HIGHWAYWRITER

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Cognates of Korean to English and to other Indo-European Languages

This article is also about the complex origins of the Japanese people, and why the Japanese rulers go to such ridiculous lengths to hide the origins of the Japanese.

Last Update: 15 August 2013

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Download this Article as a .PDF in YOUR LANGUAGE (Machine Translation thanks to Google Translation): Current version of article below: 15 August 2010. Sorry for the inelegant appearance and inconsistent quality of translation. I apologize if your language is not included here. I will try to add other languages as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

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My Motivation for this Study

I am not a linguistic scholar by any means. I study languages for fun and to access knowledge and people that I otherwise could not reach through my native language. Linguistics is not my profession, and unfortunately, I never seem to have enough time to properly devote myself to the languages that I study. I have been studying Korean on and off for many years. I find the Korean language fascinating, and although my current skills are poor, I hope to be able to hasten my Korean studies soon, so that I could speak, read and write Korean well.

My reason for collecting and publishing this list of Korean words that have cognates in English and other Indo-European languages is to avenge an injustice that has bothered me for nearly forty years. Korean is not a language isolate, and Koreans are not a people alone in the world, even if Korea's enemies would like to picture Korea in this way, just as the hungry wolf likes to isolate the lamb from the flock.

In 1969 I got a hold of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, which then was considered, particularly by the Britannica editors, as perhaps the preeminent encyclopedia of human knowledge. I poured over its articles with great interest. As I knew little about the world, I was not in a position to dispute its articles or the qualifications of its contributing writers. I could not evaluate the motivations or errors of Britannica editors in awarding the great imprimatur of Britannica to certain writers, effectively making that one single person's opinion the final word on a single topic. I was a blank slate, and I absorbed histories of countries that I knew little of, biographies of people whom I never heard of, and theories about the universe that opened many new intellectual doors to me.

So much time has passed since I last saw that 1969 edition, but I still remember how it looked, how the binding felt, and if I close my eyes, I think that I could still picture the layout of certain articles, just as if I were recalling the face of a good old friend. Nevertheless, of all the articles that I read in those two dozen large volumes, I can recall only one article's actual writing. That article was on the "Korean Language" and I still remember two bizarre propositions made by the Britannica contributor:

1. although Korean and Japanese have a nearly identical grammar, there appears to be no relationship between Korean and Japanese, other than that they share certain Chinese borrow-words.

2. Korean is a language isolate, with no relationship to any other language.

 

Isolating Korea in order to Prolong the Big Lie about Japanese History

The writer of that article, I learned several years later, was Japanese, not Korean. Perhaps Britannica's editors at the time were not aware of the deeply, deeply unscientific, unscholarly, and highly propagandistic and racist nature of Japanese "scholarship" during most of the 20th Century, which focused on these key fascistic and racist pillars:

1. the Japanese "race" is unique, its monarch is a god, and therefore presumably any topic concerning the Japanese or their actions is not subject to the same rules of analysis, scrutiny, or criticism as are the actions of any other nation, and

2. the Japanese are superior to all others and destined to rule Asia and the world.

Even in telling their own national origins and in interpreting their obviously ancient Korean anthropological, linguistic, and socio-political antecedents, Japanese "scholars" psychotically avoid using references to Korea and Koreans, characteristically favoring vague substitute words like "continental," peninsular," or "northern."

Japanophilic westerners who earn their living in the Asian scholarship trade typically have aped the same vague geographic jargon, assiduously avoiding the verboten words of "Korea" or "Korean." By the end of the 20th Century, it became more embarrassing for such tradesmen to be Korean denialists, mishmashing the links between ancient Korean kingdoms and the "mysterious" founders of Korean-like societies on Kyushu and Honshu. The Japanese nationalist historical view was to deny the Korean founders of Japan their historic role, and to relegate the Koreanization of ancient Japan to some unknowable, unnamable Tungusic peopling episode. Alas, we were told, that this mystery could never be unraveled, as all the ancient peoples were lost in the mists of time.

A not too bright observer visiting Japan could see plainly that Japanese history and culture is the result of peopling from the Northwest (Korea), from the Northeast (Ainu), and from the South (Malayo-Polynesian - Austronesian islanders). However, it has not been politically acceptable to discuss this very much in Japan, and westerners who earn their living in Japanese-funded Japanese studies centers in Japan or in the West interestingly learned to not "offend" their sponsors with the truth, much to the detriment of their students.

Still, if one is supposedly a history professor or researcher, one has to at least pretend to be applying some kind of historical analysis of Ancient Japan. If one is to discuss in some way the peopling of Ancient Japan, however, how could one acceptably describe the colonizing peoples without naming them? After all, Japan is a series of islands. There is no known race of humans living on islands who sprang out of the islands spontaneously. Every island people on earth, even the Japanese, had to come from the mainland, or at least from other islands. There has to be some way to describe the peopling settler groups of Japan in some way. In fact, the terms "northern" or "continental" or "peninsular" endanger the Big Lie about Ancient Japanese History. All of these terms point to some place on a map, to some place where other histories have been written, to some place where there are still people, today called Koreans, who might cause "difficulties" in so far as preserving the Big Lie. There needs to be some kind of neutral term to describe the Korean conquerors and settlers of Ancient Japan.

Since it makes their Japanese sponsors squirm to think of themselves as being descended from Koreans, and even more uncomfortable to consider themselves part-Austronesian or part-Ainu, how could a "scholar" of Ancient Japanese history discuss the drastic cultural and technological changes that suddenly took place in Japan when the Koreans -- oops! I'm not supposed to say that word -- conquered Kyushu, and advanced into Honshu and beyond? How could their artifacts and royal tombs be described? Frankly, "northern" and "southern" or "continental" and "insular" sound far too vague, even for a fake scholar of Ancient Japanese history. They are really just too embarrassing to use. Their use also suggests that the user is addled or afraid. Since the nature of scholarship is to be bold in stating one's findings or theories, the wussiness of these terms became unsustainable, even for these milksops.

