mr huh

The Choson Ilbo has an article about one of the people behind the attempt to ban ‘So Far From the Bamboo Grove’, a semi-fictional novel that describes a Japanese family fleeing the Korean peninsula in the wake of WW2.

It was a Korean junior high school teacher who ensured that 171 schools in Prince George’s County of the U.S. state of Maryland no longer teach a controversial novel portraying the Japanese as victims of Korean abuse at the end of World War II. As a result of the efforts of Bob Huh, a permanent resident in the U.S., the county education authorities decided on May 15 that “So Far From the Bamboo Grove”, a fictional account of the last days of the Japanese occupation of Korea from a Japanese perspective, can no longer be used as teaching material in elementary schools and junior high schools in the area.

Huh teaches English at Kenmoor Middle School, one of many schools in the county where the novel by the Japanese-American author Yoko Kawashawa Watkins was being taught. He didn’t realize his students were studying the book until reading an article about it in January. “I was so ashamed,” Huh says. “I’m a Korean, and I didn’t even realize that my students were learning with this book. Koreans were victims of the 36 years of the Japanese occupation, and I was angry about how the book portrays Koreans as evil and abusing the harmless Japanese.”

Huh, determined to get the novel out of schools, drew up a list of inaccuracies in the book. He first persuaded the head English teacher and the principal of his own school to stop teaching “So Far.” Then he wrote to Maryland Senator Ben Cardin and the Maryland State Department of Education but was told to talk to the county Board of Education, since selection of textbooks is not a matter for the state government. Huh wrote dozens of letters to education officials saying schools shuld not teach incorrect history to students.

Mr Huh seems to be lost in the victim/oppressor dichotomy. Any victim can become an oppressor given the right conditions, like those described in ‘So Far From the Bamboo Grove’. Saying that Japanese that were killed, raped, or had their property stolen after the Japanese surrender are not victims is equating individuals with policies of a government that they may not have agreed with, and is the same as saying those Japanese individuals (which includes children) had it coming to them.

For more information on the controversy, see guest writer Sonagi’s thorough review of ‘So Far From the Bamboo Grove’.

Posted by Matt, filed under diplomacy, Racist Industrial Complex. Date: May 28, 2007, 8:38 am | 47 Comments »

47 Responses

  1. GarlicBreath Says:

    He needs to be fired, and exposed as a book-burner. No doubt that this paper citizen is American when it suits him, otherwise he is, a Corean.

    I’m a Korean

    What exactly do Coreans immigrants (paper citizens)offer other nations when they abandon their sinking ship “GREAT COREA!!!!!”

    Me thinks they are a fifth column.

  2. kjeff Says:

    Matt,

    Any victim can become an oppressor given the right conditions, like those described in ‘So Far From the Bamboo Grove’.

    Sure, but even you described the book as semi-fictional. Could it have happened? Sure. Did it happen? Probably not, or not everything, at least. Then, why? I think I’ll have no objections on the content if it were actually ‘live’ depictions of what she experienced(a la Anne Frank). Ms. Watkins had decades to retrace, reimagine, and reflect…

    Mr Huh seems to be lost in the victim/oppressor dichotomy.

    And the children who read the book function in an infinite spectrum? At the end of the day, to most of them…Korean, bad guy. Japanese, good guy. Come on…give Yoko a cape in she woud fly…

  3. T_K Says:

    kjeff,

    The very point in education is to get rid of that “good guy, bad guy” thinking and instill some critical thinking skills and ability to analyse in the kids. Bear in mind that the students who read the book weren’t fresh out of kindergarten, they were of the age where you’re supposed to help them form opinions and give as much food for thought as possible.

  4. chase Says:

    I haven’t actually read the book so I can’t really give opinion about it. I’ve briefly heard about the issue, though.
    Does Watkins say the story is kind of her autobiography? or is it a fictional story?
    How is the book used in classroom? in history classes as reference to WW2? or in English class as a historical book category thing (grouped with Anne Frank(true story), Number the Stars(Jewish girl sheltered at a nonjewish family so she doesn’t get caught, author’s fictional story though these things really heappened)?

  5. kjeff Says:

    T_K,

    Bear in mind that the students who read the book weren’t fresh out of kindergarten, they were of the age where you’re supposed to help them form opinions and give as much food for thought as possible.

    To avoid misunderstandings, we are talking about sixth-graders, right? My problem is not with the book, but how it’s being presented in near contextual-vacuum. Yes, the teachers can provide backgrounds to provide some counter-balance, in the spirit of “critical thinking” and all, but how effective would that be compare to the compeling first-person narative of an 11 year-old(their peer) persona of Ms. Watkins?

  6. pacifist Says:

    They don’t know that wars make victims on both sides, especially victims of women and children.
    From this aspect, it was a good textbook.
    .
    A chance to learn the aspect of wars was lost due to the narrow-minded and near-sighted Korean teacher.

