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Hate-Inciting Manga Is a Hit In Japan

Posted July. 03, 2006 03:28,   


“It is pity that [Koreans are] unable to see beyond their boundaries”; “The Korean media is all anti-Japanese”; “The World Cup is tainted by Koreans”; “Korea steals Japanese culture.”

The above are a table of contents of the Japanese “Manga-Kenkanryu (Against the Korean Wave)” series, which have distorted views on issues between Korea and Japan.

According to Mainichi Shimbun on July 1, the comic book, which criticizes Korea in provocative languages, going against the Korean wave that swept Japan, has sold 670,000 copies a year after its release.

“Manga Kenkanryu” stars a Japanese heroine who gets interested in Korea after co-host of Korea-Japan World Cup in 2002 and joins “Far East Asia Research” at a University, a club which studies history between two countries. Her father is depicted as a person who worked for the Japanese Government-General in Korea during the Second World War, and a fourth generation Korean resident in Japan appears as the player of an opposite role.

The first piece of the series, which was published in July 2005, dealt with Dokdo islets issues and the “Yon-sama fad” in which it repeated the argument of Japanese ultra-rightists.

The second piece released this year deals with broader subjects such as post-war compensation, foreigners’ suffrage and textbook issues, and justifies Japan’s sense of superiority over Koreans, and its invasion during the second World War.

The “Invasion on Japan-Dokdo” part insists that Korea stole Dokdo after unilaterally drawing a line on the sea, detained some 3,000 Japanese sailors until the establishment of a Korea-Japan fisheries agreement, and used this as a bargaining card in normalizing diplomatic relations.

The second piece asserted that Japan wanted to compensate for victims under its colonial rule individually in a post-war compensation negotiation, but the Korean government insisted on compensation on the national level and that Koreans were not ever compulsorily taken to the police station during the Japanese ruling, and there was no discrimination against Koreans living in Japan.

The writer’s pen name is Sharin Yamano. When he finished his script in 2002, he visited many publishers for its publication, but got rejected. Then, he began posting his cartoon on the web, and an editor of a publisher, Shinyusha, saw the cartoon and published it.

Mainich Shimbun said that the aftermath was so huge that about 1,000 letters for and against its content were flooded to the publisher.

While some are for the cartoon, saying, “I got to know that Koreans’ perspective about history is all cooked up, others say, “Koreans did nothing wrong. It’s the Japanese that are bad because we don’t look back on our faults.”

Young-A Soh sya@donga.com