South Korean group asks Doshisha to donate Kyoto school’s taxidermic tigers

JIJI

The chief of a South Korean civic group has asked Doshisha, a school operator in the city of Kyoto, to donate taxidermic Korean tigers kept at one of its schools to South Korea, the group announced Tuesday.

The stuffed specimens are at Doshisha Junior High School in the city.

Korean tigers had been regarded as an important symbol among ethnic Koreans. But the animal is believed to have become extinct following over-hunting during Japan’s 1910 to 1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

In 1917, a mission led by Japanese businessman Tadasaburo Yamamoto carried out large-scale hunting of Korean tigers on the peninsula, according to the civic group.

There are two taxidermic Korean tigers — an adult and a cub — at Doshisha, according to the school operator. The specimen of the adult tiger was contributed by Yamamoto, while it is unknown where the cub came from because there are no records about it, Doshisha said.

The head of the civic group, identified as the Cultural Assets Redemption Agency, visited Doshisha on Monday and asked it to donate the items to South Korea for the sake of friendship between the two nations, according to the group.

An official of Doshisha told reporters that it will consider whether to meet the request later.

In South Korea, a movie about tiger hunting during the colonial period was released late last year.

  • Melonbarmonster

    Return it. Jees why would you want the shame of being branded as thieves perpetually???

  • Kessek

    LOL. Get lost South Korea.

  • Tachomanx

    Yeah, since South Korea has been so nice to Japan lately. Better pay a ticket, come watch them and then leave.

  • GBR48

    Returning them would be a decent act of friendship and a recognition of sorrow for past misdeeds.

    Even more vile than murdering these beautiful creatures for fun was doing it to point of extinction as an abusive colonial act, desecrating another nation’s ecology.

    My ancestors did plenty of that in big cat shoots in India, and it is nothing to be proud of.

    Japan and South Korea have enough in common to merit and benefit from reconciliation and if a younger generation can do that, if necessary defying the hatred and prejudices of older people, then so much the better for the future of both countries.

    Arrogant nationalists are the worst of people, and acts of friendship help nudge them to the obscure fringes of society, where they can do the least harm.

    • Tachomanx

      Yeah, except that you fail to consider that anti-japan sentiment is a national policy in South Korea and no matter what Japan does, little change.

      So this act would be warped from an act of friendship and good will into some publicity stunt to further humiliate Japan.

      Perhaps if Korea finally returned the stolen relics from Tsushima.

      • GBR48

        Issues of colonial looting and later thefts should be dealt with under international guidelines and moderated by mutually respected third parties. It’s the only way to solve such issues.

        In cases of personal interaction we should never allow ourselves to be affected by the behaviour of governments or politicians, as they are usually unreliable. Future friendship between the people of Japan and South Korea, particularly in the age of the internet, lies in their own hands.

        I’m not responsible for the behaviour of my government, I certainly didn’t vote for them, and I don’t expect to be held accountable for their attitudes or views. I would not dump the blame for official policies on any citizen, whether of Japan, South Korea, China, or even North Korea.. Nobody deserves to be tarred with the same brush as their political leaders.

        If humanity is to have a future beyond violence and bloodshed, we need to short circuit the intransigence and arrogance of politicians and interact with each other as individual people. The internet offers us the chance to do this.

        There might be a lot of mutual distrust and prejudice out there, but this is pretty much Day One for a post-nation state world linked electronically. Before Governments erect walls so that they can remain gatekeepers, we should start building bridges.

      • Tachomanx

        Yeah, that would be a nice world.

        But the truth is that everyday koreans have a very poor opinion on Japan and it’s people. I mean, some even lit themselves on fire in front of the embassy…

        So moving these tigers back to korea under nice words, only to have the whole thing transformed into a nationalist public show of japan bashing is a big no.

        The same happened when the Tsushima relics were stolen and though they were recovered by the korean police they are yet to be returned thanks to a judicial order.

        So we better keep our tigers at home and see if genuine good will ever develops on Korea.

      • GBR48

        Somebody has to make the first move. If both sides wait for it to be the other, nothing will ever happen.

      • Tachomanx

        Still, I wouldn’t give the tigers over, at least until the Tsushima relics are returned and an apology is delivered by both the thieves and the complicit authorities.

        I think ancient religious relics are far more important than old stuffed animals, after all.

      • Revelation

        As the article states, these particular tigers were a national symbol to Koreans- an incarnation of strength and ferocity, and something they could be proud of for sharing the same land with. It’s not unlike how Japan cherishes their own native creatures. Moreover, Korea never totally deprived Japan of any aspect related to their culture, and that’s the crux of this matter- recovering what they lost. What’s even worse is that these tigers are obviously being showcased as war trophies. It’s beyond disrespectful for the Japanese, a people who hold respect so highly; it’s barbaric.

      • Tachomanx

        War trophies? Wasn’t it a wild life show casing at a school? Were they displayed at the Diet, the MOD or were installed in the imperial palace then I would be willing to give credence to your drivel.

