Remember I said that the place was pretty brutal? Well, a couple of the kids were scared shitless and didn't wanna go down and see those crazy displays of life-like statues getting tortured and killed.
I can't blame them. They're in grade four!?
I volunteered to wait outside with a couple of the kids because I was there four days ago anyway. While we were waiting a few girls from another school came out crying.
The kids are learning about the Japanese Occupation of Korea in class these days which is fine, but I think they're just a tad young to be checking out this prison turned museum. We had a tour guide who was explaining all of the different buildings and their purposes. I didn't understand him but I had a brochure so I knew what the deal was with each building (prison, execution building, corpse tunnel, etc.).
My co-teacher and I had a good conversation on our way to the prison and I told her I thought it was a bad idea. My concern was that you're gonna make these kids hate the Japanese for something that happened long before they were born.
When we arrived, the guide explained that the bricks on the walkways had Japanese letters and a lot the children began violently stamping on the letters. On the way back to the bus, one kid who speaks really good English told me that when he gets "big," he wants to "fly missiles to Japan and kill all Japanese people."
Another girl who speaks great English asked me who I thought was better, Japanese or Koreans. I told her (and the kid who wants to blow the place up) about World War II and asked if she knew about the terrible things the Germans did. They both said they knew so I explained how the German people today aren't evil, and I don't think the Japanese people today are evil. These things happened a long time ago.
The girl agreed and said she doesn't hate Japanese people but they were "bad before" but the boy still said "I want to kill them" and then he stuck up both of his middle fingers at the prison before we boarded the bus.
But to answer her question, I suppose the Japanese are "better" because they almost took over all of Asia, the crazy bastards! And they gave the Americans a short run for their money as well.
I was talking to my co-teacher later and she heard the conversation I had with the kids and pointed out one difference between Germany and Japan. Germany have shame, remorse, and regret about the things they did in World War II but Japan refuses to apologize for many things.
Most people know that Japan took thousands (some estimate 200,000) of Korean and Chinese women and used them as prostitutes for their soldiers, known as "comfort women." Japan refuses to acknowledge the direct involvement in this even today.
On 2 March 2007, the issue was raised again by Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, in which he denied that the military had forced women into sexual slavery during World War II in an orchestrated way. He stated, "The fact is, there is no evidence to prove there was coercion." [from Wikipedia]