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May 3, 2014

Soichiro Tahara Says: “Anti-Japanese Sentiment of South Korea Is Illusion Inflamed by Politicians and Media.”

Soichiro Tahara Says: 
“Anti-Japanese Sentiment of South Korea Is Illusion Inflamed by Politicians and Media.”

It appears that the following article covering this remark of Mr. Soichiro Tahara is being read by many people.  I think that this is a quite important article in the current media.  Reading this article, you will see that such anti-Japanese sentiment or anti-Korean sentiment is being created by the media as well as through manipulation on the Internet.  If we know about it, we can see such information manipulation unemotionally.  Some bloggers, who assume that Japanese are different from other races, write their blog posts about other races including Koreans and Chinese who they brand as inferior people, and look down on them.  I feel an urge to tell them “You are inferior, aren’t you?”  Although they are taken in by the elite, such ill-natured people behave like intellectuals.  It confirms that they are as low-level humans as journalists.

Masatoshi Takeshita
April 27, 2014

English translation of an excerpt from a Japanese article: Weekly Asashi dot. – April 25, 2014 –

Soichiro Tahara Says: “Anti-Japanese Sentiment of South Korea Is Illusion Inflamed by Politicians and Media.”

Korean idols have disappeared from the Japanese TV screen.  In response to President Park Geun-hye’s remarks and heated anti-Japanese sentiment of Korean mass media, seemingly “anti-Korean” claims have recently been seen in Japan, too.  According to Mr. Soichiro Tahara, a journalist, he had a chance to talk with his friend, who is well-informed of Korea.

I had Mr. Katsuhiro Kuroda, a special reporter and leader writer of the Sankei Shimbun residing in Seoul, appear on a program “Heated debate! Crossfire” televised on April 12.  I have make friends with him since the 1970s when he was a reporter of Kyodo News.

Mr. Kuroda was fascinated with Korea when he visited the country in 1971 and studied in Yonsei University in 1978.  After graduation, he became manager of the Seoul branch office of Kyodo News.   Since he wanted to stay in Korea, he found a job in the Sankei Shimbun.  He has been associated in Korea for more than 40 years and he has lived for about thirty years.  We might say that no other Japanese are well-informed of Korean than him.

I had Mr. Kuroda talk about the reality of “anti-Japanese sentiment” in Korea.  For example, President Park Geun-hye has been strongly criticizing Japan in summit conferences in many countries including the U.S.  The Korean newspapers and TV stations have disgustfully repeated furious attacks against Japan.

I met President Kim Yong-sam and President Kim Dae-jung.  I also met Mr. Lee Myung-bak before he became president.  Each person said firmly that Korean and Japan should create a free and affluent future arm in arm with each other instead of arguing about the past historical issues.  However, President Park Geun-hye and Korean mass media speak and behave as if Korea and Japan were fighting in an apparent expression of hatred.  In recent years, more and more Japanese magazines and books have hate and verbally abused Korea.

So I asked Mr. Kuroda to explain the truth of why Korean politicians and mass media express hatred to Japan that much.

Most of Korean people actually have no anti-Japanese sentiment.  I have no fear of my safety or never feel uncomfortable while living in Korea.  On the contrary, Koreans are very gentle and kind.

Mr. Kuroda said so with a smile on his face.  According to him, no phenomenon of refusal to Japan is seen in daily life.  Although I could not believe it soon, Mr. Kuroda frankly talked about how he felt.

Then, how can we interpret such an abnormal criticism of Japan by President Park Geun-hye and such an attack against Japan in an apparent expression of hatred by Korean mass media?  Mr. Kuroda said with a wry smile like this.

Media people believe them to be intellectuals and have a strong belief that they, as intellectuals, have to criticize Japan, which made Korea its colony, and should never forget about the fact.  Although they bash Japan very hard, however, ordinary people don’t respond to it.  They bash Japan all the more severely but they never respond.  Then they get all the more angry.  Such phenomenon is repeatedly seen.

Come to think of it, an executive of a big travel agent told me that tourists from Korea have increased their number, while those from Japan to Korea have decreased.

A few years ago, the number of Japanese tourists, especially female tourists was growing due to “*Yon-sama boom” and other Korean rage.  However, according to the executive, the number has decreased since President Park Geun-hye,Korean politicians and media got to severely criticize Japan.

(Translator’s note) Yon-sama boom – A Korean actor Bae Yong-joon gained great popularity in a TV program ‘Winter Sonata’ among Japanese and has been called “Yon-sama” by Japanese fans, especially female fans.

However, it does not appears to me that so many ordinary Koreans are reading articles about Japan bashing by President Park Geun-hye and Korean mass media.  It seems that Japanese would have felt rejection of Korea since they read articles of many weekly and monthly magazines which attack Korea in an apparent expression of hatred.  That means that in contrast to Koreans, Japanese are so fragile that we tend to be easily influenced by news reports which are manipulated to sell such magazines.  We Japanese have to brace up.

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