japan as Small Japan.
Kneel Down and Apologize
In the first place, not only is there no evidence of a Japanese proposal of an Imperial visit to Korea, but also it is a well-known fact that over past years, Korea has constantly requested that the Emperor visit Korea. The Japanese people know full well of this fact. Given these circumstances, President Lee’s remark fueled nation-wide anger among the Japanese. Demanding an apology of the Emperor has had by far greater impact than the illegal landing on Takeshima.
By the way, words of much greater significance were hidden beneath the President’s remark made on that day. The official statement from the Presidential Office mentioned “deep reflection.” However, what President Lee actually said was “If the Japanese King intends to visit expressing
such an ambiguous word as regret, he needs not come. If he truly wants to visit Korea, he should visit activists of the independence movements, kneel down before them and apologize.”
In Korea, which is heavily influenced by Confucianism, it is a common practice to make criminals kneel down in apology; tying down the legs of a criminal and making him kneel down and bow down on the ground has been carried out as actual punishment on the Korean Peninsula. In short, President Lee’s remark invariably made people imagine the “Japanese King” in that pose, kneeling down with his legs tied up and apologizing. This fact was reported in a Korean newspaper, The Seoul Newspaper, as follows: “It was confirmed that President Lee actually used the description that the Japanese King should ‘’kneel down and apologize’ during the symposium, but later this part of the remarks was deleted from the official announcement made public by the Presidential Office. President Lee emphatically added that Korea could forgive the Colonial-era issue, but could never forget about it and should continue to probe into what should be made clear. This reveals that Korean diplomatic policy toward Japan, dubbed as ‘Silent Diplomacy,” suddenly changed into that of a harder line.” (August 14 editon of The Seoul Newspaper ).
Favorite Korean Trick of Distortion of History
The above mentioned fact was also conveyed to Japan through the Internet within the very same day, August 14. When I was interviewed by a reporter from the Yamato Newspaper after visiting the Yasukuni Shrine on August 15, I told him that the truth of President Lee Myung-bak’s remarks regarding the Emperor’s apology. The Yamato Newspaper is a publication issued within the Japanese Diet by the press club of both Houses of the Diet. Recently, the newspaper also disseminated information through the Internet. On its video Web-site
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJRYuYrjKEg&) as soon as my interview containing President Lee Myung-bak’s remark was uploaded, to my surprise, the “view” count instantly jumped to over a hundred-thousand hits and by mid-October, the “views” amounted to two-hundred some thousands.
Clearly, the reason why the video website of my interview attracted so much attention and caused furious indignation among Japanese viewers is that a most unjust and insulting reference made to the Emperor touched the core of Japanese sentiment. This point is also made clear by the very fact that, even though much diluted as it was in translation by the general media, President Lee Myung-bak’s remark induced angry repulsion from many Japanese.
In fact, realizing that the Japanese reaction of repulsion to his remark was far greater than expected, President Lee Myung-bak is trying to wrap up the mess by saying that his remark was mistakenly reported. He also made the same excuse to ex-Prime Minister Aso Taro, who visited Korea on October 8.
Oddly enough, The Seoul Newspaper first revealed to us Japanese the fact concerning the President’s demand for the Emperor’s apology, and then, later, changed the content of the On-line
article. Now, if you visit the site, the words “kneel down and apologize”
(http://www.sould.co.kr/news/newsView.php?id=20120815003005) are completely deleted from the headline and elsewhere. This is a good example of distortion of history—their specialty. Changing various historical sources to serve their purposes is a favorite action typical of certain Asian countries, namely, China and Korea. I should say that we are lucky to actually witness such a historical moment.
President Lee Myung-bak’s Sheer Lie
The story does not simply end here. Although Korea has deleted the part demanding bowing down on the ground of the “Japanese King” from the official statement, the leading Korean paper, the Chosun Ilbo, carried highly improper columns written by a political reporter and a member of the editorial board simultaneously on August 20.
To our surprise, the two columns, supposedly backed up by the President’s remark, undauntedly expressed naked anti-Japanese views in line with distorted historical ideas. The Chosun Ilbo is known as a “conservative” paper and often carries more substantial articles in dealing with security issues in East Asia than Japanese newspapers. However, in terms of its anti-Japanese stance, the paper holds the same historical views as the North Koreans.
