Commentary: Joshua Cooper Ramo’s South Korea Comments Contain Important Pieces of Truth

Commentary: Joshua Cooper Ramo\'s South Korea Comments Contain Important Pieces of Truth
petition: Demand Apology from NBC for Defending Japanese Imperialism during the 2018 Winter Olympics Opening …
nJoshua Ramo of Kissinger Associates. Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for Hubert Burda Media

An NBC Olympic commentator is no longer on the air after making remarks about Japanese-South Korean relations that some deemed insensitive.

The remark immediately ignited outrage in South Korea, the Olympic host nation, where resentment of Japan’s harsh early 20th-century annexation of the Korean Peninsula continues to simmer. Just last month, Mr. Abe’s attendance at the Games was in question after tensions escalated over Japan’s refusal to reissue an apology for the Japanese military’s role in forcing Korean and other women to work in military brothels during World War II.

The network has said the Asia analyst Joshua Cooper Ramo is no longer under contract with it after saying during Friday’s opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea, that “every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological, and economic example, has been so important to their own transformation.”

The analyst, Joshua Cooper Ramo, made the comment while appearing with Katie Couric and Mike Tirico during the opening ceremony on Friday. Noting that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan was in attendance, Mr. Ramo described Japan as “a country which occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945, but every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation.”

NBC Apologizes After Japan Comment Draws Anger in South Korea

Japan’s occupation of the Korean Peninsula before and during World War II was marked with humanitarian atrocities including forced prostitution of Korean women and forced labor. The Japanese occupation remains a provocative subject for many South Koreans, particularly among the older generation. Disputes over the countries’ history are still a point of contention.

간밤에 NBC 패널의 코멘트에 시끄러웠군요. 이걸 아셔야되요. 미국이란 나라가 일본에 더 우호적이란 사실 말입니다. 역사적으로 진주만을 생각해서 일본을 적대시할 것이라 생각하는데 현실은 그렇지 않습니다. 미국이 생각하는 한국은 중국 동쪽에 조그맣게 달려있는 나라정도라 여깁니다.

NBC responded to the backlash in a statement to Reuters: “Joshua Cooper Ramo has completed his responsibilities for NBC in Pyeongchang, and will have no further role on our air.”

“Any reasonable person familiar with the history of Japanese imperialism, and the atrocities it committed before and during WWII, would find such statement deeply hurtful and outrageous,” the petition read. “And no, no South Korean would attribute the rapid growth and transformation of its economy, technology, and political/cultural development to the Japanese imperialism.”

Though Ramo did acknowledge that Japan “occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945,” South Koreans and foreign-policy experts decried his remarks:

NBC’s Olympics Asian Analyst Joshua Cooper Ramo says having the next three Olympics in Korea, Japan and China is an “opportunity to experience all of the Asian cultures.” @NBCOlympics, maybe next time hire an Asian Analyst that knows Asia has more than three cultures???

NBC’s Olympics Asian Analyst Joshua Cooper Ramo says having the next three Olympics in Korea, Japan and China is an “opportunity to experience all of the Asian cultures.” @NBCOlympics, maybe next time hire an Asian Analyst that knows Asia has more than three cultures???

Can no longer access @NBCOlympics IG from Korea. Lots of backlash here b/c commentator Joshua Cooper Ramo reportedly said, “Every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural and technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation.” pic.twitter.com/E3wqyt32n8

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Several online petitions with thousands of supporters have surfaced amid the criticism.

SEOUL, South Korea — The American network NBC has apologized after one of its analysts drew anger for a comment during coverage of the Pyeongchang Olympics that seemed to gloss over South Korea’s painful history with Japan, its former colonial master.

“Any reasonable person familiar with the history of Japanese imperialism, and the atrocities it committed before and during WWII, would find such statement deeply hurtful and outrageous,” a petition with more than 15,900 supporters said. “And no, no South Korean would attribute the rapid growth and transformation of its economy, technology, and political/cultural development to the Japanese imperialism.”