  7. HanComplex Says:

    Huh is just another typical brainwashed Korean who believes in the distorted history taught and promulgated by the Korean government. Thus it’s just another case of a Korean plugged into the Matrix, programmed to think like his fellow compatriot drones. Note that he says that he is “Korean,” not “Korean-American.” Sounds like what Robert Kim would say.

    “Paper citizens” really is an appropriate term for these kind of kyopos. The US should really start weeding out these kind of people and restricting their entry, in the interest of national security. Since they’re so proud of being Koreans, they should be sent back to their great motherland to rot. If it isn’t Korean women as prostitutes, it’s Korean men committing treason, killings, and other noteworthy actions. Out of all the Asian American groups they’re the ones who don’t seem to fit well into American society.

  8. General Tiger Says:

    The problems I have with the book is
    .
    1. Communists: Give me a break, Kim Il Sung and his buddies came way late, around October if I remember correctly. The Soviet Union didn’t send their Foreign Troops until then so that they could secure NK (Not to mention that they originally wanted to work with the original Korean commies, who all went to the South to court the US)
    .
    2. Bombing: Korea was never bombed during WWII, although there were plans should Japan evacuate to the Asian Mainland.
    .
    3. One-sidedness: Reading the book is like reading about Operation Black Tulip (expulsion of Germans after WW2 from the Netherlands) without reading “Anne Frank.”

  9. chase Says:

    HanComplex
    The article in the link says that Huh is a permanent resident. He does not have American citizenship yet though I assume that he must have grown up in United States since he’s a English teacher. I know that it’s possible to become an educator in US without citizenship because our school’s previous principal (and now assitant superintendant) is Canadian.

  10. ponta Says:

    Let me quote form “Under the black umbrella” in which
    Korean American who lived under Japanese rule depict Korea shortly after the liberation.

    page 146 housewife/Kyonggi Province
    After liberation, I saw a Japanese mother in tattered clothes with a baby on her back, walking along the road. I really felt sorry for her. I also remember the Japanese primary-school principal in Yangju country. he was killed by Korean right after the war

    page 139
    Tabocco authority officers, North Hamgyong Province
    On the morning of August 9, Russia declared war on Japan , and Russian airplanes attacked the city of Chongin. Everything went into chaos. On the eleventh, communication to Seoul was severed. We couldn’t get through. We were on our own. Isolated……On August 15 I ran into a classmate and he told me that Japan had surrendered. I could not believe it.

    page 142 physicist, North Pyongan Province
    The Japanese rule was over? I jumped and ran to Grandmother to ask if it was true…….Life for Japanese changed overnight. In our Chongju are, our people policed themselves, and treated the Japanese well. The Japanese went to live in shelters or schools, and went out during the day to find jobs. We ourselves hired a Japanese woman as our maid……People tried to police themselves and in some areas it worked better than others. .. Much later I learned that terrible things happened in some places, especially in Hamgyhong Province to the north east near the Russian border. Anti-Japanese nationalist let out all their frustrations, and also the Korean communists who had been biding their time , became militants. Cruel guerrilla attacks made everyone nervous. ….After we returned to Chongju, one day as we visited Grandmother in Toktal, a messenger came running, crying our that a guerrilla band was headed our way. He didn’t know for sure which kind of band. …

    page 145 housewife/South hamgyong Province
    After liberation, the Koreans said my father was pro-Japanese, a running dog because he was so high up. They almost lynched him. Then Russian army came ….

    page146 housewife/Kyonggi Province
    When the Japanese left, my father-in-law barely escaped with his life. He knew the Korean would beat him, so he fled to the the south, Korean didn’t punish the pro-Japanese

  11. Matt Says:

    In regards to communists in Korea, I would add this historical tidbit -

    모두 하루아침에 달변가가 되었으며 아울러 잔잔하기만 하던 마을에 사상적인 균열이 일기 시작했다. 좌(左)가 좋으냐 우(右)가 좋으냐 하는 시비와 논쟁이 날이 갈수록 심화되어 가는 것이었다. ….바로 얼마 전까지만 해도 일본을 절대적으로 믿고 충성스럽게 뛰어다니던 사람이 하루아침에 열렬한 사회주의자가 되어 떠벌리고 다니는가 하면, 심지어 만주에서 아편 장사를 한 것으로 알려진사람도 사상가인 것처럼 행세를 했다.(pp. 108~109)

    One morning everyone had suddenly become an eloquent speaker. In a village that was once quiet, ideological cracks start to appear. As the days go by the debate on whether the left is better or the right is better intensifies. …. People who had just previously run around showing absolute trust in and allegience to Japan had suddenly become passionate socialists running around wagging their tongues. Even a man who was known to have been an opium dealer in Manchuria started acting as if he were some profound thinker.

    So straight after liberation there were people spontaneously describing themselves as socialists or communists. It makes sense that some of them would have formed militias.

  12. HanComplex Says:

    Chase,

    The article in the link says that Huh is a permanent resident. He does not have American citizenship yet though I assume that he must have grown up in United States since he’s a English teacher.

