Occidentalism
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Koreans crack down hard on cultural exchange

September 12th, 2005 . by Matt

pick up
An Indian man meets a Korean girl on the street. They exchange phone numbers for friendship (real pic in Sydney, less than 2 weeks old)

What with the ‘outrageous anti foreigner article‘, and the ‘Anti Foreigner feeling in Korea‘, one would think the anti foreignerism of Koreans couldnt get any worse. Well, it cant, until you experience it first hand (as I have many, many times before). Here I will relate the most recent happening.

I have recently been trying to get back into the Korean language. But what with my time limitations, and the fact that my problem these days is conversation, not writing , I wanted to find a language exchange in Sydney, Australia, where I live. Writing Occidentalism, I owe it to people to be as good at Korean as I can possibly be.

In the past, I have done language exchanges with Japanese students of English to our mutual benefit. I found the most popular site for Korean immigrants and Korean foreign students in Sydney. It is called hojunara. I put up a polite request looking for people to do a language exchange.

Although not 100% perfect, what I wrote is easily understandable and I will reproduce it below.

언어 익스체인지

나는 25세의 호주인 남성이고 이름은 영길입니다 (한국어 별명). 한국의 문화 나 언어에 대해서 흥미가 깊기 때문에 언어 익스체인지 해 주는 사람이 있으면 다행합니다.

나의 한국어의 자기 평가는 중급입니다. 예로서 나는 이 문장을 독력으로 썼습니다. 언어 교환을 동해서 서로의 이익은 목적입니다. 물론 한-영 익스체인지입니다.

흥미 있는 사람은 이메일로 연락해 주세요.

koreanexchange@gmail.com

The result of my request was a absolutely awful torrent of abuse from Korean men.

Here is one –

Re..너누군지안다

한국여자가 그렇게 좋으냐?
언어 익스체인지는 뭔 익스체인지냐!죽을라구…
고만 따 먹어라~!그래도 이거보고 연락하는년 분명히 있을거야!

My translation:
You like Korean girls that much? Language exchange, what fucking exchange! Wanna die?
Go fucking eat all the pussy! Some stupid bitches will still send you mail even after reading this!

Here is a another –

Re..이거병신인가?

너 아무래도 병신같다….

그정도 한국어실력이면 배울필요업겟는데?

씨발 양키새끼주제 한국말배워서 어따써먹을라고?

한국여자 따먹는데 쓸려고???

정말 니가 국어 배우고 싶으면

병신아 한국어책 사서 공부하던지…한글학교나 다녀라

여기서 삽질할시간에 한글자 더배워라

좆사마 가튼넘아

Which is basically full of imaginitive insults, calling me a cripple, etc. There is more.

Re..그만해 다 티나니까

할일 그렇게 없어?

이젠 낚는 방법도 가지가지구나

어색한 한국말 지어낼려고 모니터앞에서 끙끙거리고 있는 니모습

생각하니 한숨이 난다.

눈시뻘것게 하루에도 10번씩 이메일 확인하면서 혹시나 하는 맘에

보낸 이멜이라도 발견할때면 온갖쾌락과 성도착증으로 자위하고 있을

니모습 생각하니 구역질이 난다고.

부모님도 너 이러시는 거 아니?

변태성욕 충족시키려면 차라리 이 사이트가서 시원하게 풀고

니 앞일 좀 걱정하렴…

http://www.hakjisa.co.kr/book_list.php?mode=view&num=435

http://www.hakjisa.co.kr/book_list.php?mode=view&num=435

This one says I am a sexual deviant.

To which I replied

Re.. 너무 하다…

당신의 미치광이 대답은 매우 웃겼습니다. 나는 여성만이라고 요구했습니까? 뿌리 깊은 열등감이 있는 것 같네요.

말해 둡니다만, 여성과 만남 목적이라면 아마 시티에 있는 바등에서 만날 수 있을 것이에요. 그러나 나는 로맨스 아니라 한국어 실력을 향상하고 싶어서 함께 공부해 주시는 사람을 찾고 있습니다.

