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July 26, 2013

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Read this with interest. Learned quite a bit on a subject about which I know far too little. So, no critique here. Just thanks.

Nice metaphor. My own favorite instant crude comparison is that China (on the mainland) is France, with its complex culture and famed cuisine; Japan is England (offshore), far enough away to be able to resist military invasion but close enough to selectively imbibe continental culture; and Korea - not quite in the right relative location, admittedly - is Ireland, full of gregarious, hard-drinking (don't ever try to outdrink a Korean!!) people who take no s**t from anyone else because they've been taking it all their lives/history.

(And that's all East Asia, which to those who live there is "Asia," which to those who live South of it - my area of expertise - is annoying.)

(Except in England, where "Asia/Asian" tends to center on India/Indian {!} and what we're talking about here is "The Orient/Orientals" - which East Asians don't much care for, as it reeks of Orientalism.)

More as it occurs to me, or as I'm needed to back up any ground balls that slip through the infied.

Oh - Vietnam doesn't fit in my model, but in LJ's, he's the bastard or adopted son, part of the family but not really (cf. John Snow in Game of Thrones?), who spends half his time trying to prove he's more worthy than any other son - did you know Vietnam still had imperial exams, based on Chinese classics, after China itself had abandoned them? - and the other half saying "To hell with all of you, I never liked you anyway, and my REAL kinfolk are better than you as well!"

Over the last half-century or so, VN has definitely been more in the latter mode, and considers/claims itself to be SOUTHEAST Asian, not (as before) East [=Real] Asian, but that might swing back the other way sometime, though probably not in my lifetime.

Didn't Korea suppress Christianity with even more brutality than Japan during its 'Hermit' period?

As for culture, when I compare Korean, Chinese and Japanese movies I get the impression that Korean culture is commpulsively tragic with extremly extended unhappy endings being the norm. Even in the rare cases where not everyone meets a sticky end, it tends to be at best bittersweet. Not that Chinese or Japanese films never do that but they seem not to make it the center point of almost everything.

What all three seem to have in common though is that their humour never developed beyond the custard pie stage ;-)

My understanding is that there was a lot of persecution in the early 1800's, which was centered around Catholic missionaries. There was also a massacre in 1865 that led to a French campaign against Korea I'm not sure if they had anything on Japanese brutality, though.

Iirc there were some special extra tortures and gruesome execution methods for those suspected of resp. convicted of Christianity. A good way to get rid of neighbours you did not like was to smuggle a rosary or cross into their house and then dropping a hint to the authorities. No trampling crucifixes for exoneration. Admittedly I canot say how much of that is true and how much invented for either denouncing the persecution pr deterring potential violators. In general it seems to me Koreans tend to execute radical ideas a wee bit more radically still than their neighbours/cousins in a 'more papal than the pope' fashion that can be seen in other smaller siblings of larger nations too (Baltic Germans to. Nazis, Georgians to Soviets, Cambodians to Mao's China etc.).
Again, I am just talking stuff I have no close relationship to or deeper insight on.

I wasn't aware of the French campaign against Korea on behalf of (sic) persecuted Catholics, but it almost exactly parallels the campaign against Vietnam under the same pretext seven years earlier - except in the outcome. France managed to obtain about 2/3 of VN, plus Cambodia, from the earlier venture; doubtless they were hoping for the same fortunate result from their ardent defense of "the faith" in Korea.

Virtually forgotten is that (Catholic) Spain also participated in the VN campaign, but got nothing from it. (Except, of course, for treasures laid up in heaven.)

Ask a Korean "Korean-Japanese Relation Saga"

"In early history, Japan owed much (but not all) of its cultural heritage through Korea."

"First, about the “making Koreans feel superior” part. Koreans tend to stress that Korea has always been culturally superior to Japan, and to some degree it is true. Since the beginning of time until around 18th century, China was the cultural center of East Asia, and Korea was closer to China than Japan. Therefore, Korea was undoubtedly superior to Japan in such arts as understanding ancient Chinese texts, calligraphy, china-making, etc. that were fashionable in China."

