Friday, March 16, 2007

More on the shelving

ABC News reports
Rhie said he would consider how to change the book and would undertake an "all-out revision."

"I'm sorry to see things like a frog in a well," Rhie said Thursday, referring to a traditional Korean saying that a frog in a well is unaware of the larger world outside. "In the future, I will write books in a more responsible way."

What is it with this guy and the stupid frog in the well? What is the obsession? He drew that same damn picture of the cowboy in the well so many times, and he's still harping on it. Find a new simile, Rhie!

Rhie describes his 2002 visit to Disney's California Adventure as "like five thousand frogs of every stripe secreted away in the depths of wells of every possible description, like a well made of frogs inhabited by yet another frog, all the while unaware of his own well's inferiority to other wells, like a frog-and-well based version of the Matrix."

Here's my translation of the article in the Hankook Ilbo.
Jew disparaging "Monnara..." pulled, contents to be revised by mutual agreement.
Jewish group visits Gimm-Young Publishing

On March 15th following protests by Jewish Americans saying parts of the comic "Monnara Iunnara: America" [sic] disparage Jews, representatives of the Jewish human rights group The Simon Wiesenthal Center visited Gimm-Young Publishing, which pubished the book. Vice president of the group Abraham Cooper and others metGimm-Young president Eunju Park and author, DeokSeong Women's University professor Rhie Won-bok at the comany's offices in Gahoe-dong, Seoul this morning and agreed to withdraw Monnara Iunnara: America from the market and to publish a Korean version of the book "Dismantling the Big Lie, which digs up the plots against Jews that are out there.
Professor Rhie said he "would take into consideration the Jewish group's explanation about the problem passages, remove or alter them and then put it out again."
Last month American Jews demanded the book be corrected, pointing out the passages that said "Jews are the great power moving America" (p242, 247) and "Koreans in America can succeed but run into the barrier called the Jew" (p220).

Here's MBN TV's brief report on the story, most notable I think for the most negative or at least questioning take on Monnara that I've yet seen in the Korean media by the anchorwoman introducing the story. Could the media's slant on the story be turning from the original "this is a waste of time" stance that the earlier stories took?

Anchor: There are likely few people who don't know of the
educational comic "Monnara Iunnara". The series sold over 10 million copies
domestically, but following the indication by a Jewish group that there are
problems with the content, The decision has been made to pull the book with the

Reporter: An Yeong-Ju reporting. Representatives from the
international Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center have visited
Korea. They are here to urge the revision of the 10-million selling educational
comic "Monnara Iunnara" that they say contains parts that disparage the Jews.
The problem part is in the volume on America that says "The Jews move America".
Simon Wiesenthal and the publisher's side have agreed to stop printing and pull
all the copies of the volume on America currently being sold and to revise the

Yonhap TV reports that the Wiesenthal Center invited a group representing Gimm-Young to Los Angeles to see Jews and Koreans living together first-hand. President Eunju Park was quoted as saying "We will examine the parts of the book to be revised and the invitation positively and will give a concrete answer soon". They also report that after the meeting at Gimm Young Wiesenthal reps met with U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow to discuss their opinions on the incident and had a meeting with international reporters at the Hyatt.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Volume 10 to be withdrawn from stores

Hang onto your copy of Monnara Iunnara Volume 10: The Americans, it's about to become a collector's item. The book is being taken out of print, according to Canada's CBC. Rabbi Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center is quoted as saying
The net effect of what he's done here is a disaster and he just doesn't get it. I hope he will someday, but in the meantime this book's got to go.
Apparently Rhie defended himself to the very end, perhaps thinking, as many of the older Koreans I have spoken to do, that the attention that this has gotten confirms their suspicions about grand Jewish conspiracies.
Gimm Young Publishing has agreed to stop producing the book and fully review the series. They will also be publishing a book about the insidious spread of antisemitism.
Rabbi Cooper compared the comics to the Nazi-era magazine Der Stuermer.

Yonhap News has articles about the visit and the decision to discontinue the book. I'll translate them in due time unless someone beats be to the punch. They seem at first glance to be heavy on the demands from Cooper and light on reactions from the publisher and the author. The book that Gimm Young agreed to print is called Dismantling the Big Lie, apparently published by The Wiesenthal Center.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Era of Unlimited Service Competition (A Bank for Gays Opens)

Here's a black and white Rhie Won-bok comic which I believe comes from a newspaper. I found it here. It was placed on the website as some kind of proof of Rhie's racism, but it's highly incorrect to present it as such.

The Era of Unlimited Service Competition: A Bank for Gays Opens

1. This is a time when the marketing war among banks to attract new customers is heating up - we've already discussed in this cartoon series the bank in the Netherlands attracting young people in middle and high school.
2. In March 1999 in America the world's first bank for gays, G&L Bank opened its doors.
3. But it's not a real bank, just an online bank, and there are plans to open a real bank in 2002.
4. Steve Dunlop, who revealed himself to be a homo [sic] is the man from Pensacola, Florida, who came up with the idea for the bank.
5. Just as blacks seek black banks and Jews frequent banks managed by Jews, the gays are the same and the market is now ripe for it.
6. Just because G*Ls [gays and lesbians] are homosexual they experience difficulties borrowing money in banks.
7. Even when they handle their finances jointly like a married couple they face many hardships,
8. So this online bank was created so that G*Ls could freely and conveniently use a bank without such difficulties.
9. This idea came out of Dunlop's own difficulties in dealing with banks.

Wiesenthal Center Press Conference

I received this in my inbox today. Too late notice for me to go, I'm afraid, but if anyone is in the area check it out. Naturally I will be following the outcome of Rabbi Cooper's visit closely.

PRESS ADVISORY March 14, 2007


WHEN: Thursday, March 15, 2007 at 4:30 PM

WHERE: GRAND HYATT SEOUL, 747 7 Hannam Dong Yongsan Ku, Seoul 140-738

On Thursday, March 15, 2007 at 4:30 PM at the Grand Hyatt Seoul, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, will give a briefing about a volume of the popular Monnara Iunnara (Distant Countries and Neighboring Countries) series that recycles Jewish conspiracy theories that “echo classic Nazi canards” The briefing follows a meeting earlier with Eu-ju Park, the CEO OF Gimm-Young Publishers, who released the series. In a letter last month, Rabbi Cooper urged Ms. Park to “carefully review the slanders in this book that historically have led to antisemitic violence and genocide.” and instead “consider providing facts about the Jewish people, our religion and values to young Koreans.”

On a related note, Rabbi Cooper yesterday condemned a student group in Taiwan that promotes the ideals of Adolf Hitler. The group is seeking NGO status in the international community.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe.
Rabbi Cooper can be reached via e-mail at or at the Grand Hyatt Seoul, 82-2-797-1234. For additional information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036 or

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Volume 11: American History, pages 248-251 (America must create enemies without end)

