Why do they
Japanese culture ?

(rewrite English version 2005/11/6)
iu(minor update 2007/07/29)


(Preceding sentence)

Original version of this article is here.
I received an e-mail, which points out that this article has a lot of mistakes in grammar, and he could not understand what I say. I decided to rewrite this, and completed writing for easy reading.

Izawa Motohiko is a famous novelist and critic in Japan.
I introduced a part of contents of his work, "The traveling Asian history" (("Gyakusetsu no Ajia-shi Kikou" in Japanese) published by Shogakukan).

この記事のオリジナルバージョンは こちらです。


He gives an explanation for the reason of their cultural invasion.
First, I tried to show his explanation in this table.

Key passage:

TABLE : Korean's psychological conflict make them believe their claims

The fact about Japanese culture Traditional values of Korea
-Popularity and estimation of Japanese cultures in the world

( Judo, Kendo, Samurai, Bonsai, NIshikiGoi, Manga, Animation ...and so on )

Conflict !
-Anti-Japan feeling enhanced by the anti-Japan education based on distorted history

-Their national pride originated from "petit Sinocentrism".
What is "petit Sinocentrism"?
1.Koreans "must" be the chosen people next to Chinese.
2.Disdain and dislike for Japan and Japanese (Enhanced by anti-Japan education and distorted history)

"Japanese must not have such a culture!"
"I bet most of Japanese culture originated from Korea (or China)!"
"It's natural that Japan deprived Korea of many culture! "


TABLE : 韓国人が自分たちの主張を信じるのは心理的葛藤から

日本文化の現実 韓国の伝統的価値観

( 柔道、剣道、侍、盆栽、錦鯉、漫画、アニメ...などなど )

Conflict !



Following is his brief synopsis of this whole chapter :

----The begin of his brief synopsis----

Recently, a kind of claims became popular in Korea. The claims is that most of Japanese culture originated from Korea. These claims are lack of reasonable grounds, but most of the claims can be read in English web pages. This is a subtle approach to spread their claims around the world.

What make Korean people believe unreasonable claims are two psychological reasons.

The first reason is that they have ever distorted their historic facts.
Most ridiculous distortion is Korea had been an independent nation till annexation by Japan.
In fact, Korea had been a client state of China(Sino) for many hundreds years. But in Korea, school teachers teaches their students that Japan is the first nation who had made Korea lose its independence. Then many Koreans feel Japan "must" be the evil nation. Such an "evil" nation has many excellent cultures. This is uncomfortable to them. Then many Koreans believe the rumors, "Most of Japanese culture originated from Korea" or "Japan deprived Korea of many cultures."
The second reason is their traditional petit Sinocentrism (exactly, vestiges of petit Sinocentrism).
They thought that Koreans were the chosen people next to Chinese. On the contrary, Japan and Japanese are subject to scorn. Because they are out of the Chinese cultural area, and established an original cultural area. Japanese are barbarians to the Koreans who respected Chinese culture or civilization as one and only.
Such a barbarian nation has many excellent cultures.
This is also uncomfortable to them.
On the one hand, quite a lot of people point out petit Sinocentrism have been prevented Korea from developing their unique culture. I will also introduce two reasons about this.

First reason is that their establishment and intellectual had disliked and excluded Korean unique culture for long periods. Because they worshipped Chinese culture as absolute being.
One of a few exceptions is Hangeul (Korean unique phonogram) which many Koreans are now proud of. Hangeul letters were developed under King Sejong's leadership.
But the establishment and intellectual were strongly against Korean unique Hangeul and scorned it. And Hangeul did not spread for a long time.
Hangeul itself appeared in relatively new age, and then its spread was late. These are the reasons that the establish of national literature delayed in comparison with Japan.
Second reason is that a physical work or exercise had been disdained as a lowly task in Chinese cultural area.
This is common knowledge in Chinese cultural world.
That is the reason why the culture which require physical exercise or craftsman's skill had not been developed.
It is needless to say that such physical exercise as Kendo could not be developed.
As describe above, the distortion of the history and petit Sinocentrism make Koreans invade Japanese culture. Moreover, Petit Sinocentrism itself had been prevented Korea from building unique culture.
But Korea has developed enough economically. Koreans should be proud of their status and look straight to their history without being constrained by petit Sinocentrism.

----The end of his brief synopsis----

I was surprised that Mr.Izawa say similar to my previous article. Mr.Izawa say Korean people want to hide the facts( "Treaty of Shimonoseki" and "Korea's Independence by Japan") by all means because they think it is a fatal humiliation in their history. Anyway, these seem to be anything but a little inconvenience.

- The following is an excerpt of main body from "The travelling Asian history" by Izawa Motohiko -

Ridiculous cultural invasion

-Korean people make farfetched claims that Kendo, Kana and Nishiki-goi originated from Korea.