    And your point being…?
    Robert Kim was a US citizen.
    Cho Seung-Hui was a Korean national.
    Both, along with thousands of Korean whores in the US, have unmistakably contributed to US society and history. Yes.

    The US government really needs to make restrictions on immigrants from Korea trying to come to her shores. The USA doesn’t really need any more of these “model” citizens bringing their unique brand of culture to America. They should be left to rot in their great homeland, so when the US military pulls out of SK in a few years they can be rejoined with their great leader to the North. Then everyone will be happy.

  13. General Tiger Says:

    Matt:
    Yes that’s right, but I understood the book to mean the KPA.
    HanComplex:
    It seems yout name fits you: You have a complex about Koreans.

  14. consoleman Says:

    I found this ite very bias and contadict to many things that were posted.

    Most Koreans that hate Korea and like to be “japanese” are known as “Chin-IL-Pa”.

    Also, it seems this blog is Anti-Korean.

  15. General Tiger Says:

    consoleman:
    And your point is?

  16. Matt Says:

    I found this ite very bias and contadict to many things that were posted.

    Most Koreans that hate Korea and like to be “japanese” are known as “Chin-IL-Pa”.

    Also, it seems this blog is Anti-Korean.

    That is OK. I think a lot of people would like to discuss any of the things that you can contradict. My man General Tiger does it all the time. Anyway, welcome to Occidentalism. I am sure your perspective can bring balance to the site.

  17. General Tiger Says:

    Matt:

    My man General Tiger does it all the time.

    Your man? Was that sarcasim?

  18. kjeff Says:

    KoreanJeff Says:
    HanContradiction,
    Fervently defending free-speech here and…well, I’ll let you do the talking…

    Huh is just another typical brainwashed Korean who believes in the distorted history taught and promulgated by the Korean government. Thus it’s just another case of a Korean plugged into the Matrix, programmed to think like his fellow compatriot drones. Note that he says that he is “Korean,” not “Korean-American.” Sounds like what Robert Kim would say.

    “Paper citizens” really is an appropriate term for these kind of kyopos. The US should really start weeding out these kind of people and restricting their entry, in the interest of national security. Since they’re so proud of being Koreans, they should be sent back to their great motherland to rot. If it isn’t Korean women as prostitutes, it’s Korean men committing treason, killings, and other noteworthy actions. Out of all the Asian American groups they’re the ones who don’t seem to fit well into American society.

  19. ponta Says:

    As an balanced description of the history, American students should also be taught what the author of “under the black umbrella” said

    Interview after interview began with sentences such as, “Nothing much happened to me. The Japanese people were not bad. We got along. It was the police that bothered us. I just stayed out of their way. .” However, these same people had small bits of salts and pepper tucked away in their interviews that, when gathered together, added dimension to the larger picture. page 5

    It is said that in North Korea distorted self-praising history is being taught to its people.
    Some argue that that hold partially true in South Korea too.
    http://koreasparkling.wordpress.com/2007/05/28/national-geographic-inside-north-korea-to-be-broadcasted-in-south-korea/.

  20. kjeff Says:

    BTW,
    Completely unrelated topic, but Ms. Japan was just crowned Ms. Universe. Is she the first east Asian? Congrats…

  21. jion999 Says:

    “the victim/oppressor dichotomy”

    Koreans’ idea about history is not victim/oppressor dichotomy but trichotomy: i.e. Victor (US), victim (Koreas and other Asian), and oppressor/loser (Japan).

    The idea of “victim” for Koreans is the excuse for them to stand on the side of victor after the war.

    The reality of history was that Koreans were also “oppressor” as Japanese against other Asians and Allied POWs during the war.

    After the defeat of Japan, Koreans went over to the Victor’s side and became “oppressor” against poor Japanese in Korea.

    Cowards are cruel.
    Cowards loudly decry underdog.
    Cowards pretend to be victim every time.

  22. Matt Says:

    Your man? Was that sarcasim?

    No. You backed me up in this thread, so became “my man”.

  23. jion999 Says:

    Koreans’ “victim” snobbism is the root of all evil.

  24. chase Says:

    Hancomplex
    I think it would be just weird to say “I’m Korean American” if I don’t have a American Citizenship. Maybe it’s just me. Sorry, I’m prone to point out unnecessary stuff. I don’t think citizenship really matters for one person to belong in a country but US is kind of different because ethnicity does not necessarily equal nationality. Since US is so diverse now (though until 1950s there was racism) referring oneself as belonging to another country is more like their heritage & culture.
    if you ask a lot of people here “what’s your heritage, where are you from?” Many answer “Oh, I’m half scottish half german” “I’m swedish” “I”m Chinese”.

    I remember my friend at school who was grown up at US since 3 years old and had permanent residence only and he calls himself Russian.

