The Chosun Ilbo provides some interesting alternative takes on Independence Day. It’s not just the day that Koizumi visited the Yasukuni shrine again, or when Koreans held anti-American demonstrations.
First, the event was marked in Japan, as it has for the past 16 years, by a “Concert for Peace” given by the Tokyo Phil, this year conducted by a Korean conductor. The encore was Arirang; one of the performers was a new age Japanese pianist who has worked with Yonsama and who counts Lee Young-ae among his fans.
“You have worked a lot with Korean Wave stars like Bae Yong-joon and Lee Young-ae, what was that like?” Kuramoto said because his music was used in Korean TV dramas, it was only natural for him to become well known there. “I rode the Korea Wave in reverse,” he quipped. “I was happy to hear that Lee Young-ae says she is a fan of my music.” He is rewarded with appreciative laughter. The Japanese audience’s enjoyment was a clear reflection of the state of grassroots Korea-Japan cultural interaction. As the first phrases of the encore piece, Korea’s traditional folk tune “Arirang”, began to flow off the stage, members of the audience could be heard lightly humming along.
A refreshing break from the hostile remarks of the politicians, to hear how popular culture helps foster better relations.
Separately, the Chosun reminds us that not only is August 15 the day Korea was liberated in 1945, but it’s also the day that the Republic of Korea was founded in 1948.