Reporter Lee How-wong of the paper’s political department writes in the column headlined “What’s wrong with Korea demanding an apology of the Emperor?”: “The remark criticizing the Emperor/King prompted Prime Minister Noda’s Cabinet to further take tougher retaliatory measures against Korea. However, seen from the Korean point of view, we cannot understand why the Japanese political circle reacts so sensitively to the critical remark concerning the Emperor.” And he continues on:
“From the viewpoint of Korean history, the father of the present Emperor, Emperor Showa, was the very person who had persecuted and oppressed the entire people during Japanese control over the Korean Peninsula after he was enthroned in 1926. During the Pacific War, he was a special Class A war criminal, who was responsible for the brutal acts of using young Korean males as shields against bullets and females as sex slaves for the Japanese Army. The separation of North and South Koreas, which is still plaguing the Korean people, originated from the Imperial Japanese regime headed by Emperor Showa.
“To that Royal House, Korea demanded that ‘if he wants to visit Korea, he should apologize from the bottom of his heart to the Korean independence movement activists before all of them pass away.’ This is, in a sense, a quite reasonable demand.” (The Chosun Ilbo dated August 20.)
All in all, it was clearly declared about a week after President Lee made the controversial remark that the President’s excuse to ex-Prime Minister Aso on October 8 was a sheer lie and that the President’s demand for “the Japanese King to bow down on the ground” reflected the true feeling of
the Korean people.
Interestingly enough, reporter Lee How-wong, in the context imbued with distorted historical views, also used the words ‘Royal House’. Although in this article the word ‘Emperor’ is used, they abhor using the word ‘Emperor’ and adhere to using ‘King’. Japan is not the only country that uses the title “Emperor,” which is generally recognized throughout the world. So intentionally calling the Japanese Emperor “King” is extreme disrespectful and reflects the ultra-rightist nationalism held by the Korean people, who discriminate against the Japanese.
Reporter Lee How-wong continues to make absurd remarks. After confirming that the naming of the current era Heisei was adopted from Shin Chi, Historical Memoirs and Books of Political Record, as a wish for peace in Japan and elsewhere in the world, the reporter points out that “in order to realize the peace the Japanese Royal House pursues, they first should have courage to wholeheartedly admit the mistakes and accept the criticism directed against them. In December, 1970, West Germany’s then Premier Brandt bowed down and apologized in front of the memorial monument of the Jewish victims in Warsaw. Japan should remember this fact. The Emperor is not too holy an entity to be intruded upon.”
“Before it becomes too late, the present Emperor should bow down and apologize just like Premier Brandt and have the picture of his bowing down in apology clearly marked in history,” concludes the reporter. (ibid, underlined by this author.)
Prejudiced and One-sided Historical View
The article is no better than an agitation leaflet of an anti-Japanese agent. Moreover, the keywords of “bow down and apologize” repeatedly appear, which the Korean Government and media together as one tried to conceal from President Lee Myung-bak’s remark.
In fact, the editorial advertisement placed in the New York Times at the end of May this year, “Do You Remember?”, and posted also in Times Square in October, which were sponsored by Koreans, used a picture of West Germany’s ex-Premier Brandt apologizing in such a way as described by reporter Lee How-wong.
Korean people, totally in the thrall of an utterly one-sided historical view, hold the illusion that comfort women and Japan’s control over Korea were sins at the same level of the atrocious massacre of Jewish people committed by the Nazis.
On the other hand, editorial committee member Kim Tae-you, who, unlike reporter Lee How-wong, is of an older generation, wrote an equally extraordinarily improper column titled “Banner of the Rising Sun,” in which he explains the origin of the Japanese national flag and simultaneously degrades the former Japanese Navy’s Flag with its excellent tradition and currently the flag of Japan’s Self Defense Force with his strangest of theories.