어쨌든, 부조리적인 인종차별 편견을 버리세요. 모처럼 호주에 거주하고 있으니까 호주인과 사이좋게 지내면 당신의 이득이에요.

It says

Your lunatic reply was really funny. Where did I ask for Korean women? You really seem to have a deep rooted inferiority complex.

I will tell you this, if I was after girls then I could probably meet them in one of the bars in the city. However, I am not looking for romance but looking for someone to study together to improve my Korean ability.

In anycase, throw away your absurd racial prejudice. Here you are in Australia, and it is to your benefit to get along with Australians.

There are many more similar posts by Korean men. So far, only two Koreans have done the right thing and come to my defense (because unlike the other posters, they are not convinced that I am trying to meet Korean girls). In anycase, it seems that they are in the minority. I would like to think that these people are trolls, but I have seen too many real life examples to believe it.

How can Koreans expect foreigners to learn the Korean language when foreigners that try to (or at least, foreign men that try) are greeted with this kind of abuse? I have spoken with Koreans before about this kind of thing, but most of them dont even believe that this kind of thing happens.

It does happen. It happens among the people you expect to be the most liberal about these issues, the Korean foreign students living in your country. If there is one thing you dont expect, it is to be a victim of prejudice in your own country.

The larger issue here is, of course, inter-racial dating, and the opposition of a great many Korean men to it. I wonder what kind of attention my notice would have garnered had I put up a notice that I was ‘looking for a Korean girlfriend’? Probably much the same, only worse.

I used to have a Korean girlfriend in the past. I know for a fact that Korean girls that date foreign men suffer tremendous pressure to break up with their foreign boyfriends from the Korean community. Even though she was crying about it, she still didnt break up with me, and I really respect her for that. I think we need to respect Korean women that are brave enough to date non Korean men.

Still, I hope that the day comes when people dont have to worry about this kind of prejudice.

UPDATE: As of 15/09/05, I have 3 mails apologizing for the rude behavior of the respondents on hojunara. 2 are from Korean guys and one from a Korean girl. One of the Korean guys expressed interest in a language exchange.


165 Responses to “Koreans crack down hard on cultural exchange”

  1. comment number 1 by: Matt

    Hey, lol, look who’s here again. You know what? I wasn’t attacking any Korean here. You ban me just because of one post? If you banned me you should ban the supposedly correct people who are not. Who is disgrace is this Nou who instead of defending me or be silent even if I was doing something wrong didn’t think twice to say to ban me, dishonoring the country thus giving others chance to speak bad of us. But this time won’t be necessary to ban me. I won’t disrupt anymore if you think I was doing so.

    Of course you were disruptive. You dont even understand what people are writing, then you attack them! Katz, you make Koreans look bad, dont you see that?

  2. comment number 2 by: ponta

    Katz
    Welcome back, but don’t use four words anymore.
    Some poelple don’t like them and they do not benift anybody.
    And you might want to be more thoughtful.
    Your country is not defamed because it has defects:every counry has defects.
    Your country is defamed if you react emotionaly and keep using those dirty words.
    If you think someone is wrong, then just point our why.

  3. comment number 3 by: ponta

    Matress
    Your English is no pbolem, I am as bad as you in English, but it seems that everyone understand me.
    Japanese people were angry at the what some of Japanese had done to Korean at Kanto earthquake.
    Here is what your freinds in Japan.(Korean organizaion in Japan) say about the incident.
    http://mindan.org/shinbun/news_bk_view.php?page=1&subpage=59&corner=8
    I am also really ashamed that this happened

    Yor post gave me quite a shock.
    I don’t want to believe you are a typical Korean.
    You post shows you are・・・・・・・ very immature
    Learn how to organize your thought.
    Reread what Two-Cents has to say.
    If you have an objection, be specific. Many link s do not help you look smart.

    .
    And realize what you are doing.

