Occidentalism
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Banned at ‘Yellow World’

September 24th, 2006 . by Matt

I was debating some Asian Americans over at a site called ‘Yellow World’, a site that seems to be mostly dominated by Korean Americans, as far as I can see, with Chinese Americans coming second. As usual, I was polite but firm in the debate. I was doing quite well, presenting evidence and making convincing arguments. However, a moment ago I tried to log in and got this message.

Yellow World

The funny thing is that I was the only person there that was behaving with good forum manners. All the others there were attacking me in a personal sense, and seemed to have an unhealthy interest in the idea that I might be having sex with ‘their’ women.

I am not going to go into this too much or waste too much words on these people but I will say this. The posters and the moderators there are childish, unintellectual and cannot handle themselves in a real debate. When they are losing the debate they give in to a totalitarian impulse to try to punish the messenger by banning him. Yellow World is representative of the sorry state of Asian American forums. Jodi from The Asia Pages had a run in with another Asian American forum that bans people that are able to beat them in debate.

Anyway, enough of wasting words on them. Go and check it out for yourself. I was posting there under my pseudonym, ‘shakuhachi’.


62 Responses to “Banned at ‘Yellow World’”

  1. comment number 1 by: ponta

    WJK

    Ponta, I think you are pretty much spitting out what Japanese schools are teaching Japanese school children about why they went to Korea and China.

    What did I say about why Japan went to Korea and China?
    I have no illusion about it.
    Can yoiu quote what I am spitting out what Japanese schools are teaching?

  2. comment number 2 by: pacifist

    WJK,

    Your opinion “Japan came to Korea to use it as a convenient, strategic continental land base to conquer China” is a typical Korean lie which is taught in Korean schools.

    You should not mix up all the things Japan had done from the 19th century until 1945. I don’t justify what Japanese military force did in Korea and China in the 1940’s but it is different from what Japan wanted and what she actually did in Korea in the 1880’s.

  3. comment number 3 by: ponta

    Okay I understand what you mean, wjk. You don’t like the fact that Japan modernized Korea? right?
    As you said, Japan did not come to Korea out of compassion, Korea was (and still is) a buffer state. And you have not read Japanese history textbooks? No history textbook say Japan came to Korea out of compassion.
    And yet the fact remains that Japan modernized Korea. And note that most of western specialists in Korea admits it.

    It is only Koreans who do not want to endorse it because of their unique pride.
    I’ll quote Bruce Comings again.

    Still, note the indexes that the American Hamilton chooses to highlight: electricity, telephones, trolleys, schools, consumption of American exports, and cleanliness. If we find that Japan brought similar facilities to Seoul and Taipei, do we place them on the ledger of colonialism or modernization? The Korean answer is colonialism; the Japanese and Taiwanese answer is modernization.

    Another scholar says.

    [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. page 437 Wealth and poverty of nations/David S. Landes

    It is only some Korean scholars and the readers of wiki Korean related articles vandalized by ethnic Korean who believe otherwise.

    Many Koreans are hard to understand.

    They want to believe Korea benefited Japan, which is true, but they don’t want to believe Japan benefited Korea.
    They want to believe other nations committed crimes, but they don’t want to believe its own nation committed crimes.

    Do they want to be in a position of superiority or are they saying it out of inferior complex? In any case, I think they need another perspective for further development.

  4. comment number 4 by: tomato

    Ponta, I think you are pretty much spitting out what Japanese schools are teaching Japanese school children about why they went to Korea and China.

    That is propaganda, too. Japanese propaganda. If there is Korean propaganda, there is also Japanese propaganda.

    Just because Korea spills b*llshit allover, doesn’t mean that Japan is doing the same, too. Get rid of your paranoid ideas and stop making silly arguments.

    Occidentalism.org also attracts a lot of Japanese speakers, who can’t quite write in English, but are able to read. That’s why they keep posting in Japanese. It’s probably heaven for them. Not a bad word about Japan to be seen anywhere.

