If I keep seeing things like "HOW STUPID ARE YOU??" and similar angry, inflammatory language, I am going to close the thread. Please take a deep breath before you post, or take your argument offline and PM each other. This is a public message board, not an email exchange.
Post by Candylover on Feb 21, 2007 20:38:22 GMT -5
Dear moderator, thanks for your comments. I know too this kind of debating could lead to political issues and ultimately ugliness, and this will be my final thread.
Eoribeori, you said "So those in France who turned over Jews or resistance fighters to Hitler generally did so quite willingly." I don't know about the actual circumstances in France, but I pay attention to the word "willingly," and agree with you if you mean that willingness is important in identifying a person as collaborator.
I think when we talk about crimes including collaboration, WILLINGNESS is a very important factor to be considered. For example, you hate Pres. Andrew Jackson even more because he murdered native Americans quite WILLINGLY, don't you? As you clearly stated out, Korea was evidently in a more desperate situation than France which at least formally existed under German occupation, so I think the pro-Japanese collaborators in Korea should be given more chances of inspecting their circumstances as compared to the Nazi collaborators in France. But at the same time, I think, most of all, WILLINGNESS should come first as a common criterion when we identify a person as a collaborator in Korea, France and any other countries. When you say "What did YOUR parents and family members do? Was everyone leading an armed resistance, or were they just trying to live their lives? How harshly do you really want to judge your fellow victims of the Japanese Occupation?", do you mean that I try to identify ordinary Korean people at the time as collaborators because they didn't lead an armed resistance, or they were just trying to live their lives? No! You have misunderstanding of "collaborators" I've been talking about. When I say "pro-Japanese collaborators" I mean those people who could have lived ordinary lives without having to collaborate with Japanese occupiers so much, but collaborated too much for their own benifit. the collaborator criteria in Korea are not so harsh, but sane enough to tell victims from collaborators, and that's why the term, "voluntary collaborators" is frequently used rather than just "collaborators" which could potentially mislead people. The situation in occupied Korea was more desperate than that of occupied France, but it does not mean that all of pro-Japanese activities were forced and done unwillingly. Likewise I don't think all pro-Nazi activities were done willingly. Some must have been forced by Germans. The existence of "pro-Fascist"(Pro-Nazi and pro-Japanese) and "voluntary" collaborator in both Korea and France was my point when I compared occupied Korea to occupied France, no matter how much concerns you may have on the differnces of Korea and France in that time.
I know someone will argue, but secondly, next to willingness, one's SOCIAL STATUS at the time should be considered to identify a person as a collaborator. For example, can we put a harsh blame on a peasant who willingly enlisted in Japanese army as a volunteer, or ardently supported Japanese occupiers for his success in life? No! We have more influential and socially more responsible Korean leaders at that time to put harsh blame on, such as journalists, writers, Koreans who served as high-ranking officials or military officiers, pop culture stars, the intellectuals and so on. If one had a influential status in a society, he should be able to deny criminal activity no matter whether they were forced to do it or not. Let's suppose for some crucial reasons, Pres. Andrew Jackson was forced to commit a genocide, and he killed native Americans very unwillingly. Does his unwillingness mean that he is not guilty? No, absolutely not! Considering his social influences as a president, even his killing just one native American should have been dealt with very seriously, even at that time when ordinary people's killing native Americans was supposedly a commonplace thing.
Thus by considering WILLINGNESS and SOCIAL STATUS together, Congress could legislate for some detailed criteria for defining "collaborators", and it was done two years ago with a consensus of Uri Party and GNP in Korea.
And why I don't like talking about leftist and rightist issue is that the issue is not productive anymore at least here and now. This is a fan board for the drama Seoul 1945 which deals with the situations of 60 years ago, and personally I think there could be a slight link between the leftist of 60 years ago and todays N. Korea "leftists(if we can call them as leftists)", but not that much link to be interpreted politically nowadays. I hope my attitude is not misinterpreted as pro- KIm Jong-Il.
Last Edit: Feb 22, 2007 7:40:20 GMT -5 by Candylover
Post by kinoeugene on Feb 21, 2007 23:45:41 GMT -5
wow...what a interesting thread... It takes more than 30 mins to read all of these with my poor english.. well... Dear eoribeori..(I agree with candylover that this is a korean word..) Actually you seem not to be "eoribeori", if you know the meaning of the word. To avoid misunderstanding, I need to say I'm a korean who live in seoul and have a right to elect.
I just want to say my feelings while reading this thread. I just think... 1. president Roh is not a leftist. : what is leftist? Is it similar to communist or socialist? or "Kim Il-Sung"ist? In fact, it has been very short time that the discussion between left-side and right-side has been started in korea in public. About 10 years ago, you dare not say that you are on the "left side" in public. If so, you must be in trouble in social activities. "Left side" or "leftist" has multi-demensional meaning in korea, I think. During dictators(like Lee Seung Man, Park Jung Hee, Jeon Du Hwan, Roh Tae Woo)' period, it means "빨갱이", a red communist, who has to be shot, on the other side, it means "투사", a fighter against the dictatorship. This is possible due to the specific historical and social background of korea. Anyway, I think president Roh is not a leftist. If he is agree with the ideology of communism or socialism, a gap between poor and rich would not be so widen thanks for his social welfare policy.If he is agree with the ideology of communism or socialism, there would not be so many non-regular employees who suffered under the bad condition of working thanks for his policy to protect the interests of labor.
I think he is not a "Kim Il Sung(or Kim Jung Il)"ist as well. I think the reason why s.korean gov help n.korea is not that president Roh agrees with the idealogy of n.korea. It is because two of korea should be the "one" korea eventually. We, s.koreans, should think about how to set up the unification and what will be going on after the unification. If n.korea is blown away by s.korea or US or other power, what will be happened then? S.korea is not so wealthy that can handle the totally collapsed country. Then should we ask for aid to other countries like just after the korean war? I think s.korea should aid n.korea to avoid the bigger disaster after the unification. I think Kaesŏng Industrial Region is a good example for that. I think the policies of s.korean gov to n.korea from Kim Dae Jung's "SunShine" policy to president Roh's "leftist"'s policy should be understood in this point of view.
2. korea is not in the disaster. :I can't understand why eoribeori said korea is in the disaster. This is exactly same point of view with Chosun Ilbo and politicians of GNP. I really curious why they think so. If Lee Heo Chang, the candidate of GNP, won the last election, korea and korean people would be happier than now? Of course there are many problems in korea, however every country has its own problems as well, and some of the problems are not solved and it doesn't matter who the president is.
3. there are freedom of press ever than other administrations in the past in korea. : This is totally true. If there are no freedom of press, can the conservative (and pro-japanese papers in the past) journals like Chosun Ilbo criticize the president so rude and bitter? I think president Roh is the only one who can't get support from press during whole history of Republic of Korea.
