Xbox One, Playstation 4 and my Prejudice

By | November 22, 2013

Both Xbox One and Playstation Four are out and for me, it’s a no-brainer.  Xbox all the way.  Is it the exclusive titles, or the functionality, or the controller?  Nope.  Kinect, Xbox Live, Halo?  Nope.  Brand loyalty?  Nope.  Xbox, Xbox, Xbox.  Here’s my reason, and it’s one I’m ashamed to admit.  Playstation is Japanese.

Last year we shopped for a new TV.  We narrowed to two: Sony and Samsung.  We got the Samsung.  This year we bought a new SUV.  Toyota RAV4 or Hyundai Santa Fe.  Santa Fe.  Even the fleece jacket was North Face and not Uniqlo, though the latter had a huge sale.  There’s a part of me, subconscious at times, that prevent me from buying Japanese.

I only see non-Japanese and Japanese

I only see non-Japanese and Japanese

I’m American of Korean descent.  I have friends who are of Japanese descent.  We get along.  There’s no prejudice.  But I find it very difficult to support a company from a nation that has a long history of jacking-up the nation of my origin.  I don’t know if Scottish Americans or Irish Americans feel the same way toward English Americans.  Or Armenian Americans toward Turkish Americans?

The Japanese did a lot of crazy things to the Koreans.  Like at the end of the 16th century, they invaded Korea twice.  No other reason than to unify their disorganized nation.  That’s it.  The Japanese landed in Korea, killed a lot of people, burned a lot of villages, took a lot of slaves and really messed up the peninsula.  The Koreans eventually won the two wars because of superior naval tactics and leadership of Admiral Yi Sun Shin.  The guy was a real bad-ass – a true gamer.  In one battle, he had 13 ships against over 300, and he delivered a decisive victory.  They should make a video game about him.

Then there was 20th century.  The Japanese murdered the Korean queen and made Korea a Japanese colony.  They killed a lot of people, took many of them as slaves.  Forced labor and sex.

My grandfather’s uncle was assassinated by the Japanese.  He was a doctor who supported the anti-Japanese movement.  They gave him poisoned milk.

My wife’s grandfather was taken by the Japanese.  He was in his twenties at the time and had just married.  His wife, my wife’s grandmother, had no idea what happened to him, and figured he either left her or died.  He came back ten years later.  It turned out he had been forced into labor by the Japanese, and when World War 2 ended with Japan’s surrender, he was released and he came home.  The man is still alive – now in his late 90s.  We visited him a couple years ago at his farm.  We found him keeping the cows company.  He’s a man who loves laughter, and when we asked him about those ten years in captivity, he laughed and simply said, “Those were strange years.”  There was no anger in his voice.  And I felt ashamed that I had so much anger toward what the Japanese did to him, and to my family.

Even now, I recognize the immaturity in not wanting to buy Japanese.  There’s no rational reason for it.  But it’s there, and I don’t know if it’ll totally go away.  I hope it doesn’t get passed to my son.  I don’t want my son to know about our family and ethnic history for that reason, but I feel he should know some day.

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