By Lee Gyu-sung
(Sogang University, 3)
Surfing on the Internet, I captured a conspicuous yet absurd article on a Daum website. A Chinese woman inside an automobile was being mobbed by her compatriots, who were striking the vehicle with solid metal pipes, and throwing old tomatoes and rotten eggs to the woman, who sat in utter horror. The reason for this ferocity? Her car was Japanese. In neighboring South Korea, people marched along the roads of Gwangju in an anti-Japanese protest, asserting that the Japanese had breached upon the rights over the Korean island Tokdo. With relations between the East Asian nations edging closer, concerns abound over possible repercussions. Thus, to maintain close ties and tranquility in the region, Japan should cease to pointlessly antagonize its neighbors while Korea and China should devise relevant countermeasures to resolve this predicament.
Tokyo has been contending that Tokdo is theirs while omitting parts of their atrocious wartime acts from history textbooks. These acts include, among others, the issue of "comfort women," an epithet given to Korean women sent to battlefields to serve as sex slaves. Furthermore, the books provocation persists by abridging Japanese exploitation of Korean workers during colonization. Simultaneously, in relation to China, the texts have diluted the anecdote of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre, a genocide in which "at least 300,000 Chinese were killed and 20,000 women raped."
In response, the Koreans and Chinese unleashed torrents of bile in burning Japanese flags and instigating anti-Japanese protests. Nevertheless, Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi exacerbated his neighbors contempt by stating that internal affairs should be resolved internally. Consequently, demonstrations for denouncing the Japanese government has been ongoing in Korea whereas the Chinese have been calling for a boycott of Japanese products as well as an opposition to Japan's bid to join the United Nations Security Council.
Indeed, distortion of historical facts is disconcerting, but all three nations should keep in mind that they will continue to hold hegemonic status in the continent as the leading Asian powers in the 21st century. Lately, Korea, China, and Japan have all built more intimate cultural and economic ties. Standing for outright nationalism amid recent advancements can only engender consequences and for that reason, the three nations, based on mutual respect and interdependence, should build on their current relations to enter upon a new phase.
Throwing rotten eggs and old tomatoes may contribute somewhat towards the liquidation of stress; however, such acts of violence can provide no more than the transient exhilaration of the throng. Perpetuating protests by the Koreans and Chinese publicized worldwide will only be construed as a prolonging cursory effort to solve a more intricate difficulty in demand of subtle care. Hence, China and Korea should implement practical policies to solve current issues and earn the support of the international society, whilst Japan put a halt to its attempt to purloin something that's not theirs. "Change begets change." It is about time the countries started receding from their shibboleths and perpetual fracas to actually elicit a tangible solution.