Well...my english is not perfect so I'm not sure my thought could deliver correctly. Anyway, I'm very impressed by eoribeori's knowledge about korean history and poilitics and deep concern about korea. I suggest that you can collect more information about how to form the "right-side" in korea not just "left-side". It may help you to understand the complicated korean modern history and society more deeply.
Lucy unni, Sorry for my post not related with the drama. Eoribeori, if you want to comment my post, you can send me a message through this board or an email.
Last Edit: Feb 22, 2007 0:02:20 GMT -5 by kinoeugene
Kinoeugene, thank you for your post. Your information is very valuable. I'm sure it took you a long time to read everything and write it (and at 11:00 at night!). I hope that everyone appreciates hearing a calmly worded opinion of what is happening in Korea at this moment. One thing I don't understand: I am wondering what you mean by "how to form the right-side in Korea."
Post by Candylover on Feb 22, 2007 17:10:42 GMT -5
This is really my final comment. If kinoeugene do not mind my commenting, I suspect what she meant was "to study how the right wing in Korea was formed and has grown up since the colonial period". In the time period SEOUL 1945 is set in, especially before 1950, Korean people did not know what the Left was like or the Right was like. But they knew that the Left didn't have a link to collaborators, but the Right did, and that could supposedly explain why the early part of Seoul 1945 leaned toward the Left.
Last Edit: Feb 23, 2007 2:29:58 GMT -5 by Candylover
Post by kinoeugene on Feb 23, 2007 11:37:48 GMT -5
First of all, I don't want to bring the boring and unworthy discussion about the regionalism between cholla and kyungsang province to this board.
But I need to say, my dear korean patriot, if you are a real "korean patriot", you'd better try to remove the prejudice in your brain and try not to spread your prejudice in public.
Every people in this world has own history, background and own reasons. Most of the world assumes the Arab people to be terrorists, however those "terrorists" has their own background and reasons for their action. I DO NOT PROTECT THE TERRORISM, I just very sorry about those people from Arab and Palestine and I deeply wish thier happiness and peace.
Well..another comment none related with drama again.. And I hope this is gonna be the last comment of mine about those political issues. Anyway, I hope that I wrote correctly in this time..
As a korean born in Chungcheong Province, and now living in the U.S. I am really ashamed of people like "korean patriot," who is still playing on regionalism. Regionalism is probably the worst thing that has divided the Korean people for the past several hundred years, and ex-president Kim Dae-jung and current president Roh Moo-hyun are two people who have done so much to remedy the situation. (Not that I like them personally or some of their policies.)
I was enjoying this thread hugely, reading intelligent posts by people like Eoribeori, Candylover, Kinosuge and others until I came across the post by "Korean Patriot." Well, folks, it seems inevitable that every nation has its share of bigots and idiots,
"Korean patriot," we do not welcome your sort of comments in this thread. I can't believe anyone would slander an entire province-full of people. What about people who live one-half mile inside the border of that province? Are they OK? Or are they "tainted" by being from there and thus corrupted and sly, too? I am deleting your comment, and if it occurs again, I will delete that comment and close the thread.
Candylover, you really, really, really, are never going to make one comment about the criminal activities of the North Korean regime.... OK.
Nevertheless, you bring up many interesting points. I appreciate that you can see how a Korean peasant in desperate economic conditions, 30 or 35 years after there was no such thing as Korea, and virtually with no hope that Korea might regain independence or any autonomy whatsoever, might have no other career choice but to join the Japanese Army. I can imagine that too, and I could not especially blame that person for doing so, as long as for him, doing so, only meant a chance to have a regular meal. That is very different from someone who joins an army specifically in order to kill. In my opinion, most people who join armies and of course most people who are conscripted to join an army, are not doing so in order to murder. We agree here.
But you can't see that people who might have been more fortunate in life, even the better educated - let's even say the "privileged" Koreans having to live under the Japanese boot - could also end up in institutions and jobs that were shaped or controlled by the Japanese and who had NO CHOICE but to deal with the reality of Japanese oppression and control.
I think that it is necessary to not think of our own conditions in 2007 and to impose our assumptions on people born or entering adulthood after the Japanese took over Korea. Things were very different then, and it is hard to imagine how few real options most people really had. In almost every job, in every social class, every Korean could, in theory, be said to be aiding or collaborating with Japan during the time that Japan utterly controlled all activities in Korea, at least from 1910-1945. A poor farmer minding his own business, growing his crops, could unfairly be said to be collaborating with the Japanese by selling his crops to to the market, where supply and prices were often controlled and taxed by the Japanese, and revenues from such taxes went to pay for the Japanese Occupation. Even a revolutionary leader probably indirectly "collaborated" with the Japanese, simply by wearing clothes, which might have been manufactured at a plant owned by the Japanese. I realize that we're getting ridiculous at this point, but I can't say enough times that all hope was lost for a free Korea by 1940. Most Koreans had not even been born in a Korea that wasn't occupied by Japan. It was, fortunately, a different world from ours today. So before we sharpen our knives, Candylover, and start hunting who? the children or grandchildren of the so-called "collaborators?" Let's first try to put ourselves in the shoes of people who lived in Korea in 1940. Let's try to picture their world, their options, before we rush to judge that - what? "journalists, writers, Koreans who served as high-ranking officials or military officers, pop culture stars, the intellectuals and so on."
Let's take the simple caracatures first: "high ranking officials." First of all, this was Japanese occupied Korea. There were no "high ranking" Korean officials to speak of. The country was run by a Governor-General, who was always Japanese. His Cabinet was Japanese with few exceptions in 35 years. Ministry heads were all Japanese. Provincial Governors were all Japanese. Gun-soos (County leaders) were the highest ranking political leaders that Koreans could aspire too in PENINSULAR JAPAN (Korea). I don't know too many details about Korean politics in that period, but I know of at least one case of a Gun-soo who founded an Agricultural College. I don't know, how do you want to judge that? Raising the education and economic prospects for people in farming areas, perhaps giving Koreans a chance at raising more food to feed themselves. I call that kind of person a Hero.