I thought the last pages of volume ten, about America's myopic ignorance, were anti-American enough, but volume eleven's final sentence is easily as bad. Rhie claims that America's great energy stems from America's refusal to lose ever, and that, seeing the exmple of the decadent Roman Empire, America must stay competitive by constantly creating 'competitors and enemies', i.e. China, Japan, and Terror! Read on if you dare.
In the end the Americans, who left their homelands and traveled 10,000 miles away to a strange land and fought through innumerable ordeals armed only with the pioneering spirit, brought down the Soviet Union and became the world's only superpower. But looking at the example of the Roman Empire, having no healthy competition leads to decline. America is keeping its eyes on a gradually rising China and getting ready. China, land of great culture and great population; in the future it is obvious that it will become an economic powerhouse and a frightening competitor for America. But America has battles to fight before it can tackle China. More than anything it must close the growing gap between rich and poor. One out of ten Americans live in persistent poverty. America must seriously solve the internal disputes among the races as well as its disputes with the rest of the world.
More than anything in order to do this, if America doesn't learn cultural humility America will never be the world's leading nation. When America understands the world's cultures and gains the cultural humility to recognize and respect them America will be able to truly become the world's watchman.
(Graphic shows a cowboy gawking at a turbaned man)
Cowboy: East Asian culture is 'mysterious'.
Turbaned man: That means 'irrational'. You need to
throw away that prejudice, we're all the same!
We're all the same. I am sure glad that we Americans could learn this beautiful lesson from the likes of you. We're all the same, with minor differences, like Japanese people's buck-teeth and black people's huge pink lips, right Professor Rhie?
But since young America has barely been in existence for 200 years, and even though it's a pluralistic nation that looks like a museum of the races, The problem is that Americans can't understand anything that's not American, and they don't even want to or try to understand. America is the birthplace of globalization, and yet America is the least globalized nation in the world. Unlike Europeans, Americans can't understand the notion of 'coexistence' properly, that coexistence is not merely living together, and that you must respect and understand your neighbors, having the friendship to not discriminate against them. But it is said that America is only comfortable with ruling and leading (dominance).
Because neighboring Canada's population doesn't even pass one ninth of America's, and since most of its population lives within 100 km of the American border it's as if it's dependent on the U.S.
(Graphic shows an American looking over the border at a Canadian, standing in a corridor defined as 100km from the U.S. border)
American (thinking): America's 51st state?
Canadian: [Beyond 100km from the U.S. border] it's too cold and there aren't any jobs.
Since in the south Mexico can barely come close to America economically and militarily America has always reigned over Mexico like a big brother. It's not just America; when you become a leading nation you can do no different.
(Graphic shows a cowboy and a samurai)
Samurai: The more the rice plant ripens the lower it bows its head [i.e. The greater the individual, the more humble they are]
Cowboy: When corn ripens it stands up straight as an arrow!
We could say that they are in the grips of an obsession with being the world's greatest and strongest in every challenge and test, and that they must never be surpassed as the world's strongest. That's why they endlessly make competitors and enemies. (Graphic shows a racer shouting "Who challenges me? Whether China or Japan, and if not Terror . . .") To fight and win they must never stop moving. This energy is America's biggest prime mover, and they must constantly move quickly and busily making problems and fighting wars in order to make sure they never
extinguish this great productive
engine. (이 에너지는 미국 발전의 가장 큰 원동력인 만큼 이를 생산하는 거대한 엔진을 꺼뜨리지 않기 위하여 미국은 끊임없이 문제를 만들고 전쟁을 하여 바쁘게, 빠르게 움직일 수밖에 없지.)
That's the American secret. Never stop fighting wars, or we'll lose our edge. The thing that I really love about this book is the level of projection that goes on in Rhie's mind. Everywhere he looks, he sees Korea. I mean, Korea's been at war for the last how many years, and it's certainly helped their economy, eh? He's like a rabbit who reads a book about the Hundred Years War and declares the underlying cause to obviously be carrots.
If there had been no great frontier in the West of America it's possible that America would have been forever consumed by internal strife and troubles.
(Graphic shows explosions of hostility coming out of a well)
I've discussed the well before. This is Rhie's favorite symbol for ignorant America, The frog in a well. The frog in the well doesn't realize there's a whole wide world outside his well, and instead brags proudly about its greatness. again, this is a term that some people tend to use in reference to Korea.

But America's energy went into spreading westward without problem, and it's now spreading limitlessly to the rest of the world. Other ethnic nations that were blocked on all four sides and whose energy had no place to spread out expended their energy in factional infighting and disputes and stand in contrast to America. John F. Kennedy said "The United States has to move very fast to even stand still." America will keep on moving just as he said. If that great body stands still, it will be torn down by fat and the diseases of old age. To produce its overflowing energy, America must create enemies without end.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Volume 11: American History, pages 245-247

Up until now I'd ignored the other volume of the series that I have, but tonight I flipped through it and again found that the last chapter expresses most of Rhie Won-bok's opinions. Here are some of the last few pages of Monnara Iunnara Volume 11: American History, Chapter 8: The Lonely World's Only Superpower: Today's America, from the New Frontier to the Iraq War. Fascinating stuff, for sure. The book has 251 pages, so I'll do the last four in my next post.

The presidential election of 2000, at the dawn of the 21st century, ended in victory for Bush. Al Gore, the candidate for the opposition Democratic Party outpaced Bush, but because of the 'indirect election' system Bush and the Republican party came back to victory.

Incidentally, I think that these pictures by GRAPHIC DESIGN PROFESSOR Rhie Won-bok may be the worst caricatures I have ever seen
As opposed to his father, President Bush is extreme and became outspoken about American hegemony through his stubbornly conservative policies. Bush's extreme rightism, super-stubborn diplomacy and American superiority [complex] wounded the pride of the many countries angry about their losses due to America's prime concern, globalization.
(Graphic shows an angry Italian, Mexican (likely due to NAFTA) and Arab)
Arab: Hamburger, cola, jeans, Hollywood. Is that all you think culture is?
Because of a lack of understanding of many cultures, America clashed with the Muslim world and had the effect of strengthening hostile powers with their high-pressure diplomacy. In particular, America, feeling the effects of the financial world and the media in control of the Jews took sides with Israel and made the Arab powers into enemies.

In particular, America, feeling the effects of the financial world and the media in control of the Jews took sides with Israel and made the Arab powers into enemies.

On September 11, 2001 America suffered an attack. Terrorists took over passenger planes and suicide attacked the World Trade Center in New York, the heart of America, and Headquarters of the Defense Department, the Pentagon. Thousands of innocent lives were lost in this first notice that America has many enemies and the beginning of a war unlike any America had seen before, the War on Terror. Bush immediately declared war on terror, and to catch the man behind the scenes of the terror, Osama Bin Laden.

And it's at this point that Rhie does something I don't get, which is placing an asterix next to the Korean spelling of 'Osama Bin Laden' and footnoting it with the English spelling 'Osama Bin Laden' . Why? I just don't know. [Update: He does this most of the time, and for some reason I didn't notice until now. I think the reason is that he often does it beneath an actual photo of the person, whereas in this case the asterix is below another completely unrecognizable caricature that is too chubby and fat nosed to bear even a passing resemblance to Bin Laden.]
The war in Afghanistan began on the pretext that Osama Bin Laden was hiding there. And the richest and greatest military power in the world wound up going to war with the world's poorest country.

"The war in Afghanistan began on the pretext that Osama Bin Laden was hiding there. And the richest and greatest military power in the world wound up going to war with the world's poorest country."

In this war they chased out the anti-U.S. government, but they didn't find Bin Laden and they turned their eyes and the barrels of their guns to Iraq and its leader Saddam Hussein which they fingered as a terrorism-supporting state.

America started the Iraq War to eliminate Hussein. Naturally Iraq eventually submitted to the powerful U.S., and Hussein was captured, and Iraq was liberated from dictatorship. But the WMDs that were the reason America went to war in the first place were never found, and America asked many nations to contribute troops and make a "war of everyone", but domestic criticism and other factors placed the Bush administration in dire straits. So the transfer of power to the citizens was dropped and already a serious dispute between the Iraqi people has begun, and the Iraq war still hasn't ended, with endless suicide bombings and attacks on Americans and American soldiers. Quite the contrary, we don't know that the real war isn't just starting.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Chapter 7: Credit is Life part 3, pages 199-205

Update 3/5: Rabbi Cooper won't be able to give a talk when he comes to Seoul this month. It's a busy life when you're fighting the good fight. I recommend to all that you do your part to help by going to any book store, picking up a copy of the book, flipping through it and tsk-ing loudly with an angry look on your face. You know, get the word out.

The really funny thing about this book, for me, is that it reminds me of when I had been in Korea for a year and a half, like Rhie had been in America for a year and a half. Thats the point where you start to tell yourself that youve got everything in your host country all figured out. The funny thing about it is that you form your sense of the country from the most trivial garbage. You see significance in the way people do insignificant things and extrapolate them out into great theories. The folks over at Peer-See (who I believe are currently in that year to year-and-a-half sweet spot of half-knowing their host country of China) have dubbed this process extrapohating.

In Rhies case, he extrapohates American stores return policies, service in stores, and operating hours out into a theory of America in todays longer than usual installment.

