It’s been almost 70 years since the end of World War II but it seems the bad blood between South Korea and Japan—going back to the period when Japan annexed and basically enslaved Korea—is still flowing strong. The latest example is this sign that allegedly was posted at one of Korea’s many internet cafes:
The sign reads in Korean: “Japanese keep out! Our internet cafe does not accept Japanese patrons!” (I’m sure the “no Japs allowed” requires no translation) It goes on to say: “However, it’s possible [to enter] if you shout, ‘Dokdo is South Korean territory” three times.”
This is in reference to the Dokdo (if you’re Korean) or Takeshima (if you’re Japanese) islets that are currently the subject of a territorial dispute between the two countries.
Now, it’s possible this sign is a hoax, but if it isn’t, I have to say as a Korean, it doesn’t surprise me. I’ve seen how strong the anti-Japanese sentiment still is in many Koreans and there have been examples of similar actions in the past like the Korean golf course that banned Japanese players back in 2005.
Still, as fucked-up and idiotic as the sign is, I understand why some Koreans would get upset (we are an “emotional” people after all) especially when some folks in Japan keep flaming the fire. As examples, I give you two recent comments by prominent Japanese politicians regarding the comfort women—foreign women, mostly Korean, who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese during WWII.
First, Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara had this to say in a recent press conference in reference to the comfort women issue:
“Where is the proof that Japanese forced them to do this? It was an era of poverty, these women grudgingly turned to the only trade they could make money in, prostitution.”
And then, this statement by Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto on the same subject:
“There is no evidence they were subject to any coercion from the army. Testimony from comfort women isn’t enough. The reliability of their claims can’t be taken for granted.”
Fucked-up and idiotic indeed.
It’s evident the tension between these two nations is still a clear and present thing. Perhaps, after all this time, the only solution for this on-going problem is to just wait for those who are still stuck in the past to simply die off. Or maybe we should follow the example of this dude:
Is it as simple as “hugs for peace?” I’m usually not into that hippie peace and love shit, but if Hollywood romantic comedies have taught me anything, it’s that when two entities have such a tense adversarial relationship with each other, the best course of action to alleviate that tension is a little lovin’–if you know what I mean.
So Japanese women, I will do my part for our two peoples by taking one for the team and offering myself and all my lovin’ to you. All in the name of peace, of course. So if this is you:
Here I am. Be gentle.