Kim Yong Sung, residing in Koto-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Hello. I’m Kim Yong Sung, a Korean currently residing in Japan. Due to the earthquake and tsunami that struck the northeastern region, the greatest ever in the history of Japan, right now the whole of Japan is overcome with grief and fear. It’s the same for us Korean residents. But there’s something even more frightening than the earthquake and the tsunami. That would be the careless media reports and speculation in Korea.
Every day after the earthquake occurred, we are watching news reports on the disaster, and watching out for aftershocks. With every passing day, the number of casualties is snowballing and the quake alarm is sounded two to three times even within an hour. But compared to the news that are reported in Korea, that’s not scary at all.
It’s true that Japan isn’t safe. It’s also true that marts have been emptied of food supplies and daily necessities and that there are rolling blackouts due to power shortages. But rather than to say it’s dangerous, it’s just inconvenient. Over here, people are composedly returning to their daily lives, cooperating and conserving in order to overcome this disaster. Instead of flinching with anxiety, they just want to overcome and beat this.
It’s no different for the Korean residents. There are those who lost their homes in one morning, and there are those who weep bitterly not knowing if their parents and siblings are alive. They are looking for the courage to stand up again to rebuild everything. But they lose all strength and courage the moment they hear of the news reports in Korea.
Despairing news are conveyed via smartphones and speculation from unidentifiable sources are circulating around. Trembling with fear and wanting reassurance, they listen out for the emergency broadcasts. But their hearts drop when they hear reports that are contrary to the statements issued by the Japanese government.
News bulletins like the long-awaited “Nuclear explosion! The world’s worst radiation leakage ever! A prelude to another great earthquake! The biggest blackout since World War II!”. But these are news that are hard to find in Japanese news reports. Reading Korean news after the earthquake, I saw a news article discussing whether the Korean peninsula will be safe from this disaster. Fortunately it said that the peninsula will be minimally affected and that there is no damage. But it’s very different comparing Japan-related reports based on the worst-case scenario.
Why is it so? Like the hearts of parents who pat and embrace their child who’s trembling in fear, it’s to allay the fears of their fellow countrymen?
There are apparently more than 900,000 Koreans residing in Japan now. Our parents, siblings and friends who are worrying about us now are all indeed citizens of Korea. Did they not think about how these reports will unnerve these millions of citizens who are worrying about us, and spend sleepless nights worried about the safety of their children and parents?
Like how there is no risk of radiation leakage in Korea, it’s the same here in Tokyo, and no one is spending each day in anxiety because of that. No one will be afraid too, if another earthquake strikes. There are only people who are just getting prepared beforehand and encouraging those in the affected areas to stand up again.
The Korean residents take pride in seeing and living together with those who are crazy over the drama “IRIS”, those who sing along with DBSK’s songs, those who dance along to KARA’s dance steps. And are we going to cause despair and unease to our families in Korea through exaggerated reports, speculative reports and rumors with unidentifiable sources? Or are we going to give them hope and courage to stand again?
I hope the government and news media can make sensible judgments and sensible reports with the compassion of the world’s first rescue team to be dispatched.
Credits: Dongwan’s Naver blog + Absolut Shinhwa