In our country, about 4 million people have bad credit. Many people commit suicide or crime because of card debt. Card companies are being ruined because of their costumers
procrastination. In America this would be views as unimaginably disturbing. Customers economic power and ability to pay are absolute preconditions for credit card companies , and as we see card companies ignoring credit history and in a time when competing companies fight with each other, carelessly giving credit cards to people with no economic power in their 20s and 30s who rack up huge debt that they cant bear, and walk the path to ruin, some card companies going bankrupt, and as we see out national economy deeply dominated [by this trend], isnt it time that we took another look at the idea that credit is life?

This was, of course, written in the period in 2003 and 2004 in which the major credit card companies in
Korea were issuing credit cards indiscriminately to anyone with a pulse, giving many Koreans enough economic rope to hang themselves. Rhie is saying that perhaps Korean companies should take a better look at their prospective customers and stop issuing so many cards to young people without jobs who could never pay off their debt

If we consider the credit card in
America as ones economic life, the drivers license is like another life that protects your freedom of mobility. In Americans wallets you will always find two kinds of cards, and those cards are the drivers license and the credit card. America is a huge country and in that huge country the people live very spread out from each other, and so its difficult to even imagine life in America without a car.

Sad but true, and naturally one of the truly positive things that one can say about
Korea. Great mass transit.

Many people use mass transit such as subways and buses in large cities with densely packed populations, but in small cities or suburbs the only way to get around is by car. Buses are not economical so they are few and far between. People with no cars, the sick and the elderly ride buses, but its unspeakably annoying to do so.


The biggest difference between American residential areas and our countrys is that there are never any stores in them. In America there are huge malls where all the stores are concentrated together, so if you want to buy a roll of toilet paper or a pack of gum, you have to go several kilometers to a shopping mall or shopping center to buy them. Since you cant walk there and you have to drive even to buy a loaf of bread, the car is as necessary to the American as a pair of shoes. Cars were prerequisites for American development, so Americans and their cars have an intimate relationship. In a country like that a person without a drivers license must be prepared for as must discomfort and trouble as a person without a credit card.


Most Americans get their license by the time theyre 18, and the US doesnt recognize foreign cards. America doesnt have a personal identification card like our Citizens Registration Card, so in America the drivers license is their identification card. One can get a drivers license by the time theyre 16, but in practice one can start driving when they are 18, and 16 year olds are permitted to drive only with a guardian present. So the credit card and the drivers license are Americas two forms of necessary evidence of identification. Since people use credit cards or debit cards for almost every transaction, almost nobody carries much cash. Once a robber held up a New York City subway car. Because almost everyone was carrying credit cards he got almost no cash. The famous story goes that he robbed everyone on the whole subway car and he didnt even get $100.


I love this page, it's a Rhie Won-bok special, full of lame observations of the kind that tourists make. Want to understand a nation? Go buy a rollof toilet paper, some gum and a loaf of bread, then ask a shopkeeper a question and write a book about it. Why not, you're a professor, you must be saying something of actual value.

Dont they say that in a capitalist society the customer is king? Therefore the more developed capitalism is the more kind the service will be and the more kingly the customers reign will be. But the logic that developed capitalism means kinder service is not true. Japan is a friendliness surplus nation, where the customer gets extremely kind service, and all the service workers have a kind smile stuck on their faces, but the problem is that the prices are groundlessly expensive.
Rhie goes on to credit these high prices to a so-called "smile price". It doesn't seem to occur to him that in a country where everything is expensive, things like wages and overhead might drive up the cost of things in places like restaurants. Nope, all those high prices are just going to pay for all that obsequiously good service. Makes perfect sense.

In the most progressively capitalist Europe, the concept of service is totally switched. All the department stores and shops close early like all the other companies (e.g. Mon.-Fri. 9:30-6:30, Sat. 9:30-2:30). A few years ago customers raised their voices to the rafters complaining and the stores were forced to extend their working hours (e.g. Mon.-Fri. 9:30-8:30, Sat. 9:30-6:30). Of course on Sunday every business closes its doors like a knife [yeah, I dont really get that simile either - Joe]. The shop workers are never around so if you want to ask something you have to wait for a long time, and finally when you get to ask your question you wind up getting a brusque answer.


When closing time arrives, without fail you wont be able to buy what you want because the checkout counter will be crowded and theyll stop working. Thats why a lot of people in Europe are very worried about losing service competitiveness, but in America, on the other hand, its the exact opposite. In Europe naturally and also in our country banks are closed on Saturday, but like a symbol [that they are part of] the service industry, banks in America are open on Saturday until the evening and to top it all, a service competition has started in which some banks are open even on Sunday. Americans cant even imagine a store being closed on Sundays or holidays. They even place huge ads for holiday shopping to drag in the shoppers. It must be nice to shop everywhere whenever you want, but the problem is when the customer becomes a service worker they think quite the opposite way
(Graphic shows a woman talking to a man)
Woman: If I become a service worker I can
t rest on Sundays or holidays either?
Man: I
m sure theyll give you more money or something.

It's funny to count the number of times graphic design professor Rhie Won-bok's imagination fails him. They take off other days, genius!

refund is an amazing part of buying things in America.

Incidentally, I live in Korea and I get refunds for things all the time. I once got a refund for a bicycle I'd been using for six months.

Refunding means canceling a purchase. If you cancel any purchase and return the item for money, they dont even ask the reason and just give you the money. Naturally you cant return consumable items or things that you can copy like CDs, and sometimes they ask you why you want to return the item, but no matter what reason you give they will exchange the item. This system was legally mandated to protect customers from bad quality products, but in reality its because the service workers or store owners dont have to return any money and thus suffer no damage.
(Graphic shows men labeled
store original company, and manufacturer, and a box labeled original price of manufacture)
Store (thinking): If the original company refunds the money that
s the end of it.
Original company: If I pass off the refunding to the manufacturer that
ll be the end of it.
Manufacturer (angrily): People return things at the slightest provocation. Because of returns our profit is falling, so we must put the price of returns into our products.
(Graphic shows the author holding a layer-cake like box, with layers labeled
original price, tax and return price”)
Thats why in Japanese product prices there is a smile price and a friendliness price built in, and in American product prices there is a return price built in.

Just a thought here. If Im a kid and Im reading this book, how much is this going to make sense to me? Oh no, if I go to America I can get a refund whenever I want, but I have to pay a premium for the right to do so through added cost to the manufacturer. This reminds my of Rhies concept that America produces endless amounts of WMDs because of low population density. The concept just doesnt carry through to the conclusion. It just loses me in the middle, and I know for damn sure that it would lose any kid reading this book. This book reminds me at times like this of drunk adults talking to teenagers at parties about things theyd never understand. It also, come to think of it, brings to mind being a kid and buying MAD magazine, only to find reprints of The Lighter Side of . . . strips from the sixties. In the words of Milhouse They dont care whose toes they step on. Just like Rhie.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Something positive coming out of all this

Well, it looks like we have something to thank old Mr. Rhie for today. The LA Times reports that in the wake of this controversy, Korean American leaders have formed deeper bonds with Jewish leaders. The Korean leaders made their first visit to the historic Wilshire Boulevard Temple, where they were welcomed as friends. That's nice to see.
Contrast that with what they're saying over at, for example (about Rhie Won-bok)

"We need MORE people like him and less stupid korean americans who don't know
what they are talking about."