“The Rising Sun Flag was a symbol of Japan’s militarism— Unit 731, which used live human
beings as tools for bio-medical experiments, for one example. The Rising Sun Banner was also streaming over the scenes of a savage competition, of severing the heads of 100 innocent Chinese, committed by former Japanese Army soldiers. The Banner was also there where sex-slaves of the former Japanese Army (comfort women) lived miserable lives and our fathers and grandfathers were forcibly taken and made to fight. If Japan had truly regretted its past and begged for pardon after Japan was defeated in the War, it should have first buried the Rising Sun Banner deep in the ground.” (ibid)
I can hardly believe encountering this kind of low-rate column in Korean newspapers. The underlined excerpt is a total lie, but the writer believes it to be true. “Is this really The Chosun Ilbo?” Several times I had strong doubts but every time I checked, I was in fact reading The Chosun Ilbo. It was neither an organ of the North Korean Labor Party nor that of Japanese ultra-leftists, anti-Japanese organizations, nor of the Japanese Communist Party. It may possibly be that a completely different ‘Chosun Ilbo’ was planted through remote-controlled maneuvering by a computer virus.
We should thoroughly realize here that in a completely different sphere from a basic view of history there exists a deeply-rooted anti-Japanese fundamentalism. It is, in essence, the same thinking held by the Muslim Taliban, wherein an aggressive faction of Taliban terrorists attempted to murder a 14-year-old Pakistani girl who promoted the right for girls to be educated and only for this cause. The religion-like anti-Japanese fundamentalism is already attacking us in the form of information terrorism.
Kim Tae-you’s strange column finally ended up in a suicide-attack. Really amusing: “During the recent London Olympics, Japan’s gymnastic team caused quite a controversy by wearing a uniform that reminds one of the Rising Sun Banner. On the levels of their national dignity, there is a big difference between the two countries of Germany and Japan. The former promptly prohibited the Nazi symbol and the latter today still adores the Rising Sun Banner.” (ibid)
In the entire world, it is only Korea that raised a controversy at the London Olympics, claiming that the Japanese gym team’s uniform reminded people of the Rising Sun Banner. After the War, the banner is used by Self Defense Force ships and the rising sun design is popular all over the world. It is the paranoid, believing that stalkers are everywhere, who bears a wicked prejudice toward the banner.
“Japan Must Face History”
It is a big mystery why Korea continues to hang onto historical issues, totally unacceptable to the international community on the global stage, despite the fact that anti-Japanese fundamentalism is deep-rooted in Korea. Diplomatically or historically speaking, an apology from the Emperor is totally out of question. Why, then, did President Lee Myung-bak make such an outrageous remark?
Can we simply conclude that it was because the Koreans have such a peculiar nationality and that the President was overly elated by illegally landing on Takeshima? The hint to solve this question came from the USA on August 15, one day after President Lee Myung-bak made his remark demanding that the “Japanese Monarch” bow down on the ground. The US Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) publishes the Armitage-Nye Report.
The CSIS is one of the most influential think-tanks in America, and it is only the second time that the Armitage Report was issued from the CSIS. This time, the report was jointly written by Richard Armitage and Joseph Nye, who was once rumored to be a possible nominee for US Ambassador to Japan in the Obama Administration. The report discusses future basic US strategy toward Japan. The Armitage Report was first published in 2000, the second in 2007. Clearly, this time the report has changed drastically in its content from the previous one.
In the first report, published before the 9/11 Incident, a tighter US-Japan alliance was advocated and the extremely positive intention of the US of positioning Japan as the UK in the Pacific was very clearly shown. At the dawn of the 21st century, Japan, having failed to meet US expectations, carried a huge burden due to the consequence of this failure and, needless to say, this presents a tremendous obstacle to our country.
In the second report of 2007, there was the subject of a rising China and the underlying theme was that Japan and the USA must lead Asia. This time, with the badly damaged US-Japan alliance under a Democratic Party of Japan Administration, the basic US strategy toward Japan has been revealed.
Extremely Important Signal
This time it is made clear that the unprecedented degradation in Japan’s national potentials has been recognized as evident by the US side. After the 3/11 Disaster, the reconfirmation of the Japan-US alliance through “Operation TOMODACHI (Friends)” and shrewd awareness of Chinese hegemony and their claimed core interests show that the US is still relying on Japanese power. However, we must not overlook an extremely important signal.
The signal is that Korea appeared up-front in the Armitage Report for the first time. The report’s introduction stated that Japan and the US are facing the threat of rising Chinese power and its nuclear-armed partner North Korea and, at the same time, the US clearly emphasized the importance of a tripartite alliance of Japan, Korea and the USA.
Furthermore, the report stated that the US should try to make diplomatic efforts to ease the tightly-stressed Japan-Korean relationship, and then it required Japan to face historical issues between Korea and Japan. Though stated on the premise that it is essential to strengthen the ties among the three countries of Japan, the USA and Korea, it is very exceptional that the report referred to historical issues. And emphasis was placed on Japan’s listening to Korea more sincerely.
