Cho presses Japan over sex slavery
Cho Yoon-seon, Minister of Gender Equality and Family, returned to Seoul on Sunday after wrapping up her five-day visit to the United States for the United Nations General Assembly Third Committee meeting.
During her visit, the minister called on the international community to act to resolve the decades-old issue of sex slaves during World War II.
On Saturday, Cho visited the “comfort women” monument set up in Bergen County, New Jersey to honor hundreds of thousands of wartime victims who were forced into sex slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army during the war.
S. Korea raises “comfort women” issue at U.N. human rights panel
Yonhap News via GlobalPost
South Korea’s gender equality and family minister on Friday raised the issue of women brought into sexual slavery for the Japanese military during World War II at the human rights panel of the U.N. General Assembly.
Although Cho Yoon Sun, the minister, did not specifically name Japan, she called on “the responsible government” to apologize and take responsible measures in her speech at the Third Committee, which oversees social and humanitarian affairs.
With the advancement of women on the committee’s agenda, the South Korean minister, speaking in English, devoted a substantial portion of her address to “the issue of the comfort women.”
Tabloids brimming with anti-Korea diatribes
For 11 consecutive days from the start of this month, every front page of the Yukan Fuji, a nationally circulated evening tabloid published by the Sankei Shimbun, was embellished with at least one negative reference to South Korea. Some headline excerpts:
•“S. Korea blasts into 20-year-long economic panic. President Park strays from her public commitment. Samsung shares plunge again.” (Oct. 1)
•“S. Korea’s President Park makes self-destructive remark in diplomacy with Japan.” (Oct. 2)
•“S. Korea’s President Park accelerates (her) tyrannical rule.” (Oct. 3)
•“List of toxic foods produced in S. Korea — insecticide found in ‘fresh cucumbers’ ” (Oct. 4).
•“Anti-Japanese radiation propaganda boomerangs on S. Korea’s own marine products industries.” (Oct. 5)
•“Kara breakup drama; final curtain goes down on the Hanryu boom” (Oct. 6)
And so on.
Int’l sex trafficking – Korea’s open secret
By the time Lee, a 30-year-old Korean sex worker in Melbourne, called for help in 2010, she’d been forced into prostitution in two foreign countries and piled up a huge amount of debt.
She says loan sharks, bar managers and even clothing shop owners in Busan conspired to induce her to borrow $20,000. They sent her to brothels in Japan and Australia, where she was forced to have sex with up to 10 clients a day.
Hong, a 26-year-old North Korean defector, thought she would be working in a karaoke bar singing with customers and borrowed $6,000 for a broker to arrange a working holiday visa and for travel expenses last year.
Fond Recollections of Dictators, Colored Later by the Lessons of History
New York Times
MONICA MACÍAS calls herself the daughter of dictators. Two of them.
Her father was Francisco Macías Nguema, the first president of Equatorial Guinea, whose rule was marked by the execution of thousands. But the man who became her guardian, and father figure, was even more infamous: Kim Il-sung, the founder of North Korea and creator of a real-life Orwellian dystopia of gulags and near-total information control.
Ms. Macías landed in Mr. Kim’s care when her father asked Mr. Kim to oversee three of his children’s educations. Like many in the cold war-era third world, the African leader looked up to Mr. Kim. Soon after, Mr. Macías was overthrown and executed, but Mr. Kim fulfilled the promise, educating the children at some of the North’s best schools.
S. Korean gov’t doing poor job of managing N. Korean defectors: lawmaker
Yonhap News via GlobalPost
South Korea is not keeping proper tabs on North Korean escapees, a local lawmaker said Monday, fueling criticism that policymakers are not interested in properly caring for these marginalized citizens.
Rep. Kim Sung-gon, of the main opposition Democratic Party, said as of this May 25,560 North Korean defectors have arrived in the country. The lawmaker said in a report released ahead of the unification ministry’s parliamentary audit set for Tuesday, that of all defectors Seoul was aware of the whereabouts of 23,075 of them, with there also being discrepancies in the information held by different agencies.
