That dark section of the Japanese internet called the netouyo never fails to amaze or appall us with their right-wing views and sometimes outrageous reactions. This time around, it seems that Prime MinisterShinzo Abe’s eating preferences are under attack as he revealed during the recently concluded Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Bali, Indonesia that he loves eating Korean food.
Those unfamiliar with Japanese and/or Korean affairs may wonder why this is a big deal for those netizens. The short version: Japan and South Korea have not been getting along because of some fighting over how both countries remember their recent and past history. Also, they both say the Takeshima/Dokdo Islands belong to them. The netouyo view: Japanese, particularly prominent leaders, should not like or have anything to do with the Koreans. So of course, the supposed light-hearted moment between Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye during the APEC summit was looked on with suspicion by those who see political undertones in everything, even food.
The two leaders behaved diplomatically at the forum, despite the ongoing tensions. They shook hands and even had “social conversation” at one of the dinners, where they talked about Abe’s wife, Akie’s attendance in the “Japanese-Korean Exchange Festival” last month (which, of course, was frowned upon by the right-wingers). He also mentioned that he actively attends the Korean culture events in his hometown, Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi prefecture. That is probably when his culinary preferences were brought up, thereby ensuring that the wrath of the netouyo come down on him, probably while they’re busily gobbling up their sushi. But let’s see if Abe’s admission will be the first step towards a better relationship with their neighbour.