Asianista.com

A fun romp through news, celebrity, beauty & fashion with an AsianAmerican eye

Yu-na Kim and Mao Asada Go Head-to-Head for Olympic Gold

leave a comment »

Mao Asada of Japan (left) and Yu-na Kim of S. Korea (right).

On the shoulders of two young women rest the hope and pride of two nations. Tonight, figure skaters Mao Asada of Japan and Yu-na Kim of South Korea will be battling to see which will take home the gold medal in the Winter Olympics.

For many who will be watching tonight, the sporting competition will take on historical significance. Will South Korea, once dominated by Japan, triumph over its one-time aggressor?

Japan officially occupied the Korean peninsula for more than three decades beginning in 1910 — before there was a North or South Korea. The Japanese made Koreans change their names to Japanese monikers and forbade them to speak Korean, essentially trying to wipe out the Korean culture and peoples.

At the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin, Sohn Kee-chung set a world marathon record to win the first Olympic gold medal by a Korean, but because Korea was at the time occupied by Japanese forces, Sohn had to qualify for the Japanese team, adopt a Japanese name, endure the sight of the Japanese flag being raised and hear the Japanese national anthem being played to celebrate his victory. He bowed his head in protest during the ceremony.

— Reporter Beverly Smith of The Globe and Mail

There is also some research that suggests Korea was once spelled “Corea,” but the spelling was changed by the Japanese colonial government so that Korea would follow Japan alphabetically. (The French still spell it “Corea.”)

Is it fair to thrust all this history upon Korean figure skater Yu-na Kim — in the hopes that a victory over Japanese skater Mao Asada will symbolize the Korean nation’s triumph over Japan? No, it’s not fair. But it is reality.

Advertisements

Written by Asianista

February 25, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: