Duc, sequere, aut de via decede!

Email from a fan

November 30th, 2006 . by Matt

I received this email from a ‘fan’. In it he says that Occidentalism is racist on the level of a Nazi website, and that the problem with the world is people like me with sites like mine.

(note: if i sent this to the wrong address, then I am
very sorry. I am writing to an address I believe that
is the email of the starter of the site Occidentalism.
If you are not that person, don’t bother reading the
rest, just delete this message. If not, read on)

Shame on you.

I know that Korea has it’s faults. Yes, I am Korean.
But, can’t everyone just forget about rasicm? I mean,
it’s people like you who spread hate and disaster
amongest us. Its really, very, sad. Every country has
it’s faults. Right now Korea is being run by a
not-too-smart president. But Japan has it’s faults
too. And that’s no excuse to have an anti-korean site.

This is almost as bad, or as bad as the Nazi site I
stumbled upon.

And please, I know that you might post this on, and
laugh at my mistakes, and say that this e-mail is
ridiclous. But remeber to put this part on as well. I
will be checking on your site to see if you did do it.
And if you don’t post it, it doesn’t matter.

You know, it’s just people like you who spread hate.
There are people like you in America, Korea, Japan,
Australia, France, South Africa, India, everywhere. It
is not Korea’s fault, or Japan’s fault.

Please, stop this ridiculous site. It is disgusting.
This is not a hate mail. I know, this is another thing
that you will point out and laugh at. This is not hate
mail? What a hypocrite!!

No, I am writing to tell you that I believe that
racism is not the way to go.

If I did not make a difference, well, at least I
tried. If I did, I am happy to make a difference.

But whatever you do, do not ignore this message. And
lastly, I am sorry if you look at this message and
laugh me off. I truely am. Not for me, not for you,
but for how the world is completely messed up.

What a truely horrible site.

And one more thing.

I’ll bet that you post up only the most vulgar emails
from people imploring you to tear down this site. Post
this email as well, please.


I am not going to respond to this point by point. I think the readers know the difference between the reality, and what is written in that email.

Another problematic article in the Korean media

November 30th, 2006 . by Matt

Here is another article in the Korean media on Naver news (originally from Yonhap) that is distorting historical information to make it seem like Korea controlled or even knew of Dokdo/Takeshima before 1905. There are so many articles like this that it is no wonder Koreans think that they rightfully own Dokdo/Takeshima. Lets take a look.

takeshima stick

The title of the article is “Japan: Death penalty for sailing around Dokdo”. The article says –

일본이 1836년 2월에 나무로 제작해 해안 곳곳에 설치했던 경고판 사진으로 ‘도해금지령’을 어기고 독도부근 해상에서 조업하던 자국의 어민을 처형했다는 내용을 담고 있다.

Translation –

In February 1836, Japan made wooden warning signs, like the one shown in the picture, and erected them at various places along the coast. The signs said that a Japanese fisherman had been executed for violating the “order against transpassing” and fishing in the waters around “Dokdo.”

Actually, this is extremely misleading. The picture above clearly says “Takeshima”, not Dokdo. Takeshima used to be the name that the Japanese called the Korean island of Ulleungdo. In 1836 Japanese people called Ulleungdo “Takeshima”, and present day Dokdo/Takeshima they called “Matsushima”. The restriction on Japanese people sailing to Korean land was a restriction on sailing to Ulleungdo, which was inhabited by Korean people, not the present day Dokdo/Takeshima that was not mentioned nor inhabited by anyone.

Here is a very brief primer for Occidentalism readers on Dokdo/Takeshima. Japan has known about Dokdo/Takeshima for hundreds of years, and has maps hundreds of years old with Dokdo/Takeshima in its scientifically correct location with measurements for latitude and longitude. Korea on the other hand has no record of Dokdo/Takeshima at all before 1905. Not a single map, Document or mention anywhere. Not even one. Far from Korea being able to prove that they ever controlled Dokdo/Takeshima or was part of Korea, Koreans cannot even show they even knew about Dokdo/Takeshima before 1905. Japan formally claimed Dokdo/Takeshima in 1905.