      • Revelation

        You think they’re simply going to place a placard that states the facts of the actual circumstances under which Japan acquired these creatures, then? I mean it’s obvious why Japan went to the trouble of bringing the tigers all the way to their land. If they’re not special because they’re spoils of war, why keep them until now? Are you not familiar with the Mimizuka? Oh, but I’m sure they’re just keeping that around as a tourist attraction as well.

      • Tachomanx

        So you truly believe they are war trophies…guess that’s so much for your impartial attitude and desire for good will to develop between the countries.
        Yeah, the circumstance weren’t the best, yet they are no reason to hand them over.

        They are a showing of a now sadly extinct animal and are a part of a school exhibit of wildlife. Like in many natural history museums around the globe.

        And sadly, their return would yet spark another ugly round of anti-Japan bashing on South Korea painting the whole thing as an act of humiliation against Japan and a glorious victory for South Korea.
        Not happening buddy, and much less with dodgy fellows ike you making the arguments.

      • Revelation

        Funny, I don’t recall dodos and Tasmanian wolves being slaughtered during colonial occupancy and dragged all the way over to the enemy homeland…

        Now. Since you are clearly missing the big picture here, I’ll have you know I honestly don’t side with either nation wholly, and furthermore, the point of this argument started with you suggesting the tigers aren’t nearly as significant as the Tsushima relics. All I originally illustrated was that they are not mere stuffed animals to the Koreans while also detailing why such anti-Japanese sentiment exists on their side. Also, I never once suggested that Japan has any obligation to return the tigers or even ought to. In fact, I would much rather they destroy them than give the Korea reason to continue with these annoying demands. Did I not state in an earlier thread that no amount of returning whatever would help put this to rest for good?

        Therefore, yes, I still want the best for both nations. Can’t say the same of you though, especially since your idea of good will is, by your own example- fair trade of cultural assets. One moment you state if the Tsushima relics were to be exchanged for the tigers, it would right a wrong. As of your last post, however, it’s clear you see no good coming of it. So why, I wonder, would you even bother to suggest both countries do so? Clearly, you don’t even know yourself, and therefore, all your arguments are as good as nothing.

        Good day.

      • Revelation

        Korea and Japan could make this and that trade for the rest of their existence and it would not make a difference unless BOTH sides woke up and realized their pride is getting in the way of what could otherwise be a strong relationship between the two. And really, if you want to talk publicity stunts, how about that time when Japan tried putting the comfort women issue to rest with another apology and hardly a couple months later made it a point to the UN that there was no coercion? If that’s their stance, why even both making apologies at all? At least that way they wouldn’t come off so hypocritical… or as a pawn of the States.

      • Tachomanx

        Japan’s posture doesn’t deny that there were comfort women, what they question is the forced part of it, at least on the side of the armed forces or the government.
        Thet they were sold of forced by thrid parties (con men, their own families,etc) is up to debate.

        Still Japan is willing to apologize and give money (Despite having already given compensation back in the 60’s)

        Also, you have to take into account that despite Japan’s many years of help and aid to Korea in the form of aid, grants, soft loans and technological transfers (Guess how POSCO came to be) this hasn’t meant squat to anyone in SK. It goes beyond pride, it’s pure unbriddled hatred fostered from the top of the government as a national policy.

        Giving these tigers wouldn’t help the situation in the slightest and there is a high risk of it turning into an ugly anti-japan rally event.
        When Korea returns the actually STOLEN relics from Tsushima (In power of the korean authorities) then maybe Japan will see some actual fairness and good will on the other side and be willing to hand them over.

      • Tachomanx

        Japan’s posture doesn’t deny that there were comfort women, what they question is the forced part of it, at least on the side of the armed forces or the government.
        Thet they were sold of forced by thrid parties (con men, their own families,etc) is up to debate.

        Still Japan is willing to apologize and give money (Despite having already given compensation back in the 60’s)

        Also, you have to take into account that despite Japan’s many years of help and aid to Korea in the form of aid, grants, soft loans and technological transfers (Guess how POSCO came to be) this hasn’t meant squat to anyone in SK. It goes beyond pride, it’s pure unbriddled hatred fostered from the top of the government as a national policy.

        Giving these tigers wouldn’t help the situation in the slightest and there is a high risk of it turning into an ugly anti-japan rally event.
        When Korea returns the actually STOLEN relics from Tsushima (In power of the korean authorities) then maybe Japan will see some actual fairness and good will on the other side and be willing to hand them over.

    • Revelation

      No, a true act of friendship would be for both nations to bench their animosity, look at all their misdeeds between each other squarely and move past it. Of course, that’s never going to happen.

  • Sharad Majumdar

    What rubbish! How about, for the sake of friendship of the two nations, the South Koreans stop making ridiculous, mean-spirited, revolting claims to things they have no right to.

  • Revelation

    At least they’re asking this time instead of resorting to stealing…