A "boom" is now taking place in Korea.
At first, I'll introduce the contents or "the claims of Korean people".

Kenjutsu ( The method of using sword ) became very popular in Silla age, and was developing till the Goryeo age. But a decline period has came at the age of the Joseon Dynasty by the general atmosphere which literary arts were respected, and military arts were despised. On the contrary, taking over the culture of Kenjutsu from Korea, Japan developed it and marked best days. (Korea Kumdo Association Home Page)

kana characters of Japan originated from .... Ancient Korea ...
(ILS Korea-Japan Learning Research home page)

Nishikigoi (colourful carp) originated from Korea, not Japanese ...
(Kimbangwon aquarium home page)

Japanese are proud of their Cha (tea), Sashimi and Sake. But they originated from Korea ...
(ILS Korea-Japan Learning Research home page)

Many Japanese will be openmouthed at what they are saying. In fact, there are only a small part of their bizarre claims. What is worse is that their claims can be read in English web page. In the previous chapter, I talked about "Korean aggression" that make everybody in the world call "East Sea" instead of "Sea of Japan" (Recently, Korea issued an commemorative stamp of Takeshima as their territory which is Japanese territory in fact. A series of "cultural invasions" are now in progress everyday.

It is very crafty way.
What I want to say first is that these "cultural invasions" are caused by the psychological reason, not by the historic reason.

Recently "Korean boom" takes place mainly in young people in Japan. Korean TV dramas are often broadcasted now. But it is not possible to establish real friendship between Japan and Korea as long as Korean people are invading Japanese culture. Japanese people are not responsible for these problems. If there's a fault with Japanese, it's that they have not been disputed or asserted themselves, for example, to create English pages for making points about their culture to the world. But it is needless to say that Koreans should stop their "invasions" because fundamental problems are caused by Korean activities as assailants.
-Koreans do not accept historic facts for their complexes
Anyway, why Koreans are doing such activities happily? It is necessary to analyze it in a proper way.
The prime reason is the distortion of history by Korea.
As you know well, their largest distortion is covering up the nations of Korean Peninsula were client states of China. Because Koreans think the fact is their national shame or disgrace.
This is the reason of all.

The Joseon Dynasty can become independent from China. Because Japan defeated China in the Japan-Sino(China) War and concluded Treaty of Shimonoseki that made China recognize the independence of the Joseon Dynasty.
That means the Joseon Dynasty had been a client state of China previously.

How to hide or cover up this historic fact?
They can claim that the nation of Korean Peninsula had been independent states till Japan(=an evil nation) deprived its independency at first. That is why many Koreans believe the gate of independence was built in celebration of becoming independent from Japan (in fact, from China), however the gate was built before Age of Japan. They are ignorance.

Of course, they(especially young people) are victims because their government taught them the fabricated history. There were many problems in Japan before World War II, in fact. But it is the achievement of Japan to make the Joseon Dynasty independent. However it was never estimated worth under the fabricated history. And "everything Japan has done was a bad thing, after all".
But "evil" Japan has many superb cultures. The "evil must not flourish", and many Koreans, who believe the fabricated history, feel incomprehensible and unpleasant.

Then, how will they do?
The theme of this script is Korean's claims (?) that all culture Japanese proud of originated from Korea ( Japanese culture are only imitations of Korea ). This claim reminded me the episode Korean fabricated.

The episode was about an origin of an Eboshi (Japanese cap of old age. looks like a little bizarre).
It is not too much to say that this episode is very popular to Koreans of old age even residing in Japan. This is why Eboshi is such a bizarre shape. Japanese of old age wore an Eboshi instead of a crest. " Wa-do( a derogatory term against Japanese) said he wanted something to wear on his head, and our ancestor threw his socks. Wa-do wore it gladly. Then they became to wear such a bizarre cap."

Anyway, it can not be possible to wear socks on his head, but I think it may be more meaningful to discuss it as a theme in psychology. After all, that means their complexes (which have a double meaning, inferiority and superiority in the first place). Koreans have superiority complex to Japanese in cultural environment. This based on Confucianism. But they have inferiority complex in many aspects in fact. Then, how do they solve this discrepancy?

This complexes made Koreans create the stories of "an origin of an Eboshi" and "Origin of Kendo".
Many Korean seem to get angry easily because of their nature and incorrect history education, and I'll show you suitable examples not relate directly to "Japan".
These examples will make them understand. If you have Korean friends(especially young people), you have better the following story.

The story is the history of "The greatest letters in the world, Hangeul" which Korean created by themselves.
It is needless to say how "great" Hangeul is (properly speaking, how proud of Hangeul Koreans of today are). Koreans do like "number ones in the world", and important one of them is Hangeul. All Koreans do not deny it.

