Changing the anti-Japanese frame

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Changing the anti-Japanese frame

The author is head of the Today-People News team at the JoongAng Ilbo.

Ebisu, Kirin and Suntory are back. If you are delighted, you must be a Japanese beer fanatic. The Japanese beer that disappeared from Korean convenience stores’ shelves in the aftermath of the Japan boycott are returning, quietly but surely. Three years ago, people pledged to not eat, drink, wear or ride Japanese brands.

On my way home, I spotted a promotion at a local convenience store offering a free glass when purchasing five cans of Japanese beer. According to the Customs Service, the total Japanese beer import plummeted by more than 90 percent during the boycott, but the import in the first quarter increased 22.6 percent on year. Numbers are honest.

In a survey conducted by a credit card company last May and June on 1,000 adults, 59 percent said they would travel abroad within a year, and 20.5 percent chose Japan as their destination. In fact, Korea is a country of capitalism and liberal democracy, and it makes sense that trying to restrict someone’s freedom does not work.

Liberation Day on Aug. 15 is around the corner. But the shabby end of the Japan boycott has great implications. Were the nationalist, anti-Japanese YouTubers just a precious few with loud voices? The anti-Japanese stance owed much to the last government. Nearly until the end of the administration, diplomacy was sacrificed for domestic political needs. As Using Japan was distorted as a synonym for pro-Japan, malicious comments and emails to the “indigenous Japanese sympathizer” became commonplace.

When you hear the title “Don’t Think of an Elephant,” a 2008 book by American linguist George Lakoff, you immediately think of an elephant. It is the power of framing. Lakoff wrote in reference to the Republican Party — whose symbol is an elephant — but his theory also matches the evolution of the anti-Japanese frame.

It is time to change the age-old anti-Japanese frame for our national interest, as the expiration date of anti-Japanese politics is coming to an end. Japan is not what it used to be. The time has come for us to prepare for the true season 2 of Korea-Japan relations by surely settling the history dispute and becoming a more mature nation. If we fall for the temptation of politics that relies on anti-Japanese sentiments, history will inevitably repeat itself as a comedy following tragedy. Now that the word “late” has been added in front of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the Yoon Suk-yeol administration’s national interest diplomacy will be tested. I am looking forward to his Liberation Day speech.
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