Not agreeing, just quoting. A decent and interesting blog, that I have been exploring for month.

until the Jesuits screwed that up

I blame the Franciscans.

which Koreans coming to populate the Japan archipelago, pushing out the indigenous Ainu

Uhh, Jomon?

Korean enmity towards Japan probably goes back to Hideyoshi's invasions of Korea

My own current totally ignorant theory is that the total buttkick Japan received in Korea changed everything, and largely responsible for sakokou. There was much more traffic with China in the Edo period than with Korea.

For instance, I wonder if the intransigence of the Korean peasants (e.g., to grow food for the samurai) shocked the Shogunate into the sword hunt and shinokosho. Plus the move to Neo-Confucianism. Plus the restrictions on ocean-going vessels.

IOW, sakoku was at least as much to keep Kyushu from Korea (or very limited) as to keep the West out. I think perhaps Japan was more than a little frightened by Korea. Kureji ototo.

But I haven't even read much Turnbull yet.

And everything Hartmut says about the movies is wrong. Hong Sang-soo makes nothing if not comedies of manners. Try Jin-hoo Hur. Itami could do subtle comedy along with slapstick, try The Funeral. Ozu mostly made comedies. Sad comedies.

Tragedy? Bergman? Fassbinder? Resnais?

I don't want to go all orientalist with mono no aware here, but poignancy, "the world isn't beautiful, because it is"

beautiful <==> sad is all we got

tragedy is for optimists, disappointed Romantics, capitalists

Now I've got that theme song from the 1960s TV show running through my head.

Tampopo is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen.

I'm trying to figure out an analogy to the genocide in Tibet in My Three Sons, but it seems to me there wasn't anybody in the Douglas family quite that badly behaved.

There is obviously a biased filter as far as the export of Korean movies to Germany goes*. I have seen a lot and own a lot on DVD and most either have an overdone tragic ending or they are slapstick (on the custard pie level). A lot of East Asian films I know can be quite subtle but rarely on the topic of humor and I find it often spoiling the experience, i.e. the film itself can be a masterpiece but the attempts at comic relief stand out like [beep, beep, beep], often using jokes that were old in western movies decades before I was born**. And I am not one who takes offence at gutter level humor in a piece of Shakespeare (as many German critics in the past did).
In (modern) Japanese films I occasionally ask myself what illicit substances the writers took or whether Monty Python's Flying Circus had a secret cooperation agreement with them..

*It's definitely true for Japanese classics that are almost impossible to get over here (and many I cannot even get from the UK or France or only in extremly crappy editions).
**I am excluding jokes that can only be found in the German subtitles not in the English or Dutch ones(which makes me assume that they are not in the original either).

Hulu has dozens, if not several hundred, Korean movies and TV comedies and dramas. But, to watch them outside the US, you would have to pay for a high speed proxy server, I guess.

Yes, every location outside the US gets blocked.
I had that problem yesterday with a video that was blocked on youtube at least for Germany and on hulu even for Canada (as another victim told me).
I have the same problem often with UK stuff that is available for UK users only too. On the other hand the BBC makes a lot of material available in Germany (dubbed and often abridged) but not in the UK at all.
As for absurdities, I know of two DVD editions of a Chinese and a Thai film respectively where one has the choice to watch it either in the original without subtitles or in the dubbed version with (i.e. Thai/Mandarin without subtitles or German with German subtitles, no other options). Again I had to import from the UK for an edition that was of any use to me (since I do not speak either Thai or Mandarin).
And then there was that Japanese movie where the BR edition had the original Japanese track (but no other) and the DVD two different dubs but not the original Japanese.
I have given up on the idea to learn any outer-European language (I considered Japanese at one time) since I am not overly talented with languages. Better don't ask me why I went for Icelandic instead (you would likely not believe the answer anyway).

