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NEWS: South Korean One Piece Exhibition Cancelled Due to Japanese Flag Art


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wohdin



Joined: 10 Jun 2011
Posts: 157

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:09 am Reply with quote
Did no one at all have the wherewithal to stop for just a brief moment and think that maybe, just maybe, holding ANY event showcasing ANY Japanese product in a war museum that highlights Japan's war crimes was inappropriate to begin with? I don't really think the Japanese flag imagery was the crux of the issue, here, but yeah, sure, let's focus on a piece of painted cloth instead of the real issue.
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BrainBlow



Joined: 22 Apr 2013
Posts: 124

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:27 am Reply with quote
Japan may have done terrible, terrible things in the past, but it's stuff like this that honestly makes Japan seem like the totally reasonable one here.
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kirisaki_kabuto



Joined: 06 Feb 2014
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:50 am Reply with quote
BrainBlow wrote:
Japan may have done terrible, terrible things in the past, but it's stuff like this that honestly makes Japan seem like the totally reasonable one here.


This is a museum that is focused around the memory of activists that fought and died at the hands of Japanese Imperialism. You say "past" and that just may portray an image of a long past situation. That is not true. Thousands of people who suffered during the Japanese invasion are still alive today. The matter of the occupation is too sensitive and long an issue for me to cover here, but I do encourage you to read about what actually happened. After you do, remember that there are thousands of people who actually endured those terrible scenarios and try to think of their perspective when they see a museum that is a symbol of the Korean resistance and hope being used for an exposition on a Japanese product, brandishing proudly the flag before which they had to cower in fear for years. Besides that the issue and conflicts are far from over, even now more than half a century later - the issues about the controversial issue of the comfort women that put the relations of the two countries in an even more fragile standing, where some Japanese Politicians actively tried to come and erase and deny the crimes of the past. The resentment runs very deep and to be honest it is understandable.

Do you seriously find this boycott so unreasonable?
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wohdin



Joined: 10 Jun 2011
Posts: 157

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:02 am Reply with quote
^

Precisely. It has nothing to do with who did what, or who has moved on, or who is allegedly denying their war crimes, or any of those political hot buttons. It's just flat out disrespectful to the entire purpose of the museum to hold such an event there. And a lot of South Koreans are going to perceive it as Japan simply trying to trample over their past once again, regardless of how anyone else feels about it.
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Gasero



Joined: 24 Jul 2009
Posts: 355
Location: MI, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:04 am Reply with quote
Maybe I missed the cue, but I don't see why someone would be showing off Once Piece in a South Korean War museum.

Adding the Japanese flag to the displays is just adding insult to injury.
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mgosdin



Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 516
Location: Kissimmee, Florida, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:10 am Reply with quote
Holding that type of exposition in that particular venue, not a good idea ... to say the least. You have to wonder what the people involved were thinking, it kind of looks like they weren't.

People in general are good at holding grudges and slow to forgive / forget, typically it takes a generational passing or more. The Koreans have had about as bad a time of it as anyone in the last hundred years, it's a wonder that South Korea has been able to prosper like they have.

Mark Gosdin
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BrainBlow



Joined: 22 Apr 2013
Posts: 124

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:10 am Reply with quote
kirisaki_kabuto wrote:

Do you seriously find this boycott so unreasonable?

Why it was planned in the first place then is beyond me.

And there is only so long the "deep hatred" can seep into things completely unrelated, like fantasy manga.
The only connection Oda would have to Japanese war crimes is being Japanese. A Japanese born 30 years after the end of the war.
Which essentially means none at all.

Luckily Korea's censorship of Japanese media has waned over the years, but the general attitude is annoying.
Europeans don't treat Germans and German works like this.
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Blood-
It...it's not like I post for you or anything!It...it's not like I post for you or anything!


Joined: 07 Mar 2009
Posts: 14987
Location: Toronto, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:21 am Reply with quote
Gasero wrote:
Adding the Japanese flag to the displays is just adding insult to injury.


From the article:

Quote:
According to the organizers, within the materials they were shown before permitting the event, there were no images of the Japanese flag.