By the way, if no Koreans ever took jobs as "journalists, writers, Koreans who served as high-ranking officials or military officers, pop culture stars, the intellectuals and so on," whom do you think would have filled those positions? It would have been the Japanese themselves. The Japanese were steadily increasing the number of Japanese that they were encouraging to settle in Korea. First it was soldiers. Then business people. Then came shopkeepers. Then came bureaucrats. At least by Koreans filling those positions, there was a CHANCE for the following: 1. Koreans would be closer to the decision makers and powerful and participate in the running of Korea during the Occupation, perhaps to the betterment of Korea, by being easier on Koreans and Korea than the Japanese usually have shown themselves to be 2. Koreans would have access to education, capital, technology, organizational management - very critical skills that Korea would need in order to survive if it ever became free. (Note: a significant problem in Sub-Saharan Africa is that in most countries, the local population was not given access to any significant roles in civil administration, the bureacracy, the running of major enterprises, technology. Instead, European colonial officials were brought in, and when independence came, they just left, leaving devastation. The only institution in Africa where locals were able to participate was the Army. Had Koreans never been allowed into places like sub-ministries, had never been allowed to run newspapers, had never been allowed to serve as educators, etc, - collaborator roles to you - Korea would have had a much, much harder time trying to catch up after 1945. It has been often said that Korea was in economic development, below the level of Ghana in 1960. What type of situation might there have been in Korea if all Korean intellectuals for the first half of the 20th century simply decided to -what? become Buddhist monks? An even worse life for all Koreans for a much longer time period. Forget Flat screen TV's. Forget an automobile industry. Forget semiconductors or shipbuilding. Forget the "Korean Wave." Think Cambodia. Think Laos.
If the Japanese had Korea all to themselves for 25-40 years, with the intelligentsia of Korea just playing a hands-off existence, the Japanese would not have left in frustration. "Gee, we couldn't get any Koreans to work for us, so we'll just go home to Japan." Nope. They would have stripped Korea bare, economically, culturally, spiritually. They would have left Korea with nothing. At least in the minds of the Koreans, trying to survive for 35-40 years, there was education, technology, "know-how" - things that kept a nation alive, that gave it a chance for another generation.
Once freed from the Japanese, in 1945, these so-called "collaborators" as you call them, somehow transformed into people that you call "nationalists." How can a person be both a sell-out to Korea and equally a staunch booster of Korea? They can't. You see, a person in prison always dreams of being free. Before the surrender of Japan, there was little visible hope to ANY KOREAN that Korea would be free. But when Korea was free, you would see Koreans of all classes wanting to promote Korea. Don't you see this? Don't you know this to be true?
OK, then imagine if YOU were a university student in 1940. Let's say you were studying architecture. Hey, that's an apolitical subject, right? Well, what jobs do you get? You are hired by the JAPANESE CONTROLLED MINISTRY OF CONSTRUCTION, to build post offices. Post offices aren't very controversial, right? Well, if you reason it this way, post offices help the Japanese occupation infrastructure. The more easily that the Japanese govt can facilitate communications, the easier that they can control Korea. Take this job and you're a sellout.
OK, so you get a job at a private construction company - at least it's not the Japanese Government, right? Not quite. It's a Korean branch office of a Japanese construction company whose Group in Japan also happens to build weapons, tanks, warships, etc., and that oppresses and controls Koreans and others. You start to get a sick feeling in your stomach that you're selling out your country, but you are relieved when the Personnel Manager tells you that you are going to build bridges, especially train bridges. You are happy that you're not building military installations or army training facilties, ESPECIALLY SINCE THERE ARE JAPANESE SOLDIERS EVERYWHERE AND MORE AND MORE COMING EVERY YEAR.
But wait! The bridges that you are hired to build are for railways that were built not to help transport Koreans or to modernize Korea (as the Japanese love to claim - the liars!), but they are railways in order to get coal, iron ore and other metals and minerals from Japanese owned and operated mines in the northern provinces of PENINSULAR JAPAN (Korea). These natural resources that should be controlled by Korea but are not, even if occasionally some Korean like Mr. Moon from Duksan had some involvement, are brought down across the rivers to the Japanese controlled port of Busan, where they are carried to Fukuoka and Hiroshima and other places where the minerals THAT YOU, YOU COLLABORATOR SELLOUT, helped transport, thereby aiding the Japanese war machine. So what do you do, patriot of a country that does not exist, that you really are in no position to free, what kind of job do you do that is noble?
Keep in mind that your habit of quitting jobs is noted in your permanent record and in the police records. You might at this point be under suspicion by the Japanese secret police as a subversive, even though you just have walked out of a couple of jobs after a few days. You are not supposed to do that. You are "created" by the Japanese educational system to be a loyal subject of the Empire, and to be a faithful and predictable cog in the system, in the Japanese war machine - that forms people to worship the Emperor and to die for his wars.
You should be more careful, you privileged brat! After all, you are of the Yangban class, and in fact a member of a particularly high clan in the Lee family - the same one that the deposed King of Korea came from. OK, you're not the most privileged person, especially since your father was shot in the 1919 patriotic uprising against the Japanese, when the Japanese really cracked down on the Koreans. Those were tough times, even for your family. All your family property and money was confiscated by the Japanese, and many of your relatives were afraid to be too close to your mother and you. You were only 1 year old, so you don't know how bad things were then for your mother. If it hadn't been for your uncle from Hamheung --you know, Dong-Woo's father -- both you and your mother might not be alive today. So many people died! Not only was there no food, but when you have no food, you are susceptible to tuberculosis, pneumonia, and other diseases. So many Koreans died because the Japanese took the rice for themselves. It is good that your uncle knew how to hide food and money, books, and even precious Korean historical artifacts from the Japanese. Maybe if Korea ever gets free again, at least there will be something left for future generations. It's good that he knew a person at Seoul station who got that cleaning job for your mother, because that's how you and she were able to keep going.
So you seemed like just another poor kid all through school, but to the Japanese, they see you partly as a potential genetic competitor for political control, so they particularly want to watch your activities for your whole life. They aren't afraid of the peasants, because they know that they can control them by controlling the rice supply. And poor people do love to eat ramen (which Koreans call ramyeun), and they have to buy them from the Japanese or from Koreans that make these noodles.
THIS IS JAPANESE OCCUPIED KOREA IN WWII, my friend. It is even more authoritarian than in the "home islands," because EVERYONE IN KOREA IS UNDER SUSPICION. A paranoia rules the country and is used to turn everyone against everyone else, in order to better control the country. That's why that young Korean guy from the countryside in the military uniform takes you for some punk rich kid who's in bed with the Japanese. That's why you assume that the Korean engineering manager at the company, an older guy who was just a child when the Japanese took over in 1905 and who got his civil engineering degree at Waseda Univ in Japan, is a sellout, although there was no place in Korea where a person could study engineering
Now, after a lot of hardship and careful study, you are a bright, decent, trained architect with a moral and patriotic conscience who will not "collaborate" with the damned Japanese that are killing your nation, literally starving Korea by diverting its rice crops for 35 years to Japan. You almost built railway bridges that could have speeded up the starvation of Japan. So what do you do for a living? How about opening up a restaurant? Oh, right, your countrymen are starving, so you really would only be feeding the rich and privileged, whom you consider collaborators like you almost were. Oh, what the heck! It's honest work. Or is it?