"In fact I think these so called 'leaders' are a bunch of idiots who are bending down and sucking every zionist c*ck thinking they even had a friendly relationship with the ashkenazi jews in the first place. . . The fact the jews are so concerned about some CARTOONS a korean in korea produced shows the zionistic nature that DOES exist in the media. That rabi just proved the professors point of view. "

Very classy, bl**ping out the curses like that. But in fact that last point is the major reaction that I've heard here in Korea. "This proves that the Jews control the press!" Is it the conspiratorial mindset that makes people in Korea instantly assume that only a Jew-controlled media would care about this?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The scale of the problem

I have received a couple of comments from Korean readers of this page asking that I make clear the exact extent of the racist and antisemitic content in the Monnara series. First of all, I have received some criticism for repeating the statistic that 12 million books from the series have been sold. I never intended to imply that volume 10 sold 12 million copies. Unfortunately I don't have any figures on exactly how many copies the book in question has sold. Let's say that it's reasonable to assume that each of the twelve volumes garnered around one twelfth of those sales, so we can estimate that this book sold between 500,000 and one million copies.
Although I have not read the entire series, I have heard from those who have read the whole series who tell me that the earlier volumes (written years before the three volumes on America) are much more scholarly and well-researched, as well as being based on the author's vast personal experience in the countries in question. I have seen volume 11, about U.S. history, and I can't say I found anything wrong with it. volume 12 is about American Presidents and I can't imagine it would differ much from any such book. Thus as far as I am concerned the problem lies only in volume 10.
Within volume 10 itself, the first 4 chapters of 8 are general history, with very little of the author's opinion injected. I find no fault with them. Chapter 5 is about immigration, and contains the cartoon about "white trash" that made its way around the internet. Although this chapter presents a generally negative view of immigrant nations, I can't find any huge fault with it. Chapter 6 is about the dark side of America, and my major fault with it is that it presents American workers as groveling and desperate, frequently using the imagery of a worker prostrate before his stern-faced boss begging not to be fired. Chapter 7, about credit, which I am currently in the process of translating, is a bit factually wrong in that it describes credit and the rule of law as a sort of desperate measure that immigrant nations resort to in order to force disparate ethnic and racial elements to live together in harmony. This is repeatedly presented as inferior to the supposed harmony that mono-ethnic societies like Japan and Korea enjoy. This is also the chapter in which the picture of the black girl saying that she and her baby would starve to death without welfare appears. But it is chapter 8 that has rightly garnered international attention as a piece of classic Jewish conspiracy theory.
So one chapter of one book in a series of twelve is absolutely intolerable. What's the big deal? The big deal is that by the time the reader has gotten through the first 9 books and the previous 7 chapters he or she is fully convinced of Professor Rhie's erudition and authority and ready to accept everything he has to say without question. Isn't that much worse than a patently false, easily dismissed work of junk propaganda?

According to a new AP article
More than 10 million copies from the 12-book series titled "Meon Nara, Yiwoot Nara," or "Far Countries, Near Countries," have been sold since it was first published in 1987, according to its publisher, Gimm-Young Publishers Inc. The company boasts that at least one volume is in every South Korean home in this country of 48 million people.

Straight from the horse's mouth. The 12 million figure I was quoting came from a Korean news article earlier this month.

Chapter 7: Credit is Life part 2, pages 195-198

This passage is interesting mostly for Rhie's fearmongering about the so-called 'economic death sentence' of bad credit. Although Koreans certainly have a lot more cash than Americans do he also doesn't acknowledge the prevailing American view of this disparity, in which Americans are enjoying their houses and cars while they pay them off, while Koreans are going without in the time it takes them to buy things outright with cash.

In America people with no credit that is to say an unverified credit rating, cannot do anything. When such people first come to America they still have no verified credit rating, they can't get a credit card, and for people in America once you are stuck with the label of bad credit, that is the equivalent of an economic death sentence.
Good credit is not just having a lot of money, creditis the evidence that you repay the money that you borrowed or the things that you bought on installment plans, and that you aren't the kind of person who borrows money and then fails to pay it back. The only way to have good credit is to build up a record of faithful repayment.
You can only get a credit card by building a credit history. Once you do that banks that had haughtily refused to issue credit cards will fiercely compete to offer their credit cards to you.

In America you can't do anything without a credit card. You can't rent a car or reserve a hotel and in many cases you can't even rent a house.
(Graphic shows the author and a real estate agent)
Rhie: I want to rent this house.
Agent: Oh, you came to America as an exchange professor.
Rhie: Yes, I would like to rent this house for two years.
Agent: Professor, you have no credit history, so I can't rent this house to you.
Rhie: I'm a college professor, but you still think I won't pay the rent?
Agent: It's not important to me whether you're a college professor. There's no guarantee that you will pay rent at the right time, professor. You have no credit history.
Rhie: Can't I just show you my bank book? There's enough money in it.
Agent: That's your money, not mine. If you don't give me the rent I'm the only victim.
Rhie: Oh, I'm angry. Even though I have enough money I can't rent this house because I have no credit. How about I pay one year rent in advance.
Agent (eyes exploding and jaw dropping): No problem. I'll give you a 10% discount. (thinks) In America it's a dream t touch this much money at once.

There are many times when credit is more important thatn cash. Let's say you're buying a car.
(Graphic shows a man and a salesman)
Man: OK, let's make a contract.
Salesman: $22,000 at 7.75% interest. How would you like to pay? Over 36 months?
Man: Installment plans are too complicated. I'll just pay all at once.
In this case the salesman will make a strange face.
Salesman (thinking): Naturally Asians have a lot of money. No American can buy a car with cash.
It's nice that you don't have to pay interest every month like you do on the installment plan, but the reliable monthly payment is decisively recorded in your credit history, and your credit points pile up regularly. If you come to be recognized as a trustworthy person you get accepted for a credit card. What Americans call a credit card literally means "trust card", so people who have one are people who've been economically verified to be trustworthy people. Before a credit card company issues a card they perform various meticulous checks. The basic information is where you work and how long you've worked there, and how much your income is, whether you have your own house and ho long you've lived there.

They check how much money a person has in the bank and whether he's paid off his loans on time and exactly. They must thoroughly check his economic power and ability to repay, and if the investigation company puts him on a "credit risk" or "bad credit" blacklist, we can see this person as economically already dead.
Even when the card is issued you don't get complete credit. For a fixed period, a so-called "secure card" is issued. In this case you can never take out more than the amount you have in the bank. Even though the monthly limit that you can use is high, it is strictly limited. In American society credit is so important that it is the same as life. If you have a credit card you can live your economic life even without a penny [of cash]. The credit card issuance process is strict and picky but America is also a capitalist society and if you can get a job there you can use that company's credit to get a credit card.

Dear Korean Readers/한국 독자 여러분께

오늘 내가 첫번째 한국분께서 질문 많은 이메일 받았어. Mr. J씨 한국말로 아래 있는 이메일 보내셨어.
I received my first email from a Korean today, asking several questions about this blog. "Mr. J" wrote the following in Korean:
어째서 당신은 한국인과 유대인을 이간질(싸움) 시키려 합니까?
유대인에게도 한국인을 비난시키려는 의도입니까?
그런 책은 학교에서 학생들을 가르치는 교과서(text book)이 아닙니다.
어느 나라나, 인종 혐오 감정이 있는
private book(사적 출판물) 이 발간될 수 있습니다.
실제로 거의 유명하지 않는(that book is not famous in korea) 그 만화를 유명한 만화라고 말하며, 큰 문제가 있다는 듯이
어느 나라나 출판의 자유는 있다. 그 책은 public serive를 위한 public education book 이 아닙니다.
학교의 text book도 아닙니다.
그렇게 유대인을 묘사하는 책은 일본에도 많고 중국에도 많습니다.

Which I translate as follows:
Why do you want to create this discord (fight) between Koreans and Jews?
Is your intention to make Jews denounce Koreans?
That book is not a textbook used in schools to teach children.
A privately published book expressing hatred of a people could be published in any country.
In all truth that book is not famous in Korea, but are you calling that book famous to make it seem that there's a big problem?

Every country's publishing is free. That book is not a public education book for the public service. It's also not a school textbook.
There are many books that describe the Jews that way in both China and Japan.