However, I agree that 1) having an One Piece exhibit in ANY war museum, South Korean or not, is kinda weird (what's the connection between war museums and One Piece?) and 2) given the obvious sensitivities of some South Koreans towards Japan it seems extra weird to do something like this in a SK war museum.
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Mohawk52



Joined: 16 Oct 2003
Posts: 7364
Location: England, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:22 am Reply with quote
With all the increased tension in the region by disputes over basically an unihabited rock in the West Pacific, between China and Japan, Japans' conservative government changing their military from a purely defensive to offensive ability for the first time since the surrender, increasing its military budgets for more ships and fighter jets. North Korea acting like a Stalinistic spoiled brat. This was a spectacular own goal by the organisers of this event. What were they thinking? Thinking none of it was their fault still obviously. To forget one's past is unfortunate. To ignore one's past is dangerously foolish. Either way it will all end in tears again. Rolling Eyes
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Usagi-kun



Joined: 03 Jul 2013
Posts: 65
Location: Nashville, TN

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:35 am Reply with quote
Quote:
Europeans don't treat Germans and German works like this.

An interesting point. However, they probably would not host a German art exhibition at a Holocaust museum either. Poor planning by the South Korean museum. Perhaps they could at least try to transfer to another venue rather than cancel the event entirely. I'm sure there are tons of One Piece fans in South Korea who are close to my age but still have respect and forethought for cultural history.
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doomydoomdoom



Joined: 08 Mar 2013
Posts: 175
Location: Michigan, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:23 am Reply with quote
Yeah, kind of strange that this was going to be held in a war museum...that's kind of like holding a Fritz Lang Film Festival in a Holocaust museum, to further an analogy already made. Well, Lang was a Catholic Jew and fled Germany after his psycho wife joined the Nazis so actually...nvm. You could say Riefenstahl, but that would be too obvious.

Still, what were they thinking? Which flag was it, the Imperial one or today's? Guess it doesn't make a difference to them, but given that this is a comic book MADE IN JAPAN...Anyhow, it's One Piece, hopefully they'll change venues as I'm sure a lot of Koreans want to go see One Piece.
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Thatguy3331



Joined: 18 Feb 2012
Posts: 1193

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:32 am Reply with quote
Why they would house an event like that there is beyond me, but all in all, I'd say it's for the best it didn't happen.
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ajr



Joined: 29 Nov 2010
Posts: 262

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:32 am Reply with quote
Well, the first comment said everything I had to say, so...yep. Stupid on several levels.
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ParkerALx



Joined: 09 Apr 2014
Posts: 62

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:36 am Reply with quote
As others have pointed out, a war museum is a ridiculously inappropriate place to host an exhibit about a comic/cartoon series, regardless of the politics involved.
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kirisaki_kabuto



Joined: 06 Feb 2014
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:20 am Reply with quote
BrainBlow wrote:
kirisaki_kabuto wrote:

Do you seriously find this boycott so unreasonable?

Why it was planned in the first place then is beyond me.

And there is only so long the "deep hatred" can seep into things completely unrelated, like fantasy manga.
The only connection Oda would have to Japanese war crimes is being Japanese. A Japanese born 30 years after the end of the war.
Which essentially means none at all.

Luckily Korea's censorship of Japanese media has waned over the years, but the general attitude is annoying.
Europeans don't treat Germans and German works like this.


Just a warning, this comment might get long and moderately boring. I don't blame or judge anyone who skips this. I apologize beforehand. For the boredom and any mistakes since English is not my native language.

It's all a matter of culture and history. Things unrelated? Not exactly. Sure, Oda has absolutely nothing to do with the Japanese actions of the first half of the past century in Korea. Still, this was not against Oda, but against a product of popular culture made in Japan that is growing in popularity in Korea and especially against the way the exhibition was planned (location, etc.).