You open a noodle shop, but you're sick when you learn that when you buy flour, the majority of the profit passes through Japanese hands. The wheat, which comes from Japanese controlled Manchuria, comes over Japanese run railways and is distributed by the Korean branch of a Japanese trading company whose Group also has the contract for feeding the Japanese military. And all their money, and yours, is banked in Japanese run banks. Do you have any choice? No, because all banks in Korea are run by the Japanese, and banks being money-making businesses, that means that ultimately all money goes to Japan. By the way, the same company that diverts the Korean rice crop to Japan is importing into Peninsular Japan (Korea) more expensive yet lower quality wheat flour to sell to Koreans, so you feel that by encouraging the sale of ramen, you are helping the people who are starving your countrymen. You hate yourself for living. You want to die, but you need to live, because you have to help support your mother, who has been getting sick.
Your attempt at running a noodleshop and decision to drop it for moral reasons causes you to go bankrupt. There are no other jobs. You ask around from friends, but nobody has many leads for you. You need to support your mother, who might be dying prematurely of a disease that you are too poor to have diagnosed properly.
Someone tells you that you could tutor Japanese and earn money. You were always good at languages, and although you hate the Japanese rulers, you are naturally good at learning languages, and that is the only way to make money. You once had a teacher who was Japanese and she was nice to you, so you try to think of that nice teacher, rather than thinking of the people who killed you father. You despise the fact that you are perpetuating the evil Japanese's social and cultural control over Koreans by helping teach Japanese to your countrymen, but what can you do? After all, not many books are written in Korean anymore. The only way that honest Koreans can do better is if they learn Japanese. Maybe even migrate to the "home islands." You use the same term that the Japanese use about their islands, suddenly realizing that you have incorporated their islands as your geographic center, while in your mind, your own country is only some place in the periphery, like Manchuria or Taiwan - "not Japanese enough." You hate yourself again.
You are introduced to a very friendly and decent intellectual who is your same age. His name is Choi Oon-hyuk. He is studying the laws - the laws of Japan - and Mr. Choi is said to be an excellent student of the law. Perhaps some day he will get a job in a ministry. Of course, the Japanese run the ministry, but THIS IS JAPAN, after all. Choi Oon-hyuk is one of Japan's most promising students. You find out that Oon-hyuk is from Hamheung, where your cousin Dong-Woo is from. What a coincidence! You ask if he will be your mentor, but he tells you that he's got a lot of problems. You wish you had his problems! Anyway, you and he spend an hour drinking and you and he start talking about history. It's not Korean history, of course, because not only is Korean history not taught, but what's there to tell? It's just too sad to think about. So you and he start talking about ancient Greek history and philosophy - Socrates, Plato, stuff like that. Oonhyuk suggests that you should study history.
Yes, maybe there's a refuge from your motherland's current sorrows by burying yourself in history - telling stories about the past. Maybe you could become a history teacher.
But by 1940, what kind of books were you allowed to read during your elementary, secondary and university studies? Japanese propaganda or other books useful or benign to the Japanese view of history. Many Korean books were forbidden, destroyed or, if valuable - such as Joseon era government records - they were taken to Japan. You were not allowed to debate about the causes of the French Revolution, the American Revolution, or most other topics in the same way as you could in a free country. In fact, your whole life was during the time after Korea had ceased to exist. Many or most of your school books actually were in Japanese. You began your school days leading up to university by praising the Emperor of Japan. You and your family members were strongly encouraged to take Japanese family names and eventually you were compelled to do so. But you knew you were Korean. The question is: what was a Korean by 1940? What was left to call "Korean" if there was no Korea? In fact, how long would you remain Korean?
The Japanese Government had a lot of experience by the 20th Century in absorbing and integrating neighboring foreign lands and cultures. By the time they had Korea, they had very sophisticated, almost scientific, blueprints on how to break the will of a people, how to destroy their language, destroy their religion, destroy their political leaders, destroy their hope, etc., etc. Keep in mind, that "Japan" was not always "Japan." Until perhaps by the late 1500's, when Portuguese gunpowder helped Hideyoshi unify Japan, Japan for 2,000 years following the first Korean Kaya (Gaya) conquests and settlements in Kyushu, followed by Korean Baekje conquests and incursions into Kyushu, the Yamato Plains, and beyond, Japan was really dozens or hundreds of varieties of what we might call "Japan." Each village and community in Japan had their own gods, own traditions and own dialects. The "Japanese language" is largely the descendant of the intermarriage of native Austonesian vocabulary and staccato sounds with Korean vocabulary and grammar. But the variations of mixing varied from village to village. Some of these dialects were not even understandable in other parts of Japan and that is, to some degree true even today. The rulers of Japan had the experience since, say, 1600, of focusing their attention on integrating all these fiefdoms, shogunates, etc., political elites, armies, cultures, and so when Japan started industrializing and creating a modern military machine and a national standarized educational system by the late 1800's, they started in earnest to conquer. First, they took Hokkaido, which was the Ainu homeland and only rarely visited by Japanese from Honshu. Then they took the Okinawan Kingdom (Ryuuku Kingdom), which grew originally out of a Korean-Japanese (probably Kaya originated clan) based in Kagoshima, and developed in parallel to the kingdoms of Japan and Korea. (Now Okinawa is just another Japanese prefecture, and while one can still buy Okinawan music, nobody believes that there ever will be a free Okinawa again - think of Korea as this way in 1940.) Then Taiwan was taken in the Sino-Japanese War. Then the Russo-Japan War was fought, actually over control of Korea, and Teddy Roosevelt won a Nobel Peace Prize for bringing the Japanese and Russians to the peace table, but secret codicils gave the Japanese a free hand to take Korea. Then the League of Nations gave the Japanese various islands in the Pacific, which did not seem important at the time, but they encouraged Japan to expand its navy oceanward, thereby allowing it to eventually attack Hawaii and dream of conquest of the Americas. Manchuria, China, then Southeast Asia were absorbed. Japan even printed "invasion stamps and currency" for India, which it planned to conquer.
Do you really think that the average 22 year old educated, "privileged" Korean in 1940 had much leverage on the Japanese Empire? Do you really think that the average 44 year old "priviliged" Korean in 1940 had much leverage on Japanese control?