    It must be hell for you to know what the truth is.

    Think what you like, but it’s not right.

    Well, you’re dead wrong!

  5. comment number 5 by: lirelou

    At the risk of being castigated by everyone, my two cents. My readings on Japan and Korea have convinced me that at the end of the 19th Century there were many Koreans who wished to modernize their country, as well as many who wished to retain the status quo, as well as those who wanted to retain some modified version of the status quo. Many Koreans in favor of modernization looked to Japan as the model, while others looked to the West. After 1911, many of the last group looked to KMT China as a possible model, though that government’s ability to modernize was as yet untested, and after 1917 a smaller number of these looked to Marx and Lenin. Opinions as to what Japan’s Korean policy should be differed within the imperial government, ranging from those who foresaw a modernized Chosun dynasty allied with Japan, to those who saw a semi-independent Chosun as an adjunct, to those who viewed Korea as a colony. I think that it’s safe to assume that after 1895, with the defeat of China, the Tonghaks (precursors of the Boxers?), and the murder of Queen Min, the Japanese Korea-as-colony party was on a roll. Yet its consolidation of control over Korea took place over 15 years, within a society where the average life expectancy was a little over twice that. Thus it was free from the trauma of an immediate major shift, and to the Koreans of those times, snail-paced. As it moved from interference in Korean affairs, to a protectorate, to making Korea a colony, Japan consolidataed its power and extended its reach into Manchuria. Along the way they reclamed lands from the sea, inproved Korean methods of rice production (By 1940, Japan was #1 in the world in the amount of rice grown per hectare, Korea was #2, and French Indochina was #5), and assisted in the foundation of Korean industries that complemented but did not compete with Japanese industry (as in the case of textile manufactures) . By the 1920s, Korea was on its way to becoming a modern nation, but Korean attitudes had likewise shifted. Some still supported the Japanese, many (I suspect a majority) wanted independence but were willing to wait until the country was better developed, and a small minority wanted independence no matter what the social and economic costs.. Improvements in health, education, and labor induced by Japanese policies and the development of a Korean capitalist class created an expanded population which in turn created more support for independence among the majority (with a minority seeing Korea as a permanent, but equal, partner of imperial Japan). This colonial house of cards was cemented with the Japanese coup of 1936, which placed the extreme imperialists in power, who in turn implemented a series of measures in Korea that alienated even the pro-Japanese. Things only got worse with the 1937 invasion of China proper and, except for a very small number of Koreans fighting with the AJUA, the KVA, and the KPG units, those within Korea were along for a ride that did not end until 1945.

    I find it difficult to condemn in 2006 any Korean who cooperated with the Japanese between 1937 and 45, unless they were dyed-in-the-wool Japanophiles whose loyalty to that country outweighed their loyalty to Korea. I can understand that many who did so were either passively biding their time, or, Gramschi like, seeking to “bore from within”. Of course, not being Korean, that is very easy for me. It should likewise be easy for “gyopos” who, after all,have opted to seek their future elsewhere. Judging the generation of 1945 is properly a matter for the generation of 1966, just as that generation would be properly judged by that of 1987. From where I sit, at the foot of Namsan tower, they all look like they’ve done an excellent job. Korea south of the DMZ is modern, vibrant, and far more democratic than any of its predecessors. Its people enjoy one of Asia’s and the world’s highest standards of living. It is not the world’s most perfect government, but then other than that paragon of perfection north of the DMZ, whose is? I don’t believe that the Japanese made modern Korea, as I note that Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong all had strong confucian traditions, but also (ouotside the Yangbang class) respected and encouraged economic enterprise and hard work. I do believe that the Japanese experience, both positive and negative, contributed to the development of modern Korea. But bulding upon that experience, and taking it to higher levels, was a task accomplished by the Koreans themselves. It is something they have every right to take pride in, and to do so they do not need to belittle either Japan or the Japanese.