One day the Dokdo myth will be exploded in Korea, and when it happens Koreans will be exposed to psychological pain from all the energy they have devoted to it. It is only a matter of time before some truth loving Koreans start noticing the inconsistencies and start speaking out against it.

Int’l kites-flying show wheld in Nantong

November 25th, 2006 . by Darin

Photo taken on Nov. 25, 2006 shows an elder and his hawk-shaped kite called “Banyao” in Nantong, a city of east China’s Jiangsu Province, Nov. 25, 2006. The international kites-flying show was held in Nantong on Saturday and attracted a great number of kite fans. The kite “Banyao” was more striking than others as it produced sounds while flying. (Xinhua Photo)


Ex-Agent to North Korea Suing Japan

November 25th, 2006 . by Darin

In the most recent North Korea in the News at DPRK Studies, Richardson links to an article on Donga called, “Ex-Agent to North Korea Suing Japan” that I just can’t figure out. I was going to ask this as a question to Richardson on his blog directly, but I decided that it would be more appropriate to give it a post because it got long, and the focus of Richardson’s post was not this article alone, but many articles.


Aoyama is a Korean resident born in Japan. After entering into North Korea in 1960 when Japan repatriated Korean Japanese, he worked as an agent in North Korea, the Kyoto Press reported.

So he worked as a spy for the Japanese government in North Korea correct?

He requested the Japanese government to pay him 3.2 billion yen (about 25.6 billion won) for handing over sensitive information relating to North Korea’s nuclear program to the Japanese foreign affairs ministry.

And now he’s suing the Japanese government because??? Did he not get paid for the intel he sent to Japan or something?

And then lastly (or firstly if you read the article in it’s original order)

“It is unfair not to recognize North Korean defectors as refugees,” and filed a suit at the Tokyo District court against the Japanese government asking for the recognition of North Korean defectors as a refugee, according to Japanese news outlets.

He throws in a complaint about the Japanese governments stance on refugees? So what is it he’s actually suing for? If it’s to make the Japanese government accept North Korean refugees, how does him pocketing 3.2 billion yen solve that problem?

A final question, the repatriation issue. Although the article made just a quick mention of it, the article makes it sound as though the government shipped out as many Koreans as possible. But in an article on Japan Focus, there is this blurb.

A massive wave of repatriation of Koreans living in Japan took place within a very short period of time. In November 1945, a government survey reported almost 1,156,000 Koreans remaining in Japan, or nearly 1,000,000 less than before Japan’s defeat, indicating that a huge repatriation had taken place within two months; in March 1946, another survey found that the number of Koreans remaining in Japan had been reduced to 647,000 (Morita 1996, p. 103). The repatriates presumed that they were returning to a Korea liberated from Japanese colonialism in the hope of making a better life.

Although the Japanese government promoted this early phase of repatriation, Koreans in Japan were its driving force. Numerous local Korean organizations were formed immediately after Japan’s surrender, and they came together in Choren (Zainippon Chosenjin Renmei, the League of Koreans Residing in Japan) in October 1945. Choren worked hard to facilitate repatriation by negotiating with the Japanese government, drawing up lists of repatriates, issuing certifications, and arranging transportation and accommodations. At this time, the border between Korea and Japan was not strictly enforced, and some Koreans went home simply by chartering small boats (Morita 1996; Wagner 1951; Morris-Suzuki 2006).