Some terms needed to be used to make these researchers' findings sound more consistent with the standards of western scholarship. The solution to the longstanding problem of needing some name for the civilization of the Korean settlers and needing some names for the civilizations of the Austronesian and Ainu settlers, without actually identifying any of these founding groups of Ancient Japan, was to use newly minted archaeogical names. So instead of calling these founders by their correct names --names of actual historic and identifiable peoples-- the "scholars" just made up names.

Why not? If some scholars accept non-existent Emperors in the history of Japan, why not people Ancient Japan with people going by names that nobody has ever heard of. This fits nicely into the unique mystery of Japanese history. Nothing is really quite traceable. For the Korean Gaya and Baekje colonizers, they were to be called Yayoi. As for the Austronesians and Ainu, they are usually quite inaccurately lumped together as Jomon, although sometimes only Austronesians are called Jomon or only Ainu are considered as Jomon, because the whole topic of the Austronesianness of the Japanese is verboten. Lumping them together is about as scientific as putting Paleo-Siberian Chukchi in the same group as Southeast Asian Javanese, but history, science and reason are just not important for these "Japan scholars." Remember, if a Japanese fears being a Korean, he is, again just as stupidly and sadly, even more ashamed of being a Filipino or Formosan Austronesian; so confusing the earlier settlers of Japan is considered better than discussing their histories, their languages and their migrations.

The Yayoi and Jomon usages not only hide the names of the founding peoples of Japan, but this neat verbal fabrication adds an even more attractive fake veneer to that rickety, confused box that is Ancient Japanese history. These terms are supposedly based on archaeological discoveries, with the suggestion that the artifacts found and cultures described belong to very distant, unknowable and unknown peoples belonging to the "mists of time." But at least we could call them something other than Koreans or Austronesians or Ainu.

One of the obsessions of the Japanese, even in very early times, has been to portray their country as a great, very ancient Ancient Civilization, a virtual peer of Ancient China in terms of longevity, if not of depth and substance. So describing in archaeological terms the quite distinct cultural, political, economic and technological periods in Japan before and after the Korean settlers, is as unacceptable as describing the history of 16th Century France using geological time markers.

Use of the faked terms "Yayoi" and "Jomon" should be stopped by any serious historian or archaeologist, and if not, people should mock those who use them. They exist purely to fake history, to hide the names of the actual founding peoples of Japan, to simply serve anti-history ideologues. If you want to be on the wrong side of history here, continue to use "Yayoi" and "Jomon," but some day soon, at the rate that things are going, your work will look foolish.

Regarding Japanese archaeology itself, this is another massively faked subject in Japan, not only to hide Korean ancestors, but also to claim super-ancientness. Let's take the case of Japan's famed archaeologist, Shinichi Fujimora, Senior Director at the Tohoku Paleolithic Institute, who was caught on camera planting allegedly ancient finds. According to Toshiki Takeoka, an archaeologist at Kuromitsu Kyoritsu University in Tokyo: "Fujimura's discoveries suggested that Japanese history was 700,000 to 800,000-years-old.... But those discoveries were fake. It now means our civilisation is only 70,000 to 80,000 years old."

I seriously question this smaller figure, which conveniently, has little regard for a mere 10,000 year difference in his estimate. I am sure that Mr. Takeoka threw out a nice round figure like 70-80,000 years just to... be polite. What if it were only 5,000 years or 3,000, and that only in some remote area of northern Hokkaido? Oh well, let's leave this guessing game for another time....

Mark Simkin, a correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Company's The World Today, reported: "Toshiki Takeoka had his own suspicions, and did try to publish them in an academic journal, but says the editors forced him to tone down his criticisms. According to Hideki Shirakawa, the head of the Government's Council for Science Policy, the problems related to Japanese culture and its emphasis on the group, over the individual: "Japanese people are not good at criticising or evaluating people.... We were originally a farming country, so we would work together, as a group. That feeling still exists today. And that's why sometimes there is no proper peer review, or analysis, in science."

Shirakawa's comments are another typical lie told to westerners when Japan's faked history surfaces. It's the "play to the stereotype" strategy. Westerners are told that Japanese stick to the group. Yeah, this is in many ways true in Japanese culture, but in most cases it occurs precisely due to coercion and fear. Put a Japanese in California or Singapore or London, and they'll be amazingly un-farmer like and quite individualistic and opinionated. A "friendly fascist" society tends to cause people to keep their opinions to themselves unless they want to be seen as outlaws. Such an attitude might work in today's popular culture, but it surely is not accepted in academia. (Some might say that this is true in the West and globally, as well. ;-0) If one's department chair and one's university benefactors believe in one dogma, you damned well better go along.

Shirakawa's "we were originally a farming country" line is nice and pastorally correct and sweet to the untrained ear, but it leaves off the part about samurais roving across the countryside lopping off heads. This might not occur today in Japan very often, but self-censorship comes out of a culture of institutionalized fear, not from farming habits. Go to Korean farms, for example, and you'll see people who are living not too differently from people in Japanese farms, but the Koreans have no problem being opinionated.

On the positive side, it is great to see that occasionally the Japanese press (here, Mainichi Shinbun) covers scoundrels like Shinichi Fujimora. Supposedly his lies, which were published in Japanese schoolbooks as fact, were subsequently being rewritten. At least this is what Simkin was told. Sorry, but I tend to think that maybe somehow that revision might get lost....

