Right wing blog, 2-channel harassing Mainichi reporter of Korean ancestry for left-wing stances, speaking rudely about emperor

Popular right wing nutjob blog murmur mumur, along with his buddies at 2ch, are furious over the behavior of a reporter for the Mainichi Shimbun, a third-generation zainichi (Japanese of Korean ancestry) named Park Chong Ju, at recent press conferences given by the Saga prefectural governor (UPDATE: For the record, murmur’s blog hasn’t commented on the emperor press conference specifically, but he probably will since Park is the subject of a “series” on the blog). In particular, people are angry over a 9/28 press conference given by the Saga prefectural governor announcing that the emperor would be attending a ocean-themed festival (that apparently already took place on 10/29) in the prefecture. Park was rude when questioning the necessity of spending millions of dollars to bring the emperor to the prefecture when govt finances are in trouble. He not only failed to use the proper honorifics when speaking of the emperor and his wife (calling the imperial couple “those two” rather than the formal 天皇皇后両陛下 “their majesties, the emperor and empress”), he questioned “the meaning” of an imperial visit, suggested that the money spent on the imperial visit could be used to help “the less fortunate,” and asked whether people would be forced to wave the Japanese flag, an act controversial among Japan’s left wing. Others were annoyed by his “interrogation” style of questioning, which is actually pretty common from what I’ve observed of reporters. It’s not pretty, but it’s also not something that’s usually publicized since press conferences like this have only recently been posted in full online and by their nature are not that popular to watch.

You can watch the video on Youtube or take a look at the transcript. In Japanese only.

To express his dissatisfaction with Park, Murmur mumurhas decided to use his favorite tactic and put up Park’s personal information, including mobile phone number, business card, and photographs, in an attempt to encourage readers to harass the man and contact his employers to complain about his performance. Consider it the online equivalent of black sound trucks outside a Communist Party picnic.

Basically, Zainichi can do no good in the eyes of the Japanese right wing. Almost anything Koreans do sets them up for ridicule and scorn, or denouncements as spies in their midst. The mere knowledge that a well-known person has Korean blood makes them a member of the Korean conspiracy. Apparently this reporter has an activist streak who thinks of himself as a representative of the people (a more recent incident had the Saga governor informing Park “This isn’t a place for reporters to state their opinions!”). He’s written articles critical of revisionist textbooks and in favor of allowing more government participation for the zainichi population, in addition to his critical stance on using tax revenues on the emperor’s visit.

As another commenter on 2ch pointed out, these stances make Park an easy straw man for those with a more conservative outlook (the majority of 2ch for starters). There have been several threads posted criticizing his manners, politics, and the definition of his own role as a reporter.

I want to say stuff like this makes me feel good about the state of American political discourse, but of course we’re no better, what with our own countless examples of petty harassment.

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32 thoughts on “Right wing blog, 2-channel harassing Mainichi reporter of Korean ancestry for left-wing stances, speaking rudely about emperor”

  1. Japanese rightists don’t only accuse Japanese with Korean blood of being spies and traitors- they have also been known to accuse people that they already consider spies or traitors of having Korean blood. For an example, see how the 2ch-ers badmouthed New York Times reporter Norimitsu Onishi, accusing him of being zainichi despite lack of evidence because they thought that his reporting was somehow denigrating of Japan just because he actually points out problems in society.

  2. murmur has gotten in trouble for similar stuff before. I imagine the post with Park’s contact info will be down within a week. However by now it’s already spread all over the net.

    I can’t remember, but isn’t Park the same Mainichi reporter that supposedly admitted to falsifying sources for some of his articles? (Specifically about Japan’s occupation of Korea.) I believe what got the fire lit was that such incident, the fact that he’s of Korean ancestry keeps the fire going.

  3. Their goal isn’t to sway public opinion, it’s to silence their political opponents through intimidation, and they are distressingly successful at times. Many a public figure in Japan has toned down their rhetoric after getting a bullet or blood-penned threatening letter in the post.

  4. The irony, of course, is that many of Japan’s uyoku are of Korean descent. Maybe not the wimpy net uyoku, but the guys in trucks, burning down houses are.