Maureen Ryan, Variety’s chief television critic, wrote in a review of NBC’s broadcast of the Olympic opening ceremony that “Ramo’s endless generalities about what constituted ‘Asian’ culture felt about as deep as a Wikipedia entry.”
petition: Demand Apology from NBC for Defending Japanese Imperialism during the 2018 Winter Olympics Opening ...
petition: Demand Apology from NBC for Defending Japanese Imperialism during the 2018 Winter Olympics Opening …

The Pyeongchang Organizing Committee said that it “informed NBC of the errors in their commentary and the sensitivity of the subject in Korea,” according to Reuters.

Mr. Ramo’s remarks appeared to reinforce growing concerns among some South Koreans that the United States was favoring its partnership with Japan over that of its other longtime ally in the region, South Korea.

NBC apologizes to South Koreans for analyst’s remark

The NBC Sports anchor Carolyn Manno issued a statement about Ramo’s comments following the public backlash:

“South Korea and POCOG [the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games] have been exceptional hosts in every way for these Olympics, and we have great admiration and respect for the people here. We apologized quickly both in writing and on television for a remark made by one of our presenters during Friday night’s opening ceremony. We’re very gratified that POCOG has accepted that apology,” an NBC spokesman wrote in an email Monday to The Washington Post. “We look forward to the next two weeks of competition by the athletes, and to showcasing the beauty of Korea, its culture and state-of-the-art technology.”
NBC Apologizes After Japan Comment Draws Anger in South Korea
NBC Apologizes After Japan Comment Draws Anger in South Korea

“During our coverage of the Parade of Nations on Friday we said it was notable that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the trip to Korea for the Olympics, ‘representing Japan, a country which occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945 but every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation.’ We understand the Korean people were insulted by these comments and we apologize.”

“It is probably not a news flash to tell you the Dutch are really, really good at speedskating,” she said. “All but five of the 110 medals they’ve won have been on the speedskating oval. Now, ‘Why are they so good?’ you may be asking yourselves. Because skating is an important mode of transportation in a city like Amsterdam, which sits at sea level. As you all know, it has lots of canals that can freeze in the winters. So, for as long as those canals have existed, the Dutch have skated on them to get from place to place, to race each other, and also to have fun.”

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Ramo left the network after the Olympic opening ceremony. Though media reports suggested he was involuntarily fired, an NBC Sports executive reportedly said that Ramo was contracted only for the opening ceremony and that his employment came to a natural end.

“During our coverage of the Parade of Nations on Friday we said it was notable that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the trip to Korea for the Olympics, ‘representing Japan, a country which occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945 but every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation.’ We understand the Korean people were insulted by these comments and we apologize.”

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Over the weekend, thousands of people signed a petition demanding that NBC apologize. “Any reasonable person familiar with the history of Japanese imperialism, and the atrocities it committed before and during World War II, would find such statement deeply hurtful and outrageous,” it read. “And no, no South Korean would attribute the rapid growth and transformation of its economy, technology, and political/cultural development to the Japanese imperialism.”

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SEOUL, South Korea — The American network NBC has apologized after one of its analysts drew anger for a comment during coverage of the Pyeongchang Olympics that seemed to gloss over South Korea’s painful history with Japan, its former colonial master.

twitter email facebook twitter email By Cindy Boren | The Washington Post  ·  14 hours ago An analyst who was hired by NBC to “serve as an Asia expert,” and who angered Koreans with his description of Japan’s relationship with Korea during its occupation of that country, was hired only for the opening ceremony and will have “no further role” on the air during the Pyeongchang Games.

The analyst, Joshua Cooper Ramo, made the comment while appearing with Katie Couric and Mike Tirico during the opening ceremony on Friday. Noting that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan was in attendance, Mr. Ramo described Japan as “a country which occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945, but every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation.”

