Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Non-ending Asian War

Picture from KoreaBang
   History is a tricky little bastard. European people en masse don't care what happened outside of the continent border, hell, they don't even care what happened inside. And I'm saying this as a fellow European person. This is why for most people what is happening in Asia, especially Far East Asia is absolutely of no relevance. I can understand it - why bother about things that happened or are happening thousands of kilometres away? Due to the fact that I've been into Asia history for the half of my life, the first news I check everyday is actualy asian news. And thanks to Japan, I now understand turpistic fascination of the ugliness and carcass. 

   Hillary Clinton stated to 
"refer to the women drafted as prostitutes for the Japanese military during World War II as "enforced sex slaves" rather than by the euphemism "comfort women."'
which, of course met with the Japanese opposition claiming that the term is "incorrect". When you are long enough into Japanese politics and rhetorics of the country's own history, you start to pick up concepts and phrases that appear all over during situations like that one. With time, I'm even able to predict how politicians would react and correct the statement. I can bet all my books I can predict the reaction. Japan is an amazing country in many aspects. And nationalism in Japan, the concept of kokutai that is never absent, deep-rooted disdain for all other Asians - all that with times starts to grow a personality. Fascinating personality. It's the country with the sickest erotic market, yet woman is shunned from high government position because she has never born any child thus she's useless to society. It's a country full of Kannon temples, yet the nationalist and blood-stained buddhist sect is the most known now and has its political party in the Parliament. A country where Tokyo Governor says publicly that 2011 tsunami was a "gods' rage" for too much westernization. 
Its neighbour, Korea, although not as drenched in those issues, goes hysterical over even small issues. Japanese use words and statements to distort the history, Koreans use their trucks to smash the gates of the Embassy. Japanese react with cold reason, Koreans act with rash nearly uprising (I think everyone remembers the incident of cutting the small finger by Korean nationalistic idiots some years back regarding Yasukuni controversy). Both sides are at fault.

   The feud between Korea and Japan is not the product of 20th century, and everyone who compares Japan atrocities to those of Germany's during WWII makes an elementary error of disregarding the whole background. As I wrote someplace else, natural resources poor Japan had always had some "continental complex", as a nation living on Archipelago, it lacked the land. So naturally Japan laid its eyes on the Peninsula, because it was the closest. Compilers of Japanese chronicles fabricated the legend about the brave Empress Jingu that conquered Silla and Baekje, and subdued the whole korean land. One may think - why not? What's so wrong with that? Maybe she did? Well, according to sources, our brave Empress (who is absent in Imperial Family registers, hmm, but that's another problem with her figure) did that around 3rd or 4th century. Around that time, there was no Japan, to start with that, only some federation of tribes fighting over the supremacy. On the Peninsula, Silla was forming into strong Kingdom, Goguryeo was erecting pagodas, and soon Baekje would send the famous sword (Chiljido, a Seven Branched Sword, one of its kind in the whole Asia) to the one Japanese family that gained supremacy. A tribal state without proper horses, with no maps could conquer fully formed nation? Really?
The legend was always dragged back when Japanese thought of reclaiming "their" land on the peninsula. It came in handy during Imjin War (1592-98) when Joseon was called as the "rebellious daughter of Japan" and armies were sent to punish her. And after the devastating for Joseon wars, Japan miraculously advanced technically and artistically. Just sayin'... And it came handy at the end of 19th century, when Japan thought it's their historical mission to save "their" part of the land.

   Resentment in Korea or China is deeper than in any European country that witnessed WWII. It has centuries of hostility. And centuries of hostility are not such an easy thing to overcome especially when both sides do little to do that. Japan refused Korean help after 2011 earthquake, despite the groups would be there before any other help. Nations in Europe fought each other for centuries. Some coutries tried to eradicate others, that's true, and in such conquered countries the resentment is felt even now.
Saying that this happened 60 years ago and should be forgotten is a horrible statement. War is something that should never be forgotten, because it's a human error that can be easily repeated. It can be forgiven, but should never be forgotten. It's a page in one's country history book. It stays there for future generations. If one nation tries to erase and rewrite it - it leaves the traces of tampering with lines. Nation may of course remove and rip the pages. Try that to any book, and the empty space will be even more visible.

   From KoreaBang:

10,000 Japanese Netizens sign ‘Oppose U.S. Comfort Women Resolution’ petition

On the 13th, Japanese netizens intended to build a mass ‘Twitter Demonstration’ demanding the abolishment of the ‘Comfort Women Resolution’ adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives. The conflicts between Korea and Japan surrounding the issue of ‘comfort women’ is likely to spread from offline to online.
It has been confirmed that Japanese netizens are preparing a mass Twitter demonstration from 7pm on the 13th July in order to petition the abolishment of the ‘comfort women resolution’ (resolution #121) passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in July 2007.
The U.S. House of Representatives’ Resolution 121 content demands for the Japanese government to officially and clearly admit, apologize and assume historical responsibility for the forced mobilization of comfort women by the Japanese army during World War II.
For the past few days, some Japanese Tweeters have been using their own Twitter accounts to spread awareness of the ‘Twitter demo’ through a considerable number of retweets.
On the Twitter demo, they conveyed their plea [for people to] petition, urging them to sign the ‘abolish the House of Representatives’ Resolution #121′ on the White House’s complaints website ‘We the People‘. One tweet read ‘close to 10,000 people have signed the petition’, another saying ‘Please consider [sign] our petition.’

Asian nationalisms will never end. Ever.