Sunday, August 28, 2011

Blatant apologism

If you've read my posts discussing the infamous Imperial Japanese apologist Gerry Bevers (here, here, and I guess here or even here), then you would know that I find comments like this from Mr Bevers so gallingly ignorant:
DLBarch wrote:
I could not agree more. One of the perplexing dynamics within the expat communities in Japan and Korea is that expats in Japan seem to overwhelmingly be card-carrying apologists for the country and members in good standing in the Chrysanthemum Club, while expats in Korea seem to be card-carrying members of the “I’m-white-and-privileged-but-still-manage-to-bitch-and-complaint-about-every-little-f*cking-thing club.

The irony, of course, is that Japan has SO MUCH MORE to answer for historically, and yet has all but gotten a free ride on its disgraceful historical legacy.
The ones who got off easy after World War II were the Koreans, who were allied with the Japanese. The US and her allies allowed Koreans to play the victim as much as they did because they wanted to break up the Japanese Empire. However, no matter how Koreans may try to spin it, they did support the Japanese war effort.

The Japanese did not get a free ride, Mr. Barch. Millions of Japanese soldiers were killed, along with hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians.

The Japanese, the Chinese, the Russians, the Koreans, Australians, and Americans all committed war crimes, but it was only the Japanese and her allies who were convicted of them, and they were either executed or imprisoned. See HERE.

Japan lost all of its empire, and Japanese citizens in Korea and other places were forced to leave all of their proverty behind and return to Japan. On top of that, Japan paid a great deal in war reparations.

As for Korean comfort women, which we hear so much about, some may have been forced by Korean and Japanese pimps into the business, just as they are today, but most were probably just prostitutes looking to make an easy buck, just as they had done before and have done after.
I'm very busy this weekend, but when I have a chance, I'll write a response. Not from scratch mind you, but a collection of links, since this is old hash from Gerry that has been chased down by the antacid of truth and logic long ago.

I will acknowledge, though, that there were indeed Korean war criminals: they constituted some 1% of all the "Japanese" war criminals. There were also those who volunteered for military service, including Park Chunghee who later took over the country and was architect of its rise. But that does not negate that there were hundreds of thousands if not millions forced into hard labor, cruelty abounded, hundreds of thousands were killed at the hands of the Japanese or in Japanese military actions, hundreds of thousands of women were forced into sexual slavery, etc., etc.

And the idea that Korea — a country forcibly taken by Japan and then run with an iron fist by Japanese military leaders — could be described as a willing "ally" is just absurd.

If one has visited Yasukuni Shrine's Yushukan Museum (see here and here), it is striking how much Mr Bevers tale dovetails with that of Japan's right-wing apologists.

Oh, and DL Barch makes a valid point. In Korea, such people are called kvetchpats.



  1. Well, I do consider DL Barch somewhat of a kvetchpat himself with his labeling of Samsung as "samsux". I cannot understand why he is so persistent about besmirching the company that way.

    I noticed that you are a frequent reader and commenter of kvetchpat blogs. I don't usually visit myself with the exception of one, but I do see many of your comments on those blogs. Why do you go there, knowing that the blogs are such forums rife with expat hate and kvetchpatry? :) I wanted to ask you that for some time. I can understand wanting to explore Korean news, etc. But there are plenty of other blogs for that. But you seem to be a glutton for punishment perhaps :) lol.

    Anyways, Gerry Bevers is a troll that tries to convince himself that Korea is bad as a way to assuage his own frustrations about Korea. You cannot take his criticisms seriously.

  2. I agree with your assessment that DL Barch is somewhat of a kvechpat himself. In his defense, however, I will say that someone can dislike something like Samsung — for whatever reason he has — and still not necessarily be a Korea basher.

    But then again, Gerry Bevers is an aficionado of the Korean language while apparently despising much of the people and culture of South Korea.

    As for me visiting kvetchpat blogs, I think I would describe them as generally Korea-interest blogs that have a substantial number of kvetchpats among the commenters. Probably 95% of all the online comments I leave are at ROK Drop, Korea Beat, Brian in Jeollanam-do (my former #1), and Popular Gusts, with a few at The Marmot's photo/travel blog, Chosun Bimbo, Metropolitician, etc.

    The Marmot, whom I know in real life, is certainly no kvetchpat. I wouldn't describe Brian or Korea Beat as such either. Neither is GI Korea, who runs ROK Drop. They're commentariat, on the other hand...

    But by listening to kvetchpats, you learn how they think. And for those who gripe about stuff legitimately, how would I learn about the ups and downs of, say, English teaching if I didn't pay attention to them?

    Frankly, if you have some suggestions for blogs I should pay more attention to, I'd love to hear some.

