Philip Brasor’s Media Mix column in the March 17 edition was very enlightening. To my shame, I learned about the March 1 Movement in Korea in 1919 only at my age of 71. Brasor tells us that Japanese media as well as the government never mentioned the grave incident that occurred in the Japanese colony that might be related to the massacre of Koreans in the wake of the Great Kanto Earthquake four years later.

We have been shown many written articles and video clips about the internment of Japanese-Americans, and the U.S. government somehow admitted the injustice and atoned for it, even though the persecuted people had not been killed.

In contrast, we Japanese have never atoned for the cruel fate of the Koreans who simply sought independence. The movement was inspired by a document of independence drafted by Koreans studying in Tokyo.

It is only natural that young intellectuals who see their motherland trampled by a foreign occupier seek the independence of their nation. It’s called patriotism. After World War II, the prominent conservative thinker Jun Eto, after living in the United States, attacked the U.S. Occupation policies back in Japan.

But Japanese right-wingers rarely accused the U.S. of tyranny. They support the Abe administration, which kowtows to the American master, while denigrating the Korean patriots. What is patriotism?

Until recently, my view of Korean society has been rather negative. Korean people are overly emotional, and the judicial system is unreliable and capricious, I thought.

Now it has changed. Fluctuations in Korean court decisions are caused by the people’s will. It is far better than the Japanese system’s permanent obedience to the abusing American will, that has been firmly upheld for more than seven decades, regardless of the people’s will.


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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