    Robert Kim was a spy and I admit he did harm US and he was a US citizen. I’m not sure what he specifically spied but I’m sure there are other spies from other countries in US that people haven’t really found out yet. Jonathan Pollard, MIchael Walker…. (well that’s what my US history teacher thinks) Robert Kim is positively appraised in Korean media I think but he’s not introduced in textbook nor own autobiography.
    Cho Seune Hui is Korean although he grew up in US. If you think Korean Americans are brainwashed then he is probably too. However I think if you try to say Koreans are more prone to cause terror than other races than it’s not legit. That’s racism. Racism do exist in Korea and it should be demolished in Korea and everywhere else. The problem was though Koreans’ reactions to the happening.
    Korea does not teach Japan’s victim aspect of WW2 at school much. I agree with that. (I’m not sure about high school though. I only know about Elementary & middle school) Hiroshima&Nagasaki bombing not deeply discussed. I agree with that Korean history textbooks lack world view. However, in US, Japan’s victim aspect is discussed a lot.(Japan vs Korea is not much discussed either side) Students learn how terrible atomic bomb is and how many people have suffered.
    I think most of Korean people have some amount of “Chin-il-pa”(pro-japan) and “Chin-mee-pa”(Pro-american mind in their heart a little bit. They just don’t realize it. You can tell that by people secretly loving Japanese products and American products. (there was a very funny picture where some students wearing Puma t-shirt with Nike cap and converse shoes were throwing stuff at GIs) This does seem pretty stupid but this at least shows some possibility of them being converted to rational.
    Also, regardless of validity of history of the past, people shouldn’t hate anything past because most of people wouldn’t have born this day if the history was different by bit.
    Some of my English usage might sound weird. and if you guys think there will be a interpretation problem please correct me.

  25. chase Says:

    Kjeff
    Mori Riyo is second east asian miss universe. The first one was another miss Japanese I think.
    I might sound weird saying this now since the results are already in but I really thought Mori Riyo had a big chance. She kind of stood out with the east asian look. (Distinctive face, very cool custumes, Manner of speech, and the hair!!!) I thought either Miss Angola, Tanzania (she’s so cool), Miss Venezuela(Kind of reminds of Jaclyn Kennedy), and possibly Japan. Korea was actually okay this year except some of her dresses were weird and her facial expression was somewhat ……..;;; Anyway Congratulations!

  26. chase Says:

    Jion999
    I agree with your some of your opinions. However, I think the reason Japan’s illustrated as the oppressor is because Japan started it. Japan did give some positive effects on Korean economy overall. However, oppression did exist and some degree of harsheness probably existed, too. (it existed in every colonies, Japan probably not exception).
    When British told Gandhi that India will be in chaos after the end of British rule because Muslims and Hindus will fight. Gandhi replied “but I think everyone would agree that no one wants their land controlled by a foreign force”.

  27. pacifist Says:

    Chase,
    .
    I think you are a honest, calm and wise Korean. I feel safe to think such Korean people, although they are almost silent, are living in Korea.

    However…

    as the oppressor is because Japan started it.

    Japan may have started it but I think there were Korean factors too. Korean independent party wanted Japan’s help, also there was a Korean party who wanted to unite the two countries, and western countries feared the Russian invasion and tacitly hoped Japan should help Korea. It was not only Japanese imperialism.
    .
    So one can say that if Korea became a strong independent country, Japan didn’t need to annex her. But unfortunately the conservative group didn’t want to westernize Korea and depended on her suzerain – Qing, and didn’t have an ability to control the government.
    Back to the topic of oppression, there may have been some kind of oppression but if it existed it would not so severe. They had civil rights because they were Japanese citizens, it was different from western colonies such as India, Vietnam etc. It was like the relation between Scotland and Englnad.
    .
    BTW, the first Miss Universe from Japan was 1959 (according to tv news).

  28. hardyandtiny Says:

    good layout, funny, I wish the comments were like the opening.
    As usual everyone knows everything.

  29. jion999 Says:

    chase,

    You are a person with right-thinking.
    I hope other Koreans would be like you.

    Victim status has become Korea’s prime historical identity.
    They overplay the victim card.
    They say,

    “Condemn the oppression, not the oppressor”.

    The behavior of Koreans is different.

    “Condemn the oppressor (Japanese) forever.”
    “If there is no evidence of Japan’s oppression, fabricate it.”
    “Forget about the oppression committed by Koreans.”

    Koreans don’t hate oppression itself.
    Koreans exploit the oppressor/victim card and oppress Japanese forever.

  30. kalani Says:

    Just a minor point to Ponta on the author of Under the Black Umbrella.

    Hildi Kang is NOT a KOREAN-American. See HildiKang.com.

  31. wiesunja Says:

    Hey, speaking of Miss Universe..in typical Korean fashion (sore losers), the Koreans are doing what they do best..showing their barbaric and tasteless character by reacting to Miss Japan’s win in the Miss Universe contest with the typical Korean ugliness and racism that we have all come to know. Not anything surprsing, but it sure is funny and cute to see Koreans owning up to their national stereotype of jealous, insecure, immature children with a big inferiority complex against Japan! hahahaha..

    http://www.youtube.com/comment_servlet?all_comments&v=sFK1zyux2Kc&fromurl=/watch%3Fv%3DsFK1zyux2Kc%26mode%3Drelated%26search%3D

  32. ponta Says:

    Kalani
    Thanks.I know the author is not Korean-American:Her husband is. And she interviewed Korean-Americans who lived under Japanese rule.

