TAKAMATSU, KAGAWA – A South Korean guide whose trail marker stickers on the famed pilgrimage route in Shikoku may have been targeted by racist posters said Thursday night that she is perplexed by the reaction but still loves the Japanese people.
“I wonder whether the stickers may have been unnecessary in the first place,” Choi Sang-hee, 38, said. “I’m really sorry for causing worries and trouble for a lot of people.”
Choi, who lives in Seoul, said the issue has been reported in South Korea.
One of the racist posters found at a rest area for pilgrims in Yoshinogawa, Tokushima Prefecture, reads: “Recently, boorish Koreans have been pasting disgusting stickers all over Shikoku.” It also asks people to remove the stickers to “protect” the Shikoku Henro, as the 88-temple pilgrimage path is called.
Choi has completed the pilgrimage four times and was certified by a local association in December as an official Henro guide, the first non-Japanese woman to become one.
She has been promoting the Shikoku Henro to Koreans as well, hoping it will change their impressions of Japan. To help foreign tourists find their way around Shikoku, she has been posting path marker stickers with arrows.
Choi said she cannot abandon her hope that Japan and South Korea will eventually get along.