Kenneth Bae’s mother thanks N.K. for allowing meeting with son: report
The mother of an American man jailed in North Korea for unspecified anti-government crimes has expressed her gratitude to the North Korean government for allowing her to meet her son in Pyongyang, a news report said Saturday.
Kenneth Bae, a 45-year-old Korean-American known as a Christian missionary, was arrested in North Korea last November on charges of unspecified anti-government activities. In April, he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.
THE BOSS: You’d Better Have a Plan
New York Times
MY parents emigrated from South Korea to the United States when my father enrolled in graduate school here for a Ph.D. in physical chemistry. My mother makes the woman who wrote “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” look like a kitten. She had strong ideas on how to raise children and pushed my older sister, Lydia, and me.
Lydia and I learned to play piano, violin and guitar and took tennis, swimming and ice-skating lessons. If I got a 100 on a test, my mother wanted to know why I hadn’t gotten extra credit. Her teachings have been helpful in my professional life.
My father gave me math and science lessons. When I was about 4, he bought an early computer and wrote basic scripts for me to type so I’d feel I had programmed it myself. I’d watch my dad go to work every day and decided I wanted a job. After seeing him get his shoes shined, I pitched the idea that I should do it, and he agreed. I was probably terrible at it, which meant he put up with badly shined shoes. Later, his approach to any problem I had was to suggest I think about it differently. I’ve heard his voice when facing challenges.
Victim snaps pictures of crook in attempted robbery
Just a few snaps of a camera phone made a big difference in cracking an attempted robbery case. A suspect has been arrested for trying to rob Clarksville military supply store Army Town at gunpoint. The victim was able to get valuable clues to police when he shared pictures of the crook in his getaway vehicle.
Adam Yoon, of Clarksville, said a man in a mask burst into his Tiny Town Road business last week and pointed a gun at him.
“He aimed the gun at me and said, ‘Give me the money!’” said Yoon.
Yoon said he turned around and bolted out the back of the store with the masked man chasing behind him.
Google Jousts With Wired South Korea Over Quirky Internet Rules
New York Times
South Korea is one of the world’s most digitally advanced countries. It has ubiquitous broadband, running at speeds that many Americans can only envy. Its Internet is also one of the most quirky in the world.
A curfew restricts school-age children from playing online games at night; adults wanting to do so need to provide their resident registration numbers to prove that they are of age.
Until last year, commenters on the Web were legally required to use their real names. A simple Web search in Korean can be a fruitless experience, because the operators of many sites, including some government ministries, bar search engines from indexing their pages.
Punk Band No Brain Sign Deal with Famous U.S. Producer
No Brain, a Korean punk rock band that emerged from Seoul’s hip Hongik University area, have signed a recording contract with world renowned record producer Seymour Stein.
“No Brain [are] unique in performance. I think they have universal appeal,” said Stein, who serves a vice president of Warner Bros. Records and co-founder of Sire Records. He made the comments on Friday while delivering a lecture at MU:CON Seoul 2013, a world music market hosted by the Korea Creative Contents Agency.
The recording will take place in Los Angeles, he added.
IU Went on a Shocking Diet to Prepare for Her Comeback
IU revealed the shocking diet she underwent in order to prepare for her current comeback.
On October 12, KBS‘s “Entertainment Weekly” aired a special interview with IU through the program’s corner “Guerrilla Date.” The singer confirmed that she gained a lot of weight while filming KBS’s drama “You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin.” IU also stated that she was most concerned with her weight as she prepared for her comeback.
Korean Franchises, Food Makers Expand in U.S.
Korean bakery franchises, coffee chains and food manufacturers are expanding their outlets in the U.S.
Paris Baguette on Sunday opened a four-story outlet in Manhattan’s Times Square, the second one in New York City after one in Koreatown in mid-town Manhattan. Next month, the bakery franchise plans to open two more, in mid-town and on the Upper West Side.
Caffé Bene has eight outlets in the U.S., including one in Times Square which opened in February 2012 and another near the Fashion Institute of Technology that opened in July this year.
Down 0-2 in NLCS, Dodgers place their fate in Hyun-Jin Ryu’s hands
Los Angeles Times
For the Dodgers to advance to the World Series, they’ll have to do to the St. Louis Cardinals what the Cardinals did to them.
