Monday, January 22, 2007

Korea-Japan relations

whenever we talk about history of Korea, we can not set aside its relationship with Japan. I believe that the majority of Korean people have defined the relationship between Korea and Japan as the victim and the aggressor, respectively. Despite thriving cultural exchanges between two countries, Koreans' anti-Japanese sentiments have been witnessed still. Koreans, who have victimized themselves for a long time, tend to deny historical interpretation from Japanese angle (pro-japanese). To make matters worse, historical interpretation praising Japanese colonial period aggravated anti-japanese sentiments. Sugimoto Mikio's article (Controversies over the History of Japan-Korea Relationsby Sugimoto Mikio) is very controversial. Of course, as a Korean, I was annoyed and irritated by this article. I am wondering about other people's thoughts on the article.


Sayaka said...

Hi snowume. I suppose I am expected to give a comment as Japanese, maybe?

Ok. Sugimoto Mikio is one of the notorious Jiyu-shugi Shikan people. They are basically nationalist revisionists, and I also get upset whenever I read their writings. I actually tried to train myself in how to debate against those people by studying their lines of argument. My own blog was once targeted by many revisionists, and they kept leaving aggressive comments. I really had to figure out how to deal with them. At the same time, from my Foucaultian belief in discursive power, it is painful and dangerous to take them seriously and keep debating with them. Thus, my general response now is to "clarify my own points and ignore their later attacks."

I always try to convince my Korean friends about the following points:
1. Jiyu-shugi Shikan does not represent the entire Japan or general public opinion of the Japanese people. School history education is still leaning towards the left. Not even one percent of schools use the Jiyu-shugi Shikan textbooks (Atarashii Kyokasho series). So don't think this is the "interpretation from Japanese angle."
2. What the Jiyushugi Shikan people want is to upset Korean people and lead you into emotional debates (and show how emotional you are to Japanese audience). So stay calm. There are many Japanese intellectuals who fight Jiyushugi Shikan. Don't take Jiyushugi shikan too emotionally or seriously.

Eric said...

Wow, this is interesting! Thanks for linking it Snowume and thanks for explaining the background about the group Sayaka.

I'm looking forward to reading it as a westerner.

Erin Robinson said...

Just on the surface, as someone who's done some Taiwanese history, Sugimoto's statements about the Taiwanese are a little misleading. Yes, some Taiwanese accepted the Japanese rule, but the situation there was very very different, and, in comparison to the harsh and destructive rule of the Kuomintang during the war with the CCP, the Japanese get a boost retroactively. Of course, it's not in Sugimoto's interests to point out why the Taiwanese don't hate the Japanese, since the goal of this piece is defintely to paint the Koreans as over-emotional and irrationally angry.