Back in February Kim Ja-young wrote to the Korea Times about a familiar topic here.
While listening to his experiences in Korea I felt embarrassed when he talked about seeing a jazz bar in Mokpo, South Jeolla Province, which painted on its exterior wall a portrait of an infamous Nazi SS officer standing on a tank. Really? Could there actually be a Nazi bar in Mokpo?
Yes, yes there could, and you can add Mokpo's Rommel Hof (롬멜), also advertised as a jazz bar, to the list of Nazi-themed establishments in Korea. It's named after the Nazi Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and is located just down the street from the E-Mart in Okam-dong.
Kim gets points for recognizing that it's wrong to use Nazi paraphernelia as decoration
Surely, most Koreans have sympathy for Jewish people because we suffered similar cruelties by the Japanese invasion and subsequent occupation.
No, the Holocaust really isn't comparable to the Japanese occupation of Korea. Japan did some bad things to Korea, but this need to cast Korea's suffering into something it's not really just seems masochistic. It's an attempt to connect Korea's situation to something that has global resonance, and in this light it's not that different from these ridiculous comparisons I like to collect.
You'll read Koreans bringing up the Jews from time to time, sometimes to make comparisons like those above, or to appreciate-slash-envy a relatively small ethnic group that has come to be so, um, influential in the US. But for a people who put a lot of stock in pure-blood ideology and protecting the quote-unquote purity of the people, who take a deep interest in things like eugenics and blood-type, who love grandiose displays of nationalism, who have displayed a fondness for authoritarian leadership, and who approach territorial disputes with enthusiasm, perhaps they should think more carefully how they're imagining themselves vis-a-vis the Nazis and the Jews. Indeed, sometimes what begins as commisseration turns into anti-Semitism, as in the case of best-selling comic book on the history and culture of the US:
It's impossible to know which of the two races is the most "severe" (or harsh or sharp, "어쩌 보면 두 민족은 전세계에서 가장 '지독한' 민족일지도 몰라")
We Koreans, who are hard-working and diligent and are sad to come in second, can amass great victories in America with our competitive spirit. But in the end each and every time we hit a barrier, and that barrier is the Jews.
We Koreans, who don't know how to lose to any other race . . .
This is not only true of Koreans: Every other race and ethnicity has this in common.
Cartoon Jew: "So many people hate us, but no one can mess with us."
Jews make up slightly more than 2% of the American population. They control American finance and naturally the American economy controls the world economy. They twist the media to their own ends and control the world of politics. They pilot the U.S. government from behind the scenes and they even have world politics wrapped around their finger (좌지우지). They have a monopoly on Hollywood and paint a picture of the Jewish people as virtuous victims. They play the part of herald for the message that the Arabs and Muslims that they oppose are a barbarous and violent mass.
In a word, the whites at the heart of America are called WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants). . .
". . .but the real group that controls America through money and media pressure is the Jews."
So if you don't understand the Jews, you'll never understand America.
The book, which many of our school libraries carry and many of our students and teachers have read, was ignorant enough to warrant condemnation from the US government. Stuff like that and the other news in my "Nazis in Korea" category have led me to believe the Nazis, the Holocaust, and Jews are topics Koreans should just give a wide berth.