    I don’t give a damn whether American kids read this book or not, though I sympathise with Yoko: she unfairly fell to the prey of Korean-ultra-nationalists.
    Reading the reviews, it seems kids do not read the book in view of ethnicity as many of Koreans do, but they just read it as a story of a girl working way out through hardship.

    What perplexes me is why new generation of Korean-Americans are more ethnocentric, sometimes more ethnocentric than native Koreans; a native Korean person used to commend the book.
    I understand that Asian Americans sometimes go through prejudices. That happens, I guess, because they look Asian, not because they look Koreans. So it is natural that they be more conscious of being Asian. But what makes many Korean-Americans more ethnocentric, so much so that they can not be critical about Korea?

    1)This book is a novel, is not history textbook.
    The truth value of the statment “the communists are coming” and “he said the communist were coming” is different.

  33. kjeff Says:

    wiseunja,
    huh?

  34. Newshound Says:

    kjeff, you have to read down a bit. But it certainly isn’t just a Korean thing. There are a lot of people that seem to be angry about this. Even to go so far as to say that the contest was rigged.

    As to that, of course it was rigged. It’s rigged every year. It’s a fucking beauty contest, not a math test.

  35. HanComplex Says:

    However I think if you try to say Koreans are more prone to cause terror than other races than it’s not legit.

    Chase,
    Not so much as terror but as not fitting into US society compared to other Asian groups. Kim, Cho, and the thousands of Korean whores as well as racial tension in the LA riots were all connected with Koreans, NOT Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, etc. For Koreans, especially those in the US, not even realizing there’s a problem with their culture means they’re in denial.

    Robert Kim is positively appraised in Korean media I think but he’s not introduced in textbook nor own autobiography.

    So the question is, why is he appraised in Korean media? So it is noble and honorable to be treacherous to one’s adopted country? What is disturbing is that not a few in the Korean-Am community were even defending his actions.

    Korea does not teach Japan’s victim aspect of WW2 at school much. I agree with that.

    Yeah, but what they DO teach is hatred of Japan from the elementary school level. Or didn’t you know?
    Just what kind of nation or culture would teach schoolkids to hate another in their school system? Only a backward, underdeveloped one. This is no different from the Nazi’s indoctrination of their youths. But what’s more unsettling is that you don’t hear Koreans condemning this kind of thing. Must be a perfectly normal thing for them to hate. Right, Brian? Koreanjeff? Other kyopos here?
    I agree with jion999 and pacifist. You seem to be one of the few calm and rational Koreans here who can think and argue clearly. Your antithesis would be kjeff, who only reacts to posts and blindly defends anything Korean. I hope you can continue to come here to present your views. I look forward to reading them.

  36. chase Says:

    Not so much as terror but as not fitting into US society compared to other Asian groups. Kim, Cho, and the thousands of Korean whores as well as racial tension in the LA riots were all connected with Koreans, NOT Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, etc. For Koreans, especially those in the US, not even realizing there’s a problem with their culture means they’re in denial.

    I agree with you partly. There are increasing number of Korean prostitues in America. It’s probably more increasing because of the new prostitution laws in Korea. There are vocational schools for girls to convert into normal woman, learn new basic skills to get a new job but they are used to earning money & spending them too easily. We could tell that because I remember seeing a photo of these prostitutes demonstrating to revoke the law.(except actual poor women in bondage) The ideal thing would be all of those people to convert into normal person. Anyway, I remember reading about them secretly fleeing into foregin countries. What should be done really? They are probably going illegally without proper visa but how do you just ban that? It’s really hard. What do you think the best solution is?
    There are other individuals in America who caused problems, but I think most of the students’ problems are not about racism or anything. It’s the culture of stress & pressure students get from their parents. We see those results in Korea a lot, too. When I was in Korea, I lived in a city where a lot of wealthy families with very eager moms and students did committ suicide periodically. Many of them flee to to other countries (usually english speaking countreis) but there are a lot of Koreans there already and since all the parents want their kids to go to IVY leagues or at least UCs, students have to work hard. (In actuality, their stress is so extreme that many of them have to spend a lot of time calming down stress too, in an unproductive way).
    I recently read that # of Koreans increasing in US is not lower than Chinese. They are increasing really fast and large proportion of them came to US in recent 20 years. (A lot of other asian immigrants proportions are from much earlier, ex)gentleman’s agreement;Japan) Also, while a lot of early Korean immigrants were highly educated elites (president Park only allowed elites to go to America), now Korean economy had boosted up, so practically anyone who’s not poor is rich enough to go to live in other countreis as long as they have visa.