More on the fraud of Fujimora's faking of Japanese history:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/1008051.stm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_Paleolithic_Hoax

http://www.t-net.ne.jp/~keally/Hoax/hoax.html

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/stories/s420235.htm

A problem in the case of Japan is that, simply, it really is not very "ancient." In the West, East Asian civilizations are usually mistaken to be vastly ancient, when certainly in the case of Japan, their "Ancient Japan" is approximately as ancient as "Ancient England" (ie., the Anglo-Saxon settlement and conquest of Britain). The very use of the term "Ancient Japan," when referring typically to the Korean settlement and conquest and subsequent establishment of the Yamato throne, covers a period only approximately from, say, 200 BCE - 600 CE. The phrase "Ancient Japan" typically only covers this period, not the stone age "Jomon" period, and its alleged ancientness is to distinguish it somewhat from Heian and other subsequent periods. In other words, it's just a name, a name without real meaning -- quite typical of Japanese historymaking.

If worse comes to worst, and if the Japanese historian is pushed to name some place or some culture from which this or that Japanese tradition started, they might say, especially to foreigners, "China" or "Chinese." This is one of the reasons why in many Western histories of Japan, one sees repeated references to China or Chinese origins of things large and small, without any logical corresponding comments about the factual LACK of any noteworthy Chinese immigration to Japan prior to the 20th Century or about the factual LACK of any ancient mass settlement of Japan by Chinese. So if the islanders called today Japanese are of "Chinese civilization," how did this happen without any appreciable population of Chinese?

Ask any Chinese who has any first hand knowledge of Japan, of the Japanese people, of the Japanese language, or of Japanese culture, and you invariably will be told by that person that the Japanese are an entirely different people from the Chinese. But how could this be possible, if the history books say that the Japanese have their culture and civilization originating from China?

If the Japanese are asked outright if they are saying that their ancestors were Chinese or were from China, most Japanese overwhelmingly will say no, that they are of an entirely different non-Sinic people. But what people? "Nobody can say for sure - it's a mystery." But if the Chinese contributed so largely and directly to Japan's civilization, why are there so few, truly paltry, ancient references to Wa - which China ingloriously called the "Dwarf Kingdom? " If China really had contributed significantly and directly to Japanese civilization, they surely would have been proud to keep such records proving their control.

There are no records of Chinese navies disembarking in Japan, unloading troops, of establishing commanderies, of collecting taxes. In fact, if there had been true Chinese involvement in Japan, Japan never would have been able to call its monarch "Emperor" - a title reserved only for the Chinese monarch, according to East Asian practice. This form of political exceptionalism was accomplishable because Japan was outside of the orbit of China. It was initially in the orbit of several Korean kingdoms, and then it gradually became independent, moving beyond Korean suzerainty, tutelage and cultural patronage by Korean sister kingdoms, and into a much more self-referential and isolated society. It started to reach outward only in the 1500's, when it had obtained musket technologies from the Portuguese and Dutch, but even up to that time it relied heavily on Korea, not China, as its window on the outside world, with "outside" meaning Korean and Chinese civilizations.

So when a Japanese historian refers to "China," read "Korea." When you see "Chinese," that word almost always means Korean, not ethnic Chinese.

Almost all of these Chinese origin attributions are either outright misattributions or inflated attributions. Remember, up until perhaps 600 CE, Chinese shipbuilding skills were not able to cross the tsunami filled sea directly to Japan. The rulers of the large Asian region today called China - be they ethnic Han, Turkic, Mongol, Manchu, Khitan, etc - rarely had special interest in navies or in conquest of distant islands. (This changed in the 13th Century CE, when the Mongols invaded and occupied Korea, and forced the Koreans to build ships to invade Japan. Interestingly, following this Korean shipbuilding technology transfer, one suddenly reads of Mongol naval victories in Java and the East Indies, an amazing feat for a warrior people who come from Inner Asia, far from oceans. But that's another story.....)

The various peninsular Korean kingdoms - Goguryeo, Shilla, Baekje and Gaya - also were primarily focused on maintaining or expanding their power on the Korean Peninsula , but there are many islands all along the Korean coast. For untold centuries, Korean fishermen learned to build seacraft that could withstand the fierce tides and rocks, and in fact from southern Korea to Tsushima to Kyushu, one could encounter an inviting string of island pearls. While Goguryeo in the north focused on the Peninsula and on Manchuria, and while Shilla focused largely on the Korean Peninsula, the two southern and most island-filled kingdoms of Baekje and Gaya were looking especially southward. Since the sea was their southern frontier, to be both exploited and defended, it was natural that they would be interested in developing efficient ships to move armed men, horses and treasure, back and forth between Korea and Japan.

Transmissions to and from Japan and China came through Korea, mostly with direct Korean involvement. If a Chinese ship had any reason to go to Japan (why go here if the Chinese didn't even go to Taiwan until about 1600 CE?), the Chinese ship likely would hug the Korean coast and finally be piloted to Kyushu by Koreans. This not only happened because the Koreans knew the treacherous currents to Japan. This measure also took place for national security reasons. Just as it was not logical for Soviet warships to be allowed to navigate the Mississippi, it was not safe for Goguryeo, Baekje, Gaya or Shilla Korean kingdoms to let foreign powers move freely across what they considered as their national waters, including those of the nearby Japanese islands.

It is difficult now to understand what Northeast Asia was like in the period from, say 200 BCE-600 CE. First of all, Japan was a tribal society prior to this, culturally sort of like a Borneo, and gradually Korean-Austronesian hybrid societies were formed, village by village. Korean kings in Japan needed and desired help and cultural enrichment from their kindred Korean kingdoms. "China" was a culturally dominant but very distant multi-ethnic civilization, and between the "Chinese" (ie., Han) and the Koreans were all sorts of powerful nations, such as Turks, Mongols, Khitans and Jurchens. Many of these peoples contributed to what is now called "Chinese" civilization. One of the earliest great poets of China was a Turk. "China" was a mostly non-maritime civilization. Manchuria -- only since the 1950's formally called "Northeast China"-- was an area occupied by non-Han people, largely Altaic-Tungusic in language and coming from Siberian and Eurasian horseriding cultural backgrounds.