Of course, it was not that the Armitage Report promoted President Lee Myung-bak to land on
Takeshima, knowing the report is favorable to Korea. But it is unmistakably true that during the three years after the establishment of the Japanese Democratic Party administration, Japan’s national power underwent a remarkable deterioration. And taking advantage of this favorable opportunity, Korea used and enjoyed a better environment in which to develop a diplomatic strategy toward Japan that was effortless and more favorable to Korean interests.
In economic and financial spheres as well, taking advantage of the strong-yen maneuvering on the part of the USA, Korean companies successfully cornered Japanese home-electronics manufacturers. The current situation seems as if the US had urged Japan to concede to Korea in terms of recognition of historical issues and exchange rates. With such a background, the sealed lid of anti-Japanese sentiment popped open, which appeared to prompt President Lee Myung-bak to launch extraordinary anti-Japanese drives. Besides the remark demanding that the “Japanese King to bow down on the ground,” he also said, “Japan’s influence is no longer felt as strong,” which came up from the same context.
Armitage’s Historical Views
Richard Armitage, who is known as a Japano-phile American and ex-US Deputy Secretary of State, can be said to have a Korean bias in terms of historical views. The main reason is that Japan’s diplomatic skills, public diplomacy and information disseminating potential are so inferior that historical facts are not correctly conveyed to the world. However, these are not the only reasons. Rather, it is also true that not a few Americans feel that knowing historical facts is quite disagreeable or unpleasant, and they pretend to be indifferent or unfamiliar with them.
To Americans, whether pro-Japanese or anti-Japanese, Japan should be forever remembered as a savage, militarist country, atrociously violating human rights before the Second World War. If this was not so, then the legitimacy of the US war against Japan cannot be maintained, in which atomic bombs were dropped and carpet bombings were carried out, killing a million Japanese citizens.
Sunohara Tsuyoshi, an editorial committee member of the Nikkei Shimbun, who co-wrote a book with Armitage, interviewed Armitage for the August 25 edition of the Nikkei Shimbun:
Editorial committee member Sunohara: Traditionally, the US administrations have so far apparently avoided referring to or intervening in the Japanese-Korean relationship. Why, then, did you break the rule at this particular time?
Ex-US Deputy Secretary of State Armitage: Politicians use nationalism to boost supportive public opinion. While North Korea is putting the sword’s edge to the throats of Japan and South Korea, these two important democratic partners are thrusting their blades to each other. This is a very grave and unsound situation. We continue our efforts to peacefully welcome China as a great (Asian) power, but this is only possible so far as strong democracy is established in this region. As
it is now, with these two major democratic countries nearly on fighting terms with each other, I fear that democratic Asia is far from realization… (omitted)
Sunohara: Do you intend to touch upon the comfort women and historical views?
Armitage: We should do so as necessity rises. There exists only one truth. That was a bad thing and it actually happened. And some Japanese are responsible for it. That’s all. You just start by teaching objective history. History is what has already taken place and no one can change it now. However, it is possible to set aside the sore point as an event in the past and look forward to the future. We should cope with this issue. (America) wants Japan and Korea to reach mutual reconciliation. We would like both countries to bear in mind long-term strategic purposes.
Even a Japano-phile American among the elite has merely this degree of recognition. Then, what is the historical fact? As there was no pursuing in this interview what “actually happened” or who were the “responsible” Japanese, I cannot make a definite conclusion, but whether Armitage is pretending not to know, it is not a stretch to say that Armitage’s historical view hardly differs from that of Koreans.
The stubborn and wide-spread lobbying activities conducted by Koreans may have successfully led to this situation. If by such means, for example, the fiction of the “comfort women” is set up as virtually reality, at this point, Korea would win the psychological war. Consequently, in reality, the circumstance has reinforced the Korean people’s historical view based on an anti-Japanese principle and led to President Lee Myung-bak’s eccentric words and actions.
Culture That Will not Admit Lies as Such
What, then, is this distorted view of history held by the Koreans? It is the product of their culture, in which lies are not admitted to be lies. Takeshima is a typical example. Not a single old map of Korea describes Takeshima. The Koreans always claim that Takeshima was stolen through the second Japanese Korean agreement made in 1905 prior to the Japan’s annexation of Korea. On the Topography of Great Korea, published in 1889 in the Great Korean Empire, Takeshima is actually located on 131°52’ E, outside of Korean territory. These two facts are enough to reveal the “Dokdo” lie.