I wrote the following reply to Mr. J.
내가 아래 있는 이메일 답장으로 보냈어.
If you read the blog from the beginning you can see that I didn't start writing knowing that the book contains racist and antisemitic content. I started writing because I was curious about the books that Korean children read. Professor Rhie Won-bok is honestly a famous man and his series 먼나라 이웃나라 did sell 12 million copies, even if it isn't a school textbook. I certainly didn't write the blog to start a fight. Also, when I saw that some foreigners who had heard about the book from other sites thought that are mostly antisemitic I translated a part of "Jurassic Park's Steven Spielberg" to show people the truth.
In all honesty, I started the blog to make sure that Korean children could read good books. I wrote thinking that it would be great if Korean people whom I love could read good books free of lies. I don't know where professor Rhie learned about Jews but most of the readers of the blog think his writing is shocking, and the only people who agree with him find the site through anti-immigration white supremacist websites.
I have written on my blog before about a video that teaches hate for Koreans in America. I know that there are many books that describe Jews similarly in Japan and China, but there's nothing I can do about it because I can't read those books. If I spoke Japanese I would be translating Japanese anti-Hallyu (anti-Korean Wave) books into Korean.
Thanks for asking be these questions. If you have any others, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Joe Mondello

제 블로그 처음부터 보시면 제가 이 책 인종차별이나 반유대교 내용이 있어서 번역 하는게 아니라, 대한민국 아이들은 어떤 책을 읽는지 궁금해서 하는거 알수 있습니다. 이원복교수님 정말 유명하신분이고 '먼나라 이웃나라' 시리즈는 학교에서 쓰는 교과서 아니라도 1,200만권 팔렸습니다. 저는 싸움 시키고 싶어서 쓰는거 절대 아니예요. 그리고 소수의 외국인들은 이 이슈에 대해서 다른 웹사이트에서 읽어서 한국사람들은 대부분 반유대주의자라고 믿는 거 제가 봐서 한국사람들 다 그렇게 생각 하지 않은 사실을 알리기 위해서 "쥬라기 공원의 스티븐 스필버그"에서 유대인을 의한 부분 번역했습니다.
실 은 내가 한국 아이들 좋은 책 읽도록 이 블로그 쓰게 된것입니다. 제가 많이 사랑 하는 한국사람들은 거짓말 없는 좋은 책만 읽었으면 좋겠다는 마음으로 썼습니다. 이원복교수님이 유대인에 대한 지식 어디서 배우신것 잘 모르는데 대부분 블로그 독자들은 말도 안 되는 거짓말이라고 덧글을 쓰고 이원복교수님 쓰신것 맞다고 하는 사람들 미국 반이민 백인 우월주의자 웹사이트에서 온사람들이예요.
제가 한국사람을 혐오한 비디오도 제 블로그에서 폭로하도록 글 쓴적도 있습니다. 저도 유대인을 그렇게 묘사하는 책 일본에도 많고 중국에도 많은거 압니다만 제가 저 책들 못 읽으니까 어찌 할수는 없습니다. 만약에 제가 일본어 읽을수 있었으면 제가 꼭 혐한류 만화 한국말로 번역 하겠습니다.
메일 주셔서 감사합니다. 또 아시고 싶은거 있으시면 꼭 연락 하세요.
Joe Mondello

Saturday, February 24, 2007

LA Times reports on the story.

Here. It looks like Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Wiesenthal Center is coming to Seoul March 15th to see about getting the book taken off shelves. The article describes the response of Gimm Young Publishing's director Eun-ju Park as a brief email to Rabbi Cooper explaining that she had sent an apology to Charles Kim, national president of the Korean American Coalition. Utterly shocking, still.
Mercury News writes of a protest by Korean American groups against the publisher, and the same story was also reported in the Fresno Bee.
At last check 83 papers have picked up the original story through the AP, according to Google News Search

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Chapter 7: Credit is Life, Pages 192-194 ("'I'll sue you' is the most commonly heard statement in America")

I love how Rhie seems to feel that the law is some kind of last resort when heart and common courtesy fail. More on 'heart'. The original Korean word is jung (rhymes with 'sung') and it is a word that Koreans claim is untranslatable and intrinsically Korean. I think the reasons Koreans claim that it is untranslatable are twofold: one, the best English translation would probably be 'warmth', and only in a specific context that I think most of the Koreans who talk about jung are not proficient in English enough to really understand, and also it feeds into this idea of Korea's uniqueness to say that normal everyday interactions between Koreans have some sort of added emotional dimension that other people can't even conceive of, let alone match. Mind you, now, this 'Koreans own warmth' concept is bandied about by a small minority of Koreans, usually for nationalistic purposes. I have had many personal encounters with jung. a Korean tour guide in Japan told the busload of tourists I was with that one shouldn't trust the Japanese because they lacked jung (said while shaking his two fists, wrists up, to demonstrate the gravity of this ancient and intrinsically Korean concept). Here again Rhie is making the same claim at length, that the problem with America, indeed the need for out litigious society all springs from lack of jung between the races. The false premise of all this is that there is a certain baseline jung between members of an ethnic group. Perhaps so in a country as thoroughly leveled and de'class'ified as Korea is now, but I wonder what th actual level of jung would have been between a Korean yangban (nobleman) and a servant in the 19th century. Certainly the same people, by Korean standards, but how much intrinsically Korean jung would there be?
Anyway, I find it interesting that he ascribes this dependency on credit and law to America in particular and suggests it is due to the lack of jung and general mixed up multicultural atmosphere.

Even though all Americans share the pride of calling themselves American and a love of their country, this doesn't form sympathy between the races and peoples. They put up their protective wall to protect themselves and thoroughly demarcate their territory from others' territory. That's why in America they have no choice but to solve everything with the law. They often even solve trivial issues with the law.
One example was in the U.S. branch of a Japanese company.
(Graphic shows a Japanese man and a Black woman)
Man: Hello Ms. A.
Woman: Director Kimura.

Incidentally isn't Kimura the zainichi Korean version of Kim?

Man (patting woman on the shoulder): Isn't working tough? Keep up the good work!
Woman: !
Man: Yeah, how's your husband? From the look on your face I'd
say things are going pretty good.
Woman: !
This Japanese executive never forgot to give a "warm" [not jung, literally 'warm', and quotes are his, not mine] greeting to his many female subordinates in the name of "encouragement". Graphic shows Kimura patting a shocked woman on the back) But some time later these female employees filed a class action lawsuit against him and the company received a demand for an astronomical amount for reparation for damages. Man: sexual molestation, defamation of character, interfering in personal life? $100,000 compensation per person times 100 people, so Ihave to give $10 million? I was just encouraging my workers with a warm heart and this is the response?

(Graphic shows Kimura and an American man)
Kimura: In Japan we encourage our female workers by patting them on the shoulder.
Man: That's a cultural difference. Laying your hands on another person, especially a person of the opposite sex, falls under sexual harassment and sexual molestation.
Kimura: What about the defamation of character?
Man: You know over half of American couples get divorced. Asking a woman how her husband is is interfering in her personal life.
(Graphic shows a woman looking at Kimura and thinking "He's raking up painfu things from the past. What's this, is he trying to make me angry?")
Man: Whether or not it's intential, bringing up someone's divorce as a topic of discussion falls under defamation of character. When did she tell you to care about her married life? Did they say to touch them without permission?
This is a famous case that happened at Mitsubishi in 1995. In America the most commonly heard statement is "I'll sue you." America has the highest number of lawyers per capita. American society's standard of judgment is not codes of conduct or ethical feelings, rather it is law that is equally effective for all races and people. In America the most important principle is that you must live by the rule of law.
They say the principle of American society where everyone lives behind a protective wall is fundamental premise of mistrust. But to live we must maintain economic relationships and exchanges. But who can trust who in this society where people of many races, many peoples, and every type swarm together? The only thing people can trust is law, and systematically confirmed credit!
Credit-- the measure of ability to believe someone. This is not trust, the belief in one's heart for another person. This is one's "score", one's amount of trustability as confirmed by the government or a specific organization.
In America they even call your school grades "credit".
(Graphic shows a report card. Caption says :Math 'credit' A = A level grade = his math ability is confirmed to be in the A level.")
Credit cards that you get at the bank are also called "credit cards". To speak of someone's credit rating and credit, in America credit is the secind most important thing after one's life.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

What is the biggest difference between monoracial nations and immigrant nations?

That's the question Rhie Won-bok asks in Chapter 7: Credit is Life, How Americans Live. Seems unconnected until you understand Rhie's theory that American dependence on credit is based on racial factionalism, the underlying weakness of immigrant nations. A note to the reader: I have translated the word 민족국가 variously as 'monoracial nation' and 'nation state'. Be aware that this term refers to a country in which everybody more or less belongs to the same ethnic group. Also interesting to see homogeneity used as a positive term, something which took some getting used to for my American mind.