The Japanese islands, lying off the coast of southern Korea, were way, way beyond even this very un-Chinese region. The Japanese islands were a net importer of iron until its discovery around 600 C.E., and thus, Japan was a militarily weak country or, more correctly, a weak series of statelets and tribal villages versus Korea, whose kingdoms of Shilla, Baekje, Goguryeo and Gaya resembled strong national states with state of the art weaponry.

In the late1990's, on an AOL soc.culture.japan newsgroup, I mentioned the fact that there were no direct China-Japan contacts in the Ancient Japan period , and one person responded: "How could this be possible? A few months ago I took a flight from Shanghai to Tokyo and it took me only about 45 minutes!" First of all, it is important to keep in mind that THERE WERE NO JET AIRPLANES 2,000 YEARS AGO!!!!!!!

It is difficult now, 1,500-2,000 years after the settlement of Japan by Koreans to picture how life was. Japan was a place that frankly only Koreans thought it worth going to. It was considered a distant place, outside of the imperial control of China, and there was little produced there that was worth trading for. It was not a military threat to China, because the Japanese also did not have the shipbuilding ability to go to China directly, either, until perhaps the 1590's, but even that vast but shoddy Japanese fleet was rather easily sunk by a tiny Korean Joseon Navy, under Admiral Yi Sun Shin. Japan was for Koreans primarily a place of escape, an underdeveloped country with a milder climate. It was a useful place to trade with, since the Japanese were a kindred people with similar customs, and then probably also with a more intelligible language, at least at the Court level, and frankly with a tremendous thirst for any and all things Korean.

Japan was a very underdeveloped country, and its elites wanted to live well and to be as advanced as their Korean cousins. It is no wonder that famous early "Japanese" trading families were of Korean origin, such as the Hata clan. When Shilla defeated Baekje in Korea, whole Baekje noble courts and villages fled en masse to Japan. Their hatred of Shilla, a rival sister Korean kingdom, became twisted in their chronicles as a Japan versus Shilla or Japan versus Korea conflict, and in one section of their chronicles, they even wrote of a mythical invasion of Korea by Japan. It never happened, but this historical lie undoubtedly inspired Hideyoshi in the 1590's and Hirohito in the 20th Century.

Japan first discovered iron around 600 CE, which finally allowed it only then to start making its own swords without importing them from Korea. Despite historical mythmaking, Japan was in no way able to threaten the more militarily powerful Korean peninsular kingdoms in any significant way until the late 1500's, and during this time, Korea was their principal reference point, with China being of great interest, but from a safe distance.

We cannot deny that in ancient Koreo-Japanese civilization there are many, many obvious cultural borrowings from the marvelous multi-ethnic and international "Chinese" civilization. The fact that the only written language in Korea and Japan for a time required the use of Chinese characters, either representing Chinese words or attempting to reproduce native Korean words, meant that "Chinese" words or concepts were being transmitted to Koreans and absorbed by them. Nevertheless, it is important not to overestimate cultural borrowings from dictionaries. Just as it would be absolutely ignorant, absurd and insane for an English speaker to contend that because Koreans use the English words for "radio" and "television," there is no Korean culture or that Koreans are really offshoots culturally of England, it would be equally foolish to devalue the Tungusic koreanness of Korean civilization, even considering ample Chinese borrowings.

In a contemporary example, we see millions of Filipinos and Indians who function very well in English. They might conduct much of their daily business in English, and even in their own languages English words might have displaced native ones. But would anyone seriously say that the Filipino is no longer a Filipino in culture, thought, and action? Would anyone seriously suggest that the English speaking Indian has ceased being an Indian, and is merely a passive transmitter of English culture, almost a cultural ghost without a reflection of his or her native culture? Of course not! But this is the contention --the Big Lie - that Japanese nationalists have tried to portray their Korean ancestors.

The fact that Chinese characters formed the principal writing systems of Japanese and Korean complicates historical and linguistic analyses from that time period. But just because English uses words from Greek roots, such as biology, sclerosis and telephone, or uses a largely Semitic based alphabet, or a Hindu-Arabic numbers system, that does not mean that Greeks, Indians, Omanis, Canaanites or Phoenicians founded England or created "English civilization." Similarly, the use of Chinese pictographs by the Ancient Koreans who conquered Japan (Kudara-on or Baekje pronunciation - 百済音, also called Tsushima-pronunciation - 対馬音, or Go-on - 呉音) did not make these Koreans Chinese. Chinese pictographs were used by Koreans themselves for writing, first by writing in Chinese, and afterwards by adapting Chinese pictographs to represent Korean sounds. Just as English people writing their language with Roman characters does not make them Romans, Koreans using Chinese characters to write their language did not make them Chinese.

The Japanese recognize that the Korean scholar, Wang In (Wani) introduced writing to the Japanese, and they recognize that he was Korean, but somehow this is the limit to the Korean contribution to the Japanese language that is popularly permitted by Japanese historians. Often, they will focus on the Chinese borrow words when discussing foreign origins of their language, forgetting that Chinese and Korean grammar are entirely different. Non-Chinese words are just referred to as "native Japanese," without any deeper study, as one would find, for example, in the average English dictionary, which typically attempts to trace the origins of each word, be it Latin, Old English, Navajo, Italian, or Chinese, for that matter. In a Japanese dictionary, the word is just understood to be Japanese, not a word deriving from Korean Baekje or from an Austronesian word. This kind of specificity or scientific enquiry is verboten!

Similarly, Japanese Buddhism, is often misattributed to China, even though the ultimate origin is India. The direct transmitter of Zen Buddhism to Japan was Korea, where is was known as Seon Buddhism. The patron of Korean Buddhism in Japan was the ethnic Korean Soga clan (founder: Soga no Iname). Just as a Christian in Kansas City, USA can follow a religion originating near the Sea of Galilee in the Mideast, without being from the Middle East, a Korean Monk introducing to the Japanese an Indian religion modified by Chinese and then Korean monks, does not make him Indian or Chinese.

As far as the political system of Ancient Japan is concerned, part of it was inspired by native Korean shamanistic ruler practices, and part was inspired by Chinese governmental organizational practices as modified by Baekje in Korea, especially the "be" system. Nevertheless, the adoption of certain political or government management "technologies" does not make the system Chinese in the true sense, just as the American republic is neither Venetian nor Roman nor Iroquoian in origin, even though there is a US Senate and even though the writers of the Federalist Papers were influenced by the Republic of Venice and the Iroquois Confederacy.

The important issue of cultural attribution is that the actual "continental" people on the ground in early Japan were not Chinese. So is it fair or accurate to attribute Korean culture to Chinese, if no Chinese were involved?

If a Filipina legislator is writing laws in English for the Philippines, is she an Englishwoman? Are the laws English laws? No, this is the product of a Filipina, and it should be properly attributed to the correct authors. If a Brazilian wins a Formula One race in an Italian-made car, is that a victory for Italy or Brazil? By simply importing a technology, does that rule out the role or achievement of the implementer and refiner of the initial invention? Of course not, otherwise Detroit and Stuttgart based automotive companies should have their patents taken away from them, since ultimately the car derives from the chariot, and perhaps then all credit should go to the prehistoric inventor of the wheel. This of course sounds silly, but when the Korean contribution to Japanese civilization is discussed, Japanese anti-historians change these rules, so that a Korean can only be credited if there never had been any kind of cultural borrowing at any time - a requirement that is basically unprecedented in human civilization and impossible for anyone to fulfill

From the earliest times of human existence, the children of the first humans learned something from their progenitors, and as they communicated with others, these ideas and creations disseminated and changed and developed. This is the natural flow of human ideas. If one looks at the majority of great buildings in Washington, DC, for example, one would see a striking resemblance to European "Greco-Roman" architecture. The Americans learned from the English, the English learned from the French, the French from the Romans, the Romans from the Greeks. Does it stop there? The Greeks learned from the Egyptians. How do we know that? Because of the strange, geographically misplaced references to bundles of reeds at the top of the columns. This didn't make sense for Greece or Rome, but it did for Egypt, where the Nile's banks were filled with reeds. The reeds were an Egyptian reference to reeds. We have records that the architect Imhotep included these references as early as 2600 BCE. But who came before him? Does credit only belong to the absolute originator of human shelters? Would we describe all others since then as mere "transmitters?" The fact that Japanese anti-historians force Koreans alone into this illogical standard is therefore just another trick intended to confuse.

What must be reiterated here was that the Korean conquerors and settlers in Japan acted as Koreans communicating, governing, and living as would Koreans. To take earlier cultural or lexical borrowings away from the Korean natural existence would be an unfair act. The English in Colonial Massachusetts would be described as writing English, speaking English, acting English, building English buildings, etc., but no Korean conqueror or settler in Japan would ever be able to just be themselves. Rather, in this skewed cultural view that no other people has ever been held do, the Korean arriving in Japan on Korean ships, disembarking on Korean armored horses, wielding Korean swords and writing in the manner of Koreans, would have each aspect of their culture micro-analysed and reduced to a series of borrowings from China or unknown Manchurian locales, all for the sake of allowing Japanese anti-historical nationalists to "save face" and to keep their Big Lie going a little bit longer.

The Japanese cannot bear that their nation owes its very existence to Koreans, so if all their historical and archeological records point to Korea, at least they can break them down, saying "they only transmitted Chinese writing," "iron age civilization initially came from outside of Korea," "the horses were from Manchuria," etc. If the same standard of cultural attribution were applied to every other conquering people, then Quebec, New England, or Latin American colonial societies would not be stated as French, English, Spanish or Portuguese cultural colonies, but rather as Roman, Greek, Egyptian or Mesopotamian transplants - comments that would be obviously false or insane.

The Japanese anti-historians and their Japanophile lackeys thus twist the Korean Conquest of Ancient Japan and the massive settlement by Koreans into a fiction of the Koreans being mere offloaders of "Chinese culture," frequently describing them as "transmitters." But I ask this: if a civilization such as Korea launched military invasions and conquests of Japan, created local kings, princes, emperors, built palaces, shrines, temples, vast engineering works such as the kofun tombs, kept records, wrote poetry, etc., is this the sign of mere "transmitters" of someone else's culture, or were they Koreans acting as Koreans (later Korean-Japanese) in their own way? Of course they were in the same role as the French, English, Spanish and Portuguese in the Western Hemisphere. The only difference is that due to Japanese imperialism in the 20th Century, western knowledge of Korea's role in Asian history and especially in Ancient Japan has been twisted or unknown.

Shockingly, Japanese historians and their foreign imitators easily incorporate total myths, such as names of emperors who never really existed or emperors who supposedly lived hundreds of years. Faking history is the norm for Japan, especially if such faked stories reverse the notion that ancient Japan was a backwater of ancient Asia, rather than the unchanging center of Asia.

Some people might say that I am too harsh with Japanese historians, because all nations, especially those aspiring to empire, tend to make histories that glorify their tribes. That is so, but in the case of modern Japan, that is a country where the overwhelming majority of historians still routinely practice the Big Lie, over and over, in every conceivable topic. Only a few years ago, scholars from Tokyo University - the most prestigious university in Japan - actually worked to prove that the Nanjing Massacre never happened! This serial lying and the turning of history writing into a hobby in support of the most evil winds of Japanese society is such a problem that I contend that just as it is not wise to have a blind man drive a school bus, it is not wise to unleash Japanese anti-Truth fake scholarship on the minds of children, adults, or anyone.