When you argue that one group of Koreans had special responsibility to resist the Japanese occupation that went on for nearly their entire lifetimes, you are basically asking another person to cease to function. Tell a farmer that farming only feeds the Japanese; tell a person who ends up as a policeman that they are only policing on behalf of the Japanese state; tell a person inclined to singing who ends up as a popular songstress like Choi Oonhyuk's sister, that she's a traitor; tell a person who has a mind for studying the law (Japanese Law - the only law), like Choi Oonhyuk, that he's a traitor; tell a person who has a good mind for commerce that he's a capitalist bloodsucker only helping the Japanese; tell an assistant vice-construction minister who happens to be Korean that he is a collaborator - go ahead, villify everyone, because in the Korea that Japan ruled over, everyone was in some way lost, trapped, victimized. Go ahead and point fingers. But please ask yourself how you, with your intelligence, with your dreams, with your professional aspirations, with your family responsibilities, would have survived in such an unfair state as Japanese occupied Korea.
Moon Sukyoung and Pak Changju seem like terrible traitors in "Seoul 1945," even though they are of two different social classes. That is because we live in 2007, not in 1935 or in 1945, or in 1955 for that matter. They both took Japanese names - the last steps toward erasing whatever is left of their Koreanness. Sukyoung probably used a Japanese name from birth, because her mother - an ethnic Korean "adopted" by a Japanese governor of Korea - was so brainwashed that it seemed better to use Japanese names. "Classier," if you will. For Pak Changju, an impoverished orphan, the Japanese name was shown to have been his decision. Moon Sukyoung is shown to be a spoiled rich kid, and Pak Changju is the romantic lover of her music who turned into a vicious dog. To its credit, "Seoul 1945" showed in their story something of the complexity of how one might adjust to the Japanese Occupation and be twisted by it. For Pak we see a hopeless life only materially improved by his "going with the flow" of the existing Japanese Occupation police state. And for Moon Sukyoung, her mother never would have called her own child by the enemy's name if she herself hadn't been effectively kidnapped by the barbarian Terauchi from Japan, the nation that kidnapped Korea, leaving all Koreans like orphans to their own country.
Dear Kinoeugene, thank you for your compliment about "eoribeori." ;-) Your English is great. I wish that I could write Korean as well as you write English.
I agree with your comments about "Left" and "Right." These are terms that in every country, in every situation, truly lose their meaning, because they can mean whatever one wants them to mean. They never are precise and sometimes they are just used as slurs. You are very wise to require people to be precise in their language, not to just use slogans. I am sorry that I did that.
I am not an expert on the subject of Korean politics. By the way, KBS World, carried on DishNetwork in the US, used to subtitle the 9 o'clock news, but they decided to stop that - I guess the govt. felt the headlines were too embarrassing. I used to get most of my Korean political news from KBS, not from "right wing" newspapers, as some people seem to think.
I think that due to unique situations in Korea, where a pre-industrial country and very isolated country surrounded by hostile neighbors, was subjected to foreign occupation and exploitation for over a generation at the very beginning of industrialization, followed by division of the country, civil war, dictatorships, and finally followed by the rise of democracy, the political dialogue in South Korea is highly complex, confused and often twisted. (In the USA, we also have confused and twisted political discussions, but this isn't a good place to get into all that mess...)
In "Seoul 1945" many of these subtle differences in political views and nascent political parties or groupings are shown pretty well, even though they mostly highlight "Left" thinkers while minimizing the possibility of equally virtuous and patriotic "Right" thinkers. We see how, in an industrializing country, the class differences of wealthy property owners versus impoverished farmers or laborers could naturally form future Right-Left animosities. Such developments are typical in virtually all industrial countries, such as in most countries of Western Europe, North America, etc., and the natural development would lead to the establishments of rival or multiple parties seeking to control the national government. By nature, all parties would be "patriotic," because their countries were autonomous of foreign control. So most debates would focus on policies or individuals or groups. Specific policies would have to be debated, tried, and if failed, reworked. Korea has not had much time to actually put its political parties to work and rework their policies, because they are generally new and untested in governmental roles.
In Korea, during the Occupation, the development of political parties became delayed and I contend damaged, although not irreparably, at their formative stage, because issues became confused with the occupying power Japan. So in England, the rich might back the Conservative Party, with the poor backing Labour, and middle classes backing perhaps intermediate parties. But in Korea, which had no "Korean" government and where "Korean" political parties could not legally exist, there developed generalized rich-poor sentiments and political groupings, amidst a general sentiment of hatred of the Japanese. It is very important here to stress that for virtually all rich and poor Koreans, nobody desired the Japanese to be ruling Korea.
A rich and privileged Korean during Japanese Occupation times ALMOST ALWAYS came from a family that was also rich and privileged BEFORE THE JAPANESE, and I have to say that human nature is such that a rich and privileged person is raised with an assumption that s/he will not be and should not be living under the rule of another country. Such a person is raised with an assumption of authority, as well as the connections, skills and education to rule or dominate power, unless checked. Industry was just beginning to be introduced in the years just before the Japanese takeover, and I think it is reasonable to assume that Korea's privileged classes, in addition to a developing bourgeois/ middle class, would have been the ones to establish and operate modern industrial corporations, modern newspapers, modern universities, modern publishing houses, modern trading houses, broadcasting networks, film production houses, etc, etc. Much of the elite Koreans by the end of the 19th Century were already experimenting in chucking aside Confucian yangban lives and entering western professions. Some had studied in Japan, some in the USA or Europe. If Japan had not entered Korea, Korea would have been a normal country - with problems of class and development, for sure, just like ANY OTHER COUNTRY.
The rich and privileged Koreans would have been Kings, Queens, Prime Ministers, Ministers, Provincial Governors, Generals, Admirals, Corporation heads, Publishers, etc, etc., etc., if Korea had not fallen under Japanese rule. Did they gain substantially from the Japanese? No! They were the ones who lost the most. In "Seoul 1945" you get some window on this group in Lee Dong-Woo's father, whom we are told lost control of the mines due to some of his early anti-Japanese actions. Moon Sukyoung's father was a poor peasant, actually who toiled in Lee's Duksan's mines, and we are told that he somehow rose to power after the Japanese took over, and that is why he was so enthusiastically trying to make himself love the Japanese. As the story goes, he was a patriotic person but someone who felt that due to his class, he never could achieve anything, and supposedly the Japanese gave him a chance. I would contend that this simplistic crap is ideologically based, not historical. In my opinion, this characterization is a generally unlikely scenario. As far as key economic prizes of Korea - "the loot" for the Japanese to rob - minerals and other natural resources would not likely have remained in Korean hands, from either the Lee class or the Moon class. If a poor guy could have risen, in Japanese occupied Korea, it would not have been because the Japanese helped him. The Japanese could not care less, as they considered all Koreans the same - exploitable "future Japanese." What could have elevated Sukyoung's father would have been capitalism and industrialization. By the economy changing from the feudal order, opportunities were created for all. It just so happened that this industrialization developed during JP rule, but it wasn't started by Japan and it would have developed on its own. There is no industrialized country in the world today that does not have a sizable class of people between the "rich elites" and the peasantry. This is simply because the freeing of capital and the process of industrialization create wealth, moving people to cities, where they are freer to create companies, better their lives, etc.
