Every now and then the Japanese simply freak out and start some bizarre popular trend like wearing pubic hairpieces or dressing like hawaiian surfer kids. Well, the most recent Japanese craze over Korean entertainers has apparently spawned a newer uglier reactionary wave of racism, setting back race relations in East Asia by one hundred years. I guess the Japanese just never got over losing the Pacific War. A friend just sent me this NY Times article which I'm posting here in full for you to read:
Ugly Images of Asian Rivals Become Best Sellers in
By NORIMITSU ONISHI
In another comic book, "Introduction to
The two comic books, portraying Chinese and Koreans as base peoples and advocating confrontation with them, have become runaway best sellers in
In their graphic and unflattering drawings of
They also point to
Kanji Nishio, a scholar of German literature, is honorary chairman of the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, the nationalist organization that has pushed to have references to the country's wartime atrocities eliminated from junior high school textbooks.
Mr. Nishio is blunt about how
"I wonder why they haven't grown up at all," Mr. Nishio said. "They don't change. I wonder why
Mr. Nishio, who wrote a chapter in the comic book about
The reality that
The wave, though popular among Japanese women, gave rise to a countermovement, especially on the Internet. Sharin Yamano, the young cartoonist behind "Hating the Korean Wave," began his strip on his own Web site then.
"We weren't expecting there'd be so many," said Susumu Yamanaka, another editor at Shinyusha. "But when the lid was actually taken off, we found a tremendous number of people feeling this way."
So far the two books, each running about 300 pages and costing around $10, have drawn little criticism from public officials, intellectuals or the mainstream news media. For example, Japan's most conservative national daily, Sankei Shimbun, said the Korea book described issues between the countries "extremely rationally, without losing its balance."
As nationalists and revisionists have come to dominate the public debate in
"Lacking confidence, they need a story of healing," Mr. Yoshida said. "Even if we say that story is different from facts, it doesn't mean anything to them."
But the comic book, perhaps inadvertently, also betrays
That peculiar aesthetic, so entrenched in pop culture that most Japanese are unaware of it, has its roots in the Meiji Restoration of the late 19th century, when Japanese leaders decided that the best way to stop Western imperialists from reaching here was to emulate them.
In 1885, Fukuzawa - who is revered to this day as the intellectual father of modern Japan and adorns the 10,000 yen bill (the rough equivalent of a $100 bill) - wrote "Leaving Asia," the essay that many scholars believe provided the intellectual underpinning of Japan's subsequent invasion and colonization of Asian nations.
Fukuzawa bemoaned the fact that
Writing that "those with bad companions cannot avoid bad reputations," Fukuzawa said
As those sentiments took root, the Japanese began acquiring Caucasian features in popular drawing. The biggest change occurred during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904 to 1905, when drawings of the war showed Japanese standing taller than Russians, with straight noses and other features that made them look more European than their European enemies.
"The Japanese had to look more handsome than the enemy," said Mr. Nagayama.
Many of the same influences are at work in the other new comic book, "An Introduction to
The book describes
The book waves away
The book also says the Japanese Imperial Army's Unit 731 - which researched biological warfare and conducted vivisections, amputations and other experiments on thousands of Chinese and other prisoners - was actually formed to defend Japanese soldiers against the Chinese.
"The only attractive thing that
Like many in
"I have to thank