The Allied occupation officially launched a repatriation project in March 1946; by this time, however, the number of Koreans remaining in Japan who wished to repatriate had fallen sharply, as news filtered in about the desperate situation in Korea. The number of people who repatriated to Korea and then reentered Japan increased, and this was treated as “illegal” entry—even though these people held Japanese nationality/citizenship. More than 19,000 Koreans were arrested for illegal entry between April and December 1946. The repatriation project undertaken by the Allied occupation ended in 1950 in part because of the outbreak of the Korean War (1950-1953), and in part because of the decline in the number of people willing to repatriate. An official count of repatriates by the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare totaled approximately 1,015,000 (in addition, nearly 48,000 were deported for illegal reentry) between 1945 and 1950 (Morita 1996, p. 83 & p. 112).

So, many Korean people wanted to repatriate at first, and the government supported this, but before long people changed their minds and no longer desired to leave, sometimes even illegally entering the country to come back? If that’s the case, then why does this guy voluntarily moving to Korea have anything to do with his lawsuit, or is it just included in the article for a background on his personal life story?

I’m thoroughly confused; can someone make some sense of this for me, or is this whole article (and law suit) completely nonsensical?

Brave Korean gamers defend Dokdo from evil Japs

November 23rd, 2006 . by Matt

Take a look at Korean gamers crush the Japanese monsters attacking Dokdo/Takeshima.

The sad thing is that the Japanese navy has the potential to take back Dokdo/Takeshima at any time, and there would be nothing South Korea could do about it. Japan is committed to a peaceful resolution of this issue with South Korea, even though they have the naval strength to force a resolution. That should be proof to South Koreans of Japans peaceful intentions. It is sad to see the youth carrying this kind of hate in their hearts. The adults that encourage it should be ashamed.

Now Confucius is Korean

November 17th, 2006 . by Matt

It seems that Koreans are saying that now Confucius is Korean. The video below also explains that Korea is claiming Chinese characters, Chinese medicine, Chinese literature all originate in Korea. Basically what this means is that if the Korean submission to UNESCO succeeds, Chinese medicine will become Korean medicine, and so on.

Keep in mind, Koreans also say Samurai, Judo, Karate, Kendo, Sushi, Cherry blossoms, and virtually anything else distinctive of Japan (including the Japanese royalty) originate in Korea. Korea should promote their own culture overseas, not misappropriate the culture of other peoples and label it ‘Korean’.

UPDATE: According to this, Korea’s application to UNESCO is not trying to claim Chinese medicine, but have a certain medicine book originating in Korea registered as a world literary inheritance item.

사실 한국의 유네스코 유산 신청은 출간 400주년을 맞은 한의학 경전 ‘동의보감’ 한권으로, 신청한 항목도 ‘문화유산’이 아 니라 세계기록유산으로 일컬어지는 ‘기록유산’이다. 일종의 오해 가 빚어진 것이다.

Clearing up misunderstandings on my Dokdo posts

November 17th, 2006 . by Gerry-Bevers

I had not intended to comment further on my being asked not to post about “Dokdo” on the Internet, but I think a few things need to be cleared up.

First, I want to thank all of you who have written posts of support even though nothing has really happened to me. I still have my job, and no one has threatened me nor been rude to me, though I do sense that people are avoiding me and that there are fewer smiles from fellow professors in the hallways and cafeteria. However, that may just be my imagination. I hope it is. Anyway, the president of the school is one of those who still smiles.

My contract comes up for renewal in the next few weeks, but that has nothing to do with my “Dokdo” postings. It is just an annual event that has happened each year for the past six years, and now is just that time of year. Though it is possible that my postings could influence a decision on my contract, I want to give my school, especially its president, more credit than that.

Second, I was surprised when I got the urgent request to come downstairs to meet with the president of my school, but when I got to his office and found out that he wanted to talk to me about my “Dokdo” postings on the Internet, I was even more surprised and somewhat embarrassed. I was surprised because I could not understand why he would concern himself with such matters, and I was embarrassed because my postings had caused that concern. Though his face was somewhat stern and the tone of his voice serious, the president was quite polite while explaining the situation to me.