FWIW, the "Ugly American" in the novel of that name (by Burdick and Lederer)
http://www.amazon.com/The-Ugly-American-Eugene-Burdick/dp/0393318672
is NOT who/what the term has come to mean to us! In fact he's a good guy - an engineer who is physically ugly, but makes a successful effort to understand the problems of the poor Asian country with which he is dealing (a semi-fictionalized Vietnam?). But the other Americans depicted in the book are so clueless and repugnant, and the theme struck such a chord (we're messing up our own chances in the Third World) that the terminology slipped almost immediately from what the authors intended to what the audience wanted to understand by it.

And that concludes today's useless factoid.

Charleswt beat me to it.

Hulu in Germany ...German site, says it's legal. If vpns are legal.

A vpn server that isn't concerned too much about security is pretty cheap, like under $10 a month. Who knows what adequate speed will cost. I don't have cable tv, but pay for a 25M pipe (actually employer pays part.)

I also read that Hulu has been trying to get into Germany, but been blocked by German courts. The next big trade deal could open that up.

(PS:Watched an old Wim Wenders movie last week. 1st time that I remember seeing actual defecation and masturbation in a mainstream movie. I can only presume German movies have gone much farther in 35 years, and shudder.)

I checked youtube, but in Japanese tv it looked all anime. Anime is great! But that's my taste. (Also, mubi, funimation, amazon prime)

I also saw that mubi is providing (4.95 e/month limited?) service to Germany. Don't know about subs or dubs. They have a terrific community.

It would seem that content creators and providers are leaving a lot of money on the table with all the regional restrictions. They're just leaving it to the pirates to take up the slack.

I got Girls und Panzer with fan subtitles from youtube. It's very doubtful that it'll ever get a German DVD release due to political cowardice by potential distributors. So I have to hope for a good UK edition.
Streaming movies would eat even more of my time that I need to watch the ever grwoing stack of DVDs that I buy. I am one of those old-fashioned guys that wnat to have the material in solid form. I also prefer printed to e-book as a matter of principle since I do no trust the interests behind. What the net giveth the net may take away (or block).

Sorry for going off-topic.
What about the relationship of China/Korea/Japan to the Mongols (each had their unique experience with them)?

Lots of interesting stuff. Bob, Hartmut, a guest post about East Asian cinema would be welcome!

IOW, sakoku was at least as much to keep Kyushu from Korea (or very limited) as to keep the West out.

I don't think that is wrong, but it intertwines with the fact that a number of the Kyushu domains converted to Christianity and was definitely the flavor of the day (one daimyo argued that having one's soldiers convert to Christianity made them better soldiers because they wouldn't be as concerned about their earthly existence) and you had peasant uprisings fueled by Christianity. So keeping Kyushu was very much at the heart of sakoku.

The Ask a Korean site is a good read, but I'd note that asserting cultural superiority is sort of a little brother thing to do. I'd also note that Japan ended up at war with Korea because Hideyoshi wanted to attack Ming China and thought that he would be given passage thru Korea, which is why you see the war called Kara iri (going into China). No better way to piss off little brother than to assert that you want to deal only with big brother.

It was also interesting when he said "Even past the ancient time, Korea sent masters of those arts to Japan to teach the locals as late as until the 17th century." but further down, he notes "Japan in fact kidnapped many skilled Korean artisans, reflecting the fact that they were in fact culturally inferior." That tension between giving something and have it taken from you gets at the heart of why I think that Korea is really the little brother in the relationship. And the thing is, your little brother is always your little brother, no matter how accomplished he becomes.

Hartmut, that's an interesting question. Japanese histories always seem to tout their ability to resist the Mongols as indicative of something special which sets it apart from China and Korea. China has always defined Mongols as the other, but I'm not sure how Korea views itself. South Korea has the largest population of Mongolians abroad and in sumo, there are a number of Mongolian wrestlers now, so it is going to be interesting to see how these trends continue.

You might be also interested in this pdf, about the relationship between Mongols and European military aristocracy.

OPEN THREAD, YOU SAID?

In the past hour, I have heard Barack Obama and Jack Lew both talk about the dysfunction of "Washington".

