Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Eclipse Rising, a group based in the Bay Area composed of Zainichi Koreans, or postcolonial exiles of Korean descent in Japan, stand against the Obama Administration sending more artillery to South Korea and any militarized retaliation by U.S. or South Korean troops. We feel that such actions would only increase tensions in the Korean peninsula, where we have the most heavily militarized border in the world. According to Paul Liem of the Korean Policy Institute and several other Korea experts, North Korea struck Yeonpyeong only after South Korean forces conducted live artillery drills near the disputed maritime border, drawn unilaterally by the United States after the signing of an armistice agreement and unrecognized by North Korea. As these conflicts are perpetuated by the ongoing war, the only viable resolution we see fit is the signing of a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War.
As Zainichi Koreans, we want to bring attention to how the recent incident has affected the global Korean community in general, in particular the Korean communities of Japan. Only a day after the North Korean military reaction in Yeonpyeong, Japanese Prime Minister Kan told Minister of Education Takagi to freeze the process of including Woori Hakkyos, ethnic Korean schools in Japan, to the newly enacted “free tuition program,” which financially supports all high school students in their education, regardless of their nationality or which schools they go to including non-Japanese institutions such as international schools. Although the Japanese National Assembly continued to emphasize that the criteria for this program should be separated from political and diplomatic circumstances, Woori Hakkyos have continuously been excluded due to their association with North Korea, and only recently been considered to be included in the program as a result of the joint efforts of Japanese, South Korean, and Zainichi Korean communities’ outcry against their exclusion. However, the Japanese government is again using the recent political contention with North Korea as an excuse to justify their racist act against the Zainichi Korean community.
In light of these issues, we demand that the Japanese government not only stop violating the civil rights of Zainichi Korean members of Japanese society, but also make diplomatic efforts toward peace talks with North Korea along with the United States and South Korea.
Monday, November 29, 2010
"This opening intro page features fierce faces of many who stood in solidarity with the “comfort women” to demand Japanese accountability for its military sexual slavery. It is with the still-flowing tears, unredeemed, of the surviving halmonis (and memories of those who passed) in mind (with lots of other thoughts in mind, to be sure!) that I set out to the trip to the DPRK, the ‘other, virtually-forgotten (if not utterly demonized) half’ of the brutally divided dear motherland of my people, and beloved home for the halmonis. Somehow, I knew, their tears of painful yearning for redemption and genuine liberation didn’t seem entirely irrelevant to those I, too, and my fellow delegates on the trip, would come to shed during our 2-week stay, as we confront the forces of brutal war, violence, and colonization still pulling our people farther from the reach of justice and reconciliation long overdue... and also apart from each other.
Reunification is synonymous with reconciliation. One cannot come to realization without the other, if it were to deliver us all from the tears of our elders and our families today. To this end, the signing of the US-DPRK Peace Treaty is a first concrete step we can strive for. Not only is it simply long overdue, but it will provide us with more opportunities to participate in shaping the course of reunification of our motherland, to ensure it is achieved on the terms of the People of COREA. And that is a fundamental right of a sovereign nation. Countries of the world, beginning with the United States and Japan, have an obligation to respect and honor this today, tomorrow, and beyond. COREA IS FOR COREANS!"
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Moreover, can we talk about how the "homeland" politics affects lives of Korean diaspora all over the world? Japanese government is again using North Korea as their justification to discriminate, marginalize and try to kill Korean education in Japan, claiming that woori hakkyo (Korean schools) are terrorist schools. Do they really think that taking away equal educational rights from children can promote mutual understanding and peaceful relationship? Now, who's being irrational?
Below is breaking news from Mainichi Shimbun, the only non-ultra-right newspaper in Japan. Senda, Chief Cabinet Secretary and Takagi, Minister of Education said that application of "free-tuition-program" to Korean schools in Japan must be reconsidered now due to what NK did yesterday.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Picture of classroom out of control emerges in wake of bullied 6th grader's suicide
MAEBASHI -- Two weeks since the suicide of a sixth grader in Kiryu, Gunma Prefecture, a picture of a classroom out of control has begun to take shape.
Akiko Uemura, 12, who was found hanged by a scarf in her room on Oct. 23, transferred from an elementary school in Aichi Prefecture when her family moved to Kiryu in October 2008. It was after her Filipino mother visited the school on parents' visitation day in 2009 that Akiko's classmates began commenting on her appearance.
After Akiko began sixth grade this past April, classmates started saying that she smelled bad and asked her if she bathed. Akiko appealed to her parents to let her transfer to another school, saying that she was willing to walk to school no matter how far. Her parents sought advice from the school on numerous occasions, and considered moving elsewhere once Akiko finished elementary school.
In late September, Akiko's classmates began to sit as far away from her as possible at lunchtime despite their homeroom teacher's admonitions to stay in designated groups. According to Akiko's mother, Akiko asked a classmate to eat lunch with her in mid-October, only to be refused.
On Oct. 19 and 20, Akiko stayed home from school. Her homeroom teacher called her at home to encourage her to come to school on the next day, as the class was going on a field trip. On Oct. 21, however, some of Akiko's classmates questioned her about why she only came to school when there was a special event and whether she was otherwise playing hooky, and Akiko came home in tears.
Akiko stayed home from school again on Oct. 22, and when her homeroom teacher visited her home that evening -- when her parents happened to be at work -- to report on the school's decision to abolish lunchtime groupings, no one answered the door. On Oct. 23, Akiko woke up around 9 a.m. and had breakfast. When her mother looked into her room around noon, she was hanging from a curtain rail by a scarf that she had been knitting for her mother.
No suicide note has been found, but after her funeral on Oct. 26, manga entitled "Friends Are Great!" that Akiko appears to have drawn before her suicide was found. In a letter addressed to Akiko's former classmate in Aichi that was found on Oct. 29, Akiko wrote: "I'm going to Osaka for junior high. So we might pass through Aichi. I'll visit you if I can!"
Meanwhile, the faces of 15 classmates found in a photo taken during an overnight school trip when Akiko was in fifth grade were crossed out with what looked like ballpoint pen, and in response to a question from an autograph book asking what she wanted if she were granted one wish, she had written, "make school disappear."
At Akiko's elementary school, located among farms and new residential areas, the sixth grade students were divided into two homerooms. One classmate said, "There was a group of students who bullied Akiko. She looked really sad when they said things like 'Get of the way' and 'Go away.' No one tried to stop them."
Another classmate said that other students had no choice but to go along with the bullying. "There were a few people who were at the center of the group, and the other students were too scared to defy them. The class was in chaos."