What is the biggest difference between monoracial nations like Korea and Japan and immigrant nations like the U.S., Canada, and Australia? In a nation state, the citizens have a common 'homogeneity'. Even without explaining, we can say that compared to the "citizens' heart" that everybody knows, the immigrant nation's citizens with their various and complicated origins fall far from this homogeneity. It's not only morals and ethics but in values as well, nation state citizens have these in common while immigrant nations' citizens are different from each other. Even if we say nation state citizens have various personalities, they have a strong commonality between them, while the immigrant nation's makeup of various races and peoples have a much higher likelihood of clashes and friction than nation states.

Even if they are very careful they can always suffer these clashes. So in order to minimize unnecessary friction and to keep from damaging others and being damaged by others, the best method is to erect a 'protective wall' between oneself and one's surroundings. This protective wal is a way to concea oneself and not to show one's true feelings and true self to anyone. Even though in a society where everyone lives behind a protective wall arguments are kept to a minimumm we can call this a society where people use fundamental rules and law to solve their problemsinstead of using faith in each other and heart (정). This is why even though the image Americans show people seems warm, the moment they turn around they are completely different.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Chosun Ilbo tells us "What Monnara's Mistakes Show Us"

This is an editorial by Shin Mun-yeong, chief editor of Veritas Books, published in the Chosun Ilbo on February 19th. I just translated it and I must say it is fascinating, definitely worth a read. It starts out telling a story about how the Wiesenthal Center and Rabbi Cooper caused a popular Japanese magazine to be shut down and a writer to commit seppuku over a quibbling disagreement about the scale of the Holocaust. the writer then tells an anecdote about an extremely rich Jewish family he tutored for when he was studying in America, and their obvious unhappiness despite being rich. To read the story, it seems obvious that the woman in it's reaction probably had more to do with his clueless assumption that all things Jewish come from Israel than anything else. He then goes on to remind his readers of all the pain the Jews have gone through and how they are victims, inevitably tying it back to the comfort women. It strikes me that even chief editors can't stretch their mind enough to avoid simply projecting their own feelings of victimization on the Jews. This is a very common thread that we can see both in Rhie's book (page 20, where he compares the diaspora to the Japanese colonial period) and the Prometheus article (in which the Jews' history is again compared to the Japanese colonial period). It is almost unbelievable that not a single person writing about this in Korea has been able to form a single idea in which the Jews don't have to be likened to the Koreans in order to explain their reaction. It seems to me that what these writers are actually doing is co-opting the Jews' 'specialness' by claiming that they are the same as the Koreans. That is certainly what Rhie does when he says that the Jews and the Koreans are the most 'severe' (지독하다: anyone want to help me find a better translation for this unique word?). I'm truly struck by the lack of imagination going on here, but also at the strident way that these people, who seem to have scant years of international experience, seem to think themselves worthy to answer these questions that they barely understand. Truly fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

What Monnara's Mistakes Show Us
Shin Mun-yeong, Chief Editor, Veritas Books
It seems that the part of the 'Americans' volume of the best-selling series Monnara Iunnara, which introduces us to many countries in a fun and easy way, in which it says that the Jews wielding money and the power of the press led to the 9-11 terror attacks will eventually be changed. The writer, Professor Rhie Won-bok, and the publisher have expressed regret, saying they were "apologizing for hurting the feelings of Jews".
The Wiesenthal Center, which is now making this an issue, also once brought about the discontinuation of an education current events monthly magazine published by the Literature Chronicles Company called "Marco Polo" in Japan. In 1995 one Japanese neurologist said in this magazine that the Nazis' mass murder of the Jews was true but that the infamous gas chambers of Auschwitz could have been an exaggerated fabrication.
Marco Polo, with its 250,000 readers, suddenly became the object of protest by Jewish groups, and the Israeli government officially brought this problem to its embassy in Japan. The chief editor of Marco Polo suggested that he would load up on reporters for the rebuttal who would act as a mouthpiece for Jews claim, but this was refused. The Jewish groups exercised their real power, moving the advertisers. Cartier, Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, Philip Morris and other companies canceled the advertising they had planned to place in Marco Polo. What's more, the Japanese government released a public statement that this writer's work was inappropriate. This eventually ended in his suicide by disembowelment. Rabbi Cooper and President of the Literature Chronicles Company Tanaka had a meeting and announced that the entire staff of Marco Polo had been disbanded.
It was 1995 and I was studying in St. Louis, U.S. The family where I was tutoring as a part time job was Jewish American, and their house was in one if the richest neighborhoods. It was Saturday afternoon and I saw a sign announcing a garage sale where Americans sell the things they don't want anymore. I bought a table that would be perfect as a speaker stand at a great price. I noticed a figure carved into it that I may have seen in the bible or a movie and so I asked the owner "Did this come from Israel?" Her face instantly went cold. "How did you know that? So what if it did?" she inquired. I just asked because I was curious, but it was different for the woman. If we can make a distinction between that bank president's family's social standing and wealth, their garage was full of things, but there was a shadow lurking on their faces.
Andy Grove, well-known even in Korea as one of the three founders on Intel, is a Jew who was born in Hungary but went to America as a poor foreign student and made his way up in the world. In the book about his dramatic success story "The Giant Andy Grove", he says that he doesn't even want to go to Budapest, where he spent his childhood, nor does he want to remember it. It's not just Andy Grove: many Jewish scholars, bankers, businessmen and movie-makers are uneasy even now. So they teach their children not to loosen their self-consciousness. They teach them not to forgive the over two thousand year history of hardship etched bone deep in their history.
In Korean society Jews are known for their great brains and as a people who kept their history for a long time, or for their vague responsibility for the powder-keg-like state of affairs in the Middle East. But if we can pay attention with a broader view, we can understand empathize with their painful scars. Even if we don't bring up the comfort women who are now having a hearing in America's Congress, we can understand the reason that the Jews brought up this problem. The rapid decision to fix the book's contents was an appropriate response. In the future Korea, surrounded by large and powerful nations, must rise up to find the horizon and thus understand other people and nations a little deeper, and thus show a Korea to be a nearer, more attractive nation.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Suzanne Scholte's letter

Below is the letter Suxzanne Scholte of the North Korean human rights group Defense Forum sent to Korean American groups and politicians (as she put it, her Korean friends). She told me that she was very pleased with their response and that they had wanted to go as far as having a press conference with Rabbi Cooper of the Wiesenthal Center. Apparently this urgency and will to action was somehow lost between these people and the Korean news media, whose reaction went from "Jews in America have small numbers but they have the strongest influence, so Koreans living in America are worried that the troubles and arguments with Jews over this comic book will spread." to "Some say the reaction to the part of the book about the Jews taken out of context was overly sensitive."

Dear Friends:
This is the first time you've ever gotten
an email from me that was not related to North Korea, but I very much would appreciate your help on a matter of great concern to Rabbi Cooper, our dear friend and colleague on the NK human rights issues. Many of you are familiar with his great help to us on the North Korea human rights issues: his hosting a conference at the Museum of Tolerance for us and serving as the vice chairman of our NK Freedom Coalition. It has come to our attention that a popular South Korean writer and Professor has produced comic books that are very offensive to Jewish Americans and anti-semitic (and anti-American, as well). I hope that several leaders in the Korean American community would consider making a strong statement of outrage at this and I immediately thought of you all as leaders in the Korean business and the church community. All that would be needed is some quotes (a paragraph is fine) that we can provide to Rabbi Cooper that he could use in future statements and releases on this issue -- it would mean so much to come from all of you who are successful, accomplished Americans, who believe in tolerance and respect for other faiths. I know also that many Koreans, especially pastors, hold the Jewish people as very dear and travel to Israel often. Please see below the release from today and the attachment for an example of what these offensive cartoons depict about the Jewish people. Rabbi Cooper is always counseling me to keep speaking out for the North Korean people and reminding me that silence is acquiesence. I hope we can show him that we are willing to speak out for the Jewish people as well.
If you or any of your colleagues are willing to make a short statement please send along to me and I will put them together for Rabbi Cooper.
Suzanne Scholte

Hanbooks pulls volume 10, it seems.