  5. Adamu, there seem to be misunderstandings.

    a reporter for the Mainichi Shimbun, a third-generation zainichi (Japanese of Korean ancestry) named Park Chong Ju,

    Japanese of Korean ancestory is never called zainichi. Zainichi does not have Japanese citizenship. They are either ROK citizens or DPRK citizens living in Japan. So, Park is either ROK citizen or DPRK citizen.
    (as a side note: zainichi in uyoku are also ROK citizens. They do not have Japanese citizenship.)

    and asked whether people would be forced to wave the Japanese flag, an act controversial among Japan’s left wing.

    What Park asked was whether Saga prefectural government distribute flags to people (consuminig tax money). Governer replied “No”. People are never forced to wave the flag when emperor visit somewhere. Those who want to wave the flag do that. Left wings just dislike to see people waving the Japanese flag.

  6. Park Chong Ju’s style of questioning was appalling. I hope those of you who know Japanese will watch that video and read the transcript to see what an unpleasant and rude person clearly full of himself (“My role is to check how you’re spending tax money!”). I don’t condone posting his personal information, but I will confess to some small joy in seeing an asshole like that get his just deserts.

    In my experience, the right-wing loves Koreans who love Japan and hate Koreans who hate Japan. SAPIO is always publishing articles by pro-Japan Zainichi, Koreans, and Taiwanese. If fits in with the East Asian liberation mythos. The backlash against people like Park is similar to what is heard by the right-wing about anti-American minorities, i.e. “Africa is so fucked today that slaves were lucky to come to America!”

  7. Japanese of Korean ancestory is never called zainichi. Zainichi does not have Japanese citizenship. They are either ROK citizens or DPRK citizens living in Japan. So, Park is either ROK citizen or DPRK citizen.

    Incorrect. We understand that Park is a third-generation “Zainichi,” which means he was born in Japan but 1.) was not granted citizenship by virtue of his parents citizenship, or 2.) has Japanese citizenship but kept/uses his Korean name. The overwhelming majority of Zainichi do not speak their “native” Korean/Chinese language.

    To say that he is a ROK or DPRK citizen is at best meaningless (and more accurately, wrong). Zainichi born in Japan are listed as “Korean” (朝鮮) nationals resident in Japan, but whether North or South Korea recognize them as citizens is a separate matter. Said another way, Japan telling a foreigner born in Japan that they are a certain nationality does not automatically make it true.

  8. Curzon,
    Those in the second category is not “zainichi”. If one call them “zainichi”, it is misuse of the term.
    As to the second part, that he is “Korean” (朝鮮) nationals or ROK citizen was accurate saying.

  9. I agree with Japan’s right wing that waving the flag in Japan shouldn’t be controversial. Where I depart with the right wing is in their belief that harassment campaigns are worth it or that 3rd generation Koreans don’t deserve the equivalent of citizenship status, regardless of the diplomatic situation.

    I also agree totally with Curzon that Park was unacceptably impolite in his questioning. Polite honorifics regarding the emperor are a given in Japanese society, even if Mainichi Shimbun does not go to great lengths to include honorifics in its reporting (am editorial position the paper has taken along with Asashi Shimbun). Also, there are ways to remain assertive in questioning on the necessity of spending tax yen on bringing the emperor to the prefecture (a valid question to be sure) without resorting to pedantic and presumptuous tones.

    However, no reporter’s actions should result in a harassment campaign, even inspired by a blog featuring a “shoe-on-the-head” logo. Letters to the editor and reasonable phone calls to the editor’s office should suffice to make the offended party’s opinion be known.

  10. Yes, I believe that is the same guy.

    I’ll admit that he was being unnecessarily rude, but on the other hand, I enjoyed seeing a Japanese person (he may not have citizenship, but third generation in the country, I’m going to call him Japanese) in public not respecting the Imperial family.

    And I’m not sure why you would say that calling him an ROK or DPRK citizen is “meaingless and wrong.” All zainichi are citizens of one of those two countries, and have passports issued by their respective government.

  11. However, no reporter’s actions should result in a harassment campaign, even inspired by a blog featuring a “shoe-on-the-head” logo. Letters to the editor and reasonable phone calls to the editor’s office should suffice to make the offended party’s opinion be known.