However, Hangeul have been looked down on by most of the intellectuals and highly-educated people in Korea, properly speaking, in Korean Peninsula, in the past.

...all Korean know Hangeul was created by famous Sejong, some Korean do not know Hangeul was called as "hun-min jeong-eum" which means the characters to teach correct pronunciations for foolish people. "Min" meant foolish people originally. Chinese culture is divided to officials (bureaucratic elites) and commons (common persons). Thus there is a saying "Officials are respected, and commons are underestimated" to this day. Before Sejong, "characters" mean Chinese characters in Korean Peninsula. Korean did not have the characters as kana characters in Japan. Thus common people could not write characters. "This is too miserable." Such a charitable mind made Sejong create Hangeul.

But Hangeul came under severe criticism from the officials and intellectuals all at once. The literary person, Choe Manri even who is in debt to Sejong, were strongly against Hangeul. He gave Sejong six reasons. I am interesting the second one in it. Then I will write it.

Any nation never create different characters from kanji characters just because their people had different nature or spoken language in the nations under influence of China. I heard Mongolia, Japan and Tibet have their unique characters. But they are looked down on as barbarians. Among them, if our nation will abandon our fine custom, we will make our culture go backward.
("The story of history of Korea" by Kim Yang published by Chuohkouronsha)

That is to say, "Chinese culture" is absolute to Korean people (especially elites), and all other culture are barbaric. For example, "The story of Genji", the fastest long novel in the world, is not culture and not worth estimating to them. It is important Choe Manri was not minority, but majority.
Sejong was really a ruler of virtue to popularize "hun-min jeong-eum" over their strong protests. But it was not the same to the intellectuals and highly-educated people in Korea. They thought Sejong was a wrong king to make their culture backward. Thus they never call "hun-min jeong-eum" "Hangeul"(great character). By contrast, they insulted Hangeul and called it "Onmon"(vulgarian text), "the characters for women and children" and "The characters can be learned in a rest room. As Korean knows well, Hangeul is rational and easy to learn. Its greatest strength, even simplicity was object of scorn to the elites at the time. They said, "the characters can be learned in a rest room". This is to say, the culture of a client state. These are true stories.
Therefore, "National literature" was established much later than Japan.

In the meantime, Japanese highly praised Hangeul that they said Koreans had wonderful characters in age of Japan's dominance. From then, Hangeul began to be highly estimated.
Chinese culture gave high praise to themselves, call themselves "chuuka(the center of the world)" and consider the others cultures as barbaric(no value). Korean was a client state of China not only in political, but also in culture. And they could not understand the value of Hangeul that Sejong, a ruler of virtue created.
This is the fact of history.
-Kendo or Kana could not be developed under the Chinese culture
By the way, literary arts are respected, and military arts are despised in Chinese culture. This is a well known fact.
Koreans should think well what literary persons as Choe Manri said, if you had suggested "We should make active Kendo" before modern age in Korean Peninsula, where Chinese culture was active.
"Is it necessary to do such a physical labor as a foot soldier?" (A physical labor is vulgar in Confucism.)
"But Kendo is active in Japan."
"They are barbarians. They have none of culture, and we need not to take after them!"
That is all.

The two men can remember a same idea, though they have no relation to each other. We can see such a kind of actual events in the history of application for patent. But the growth of the idea depends on his quality and cultural background of the nation.

Ironically, the examples are all vulgar activities in Chinese culture. The examples are Kendo, Kana, Nishikigoi and Japanese dish.
What do the Koreans, who make ridiculous assertions, want to say? Do they want to say that all superb culture of Japan originated from Korea? That is to say, "Our ancestors had good ideas, but they were too foolish to develop the culture. On the contrary, Japanese could develop the culture. Do they understand what they say insult their ancestors?

Of course, I don't think so. Because their claims are not reasonable in the first place. In Korean Peninsula no one could survive without accepting Chinese culture. Then the Korean people must become "Chinese" at once. That could not be helped. If I had been a Korean in that age, I must do so.
But now, Koreans need not do so. Korea overtook China in GNP for each person. If Koreans are proud of their present day, how about stopping wasting their energy, and watching their history in the proper perspective.
This is my advice to Korean people from the bottom of my heart.
----------The end of quote-----------


最近、韓国である主張が有名になっている。それは多くの日本文化が韓国発祥だという主張だ。 これらの主張は合理的根拠がないが、その多くはWEB上、英語で読むことができる。 主張を広める巧妙なやり方である。



これが文化が必要とする肉体の運動や職人の技術が発達しなかった理由である。言うまでもなく、剣道のような肉体の運動は 発達のしようがない。


井沢氏が 以前の記事 で書いたことと似たようなことを書いていたので驚きました。下関条約と日本による韓国の独立を、 韓国人は歴史上致命的な屈辱だと考えており、この事実をなんとしても隠したがっている、と井沢氏は指摘しています。 いずれにせよちょっと不都合どころではないようです。