Google has a cached page from selling volume 10 (containing the chapter about the Jews) which is currently unavailable. The page describes the book as follows:

This book, in the form of a comic book, introduces 8 keywords that will help understand the way Americans think and act, such as Constitution, election system, 50 states under 1 federal government, and the power of Jews.

Great choice
for anyone who wants a fun-to-read, informative book to help better understand everything about Americans!

Searches for the title or author's name no longer bring up the page, although a search of Rhie Wonbok's name turns up the volumes on France, England, the English translation of the volume onKorea (English title "Korea Unmasked"), and both volumes about Japan, which they still carry.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Register your disgust

Let it be known to the Korean government how damaging this book is to Korea's image. Go to The Korean Ministry of Culture and Tourism's website and lodge a complaint. Don't worry, it's in English for your convenience. And please, be polite.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Rhie according to Rhie

According today's article in Herald Biz, Rhie Won-bok says:

"During my ten years living in Germany I visited concentration camps and I know as well as anybody how much the Jews suffered and how cruel the Nazis' barbarity was."
"I have no bias of any kind against Jews and I have always opposed racism." Starting with the next edition he plans to replace the problem portions.

Pardon me, Mr. Rhie, but that is demonstrably not true. Also, no one called you a Holocaust denier. I think what you learned during your ten years in Germany is classic antisemitic conspiracy theory, plain and simple.

Monnara Iunnara, volume 10 page 240:

Rockefeller was the top American conglomerate. There is ongoing dispute about whether or not he was a Jew but the matter is not clear. But the reason he is mistaken for a Jew is that his enterprise technique was exactly the same as the Jews. His number one business rule was to destroy the competition. He used intrigue, tricks, threat, menace, and naturally he mobilized industrial spies to steal information from his competition. He used bribery, violence, and to top it all he didn't hesitate to sabotage companies. This was cold hearted industrialist who cruelly knocked down the competitors who faced him.

미국 역사상 최대 재벌의 하나였던 록펠러. 그가 유대인이냐 아니냐의 문제는 두고두고 논쟁거리였지만 그가 유대인일라고 뚜렷이 밝혀진 건 아니야. 그러나 그가 유대인으로 오해받는 것은 그의 사업수법이 유대인과 똑같기 때문이야. 그의 경영원칙은 경쟁을 원칙적으로 없애는 것으로 음모, 술수, 공갈, 협박은 물론 산업스파이를 동원하여 상대의 정보를 훔치고 뇌물, 폭력에 심지어 공장 파괴까지 서슴지 않고 그에게 맞서는 경쟁자는 잔혹하게 쓰러뜨린 비정한 사업가였어

Anybody seen the letter itself?

Rhie Won-bok apologizes . . . to Korean Americans!

Here. The response to this from the publisher and Rhie Won-bok has been deplorable, with seeingly no attempt to even address the problem to Jewish groups, no apology to Korea's children and parents for selling them a book full of racist lies, and an apology only to the Korean-American community for all the trouble this is causing them. Disgraceful. Here's the article.

"I will correct the parts about the Jews in Monnara Iunnara"

Rhie Won-bok sends letter of apology to Korean American group leader.

(Seoul-Yonhap News) Lee Ju-yeong reporting - Rhie Won-bok (Deokseong U) said to that he will change the offending passages, which American Jewish protesters said disparaged and distorted Jews, in his educational book series "Monnara Iunnara"

According to a press release, the publisher, Gimm Young, released a letter saying that they "extend deep apologies for any trouble caused by Rhie Won-bok to the Korean American Coalition."

In the letter, they quoted professor Rhie as saying "He will take steps to correct the things some people pointed out" but that "The book's contents were not antisemitic and that te intention was not to disparage Jews.

Professor Rhie added "I am not a racist" and that he "hopes this doesn't effect Korean-Jewish friendship and cooperation."

Gimm Young editor Shin Eun-yeong said "Professor Rhie said he intends to redraw the parts in question" and "starting with the next edition, those portions will be replaced"

The part of Monnara Iunnara with a problem is volume 10 "The Americans" in which it says that Jews are the force moving America (p242, 247), and that Koreans in America can succeed but they always hit a barrier of Jews (220).

Suzanne Scholte, president of The North Korean human rights group Defense Forum recently sent an email to the Korean-American Federation and other Korean American groups and politicians demanding that the book be corrected and stating "The volume in professor Rhie's series about America has erroneous information."

Prometheus compares Monnara and "So far from the Bamboo Grove"

Here. I've gone ahead and translated the whole thing into English. It is a fascinating read, essentially justifying Monnara's claim that the Jews hold particular sway in America by declaring this natural and citing Korea's irrational nationalism as a mere part of a historical dialectic of nationalism ebbing and flowing in power and influence. Check it out.

Monnara Iunnara and "So far from the Bamboo Grove"
Nationalism Reaps What it Sows.
by Im Se-hwan

Jews in America are angry about Deokseong University professor's book "Monnara Iunnara'. They say the book's contents disparage the Jews. The problem is that the book contains statements that Jews have strong power through money and prevent Koreans from achieving the American dream.

Whether or not Rhie Won-bok will accept the problem presented by the American Jews is up to Rhi Won-bok. Separate from that, what every Korean must ponder together is to what extent this 'Monnara Iunnara' charge is similar to the recent allegations surrounding "So Far from the Bamboo Grove".

Some Koreans claim that "So Far from the Bamboo Grove" is a lie and demand that author Yoko Kawashima Watkins apologize. Yoko is sorry for inciting this passion in Korean people, but explains that she personally experienced the events that she wrote. But that didn't satisfy the feelings of those Koreans angry about Yoko's explanation. Latest reports indicate signs that the furor surrounding "So Far from the Bamboo Grove" is about to erupt into a massive court case. We've heard that a group called "Parents for the Proper Teaching of Asian History' is planning a lawsuit saying that not only is "So Far from the Bamboo Grove" distorting history, but it also damages children by teaching untrue things

We don't know whether those angry about "So Far from the Bamboo Grove" have read the book or not. They are angry about the part that says that in 1945 right before the liberation of Korea Koreans abused Japanese in Korea. But all the netizens were sure about were things like "Yoko said her father served in the 731st unit" and "Yoko said in Nanam in North Hamgyeong Province there were bamboo trees, but this book is a fabrication because there are no bamboo trees in Nanam"

If you read "So Far from the Bamboo Grove" you'll see that in escaping from Korea, Yoko's brother received help from a Korean family. There's also a story about how the Japanese felt cold toward Yoko because she had come from Korea. "So Far from the Bamboo Grove" is not an anti-Korean book, it's a book about a young person. Also, the book Korean-Japanese Interchange History - From Prehistory to Present, created jointly by the Korean History Textbook Reseach Organization and the Japanese Education Research Organization records that around the time of the 1945 liberation north of the 38th parallel violence by Koreans against Japanese did occur.

Still, many Koreans insist that "So Far from the Bamboo Grove" is fabrication and distortion. [In saying] "Don't ask!", this nationalistic feeling is operating as an ideology.

In the same way the criticism by American Jews of 'Monnara Iunnara' is Jew's nationalist sentiment in action. Jews' nationalist nature is as strong as Koreans. It's a fact that Jews in America have great financial power. The Jews use their monetary power to lobby the American government to adopt policies that help the Jewish people. Naturally there are various factors including Middle Eastern oil and Middle Eastern terrorism that factor into America's antagonistic policy in the Middle East, but it is hard to say when we see someone saying that Jews in America, who are hostile to the Arab world, have connections and social standing, that this is defamation or distortion.

If the Jews wish such tolerance for their nationalism, just as when Japanese war victims or Yoko wish for the same tolerance from Korean nationalist sentiment, the broad-mindedness that engenders such tolerance must come first.

Nationalism continues to cycle through history, making the assailant into the victim, the victim into the assailant. As in Poland, where the nationalism during World War 2 took the form of oppression against the same Polish Jews who had fought against the oppressive Russian czar in the Polish nationalist movement before the 1917 Russian Revolution (See the movie Schindler's List, 3 million Polish Jews lost their lives), The Jews, who suffered greatly under German nationalist fascism during World War 2 play the role of harsh oppressor to the Palestinian people today.

