A potential candidate for prime minister of Japan and mayor of one of Japan’s largest cities drew the ire of many after he said women who were forced into sexual slavery in World War II served a vital role in helping the country’s war efforts.
The mayor of Osaka, Toru Hashimoto, made the controversial remarks on Monday speaking to a group of reporters, according to the New York Times.
“When soldiers are risking their lives by running through storms of bullets, and you want to give these emotionally charged soldiers a rest somewhere, it’s clear that you need a comfort women system,” he said, according to the New York Times.
When pressed later, he insisted that brothels “were necessary at the time to maintain discipline in the army.” Other countries’ militaries used prostitutes, too, he said, and added that in any case there was no proof that the Japanese authorities had forced women into servitude.
Instead, he put the women’s experiences down to “the tragedy of war,” and said surviving comfort women now deserved kindness from Japan.
Los Angeles is naming a new elementary school after a Korean American living legend.
The board of directors of the Los Angeles Unified School District met today and approved the new elementary school’s name to be the “Dr. Sammy Lee Medical and Health Science Magnet Elementary School,” named after the 92-year-old former Olympic diver.
Dr. Lee was the first Asian American to win a gold medal for the United States and competed at the London Olympics in 1948 and the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland, winning gold medals in the 10-meter platform at both Olympics.
The native of Fresno, Calif., was already a physician when he won his gold medals, having earned a medical degree from the University of Southern California in 1947. He also served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during the Korean War. Continue Reading »
South Korea Proposes Border Meeting With North
New York Times
South Korea proposed on Tuesday to hold a border meeting with North Korea to discuss bringing finished goods and raw materials from an industrial park that the two countries jointly operated until last month.
The Kaesong Industrial Complex has been idle since North Korea withdrew all its 53,000 workers, accusing the United States and South Korea of plotting to invade the North. South Korea pulled out the last of its citizens from Kaesong on May 3, severing the last economic ties between the Koreas.
Neither the North nor the South has officially closed the eight-year-old complex, the best-known symbol of inter-Korean cooperation. But its fate has become a test for inter-Korean relations.
Japanese Aide Visits North Korea
New York Times
A political aide to the prime minister of Japan made a sudden, rare visit to North Korea on Tuesday. Japanese officials refused to say what he was doing there.
Japan and North Korea do not have formal diplomatic ties. Talks between the two governments, which resumed last August after a four-year hiatus, were broken off again in December after North Korea tested a rocket.
Kyodo News, a Japanese news agency, reported that the adviser, Isao Iijima, was met at the airport at Pyongyang, the capital, by a North Korean official identified as Kim Chol-ho, a vice director in the Foreign Ministry. Such a reception would suggest that Mr. Iijima, who is a senior adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was there on official business.
Orphaned and homeless in North Korea
The first time Yoon Hee was abandoned, she was an infant.
She was born in a village near North Korea’s sacred Mount Baekdu, where the country’s lore claims its founder, Kim Il Sung, led the fight for independence and his oldest son, Kim Jong Il, was born.
But the similarities between Yoon Hee and her homeland’s rulers end there.
See the CD 13 Candidates Debate in the Elysian Valley
Patch.com (Los Angeles)
On Tuesday, voters will have what is likely a last chance to see the two candidates in the runoff election for the Los Angeles City Council District 13 seat together. John Choi and Mitch O’Farrell will face off at Dorris Place Elementary School at 6:30 p.m.
The 90-minute conversation will take place in the school’s auditorium at 2225 Dorris Place. Sponsored by the Elysian Valley-Riverside Neighborhood Council, the event will feature pre-prepared questions asked by community members.
According to organizer Jeff Klein, the event will be moderated by Tracy Stone and Steve Appleton of the EVRNC. Klein, who chairs the EVRNC’s Outreach Committee, told us in an email that candidates will have four minutes to answer each question, which will cover Metrolink, the Los Angeles River, business/economic development and other issues related to the Eastside and Los Angeles in general.
U.S. Firms See Opportunities in South Korea
Wall Street Journal
Just over one year on from the implementation of the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, American companies see plenty of opportunities for export growth in South Korea, U.S. Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez said.
In Seoul as part of a trade mission with U.S. companies and for meetings with South Korean government officials, Mr. Sanchez said the benefits of the FTA are being seen but it would take a few more years for the full impact to come through.
“There’s been nearly a 50% increase in U.S. auto sales here (since the FTA started in March 2012), orange juice is up 160%. I could name probably another four or five sectors that are doing well,” he said in an interview.
College Admissions and the Asian-American Parent
The Ivies, MIT, Stanford, Caltech, Berkeley. Maybe Duke, if all else fails… maybe.
That’s the “List” — the typical college list for parents of high-achieving Asian-American students. With over four thousand colleges to choose from, why do so few make the cut?
As one guidance counselor lamented to me, Asian-American parents just don’t show up for information sessions featuring lesser known or liberal arts colleges, regardless of the quality of the school. Yet when it comes to the big name schools, you can’t find a seat. He asked me for advice. While not all Asian-Americans limit their college choices to the List, for those that do (and other parents as well), here is what I have to offer.