    I agree with you.

    Mumur is nutjob. But I don’t think he is a right wing. In today’s entry, mumur has writen that he is not interested in honorifics to the emperor.

    他のブログの電突では「皇室に対して無礼だ!!」みたいのが多いようですけど、mumurはあまり関心がないのでそこには突っ込んでいません。
    http://blog.livedoor.jp/mumur/archives/50668961.html

    Also, I could find in the mumur’s blog only three comments that mention honorifics to the emperor. (When I checked the comments, there were total 596 comments to the 6 entries relating to the Park’s issue.)

    I think that Park’s hilariously rude attitude was a good bait for nutjobs in 2channel. I like Park saying to the governer “Show me e-mails that you receive. I would bother myself to check if you are doing your job well.”

  12. I also noticed that mumur himself did not mention the remarks about the emperor – I first noticed the “matsuri” going on at 2ch and then noticed that mumur was on top of it, and then later saw that he’s more concerned that he’s Korean and supposedly anti-Japanese. Still, what would you label mumur’s general outlook other than right wing? He reads a lot like a Kobayashi Yoshinori manga…

  13. >zainichi (Japanese of Korean ancestry)

    >I’m going to call him Japanese

    NO.
    Zainichi is NOT Japanese. Their nationality is South-Korea or North-Korea.
    Zainichi live in Japan for long times. But, They wouldn’t be naturalized in Japan.

  14. Yes Char, Zainichi are by definition not Japanese citizens, but most of them aren’t really Korean either. Most of them speak only Japanese and little or no Korean, know have never been to Korean, and are culturally almost the same as their Japanese peers, which is why I generally consider them Japanese who because of some accident do not have the right documents.

  15. MF and Char are simply wrong about the technical “citizenship” of the ‘Zainichi’ born in Japan. As many as 150,000 Korean Zainichi (of a population of 600,000+) are stateless, registered as citizens of the defunct “Chosen” in Japan, special permanent residents, but not holding passports of either Korea. See this Japanese page on entry and reentry to Japan for stateless Zainichi. These people travel internationally with documents issued by the Japanese government in lieu of a passport, which can be a risky procedure.

    The process to receive citizenship from South Korea is apparently no picnic, with lots of proof required, and while some of these Zainichi may not have bothered or been interested to obtain citizenship of the South Korean homeland, many were rejected. To repeat: Japan telling a foreigner born in Japan that they are a certain nationality does not automatically make it true.

  16. I deal with Koreans for my business often and my conclusion is, they are hilariously arrogant like Park. They always talk about ancient korean (as roman empire in asia) history when I met them first time.
    I think their rudeness is because of their deep inferiority complex.

  17. Read the page more carefully Curzon. While Japan does not write “DPRK” on their own documents, DPRK citizens living in Japan who want to travel abroad get a DPRK passport issued from Chongryon (the North Korean agency in Japan). Because Japan does not acknowledge those passports, they issue reentry permits as a sheet of paper, instead of a passport sticker like citizens of other countries get. According to the Chongryon web site, to get a DPRK passport they need:
    *Passport application
    *Copy of Foreigner Registration Card (both sides)
    *Copy of Re-entry permit (page that shows photograph and expiration date)
    *3cm x 4cm photograph

    The page you pointed to says that SOME countries MAY treat DPRK citizens from Japan as stateless, but that is in spite of their passport, which they DO have.

  18. Dude, check out this junk mail I just got. Someone’s trying to capitolize.

    Subject: 毎○新聞 朴鐘○
    From:

    乳首が見えそうなCMのメイキング映像
    あの有名CMの貴重なメイキング映像。
    CMがすごいだけに、メイキングもすごい!?

    http://www.secret-shot.com/Uj6tHp5AJEyzQlaIGuDBMql/

    The subject is what needs the attention, not the actual message content.