    South Korea has been really isolated from other countries ethnically. Japan got affected by Portugese from the east and China is very large and thus diverse in race itself. After the Korean war, Korea got really isolated because while Koreans were still not liberal to any nonasians (because most of the people haven’t really seen foreigners), geographically it got isolated like an island. I think this kind of culture passed down. However, I think this is about in improve through a lot of international marriages. Though A LOT of problems are being occurred for international marriages, through time, people will embrace and become in one melting pot.

    So the question is, why is he appraised in Korean media? So it is noble and honorable to be treacherous to one’s adopted country? What is disturbing is that not a few in the Korean-Am community were even defending his actions.

    That’s a really hard question to answer for me. Of course through moral view, it’s not right to betray anything. That’s purely bad. However, I think spies are necessary depending on the situation. Spies just do exist in every country especially during war (many of them do own citizenship, etc). Robert Kim’s a bit different because we weren’t really in war with US at that time. He is a definitely condemnable person in US, he betrayed his country for his previous country. However, in Korea’s view, we can’t really condemn him publicly. I think we just shouldn’t have mentioned him publicly. My writings don’t really make sense I guess because I don’t really have a distinct opinion about this issue. What do you think Korean government should have done instead? How is Rosenburgs depicted in Russia? What happened to Jonathan Pollard, MIchael Walker in Israel?
    During 1960s or 1950s (I don’t remember), a north Korean air force general just flew down to South Korea with his airplane with some secret information about NK and received a lot of wealth from president Park. What do you think about that?

    Yeah, but what they DO teach is hatred of Japan from the elementary school level

    Yeah this is the problem I never really cared about when I grew up. I think I had some anti-America and anti-Japan sentiments in myself, too. Since all the generations have the sentiment, it will be really hard to fix. I think the textbook doesn’t teach anything about too severe stuff. I think it’s more of the problem of teachers who interpret it. This is another problem in Korea, where teachers spend teaching about “sentiments” (there are not even related to the tests of anything) instead “facts” because they have nothing to teach for their students learn everything in “hakwons” (private academies) prehand. Also that’s the same tactic many politicians use with two main disputes between Korea and Japan. So actually, these problems are all tangled up.

  37. kjeff Says:

    HanComplex,

    But what’s more unsettling is that you don’t hear Koreans condemning this kind of thing. Must be a perfectly normal thing for them to hate. Right, Brian? Koreanjeff? Other kyopos here?

    No.

    Your antithesis would be kjeff, who only reacts to posts and blindly defends anything Korean.

    Please show me an example where I did that. And please stop and think…before you post, because before, at least, I’d always thought that you were slightly better than GarlicBreath…
    First, you seriously have unhealthy obsession with Robert Kim. How is it relevant here? Oh yeah, this is your ‘explanation’:

    “Paper citizens” really is an appropriate term for these kind of kyopos. The US should really start weeding out these kind of people and restricting their entry, in the interest of national security. Since they’re so proud of being Koreans, they should be sent back to their great motherland to rot.

    Huh? Mr. Huh is an “interest” to national security because….

    So the question is, why is he appraised in Korean media? So it is noble and honorable to be treacherous to one’s adopted country?

    Is it so hard to imagine why? He’s a spy for S.K government in the interest of South Korea, duh? I admit I don’t know much about him, but a ‘spy’ between allies…that’s your man…come on…Wasn’t he eventually plead down to ‘mishandling of information’ or something? No treason there. BTW, do you know any Korean-American indicted for treason? (I hate to do this) Any Japanese-American?
    Second, Cho Seung-Hui…again what’s the connection? But I guess he is your new go-to-guy, your new IT boy…shameless really.
    Third, the prostitutes. Huh? You must’ve been one seriously ‘unhappy’ customer. Let it go…
    HanComplex, please build a better library…make some efforts…ponta comes to mind…don’t get stuck with these three…

  38. General Tiger Says:

    One-sidedness: Reading the book is like reading about Operation Black Tulip (expulsion of Germans after WW2 from the Netherlands) without reading “Anna Frank.”

    .
    This is the only problem I have with this book. Either teach the background of the book (like what they do with Anna Frank) or get a book from the other side.

  39. nigelboy Says:

    One-sidedness: Reading the book is like reading about Operation Black Tulip (expulsion of Germans after WW2 from the Netherlands) without reading “Anna Frank.”

    Why do Koreans perceive themselves equilavent to Jewish holocaust victims when it’s quite obvious to the world that Koreans were not only complicit to the efforts of IJA but also benefited socially and economically as a result of annexation? The comparison in of itself is “One-sideness”

  40. General Tiger Says:

    nigelboy:

    Why do Koreans perceive themselves equilavent to Jewish holocaust victims when it’s quite obvious to the world that Koreans were not only complicit to the efforts of IJA but also benefited socially and economically as a result of annexation? The comparison in of itself is “One-sideness”

    1. I was using an anology: I don’t know a famous autobiography that tells the atrocities the Nazi did written by a non-Jewish writer.
    2. Benefited? Just like how Africa, India, Indochina “benefited” from being colonies? Not to mention the fact that everything was blown apart during the Korean War by US bombing.
    .
    Seems like what’s “obvious” to you isn’t so obvious to others.