    Nuff said, I’ll get off my soapbox.

  6. comment number 6 by: wjk

    au contraire, people of Occidentalism. What I state is not an illusion, but the norm. What you believe in and advocate for, is Japanese propaganda.

    Explain to me why cnn.com, writes an article that describes Koizumi’s foreign relations, without presenting a heavy disclaimer or even counter arguments to the issue, if they feel and know that what they are writing is not true.

    Koizumi. Plays well with others.

    Taiwan is different. Taiwan cooperated with Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire on Chiang Kai Shek’s level, at least once during Chiang’s power.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiang_Wei-Kuo

    There he is. Chiang’s adopted son and right hand man, in the uniform that explains things very well.

    Occidentalism, what you believe is unfortunately all that’s unfit to print.

  7. comment number 7 by: pacifist

    wjk,

    I will show you here a sample of how Japan helped Korea in modernizing the country.

    To follow is a report by a Japanese naval surgeon, Dr. Yukai Shimada on 8th June 1876.
    ———————————————————-
    I arrived at Busan on 13th May and went to Nihonkan (a kind of a consulate) next day. And on the day I met a 訓導 (a kind of teacher or doctor?) named 玄昔運, we talked about harm of smallpox and preventive method by vaccination.

    K (訓導): “How can you prevent the disease come from heaven? But we have one method in Korea. Smoke the crust of pox and sniff it”.

    I (Dr. Shimada): “It’s a very dangerous method”. (I persuaded him with all of my might not to do such things.) “We have done the smallpox vaccination for ten thousands of people in these several decades and we knew it’s quite an effective way and there are no harms. So the government of Japan would like to pass this method to your country. You doubted to resist heaven, but isn’t to sniff the crust one of such deeds? On the contrary to your method, our vaccination will not fail, our government can guarantee that. So why don’t you issue a proclamation swiftly to inform this to your people?”

    (He couldn’t say a word for a while. After a few minutes, he said the following.)

    K : “My doubts have been dispelled. But before the proclamation, I have to make one of my children receive the vaccination first (to show people how safe it is)”.

    I :”Then I will tell your people myself, how do you think?”

    K : “That will be fine”.

    Then we went to a village down the slope on next day 15th and explained this with a “togus” (a Korean who can understand Japanese language) as an interpreter, but ignorant people didn’t hear, they only doubted our explanation. So we thought that it would be necessary to show them how modern medicine works. We found a man with a harelip in the crowd and told him how to treat his harelip. The man was astonished and said the following:

    The harelip man: My disorder was formed in my mother’s belly and they say that it was a punishment for sins I committed in a former life and there is no way to cure it. I wonder these punishments may present in your country too…”

    I : “Yes, they are. But we will cure it completely with superior thing to such punishments – modern medicine. Don’t you want to cure it completely?”

    The harelip man: “If there is a way to cure it, I want you to cure it. It’s a pity that I am already 26 but I can’t have a wife because I am a punished man”.

    I : “I understand. Come tomorrow to Nihonkan, I will make you a complete man”.

    And then I told the crowd,

    I : “You must see this man. After we treated him, you won’t have any doubt then”.

    The man came next day as we expected, we soon did operation and made him sleep for 2 hours and then let him go. On the next day, he came again and showed us how glad he was. He brought his younger brother and asked to give him the smallpox vaccination, so we did.
    On the following day, we removed the suture and found that the sutured parts look great with only a thin line visible.

    After this, the misunderstanding of the villager were dispelled and they eagerly want to take the vaccination. We vaccinated 16 children. Another harelip boy came to us. He was 16 years old. We treated him swiftly.
    A rumor was spread to every direction that says “God doctor” came, and lots of people who want to have treatment appeared.