  19. So MF, what if someone does not want DPRK citizenship? This doesn’t change the fact that there are statless, passport-less permanent residents in Japan of “Korean” ancestry with no state as their state of origin. I say it for a third time: Japan telling a foreigner born in Japan that they are a certain nationality does not automatically require that state to recognize the individual as a citizen. This is true in the US also, by the way: if an American citizen leaves the country before age 16, their children are not eligible for American citizenship. So if two Americans leave the US at age 16, later marry and have a child in Japan, this child would also be stateless, being eligible neither for Japanese nor American citizenship.

    nanashin: You are a twat. While I may no sympathy for left-wing causes of Mindan and other Korean groups in Japan, stereotypes of narrow-minded Japanese like yourself who generalize “Koreans” as arrogant and infatuated with Korea only serve to justify the resentment towards Japan that many Zainichi hold towards how they are treated in Japan. Do us all a favor and shut the fuck up.

  20. Curzon, people do not have to apply for a DPRK passport if they do not want to, but as I understand it the important thing is that the DPRK government considers the “stateless” Zainichi with Chosen citizenship to be DPRK citizens, and will allow them to obtain DPRK passports. Isn’t that the recognition that matters?

  21. Hi.
    After the end of the WW2, US let the “Chosun” Peninsura(=Korean Peninsura) separate from Japan.
    The Japanese Government was going to give Japanese nationality to Koreans who was in Japan.
    But, the Koreans denyed it and rioted against it. So, the government gave them “Chosun” nationality because South and North Korea was not established at that time.

    After Korean war, both korea was established. And Japanse and South-Korea(ROK) signed “Japan-ROK Basic Relation Treaty”. And Japanese governmnet admited Korea(ROK) is the only country in the Korean Peninsura.
    ROK required Japan to thier nationality should be “Korea”. So, Japan presumes that “Korea” is country name and “Chosun” is area name.

    There is no obstacle for Zainichi to be naturalized in Japan. If they expect it, they will be able to be naturalized easily.

    Keeping Korean nationality is their own decision.

    So, Zainichi absolutely is not Japanese.

  22. There is no obstacle for Zainichi to be naturalized in Japan. If they expect it, they will be able to be naturalized easily.

    Keeping Korean nationality is their own decision.

    So, Zainichi absolutely is not Japanese.

    Yes, there are no obstacles to naturalizing Zainichi. Keeping their “Korean” citizenship is their own decision. But they are, for all intents and purposes, Japanese, being born here, raised here, receiving their education here, and participating in general public and civic life.

  23. Until recently it was actually not as easy for Zainichi to become citizens though. There were various roadblocks, such as a policy (formal or informal I am not sure) of not approving the application unless the entire family wanted to naturalize at once. This of course was a problem when the family was split, and so none of them could get approved.

  24. I have been a reader of 2channel since 2000, that was just after the infamous Nishitetsu Bus Hijacking incident. At that time, most of the commenters in 2channel were either pro-Korean or indifferent to Korea-related topics. If someone wrote comments that look anti-Korean, they were quickly bashed by many commenters and kicked out of the thread. But that atmosphere gradually changed over time. I think that the most read Korea-related site at that period was “ぢぢ様玉稿集…”. Original site was deleted by ISP, but its contents have been maintained by volunteers in a lot of servers (e.g. [mirror.jijisama.org]). I guess that it would be helpful to read that site to understand the sentiments of the bloggers originated from 2channel.

  25. If an American citizen leaves the country before age 16, their children are not eligible for American citizenship. So if two Americans leave the US at age 16, later marry and have a child in Japan, this child would also be stateless, being eligible neither for Japanese nor American citizenship.

    Not quite. If both of the parents are US citizens, the kid will have US citizenship so long as at least one of the parents has lived in the US at some point in their lives. See this site for the details of the law.

    Essentially, nationality law the world over is designed to make it REALLY REALLY hard to be born stateless.

    Even if you are born stateless, most nations provide an expedited naturalization process for stateless persons who have a genuine link to the country. Japan’s Nationality Act (article 8.4) provides, for instance, that the age, domicile and financial requirements for naturalization are waived if the person “has had no nationality since the time of birth, and has had a domicile in Japan for three consecutive years or more since then,” which would cover just about any Zainichi who couldn’t get citizenship in North or South Korea (as long as they had good behavior).

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