We Japanese can hardly understand that in spite of the clear counter-evidence against them, how eagerly and wholeheartedly Korean people continue to engage in global psychological activities including international lobbying and spam-mailing.
Beyond rationality and reason, they are busy building up a history of imaginary reality. Not only loathing towards Japan, but I suspect that hateful sentiment is also the real source of the energy prompting their actions.
I would like to point out that the habit of calling the “Emperor” “Japanese King” was born out of
the idea of Small China based on the inferior status of foreigners in China.
It was reported in The Chosun Ilbo, August 20th edition, that University of Tokyo professor Kang Sang-jung said ‘Japanese king’ in his lecture given in Korea concerning the current dispute.
“Kang Sang-jung, who is a second-generation Korean living in Japan and professor of information science in the Graduate School of the University of Tokyo, said in his memorial lecture given on the third anniversary of the death of ex-President Kim Dae-jung in Seoul on August 18, ‘Especially, the remark concerning (President Lee demanding) the Japanese king (emperor) (to apologize) had the most profound impact. The Dokdo (Japanese name: Takeshima) issue alone would not have brought about so grave a situation as this.’ Furthermore, he added, “President Lee’s visit to Dokdo and demand for an apology of the Japanese king are inviting strong repulsion from the leftist power in Japan, who had been friendly toward Korea until then.” (The Chosun Ilbo of August 20)
If the article tells the truth, a famous professor of the University of Tokyo like Kang Sang-jung could not use the word “emperor” in Korea. Where on earth does the reason lie?
Lack of Self-Objectivity
After Japan’s annexation of Korea, Japan endeavored to thoroughly sweep away the culture of the Korean Yi Dynasty, reminiscent of the dark world during the Middle Ages. As a result, the despised outcasts called the baekjeong were liberated and privileges enjoyed by the unproductive Yangban noble class were abolished. Consequently, Hangul, which had not been recognized officially as an alphabet during the Yi Dynasty, was used as part of the educational curriculum and the literacy rate among the ordinary people jumped, thereby greatly spreading education.
Ironically, however, these Japanese measures for modernizing Korea, as a consequence, completely destroyed Yi Dynasty culture. The results were a modernized Korea, with remarkably improved sanitary and hygienic conditions under Japanese governance and a tripling of the population. In spite of these fruits, the vengeful loathing born out of the consciousness that their culture had been ruined has firmly permeated in the many layers of history and formed a mentality of thinking ill of the benefactors.
Naturally, Korea regards Japan as absolutely responsible for what had happened—Japan robbed Korea of her independence and suppressed her culture under its Imperialist control of Korea. Out of this was born the anti-Japanese religion. And this peculiar religion is the very essence of the anti-Japanese virtual reality matrix that will not acknowledge lies as such.
Consequently, virtual reality comfort women, far away from reality, are now venerated in the form of a bronze statue in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. As virtual reality, ever in pursuit of reality, gets more and more radical, a natural consequence is that the anti-Japanese religion acquires a fundamentalist basis.
If Korea becomes free from Japan, Korea can have a more relative and objective view of Japan.
Then, the Korean view of history will be free from the dogmatic anti-Japanese matrix. In reality, however, the harder Koreans attack Japan, crying “Anti-Japanese” slogans, the deeper they fall into Japan’s bosom. To the Japanese, nothing is more troublesome than this situation. If they want to hate and loathe us, why don’t they see us from a distance? In reality, alas, they act in the completely opposite manner.
If the Koreans can view their history objectively, they will be able to feel free. In other words, seeing Japan objectively and not in absolute terms. How objectively the Koreans can see Japanese Imperialist control will decide how Koreans view all of their history. It is only when this is realized that the Korean anti-Japanese fundamentalism will cease and the co-operation among Japan, Korea and the US as described in the Armitage Report will be a reality.
Korean National Structure of Blind Dependency
To tell the truth, the Koreans coolly and nonchalantly committed outrageous deeds in the past. They posted a huge portrait of the terrorist who assassinated Ito Hirofumi, happily put up a sign claiming that Takeshima is Korean territory in a football stadium and displayed the message “Congratulations on Japan’s earthquakes” in an international football match after the 3/11 Disaster.