Korean nationalism, that fought in the face of Japan's World War 2-era supremacy theory and Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, today manifests itself in reasonless discrimination against South-East Asian guest job-seekers and irrational character assassination against Yoko. Korean nationalism is face to face with Jewish nationalism.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

MBC News report

This MBC News report actually repeats the same stereotypes that Jews are complaining about in the first place. Tactless in the extreme.

Anchor: Jews in America are demanding that the Korean best-selling world history comic book Monnara Iunnara defames Jews.

Kim Won-tae Reporting

Reporter: American Jews are lashing back at Deokseong University professor Rhie Won-bok's comic book Monnara Iunnara, saying it describes the Jews negatively.

The problem passages say, among other things, that 9.11 terrorist attacks occured because Jews use money and the media as a weapon to twist America in whatever way they want, and that Koreans in America can succeed but in the end the wall called the Jews blocks them.

Suzanne Scholte of the Defense Fund (Original English): Well, I find that this writer is producing comic books that are very offensive to Jewish Americans and to the Jewish people. They're clearly antisemitic and they're clearly anti-American.

Reporter: Jews have demanded Rhie Won-bok's apology and a revision to the book and discussions with Korean groups in America.

Reporter: Jews in America have small numbers but they have the strongest influence (유대인 사회는 미국 내에서 소수계지만 가장 큰 영향력을 행사하고 있습니다.)

So koreans living in America are worried that the troubles and arguments with Jews over this comic book will spread.

The SBS-TV report on Monnara

Here's my translation of the SBS transcript, seemingly the meatier one. The more I think about it the angrier I get:

Anchor: Jews in America claim that the ten million-selling educational comic book 'Monnara Iunnara' deprecates the Jews and distorts their history and a Jewish group demanding it be revised.

In Los Angeles, O Dong-heon reporting

Reporter: In part of educational comic Monnara Iunnara, it is
written that the Jews are the real power behind the scenes in America and control Hollywood movies and portray themselves positively as victims while lumping together the Arabs as a barbaric violent group.

The book also says that Koreans living in America can go far with hard work but can never surmount the wall of Jews.

North Korean human rights group the Defense Forum's director Susan Scholte wrote a letter to Korean politicians saying that this comic could hurt Korean-Jewish relations and demanding that the book be revised.

[Michelle Park/ California Tax Equity Comittee: [We] interpreted the letter as a request that [Korean American groups and Jewish groups] come out with the same position on the issue]

Some say the reaction to the part of the book about the Jews taken out of context was overly sensitive (일부에서는 전체적인 맥락과는 관계없이 유대인에 대한 일부의 인식을 묘사한 데 대해 지나치게 민감한 반응을 보인다는 지적을 하고 있습니다).

I would argue that, when placed in context, these passages that people are reacting to are much more shocking.

But there are many indications that merely this situation could pour cold water on the relation between Koreans and Jews and that this situation needs to be dealt with prudently.

Overreaction indeed! I'm quite shocked by this report, actually.
Special thanks to Robert Koehler for setting my hasty and awful translation of this article straight.

TV takes notice.

Both SBS and MBC have picked up the story today. The gist of their coverage is that this problem is a bit of a pain for Koreans in America Here's a transcript of the MBC report and here is the SBS-TV report. I will translate as soon as possible.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Chapter 6 Part 1: The Jungle Within The Cutting Edge Society (pages 160-163)

This chapter is highly interesting, but not nearly as shocking as Chapter 8 and without as many unbelievable quotable affronts to human decency. Nonetheless his general thesis, that Americans are desperate slaves to their jobs and mildly pathetic, is amazing.

America is the strongest country in the world. No country can face America's military, economy, scientific skill, etc. The Swiss world-class research body Institute of Management Development has announced that America's national competitiveness is number one (Canada's second; South Korea's is 15th). In GDP, which shows the scale of a country's economy, America's is first, and twice as much as China, which is in second place. America's population isn't even one fifth of China's, but it's economy is twice the size of China's, Do you have any idea what a rich country America is? In military size too, America is second only to China in number of soldiers (#3 India, #4 North Korea, #5 Russia, #6 South Korea). National defense spending estimates place America's spending at $347.9 billion, 7.4 times that of China. In firepower, equipment, and every respect, America has the world's strongest military. They fancy themselves "The world's police" and holds sway ('세계의 경찰'을 자처하며 호령하고 있는 나라가 미국이야).
(Graphic shows a soldier in sunglasses looking arrogant,surrounded by captions: "Middle East", "Iraq", "Afghanistan", "Bosnia").

Rhie is the master of the backhanded compliment. His version of the punchline is always the last frame of the page that makes all the seemingly positive information leading up to it seem to merely be setup for a snide jab. America is so rich and powerful! That's why they want to be the 'World's Police'.

The Nobel prize is the world's highest authority, but it's not just a private honor, it's a national honor and point of pride. Since 1901 the Nobel prizes have been awarded each year for over 100 years, but our country only won one award, and even that was merely a peace prize awarded to Kim Dae Jung.

This is another fascinating twist by Rhie, surprising to me in that in the middle of discussing these great achievements he can't help but push his inferiority complex on his readers. A mere peace prize. Ha!
On the other hand, 261 Americans have received the precious Nobel Prize. The Nobel Peace Prize takes turns going around to each country so only 20 [Americans] have received it, but nearly half of the Nobel prizes given for Physics, Chemistry and Medicine that are given to scientists who record revolutionary achievements in science and medicine have been swept away by Americans. They say that this award is given in the West and that it measures [achievements] against the yardstick of Westerners. But we can compare the number of awards given to Japan (America at 261 versus Japan's 11). Seventy four Americans received the Nobel Prize for Physics, 50 in Chemistry, and 83 in Medicine.
(Graphic shows an American watching TV)
TV: This year's Nobel Prize in Physics . . .
Man: Eh, it's gonna be an American.
(Graphic shows three students)
Student 1: My head professor won a Nobel Prize
Student 2: Mine too.
Student 3: Yeah, mine too.

And America won the prize for Literature, which goes around to all countries, nine times. Twenty Americans won the Peace Prize and in the 33 years since the prize for Economics was established in 1969, 35 Americans have won it (versus 17 non-Americans), and it's not going to far to say that America has led the world in capitalist economic theory. According to the symbolism of the Nobel Prize numbers, America is the most scientifically advanced country and is the most cutting edge civilization in the world in terms of economic theory and practice. America's Wall Street leads the world's finance, Silicon Valley is deemed the world's leading science region. It also serves as the birthplace of the world digital revolution. Furthermore, American movies made in Hollywood fascinate audiences worldwide and inject [the idea of] "Great America" into their brains.
(Graphic shows a couple walking past a sign that says "Now showing: Defenders of the Earth, Stop Attacks from Outer Space")
Woman: Naturally no one can protect the Earth except America.

Another telling choice of words here. The expression he uses that I've translated as 'injected into people's brains' (뇌리에 주입하다) is so reminiscent, but distinct from, brain wash (세뇌 - Incidentally, both English and Korean get their words for brain wash from the Chinese term, used particularly in the Korean War).

America is truly a land of abundance. Thanks to unlimited resources, the American average income is over $40,000 (cf. Korea's $11,000). America seems to be a heaven on earth, where if you have money you can get anything, and the products of the whole world are pushing into the great market. In America you feel like everything is big and ample. Houses are big, roads are long and cars are big.
(Graphic shows a 4-door "Europe/Japan-style car" and what seems to be a six-door stretch limousine that is labeled "American Car")
The food they give you in restaurants is so plentiful that it is difficult to finish a single meal alone. In our country's restaurants a single portion is based on a person who only eats a little bit, and when you eat bulgogi you have to eat two or three servings to be full. In America one serving is based on the amount of food it that a bulky person can eat until they're full. It;s so much that if you order one serving of bulgogi you can't eat it all and have to ask for a doggy bag. In the stores the products are piled up and waiting for the customers. America is a country where the gas price is less than half of ours and you can roll your big car around as much as you want.
(Graphic shows man driving a van)
Man: Naturally America is number one in energy consumption per capita!

Won-bok-kun, subarashii, you've done it again! Kudos to you and your craftiness.