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The Day That Fort Lee Becomes “ Fort 李 (Lee)” 

The Horrific Consequences of “Apology Diplomacy” By Japanese Government]

To this day, many Japanese nationals on business assignment at Japanese corporations choose to live in Fort Lee, New Jersey because of its easy accessibility to Manhattan, lying just across the George Washington Bridge. Surely there are many expatriate Japanese who used to live in Fort Lee as children and have since returned to Japan. The origin of its name is General Charles Lee, a hero of the Revolutionary War. George Washington and General Lee are said to have set up a camp here in order to defend New York City and were marching down Fort Lee’s Main Street. In the early 20th century, it is also known as the home of major movie studios, rendering it a bustling place like Hollywood (however, most of them left Fort Lee for Hollywood in the late 1930s). In addition, Fort Lee was originally largely populated by Italian immigrants, and it was rumored that the area was safe because of the mafia presence.
In the late 1970s, Japanese started settling in Fort Lee and the surrounding areas, such as Palisades Park and Leonia. Koreans began following Japanese in the 1980s, and in big numbers at that. This influx was the result of several family-run Korean conglomerates, which were enjoying remarkable growth at the time, opening offices in Fort Lee. It is also due to the U. S. government expanding its quota of green cards for Koreans who fought alongside the U.S. during the Vietnam War. I used to live in Palisades Park for 3 years from 1982–1985, and I believe that there were more Japanese than Koreans at that time. Even then, however, there were so many children of Asian descent that, as a consequence of this large Asian population, I recall hearing stories of local American parents complaining to the schools that their own children were not speaking English correctly. I am surprised to learn that the populations of Fort Lee, Leonia, and Palisades Park are now approximately 35%, 20%, and 65% Korean, respectively. Americans are sometimes exceptionally tolerant and generous, but even so, it’s hard to believe they have let the situation come this far. Or, I could surmise that Americans have gradually fled to escape from the expansion of Korean immigrants. I wonder what will happen if it continues to grow like this.  We encounter signs written in Hangul (the Korean alphabet) all over the area, giving some illusion as if we were in Korea. No wonder that the area has become a hotbed of Korean anti-Japanese activity. In fact, the first comfort women memorial in the world was erected at the entrance to the Palisades Park Library in October 2010. Since then, nine more memorials and statues have been built in the United States.
Ironically, “Lee” is a common way to romanize a Korean surname, and it is one of the five most common Chinese and Korean surnames. In Korea, Lee is very popular, second only to Kim, marking about 15% of the population. Two well-known Lees that quickly come to my mind are Syngman Rhee (Lee), the first president of South Korea who snatched Takeshima islets by one-sidedly drawing the Syngman Rhee Line, and Myung-bak Lee, a former Korean president who rubbed the Japanese emotion by visiting Takeshima in person and by stating that the Emperor of Japan “must himself apologize if he would like to set his foot in Korea.” It seems that the surname Lee is a foreboding one for Japan.
On December 14 of last year, the Fort Lee City Council unanimously voted to erect a comfort women memorial. Yoko Nagato of Himawari Japan contributed an “advocacy advertisement” to Shukan NY Seikatsu, writing that the people who advanced the plans were a group of Korean-American high school students from Fort Lee High School and that they had been inspired by watching “Spirits’ Homecoming,” an anti-Japan propaganda film about comfort women. She also concluded that several anti-Japan organizations were behind the scenes using these high school students.
It is pathetic that all of the members of the City Council have surrendered to the anti-Japan movement, but politically this makes sense because the majority of the electorate is of Korean ancestry. No matter how much we Japanese assert that this anti-Japan movement is based on a fake historical story and that it will encourage the bullying of and bias against Japanese children, it is almost impossible to resolve unless the Japanese government resolutely asserts accurate historical awareness and flatly rejects the anti-Japan movement’s slander and defamation using the comfort women issue. According to Nagato, Fort Lee Mayor Sokolich stated, “I think the blame lies upon Japan because the Japanese government paid compensations to South Korea. Why would you have to do it unless you knew you were wrong?” Yes, he’s got it right!  The repeated “apology diplomacy” coupled with the lack of refutation carried out to date by the Japanese government and Ministry of Foreign Affairs has aggravated the comfort women issue to this extent and has also caused Japanese children living abroad to be the target of bullying.
