From Ancient Grudge Break to New Mutiny

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From Ancient Grudge Break to New Mutiny

Art credits to Karen Fung!

Art credits to Karen Fung!

Art credits to Karen Fung!

Art credits to Karen Fung!

Sejal Agarwal ‘20

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In the fair Olympics, where we lay our scene,

From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,

Japan and Korea continue to demean.

The next Winter Games are said to be held in Pyeongchang but there have been plenty hiccups along the way. Since the International Olympic Committee wanted to cut the cost of hosting games, it declared that it would permit host cities to relocate their competitions to other places, and if required, other countries. In like manner, they suggested Pyeongchang to restrain from building their venue as the Games could instead be held in Nagano, Japan, which already has the infrastructure needed. However, this has raised great controversy in the Korean affairs department as Japan has been their long-time competitor and having shared unfortunate history with them.

During WWII, many Korean women were taken to Japanese comfort stations made for its military. These Korean women were forced, coaxed and intimidated by the Japanese personnel to provide “comfort” to the Japanese soldiers. Many of these women were under 21 years old, which was against the Japanese law. Henceforth, these women earned the name of “comfort women” as they continued to provide pleasures against their wills till the end of the war. Avery MacDonell ’20 expresses that this episode was, “disgusting and degrading, how on earth could the women have tolerated that? How could the Korean government have tolerated that?” Avery asks a critical question; how did the Korean government react to this is atrocity. In 2015, Japan begged pardon to former comfort women and provided 8.8 million in funds to help them. The Koreans were not satisfied with this incredibly overdue apology, they cited that it was not enough as many lives and childhoods had already been stolen.

Even before the apology, Japan has competed with Korea over other national events. One, in particular, was 2002 World Cup soccer finals, FIFA, when Japan and Korea were co-hosts. Korea demanded that its name should appear before Japan in the title making it the “2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan” Both countries came to a compromise when Japan accepted Korea’s demand in return for having the championship played on Japanese soil.

The question comes down to this: Should Korea share the Winter Olympic Games with Japan? Zaynab Kauser ’21 says “I do not see why Korea would not share the Games. Korea would be benefiting from this, and they will not have to spend millions of dollars building it.” Zaynab brings up a fair point, Korea will be saving a lot of money which they could end up using for future events. All they have to do is put aside their self-pride and past issues.

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