  3. "I agree with your assessment that DL Barch is somewhat of a kvechpat himself. In his defense, however, I will say that someone can dislike something like Samsung — for whatever reason he has — and still not necessarily be a Korea basher."

    Agreed, but his bashing seems too laced with unreasonable, ill-willed boorishness.

    "The Marmot, whom I know in real life, is certainly no kvetchpat. I wouldn't describe Brian or Korea Beat as such either. Neither is GI Korea, who runs ROK Drop."

    I agree about Korea Beat, but not about Brian or the Marmot or GI Korea. Brian has kind of a pissy attitude toward Korea, frequently looking to harp on it for some reason, always playing the "foreigner victim" in the face of an "unjust, racist" Korea. Marmot may not be horrible, but there is a slight kvetchpatry with the way he allows racist comments toward Koreans on his site yet bans such comments about whites, etc. GI Korea writes a lot of inflammatory posts about Korea, so he is definitely a kvetchpat. Plus, he has a contempt for Korean society based on some of what he has written.

    "But by listening to kvetchpats, you learn how they think. And for those who gripe about stuff legitimately, how would I learn about the ups and downs of, say, English teaching if I didn't pay attention to them?"

    Well, I really don't see the value of understanding the minds of those who are so ill-intentioned and frankly, ignorant. There are a few intelligent, well-reasoned, genuine blogs in the ESL blogosphere. I think it is better to actually talk to teachers in real life to get a sense of what they are dealing with rather than some anonymous bloggers on the internet.

    I don't understand why you don't just pull your hair after reading those blogs. It's not good for the mind or one's heart to see such ignorance and mean-spiritedness on a regular basis.

  4. I do pull my hair sometimes.

    I don't agree with your assessment on The Marmot. What it is is that he's very laissez-faire with his comments section, something to do with his libertarian streak. While he allows anti-Soko, anti-Koko, and anti-kyopo comments, he also gives a wide birth to anti-non-Korean (anti-Noko?) comments as well. If it seems unbalanced, it may be because there are more Sperwer sympathizers than there are Pawi or wjk sympathizers.

    Ultimately, I think he himself is more likely to come down against the average foreigner living in South Korea, often because he sees them as overprivileged kvetchpats. Some of the English teachers think he's firmly anti-English teacher.

    As for Brian, I think he perceived too much b.s. going on from the Korean side without seeing the stuff coming from "his" side, but I saw a change in that. Moreover, he was probably the biggest cheerleader for the Chŏlla region I'd ever seen. Seriously.

  5. I found interesting what hoju_saram had to say to Mr Bevers vis-à-vis the above remarks:

    Anyway, you’ve just shot any last shred of credibility you might have had. I was half convinced you migth have been onto something with the Dokdo thing for a while, but it seems you’re completely unhinged.

    Back in 2006, when Mr Bevers supposedly lost his job due to his Tokto views (after a phone call I made to his school to defend him, I think that may be an inaccurate description, since his English-teaching co-worker also was apparently not renewed as the school made major changes to their language-teaching program), I went on record saying it would be wrong for Mr Bevers to lose his job simply over what he believes.

    After all, Tokto skepticism is not Holocaust denial or anything. But when he crosses the line into comfort-women-as-mostly-prostitutes denial (the Japanese government themselves have acknowledged widespread wrongdoing in Comfort Women sex slavery), then it starts crossing the line between spirited disagreement and egregious revisionism, of which Holocaust denial is on the latter's side.

  6. Related to what I just wrote, in February 2006, nearly a year before Mr Bevers found his contract unrenewed, I did warn the guy (who was then a regular reader of Monster Island) that he was leaving tell-tale signs of his university connection (e.g., IP from Gachon University) all over the place when he made his Tokto-skeptic comments.

  7. I don't understand why you chose to help Bevers out. It's not like you're friends with him or owe him anything. And he does make his school look bad by posting such controversial things with his real name. He was foolish to post those things and have them reflect badly on his school.

  8. Why would I help him out? Because as loathsome as I find his views, I'm very leery of people losing their job over viewpoints that are not related to their work. Such things are rife with potential for abuse, and as the link suggests, I have been on the receiving end of such things in the past.

    Although Gerry Bevers's views on Tokto are pretty straightforward, it's very easy to mistranslate (even deliberately), take out of context, or skew views that are innocuous. That has happened to me, and I saw it happening with Metropolitician, someone whose views I often disagree with owing to his penchant for exaggeration and the Rhode Island-sized chip on his shoulder.

    At least on issues of airing sometimes unpopular opinions, blogging folk gotta stick together.