However, no one has heard that the Asian Soccer Federation or the Japanese Football Association made rigid protests against these disgraceful deeds. The Koreans were so accustomed to the mindset of blind dependence on Japan in their historical view that they committed a grave breach of rules without a shred of guilt during the London Olympics.
Quite unexpectedly on their part, as soon as their London Olympics stunt invited huge global criticism, the Koreans took another quite incredible action—they began to blame Japan for that act. As I mentioned earlier, the column written by the editorial committee member of the Chosun Ilbo, they began to seriously make the most extravagant assertion that Japan using the Rising Sun Banner in sports events is the same as using a Nazi flag and that the Rising Sun Banner is a symbol of Japan’s militarism.
The Rising Sun Banner used to be the official flag of the Imperial Japanese Navy and is now officially used by the Self Defense Force Navy ships. It is sometimes also used by its Army and is globally recognized as an official banner. As a brother flag of the Hinomaru, the Japanese national flag, the design is highly recognized by foreigners. Originally, it was used by fishermen as a flag to celebrate a good catch at sea and was a traditional Japanese design. Completely different from the Hakenkreuz or Swastika as it is, Koreans excitedly produce an arbitrary “Rising Sun Banner” matrix.
On August 9, in the Korean Parliament, the United Democratic Party representative Ahn Ming-sok led in proposing a resolution asking for banning the use of Japan’s Rising Sun Banner and prohibiting the carrying of the banner in sporting stadiums–68 representatives from the leading party as well as opposition parties joined in supporting the proposal.
Representative Ahn said, “The Korean government is not making enough efforts to ban the Rising Sun Banner. It should continue to eagerly express the point to international organizations like the IOC and FIFA. The Joong Ang Ilbo, dated September 12, reported Professor Soon Sok-chong, a specialist in sports-related laws, of South Seoul University’s department of sports management as saying, “If the Korean government takes direct action, political trouble will surely arise between Korea and Japan,” and “It is necessary to put pressure so that Japan may legislate against the Rising Sun Banner.” They have no conception of foreign intervention in the domestic affairs of other countries.
Ironically, on September 16, in the midst of the rough and noisy days of anti-Japanese riots in China, my eye was caught by an interesting article in the Joong Ang Ilbo:
Korean residents in America reportedly held a rally against the use of the Rising Sun Banner in front of a library in Flushing, New York. In Korea, some have the idea that the Rising Sun Banner is the symbol of Japan’s militarism. The people participating in the rally were members of the Citizens’ Rally for Eliminating the War Criminal Flag which was organized in front of the memorial monument of comfort women in the city of Palisades Park, New Jersey. There are about 30 members, and in the rally on that day, they held up a placard saying “the Rising Sun Banner is the Nazis Asian banner” and protested.
Furthermore, at the IMF annual meeting held in Tokyo until October 14, IMF Managing Director Lagarde addressed the Crown Prince as “your Imperial Highness”, the highest reverential title, while World Bank President Kim, who is a Korean living in America, addressed him as “your Royal Highness”. This was boastingly reported by Korean media.
On October 15, during the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, UN Deputy Ambassador Shin Dong-Ik said, “the so-called comfort women issue during World War II has not been solved yet. Japan remains legally responsible.”—a stalker-like remark, I should say.
As things are now, this year’s Armitage Report cannot absolutely have a profound effect. At the very least, Japan should present as soon as possible a report in reply to Armitage written by Japanese who are absolutely focused on Japan’s national interests, in effect, excluding Korea.
Why? Otherwise, Korean anti-Japanese thinking will continue on indefinitely.
About the author: Nishimura Kohyu
Born in 1952 in Tokyo, Mr. Nishimura studied in philosophy section of the Department of Literature at Keio University. While in college, he was an editor of Mita Literature. After working as editor and copywriter, he launched into a career as a writer, mainly writing about F1 racing and soccer. After the World Cup in 2002, Mr. Nishimura has been covering the North Korea’s abduction issue and
historical issues. Among his books are Structure of Anti-Japan (Bungei-sha), True Nature of Anti-Japan (ditto), and Illusionary Golden Ages (Shoden-sha).
*First published in monthly magazine Will, December, 2012 issue.