Occidentalism
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Gerry Bevers writes about Dokdo/Takeshima

May 10th, 2006 . by Matt

Frequent commenter and blogger Gerry Bevers has started a series of articles about the history of Takeshima/Dokdo. As is usual in any discussion about this subject, there has been an explosive amount of comments on his blog and fierce debate. Gerry says this series will be ongoing, so by all means, check it out!

Here is the first article and the second article. Lets hope for many more from Gerry.


Ryuichi Sakamoto

May 3rd, 2006 . by Matt

ryuichi sakamoto

Ryuichi Sakamoto is a well known musician in Japan, and is extremely well liked. In the west he is probably best known for his musical score in The Last Emperor. In Japan his musical career is much more varied, and is considered to be a genius. People in Japan call him by an affectionate nickname, ‘professor’ (教授). I dont think I have ever heard a Japanese person say a bad thing about him.

Here is a song by Ryuichi Sakamoto, in collaboration with Korean rapper MC Sniper and Wei Wei Wu, the famous player of the Niko (the Chinese violin). The song is sung in Korean by MC Sniper, and the lyrics constitute a criticism about the war on terror. It is a kind of unearthly sound, an blend between traditional and modern.

Here is a video clip of the song from an appearance on a Japanese TV show, and the name of the song is ‘Undercooled’. Download it here (60 mb).

Enjoy.


Foreign Dispatches on South Korean diplomacy

May 2nd, 2006 . by Matt

Abiola Lapite of Foreign Dispatches gives a spot on analysis of why South Korea’s way of diplomacy is all wrong. Here is a taster –

A sane South Korean foreign policy would go out of its way to mend relations with an America which has rightly grown wary of the value of its alliance with a country wishing to play a “balancer” between the United States and other powers; it would appreciate that scaring the Japanese into viewing Korea as a threat to their safety is unwise, and strive instead for the sort of close relations which now exist between one-time enemies like Britain and America or France and Germany; it would do away with the grandiose delusion that a nation of less than 50 million people is in any position to play a “great power” role in Asia and cease inculcating such dangerous nationalistic fantasies in its children; it would grasp that endlessly pandering* to North Korea does nothing to push the latter country to take on the kinds of reforms which would delay the ruinously costly reunification few South Koreans truly seem to want: in short, a sane South Korean foreign policy would be the opposite of the current one in virtually every imaginable way.

Go and read this insightful post for yourself (in fact, the entire blog is excellent).


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