いま韓国では、ある「ブーム」がある。 とりあえずは、その内容つまり「韓国側の主張」を御紹介しょう。







 最近は若者を中心に「韓国ブーム」があり、テレビドラマなども盛んに紹介されるようになってきたが、私は本当の意味の「日韓友好」とは、韓国側がこのような歴史歪曲に基づく文化侵略をやめない限り、有り得ないと思っている。しかも、このことについては日本側の責任はまったくないと言ってもいいだろう。あえて言うならば手厳しく反論し自己主張しないこと、たとえば韓国のように英語のサイトを立ち上げ、広く世界に訴えるようなことをしないことは問題だが、そもそも加害者としての韓国の行為が問題なのだから、 まず改めるべきは韓国側であることは言うまでもない。



もちろん、念のために言うが、この人々(特に若者)は被害者である。国家に「ウソの歴史」を教えられているのだから。 戦前の日本に様々な問題点があったのは事実だ。しかし、「朝鮮国独立」はやはり日本の功績である。だが「ウソの歴史」はそれを消してしまう。当然「日本は悪いことばかりした」という「結論」になる。


 これは在日の人々でも年輩者なら誰でも知っている話といっても、過言ではないだろう。それは、昔の日本人が冠の代わりにつけている烏帽子は、なぜあの形なのか? というものである。「あれは倭奴(日本人への蔑称)が何か頭にかぶるものが欲しいと言ってきたので、われわれの先祖が履いていた靴下を投げてやったら、喜んでそれをかぶったんだ。それからアイツらはあんな帽子をかぶるようになったのさ」






 中国の影響下にある諸国では、民族の特性や日常語が異なっているというだけで、漢文とちがった文字を創ったことはありません。蒙古や日本、そしてチベットに固有文字があるといいますが、かれらはみな野蛮人として蔑視されております。こうしたなかで、わが国が美徳を捨てるということは、われわれの文化を退歩させるものでありましょう。 (『物語韓国史』金両基(キムヤンギ)著、中公新書)

 つまり、朝鮮の人々(特にエリート)にとって「中国文化」こそ絶対であり、それ以外はすべて「野蛮」なのだ。だからたとえば世界最初の大河小説『源氏物語』 なども「非文化」であって評価するに値しないことになる。忘れてはならないのはこの崔萬理の意見は特殊なものでなく、むしろ彼の考え方の方が主流であることだ。それでも反対を押し切って「訓民正音」を使わせた世宗大王は確かに名君である。しかし、朝鮮のエリート、知識人はまったくそうは思っていなかった。むしろこの点で彼等にとって「文化を退歩させる」悪王なのである。だからこそ、彼等は決して「訓民正音」を「ハングル (偉大な文字)」などとは呼ばなかった。むしろ「諺文(オンモン)」と呼び、「女子供の文字」「便所でも覚えられる文字」とバカにした。韓国人ならよくご存じのように、ハングルは合理的で覚えやすい文字である。その最大長所すら昔のエリートにとっては「便所でも覚えられる」という軽蔑の対象でしかなかった。 これが「属国の文化」ということだ。これも本当の話である。

 むしろ、植民地統治時代の日本人の方が「君たちにも立派な文字があるじゃないか」と評価していた。「ハングル」 の復権が本格的に始まったのは、それからである。
 中国文化は自らを「中華」とし、他の文化はすべて野蛮 (=無価値) なものとする。この中国の属国と化した朝鮮は文化的にも中国に隷属し、せっかく名君世宗が作ってくれた文字ですら、まともに評価できなかった。


皮肉なことに前半例に挙げた「剣道」も「カナ」も「錦鯉」も「料理」もすべて儒教(中国文化)では「卑しい技」である。 こういう主張をなす韓国人は何を言いたいのか。「今、日本で優れた文化とされているものは、ことごとく韓国がルーツだ」ということか。しかし、それは、逆に言えば「われらの先祖はいいアィデアを持ちながら、ことごとく日本人のようにそれを成長させることができなかった愚か者である」と言っているのに等しい。すなわち「御先祖様を侮辱している」ことになることがわかっているのか?

 もちろん、私はそうは思っていない.。そもそも、この主張自体がおかしいからだ。かつて朝鮮半島は中国べったりでなければ生存することができなかった。だから彼等は「中国人」にならざるを得なかった。それは止むを得ないことではないか。私もその時代朝鮮半島に生まれていればそうせざるを得なかったかもしれない。  だが、今は違う。韓国は一人当たりGNPでは中国を追い抜いたはずだ。もっと現状に誇りをもってエネルギーの無駄遣いはやめ、過去の歴史を正視してはどうか。  これが私の韓国の人々への「御忠告」である。