Why South Koreans are boycotting Japan

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/08/05/why-south-koreans-are-boycotti.html


In the words of Keith Jackson, Japanese and Koreans “just plain don’t like each other”. And this has been true for many decades - centuries even. South Koreans view Japanese with far more fear and loathing than they do North Koreans, even led by Kim Jong-un. For their part, Japanese would regard a united, nuclear-armed Korea, even under a democratic Western-style government, as an existential threat that might even push them to go nuclear themselves, heretofore unthinkable. In the aftermath of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, which leveled Yokohama and burned down 60% of Tokyo, Japanese and Korean (immigrant) survivors put a much higher priority on slaughtering one another than on tending to the injured or rebuilding.


This is essential Abe going all Trump on South Korea with unnecessary and costly trade barriers and the reaction to them. All allegedly in response to SK courts ordering way overdue reparations from Japanese corporations for use of slave labor back in the day. Something Germany had already done more than 50 years ago.

The two countries are linked by economic, political and military defense interests. This is just pointless. Japan is probably going to be most harmed by this.


Right. It’s way too simple to say the two populations just don’t like each other. Japan has repeatedly abused Korea, horrifically, and TMK, the reverse has never happened.


Some are still sore about the trouncing from Admiral Yi.

It doesn’t help that the Japanese are still pretty nationalistic and feel superior to their neighbors.


Not to mention the thousands of Korean women kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery during WWII, an issue on which Japan has historically been completely tone deaf.


More importantly the SK court decision was reasonable and long overdue. The restriction on selling semiconductors in response is not.

Its better to consider the two countries “frenemies”. They are linked economically, politically and culturally in many ways. Kind of like France and Germany.


Koreans are generally pretty neutral politically, they don’t like Japan because Japan did some shit to them.

It isn’t a small list but I’ll go with one example that prominently comes to mind. Ear inspectors. Yes you read that correctly and I wish the rest of the story was as amusing. Samurai used to get money or goods for bringing an enemy males head in. He had to be of age and obviously male.

Thing is when they attacked Korea they slaughtered so many people bringing all those heads in wasn’t economical so they decided to change tact and somebody suggested ears would be a better trophy. The issue is with ears it can be hard to tell if the person is of age and/or male so they set up a system to stop Korean ear fraud. You only got paid for pairs of ears and they had to be manly ears too. I mean a country that beheads nearly everybody in the country but then has to stop the slaughter to set up an ear economy. That’s nearly comically cruel and South Korea isn’t tge only country that got royally fucked by Japan.

For their part the Japanese are not taught anything about most of their atrocities, long ago or even much more recently. They outright deny practically everything unless they want to display some Japanese war propaganda for cultural pride purposes but they insist using that evidence as… Evidence is… Well you aren’t Japanese so shut up and listen to your superiors unless you don’t need your ears. Frankly I’m surprised neither China nor Korea haven’t made Japan their bitch. Though I think it isn’t long before that happens now. You reap what you sow.



(I mean, basically)


Yeah, that Koreans are suspicious of Japan might have something to do with centuries of hostile behaviour and invasions from Japan, culminating in decades of vile colonial oppression, including organised forced prostitution, the victims of which are are still being mocked by the Japanese government today, denial of education for Koreans, even attempts at eradicating the Korean language.

Japan is great and all and the people are mostly lovely individually, but as a political collective they have fucking issues.


And yet Japanese people live Kimchi and Galbi and such, and Koreans have made Sushi their own sort of like they did with Manga and Anime.

A fair number of Japanese celebs have Korean ancestry.

As for their interactions with the rest of Asia, Koreans and Japanese seem like they think they are better than other Asians.

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And I’d bet that at least 90% of Trumpkins go to Mexican restaurants.


Most concern is about the rise of Japan’s Imperialism which is led by Shinzo Abe.

Many countries would believe that Japan apologized to SK for their crime during WWII, fact is they didn’t. The money SK took from Japan with Treaty of Basic Relations in 1965 wasn’t COMPENSATION but SUPPORT means Japan never admitted their crime during WWII. Still they don’t admit what they did was a crime. And the Support was forced to deal with Japanese Companies only like Mitsubishi so their money could just flow back to Japan again and of course sold their products much expensive almost like twice.