Let me just make clear why culture is such an important and sensitive element in the relation between Japan and Korea. This may bring some light to why Germany's current situation is different but frankly I am not very well informed on that so I can't commit to the comparison. I'll try not to go too far back, but just keep in mind that for many centuries Korea was a cultural standard for Japan. Sure, they themselves took a lot of those things from China, but Koreans were the ones that took many foreign cultural elements to Japan (such as Buddhism for example). This role was, let's say, a source of pride. That's one of the reasons why the occupation was so punishing on the Korean identity in a way. The occupation had several phases but had one constant element - a sort of cultural reconstruction of Korea. A truly unprecedented process of mass assimilation. In the most severe phases (after the end of Showa, I believe), Japan went very very far with this. Things could go from forcing marriages, to force Shintoism upon the whole population (keep in mind that Shintoism wasn't practiced in Korea), even trying to substitute the Korean Language with their own, by stopping the teaching of Korean in schools for example (Korean students were punished when they used Korean), or forcing the adoption of Japanese names. There are a lot of examples of this, where Japanese culture was forced (very violently if necessary) upon the Koreans. It was an ultimate attack on their cultural identity. This was extremely humiliating and I don't think most people are aware of how they went with this. This wasn't centuries ago, there are people alive today that were forced to adopt the Japanese culture while they were in school for example. This whole thing got a lot worse after the war took a bad turn for the Japanese and they had to squeeze Korea of all it had and more to compensate the war effort.

So I hope we can both agree now that culture isn't just some unrelated element that doesn't matter. This because the occupation had an enormous cultural component that was highly humiliating. Now to further emphasize the role of culture - do you know of the concept of "soft power" that was coined by Joseph Nye? It's a complex concept but I'll try to put it simply (Nye's own writings on it are very interesting and I advise reading them if you want to know more). Basically, Nye mentions that whereas before the past half a century Imperialism was militaristic in nature (or "hard power") now there's a sort of "neoimperialism" that uses not military might but cultural influence. The way in which through the various cultural outlets a country can shape another's culture and daily life. After the war Japan focused on economy and built up its own soft power. That's why nowadays the Japanese culture manages to be popular throughout the world - be it with entertainment (manga, anime, cinema, etc.). The concept of neoimperialism is usually applied to more serious cases but many authors have suggested that Japan's shift of focus has reflected this new instrument through which they could impose their presence globally (impose may be too harsh a word here though). In Korea for decades the population has reacted badly towards Japanese culture. Hell, Park Chung-hee's decrease in popularity was very much due to the opening of commercial relations with Japan. The people did not want the Japanese products, even though eventually they had to acquire them, considering the increasing offer. This kept going until today. Nowadays, Japan's soft power expresses itself through several ways, one of which is manga and anime. Korea's view of Japanese culture (mostly in its older generations) is marked by the terror and humiliation of cultural destruction and assimilation. That's why an element of popular culture isn't just a random unrelated thing. It's the symbol of Japanese culture. The symbol of that culture that kept so many in fear was exhibited in a museum dedicated to activists that tried to stop the occupation. Not 200 years ago, but less than 70, it's too recent. It doesn't matter if it's Oda, or Tezuka. The point stands with its cultural symbolism. Culture in this case is not just some unrelated thing.

Japanese Popular culture in several shapes and forms got popular in Korea in the past few decades. Still this doesn't mean that the issue doesn't exist and isn't felt anymore. Especially among the older generations. There is a very conflicting relation with Japanese popular culture. This kind of event ends up being a good proof of that.

Also you mention censorship but that's a whole different point. Basically, Koreans have had very strong censorship measures until very recently. This applies especially to a couple of topics. Japan and the Japanese media are one of them. This because for every politician Japan is an Achille's heel and connections with it may spell a more difficult mandate. Also couple that with the Japanese manipulation of its own media. Many times Japanese media went public with news that severely wounded the Korean national pride. Among other things, they denied some of the atrocities committed during the occupation, which really didn't bode well with the Koreans. Considering all this, it honestly doesn't surprise me that a not-so-democratic political system (well at least until recently, particularly with its censorship and numerous corruption scandals) censors Japanese media. Also an important element is the censorship of news related to the North which they tend to censor profusely.

As I feared this got long. Also, in case someone misunderstands, I'm not Korean. I just happened to study quite a significant amount of East Asian history in college.
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