Memo to POTUS and SecTreas: ferchrissake STOP saying "Washington" when you mean "Congress", and don't even say "Congress" when you mean "Republicans". Jesus, guys, are you TRYING to confuse the public? Are you TRYING to keep Broderism alive?

Also in the past hour, I have heard the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee (Mike Rogers, R-MI) reply to young David Gregory's invitation to criticize Obama's "tacit support" for the Egyptian "military coup" this way :

Well, I do think that you, in a circumstance like Egypt, that you need to pick your friends. And clearly I think that the Muslim Brotherhood-led government, although democracy without freedom is certainly no democracy at all and that's what they were trying to get to -- changing the Constitution, reducing the rights of women in Egypt, reducing the rights of religious minorities in Egypt. They weren't concerned about the economy at all; they were concerned about pushing toward an Islamist state. To that end, I think the people of Egypt rose up and said "That's not what we bargained for". And so I would argue that we need to make sure that ALL political parties have a voice in Egypt, that the secular parties have an opportunity to have a voice in Egypt, and I do think that the military was acting on behalf of the HUGE secular movement that actually got Mubarak thrown out in the first place.
The transcript is mine, to spare you the Boeing commercial in front of the MTP clip.

Memo to Mike Rogers: do you really, really, not see the parallels between the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the GOP in the US? Do you really, really not see the nationwide Republican push to restrict abortion rights for women, reduce voting opportunities for minorities, and gerrymander Republicans into permanent House seats, as the American parallel to "democracy without freedom" and as the GOP "pushing toward an Islamist Christianist state"? Or do you think those things are just the GOP's way of being "concerned about the economy"? I'm glad you tacitly support the military cracking down on the opponents of secular freedom, I suppose. But I'd be even more glad if you showed even a trace of self-awareness.

RETURNING TO ASIA:
Are Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese or other "Asian" politicians as mealy-mouthed and as clueless as American ones?

--TP

WRT the question of Asian comedy, I've just received notice of a new academic book on Humour in Chinese Life and Culture, if anyone is interested in seriously - or humo(u)rously - exploring the topic further.

do you really, really, not see the parallels between the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the GOP in the US?

After this comment, I really don't want to hear any more complaints about Brett's and McTx's respective dissing of "the left".

Just riffing off of lj's comment in a similar vein here.

I'm not doing any critique of the comparison between the GOP and the Muslim Brotherhood mostly because WTF? Someone's logic circuits have some blown gates.

What percentage of the self-identified conservative populace of the United States do Republicans in congress constitute? I mean, you can see the difference between a) criticizing a couple hundred politically powerful people within a political party as a group and b) criticizing everyone who leans one way or the other politically to some degree or another, right?

If you have GOP = Congressional Republicans, that's a decent point. If you have GOP = everyone who votes Republican, not so much.

Is the party only its representatives? Or maybe it's representatives plus supporters? Or somewhere in between?

I assumed this was the context:

Memo to POTUS and SecTreas: ferchrissake STOP saying "Washington" when you mean "Congress", and don't even say "Congress" when you mean "Republicans".

It may have been broader than congressional Republicans, but the specific issues raised also narrow things down to something less than, say, *everything everyone who supports the GOP in some way thinks*. If you don't support the GOP's push on those issues, then you're not the subject.

I personally get more bent when people talk about progressives or liberals than when they talk about Democrats. For some reason, I take GOP to refer to people in power within the party, rather than also people who vote Republican.

I see 'progressives' trotted out, (and I have no idea if Richmond is filled with progressives or not) and I see a relatively small group of people who are getting told that they are the greatest threat for freedom.

Slart see's 'GOP' invoked and assumes that it equals, as hairshirt points out, *everything everyone who supports the GOP in some way thinks* and is upset.

I see Muslim Brotherhood, and I think of an organization that was created in 1928 as a way of modernizing Islam and was radicalized in fighting against British colonialism. Slart sees Muslim Brotherhood and thinks 'terrorists' and is horrified that anyone would think of everyone who ever supported the Republican party in any way would be equated with terrorists.