When we Japanese first arrived in the United States taking a new assignment, weren’t we told repeatedly by friends or superiors, “In America, you shouldn’t be quick to apologize. Do not promptly say, ‘I’m sorry,’ even if you’re involved in a traffic accident. An admission of guilt could be subject to some payment of huge monetary compensation?” This is the basic preparatory knowledge required for overseas living not only in the United States but also in other countries. Since this is a kind of common knowledge in everyday life, then it is even more relevant to foreign relations at the frontline of conflicting national interests. It would be unthinkable for Japanese diplomats who have spent many years living overseas in various countries to claim they are unaware of this mindset. Or have the elite bureaucrats been unable to experience this, having lived in a privileged world with no reality?
To this day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not made any clear-cut public explanation regarding the truth and cause of the comfort women issue, nor has it contested the slanderous accusations made by various parties. Upon searching for “comfort women issue” on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs homepage, one only finds excuses such as an expression of “sincere apologies and remorse to all those women known as comfort women who suffered immeasurable pain and incurable physical and psychological wounds,” and that we have “extended maximum cooperation to the Asian Women’s Fund, which implemented ‘medical and welfare support projects’ and provided ‘atonement money,’ to offer realistic relief to former comfort women.” No matter where one looks on the site, there is no mention whatsoever of a resolute rebuttal of the issue indicating that the problem originated from lies made by a genius conman, Seiji Yoshida, that were proliferated for more than twenty years by the Asahi Shimbun, and that the fake stories that comfort women were sexually assaulted and that there were 200,000 Korean women (and another 200,000 of Chinese women!) in sexual slavery have no basis in reality and have in fact slandered the nation of Japan and its citizens. Based on this, the Japanese government is essentially admitting that it is guilty of a heinous crime—and as previously mentioned, the Fort Lee mayor has stated as such. This false accusation will never be cleared. Japanese children have no recourse when they are bullied. Is the Japanese government incapable of understanding how much our children are hurt and how horrific it is that they have lost their pride and dignity in being Japanese?
Under the 1965 Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of South Korea, Japan paid $800 million in total under the condition that Korea “renounces all rights to request reparation and compensation from Japan.” This figure was huge as it was equivalent to 2.3 times the national budget. And, Japan had already renounced all infrastructure-related facilities such as bridges, roads, dams, power plants, etc. free of charge that were built during its annexation of Korea. Korea’s miraculous economic recovery could not have been achieved without this unprecedented support from Japan. In 1995, the comfort women issue resulted in a contribution to the so-called Asian Women’s Fund with approximately 1.1 billion yen (approximately 600 million yen donated by Japanese citizens, plus approximately 500 million yen in subsidies from the government), paying two million yen to each comfort woman. A considerate letter of apology from former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi accompanied the payment. And in recent memory, there was another stunning agreement between Japan and South Korea in December 2015 where another payment of one billion yen was made under the “absolute final and irreversible” conditions. At this time as well, Prime Minister Abe expressed his “sincere apologies and remorse.”
Even so, comfort women statues and memorials have continued to be built one after another worldwide. How long will this last? It’s like repeatedly 「泥棒に追銭」 (a Japanese proverb that translates to “throwing good money after bad”). And it goes without saying that the “good money” is the hard-earned taxpayers’ money. When will the Japanese government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs learn their lesson? The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is complaining that South Korea is always moving the goalposts, but it is Japan that has attached wheels to the posts so they can be moved easily. Japan must wake up to the reality of the world by now.
The unveiling ceremony for the Fort Lee comfort women memorial was held on May 23. All I want now is that the Japanese government demonstrate resolute attitude to the anti-Japan movement that has disparaged Japan to the point of bending the truth. Please don’t cause senseless suffering to Japanese people and the children living in New York area anymore. Before considering “friendship” or “common ground,” I would like Japan to resolutely assert its “stance” and the “truth of the comfort women story.” If such a simple task is impossible to take, please don’t do anything for us. Please also take out all references to comfort women from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ homepage.  It is simply because of that that the battle over history is crucial and endless, and it does nothing to seek compromise for “common ground” or otherwise.

