Posted by: rbbadger | July 19, 2008

Kimberly’s comment

Yes, Kimberly, the details of just who controls Dokdo are contentious.  Dokdo has been Korean territory for a long time, but Japan considers it to be a part of their national territory.  One of the campaign promises of President Lee Myeong Bak (李明博) is to lay to rest much of the acrimony between Japan and South Korea.  I suppose that such things are now on the back burner.  Oh well!  Relations between South Korea and Japan were especially difficult in the past administration.  Relations between the People’s Republic of China and Japan are not much easier.  The Chinese government has long reminded the world of all the bad things that were done to it by invading powers.  And of course, the memories of all the horrible things that Japan did to Korea, even if they took place a millenia ago are not forgotten. 

Another major controversy involves a Shinto shrine in Tokyo.  The Yasukuni-jinja is a shrine to all those who died in the service of the Emperor.  Among those enshrided is the late Tojo Hideki, former Prime Minister of Japan during the Word War II era and one of those hanged for war crimes.  The former prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, used to visit the shrine on major anniversaries, such as August 15th, anniversary of Japan’s surrender.  His visits would enrage everyone in South Korea and in China as well.  About the only place that was relatively well treated during the Japanese colonial period was Taiwan.  The people of Taiwan do not bear the same animosity towards Japan that Koreans and Chinese Mainlanders often have.

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