Why Japanese Should Respect Kim Kyon-ju
Basis of Democracy Is “Free and Unbiased”
【ニッポンの新常識】 Common Knowledge Revisited 68
On the 19th, I participated in the “South China Sea Situation Forum” at Yomiuri Hall in Yurakucho, Tokyo (hosted by Monthly magazine ‘Seiron’ and Sankei Newspaper). The first portion consisted of a presentation by military journalist Kazuhiko Inoue. The second half was a panel discussion with Mr. Inoue, me, and Tokai University Professors Yoshihiko Yamada and Kim Kyon-ju. The details will run in the July 1 edition of monthly “Seiron.”
I have appeared with Ms. Kim on several news programs. She is a Korean who loves her country, so on issues where the views Japan and Korea are at odds, in principle she sides with Korea. Viewed from the Japanese perspective, she sometimes makes outrageous and irritating assertions. As a result, she is often considered to be “anti-Japanese,” but that is a significant misconception.
Ms. Kim and I are long-term residents of Japan, and we share the trait that we are better versed in Japanese politics history and national sentiment than the politicians and bureaucrats of our native countries. Of course we both constantly wish for our home countries and Japan to have good relations.
On the other hand, there is one point on which Ms. Kim and I fundamentally differ. That is the fact that my home country, the United States, places great importance on freedom of expression whereas Korea does not.
Korean commentator Kim Wan-sop published a book “Excuse for Pro-Japanese” (Soshisha) which was positive about the Japanese annexation of Korea, but in Korea it was designated as “material harmful to youth,” and he was arrested. He was sued for libel and defamation both criminally and civilly several times and slapped with a fine and an order to pay damages. The Korean government refused to renew his passport, thereby de facto prohibiting him from leaving the country.
Takushoku University Professor Oh Son-fa, who is from Cheju Island in Korea, was completely refused entry into Korea in July 2013.
Pen name “Sincerely,” who wrote “Shame Korea Theory” and three other books critical of Korea which have sold altogether over 400,000 copies, is apparently a dentist living in South Korea, but if his true identity were to be revealed, it would be impossible for him to ever return to a normal life.
In this extremely oppressive environment, Kim Kyon-ju directly criticized former Korean President Lee Myung-bak for visiting the disputed Takeshima (in Shimane Prefecture) (Dokdo in Korean) and making disparaging remarks about the Japanese emperor. Japanese should pay her a certain amount of respect.
Some self-styled conservatives have a tendency to not seriously look into opposing opinions and reject them outright. To have a dualist approach to everything where one is either a friend or an enemy is the thought pattern of children or totalitarians. The fundamental idea of democracy is “free and unbiased.” That means today’s enemy may be tomorrow’s friend
If one fails to think before acting, he may end up no different from those forces which have a knee-jerk reflexive reaction against any of the policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration.
Official Home Page 公式サイト：http://www.kentgilbert.com/
Official Blog 公式ブログ：http://ameblo.jp/workingkent/
Twitter ツイッター： https://twitter.com/KentGilbert01
Kent Channel ケント・チャンネル：https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkRaXYnq-O_b82Yz_ASRLwA