The president said that he normally supported free speech, but that the sensitivity of the “Dokdo” issue in Korea and the medium through which I was expressing myself caused him concern, especially considering the Internet situation here in Korea. He said that he had already received complaints and was worried that it could lead to problems for the university. He did not consider the Internet a worthy medium for scholarly discourse and suggested that I publish in academic journals, instead. Personally, I did not understand that request since I am not a historian and do not consider myself qualified to publish in academic journals, but I did understood his concern in regard to the Internet here in Korea. I think many of us know how vicious and immature Korean “netizens” can be. That is why I agreed to stop my postings.

Third, I think it is extremely unfair to call “Occidentalism” a hate site just because it focuses on controversial issues between Korea and Japan, issues that are often ignored or distorted in traditional media and on other sites. For example, challenging Korea’s traditional anti-Japanese claims does not make Occidentalism a hate site; it makes it a debate site. If you want to look at pictures of autumn leaves or keep track of cultural activities in Korea, go somewhere else because that is not what this site is about. In my opinion, this site is about controversy and debate, especially debate on controversial issues related to Korea and Japan. Surely people can discuss such issues without being labeled hatemongers?

There are several things I disagree with Koreans on, but that does not mean I hate Koreans. If I hated Koreans, I would not have spent the better part of my life in Korea. I like Koreans, and I feel very comfortable here. I just think it is a shame that there is so much anti-Japanese and anti-American propaganda spread in Korea since we all have similar values and basically believe in the same things.

Fourth, I want to say that The Marmot’s Hole is a great blog and that Robert Koehler seems to be a very fair and intelligent person. I sometimes get frustrated and lose my temper with people just as most people do, and I have sometimes taken out my frustration on Robert, simply because I felt he was ignoring certain issues on his blog. However, it does not take me long to realize how unfair and silly such outbursts are. Afterall, it is ridiculous to expect someone always to agree with you or share your concerns. From what I have seen, Robert has always handled such childish outbursts from posters with fairness, dignity, and diplomacy.

Fifth, this incident has taught me something that I consider to be quite disturbing, which is that the anti-Japanese and anti-American emotions in Korea are deeper than I realized and outweigh even reason and “facts.” Since the knowledge of my postings on the Internet has spread around my school, a couple of Korean professors have engaged me in conversation, seemingly hoping to change my views on the subject. I have essentially listened passively because it soon became quite apparent that they knew very few of the facts concerning “Dokdo,” which means they quickly changed the subject from Dokdo to Korean colonialism and anti-Japanese rhetoric, explaining to me in vague terms all the sufferring that Koreans experienced during that time, including the supposed forced-name change. Then they drifted off into describing, again in vague terms, some of the evil things that the US has done in Korea. For example, I have been reminded that the United States did not save South Korea during the Korean War out of the goodness of her heart, but for her own selfish reasons. One female professor on Thursday even ended her lecture on Dokdo by talking about Iraq.

After listening passively to one particularly long lecture, I said, “Well, the historical facts surrounding Dokdo are not really related to the colonial period or to the US military presence in Korea.” The professor responded that I needed to look at Koreans’ emotions on Dokdo, not the facts, because “facts are too cold.” If even Korean professors put their emotions ahead of facts and reason, will any of the problems between Korea and Japan ever be solved?

Korea has great potential, but Korean nationalism is killing Korea and wasting valuable resources. Korea needs a Martin Luther King who is courageous enough to stand up to the nationalists, tell the dirty truth about Korea’s colonial and post-colonial history, and start Korea on the path to greatness. Where is Korea’s Martin Luther King?


Vicky from OC Weekly answers critics

November 16th, 2006 . by Matt

The guy on the bottom right is holding “making out in Korean”

Vicky has answered the critics, including Occidentalism, of her article on ‘Asiaphilia’.

Two weeks have passed since the publication of “Yellow Fever,” my story about smarmy men who date only those of Asian descent because they think we’d fulfill some kind of sexual fantasy involving bound feet, tea service and geishas.

