The Plight of the Kopino

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The term Kopino is derived from Korean-Filipino; its connotation, however, is a negative one- it refers to the children of Filipina Korean comfort women with Koreans who have visited the country as tourists or on short business trips.

Often forced into prostitution, the women are not much more than girls- and that’s why the topic is so disturbing- and, perhaps, why there hasn’t been enough news coverage on it.

That many of the girls are left pregnant and alone, unable to support themselves or their families, is another controversial issue, and one that a few groups have been trying to address. The Wall Street Journal recently featured a special shelter for the Kopinos in Manila, set up in 2006 by Son Bum-sik.

In Cebu City, the Kopino Foundation, Inc. was established in 2009 by local Korean businessman Yoon Ji Hyun to help the plight of the children; he estimates that there are around 10,000 Kopinos in the Philippines, mostly located in Quezon City.

“Their fathers just leave them and we love these Korean children. They have Korean blood running in their veins,” (Source)

A Korea-based non-profit organization also exists to provide aid to the Kopinos: the Daejeon Migrant Workers Support Center, which also has a branch in Manila, offers various social services and outreach programs for both the children and their abandoned, usually unwed, mothers.

The plight of the Kopino recently made headlines when a paternity case was won by two Philippine-based Kopinos, based on DNA tests and other evidence. The father, whose identity has not been disclosed, has been ordered to provide child support to the children.

To find out how you can help the Kopino, visit the Kopino Family Foundation on Facebook.

Halloween Fever In Japan


Two decades ago the idea of getting dressed up in ghoulish costumes, decorating your home with jack-o-lanterns and going door-to-door asking for candy was thought of as a bizzare western custom in Japan. Not anymore.

This weekend, the streets of Tokyo were packed with people in costume and shopfronts were adorned with witches and pumpkins – Halloween fever has hit Japan.

Although the Japanese have a similar Buddhist holiday in August known as Obon, which, needless to say is celebrated with as much joviality as a funeral, the Japanese know the holiday as an Americanized time to have fun and relish in it. After all, the Japanese are known for their fondness for fantasy role playing as seen in their habits for “cosplay”, which involves dressing up in anime costumes.

Halloween was probably first introduced in Japan in the early eighties, when Tokyo Disneyland opened its doors. Today, the theme park (which apparently is the most packed of all Disney parks around the world) started their annual Halloween parade even ahead of Florida’s Walt Disney World – as early as September 12th.

A recent survey reported that 3/4ths of the population in Tokyo know what Halloween is, and although the trick-or-treating tradition has yet to become a tradition, it is quite apparent that the holiday of horror has wormed its way into the heart of the Japanese people.

Also in the news:

Down and out in upscale Japan

The history of the comfort women still an issue in Japan

Japan could be destroyed within the next 100 years

 

Explosions Rock China’s Xinjiang Region, 2 Killed

China Blasts

Beijing — At least two people were killed and several injured as China’s Xinjiang region was hit by a series of deadly explosions on Sunday, the authorities said.

The blasts occurred in multiple locations across Xinjiang, an ethnically sensitive region that has experienced a spate of violent incidents in the recent months. According to the government operated Tianshan news portal, three powerful explosions took place at about 5 p.m. in Luntai County, located in the southwest of the regional capital, Urumqi.

Although the report said the injured were rushed to the hospital, it did not give any information on how many people suffered injuries or what was the cause behind the explosions.

Also on the same day of the explosions, 17 government officials were punished in southern Xinjiang for failing to prevent a lethal attack by a terrorist gang on July 28, which left 37 people dead.

Over 200 people were killed in Xinjiang this year due attacks on civilians and clashes between the security forces and locals. The Chinese Government holds the Muslim Uighur minority group responsible for the trouble brewing in the region. The rights group on the other hand says the Uighurs have been religiously oppressed, leading to a stronger resentment.

The attack in the capital Urumqi in May that left 30 dead and the one at a train station at Kunming in March, in which 29 people were killed, are clear proof that the assaults are only growing with time, and are no longer limited to the region.

As the explosions shook China on Sunday, the country’s supreme court formed and distributed new guidelines pertaining to cases related to terrorism.

According to the new regulations, creating and displaying banners or other materials that showcase religious extremism will be seen as a criminal act. Also, religious insults of any kind could become the base for a criminal conviction.

Korean Crackdown on Sex Industry

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Brothel owners and high-class callgirls will have you believe that their business is all part of doing business in Korea. But as News.com.au recently reported, the South Korean tax office has been cracking down on these types of “sleazy services”, frustrating many local sex industry businesses.

“Last month, the government tax body finally put a number on the excess, reporting through a conservative lawmaker that $1 billion was spent on corporate credit cards on sleazy night-time entertainment in 2013.” (Source)

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Make no mistake about it: prostitution is illegal in South Korea. But, as the article reports, executive-level sexual corporate entertainment is “the norm”, a cultural tradition that is tolerated for the most part- and also means many corporate Korean women are left out of important business dealings and deal-making.

While it’s a good thing to see the South Koreans finally begin to crack down on this industry, one wonders what is being done about the recent news reports of Asian women demanding justice for forced prostitution during the Korean war. For more details, see this video on Vietnam comfort women.

According to the Korean Feminist Association, more than a million women in Korea are sex industry workers. It’s supply that meets with a great demand: the government-run Korean Institute of Criminology claims that one out of five men in their 20s purchase sexual services at least four times a month.

Japan-China Relations: Where is it Heading to?

Of all the countries that Japan had conquered in the past and have established friendly relations with later, it is China that has become so hostile in recent years. Many people including journalists are wondering why this is so when the others do not feel so much hatred towards Japan.

Despite its economic cooperation, China and Japan continue to be in conflict over several issues. These cover Japan’s wartime atrocities that caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Chinese and claims of ownership of the eight small islands off East China Sea collectively known as Senkaku/Daioyu among others.

Japan-China relations

As tensions remain high between the two nations, their citizens (although not all) have somehow developed an awkward feeling towards each other. The Chinese have been very vocal about their protest for Japan’s wartime crimes while a rise in Japanese nationalism has been noted in recent years with the Japanese doing everything to clarify issues and make amends where needed. Keep reading »

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