Reconciliation

For the first time since World War II a Japanese voice was heard over a Korean radio broadcast when HLKY, Korea’s first Christian station, used a taped rebroadcast of a service in Tokyo.

Delay in Korean reconciliation with Japan is understandable. The enmity is centuries old. In Japan tourists are still shown the great mound covering thousands of Korean noses and ears cut off and sent to Japan during the Hideyoshi invasion of 1592. Forty years of efficient but often brutal colonization (1905–1945) only whipped existing hatreds to white-hot heat. President Rhee was tortured by the Japanese when he was a young man.

Sharpest challenge yet given to Korea’s Christians on the necessity of reconciliation with their brother believers in Japan has come from an Ecumenical Youth Team touring the country under the auspices of the Korean Student Christian Federation.

Said Eliezer Mappanao of Manila, “The Japanese sinned against you, but that sin is past. Your sin is present. You have not forgiven.” When Korean students who had suffered bitterly under the conquerors questioned his right to speak thus, the young man vindicated himself very simply, “My father was killed by the Japanese without cause.” His plea that Korea’s Christians must take the initiative in forgiveness has stirred student thinking in city after city.

Membership of the Youth Team includes a Pakistani (the first ever to visit Korea other than diplomatic or military personnel), a Filipino, a Canadian missionary from Japan and an American college student now studying for one year at the University of Hong Kong.

—S. H. M.

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