I was reading my mails when I noticed that on the top of my gmail screen there was an ad from a Korean site asserting Korean ownership of the Liancourt Rocks. I screen captured it below.
The link leads to a silly video (posted below) that will convince no one except Koreans about “Dokdo” and “the East Sea”. On the issue of calling the Sea of Japan the East Sea, as far as I know most English speaking westerners do not mind what Koreans call the Sea of Japan in their own language, but object to the idea that they should change the words that they are using (Sea of Japan) just to suit Korean tastes. Furthermore the East Sea issue is clearly motivated by anti-Japanese feeling and prejudice, given that there are other seas around Korea with other names that Korea is not objecting to.
These people have money to burn on unconvincing ads.
Pyo Manung, a Korean author, wrote a special contribution to the Joong Ang Ilbo, asserting that based on historical facts, Kyushu, Shimane prefecture, Tsushima, and the Liancourt Rocks are Korean territory. He insists that the Korean government should take bold action to insist that these lands are Korean territory.
There is no need for me to translate the article. It is just a lot of dubious history with an even more dubious conclusion. Unfortunately there are no comments on the article as yet, so there is no way of knowing what Koreans that read this article think of it.
Ampontan is on a roll recently with his posts about the Liancourt Rocks issue. His latest post is about comparing how the Japanese media and the South Korean media differ in their handling of the Liancourt Rocks issue in their editorials. The newspapers reviewed in both countries span the left and right wing ideological spectrums.
Read it and decide for yourself which countries media seems more nationalistic and biased on the issue.
A group of Korean ex-servicemen are in Tsushima right now protesting against Japan and demanding that Japan recognise Dokdo as Korean territory, and also to withdraw from Tsushima.
According to the article, at 10:20 am the group of 21 Koreans started protesting in front of the Tsushima town hall, with a banner saying “Dokdo is Korean territory, Taema is also Korean territory” (Taema is the Korean name for Tsushima – the natives call it Tsushima). Some of the protesters bit their fingers to the extent that they were able to pour enough blood on a Korean flag to write “Takeshima is our land” in Hangul.
There were some Japanese counter protesters there with a Japanese flag, and in objecting to the Korean protest some yelled “Koreans are mistaken”, “Tsushima is Japanese territory”, and “Go home!”.
A local worker watching the events commented that he could not understand why the Koreans were protesting in Tsushima, and if they want to object they should go to the national parliament. The mayor said that “It is impossible that Tsushima could be Korean territory. I want them to “withdraw” their incorrect historical awareness. Takeshima is a national problem, and we can’t deal with it in this city. I hope for the development of a future oriented and friendly Japan-Korean interchange”.
If and when there are photos of this, I will post them. Protesting about Takeshima is one thing, but fancy insisting to Japanese locals that their land belongs to Korea. Quite a nerve.
Update: Here are some pictures from here and here.
Ampontan has an excellent (as usual) post about South Korea and it’s relationship with Japan, in particular the absurd reactions in Korea to the Liancourt Rocks dispute. Go ahead and read it at his site.
Debito has a lot of misinformation on his site, especially regarding the extent of racism and manifestations of racism in Japan. The girl in the youtube below is an American living in Japan, and is an English teacher studying Japanese in her spare time. She been posting video blogs on youtube for sometime, and thanks to the fact that she is a white girl that is trying to speak Japanese, she gathered a Japanese following.
At some point she came across Debito’s site and decided to give a speech on youtube about human rights and Japanese racism towards foreigners in Japan. In her summary of the video, she included a link from Debito.org. The selection of topics are all from Debito’s site so it is obvious that she got her “opinions” from there. The original video is no longer visible as she has taken it offline, but someone made a rebuttal video, so we can see most of what she said there. The Japanese writing in the video is the rebuttal, not her words.
My translation (please remember that she is a beginner in Japanese and I am doing my best to translate it and not put words in her mouth) –
“… But to me the is one aspect of Japan that is still old fashioned. That is that Japan does not have a law to eliminate racial discrimination. So if I try to rent a place, go to a hotel, or a restaurant, it is accepted to rejected foreigners. When I was looking for an apartment, I saw this for myself. I cannot accept judging people just on their faces, their faces or their nationality.
Even then, there are foreigners in Japan who obtained Japanese citizenship, and they are often being judged based only on their faces. From now on Japan really needs foreigners, that it clear. It is not just me, the UN, economics newspapers and magazines, all are saying this. Japan is aging, and the number of people that can work is decreasing every year. So foreigners don’t come to Japan to replace them, who knows what will happen to the entire country. That is scary… I don’t want to see that.
Also, I don’t want Japan’s image to become worse. However, if tourists at Japan’s travel locations, for example, if there are signs excluding foreigners, saying “Japanese only”, Japan’s image will become worse. After the foreign tourists go home, they will talk about what happened in Japan. I don’t want that to happen.
Also, there is some talk of having the olympics in Tokyo in 2016. But in the current sitution if the olympics take place, I don’t think that would be good. First, think about foreigners rights and make laws, and live together in peace”
Again, her original video included a link from Debito’s site, which is obviously where she got the idea that foreigners were being discriminated against left and right. The fact is that instances of discrimination are quite rare, and when it occurs they are radical exceptions. Debito would have people belive that Japan is an exceptionally racist country, which it is not.
The result was that many of her Japanese fans took exception to what she was saying, and posted counter arguments on the comments section of her video blog. They corrected the misinformation she repeated from Debito’s site, and because of that she posted another video apologising. See below.
I am not going to translate it all, but basically she apologises for the Debito sourced and factually incorrect rant.
This is what happens when people take what Debito is saying at face value. I am a foreigner. I lived in Japan. I rode a bicycle. But I did not get stopped by police while riding a bicycle an average of 17 times a year (in fact never), which is one story about discrimination that Debito is spreading about. I have never seen a sign rejecting foreigners, except when that sign was in front of a brothel or other similar establishment. I have never been turned away at the door of a shop or denied service or ignored by wait staff. All of the foreigners that I know do not have the kind of experiences that happen to Debito, and the reason is simple – he goes looking for it. I am sure there are all kinds of racism in Japan, but it is by no means extraordinary, very widespread, or systematic. Furthermore, in terms of personal safety, I have never felt safer anywhere than I felt in Japan, and I know a great many foreigners feel the same way. They would not feel this way if they really experienced racial prejudice.
Debito is spreading misinformation that is actually harming the foreigners living in Japan. There are foreigners that will not go to an onsen (hot springs) anticipating discrimination, mainly because of Debito’s activism, and his refusal to point out in his writings that discrimination at onsen are exceedingly rare.
This site by Occidentalism commenter Ponta is about the closest thing we have to a “Debito watch” at the moment. Some of you may remember we had difference of opinion with Debito over a sign that seemed to exclude foreigners from a restaurant in the Tsukiji fish market (here and here).
Before writing those articles on Occidentalism, I posted some comments on Debito’s blog politely informing him about where he was wrong on the issue, and my comment was deleted and I was called a troll. Ponta also posted on there and Debito also deleted his comments, while strongly suggesting later that Ponta’s comments were offensive, which is most untrue.
To correct this injustice and to preserve the comments of other people that correct Debito’s errors, Ponta created “Ponta’s memorandum”, where he gathers his own deleted comments and the deleted comments of others. As you will see the comments are not offensive at all, although that is how Debito justifies the deletions. I am sure that you will see, as I have seen, a consistent pattern of Japan bashing in what Debito chooses to delete, and what to allow.
Got a comment that Debito deleted or wouldn’t allow? Let Ponta’s memorandum know and have your voice heard!