Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Was Seollal Japanese First?

Anger has mounted within Korea today after Korean scientists reported that Seollal – the Korean Lunar New Year which is now celebrated around the world – had occurred in Japan an hour before it being rightfully enjoyed by Korea. The scientists said that the new moon, which marks the beginning of a new and prosperous year for all South Koreans except disabled and gay people, was claimed in Tokyo at 5.54pm Korea Standard Time, before there was even chance for it to become properly dark on the peninsula.

The use of the first new moon of the lunar year is believed to be part of a plot by the Japanese government to reduce the moon's prosperous effect in Korea, destabilizing the Korean economy and causing unharmonious feelings in a country famous for its morning calm and harmonious social order. The Ministry of Strategy and Finance says that as a result of Japan's actions, Korea's per-capita income for the new lunar year is expected to now fall short of the government's earlier forecast, especially for employees working for large corporations, and perceptions of social inequality may wrongly grow.

Tensions between Korea and the country it defeated at the end of the Second World War have increased in recent months after Tokyo once again falsely claimed the Korean territory of Dokdo, saying it was Japanese even though the islands - which are home to over 50,000 Koreans - has no Japanese residents.

Korea introduced culture to Japan. 'Ajikgi' and 'Wang In' are the two Koreans recorded in the earliest Japanese historical records for having brought their superior culture and Chinese writing to the Japanese. But during the Meiji Restoration the Japanese government attempted a systematic cover-up of Japan's Korean-based culture and switched to the Gregorian Calendar in order to repress Seollal in Japan and harass Japanese Koreans and Korean descendents including the Emperor and his family.

Shockingly, Japan does not even recognize the importance of lunar new year now and is believed to have taken the new moon just because it was there, and to deprive Korea of its use. Kim, a 25 year-old office worker voiced the reaction of many on the deserted streets of Seoul, saying that it was typical of the Japanese to take something from Korea and then "not value it."

The government has said it will look into placing moon spotters on high mountains in the east of the country, or building a large tower in Korea's easternmost province of Dokdo, to ensure that in future years Koreans are able to claim the new moon before the Japanese.

Related Links
'Seollal' Wrongly Called 'Chinese New Year' in America
Per-capita income to be lower than expected
Three-Kingdom Era: Koreans bring culture to Japan
Korean Impact on Japanese Culture: Japan's Hidden History
The emperor's new roots
Wani (Wang In) and Achiki
Japanese New Year
Is Korea looking after its cultural heritage?

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