One of the most outrageous of these fabrications by Japanese 20th Century scholarship involves the core story of the origin of Japan: the founding of their state by Tungusic people from outside their islands. This is their famously bizarre "Flying Carpet Theory," in which "continental" Tungusic warriors -- who were always adamantly stated as not being Koreans -- somehow passed from some unknown location in Manchuria, without having left any archeological trace, without ever being encountered by Manchu, Mongol or Chinese armies, and without ever being noted in the histories of those countries. Truly a magical, unique race, to accomplish that, don't you think? The story gets more absurd, as these unnamed Horseriders pass through four highly militarized Iron Age, sword wielding, metal-armor protected, horseriding and literate Korean kingdoms (Goguryeo, Baekje, Gaya and Shilla) without a single battle and without a single sentence regarding such an invasion being mentioned in all of Korean history, even though Korean histories routinely record every invasion by Mongols, Jurchens, Khitans, Malgals, Chinese, Japanese, etc. Somehow these studly strangers magically passed through these Korean states undetected by Koreans. Perhaps they magically took the form of Koreans to go unseen? Once they reached the southern coast of Korea, to paraphrase Nihonshoki and Kojiki, these gods sailed their reed boats, island hopping from "Heaven" to found Japan.

It should be noted that this unique and magical race's name is unknown to Japanese scholars, even though these warriors supposedly founded Japan and their descendants have been writing their history! It's strange that the Japanese, unlike all other peoples in the world, don't seem to know the name of their ancestors. It's very, very strange. It's... unique. I'm trying to imagine the Italians never having heard the name "Roman" or the British never having heard of the Angles and Saxons, or the Americans never having heard of the English. This is the idiotic paucity of Japanese history writing, and it is pandered to endlessly by Western Japanophiles who are afraid to say, "Hey, how stupid are you to write this kind of drivel, and how stupid do you think I am to accept this trash as history?" If a Western university professor were handed a paper proposing such a theory involving a Western history topic, the student would be failed outright, not given an opportunity to publish, not given international acceptance. That person would rightly be considered a laughing-stock, a faker, a fraud.

The fact is that the Koreans were this un-mysterious horseriding Tungusic race that settled the Japanese islands, turning a largely Austronesian tribal society into Korean statelets featuring a hybridizing culture that blended certain features of Korean civilization with certain features that were more similar to Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) tribal cultures, such as those found in neighboring pre-sinicized Taiwan, and the northern Philippines.

The lexicon of Japanese is from the collision of Korean Gaya and Korean Baekje words with Austronesian, because when the Koreans came to Japan, they started to use native words to communicate with the aboriginals, or the sounds of their Korean words became altered by the aboriginals.

The grammar of the language that would come to be called Japanese, however, remained largely Korean, because grammar is the thought pattern of the dominant group. Grammar is the "rule book" of a communication, and if even Modern Japanese grammar is still "nearly identical" to Korean grammar, then it logically stands to reason that there were very large numbers of Koreans settling Japan and that they were the rulers, not just "settlers" or "immigrants" as some Japanese historians begrudgingly and incorrectly describe them. Local words might be substituted for Korean words, or the sounds of a Korean dialect being spoken in that Japanese locality might become altered -- especially the vowels-- but the manner in which these words are expressed, the thought patterns of the speaker, are going to be from the Korean rulers' point of view.

Boxed in by their larger neighboring Korean kingdoms of Baekje and Shilla, the seafaring Gaya states of the lower Naktong Delta (the "Sea of Iron") were naturals to first expand across the sea to Kyushu. Gaya was probably first to send out colonists to Kyushu, and some of their princes became local chiefs or gods (kami) in Ancient Japan. Anthropologists could find many ties between Kyushu and Gaya if they wish to, clearly showing Gaya as the first "mother country," with Baekje being the second "mother country" as the founder of the Yamato throne. Instead, the Japanese "scholars" of the 20th Century attempted to propagate their Big Lie about "Mimana," essentially flipping truth on its head, with the colony actually being described as the colonizer of the mother country! " There is no historical or archeological proof of such claims, and indeed it is more telling that when Japan occupied Korea (1910-1945), one of their most fanatical and anti-scholarly predations on Korea involved the looting of important archeological sites of Gaya -- as if the criminal felt compelled to destroy evidence!

The more "liberal" Japanese historians and scholars, as well as many Western sheep who follow in their tracks, often avoid Ancient Japanese origin discussions altogether, or they quickly skip hundreds and hundreds of years to focus on the cult of the Samurai. It is very like American history beginning with a perfunctory reference to Indians being in North America for tens of thousands of years, and then jumping in a sentence or two to the 1600's, to the Massachusetts Bay Colony and from that safe time delving into more comfortable topics.

Another convenient trick is to rely on the passive voice to quickly dispatch key topics of history, with lines like "Yamato was founded," without stating specifically by whom or how. The tool of the passive voice is to proper history writing what the ax is to successful brain surgery.

I imagine Japanese history professors reminding their more promising graduate students: "Just concentrate on Heaven sending island-hopping reed boats from "Heaven," and avoid discussing why there are rocks in the sea between "Heaven" and Japan, or why gods need boats to get to Japan, or of course, why the children of gods need to return to "Heaven" for education." This last story from Kojiki and Nihonshoki sort of reminds me of the sons of the Virginia colonial burgesses being sent to England for education: colonial elites being reinfused by the mother country.

This is the dirty little "back story" sitting in the twisted minds of the overwhelming number of Japanese historians, linguistic scholars, philosophers, etc. Essentially, they are afraid of their own history, because their 19th Century racial-militaristic philosophical system totally relies on ignorance of facts in order to place Japan in a pre-eminent position vis à vis her neighbors.