In my opinion, the writers of the show felt a need to create a Korean enemy. They didn't want to divert their enemy to the Japanese, because this drama is for the ideological objective of showing Korea how bad the rich Koreans were or are, and to slur them all with a pro-Japanese taint, in order to win the next presidential election. This is also why the issue of the DPRK invasion and the War was shown, amazingly ahistorically, with hardly any reference to either Russian or American involvement. They want to keep it an internal affair, where the Enemy is right there in front of you. So they wrote a very compelling but factually challenged historical drama that makes the rich and privileged basically the cause of all problems, basically all traitors, basically all defenders of dictators or foreign powers. So when the Roh government announces a crusade against the so-called Collaborators and their descendants, it is conveniently timed to this drama.
It is my observation that while all Koreans hate the Japanese occupation period, the energies of Koreans are, and maybe always have been primarily focused on hating each other, rather than on putting their differences aside in order to protect Korea. This is the principal problem of the Korean political debate and it has been for decades or maybe even thousands of years. If one is looking at Korea from the heavens, from a plane, one sees endless beautiful mountains and valleys. It reminds me of the Adirondack Mountain area of Upstate New York. In these mountain valleys, one can be protected from enemies for a long time, but in the valleys it is also possible for people to look too inwardly, to assume that their neighbors are their greatest enemies, and to be unaware of the soldiers marching up the hillside at night. I beg Koreans to take to the air and look down on their country and see how large it is, how beautiful and special, and how insignificant any one person or any one ideology really is.
Parties in Korea forming from the Occupation period ended as combinations of class political groupings, with the added burden of the two foreign influences, that inflamed and confused a valid debate of politics regarding social welfare costs, class privileges, protections for the worker, business encouragement, etc. 1. Japanese influence: Left's sin: simplistic belief that if you were rich and owned a company in Korea during the Occupation period, you are a sellout, and not only a class enemy but also a traitor. The false idea that their wealth and power only existed because of the Japanese. Right's sin: the perception that the Japanese, hated as they were, also were protectors from other Koreans. The Japanese also have very immaturely conceived political parties - even today - and they very easily called everyone who opposed them "Communists." This legacy was passed to Korea, so every labor dispute, every political disagreement, every class conflict was attributed foolishly and dangerously to "Communists."
By calling everyone who opposed a factory owner and everyone who ever said anything against the Japanese a "Communist," the actual communists gained tremendous publicity - overwhelmingly undeserved. Imagine if I started calling everyone who did anything that was good - let's make up a word - Potatoists. If you are in a police state, and you hear that "the Potatoists" struck at a factory last night, that they are the chief enemy of the country occupying your country, etc. - you would start to think that the Potatoists are great. You may never have met a Potatoist, but if your brother in law was arrested, beaten up and imprisoned for being a "known Potatoist," then you would say, Hey, I didn't know that Jim was a Potatoist. (Hint: neither did Jim!) But this kind of thing happened a lot, and each time it happened, the Potatoists ended up sounding like heroes fighting all the "bad" people. This is, in part, how the myth of the Communists and Communist freedom-fighters developed and were expanded in Korea during the Occupation.
After Liberation, the "rich/privileged" class, call them now, the Right, would call everyone a Commie. This continued through the dictatorship years and after. This kind of painting all opponents, including liberals, social democrats, labor reformers, etc., all as "Communists" tended to cause a backlash in the ROK public. They ceased believing this line, and in fact, people who actually ARE communists, are given the benefit of the doubt.
In the USA, a similar thing happened in Right/Left mutual slurring. The Right would call everyone and anything communist, when it usually was not. When "cooler heads" started to prevail in the US political dialogue, say in the 1960's and 1970's, it was not considered to have been polite or very intelligent to ever refer to a person with that term. There were numerous discussions by liberal/progressive groups in the US about the "injustices" against some former anti-communist "witch trials" in the 1950's, including the execution of Julius Rosenberg, who was accused of passing nuclear secrets to Russia. Here's the funny thing, though: after 1989, KGB records showed that, yes, just as the facts suggested, Rosenberg was a Soviet spy.
The problem with the political discussion in South Korea is that because there is a divided Korea, and because the DPRK is at least officially stated as a communist state, these ridiculous arguments and illogical Left/Right blurring of real issues, end up going on forever. The ROK is "capitalist" and the DPRK is "communist." The ROK, according to the Left, is the inheritor of the Japanese collaborators, and the DPRK is the home of the freedom-fighters. It is an idiotic conception but this is the level of political understanding and sophistication of the writers of "Seoul 1945" - just mouthing slogans still fresh when the Japanese were chased out, even if 2007 objectively shows us other facts.
Further, I would contend that the Japanese at various stages of the post-Independence period, have financed various left wing groups in South Korea, and given shelter and comfort to Korean Leftists in order to keep labor unrest issues alive, in order to destabilize ROK competition and to keep foreign investment, esp. from the US, out of Korea
2. Russian Soviet Communist influences: Remember, the Russian KGB said that Kim Il Sung was NOT a freedom fighter, but rather just some guy that they put in as a puppet. So how is it that in 2007, probably 99% of South Koreans *think* that Kim Il Sung was in fact a "leading" freedom-fighter in the Occupation time? It's the BIG LIE, something that the Communists are expert at.
Why would the world's most important "communist" power at the time not really care about the ideological or patriotic qualifications of their puppet installed in North Korea? Because the Russians never cared about Korea becoming communist in the sense that Marx and Engels might have hoped for, and that perhaps some of Choi Oon Hyuk's friends might have desired. Stalin was all about control and oppression, with est. 20 millions of people murdered under his rule. He could not care less about the class system inequalities, workers' rights, freedom of the press, etc. - things that actual Korean progressives undoubtedly had hoped and prayed for. But again, they didn't know what the heck the USSR was about. To them, it was only a means to an end. The Russians could be used to help "free" Korea from the rich and privileged, who now are cast as collaborators with the Americans - the great capitalist enemy.
But Russia never cared about Korea and if all Koreans died in a war, it only would make it easier to occupy Korea themselves, as they had done in all of northern Eurasia. Russia not only wanted an ice-free port in the Pacific, but also an expansion in Asia of their control. If eventually they could take over Japan, the best way to do that is to rule Korea.
The actual Communist Party of Korea, united, ROK and DPRK alike, were not representing "Left" causes. Possibly some people initially joining the party thought that that was the Korean Communist Party's role. They got disillusioned or shot when they understood that it was the party of the Soviet Invasion and Occupation of Korea. As the Soviet Russian role has waned, the Communists (Kim Il Sung/ Kim Jong Il party), often going under different names in the ROK, really exist to perpetuate the regime of Kim Jong Il. There is no ideology, left or right in actuality.