    Matt: I had this experience with Korean, I don’t think this Korean attitude is right.
    coreano84: Yes, we have a problem on this point.We should do better.
    Mattress:.Shut up! Japanese, Japanese did this terrible things to Korea in the past, Look at this! How can you say that to us.
    Audience:?????
    Matt: Excuse me, I am a white man.
    coreano84: Listen, I am Korean.
    Mattress: Oh, I am sorry, I make thousand apologies.I though you guys are Japanese.but anyway I hate Japanese!
    Audience:???????

    I am willing to see Matt and Two Cents refuted.They looks tough.They know well. I have little knowledge about Japan-Korean relations, I am inclined to believe them if you have no sound arguments againt them.and it is always fun to see the real debate.But be reasonable and specific and organize your arguments before you shout loud and express your anti-Japanese sentiments. Thank you.

  4. comment number 4 by: Two Cents

    本当に何度も長いコメントばっかり書いて申し訳ありません。トロールの矢面にマットさんだけを立たせてしまっています。ご迷惑ならば、私のメール宛にて注意してくださいませ。今後の書き込みを控えますから。おそらくマットレスはNAVERなどで、日本人の玩具にされるような存在なのでしょう。直接、彼(彼女かな?)に返事するのも疲れるし時間も無いので、間接的に相手にしようと思います。だって、私がどんな反論をしようともこの人の意見が変わること無いですから。でもせっかく慰安婦問題を持ち上げてくれたので、この機会に反証を少し提示をさせて頂きます。ちなみに、マット様のお立場、「教韓」でいかがでしょう?教官と掛けて。少し偉そうな感じがしてしまいますけど。

    http://www.exordio.com/1939-1945/codex/Documentos/report-49-USA-orig.html
    Report No. 49: Japanese Prisoners of War Interrogation on Prostitution.
    UNITED STATES OFFICE OF WAR INFORMATION
    Psychological Warfare Team Attached to U.S. Army Forces
    India-Burma Theater APO 689

    “A “comfort girl” is nothing more than a prostitute or “professional camp follower” attached to the Japanese Army for the benefit of the soldiers. The word “comfort girl” is peculiar to the Japanese. Other reports show the “comfort girls” have been found wherever it was necessary for the Japanese Army to fight.”

    This indicates that the US (and the Allied Forces) knew about the comfort women and that it was a system implemented on a large scale, but found it not worth bringing up in the war tribunals. Since there were plenty of Koreans fighting with the Japanese, the fact was also no secret to the Koreans, but also was not deemed worthy of being brought up during the normalization talks in 1965. Why? Because prostitution is prevalent wherever soldiers are stationed. The Japanese Army decided to allow the operation of brothels (called comfort homes by the Army to hide the indecent nature of the business, in hindsight, the Army should have simply called it for what it was) after Nanking to prevent rape of local women. I don’t know of any other Army that bothered to transport its own women into the war zones to supply the sexual demands of its men. In most cases, locals are simply recruited or in some cases abducted. In the case of Japan, 60% were Japanese, 30% were Korean Japanese, and 10% were recruited locals. I doubt the locals willingly became prostitutes for the Japanese Army, but were forced to do so out of poverty. However, in cities where western forces had been stationed before the war, the Army found no trouble recruiting the necessary number of women, as in the case of Singapore. If you read Rabe’s account of Nanking, you will also find that even Chinese women who were former prostitutes elected to become prostitutes for the Japanese Army when the first comfort houses were established and Japanese women had yet to arrive. After the Army began to allow brothels to operate in the war zones, Japanese owners and prostitutes flocked to those regions, because business was so good. Prostitutes could expect to return their debt in half the amount of time it would take in Japan, and expect to earn some more to start a modest business back home. Koreans (who were Japanes citizens at the time) weren’t missing out on the chance either. Most former Korean comfort women appealing to Japanese courts for compensation have presented as evidence, passbooks to postal saving banks to prove that they were comfort women. Sadly, it only proved that they were no more than prostitutes, and not victims of abduction and sexual enslavement as had been initially depicted.