 

Given the genocidal behaviors of the Japanese state toward any Korean subject, at least since the Meiji era, Britannica's allowing a Japanese to explain anything Korean was a grave error -- sort of like having Dr. Josef Mengele write entries about the Jewish people. Mengele, known mostly as an architect of the Holocaust, also had a Ph.D. in Anthropology. The racist, twisted notions that infected German (and European and American) "scholarship" in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century laid the groundwork for the National Socialist (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei) theories and their analogues in other countries. The Japanese still by 1968 and sadly still in 2008, remain infected with their own contagion of race-hatred. It is my opinion that particular Britannica contributor either consciously or unconsciously repeated the lies current in the worst traditions of Japanese scholarship.

The key fear of the Japanese chauvinist and militarist is that Japan is not a homogeneous society, that it is not unique. They are not satisfied with obsessively trying to erase evidence of their country's Korean origins. Like the murderer who is afraid of getting caught, they want to kill or silence anyone who might reveal them. This greatly impedes the good, truth-seeking,heroic historians in Japan, few as they are.

The Japanese occupation of Korea was not only to exploit the Korean economy. It also was an evil quest led by Japanese "scholars" to loot Korea of her cultural treasures, to destroy Korea's history, and to eventually destroy the Korean language and culture -- to reduce Korea to just another Japanese region. Once all Koreans could be expunged or turned into self-hating colonials, then Japanese scholarship's vast intellectual holes would be tarred over with their own comforting, chrysanthemum pungent, anti-intellectual lies and myths.

Since Korea's liberation from Japanese rule, Japan's propagandists have been working tirelessly to isolate Korea and Koreans whenever possible. The fact that most Asian overseas bureaus of Western newspapers and TV networks have been based out of Tokyo has not helped Truth, nor have generous contributions and pointed suggestions by Japan Inc. to the Asian Studies departments of major western universities. But the Koreans are a hearty, tough people, and over these decades since WWII, Koreans have been working hard to tell their history to the world, despite the uphill fight. You see, Koreans do well with mountains, and they enjoy hiking. Korea is a mountainous country, and they have this expression: "Beyond the mountains, there are mountains."

Whenever I feel sorry for myself, and need inspiration, I think of how much hard work and struggle that Koreans have had to do in the 20th Century, and I realize how easy my tiny hurdles are, by comparison.

The Koreans well know that Korean is an Altaic-Tungusic language, related to Manchu, Mongolian, Turkish, Finnish and Hungarian. They know that their language and Japanese "come from the same root." Foreigners in fact could learn a great deal about Northeast Asian history from Koreans, if anyone would have the sense and decency to ask their opinions.

Once I started to read Korean history, Japanese history finally started to make sense, and even the commonly repeated lies also pointed to other interesting notes. Just as it is impossible to understand Rome without knowing something about Greece, and just as it is impossible to understand Colonial North America without knowing something about England, it is absolutely impossible to understand Japanese history without knowing Korean history.

The Japanese philosophy promulgated especially post-Meiji, which placed Japan either as the center of Asia or even as a non-Asian country (!), rather than as just another Asian country, cannot be sustained if one knows even a little bit about Korean history. That is why expunging records of Korean civilization or at least of isolating Korea from Japanese culture and history has been so crucial to the Japanese racists and militarists.

In the Confucian mind, there is something very evil about trying to kill your parent. Korea is the ancient parent of Japan, bestowing on those islands its people, language, religion, writing, architecture, political system, ceramic arts, etc., etc., etc., so if the militarists and "scholars" could sever evidence of these ancestral ties, it is psychologically easier to invade and loot Korea and to kill, kidnap, and exploit its people. However, by forcing the Japanese people to exist as historic or cultural orphans, just so that they could be available for imperial wars at some time, the militarists also do great damage to the Japanese national psyche itself. Think about it: is there any modern nation today in the 21st Century whose people have no solid idea of their country's origins or that thinks it is unrelated to any other human group?

I think that a moderately able foreign linguist could pretty easily show the Altaic-Tungusic linguistic relationships to Korean, disproving that comment by that 1960's Britannica writer about Korean being unrelated to any language.

A reasonably able linguist, who correlates ancient Baekje Korean words or even modern Korean regional dialect words from Jeolla Province with words used in different Japanese dialects spoken in municipalities across western Japan, probably could also prove that Korean and Japanese have significant lexical connections, in addition to that nearly identical grammar.

I am neither a moderately able nor a reasonably able linguist, yet even I, with a beginner's knowledge of Korean, should be able to prove that the Korean language is far from isolated. As revenge on that foul liar-scholar, I am going to show that Korean is even tied to the languages of the farthest west of Eurasia, to the language of the Encylopaedia Britannica itself, to English, thereby linking Korea to England, America, and to the entire English speaking world. This is my small revenge on that liar-scholar, because I know that he would spin like a top in his slimy, wormy grave to hear that his article caused a reader to reveal to the world how Korean is distantly related to the Anglo-Saxon tongue, as part of a larger superfamily of languages embracing Indo-European, Altaic-Tungusic and other language groups. Far from being isolated, Korean is connected at its earliest roots to all the world's peoples.

If with my minimal abilities I am able to discern linguistic connections between languages that probably have something like 10,000 years of separation between them, how hard could it really be for a Japanese scholar to "discover" the linguistic links with Korean -- a language from which divergence occurred approximately only 1,500 years ago? In my opinion, not seeing these obvious links is purely a political and psychological matter, not a linguistics controversy. It is a question of will. If you refuse to see it, if you refuse to commit any energy to gather research to prove it, and if your scholarly community punishes you if you do see the truth and publish it, that is your sin as a scholar and that is the blight on your country's fake scholarship.