The legacy of this Koreans believing that the Communists are being the only patriots and the only party championing the poor and underprivileged remains in the ROK political discussion. It has been inculcated, quite strategically, into the minds of millions of ordinary, good hearted Koreans, through strategically placed educators, labor leaders, politicians, filmmakers, and journalists. If you ask such people if they have anything to criticize about the DPRK, they'll call you a Rightist, a Nationalist, a Collaborator, or worse. This is the standard change-the-subject practice of the Korean Left. No Tony Blair, no sane left-of-center party will be allowed to form in this doublethink environment. This is not because Koreans do not desire it, but because Kim Jong Il needs to hold onto the progressives and liberals in the South in order to protect himself. He will tell any lie and do anything in order to stall any criticism or pressure on his regime. So what started as a Soviet Invasion Party, ends up as a KimJongIl Survival Party. The only way to keep the DPRK from collapsing, is for him to hold a lot of power in the ROK, to confuse its democracy, to delay its criticism of his mechanisms of control of fellow Koreans.
I have studied the history of some other communist parties in western democracies, and in the case of the Spanish Communist Party of Santiago Carrillo, there was constant criticism by the Spanish Communists of the USSR's lack of freedoms. By contrast, the French Communist Party of Georges Marchais NEVER criticized the USSR. Why this difference? It's in the origin of the local communist parties. Stalin created the French party and the Soviet Union held tight control until the end, whereas Spain was seen as expendable, so it ended up having its own opinions and in fact rivalry with the USSR. The South Korean Left does not criticize Kim Jong Il or the DPRK because they are also in control of the enemy of Koreans.
To Kinoeugene's comments:
1. I agree that President Roh is not a "leftist" in the sense that he is interested in bettering the poorer people of South Korea. I agree that his policies and his party have shown no evidence of actually caring about the poor of South Korea. They had several years to pass laws to end a lot of problems, such as eliminating school fees, but instead they focused on legislation to weaken the South Korean government's civil authority and national defense policies. They put in as head of the national TV network, KBS, the editorial editor of the Hankyoreh, a publication that frequently praises the DPRK and that never criticizes that regime, while typically it criticizes almost any South Korean institution, party, etc.
Because Uri and several other "left" parties really support the unelected DPRK regime, it is logical that they would ignore helping the South's economy. Their policies are consistent with a group of ideologues that simply hate the ROK and that need to keep the ROK in turmoil.
Another view of Left-Right, which I think traces its origin to 18th Century European politics, in the French Parliament (someone correct me if this is wrong), the the pro-government party was physically sitting on the right side, and the opposition party was sitting on the left side. Hence, the tendency for the "Right" phrase to refer to traditionalists or government side, and the "Left" phrase to refer to progressive or revolutionary anti-government side.
In a way, maybe my calling Roh a Leftist is consistent with this second usage of "Left" - not specifically referring to socialism as much as anti-ROK. The irony is that Roh and Uri are the ROK government. Their failure is that they are only good at criticizing or trying to dismantle the ROK, rather than run it. Their goal is to stall its progress.
Any new party coming into power has a period of adjustment, but Uri is unique in world history, because it is a party that really does not want to have anything to do with the government. If the ROK ceased to exist tomorrow, how many Uri Party chiefs would be happy? I'd say 100% This is quite different from the Italian Socialists, Chilean Socialists, Australian Socialists, for example, who would be more than happy to take over their governments. It's because there is no alternative state to Italy, Chile or Australia. But the Korean "Left" parties (sorry again for this term) always have the DPRK.
Koreans always say that Korea is a small country. In my opinion, smallness is only in one's mind and vision of the possible. I was born in a very large country, that was the number one industrial power, the richest country in the world, with an imperfect but improving democracy. Today, my country is one of the world's greatest debtor countries, and its political parties are broken and hijacked by cynicism, corruption, and greed. Elections are won not by people voting for whom they like but by rigging elections so that most voters will not vote, and those who do vote, are voting with electronic voting machines that are hacked to create a desired result. Whole corporations are busy figuring out how they can outsource not only manufacturing, but accounting, IT, human resources, and even R&D. How long can such a country have an economy to feed its people? The US is a country that seems to be rushing to undo all of its achievements. So, if you wonder why I look to Korea, this "small country" for hope and comfort, it is because I learn from Korea and for Koreans, and I need them to teach me how to better my own country. Korea is not a small country. It is a great country with a noble history, with great people capable of doing great things when they put aside their internecine arguments and utilize the strengths that God gave them. I think that the greatest strength of Koreans is that when everyone else gives up and sees hopelessness, the Korean rolls up his or her sleeves and works, works, works, until the goal is done. That is the only way that poor Korea pulled itself out of the ashes and has risen to stand proudly before its victimizers as their better. By seeing how Koreans learn to survive against the greatest of odds, I can see a little bit better how my own country needs to fix itself, and indeed, how I need to better myself. Thank you, Korea.
Last Edit: Feb 24, 2007 12:09:12 GMT -5 by eoribeori
Kinoeugene - sorry, I forgot to comment on this point that you made:
2. I understand the issues of unification make things more complicated for any party in South Korean politics. I did not want to get into these things in this forum, but yes, I agree, it is of course necessary to encourage contacts between North and South, but with the DPRK making the rules? Ridiculous. The ROK is the party that the DPRK needs to survive, so the ROK should negotiate rules that improve not just Kim Jong Il's bank account, but that improve the possibility of greater inter-Korean contacts and potentially, greater freedoms in the North.
The best way to undermine the DPRK totalitarianism is to overwhelm it with capitalism. That helped in the PRC and today the Chinese are under authoritarian, not totalitarian control, and with increasing openness and more money, there is more personal freedom and some day, we hope, political liberty. I think that the "Sun Shine" policy was a good step, but I think that Kim Jong Il and his criminals are ambivalent about it. They know that they have done horrendous crimes against humanity, and frankly, they are afraid of being caught and of suffering the fate of Ceaucescu of Romania. If you start having South Koreans travelling or working all around North Korea, if you have the slightest bit of release in their police state, in a very short period of time, someone will blow the whistle on the DPRK leadership, or rise in revolt. This might not happen, but I think that is what they are terrified of. It really isn't a big deal for a dictator to allow for 100 factory complexes to be built in North Korea, if he wanted to, so why just Gaeseong? To isolate the Southerners and to collect 90% of the profits. Same with Mt. Keumgang Tours - isolated and controlled. He is fooling the ROK people in hoping that their dreams of Reunification are starting. He has no intention of living in a reunified Korea. As long as he is permitted by the Korean progressives in the South a free hand to kill and lie and collect money from chaebols, unification will be farther distant than it could be, if terms were negotiated by a strong ROK with a balanced right and left political system.