    As for recruitment, in the case of this report, the Japanese pimps did it. Though the report says they were recruited “On the basis of these false representations,” I would have to conclude that their parents at least would have known what they were getting their daughters into. Common sense should tell you that businesses won’t give you such advance payments (normally over \1,000 yens at the beginning of the Pacific War) for visiting the wounded in hospitals, etc – i.e. non-professional jobs that required no education or training. Near the end of the war, the advance payment inflated to nearly \5,000. A thousand yens in those days bought you a modest house, or were enough to start a small restaurant. Compare that with the 19 yens/month the privates were receiving. The annual salaries of the Army Generals were \6,000. One Korean woman who was suing the Japanese government for compensation was also suing the Japanese postal bank to return her saving of \24,000. (She lost her rights to this when both Japan and Korea agreed in the 1965 treaty to forfeit private properties in the other country and to compensate their own citizens for their losses.) She claims to have been used as a comfort woman for 2 years. She had even wired home \5,000, which she discovered to her dismay had been squandered off by her brother. When pieces of information like these spread, the Asian Women’s Fund (アジア女性基金) lost support of the Japanese public. Would you find that an understandable reaction or a serious shifting to the right of the Japanese society?

    “They lived in near-luxury in Burma in comparison to other places. This was especially true of their second year in Burma. They lived well because their food and material was not heavily rationed and they had plenty of money with which to purchase desired articles. They were able to buy cloth, shoes, cigarettes, and cosmetics to supplement the many gifts given to them by soldiers who had received “comfort bags” from home.
    While in Burma they amused themselves by participating in sports events with both officers and men, and attended picnics, entertainments, and social dinners. They had a phonograph and in the towns they were allowed to go shopping.”

    If the average situations in other comfort houses were so bad as alleged by the Koreans (though I doubt they were paradise), the report would not have commented “they lived in near-luxury in Burma in comparison to other places,” but would more likely to have said, “Surprisingly, the girls here are actually being treated humanely, unlike in the other places.”

    The battle over the comfort women issue between Japan and Korea was staged by the Asahi Shinbun, five days before PM Miyazawa’s visit to Korea in 1992 Their article claimed that new evidence had been found that proved the direct involvement of the Japanese Army in recruiting the women. It was nothing new actually. The original document showed that in remote locations, Japanese Army personnel took part in the recruitment of locals, like provide a place (usually a schoolhouse) where local men were adked to set up a comfort house at the request of the commander. The Imperial Army authorities actually tried to keep an eye out for any unlawful or overly aggressive recruitment practices by the pimps as it would damage its reputation, and issued warnings to local police in Korea to be on watch for fraudulent recruitment. Bloated way out of context, the Army authorities now were made directly responsible. The Japan Times made the worst English representation of the issue, adding to its article that hundreds of thousands of Asian women were taken into forced prostitution, while no such fact existed and no such information had been provided in the original Asahi article. With no time to prepare any counterarguments and the Korean press and the public in an uproar, Miyazawa offered apology to the comfort women during his visit. And with pressure from the Japanese sayoku media and from the public in both countries, the Japanese government began an extensive search though its archives to dig up evidence for direct involvement of army authorities. It could find none. However, Korean officials pleaded with the Japanese government to issue some sort of statement to save the names of the Korean women. This is understandable, since now that these women had been found to have “slept with the enemy (as Japan is acknowledged by the Korean society presently),” society would be harsh on them unless they could be absolved of the crime by having situation had been forced onto them. The Korean officials promised that the issue would not be made into a monetary compensation one, and stupidly, the Japanese government agreed. The resulting Kono statement said that the women had been “generally taken against their will (総じて本人達の意思に反して),” which is still the case in prostitution today. Women would not choose to prostitute if they could help it. The involvement of the government was stated as “the recruitments were mainly made by private businesses, but at times, administrative/military personnel directly took part in the recruitments.” Japan Times cut out the part “the recruitments were mainly made by private businesses, but at times” and wrote only that the “military authorities directly took part in the recruitments.” They intentionally changed personnel to authorities to make it appear like an organized act.