The remark immediately ignited outrage in South Korea, the Olympic host nation, where resentment of Japan’s harsh early 20th-century annexation of the Korean Peninsula continues to simmer. Just last month, Mr. Abe’s attendance at the Games was in question after tensions escalated over Japan’s refusal to reissue an apology for the Japanese military’s role in forcing Korean and other women to work in military brothels during World War II.

NBC commentator said that Korea appreciate the Japanese colonial ship.Do you thank Japan for the Pearl Harbor raids? Do not insult.

Japan and South Korea have not fully reconciled over atrocities committed during the occupation, although Japan has expressed remorse and set up a fund in the 1990s to help victims who were sex slaves. While some say that estimates of 200,000 sex slaves are exaggerated, many South Koreans liken skeptics to Holocaust deniers.

Soon after Mr. Ramo’s remark, an online petition began to circulate demanding an apology from NBC. By Sunday, more than 8,000 people had signed it.

“We hired Joshua Cooper Ramo to serve as an Asia expert during the Opening Ceremony,” the spokesman wrote. “His role was to give an overview to our viewers of the host country and this region of the world. Ramo has completed his responsibilities for NBC in Pyeongchang, and will have no further role on our air.”
NBC analyst under fire in Korea over ignorant comment
NBC analyst under fire in Korea over ignorant comment

“Any reasonable person familiar with the history of Japanese imperialism, and the atrocities it committed before and during WWII, would find such statement deeply hurtful and outrageous,” the petition read. “And no, no South Korean would attribute the rapid growth and transformation of its economy, technology, and political/cultural development to the Japanese imperialism.”

NBC analyst under fire in Korea over ignorant comment
NBC analyst under fire in Korea over ignorant comment

In a statement read on-air by the NBC anchor Carolyn Manno on Saturday, NBC said, “We understand the Korean people were insulted by these comments and we apologize.”

NBC analyst under fire in Korea over ignorant comment
NBC analyst under fire in Korea over ignorant comment

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“We’re very gratified that POCOG has accepted that apology,” the statement added, referring to the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Critics also seized on other remarks made during the broadcast by Mr. Ramo, who shared in both Peabody and Emmy Awards for his work for NBC during the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.

NBC Apologizes To Korea for Analyst’s Remark About Japan During The Olympics Opening Ceremony

NBC’s Olympics Asian Analyst Joshua Cooper Ramo says having the next three Olympics in Korea, Japan and China is an “opportunity to experience all of the Asian cultures.” @NBCOlympics, maybe next time hire an Asian Analyst that knows Asia has more than three cultures???

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Maureen Ryan, Variety’s chief television critic, wrote in a review of NBC’s broadcast of the Olympic opening ceremony that “Ramo’s endless generalities about what constituted ‘Asian’ culture felt about as deep as a Wikipedia entry.”

In addition to his role as an occasional Olympic commentator at NBC, Mr. Ramo is also co-chief executive of Kissinger Associates, an advisory firm founded by Henry A. Kissinger, the former secretary of state, and sits on the board of directors for Starbucks and FedEx.

NBC apologise and remove analyst Joshua Cooper Ramo from air following comments about South Korea and Japan

Mr. Ramo’s remarks appeared to reinforce growing concerns among some South Koreans that the United States was favoring its partnership with Japan over that of its other longtime ally in the region, South Korea.

“You might think that Americans would be antagonistic toward Japan because it bombed Pearl Harbor,” said one Korean-language user on Twitter, who used the pseudonym James Bond. “But in reality, that’s not the case. Korea as the U.S. understands it is just a small appendage attached to eastern China.”

간밤에 NBC 패널의 코멘트에 시끄러웠군요. 이걸 아셔야되요. 미국이란 나라가 일본에 더 우호적이란 사실 말입니다. 역사적으로 진주만을 생각해서 일본을 적대시할 것이라 생각하는데 현실은 그렇지 않습니다. 미국이 생각하는 한국은 중국 동쪽에 조그맣게 달려있는 나라정도라 여깁니다.

NBC’s Olympics analyst is out after he insulted Koreans with a remark on Japan

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