When West Germany negotiated relationships with East Germany, for the most part, bot the West German Left and Right were loyal to West German govt. This is absolutely not the case in the the ROK, where the Left is really loyal to the DPRK in their hearts, and only happen to be citizens of the ROK.
3. Personally, I disagree with the South Korean argument that Korea is a poor country that could not absorb a collapsed North Korea. I believe that this is an assumption that is repeated over and over, created by the LEFT for obvious reasons, and helped by the RIGHT, because they don't want to spend money on poor people in the North if they could avoid it. Here's my theory: a) The National Psychological Cost of living with immorality every day: the idea that the DPRK cannot be allowed to collapse, because it would cost too much to fix the country. Is it better for millions of North Koreans to die due to their regime? How small does the DPRK population have to fall to in order for the ROK population to think that they can afford to absorb the cost? b) Korea a poor country? Nope! South Korea has the third or fourth largest reserves of dollars in the world, after Japan, PRC and Taiwan. Is there any better way to spend that money than to invest it in rebuilding Korea (unified) on its own terms, as happened in West Germany absorbing the states of former East Germany? c) Costs are not that high - the payback is reciprocal. Germany invested trillions of dollars in eastern Germany and this investment was a tremendous aid to largely German companies, which kept Gemans employed in West Germany and boosted corporate profits. The costs in North Korea could not be nearly the same. d) Foreign investment will flock to Korea. Korean work ethic + sub-China labor costs = economic boom. e) Korea as hub for Siberia. With a Siberia at a bustling, energetic and unified Korea's doorstep, tremendous potential in Northeast Asian trade. Good for Korea, Russia and China. More trade = More Money. Less trade = Continued Poverty f) Strategic considerations: 1. a divided Korea helps China and time is running out, as China plows on forward in Jilin Province, and in western China in "sinicization" ---DPRK as a military and political buffer state - does the PRC really want a US ally and democracy on its border? --- opportunity of blackmailing the ROK in numerous ways ---gains billions in investment capital, esp in NE China, that otherwise would go to northern provinces of Korea --- DPRK a ready market for Chinese products, esp. from Chinese Northeast ---potential for territorial invasion, takeover - as what is happening in Mt. Baekdu region. Remember, China ASSUMES that all of Asia will some day be part of China!). There is no guarantee that a DPRK is or could remain "stable." There is currently widespread chaos and a large breakdown of authorities and intense corruption. These, coupled with a terribly cascading population census, are great conditions for the Chinese to think of entering the northern provinces under the guise of "protector" Think of Tibet and East Turkestan, the Uighur country in western "China," which are both being overrun by Chinese and which will soon cease to exist as anything notably different from any other Chinese province. As long as the DPRK is dependent upon one man or one clan, there really is no state, only a kidnapper, warlord and exploiter of the northern provinces of Korea.
2. a divided Korea helps Japan. Japan has benefited throughout its history from Korea and Koreans. How long do South Koreans want to let Japan benefit? In ancient Japan, there was no iron discovered until about 670AD, so all iron technology, military technology, civilization, came into Japan by Koreans. The Yamato Imperial throne itself was founded by the Korean Baekje princes who conquered Japan. If one reads the Japanese annals "Nihon Shogi" and "Kojiki" one can see the jealousies of the decendants of defeated Baekje writing about their hated Korean rival kingdom Shilla, which united Korea. They idolized Baekje, which they called "Kundara" - really dialectal Korean for Kun-Nara - "Big Country" (with Japan presumably "Little Country" or descendent country). There were centuries of intense borrowing and copying of Korean models.
In the 1500's it was pirates looting coastal villages and kidnapping ceramic artists, in the late 1500's it was the Hideyoshi invasion, bringing more Korean technology, culture and captives to enrich Japan. In the Occupation era it was natural resources, food, labor, and abilities of Koreans, willing and unwilling, that helped Japan become the power that it became in the 20th Century. The Korean War, with Japan used as the US's "aircraft carrier," gained billions and billions as the seller of war materiel and the subsequent death of 3 million Koreans and devastation undoubtedly ensured Japanese industry a competition-free Asia for decades. Even today, the Japanese, whose govt leaders speak of remilitarizing and who are making territorial claims on Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, and Russian territory, try to tell the US that "we're your only ally - the only ones whom you could trust." Because of the inherent insanity of propping up an already collapsing DPRK, South Korea is causing tremendous long term damage to the nation because every second wasted sitting around trying to placate Kim Jong Il, is a second wasted, and a second taken advantage of by the Japanese and their well paid global network of public relations firms, political lobbyists, and bribed foreign politicians.
Last Edit: Feb 24, 2007 13:43:35 GMT -5 by eoribeori
Post by kinoeugene on Feb 24, 2007 22:02:36 GMT -5
It's getting more and more interesting.. Eoribeori, thank you for your effort to educate me with so many worthy information. And the compliment for my english as well.. I'm deeply impressed your deep understanding of korea and your profound point of views about any other issues. And, in fact, your comment gave me a chance to think about those whole things and I appreciate it.
As a matter of fact, the modern politics and history in korea and north east asia is very picky and complicated subject to discuss, I think. There is a wide spectrum about those subjects. So, I think it would be better to exchange each's opinions than to argue.
In this point of view, I just want to say that I think Uri party is not a group which is sharing the idealogy. Some people, politicians, had been out of power for dictators' period for a long time so it was possible to bind them as a group(party) regardless of each one's poilitical intention.There are some conervative politicians in Uri party and some progressive politicians as well. And this is a reason why I think Uri party don't have firm and common idealogical basis among the memebers and this makes hard to discuss about their, include president Roh, idealogical inclination. As you know, Uri party was divided recently regarding the presidential campaign.
I agree that Kim Jong Il must be eliminated, however unfortunately, as a korean, it's hard to have a confidence for the unification coming with the collapse of the DPRK government. It's still confused and complicated how to progress the unification in korea. I can talk about this later after I arrange my thought.
And regarding to the pro-japanese people.. well, I think this is a little bit emotional issue to most of koreans. As one of the recent generation, I can judge them as hard and bitter as I want according to the history book which I studied during school days, however this could be unfair on the other hand. However, I still think it's hard to accept or forgive them emotionally. And it's a fact that some of them took powerful position even after the japanes occupation until now using a corrupted method to survive.
Anyway, thanks again your intellectual opinion and I really enjoy this thread. ;D
Last Edit: Feb 24, 2007 22:07:13 GMT -5 by kinoeugene