I also see something that pops up in the middle of an open thread without referring to anyone else's comment as a rant and something that occurs at the end of a long conversation with accusations of being obtuse because they didn't like the examples as two different things, but that's just me.

Slart sees Muslim Brotherhood and thinks 'terrorists'

Nifty bit of mindreading, that.

Well, if you'd like to explain why you felt that equating Muslim Brotherhood with GOP was so beyond the pale, you are welcome to explain. Which might be preferable to dropping into random threads to try and score points.

Well, if you'd like to explain why you felt that equating Muslim Brotherhood with GOP was so beyond the pale, you are welcome to explain.

The GOP is not imposing a secular government on anyone. You might disagree with that, but it's not a disagreement you're going to be able to successfully defend.

Which might be preferable to dropping into random threads to try and score points.

Again with the mindreading. I really don't understand your level of upset, here. Here, I endeavor to not assume where you're coming from. I highly recommend it.

Well, the GOP is either the Muslim Brotherhood or George Wallace reincarnate. Either way this from Jackson is uncalled for.

Whatever Slart. If you want to address what someone else says, it would be nice if you didn't bring me into it.

I see quite a lot of efforts to impose not secular but religious government (on to a not unsignificant degree unwilling citizens) led by elected GOP officials on the state level. Recent examples: Considering the inroduction of a state religion*, banning oral sex, changing science textbooks for schools to introduce biblical truth..eh..creationism..eh..intelligent design..eh..alternatives to godless (eh naturalist) evolution theory. Not to forget pseudo-historians like Barton that are called on as experts by the same officials to show that the US is supposed to be a theocracy.
The GOP may not be the Christian Taliban as a whole but they get strong support from that corner and quite a number of officials seem to fully subcscribe to the general idea. Saudi Arabia may be a closer equivalent to their mindset (authoritarian, corrupt, paleoreligious either in reality or out of opportunism).

Please note that I made no references to abortion, contraception, gun laws or general authoritarianism (like the Texas GOP platform condemning the ideas of critical thought and the questioning of authority). Those are not by their very nature religious. On climate change there is a mix of the religious ('the Bible says it's false') and the simply corrupt (I get paid to oppose the idea), so that too is not a clear cut case as the above.

*not limited to discrimination against Muslims. Hndus get vilified to.

If you want to address what someone else says, it would be nice if you didn't bring me into it.

Including when you have done something that I consider to be the right thing?

Whatever. I have no idea what has set you off, here, and it's beginning to look as if I'm never going to find out.

If you don't see how a _separate_ thread that starts off with an invocation of the left boogeyman, culminating in the statement about the "fundamental danger progressives pose to freedom" is not the same as a one time comment dropped in a open thread, I'm not sure I can explain it to you.

You say it is the 'right thing', but it came across to me as 'gee, let's balance this out'. It's almost as if it would be fun if everything I posted turned out to be a fight between the left and right. Oh joy.

At any rate, if you want to claim that you aren't making any assumptions, you may want to consider if your values for what 'GOP' and 'Muslim Brotherhood' represent are precisely what Tony P meant. Immediately reaching in the bag for the mindreading club suggests that you haven't.

You say it is the 'right thing', but it came across to me as 'gee, let's balance this out'.

Both, actually.

It's almost as if it would be fun if everything I posted turned out to be a fight between the left and right.

I would tend to prefer some mutual avoidance of overgeneralization.

your values for what 'GOP' and 'Muslim Brotherhood' represent are precisely what Tony P meant

Those are decent questions, but so far they have not been answered. This is why we discuss these things, no? To find out what the other guy is talking about? My objection is: I don't see any credible definitions of either that would permit a comparison.

Slarti,

Are you annoyed because the tattered and smelly old shoe I described fits you? or because you think I described the shoe inaccurately? or what?

For all I know or care, you are a Republican who is embarrassed by, if not downright opposed to, the GOP's federal- and state-level wars on women, minority voters, poor people, and science. If you are, I salute you. Thinking of yourself as a Republican in that case is no worse than a divorced gay porn star thinking of himself as a Catholic. Equally pointless, but no worse.