    But the guard at west gate of the consulate, who had been dispatched from Chosun government, didn’t permit ordinary people to go into the consulate. After hearing this, I went to him swiftly and said to him that all the patients should be allowed to come inside. But he insisted that it was banned by their government. So I scolded him saying, “I know every thing. I saw a man was permitted to come inside after you received some money. If you still insist that it is banned I will bring this issue to your government”. He said, “Then, I will permit patients to go inside while I stand as a guard”.

    After this, patients came one after another.
    One patient was blind for over 10 years with eyes like boiled shellfish, another was suffering from leprosy for 20 years…but we couldn’t treat such people because we were fake “God doctors”.
    There are lots of eye diseases, many may loose their eyesight.
    There are lots of parasitic diseases too, maybe from eating habit of meat. I prescribed a drug for a patient and could exterminate a tapeworm of 3 meters and 60 cm length.
    There are many leprosy patients, although we don’t know the reason. And there are many malaria patients too.

     
     

  8. comment number 8 by: Gerry-Bevers

    Pacifist,

    That story about the Japanese doctor is a very interesting, and helps explain why the average life expectancy of Koreans almost doubled during the colonial period. At 26 years old, the hairlip in the story had already exceeded the average life expectancy of a Korean at the turn of the century.

    Koreans have been lied to about the colonial period for sixty years and basically only know the propaganda they have read in their textbooks, which were written to cover up the fact that Koreans were essentially loyal subjects to the Japanese. The United States allowed Koreans to distance themselves from the Japanese after World War II because the US wanted Japan and Korea to be separated.

    My mother-in-law talked to me one afternoon about her experiences during the Korean colonial period. She told me that the Japanese were very nice and polite and that she even went to Japan to study. She learned midwifery, flower arrangement, and a secret technique for removing moles without scarring and without them coming back. She said she never saw any of the bad things that Koreans say happened during the colonial period.

    I have also talked to a few old men about Korea’s colonial period, but I can only remember the conversation I had with one elderly gentleman about three years ago. I met the old man in a park here in Incheon. He said “hi” to me and waved me over to sit with him on a bench. He started a conversation in English and told me he learned to speak English from working with the US army in Daegu after liberation.

    I asked him what it was like during the Japanese colonial period, and he said it was terrible. I then told him that my mother-in-law liked the Japanese and that she didn’t see any of the bad things that Koreans say happened during that time. Then the old man smiled at me and said that he liked the Japanese, too. He then pulled out a Japanese magazine from inside his coat and told me he got it every month and came to the park to read it.

    I asked the old man if the Japanese forced Koreans to speak Japanese, and he told me that the only time they spoke Japanese was in the classroom. I asked him what happened when they spoke Korean in the classroom, and he said that the teacher would just tell them to stop. When I asked him why he said the colonial period was terrible, he told me that he just said it out of habit.

    I first came to Korea in 1977, and Koreans were afraid to talk about politics back them. If you asked them a question about President Park Chung-hee, they would automatically look around to see if anyone was listening and then would say that they did not want to talk about it for fear they would get in trouble.

    Likewise, after liberation, I think Koreans were conditioned not to say anything good about the colonial period, and probably feared being labeled a pro-Japanese traitor if they did. Today, Koreans are still calling people traitors for being pro-Japanese, but, at least, there is not the fear of being arrested. Today, if elderly Koreans are still saying that the Japanese colonial period was terrible, they may be just saying it out of habit, like the old man I met in the park. Next time, you talk with an elderly Korean, try asking him or her for some details of his or her life during that period. They may end up inadvertently telling you that life was not so bad.

  9. comment number 9 by: ponta

    lirelou
    Thanks for your insight.
    I believe the commenter on this blog is polite to those who comments politely.

    I think that it’s safe to assume that after 1895, with the defeat of China, the Tonghaks (precursors of the Boxers?), and the murder of Queen Min, the Japanese Korea-as-colony party was on a roll.