They washed out their shameful histories from their textbook so young generations never learn what they did to many Asian countries and furthermore they teach them like they were the victims of WWII.

And now they are trying to go back to their so called Glorious Days, trying to have their own army so they can wage wars which is like German to try to go back to their Nazi days and to become a country can wage wars against European countries. Horrible, right?

Lastly, Japan still treat SK as their colony. See all the voices from Japanes right wing politicians.

They are showing their will to go back to their glorious days and becoming a threat and hostile to SK and now took a step to achieve it, how Koreans just sit still and the historical tragedy happens again? No way.

Japan is now Neo Nazi of Asia, waving their war crime rising sun flag anywhere, never admitted their past crimes trying to be the same criminal they were. We as Asians concerns about Nazis and understand the pain of the tragedy of the past history and now westerners have to understand and share and concern what’s happening in Japan and watch them.


As a westerner living in Japan for 11 years, and having visited Korea and having Korean friends, I have to say that yes the Koreans have any right to protest as they deem necessary. However, the reality is Japan has apologized, and expressed regret publicly. Moreover, Japan has paid reparations twice. 1 billion yen in 2016 and or 800M yen in economic assistance in the 1960’s(?) as a direct impact of discussions of this issue.

I feel that this is will continue to be unsolvable for some people. ( The money and apologies will never be enough or sincere enough) I get that, the crime was horrible.

The reality is, what the **** does Korea really expect the average Japanese person to do 70 years later? I’m not an Abe fan by any means, but he reacted so quickly and decisively with this restriction of export because he is frustrated with the situation. And I get that too.

Enough is enough. It is time for healing and moving forward.

PS. Korea, give the 1B yen directly to the surviving women. What are you doing with it?

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Moreover, regarding the facist right wing in Japan, it is a small but vocal minority just like anywhere in America, Europe and Asia.

Japan is nowhere near any imperialist agenda.

… and pat themselves on the back for doing so.


Shinzo Abe actually scares me more than Chee-To Rex, at least re: that huge area of the world. He’s WAY smarter but just as deeply jingoistic, fascist, racist, and inflammatory nonetheless. And of course, Dolt 45 won’t be able to affect/deflect Abe in any way, shape or form, even if in the unlikely event he wanted to, except perhaps as a disposable tool.

With China not far off and in an aggressive phase, and Japan flexing their muscles as their traditional enemy, it’s not terribly surprising that the S. Koreans feel a lot closer to their northern brethren than many of their other neighbors =/ .


This is an unutterably stupid move on Abe’s part. Japan leads the world in photoresist manufacturing. Some Korean chip companies are really feeling the heat from this. When you have a chip- making process, every layer is developed, at enormous cost, to use a specific photoresist. Once it is in manufacturing, it takes a whole lot of time and money to change it, and time is money, since the only way to recoup the costs of semiconductor capital equipment is to run that equipment 24/7/365. When the production line is down for a day, that’s a huge deal, and this has already been going on for weeks.

The damage here is already done, because in the future, people making decisions about process development will go out of their way to avoid using materials that can have their supply chain interrupted by a politician throwing a hissy fit. There’s just too much money at stake.

Abe basically destroyed Japan’s future dominance over an entire industry because he got his feelings hurt by a $90,000 court judgment.

The only saving grace is that this only applies to a few advanced resists that aren’t widely used yet, and not the majority of resists being used in high volume manufacturing, but the threat is clear.


I tried to find it, but failed. One of the early speeches from Abe’s predecessor basically said, “I am going to reverse the rules allowing us a self-defense force only and become far more aggressive in world politics”. That guy was gone in less than a year.

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“The Mexicans of X place” is a really effective analogue when I meet Americans abroad. It is not completely appropriate (when is it 100%?) but this is one of those times.

I have also been told this about the Turkish in Germany. And Filipinos, like, a bunch of places.