Friday, May 28, 2010

ER member Haruki's on the Bay Area Reporter!

Queer graduate receives special honor at SF State
by Matthew S. Bajko

Among the top 10 graduating students at San Francisco State University this year was a queer student from Japan who spent the last four years working to better the lives of other LGBT Asian and Pacific Islanders on and off campus.

At the May 22 commencement ceremonies sociology major Haruki Eda received a symbolic hood on behalf of the students in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. The faculty picked Eda after he received a distinguished achievement award within the Sociology Department.

Eda, 23, grew up in Koka, a city in Shiga Prefecture famous for its ninja history. Fluent in English, his parents encouraged him to study abroad in the states. He chose sociology due to his interest in reducing discrimination in society.

"Sociology should be about social justice and reducing social injustice," he said. "It really has the potential to be a tool for social change."

During his time on campus, Eda embraced his queer identity. He founded an organization for queer API students called AQUA – Asians and Queers United for Awareness. Off campus he volunteered at a queer Asian and Pacific Islander youth program run by the Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center in the Polk.

He also blogs about what it means to be queer and Asian at the website

"I wasn't really out in Japan. I came here determined to be out," said Eda, who disclosed his sexual orientation to his family during his freshman year.

While at SFSU Eda also became involved with Eclipse Rising, a Bay Area group for Zainichi Koreans. The term Zainichi means "staying in Japan" and it refers to Koreans living in Japan who retain their Korean nationality. Eda's Korean grandfather came to Japan as a soldier after the country annexed Korea in 1910.

The Zainichi are the largest minority group in Japan and they have struggled against discriminatory policies imposed on them by the Japanese. Because his father married a Japanese woman, Eda has Japanese citizenship and more privileges in Japanese society. But bridging his family's two cultures has not been easy, he said.

"It is a struggle to belong to the Japanese or Korean community," said Eda, who said he only started hanging out with other Koreans when he came to America and first visited South Korea in 2007.

Once in California, Eda experienced not only what it is like to be an ethnic minority but also discriminated against for being LGBT.

"I am not just queer here, I am also Asian. I have been interested in those dynamics of oppression both in Japan and the United States," he said.

This summer Eda will return home to Japan and then plans to move to Oakland this fall. He is applying for an unpaid internship at DataCenter Research for Justice, a progressive think tank focused on social justice and environmental issues.

By the fall of 2011 he intends to enter a Ph.D. program at a University of California campus or in a school in the Chicago or New York area. He would like to be a professor and do sociology research or work for the United Nations.

And like so many before him, Eda has come to consider the Bay Area home.

"Whenever I go back to Japan, I miss San Francisco. When I am here, I don't miss Japan," said Eda. "I really like this city."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Jong Tae-Se, 3rd gen. Zainichi soccer player leads DPRK!

ESPN World Cup Blog (May 26, 2010)
The 'Asian Wayne Rooney' leads North Korea
Posted by Mike Griffin

The week of international friendlies for World Cup participants continued on Tuesday. While the United States and Paraguay looked unimpressive in their encounters -- although each were resting some star players -- little-known North Korea put on a positive display in battling back to a 2-2 draw with Greece in a match played in Austria.

A day after Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal teammates failed to score a goal at home against lowly Cape Verde Islands, it was enlightening to see Group G opponents North Korea put two past former European champions Greece, a side known for its defensive strength. The star man for North Korea was Jong Tae-Se, who scored both of his country's goals with brilliant individual efforts to scorch a backline that did include its regulars in the starting lineup.

Greece took an early lead in the third minute, but Jong equalized midway through the first half after cutting in from the left side to unleash a right-footed rocket from outside the box that beat keeper Michalis Sifakis and clipped the bottom of the crossbar on its way in. Angelos Charisteas gave Greece a 2-1 lead just after halftime before Jong struck again four minutes later to even the match. The physical striker known as the "Asian Wayne Rooney" expertly collected a long diagonal pass before beating his defender and blasting the ball into the net at the near post.

Jong plays for Kawasaki Frontale in Japan's J-League, and is one of the few players to ply their trade outside the closed borders of the DPR. Born in Japan and originally holding South Korean citizenship, the striker decided to seek a North Korean passport due to his parents' heritage and after attending schools partially funded by Korea DPR.

