For the next few days, I’m in San Francisco (旧金山) primarily taking care of some research at Stanford University. Specifically, I am digging into the Iris Chang papers at the Hoover Institution Archives, and revisiting bacteriological warfare expert Sheldon Harris’ papers in the same bunker of information.
I anticipate meeting up with some colleagues and junior scholars, including a “Reservoir Dogs” style posse from the south Puget Sound (南普吉湾) looking into Japanese war crimes.
I have to admit that it is going to be a little strange going through the Iris Chang papers while her bronze bust, donated along with the documents, looks over my shoulder. If only I could share the experience with right-wing manga stylist Kobayashi Yoshinori!
But in the meantime there is much to absorb by way of sensory data in this fabulous city.
Kim Jong Il announced two connections with China yesterday; the first was via PLA General Gao Wusheng, who was with a visiting delegation in Pyongyang. The second was from Jiang Zeting, a vice-chairman of the Beijing section of the Chinese Communist Youth League, the national organization which is Hu Jintao’s old power base. Kim Jong Il, you’re supposed to be worried about your own Democratic Youth League! North Korean youth are increasingly unfettered by the work regulations of the DYL, and Kim Jong Il has openly stated he fears a repeat of the Sinuiju Student Movement of 1946.
Not coincidentally, scarce resources are being concentrated in the northern tier of cities like Hoeryong and Sinuiju. Life is still difficult there, but compared to the horror stories from meth-infested Hamhung or rural Kangwon, the north is an area the Korean Workers’ Party seems intent on holding down. Perhaps it explains this bizarre gem from KCNA yesterday about Kim Il Song patrolling the Tumen river and mumbling “the people are my God” in 1956.
Finally, NK Leadership Watch reports on Korean Workers’ Party brass in Beijing, and South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo remains focused on destroying China’s nefarious Northeast Project.