Perils of the Non-Verified and the Fictional: Just Another Week in News from North Korea

Why did it take me this long to figure it out?  With the exception of Sunny Lee, no news reporter who writes in English, who is based in Beijing or Seoul or Washington, whose job it is to report on North Korea, actually reads the Chinese-language press about North Korea. How else to explain the void in this story about a train from Sinuiju, which … Continue reading Perils of the Non-Verified and the Fictional: Just Another Week in News from North Korea

Sino-Japanese Relations: The Sun Sets on a Bad Year

The end of the calendar year brings closure, of a sort, to the news cycle.  The (disorderly and American-style) marketing of mayhem and chaos awaits a new year. To remark, then, on a few tropes of Sino-Japanese Relations at the final aperture of 2010. The Japanese press, frustrated by Japan’s inadaquate response to the Diaoyutai/Sengaku Islands episode this past September, and aware that the Chinese … Continue reading Sino-Japanese Relations: The Sun Sets on a Bad Year

China-North Korea Succession Tiff?

The Asahi Shimbun again stirs the pot with a compelling report on Sino-North Korean relations, making some new assertions that China opposed North Korea’s hereditary system of succession recently and this past May.  Asahi’s sources indicated that North Korean grey-eminence-behind-the-throne Jang Song-taek may have twice traveled to Beijing in the May-June 2009 window both before and after the DPRK exploded a bomb on the Chinese … Continue reading China-North Korea Succession Tiff?

Oe Kenzaburo on War Memory

The following excerpt from a dialog about the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War contains one particularly interesting idea tendered by Oe: the Tenno system, or the Japanese emperor, as the “pedal tone” of historical continuity in Japan.  But metaphors aside, this discussion of pre-war and post-war continuities with one of Japan’s leading writers is itself worth discussing.  And particularly so: … Continue reading Oe Kenzaburo on War Memory