  41. nigelboy Says:

    1. I was using an anology: I don’t know a famous autobiography that tells the atrocities the Nazi did written by a non-Jewish writer

    Again, what does Nazi’s have to do with the Koreans? By bringing the subject of holocaust on to this discussion in of itself is absurd.

    As jion eluded to, post war Koreans not only played the victim card, they try to side with the victors as evidenced by their governments insistence to join the side of the Allieds during the negotiation of the SF Peace Treaty. That kind of sums up the mentality of Koreans during that time, doesn’t it?

    2. Benefited? Just like how Africa, India, Indochina “benefited” from being colonies? Not to mention the fact that everything was blown apart during the Korean War by US bombing.

    4% per annum increase in GDP, increase in life expectancy, infrastructure for commerce, and transformation from rural poor farm economics to industrial economics. I would certainly put that in a “befit” column.

  42. ponta Says:

    I think Korean favorite analogy of Korean with with Koreans are off the mark and misleading.
    6 Millions of Jewish were killed because they were Jewish.
    Korean population almost doubled under Japanese rule.
    It is true some communists and anarchists, Koreans and Japanese were subject to be arrested and tourtured but the target was not Koreans themselves.
    And for the most of POW who suffered under Japanese
    regime, Koreans were clearly oppressor rather than oppressed.

    One had succumbed to a particularly severe bashing by Korean guards, ‘some of the cruellest men in the world’, who had taken over. Some relief was found with a new commandant, Sergeant Junze Higaki who spoke good English and was a Christian. He ordered the prisoners to move to another locationlink

    When the Filipinos discovered that I was marrying a Korean, a couple of times they recoiled in horror, asking why would I want to do that? I soon learned that the Korean jailers were infamous for their sadistic treatment of Filipinos during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. And at least as late as the mid 1970’s, that horrible image of Koreans remained with many Filipinos. As much as they detested the Japanese, many Filipinos hated the Koreans even more for their sadism and unnecessary crueltya comment on Marmot

    As for the legacy of Japanese colonalism:

    Q Isn’t it true that 80 to 90 percent of what the Japanese built was destroyed during the Korean War?
    A ・・・the bombing in South Korea and the destruction of facilities was much, much less than North Korea. Your argument works perfectly for North Korea, which was cleaned like a slate by American bombing. But nonetheless, any engineer will tell you that if you have a rail bed that has been bombed, it’s much easier to repair it than to build it from scratch, and all through the bombing that went on for three years in the North, the North Koreans kept the railways running.

    If the Japanese left nothing, why is the colonial central government building only being torn down now, in the 1990s? Why is the Blue House, which the Japanese governor-general and successive South Korean presidents used for their presidential mansion, only being torn down now? Why is the Seoul railway station still standing? Why are all these colonial buildings there?

    Q whatever might have been built by the Japanese, there were lots of Koreans who were running them, who knew all the nuts and bolts. And I think that the Japanese did that for them, they trained a number of Koreans to run the railroads.
    A ・・・it isn’t just the railways, it’s lots of other places. Koreans are a talented people, and in the context of a fifty-year imperial experience, lots of them saw the virtue of going to Japan to get an education. Much of the postwar South Korean elite got an education like that

    Bruce Cumings

  43. chase Says:

    No I wouldn’t put Korea & Japan in the category of Nazi because WW2 Holocaust wasn’t abou imperialism, that was hate genocide.
    But I would put it in the same category as India &British.
    but Japan’s primary purpose to annex Korea wasn’t just to spread technology, it was more about expansionism. It did cause oppression from a foreign force to a native force that rather had not existed. (It’s not exclusively “Japan”‘s fault(?). Colonial rule always bring indispensable elements for any cases. ) There are a lot of oppression stories that Japanese did to Koreans during colonial rule. Some of them are probably exaggerated and some are falsehood, but it’s not really strange because other imperialistic countries(I’m not talking about Nazi) did that to their colonies and occupied regions, too.
    Korea’s economy probably might not have grown as now without Japan’s colonial rule. However, positive effects doesn’t just justify annexation though. Each nation(group of people with same culture/language) prefer to have quarrel among themselves than be in control under a foreign force. Of course there are always individuals having different ideas. However, Japan has apologized about this and gave money several times already and it’s already past, so Korea should have neutral view on the history and think about the benefit, too. I think so whenever Korean people ask for apology or anything like that, Japanese should just say we’ve already apologized several times and let’s just be friends now. I know this tactic doesn’t really work well but I think that’s the best to calm down.

  44. ponta Says:

    Chase
    For the most part I agree with you.
    Japanese annexation should be compared with India by
    British.