Masaki Shirota (Music Producer)

Photo

The Comfort Women Memorial opening ceremony was held with Mayor Mark Sokolich on May 23, 2018. Photo by Ryoichi Miura, Shukan NY Seikatsu. ©New York Seikatsu Press, Inc.

意見広告 ●海外から歴史問題を考えるシリーズ 12

写真説明  月見小学校3年生の生徒と担任の瓏子さん(昭和20年8月、韓国)

98歳おばあちゃんの回想録
日本統治下の朝鮮の小学校教師として

上野瓏子さんは福岡にお住いの今年の一月で98歳になった方です。車いすの生活を送っていますが、今も読書や短歌を詠むことが趣味で、特に歴史ものが大好きです。
瓏子さんは、日本統治下の朝鮮で日本人教師として韓国人、日本人の子供たちの小学校の先生を終戦までの6年間勤めました。当時の記憶は鮮明で、学校のこと、子供たちのこと、終戦による引き揚げのことなど、人名や会話までとても細かく覚えてらっしゃいます。
開戦から敗戦、そして引き挙げといった昭和の激動期を生きてきた日本人も、高齢化が進み、その頃を証言できる人が年々少なくなっています。瓏子さんもかなり高齢ですが、まだ十分話せます。そこでご家族が、母親の貴重な体験を記録として残しておくことは大切だと考えて本にまとめて出版したのが「おばあちゃんの回想録 木槿の国の学校 日本統治下の朝鮮の小学校教師として」(梓書院)です。
この本を読むと、当時朝鮮半島では日本本土と同じように教師たちが、子供たち皆の健やかな成長を願って、日々懸命に教育活動に取り組んでいたことや、日本人と韓国人とは良好な関係にあったことがわかります。
また、この本は事実を後世に伝え、客観的に検証していく上での手掛かりにもなります。瓏子さんは当時の様子をこう書いています。「私たちの住んでいる町で、日本人と朝鮮人が争っている場面を見たことは一度もありませんでした。ましてや軍の命令による朝鮮人の強制連行といった話など、私の周りではまったく聞いたことはありません。もしもそのようなことがあったならば、日本人と朝鮮人が折角より良い関係を築き生活している社会に大きな亀裂が走り、おそらく混乱を招き、場合によっては暴動に発展した可能性もあります。植民地という言葉は使われても、同じ人間として平等であったし、当地では皆仲良く暮らしていたのです」
そして、最後にこう結んでいます。
「おじいちゃんやおばあちゃんが若かった頃、どんな青春時代を過ごしたのか。そして、戦中・戦後の激動の時代があったことをお隣の朝鮮のことや私たちの住む祖国日本のことを、それぞれの立場でもっと詳しく知ってほしいと思っています。そして、両国の人々が深く理解し合い、これからお互いに仲良く付き合っていけることを心から念じています。日本統治下の朝鮮で生きた一人の日本人として、一人の教師としてこの回想録が、そのためのお役に立てればこの上ない喜びです」
この本を瓏子さんの息子さん上野正裕さんが英訳しました。英訳のきっかけはたまたま聞いたニュースです。世界中でたくさんの日本人や日系人、その幼い子供たちが、彼らは日本の韓国統治時代、韓国人を奴隷にした悪魔の日本人の子孫であると言って、韓国系の人々から迫害されている、というものでした。
韓国人は基本的人権がなかっただけでなく奴隷のように扱われ拷問をされた。若い女性は連れ去られて「慰安婦」即ち「性奴隷」を強要された。男性は炭鉱のような危険な場所で強制労働を強いられた。更には、何十万人もの韓国人が最終的には殺害された・・・。 正裕さんは、そんな話が事実のように広まっていることに衝撃を受け、世界中の日本人の子弟に真実を知ってほしいとの思いで英訳したそうです。
正裕さんはこう仰ってます。「日本が世界で名誉ある国家であることを望むなら、私たちは相手が怒ることを恐れて何ら真実を述べない臆病者であってはなりません。沈黙を守るのでなく歴史的事実に基づいた事実に関して声をあげるとき初めて、私たちは、私たちの、祖先の、子孫の名誉と尊厳を守ることができるのです。そしてそれが最終的には、この両国関係を改善することに繋がると信じています。」
この「おばあちゃんの回想録」の英語版「The Children I Loved」は、上野氏のご許可を得てなでしこアクションのウェブサイトに掲載しています。是非アクセスして下さい。
https://bit.ly/2qhw1aP
当時の朝鮮半島とそこに生きた人々の真実の姿が皆さんに伝われば、瓏子さんもきっと喜んで下さるでしょう。