When I was reading that article on the Korean Language in the 1969 Encylopaedia Britannica, it just did not make sense to me that Korean and Japanese could have an almost identical grammar without having any genetic relationship. Even though I knew little of Korea or Koreans, this little comment stuck in my mind for years and years, ticking like a truth bomb. His Big Lie resonated in my head every time for decades during which I would hear Japanese after Japanese say that the Japanese were unique, a people so mysterious and so different that the logic and tests required by the normal standards of history or linguistics must never be applied.

Every day the Big Lies and Small Lies propagated by Japanese bigots become discredited. Their game is gradually coming to an end, even in Japan. In 2001, the Japanese monarch Akihito made a comment -- not reported widely in the Japanese press, incidentally-- that some of his ancestors might have been Korean. Although he greatly minimized the overwhelming number of Korean and ethnic Korean emperors who founded and built early Japan, such as the shamanistic Empress Himiko (Pimiko), Emperor Ojin or Emperor Nintoku, his statement "I, on my part, feel a certain kinship with Korea, given the fact that it is recorded in the Chronicles of Japan that the mother of Emperor Kammu was of the line of King Muryong of Paekche" was a breakthrough...for Japan, and the first time that a Japanese Emperor made such an admission in modern times. (More: Guardian - UK -2001. December.28). Still, Akihito's admission was too crafty, because while the very notion of a Japanese Emperor not being 1000% "pure" Japanese was shocking to the farthest Right Wing Yakuza-assisted idiots, by saying in effect that just one foreign woman married just one of his ancestors a long time ago, he is still permitting many Japanese "moderates" to feel that the Japanese were always Japanese, and that Japan was founded by its unnamed mysterious ancestor race from "the continent." Another attempt to deceive history with half-truths or coy phrasing, all to forestall the inevitable dawning of Truth on the intellectual horizon of the Land of the Rising Sun.

Nowadays, the "Flying Carpet Theory" (Namio Egami's Unnamed Horseriders' Theory), is widely discredited in the West, and even in Japan it is starting to become slightly more possible to discuss, very gingerly, the role of Koreans who "settled" and helped develop --don't say "conquered"-- Ancient Japan.

There is a village in Japan called the "Paekche Village" in Nango Village, Misato Town, Miyazaki Prefecture, where there are people who never forgot their ancient Korean Baekje origins. The Japanese word for Baekje is "Kudara," which is really Japano-Korean for "Keun-Nara (큰나라) "-- "Big Country" or, more colloquially, "Home Country." The people in this part of Japan still pay homage to those roots, by visiting their ancestral tomb at Neongsanni, near Buyeo, Jeolla Province, Korea. There are also, all over Japan, potters villages, whose inhabitants are descendants of Korean ceramic artists kidnapped by the Japanese during the savage Hideyoshi Invasion (Imjin War) of the 1590's, and they still remember that they were Korean once. These people, and indeed most Japanese, should be interviewed by honest historians of Japan, and their family histories should be properly noted and correlated if Japan has any chance of really discovering that, alas, Japan really is connected to her neighbors, and that it is natural for the bonds of kinship to bring these two peoples closer.

Japanese politicians and their militarist backers lament that unless Japan can send its soldiers abroad, it can never be a "normal" country. I say that Japan can never be a normal country until its politicians and militarists allow the Japanese to be a normal country, meaning a country inhabited by non-unique people, people just like all other people, and tied to all other people. When Japanese political elites permit that, then Japan would be embraced by her neighbors and finally be considered a normal country, rather than an outlaw country that always is to be distrusted.

Unfortunately, those who criticize the lies of history get shot, such as the former Nagasaki Mayor Hitoshi Motoshima. (more: here) His simple comment in 1988 was: "Forty-three years have passed since the end of the war, and I think we have had enough chance to reflect on the nature of the war. From reading various accounts from abroad and having been a soldier myself, involved in military education, I do believe that the emperor bore responsibility for the war..."

 

Mayor Motoshima has been awarded the Korea/Japan Peace and Fellowship Prize, as well as the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, for being a voice for world peace and reconciliation among nations. The outside world needs to keep a close eye on Japanese politicians, their comments, and their actions, and the outside world needs to give help and moral support to those Japanese who are trying to do what Germany did after WWII - destroy racist histories, groups, and institutions that promote racism. While National Socialist (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei) ideology in Germany only exists on the fringes, in today's Japan, it still remains the ideology of the governing elites.

 

A Useful Lesson Learned from Reading Nonsense Decades Ago

Korea does not need me to do my little exercise. What I am doing involves personal revenge -- that is true -- but also it is to show that we must always be skeptical of all opinions, including those emanating from the most cherished intellectual authorities. We need to not let liar-scholars, lazy scholars, or mortarboarded mouthpieces of certain twisted political agendas make us do their bidding by believing them. I should mention that I heard the "Korean is unrelated to all other languages" line many times over the years, and it never made sense to me. I do not know on what basis those writers commented, but it sounds like they did what many lazy scholars do, which is to ape stuff they heard in some intellectual back alley without taking a second to think if it even made sense. I wonder how many stupid kids reading that article in 1969 grew up to be stupid adults, spreading this lie. In fact, I wonder how many other lies that I absorbed in my readings, studies, university years, etc. The need for one to detoxify oneself from others' lies is an ongoing necessity if one is to begin the process of seeing the simple truths in life.

I will add more words as my studies in Korean progress. More importantly, I hope that the next time that a person or group propose to tell you "the difference between us and them" -- whoever "them" is supposed to be -- that you will think twice about that kind of theory. Understand that such a person is trying to brainwash you with the same poison that infests his or her own mentality. People are a lot like you, no matter where they are, no matter what language they speak, no matter how they look. You just have to put in the minimum effort to see that. You have to want to see that, and then the facts will happily reveal themselves to you.

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