Not every guy who dates Asians is like that. And no, I was not denouncing interracial dating or making sweeping generalizations about men who date only women of certain ethnicities.

Just. The. Creeps. Their fetish is my life.

Vicky rightly takes me to task for my erroneous speculation that she is a Korean American (by the way, empraptor 1, Matt 0).

My favorite appears on Occidentalism.org, where “Matt” provides an almost line-by-line analysis of the story. He begins by observing that I must be a Korean American because of my “stereotypical transplanted-to-America Korean girls’ first name (Vicky—how many Korean girls have you met using that name in English?) and the family name Chang, which is a fairly standard Korean family name. She also talks about booking clubs, and the customers of those are usually Korean.”

I’m Chinese American.

At least mine was the favorite. So when is our date, Vicky? (Joking! :))

She also has a run in with the ‘fighting 44s‘ calling her a ‘cracker chasing bitch’.

Go and read her response to the critics for yourself.

Asked Not to Write About Dokdo on the Net

November 15th, 2006 . by Gerry-Bevers

I had planned to write two more pieces for my series on Dokdo/Takeshima, but the president of the university I work for in Incheon has asked me not to post anymore about “Dokdo” on the Internet. He told me that it was a sensitive issue in Korea and that he had been contacted by individuals complaining of my postings on the subject. He said that he was worried about the school’s reputation.

The president suggested that if I have strong opinions on the subject, I should write about it in an academic paper or hold a seminar rather than broadcasting it over the Internet. I agreed to do that even though I do not think anyone would take a non-historian seriously. Therefore, I will not be posting anymore about “Dokdo” on this site. People who would like to continue to exchange information on the subject can still contact me through my email address.

I would like to thank all the people on this blog who have given me links and information on Dokdo/Takeshima and who have translated Japanese maps and documents for me. I will keep my eyes and ears open and will continue to gather information on the debate, so if anyone has any interesting information or links, please let me know through email. Maybe someday I will manage to produce a paper or book on the subject. Who knows?

Gerry Bevers
[email protected]

Korean war criminals cleared of war crimes

November 12th, 2006 . by Matt

Robert from the Marmot’s Hole has reported that Korean war criminals serving in the Imperial Army during WWII have been ‘cleared’ of war crimes by a government commission in Korea.

A Korean government commission cleared 83 of 148 Koreans convicted by the Allies of war crimes during World War II.

The commission ruled that the Koreans, who were categorized as Class B and Class C war criminals, were in fact victims of Japanese imperialism.

Of the 148 Koreans convicted of war crimes, some 23 would eventually be executed.

Excluded from redemption were high-ranking officers and MPs suspected of voluntarily collaborating with the Japanese; Some 86 names were looked at overall; a judgment on the other three will follow investigations by local government bodies.

The commission ruled—now get this—that the Korean war criminals, who “unavoidably” became POW camp guards to avoid the Japanese draft (read: they volunteered as POW guards to avoid fighting at the front), were saddled by the Japanese with responsibility for the abuse of Allied POWs, and hence had to suffer the “double pain” of forced mobilization AND becoming a war criminal.

It gets better—the head of the commission said analysis of military prosecutor records, recently obtained from British state archives, on 15 Korean POW camp guards “confirmed” that they were convicted of war crimes “without clear evidence.”

See, the Japanese rightists are correct—the Tokyo Trials were unfair!

This seems like an attempt to frame Korean participation in the war effort as one that was purely forced. Even using the word ‘collaborator’ does not seem right, as the majority of those Koreans involved in the war effort would not have known any other government but the government of the The Empire of Great Japan. It is silly to call these kinds of people collaborators, especially since there were no other sides to take (unlike the violent resistance in Israel by the Arabs, for example).

Japan had to accept the verdict of the Tokyo trials as a condition of independence from the occupation authorities. It is interesting that Korea is undermining the credibility of the trials by suggesting that not all of the verdicts were just.

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