He was top scorer at the 2008 East Asian Championship, and registered four goals in each of his first two games for North Korea in international competition. Having improved his scoring in the Japanese league in recent years, Jong helped his country finish second behind rival South Korea in Group B of the Asian confederation's final round of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.

Last week, Ivory Coast coach Sven-Goran Eriksson claimed that underdog North Korea could be a tough proposition for his side in Group G at the World Cup. "Nobody speaks about North Korea, but they play good football," Eriksson told reporters. "Physically they are better than anyone because they have been in the training camp for six months. I think we are going to have three very difficult games, and we have to be very organized."

The media basically dismissed the former England manager's comments as typical "coachspeak" prior to a major competition, but after Tuesday's result against Greece, maybe more teams will begin to take note of Jong Tae-Se and North Korea.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

NHK Documentary on Mixed Roots Youth in Japan! CLICK HERE!

NHK made a documentary about the group called "Mix Roots Kansai" -a group of mixed heritage youth in Japan. It started as a web-based group 2 years ago and now expanded to a nation-wide organization. "Shake the Forward" is an annual concert in addition to many other programs (family gatherings, radio programs, podcasts, different kinds of workshops...etc) that build intimate relationships amongst "mixed youths" (whether mixed race or mixed cultural heritage) and cross-cultural understanding. The documentary was aired July 19, 2008. Their official website is:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Our very own Eclipse Rising member recognized for his superb academic excellence and dedication to community service!
Congratulations Haruki!

Exceptional graduating students profiled
May 17 , 2010 -- One outstanding student from each academic college, Liberal Studies/Special Majors and Graduate Studies will be honored at SF State's 109th Commencement on Saturday, May 22. They will receive the symbolic investiture of the hood on behalf of their fellow students. In addition, Marilyn Thomas, hood recipient for the College of Science and Engineering, will be this year's student speaker. SF State News is pleased to introduce these students to the campus community and friends of SF State:

College of Behavioral and Social Sciences: Haruki Eda
When sociology major Haruki Eda arrived in San Francisco from Japan, he struggled to find a community he truly belonged to as a mixed Queer Zainichi Korean man whose first language isn't English. In Japan, Eda was part of a population of ethnic Koreans known as Zainichi Koreans. He has turned his multiple marginalized statuses into a commitment to work with oppressed communities. He founded an organization for Queer Asian and Pacific Islander students on campus, volunteered at a Queer Asian and Pacific Islander youth program in the city and served as a Resident Assistant in University Housing. He is also involved with a Zainichi Korean community organization that raises awareness about racism in Japan. As a sociologist, Eda plans to continue pursuing his interest in issues of sexuality and globalization in a doctoral program. "In the future, I would like to conduct community-based participatory
action research," Eda said.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Japan's colonial rule of Korea not fact, says city education board head

Wow, Are you kidding me?

Saturday 28th June, 09:17 AM JST

The head of the Shimonoseki city education board in Yamaguchi Prefecture has told officials of a Korean school that Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula ‘‘contradicts a historical fact,’’ the education board and the Korean school officials said Friday.

Tsuyoshi Shimakura made the remark on Thursday when he met the officials and students’ parents from Yamaguchi Korean school who visited Shimakura to ask for an increase of education subsidies, they said.

According to the Korean school officials and the education board, the officials made the request, saying, ‘‘We’d like the education board to respond based on the fact that children of Korean people who had no choice but to travel to Japan due to colonial rule are attending the school.’‘

Shimakura told them, ‘‘We cannot accept that because the part about colonial rule contradicts a historical fact,’’ they said.

Shimakura said he made the remark and said, ‘‘There is no relation between education administration and history, and it goes against the rules to bring the subject up.

‘‘It is free regarding how to express the annexation of Japan and Korea,’’ Shimakura added.

Kisaburo Tokai, minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology, said at a news conference, ‘‘It is very regrettable if the remark contradicts the government’s recognition.’‘

Touching on that he does not know the detail of the remark, Tokai said, ‘‘The government has expressed recognition that it inflicted suffering and damage on the people of Asia due to colonial rule.’‘

Shimonoseki and the Korean Peninsula have a close relationship historically, with the city and South Korea’s Busan concluding a sister-city relationship.