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Japan payment of less than $1 to Korean WWII victims for forced labor draws outrage

  • A civic group in South Korea has denounced the less- than- one- dollar pension payment from the Japanese government to victims of forced labor during its occupation of the peninsula.
  • The Japanese Forced Mobilization Civic Group called the payment “a malicious ridicule and an insult” at a press conference on Thursday.
  • A 92-year-old forced labor victim by the name of Chung Sin-young also spoke at the conference, calling Japan’s behavior “absurd.”
  • While presenting the deposit information in her passbook, Chung said, “They gave me 931 won, which cannot even cover the cost of children’s snacks. They forced children into labor without providing proper meals, and they still have not apologized.”
  • She continued, “There isn’t much time left for us grandmothers. We urge you to hurry and apologize.”

The Japanese government has doled out a pension payment to victims of forced labor during the country’s occupation of Korea, but at less than $1 per individual, the move has only prompted further outrage from those affected.  

The Japanese Forced Mobilization Civic Group denounced the pension payment on Thursday, claiming a number of victims of forced labor received only 931 won (approximately $0.74). The civic group said the payment was “a malicious ridicule and an insult” and urged the Japanese government to “apologize for the 931 won payment and disclose all unpaid wages and pension records of victims of forced labor.”

Watch: Korean streamer reacts to winning $1.5 million lottery while live on Twitch

While livestreaming on Twitch, a Korean streamer ecstatically burst into tears after scratching a winning lottery ticket worth 2 billion won (approximately $1.5 million). 

Ruruflower, who works professionally as a florist, was streaming from her flower shop called Reuvan Flower in Seoul when she scratched the winning numbers for a lottery ticket. In a clip of the moment posted to Twitter on Wednesday, Ruruflower is seen holding a winning ticket of 2 billion won as she yells out, “I actually got it!” 

‘This physical pain does not compare to the pain of losing my nation’: How 2 schoolgirls helped fight for Korean independence

  • Two million Koreans took to the streets from March 1 to April in 1919 to protest Japanese colonial rule. By the end, over 7,500 people had died, 15,000 people had been injured and over 45,000 people had been arrested.
  • The protests were nonviolent and included participants as young as 12, many of them schoolchildren who handed out pamphlets to spread the news.
  • One of the most famous figures of the movement was 17-year-old schoolgirl Yu Gwan-sun; however, lesser known is her cousin, Yu Yeh Do, who smuggled a copy of Korea’s Declaration of Independence to their hometown alongside her cousin.
  • Yu Yeh Do escaped prison after being captured by the Japanese police, but she went into hiding for a decade until her marriage.
  • Yu Yeh Do did not speak publicly about her role in the independence movement until 1979 out of guilt over the deaths of her cousin, uncle and aunt.

March 1 marks the 103rd anniversary of the start of the Korean Independence Movement and commemorates the 2 million Koreans who took to the streets to protest the brutality of Japanese colonial rule. 

The Korean Independence Movement protests, also known as “Sam-il,” meaning three-one, began March 1 and lasted through April, with an estimated 2 million people participating – an impressive number considering the country had a total population of 20 million at the time. Due to rapid industrialization under Japanese colonial rule, Korea became heavily influenced by many Western ideals, and the call for independence was in part inspired by President Woodrow Wilson’s speech on a nation’s right to “self-determination.”

7 in 10 South Koreans want nuclear weapons to defend against China and North Korea threats, poll reveals

  • A poll conducted last December shows that seven in 10 South Koreans support a domestic nuclear program to counter threats primarily posed by China and North Korea.
  • Sixty-seven percent prefer an independent program, while 9% bank on U.S. deployment.
  • Forty-six percent see North Korea as posing the biggest security threat at present, but 56% believe China will become the main threat in 10 years.
  • While there is strong public support for domestic nuclear weapons, South Korea is prevented from developing any or redeploying those from the U.S. as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Seven in 10 South Koreans support their country developing its own nuclear weapons, according to a survey report released by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs on Tuesday.

The poll, which surveyed 1,500 respondents aged 18 and above, was conducted from Dec. 1 to Dec. 4, 2021, by Hankook Research in South Korea.

Hanbok or hanfu? Controversy swirls around Vogue feature as Korean professor and Chinese YouTuber weigh in

  • The controversy surrounding the hanbok featured at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the cultural dispute between Chinese and Korean netizens over their respective nations’ traditional clothing.
  • Days prior to the start of the Olympics, Vogue magazine posted a photo of Chinese model Shiyin that had commenters debating whether her attire was a Chinese hanfu or a Korean hanbok. 
  • At the center of the debate are conflicting accounts of history, and while some claim that the hanbok was merely inspired by the hanfu centuries ago, others insist that this is a distortion of history that erases Korea’s claims to its culture. 

Vogue has waded into an ongoing cultural dispute between Chinese and Korean netizens after posting a photo of a traditional dress they claimed belongs to Chinese culture.

On Feb.1, Vogue took to Instagram to post the photo, which features Chinese model and YouTuber Shiyin posing in what the publication describes as a Chinese hanfu. 

Popular South Korean influencer who’s landed over 100 sponsorships is not actually a real person

Rozy, an AI influencer

Rozy is a South Korean social media personality whose ads are racking up millions of views on YouTube, and she isn’t even a real person.

AI-powered social media star: The influencer, who now has over 58,000 Instagram followers, is actually a virtual human created by South Korean content-creation group Sidus Studio X. She is the first of her kind in Korea to be based on artificial intelligence, reported

Meet Sohn Kee-chung, the Korean Olympian forced to represent the Japanese empire

Korean Olympian Sohn Kee-chung had to represent Japan

Sohn Kee-chung, an ethnic Korean marathon runner, is a poignant reminder of his country’s dark past. His record-breaking performance in the 1936 Berlin Games was widely celebrated, but there was one caveat to those looking on at his success from home — Sohn had no choice but to represent the Japanese empire. 

Born in 1912, just two years after Japan’s annexation of Korea, Sohn had only ever known living under colonial rule when he entered the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Still, a dedicated nationalist, he signed the roster for the Games with his Korean name along with a small drawing of the Korean flag. Officially, he was recognized as a member of the Japanese delegation with the romanized Japanese name “Son Kitei.” To this day, Sohn is listed on the official Olympics website with these attributes. 

Harvard Professor Sparks Outrage for Claiming Korean ‘Comfort Women’ Were Willingly Employed in Japan

comfort women

A Harvard Law School professor has stoked controversy over claims that Imperial Japan had employed “comfort women” under contracts during World War II.

J. Mark Ramseyer, who teaches Japanese legal studies, argued that those women — most of whom were Korean — were recruited and not taken by force to become sex slaves, contrary to previous reports on the subject.