--TP

Are you annoyed because the tattered and smelly old shoe I described fits you?

Yes, you have found me out: I am exactly like the Muslim Brotherhood.

I'd guess that we both know that wasn't the point Tony P. was trying to make with that question, Slart.

Whether you think the Muslim Brotherhood comparison is apt or not, the aspects of the current, prevailing Republican platform and agenda mentioned are real. Do you support their efforts in those areas?

If not, you aren't being compared to the Muslim Brotherhood at all, let alone being characterized as being exactly like them. (Not that I think you were ever the intended subject in any way whatsoever.)

the aspects of the current, prevailing Republican platform and agenda mentioned are real

Which aspects? The ones that make them just like the Muslim Brotherhood?

I prefer a rather more precise language. I suggest arguing by some other means than via bumper sticker slogans.

But that might require some work. And they're not your bumper sticker slogans, unless you care to stand behind them.

Hartmut, yesterday morning: Recent examples: Considering the inroduction of a state religion*, banning oral sex, changing science textbooks for schools to introduce biblical truth..eh..creationism..eh..intelligent design..eh..alternatives to godless (eh naturalist) evolution theory. Not to forget pseudo-historians like Barton that are called on as experts by the same officials to show that the US is supposed to be a theocracy.

Slarti, tonight: I suggest arguing by some other means than via bumper sticker slogans.

Sometimes, the truth DOES fit on a bumper sticker. That the people who call themselves Republicans in places like Texas, North Carolina, and Capitol Hill, have championed and passed laws intended to restrict women's rights, limit minority voting, and foist their religion on secular society, is NOT a secret requiring copious research to discover. If Slarti can't read the papers for himself, I am not interested in doing the job for him. If Slarti can't see the parallels to the Muslim Brotherhood as described by Mike Rogers (R-MI) on Meet The Press, I recommend Lasik.

--TP

I prefer a rather more precise language.

...which I suppose is why you're conflating an assertion that there are "parallels between [X and Y]" with a statement that "[X is] exactly like [Y]"?

Perhaps these are these more precise definitions of "parallel" and "exactly" than I'm familiar with? Or possibly of "precise"?

This seems like some big brother sh*t

Mainland Chinese tourists throw sweets at North Korean children "like they're feeding ducks," Simon Cockerell of Koryo Tours told the South China Morning Post. Not surprisingly, "North Koreans think that's undignified and offensive." North Koreans also complain that Chinese visitors are too loud, and pick up strangers' children for photographs.

Sounds similar to the complaints the Vietnamese use to have about Russians.

When I lived in Hongkong there were still some Vietnamese refugees (boat people) in camps. After several years the authorities figured it was time for the little kids to get some education, so they tried to put them in local primary schools. And the HK parents vigorously objected to their precious children being exposed to these foreign barbarians, many of whom had actually been born in HK, IIRC.

I used to enjoy pointing out to my students that in terms of genetics, HK Chinese are actually more closely related to Vietnamese than they are to northern Han Chinese. Used to drive them crazy. I'm not sure whether it qualifies as "racism," but the Chinese in general have great contempt for anyone who isn't Chinese, including, but not limited to, Vietnamese, Japanese, Koreans, Southeast Asians, and of course "gweilos" - although I was too big and loud and hairy and professorial for them to express this openly most of the time.

Well, four hundred years ago, and perhaps a bit later, China was the first world country and everyone else were barbarians.

True that. The really sad thing is, when China "ruled the waves" and was the strongest country/economy in the world, they didn't have much of a concept of race. It was all culture - "civilization" - and anyone from anywhere could learn to be civilized - to be Chinese - if they simply learned how to behave properly.

It was only in the 19th century that the West introduced "scientific" racism into China, and now they have adopted it and internalized it so much that they talk seriously about "Chinese races," and the innate inferiority of all others, without much of a notion that the "Chinese" are genetically mongrel, even if/when they are culturally unified. Sigh.

dr ngo's comments remind me of how the Protocols of the Elders of Zion found their way to Japan and were taken up here.

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