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Re: Words

From:Yoon Ha Lee <yl112@...>
Date:Friday, September 8, 2000, 1:26
On Thu, 7 Sep 2000, DOUGLAS KOLLER wrote:

> Koreans were _low_ man on the totem pole. When I was there, even 2nd > generation Japan-born ethnic Koreans had to be fingerprinted, just like the > rest of us "gaijin". I don't know if that's still around. There was a great > deal of outcry; foreigners didn't appreciate being made to feel like > criminals and Korean Japanese were none too thrilled either. Perhaps this > has now changed.
From what I've heard, Koreans today are still very much second-class in Japan. OTOH, it's not like South Korea is all that receptive toward the Japanese, either. It was about 8 years ago when I visited the Korean War Museum, but there was a *lot* of anti-Japanese material related to the Japanese occupation. While I will certainly admit that most Koreans had good cause not to like that period of history, it seems silly to demonize all Japanese for it. During the Imjin War (1592-1598) the Japanese were called (I'm told by Prof. Strauss) "waeran," or "dwarves" (with rather unpleasant associated connotations). Since we ethnic Koreans aren't particularly tall ourselves, I find this almost amusing...though *most* Japanese I've seen are slightly shorter than *most* Koreans. I think short is good, though, even if I have to ask people to get books on the highest shelves <grumbling about tall people--j/k>. YHL