なでしこアクション
代表 山本優美子

太鼓座「フリーコンサート@NYC Park」

7/6(金)18:00 Assert Levy Recreation Center (392 Assert Levy Place, E.23rd St, FDR) 、7/10 (火)10:30 Alley Pond Park (76 Ave, Springfield Blvd, Queens)、7/13 (金)15:00 Faber Pool and Park (Richmond Ter. To Kill Van Kull, Faber St. Staten Island) 、7/14 (土)18:00 Highbridge Recreation Center ( 2301 Amsterdam Ave, W.173rd St)、7/18 (水)14:00 Greenbelt Recreation Center (Brielle Ave, Staten Island, Sea View Hospitalの向い側)、7/20 (金)18:00 Jackie Robinson Park Bandshell (319 W.145th St, 85 Bathurst Ave)
入場無料。毎夏恒例の太鼓座フリーパークコンサート。食べ物飲み物等持ち込み可(販売なし)。
未就学児も入場可。
青空のもと、ピクニック気分で和太鼓の演奏を楽しむ。
詳細はwww.nycgovpark.org/event/concerts

売れるストーリーの創り方「講演&ワークショップ」

6/22(金)19:00〜20:30 講演&ワークショップ、20:30〜懇親食事会
レストラン日本(155 E 52nd St) 
参加費:$70(講演会&食事代込み・食事の税金チップ込み)
定員10人 (要予約/先着順)
講師は(株)ドリームマーケティング代表取締役の脇田勝利氏。ニューヨーク、米国、世界中で2〜100倍の売り上げが上がった成功事例や、売り上げを上げるストーリー&広告を創る必勝パターン構築法を解説し、その日からすぐに売上を上げる広告の作り方を講習。
参加申し込みはEメールhisamatsu@nyseikatsu.com(週刊NY生活・久松)まで。
●プログラム内容
(1)NY・アメリカ、世界中で2〜100倍の売上が上がった成功事例
(2)売上を上げるストーリー&広告を創る必勝パターン構築法の解説
(3)その日からすぐに売上を上げる広告の作り方 実践ワークショップ
●講師プロフィール
(株)ドリームマーケティング 代表取締役 脇田勝利
ニューヨークを拠点に、世界を舞台に売上を上げる夢と情熱コンサルタント
売上向上(ブランドづくり・マーケティング)を得意とし、ニューヨークを拠点に50カ国18年間で9000社以上のコンサルティングや900以上のセミナー・講演を行い10,000人以上を集め成果を上げている、全国でも有数の実績を誇る売上向上・海外進出コンサルタント。
マーケティングのノウハウを「ひと・企業・まちづくり」へと応用し、数多くの成功事例を持つ。日本を元気にするために、50カ国以上に視察に訪問し、世界中にパートナーを持ち、世界規模で成果を上げている。
http://www.dream-marketing.jp/
ブログ「脇田勝利」http://marketing.yoka-yoka.jp/

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