    And I do agree with you that he was making his school look bad and was foolish to post them from school computers, which is all the more reason to warn him about it. Perhaps if his school had a good-image policy that Mr Bevers took seriously, he might have kept his job.

    Well, not necessarily, because that would mean he was actually let go because of his Tokto views and not a change in how the language courses were taught there, according to his department that adamantly told me he was not fired over any Tokto views (the first person I spoke to had no idea what I was talking about).

  9. Did he ask you to help him out? Or did you do it because it moved you? He's just a stranger on the internet, not a sympathetic one at that.

  10. No, he did not. And I suspect that he might have even distrusted my advice (someone thought my warning was actually a threat).

    But I do know several bloggers in real life, and some have claimed to have met him, and well, it's a blog-eat-blog world out there, and I'm just not big on people getting swallowed whole.

  11. Robert, what about Ampontan? You mean he's an apologist? Perhaps (IIRC, he seems to have a stick up his arse about some Korean issues), but at least he's in Japan. Bevers doing this in Korea (though he's in Texas now) was just bewildering.

  12. He still continues to troll at Marmot's Hole. Apparently, nothing has changed. It was nice of you to do that. Perhaps too nice. Sometimes, people need to learn from their mistakes.

  13. Does he know that you intervened on his behalf? did he thank you?

  14. He does not know. I would have blogged about it had it been successful, but when it was clear that their version of what went down completely contradicted the story of Gerry's martyrdom, I mostly kept it to myself.

    And on that note, I think we should end that line of discussion. :)

    As for him trolling, you're right that nothing has changed.

  15. Periodically, Ampontan and his sycophants get heavily into denial of deleterious effects of the Japanese occupation of Korea, and scoff at the protestations of the comfort women.

    On a more positive note, I've just enjoyed a month's camping trip in Kyushu, where at the expense of two new tents I discovered why the Japanese don't camp in summer.

  16. "Brian has kind of a pissy attitude toward Korea, frequently looking to harp on it for some reason, always playing the "foreigner victim" in the face of an "unjust, racist" Korea." lol.

    Thanks for the love, kushibo. Haters gonna hate.

  17. Brian,

    He actually confirmed my statement with an explanation, so there was no disagreement there :) "Haters gonna hate." Yes, there is plenty of hate on your blog.

  18. Wow, several years later and you've still missed the boat. There's plenty on my blog---and loads of people have found it over the years---that outweighs the "hate" you see.

    But I'm curious, what blogs do you read, then (K-blogs or otherwise)? What K-blogs meet with your approval?

  19. Brian,

    I stopped reading your blog a LONG time ago when it became obvious that it was a waste of time. If your blog has changed, good. Mention it and move on, but I seriously don't understand why you have such a problem with my assessment. Kushibo mentioned your name in our discussion and I responded. Why do you care what I think or what anyone thinks for that matter? How could you expect anyone to NOT have an opinion on your blog when you put it out there so publicly?

    I think some bloggers like yourself want to have the freedom to be as offensive as they like and talk as much shit as they want, but get really defensive and offended when someone "calls" them on it. Because you want to have your cake and eat it, too. You want to write whatever you want and still be considered a good person. And I wouldn't say discussing your blog with Kushibo is exactly "calling" you on it.

    I read blogs that are critical of Korea, but there is a difference between being critical and being offensive and your blog WAS offensive. It is not really up to me or anyone to tell you what the standard is. You should be setting your own standards of what is acceptable or not. You know why you write and why you include certain content in your blog. You have the freedom to write what you want, but you are not free of the consequences when it does affect other people who read and see your blog.

  20. Okay, folks. I think we've reached an impasse that really only has the potential to get ugly. I understand itissaid's frustration about kvetchpat blogs, but I while I don't agree with everything Brian writes, I don't think he generally fell under the heading of "offensive" (a few of his commenters, however...).

    Brian would write some stuff out of frustration over issues close to him, but even in his most heated criticisms, would accept, listen to, and sometimes even be persuaded by opposing viewpoints or new information. I could see where some of his views evolved over time, and I gained valuable insight on an field (English teaching) of which I'm not a part but which is one of the things that folds into my future research and work on Korea health issues (e.g., foreigners' access to health care and other spheres).

    So I'd really like to end this line of discussion, since I don't see you two coming to a hand-shaking agreement of some kind. Although, to be fair, Brian should be able to make at least a small (and not-to-heated) comment in response.


  21. Anyway, I'm not looking to pick a fight. I was browsing the site and saw the comments so I responded, I don't want to make a big thing out of it here on your page, kushibo. I'll just agree to disagree with some stuff and leave it at that. Besides, I'm old and basically retired . . . somebody wake me up when Suncheon gets the Olympics.


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