“We have to beat their ace,” Adrian Gonzalez said. “It’s that simple.”
So, come Monday at Dodger Stadium in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, Hyun-Jin Ryu will be asked to replicate the performances of Cardinals starters Joe Kelly and Michael Wacha in the first two games of the series.
Kelly kept up with Zack Greinke in Game 1 to set the stage for the Cardinals’ 13-inning, 3-2 walk-off victory. Wacha blanked the Dodgers for 6 2/3 innings in Game 2, allowing the Cardinals to beat Clayton Kershaw, 1-0.
Former NFL star Hines Ward completes triathlon
Former Pittsburgh Steelers star Hines Ward added a new title to his resume Saturday. Not content with the titles of football and dancing star, Ward now is an Ironman.
The two-time Super Bowl winner finished one of the world’s most challenging triathlon courses in 13 hours, 8 minutes and 15 seconds.
Ward was the 1,680th athlete to cross the finish line after a 2.4-mile ocean swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a full 26.2-mile marathon. He swam a 1:20:01, biked a 06:21:12 and finished off with a 5:12:56 run.
Pitcher Yoon Suk-min leaves for U.S. in hopes of starting gig in MLB
Former MVP-winning pitcher Yoon Suk-min left for the United States on Monday in pursuit of his first Major League Baseball (MLB) contract, saying he would like to earn a starting job.
The 27-year-old right-hander for the Kia Tigers in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said he plans to stay in the U.S. for about three weeks to discuss future options with his agent, Scott Boras, and also to go through his offseason training program.
With nine KBO seasons under his belt, Yoon, who has bounced between the rotation and the bullpen throughout his career, is eligible for free agency this winter.
Don’t Go Pro, Lydia Ko
Amateur sensation Lydia Ko is turning pro and has asked the LPGA Tour to waive its age limit.
The 16-year-old from New Zealand already is a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour — both wins at the Canadian Women’s Open — and last year became the youngest winner in LPGA history. She also contended at the Evian Championship last month in the year’s fifth and final major championship.
The LPGA Tour confirmed that it received a petition from Ko asking that it waive its minimum age requirement of 18.
How ‘hanbok’ is influencing biggest fashion names
Compared with the Japanese kimono and Chinese cheongsam, Korea’s traditional dress — known as hanbok, and worn by women and men — has remained under the international fashion radar.
So much so that when Lee Young Hee, among South Korea’s most renowned hanbok designers, showed her collection in Paris for the first time in 1993, most of the fashion press alluded to her silhouettes as “kimonos” — to the horror of both the designer herself and everyone back in Seoul.
Why Koreatown Is L.A.’s Hottest Neighborhood
Conde Nast Traveler
Nobody walks in L.A.” So sings the one-hit wonder band Missing Persons, but they clearly never hung out in L.A.’s Koreatown. The three-square-mile district just west of downtown has recently exploded into a hub for creative types and a magnet for hipsters—and it’s actually pedestrian-friendly. Come November, the cool quotient goes up again with the opening of The Line hotel (from the team behind Manhattan’s NoMad), which brings the city’s best Korean-American tastemakers together to create the nabe’s next hot spot. The Line (213-381-7411; doubles from $240) will feature two restaurants (both helmed by Korean BBQ master Roy Choi), a swank retro-themed lounge from L.A. bar scene VIPs the Houston Brothers, as well as an outpost of local design shop Poketo from Angie Myung. But the hotel isn’t the only place these folks are making waves; they’re the force behind K-Town’s rise in general. That’s why we tapped them, along with another trendsetter, LACMA curator Christine Y. Kim, to share their personal picks for the area’s musts:
Frugal Find: Isaan Station in Koreatown
Los Angeles Magazine
Like its spicy grilled meats and tonsil-searing salads, the cuisine of Isaan, in northeastern Thailand, has caught fire in L.A. The eight-month-old Isaan Station, located in Koreatown’s neon-lit nightlife zone, puts a stylized spin on the region’s street food scene. Thai hip-hop blares and campy vintage radios decorate the walls, but the kitchen stays true to Isaan’s rustic classics. Goong chae nam pla is shrimp sashimi bathed in chili and garlic, sliced beef nahm dtok nue, or waterfall beef salad, arrives gritty with crushed roasted chilies, and a cockle salad unites shaved lemongrass and volcanic prik kee noo peppers.