    [T]he best colonial master of all time has been Japan, for no ex-colonies have done so well as (South) Korea and Taiwan, where annual growth rates per head from 1950 to 1973 exceeded those of the advanced industrial nations・・・This achievement reflects in my opinion the culture of these societies:the structure, work values, sense of purpose.・・・・These values were already there under Japanese rule, partly in reaction to it, and showed in the response to profit opportunities whenever the alien master gave the native some working room. But the post colonial success also testifies the colonial legacy: the economic rationality of the Japanese Administration, which undertook in the colonies “the superbly successful modernization effort which Japan itself had undertaken.(David S. Landes page 437 wealth and poverty of nations)

    Sure Japan was mostly responsible for the colonization. But I am not sure if is it exclusively Japan’s fault.

    Before we pitched the net, a fish jumped into the net,” said Midori Komatsu, who was the foreign affairs director at the Office of the Japanese Resident General in Korea, recollecting the eve of the Japanese annexation of Korea in August 1910.
    let us find out who chased the fish – annexation – into the net. Choson, or Korea, suggested annexation to Japan first.(2001.08.30joong ang daily)

    As for the apology, Japan apologized again and again.

    BTW which other colonizers apologized to the former colonies?

    What justifies Koreans to demand further apology?

    Note it is rather Korean people born after the liberation who demand apologies endlessly.

    “It’s not that I have positive feelings about Japan but I was very curious. This is the first big event since the ban on Japanese culture was lifted. I think we should know more about each other – only then will relations improve.”

    link
    Keep in mind that most of Korean Americans who were interviewed responded “nothing much happened” asked how the living under Japanese rule was.
    I don’t think production and reproduction of the hatred among young ethnic Korean brethren are productive.

  45. Brian Says:

    I don’t understand why the aggressors like the Japanese have any right to talk about victimization under the Koreans. If you torture somebody and than suddenly the tables are turned, would it not make sense for that person to torture you back? Is this not human nature? It is the person who tortures ‘first’ who deserves blame. Japanese who are now turning around and pointing fingers at Koreans are not only hypocrites, but they are also ignorant to the fact that it was Japan’s fault to begin with.

  46. HanComplex Says:

    chase,
    As far as the problem with Korean prostitutes coming to the US, I believe the US government needs to be more stringent with immigration rules. Actually, the US Consul General is very much aware of the issue and already hinted at its effect on the visa waiver for Koreans.

    The U.S. Consul General to Seoul says Korean prostitutes who stay illegally in the U.S. are a major psychological barrier to a visa waiver for Korean visitors there.

    Michael Kirby told reporters Thursday it does not help Korea’s efforts for a visa waiver if Korean women are uncovered every time there is a prostitution bust in the U.S. Kirby said apart from decreasing the percentage of visa refusals, Korea must also cooperate in a system of joint law enforcement and ensure that Americans have a good impression of Koreans.

    It was the first time a U.S. Embassy official has tied Korean prostitutes to the visa waiver. This suggests Korea must deal with the problem even if it does manage to bring down its visa rejection rate to the required level of 3 percent.
    http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200606/200606080030.html

    The Metropolitician wrote a post in the aftermath of the VTech tragedy regarding the difficulty of adjustment of Korean male students into American life compared with other foreign students. I think it’s a microcosm of the cultural problems and issues Koreans in general have in adapting to an environment outside their culture.

    A group of American university administrators whom Fulbright hosted nearly 10 years ago, when being a tour of Korean universities, asked the staff, “Why is it that out of all our international students, Korean males have so much trouble?”

    To my surprise, all of the university officials cited incident after incident of Korean male graduate students who seemed to have trouble adjusting, often got into fights with other students in the living spaces, and were often the source of trouble in dealing with romantic relationships gone bad or women in general, especially when they involved Korean females dating non-Koreans.
    http://metropolitician.blogs.com/scribblings_of_the_metrop/2007/04/the_politics_of.html

    I’ve always been aware of how Korea has for ages always been isolated, not just geographically but culturally as well. This explains much of why many Koreans are, to this day, wary of outsiders or foreign thought. I think one only needs to hear from expats who have lived in Korea long enough to verify this. While many who have immigrated to foreign countries have adjusted somewhat into life overseas, many still retain the old country mentality. I think Koreans need to first identify their something is wrong with their culturally dictated mode of thinking before anything. Only after they realize that it’s a backward and counterproductive mindset will they be able to rectify the problem.
    Problem is, Koreans in general tend to be more concerned about saving face and looking good that they’re loathe to self-criticism and self-correction. Thus, even if they do see there’s a problem and call attention to it, they’re more worried about being called a traitor to their race or ‘not Korean enough.’ Really, now. This doesn’t do them any good. The only people who can do something about these issues are Koreans themselves. I and others on this site can only bring them to the surface because Koreans won’t discuss them. If they’re not discussed, how are they going to be solved?
    I have to say, though, that some 2nd Gen and later Koreans tend to be more open to change. Some are not wary of asking questions and are even speaking out. I have my hopes on them. Change won’t come overnight, but it will eventually.

  47. HanComplex Says:

    Brian,
    Despite it being human nature, you’re basically implying two wrongs make a right. Am I correct?