    I am nor really so sure about it. Yes in hindsight it might look that way, but Korea as it was like North Korea economically (I know a Korean historian who claim that it was like NK politically too in that people were left suffering and “squeezed”), so I guess there were a big hesitation on Japan’s side to annex it.In fact Ito Hirobumi was hesitant to do that. We can easily imagine the impact and the burden on the side of the nation unifying even if the nation is trying to squeeze out the nation unified.(BTW the assaination of Min was not plotted by the government. Miura was trying to lie about the incident to the government )

    This colonial house of cards was cemented with the Japanese coup of 1936, which placed the extreme imperialists in power, who in turn implemented a series of measures in Korea that alienated even the pro-Japanese.

    Around this time, Japan went into the dark age when people suffered.
    But I am not sure if its target was Korean in particular. I guess the target was toward people who oppose to government policy, Japanese or Koreans.

    You seems to presuppose the majority of Koreans was against Japan., (correct me if I am wrong) but my hypothesis is that majority of Koreans did not care about the independence.
    To be sure, in 1919,there was a big movement toward the independence but after that Japan change its policy to so-called cultural policy. The leaders of the movement turned to be pro-Japanese.

    In the review of the book called “Under the Black Umbrella”, which is a collection of the interviews with Korean people , Mark Caaprio says,

    the majority of the people residing on the Korean peninsula during the Japanese occupation would identify with the response that Kang commonly heard when she asked her informants to talk about their experiences: “nothing much happened to me.”link

    I think average people do not care nation’s independence as long as the life goes on so so. Japan is not completely independent of USA, and some Americans still call Japanese Japs, but i can live with that and do not go so much as to demand to end the alliance with USA:though, extreme rightist and extreme leftist insist on it.

    In another interview on Japanese TV, an old Korean man who lived during the colonization, said.

    Li : I never imagined that Japan would be defeated. I was so staggered that I couldn’t think of what would happen next. Never did I think that Japan would lose. (He is speaking Japanese.

    link
    I think this old man wanted to succeed under Japanese regime.

    Here is another young Korean man in the newspaper article around the end of the war.

    The purpose of our travel to the mainland is entirely different from school trips. One purpose is to worship at the Ise shrine and to worship the imperial palace from a distance. Another purpose is to present ourselves to the people of the in-land and achieve an ever stronger unity between the in-land and Korea. …. We prayed for the hallowed divine nation Japan and for its continuing prosperity, and ever more firmly confirmed our desire to repay even a ten-thousandth of the sacred debt of the Emperor’s benevolent gaze that is equally bestowed upon us [isshi dojin]. We worship the east every morning at our training center and each time recite our oath as members of the Imperial nation [kokoku kokumin] as though we stood before the Emperor; in doing so, we strengthened our conviction as subjects [shinmin]. When we respectfully worshiped before the Nijūbashi Bridge, we could only weep tears of gratitude

    Now these men might be exceptional, but as you might know,

    For Korean historians, the colonial period is both too painful and too saturated with resistance mythologies that cannot find verification in any archive. North Korea has concocted whole tapestries of events that exist only in the hagiography of Kim Il Sung..In the South one particular decade—that between 1935 and 1945—is an empty cupboard:millions of people used and abused by the Japanese cannot get records on what they know to have happened to them ,and thousands of Korean who worked with the Japanese have simply erased that history as if it had never happened. Even lists of officials in local genealogical repositories (country histories, for example) go blank on this period(.page 139/Korea’s Place in the Sun by Bruce Cumings)

    In fact in 1943, when Tojou was a prime minister, more than 300000 young Korean men voluntarily applied for the Japanese army. Among the soldiers, 242341 people were from the peninsula, and 2182 people were killed or unknown. 148 Koreans were sentenced as war criminals.link
    There were more supporter of Japan in Korea than Koreans at present imagine.

    “I’ve overcome my hard feelings towards Japan. It’s often the younger people who are more hostile. They’ve been fed only the worst stories about the colonial period but they don’t know the reality the way we do.”