Glendale Mayor Dave Weaver told a Japanese television station that the city “opened a beehive, a hornet’s nest” when it installed a controversial monument honoring Korean “comfort women” earlier this year in the city’s Central Park, the Glendale News-Press reports.
“We just shouldn’t have done it,” he said.
The memorial, honoring over 200,000 Korean women who were taken into sexual slavery by the Japanese army during World War II, has been at the center of a storm of controversy since its installation earlier this year. It has been opposed by Japanese nationalists who insist comfort women were acting of their own accord as prostitutes.
Weaver told Channel Sakura, what the Glendale News-Press described as a “far-right-wing channel,” that he was opposed to the memorial since it was first brought up by lobbyists. His reasoning “on television” was that he had wanted that section of the park to be constructed into an underground parking lot before any development took place. Still, Glendale, a “quiet little bedroom community,” had no business in involving itself in international issues. Continue Reading »
Ghosts Calling Home
Kalliope Lee’s debut novel, Sunday Girl, channels the souls and unresolved wounds of the Korean “comfort women.”
Kalliope Lee is summoning spirits—and she wants you to listen. Lee’s novel Sunday Girl is a kind of literary séance, a book that explores tragedy, sexuality, death and healing through the story of the “comfort women.”
Over 20 years ago, when Kim Haksoon—the first former “comfort woman” to come forward publicly—accused the Japanese of abducting young women and forcing them into sexual slavery, Lee was deeply disturbed by the revelation. How could such atrocities be kept secret for so long? The silence that was imposed on these women weighed heavily on Lee, and she felt compelled to speak out. Or, more accurately, to write.
“I felt very connected to the plight of the comfort women and a lot of the oppression of Korean women throughout history,” Lee said during a phone interview in early August. “I felt like it was still very much a part of me and my soul, and that the writing of Sunday Girl was sort of—I hate using this word, but it’s exactly how it felt— an exorcism. [I felt] that I needed to really connect with these voices in me of my ancestors who were never heard.”
Lee explained that throughout the process of researching, writing, editing and rewriting, she felt a sense of obligation to tell the story of these women whom history has continually tried to hush and erase. Continue Reading »
Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki will retire after a 34-year career that included 11 animated features and co-founding the famed Studio Ghibli in 1985, according to Variety.com. Kofi Hoshino, the head of Studio Ghibli, revealed the news to reporters during a press conference at the Venice Film Festival where Miyazaki’s latest and last feature, Kaze Tachinu (The Wind Rises) was being screened.
The movie has already earned more than $80 million since its July 20 release in Japan, according to TIME.com. Miyazaki is widely considered a box office phenomenon and a national treasure; his last four films—Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and Ponyo—have grossed about $700 million domestically and $871 million worldwide. For the most part, his entire body of work has received popular and critical acclaim, highlighted by Spirited Away winning the Academy Award for best animated feature in 2002.
Most reviewers have labeled The Wind Rises as a film for adults rather than children. In 2011, Miyazaki explained to a Japanese magazine that he made the movie because of what engineer Jiro Horikoshi, who designed the famous Japanese WWII “Zero” fighter plane, said: “My wife and my staff would ask me, ‘Why make a story about a man who made weapons of war?’ … And I thought they were right. But one day, I heard that Horikoshi had once murmured, ‘All I wanted to do was to make something beautiful.’ And then I knew I’d found my subject.” Continue Reading »
Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto asked that San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors retract its condemnation of his remarks justifying Japan’s use of sex slaves during World War II.
In a letter sent to Osaka’s sister-city, the Japanese right-wing politician said his words were “misunderstood” by San Francisco’s equivalent to a city council as he never “legitimatized or defended” Japan’s institution of “comfort women,” a term used to describe sex slaves.
“My statements … have always been consistent with my concern for the protection and enhancement of women’s dignity and human rights,” he wrote.
Hashimoto came under scrutiny across the world in May, after he said that comfort women were “necessary” for Japanese soldiers during the war. Continue Reading »