We all fall prey to the lure of brands from time to time, and education is no exception. It seems that for many Asian-American parents, only the luxury brands of higher education will do. It would serve us well to stop and think about the purpose of brands, the calculated effort to promote group think and distort reality (as a trademark attorney by training, I have seen this up close). These two goals are out of place, but persist, in the education world.
The Fast and the Furious stars to walk on the red carpet in Seoul
BNT News via Yahoo Philippines
On May 13th at Time square CGV in Seoul, the red carpet event for upcoming movie \’The Fast and the Furious 6, 2013\’ was held with main actors in it. Korean-American star Sung Kang is walking on the red carpet.
Psy to perform in final round of ‘American Idol’
South Korean rapper Psy will perform during the final round of “American Idol Season 12″ this week, his local management agency said Tuesday.
Psy will perform his new hit single “Gentleman” as a special guest on the American reality singing competition being aired Thursday (American Pacific time) on Fox TV live across the United States from Los Angeles, YG Entertainment said.
Interview: Korean American Comedian Danny Cho Tells it Like it is
Growing up in L.A., comedian Danny Cho is fluent in Spanish, Korean, English and most importantly, comedy. The Korean-American funny guy returns to Korea this weekend for a show in Seoul on the 17th and then another in Busan on the 18th. In an exclusive interview, Haps talks with Cho about comedy, Spam, Jean Claude Van Damme’s masterpiece, and Gwenyth Paltrow’s imminent demise.
Ken Jeong jokes about screen rants
Xpose Entertainment (Ireland)
Ken Jeong never feels “comfortable” recording his rude quotes for The Hangover fans in case they play them to their young children.
Ken Jeong has joked he doesn’t mind his young twin daughters watching his foul-mouthed on-screen rants because “they’re jerks”.
The comedy actor is famed for his role as flamboyant Chinese gangster Leslie Chow in The Hangover films. His character is famed for his funny one-liners and Ken is often asked to record voicemail messages by enthusiastic fans, although he doesn’t always feel comfortable doing it.
Macy’s San Francisco Union Square: Far East Movement – Interview & Concert
As you may or may not have heard, as part of the celebration for Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, Macy’s announced the hosting of Far East Movement (“FM”) for a series of performances and appearances across the country “geared toward highlighting and celebrating the unique influence of Asian-Pacific Americans on American culture and pop music.”
I had the great pleasure of dropping by Far East Movement’s Macy’s San Francisco Union Square performance on Saturday, May 11th. Prior to their performance, Nicki Sun (who also previously help host a Verizon-sponsored Lunar New Year Union Square performance back in February) asked the members of Far East Movement (FM) about how they got started and other interesting questions.
What in the world is a Refsnyder?
If you haven’t been following along with Tanya’s daily Baby Bomber Recap, and I think that you should, a man named Rob Refsnyder has come out of nowhere to be the organization’s best hitter by a large margin. He has been phenomenal this season so far and is currently hitting .382/.486/.504 across two levels.
He started his professional career at Low-A Charleston and hit a moderately underwhelming .241/.319/.364 as a 21-year-old. He repeated the level this season, but soon rocketed himself to High-A Tampa after only 13 games. Refsnyder has taken his .370/.452/.481 batting line in Charleston and has actually hit better since his promotion; he has a .391/.512/.522 line in 18 games for Tampa. So far this season he has had an 18-game hitting streak, accumulated five three-hit games and currently has four consecutive two-hit games.
Check out our profile of Rob Refsnyder from the August 2012 issue of KoreAm:
August Issue: Baseball Star Robert Refsnyder Transitions From World Series Hero to Pro Player
Pen pals from 50 years ago meet for first time
Asahi Shimbun (Japan)
Teenage pen pals a half century ago, a South Korean man and a Japanese woman never forgot each other and their postal friendship that developed at a time their two nations were enduring tense relations.
Kim Joong-suck, 66, who lives in Seoul, and Sumiyo Endo, 65, who resides in Shimizu Ward of Shizuoka city, met for the first time on May 13 when relations are again rocky between their two nations. But when the two finally greeted each other in front of JR Shimizu Station, there were only smiles. Kim showed Endo photos of a grandchild in elementary school. Endo told Kim that her first grandchild was born in November.
She was eager to meet Kim because she had been concerned about the awkward way their pen pal relationship ended.
“I thought she would be an active person based on her letters,” Kim said. “I am so glad to see that she has not changed.”
A young Korean Canadian man was arrested on Monday at Incheon International Airport for sexually assaulting a female passenger, according to news reports.
The 19-year-old-man, identified only by his last name Park, is accused of fondling a 20-year-old woman’s breasts on two separate occasions during the Korean Air flight from New York to Incheon. The woman — a Korean international student studying in Canada — informed a flight attendant who later confronted Park.
Initially, the Canadian denied the claim and said he thought it was someone he knew. Later, he confessed and apologized to the victim. Continue Reading »
The woman who accused actor Park Si-hoo of raping her last February has decided to drop the charges against him, prompting speculation from both the Korean media and fans.
Prosecutors said the accuser canceled her claim against Park on May 9 and Park, in turn, dropped his libel civil suit he had filed against the woman, her friend and his former talent agency.
He has not dropped his lawsuit against the friend, referred to as “B” in media reports and his former agency. In the suit, Park claims that his agency encouraged the rape case to go forward in retaliation for his leaving the company. Continue Reading »