    BBC

    As this man said, it is younger generation after the war that made up myth of anti-Japan-ism.
    朴贊雄, the Korean former professor 仁荷 university confirmsit,
    saying that anti-Japan-ism was created after WWⅡ
    崔 基鎬, a Korean old historian, complains that young historian do not believe what he said about Japanese colonization, because they see it through the leftist ideology.(he lived during the colonization).
    李栄薫, a professor at Seoul University says that Korean collective memory about Japanese colonization is in many case a myth.

    I am not saying the colonization was all good for Korean people.
    It was wrong, and as our Prime Ministers and the Emperor said again and again that Japan brought a great suffering to the people of the peninsula.
    However, Korean people keep receiving the wrong message from school and society, and based on that, they keep blaming Japan for eternity.
    I want this to be stopped.
    It is in this context that the statement that Japan modernized Korea should be understood. I want them to move on for the future, looking at more persuasive picture of the past.

    Korea modernized during colonization. I think everyone agree.

    Who planned the reform? Japan
    Well that might be not exact,

    Examination of the debates can reveal the way and the extent to which business groups (both in Korea and Japan), Korean journalism, Korean moderate nationalists, some progressive social organizations like Sin’ganhoe, and workers’ labor unions played roles in shaping labor policy making process in colonial society. This examination can also reveal the complexity of Japanese colonial rule in Korealink

    So contrary to Korean image about the colonization, Koreans were not just forced to work on Japanese policy but they played an important role.

    Who paid for it ?

    Rather than being able to use colonial administration for profit to the Japanese government, the cost of colonial administration was paid by the Japanese taxpayer, in the form of a general subsidy to help run the colony and military outlays.
    ‘The Economics of Japanese Imperialism in Korea, 1910-1939’

    who worked for it? Koreans and Japanese.
    Overall, I think it is not unreasonable to claim, with western historians I cited in the previous comment, that Japan modernized Korea.
    But make no mistake. What I want to say is not to brag how Japan was great, Japan is after all just a little nation with scarce resource, what I want to say is Korean people should look at the both sides, and should have a balanced view, so that they might not be prey to ultra-nationalism that is rampant in Korea. Rather than emphasizing the victim aspect, maybe they can emphasize the aspect in which Japan and Korea worked together, so that we can work together in the future..

    After the war, yes ,Korea and Taiwan devolved and they worked hard for it, An nobody is claiming Japan modernized Korea and Taiwan after the war. At the same time, you can not deny , as historians says, that Japan laid the foundation, like education, work ethics etc., just as Britain laid the foundation for Hongkong. In this regard, I don’t think Confucius played an important role as you seem to suggest. It might depend on how you look at the Confucius, but in a way Yangbang was an embodiment of Confucius, but they only contributed to turning Korea to the corrupt state.
    But in any case I have no intention whatsoever that Korea should be grateful, but my intetion is Korea should view the both side.

    find it difficult to condemn in 2006 any Korean who cooperated with the Japanese between 1937 and 45

    I agree with you completely in this regard.
    Thanks

  10. comment number 10 by: pacifist

    Gerry,

    Thanks for your story.

    I wanted young Korean people to know that Japan helped your country without the maicious will to invade, especially in the Meiji era (before the military force increased its power inside Japan), they had good will, they wanted to do something helpful to neighboring friends because they knew that they (Japanese) themselves had just finished the revolutional movement (Meiji Restoration) after knowing western technology.

    Japan helped Korea

  11. comment number 11 by: pacifist

    (continued from the posting above:)

    Japan helped Korea not intending to invade her in decades later. Japan made schools and laid the railroad track all over the country without the intention to invade her, it was the military force who used them later.

    BTW, ponta, it was a great posting. Thanks a lot.

  12. comment number 12 by: ponta

    BTW, ponta, it was a great posting. Thanks a lot.

    Thaks Pacifist.
    Let’s keep giving Korean people more persuasive perspective, and let’s give them imformation that is banned by Korean government, as you are doing.