    It’s sad that the South Korea is joining in on the propaganda bandwagon with North Korea and China. The latter two are communist countries in the other camp, and would like nothing better than to undermine the status of Japan in international circles. I really can’t understand what South Korea is trying to achieve by attacking Japan. Maybe teach us the correct version of history? When President Roh visited Washington and started his ranting on Japan in front of Bush, Pres. Bush asked him why he though PM Koizumi might not share Roh’s views. To this, Roh replied that “Probably because he learned history using a different textbook,” and the whole room exploded in laughter. I wonder if the Koreans realize why their president was laughed at.

  5. comment number 5 by: testman

    I found intaresting article.
    I lost my words…. How strong Japanese 893 (means Mafia) is!
    Americans who argues in such a thing seriously are….

    Weatherman Claims “Japanese Mafia Behind Hurricane Katrina to make a fortune for the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima”.
    original text:
    http://www.flashnews.com/news/wfn1050908J5463.html

    Japanese media:
    http://news19.2ch.net/test/read.cgi/newsplus/1126853688/-100

  6. comment number 6 by: nou

    i have no intention to defend my conuntrymen who are saying or doing improper things. it is morally wrong and more importantly it doesn’t help them.

  7. comment number 7 by: photon

    To testman,

    Hahaha! Very “interesting NEWS” indeed…..

    Yakuza responsible for the Katrina Hurricane???
    It’s ovbious that internet is full of amazing fabricated stories told as “NEWS”.
    Thanks for a good laugh anyway.

    BTW, plesase let me say that 2ch is not a reliable source as a news as the discussion going on there is simply about everything including true/false news, facts/stories etc.
    But the link in 2ch to Sankei is a bit confusing, because I could never dream that they would treat such a ridiculous story as news….

  8. comment number 8 by: ponta

    Nou
    You are one of a few Korean who can stand to criticism in this site. .I may disagree with you on some points, but I respect you.I think if we talk in a civilized way, I believe we can get deeper understanding each other. To be fair, both sides of the parties must present arguments. Your opinion is valuable and has great influences in many ways how we perceive Korea and Korean. Keep up a good work

    On the subject of comfort woman.

    An interesting debate on the comfort women has already been done on the other blog: I think it has sufficient references.
    http://aog.2y.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=1688&st=0

    Why do Korean always bring up this issue when they thought they are criticized by Japanese?

    I want to say, stop using them politically, and stop putting a social pressure on the comfort women to reject the donation.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4749467.stm

    In my opinion, it is much more profitable if we examined it as the question of how easy the week is exploited when the social disorder is going on and how we can protect them from being exploited under such conditions.

  9. comment number 9 by: Katz

    LOL… So will you allow me or not? I had to type this in my father’s office.

  10. comment number 10 by: Matt

    LOL… So will you allow me or not? I had to type this in my father’s office.

    If you start following the rules, sure. Also, use a real email address.

  11. comment number 11 by: Errol

    메트님 추석 동안 잘 지냈습니까?

    한국친구집에서 초대를 했습니까?

    맛있는 송편을 드셨습니까?

    한국어디에서든지 깍쟁이과 참사람들 있습니다.

    호주에서 같습니다.

    ㅋㅋ

  12. comment number 12 by: AznCowboys833

    Matt.

    You f***ing idiot. What kind of shit is this?
    HUH? Did you just notice that everybody’s racist??
    Stupid idiot

  13. comment number 13 by: Matt

    Matt.

    You f***ing idiot. What kind of **** is this?
    HUH? Did you just notice that everybody’s racist??
    Stupid idiot

    Care to clarify your position? It got lost somewhere in all the vulgur language.

  14. comment number 14 by: Azncowboys813

    Does Korean men look that insecure to You? You are being very hypocritical. You could be lot worse if the girl that you like trying to date somebody else


  15. […] I think that BBS is basically an exception that does not represent any common thought process among Japanese. There are certainly no articles in the Japanese mass media denouncing foreign men like the article in my post ‘Anti Foreigner feeling in Korea‘, linked above, or like this one either. Nor do expressions of interest in Japanese language and culture elicit the kind of angry reactions that occur when expressing interest in Korean language and culture. […]