Saturday, December 30, 2006
I've always liked Singaporean dramas given their emphasis on family, their similar culture to Malaysians, something which strikes a chord with me and their cute guys and girls...and this one was simply superb:)
It had the perfect formula: Three guys, Three Girls whom are sisters....with the focus on the girls and their romances with each guy....each sister represents a type of modern woman....the eldest Meiman is the modern career woman, someone who aims high in her career, won't take shit from men, dresses stylishly and enjoys the good life. The youngest is Meide, someone is young and vivacious, doesn't think too much about men, sexy and very strong willed, thoroughly representative of the young Singapore girl...and also just as stubborn and selfish as some of her singaporean sisters in real life are....the middle one is Meili whom is a plain jane, flat chested and thin, dark skinned, talks like a guy and shakes her legs constantly, she is traditional at heart and wants to get married as soon as possible and become a 'virtuous' mother.
I grew to like Meili alot as she is the plain jane in everyone of us....someone whom is unattractive and been on over 30 blind dates but with no success....she is the most kind-hearted and nicest of the 3 sisters but is often treated poorly by men because of her looks....in the end, she ends up with Christopher Lee, the hunkiest of the guys...thats y i love this drama, for once the ugly girl gets the cute guy and not the ugly aging man getting the pretty young girl as is so often the case.....haha...
I also fell in love with actor Chor Chew Meng, playing Raymond, the arch rival of Meiman, and i just loved their bickering....he is soooooo handsome and manly and boyish...i am actually abit ashamed i could be attracted to him....cos when i went to research on him thru the net, i found out he has been in the industry for over 10 yrs now and is over 35 pushing 40...how can i like and find a guy cute MORE THAN 10 YEARS OLDER THAN ME?!!!! Gosh.....and i look with distaste at women who go out with elderly men...but he does look only like in his late 20s or early 30s....
Also, in showing how popular the Korean wave is, one of the main male characters is a Korean who speaks Mandarin living with his mum in Singapore as the executive managing director of a big multinational firm....they live in a huge bungalow and it is obvious that the drama was playing to the korean drama craze with the perfect korean guy, rich, handsome, and gentlemanly......
I loved the scenes b/w Lu Hui and Mei Li as they were just hilarious!! Another reason i love this drama is because they portray not only romance but also friendship...in the form of Lu Hui and Mei Li....the scene where Lu Hui is smitten with the 'Korean ginseng' (they call Zheng Xi that in the show!!) is soooo funny esp when she mistakenly calls out his mother as her 'omma' her pronunciation is so funny lar...haha...and they were very detailed in their script even managing to find out the word 'shagua' in korean for apple is similar to the chinese word 'shagua' for dumb and using it in the drama...for those who get the chance to either review or see for the first time, be sure to look out for Episode 10 where Lu Hui is totally embarassed when her 'padding' to enhance her bust peeks out from her breast and Zheng Xi sees it....i laughed SO HARD WHEN I SAW THIS.....ahhahah.....
This drama had all the elements i liked...firstly it was about romance, which is by far my fav genre (y i like korean dramas) , it had feminist ideas and themes which anyone would know can satisfy a truly feminist person like me....it had some gay( and in gay i mean GAY not happy la...duh..) parts too which is another of my interest...and further it showed friendship and brotherhood and family....and also the importance of the Chinese language and Mandarin....
Now, to explain why i said it had all of the above....the romance bit is obvious and central given that this drama was timed for Valentine's Day 2005...feminist theme is the fact that the female characters were central in the storyline and not the male ones....further the elder sister Meiman and youngest sister Meili are very career minded and independent which is what i like...Meiman also repeats a couple of times that women no longer are satisfied with a 'long-term rice ticket' or a man whom can support merely their material needs such as clothing, housing, food,etc but want a spiritual and understanding partner too...Further, the story shows Raymond changing from an utter chauvinistic pig to someone whom actually respects women...he doesn't mind Meiman becoming his superior and will try to adjust his mentality and will also do the housework, take care of the children so that Meiman can have her private space if she has his children....this is a good role model for the guys i would say:)
It has included homosexuality in it too...i was abit taken abck that the 'gay part' went on for a couple of episodes and was not a passing thing...basically Raymond and his brother Simon were mistaken by Meiman and Meide to be 'gay partners'....it was so funny...there were scenes of Simon searching for keys in Raymonds pocket and Raymond asking him to be careful not to touch...err....( u know what) Meiman bumps into them and thinks its disgusting....there were really alot of scenes like that, one was funny cos Meide saw a Men's Health mag on Raymond's desk and thinks why that kind of mag is on his desk when its for girls cos it had a hunky upper bare-bodied guy on its cover...and i was like HUH>??! its a guys health mag, not a gay porn mag? Then there was the time when Simon tells Meide, whom he likes, that he is Ximen and Raymond is Reimen in Chinese, Raymond is the 'qian men' and he is the 'hou men' ...now, in Chinese 'men' means door...so his name is 'xi door' whilst raymond's name is 'lei door' and when he is refering to qian men(front door) he really means raymond is the elder brother and he is the hou men (back door) younger one...but when Meide hears it, she laughs out loud...i was like omg....this was so obviously a BIG GAY HINT that Meide takes it to mean that Raymond is....well.....errrr.....the front door and Simon is the back door....u know WHAT I MEAN...hehe
The drama was very homophobic though in that despite the irony of Meiman and Meide both working in the advertising industry (which is supposed to have many a gay man and supposed to hold a liberal atmosphere) they react very adversely to the fact the Raymond and Simon are gay ( in their eyes)...though this is compensated somewhat when Meiman later says they dun mind and are very open-minded about gay issues when she and Raymond's relationship take a turn for the better....
The importance of Mandarin and knowing Chinese was reinforced throughout with Simon being ur typical younger generation westernised Singaporean whom can't speak Mandarin properly and can hardly read Chinese....the drama uses quite a fair bit of difficult Chinese words which is good learning...and also, he doesn't get Meide also bcos she thinks his Mandarin is appalling...thus encouraging viewers to realise the importance of Mandarin and improve their Chinese level.
This drama made me like Singaporean Dramas even more. Frankly, i've been watching HK dramas and their quality has dropped significantly. Singaporean dramas are just much more appealing and higher in quality as compared to HK ones...i mean HK ones are so popular in Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Taiwan and a host of countries but i dun understand y....i find singaporean dramas even better than taiwanese ones despite the fact that Taiwanese dramas again are more popular...and the drama has also definitely improved my image of Singaporean men...i find them attractive now...hehe....i simply like Raymond....he is just so down to earth, ur quissential boy next door..someone whom likes family, treats older ppl with respect, very boyish, invests money, not good at romance but very practical and thinks practically...very thrifty....my kind of guy.....haha....i like family and conservative type of guys more i must admit...prefer them more to the metrosexual, stylish hip guy type....more stable, gives me more security....
Further, the lyrics of the Chinese theme song and the English ending title by Redwan Ali is great (esp the English one by Redwan Ali)
【1/2缘分】 插曲－You make me feel brand new
I am but a foolish man with only love in his heart
The rain may come, the sun may set, but I'll never let you go
All I need is your love, to hear you say that I am your man
So tell me now and show me how I could be your better man*
And I'll surrender everything just to be with you
There is no one in the world like you You make me real*
And I'll cross every ocean just to be with you
Baby you're my dream and you're my soul
You make me real
副歌：Just like a flame You're burning in my soul
You wake me from the cold You make me real
And like a flame You brighten up my world
Every corner bears a print of you
You really make me feel brand new
Like a flame You glow within my heart forever more
You make me feel brand new (重复 *, 紧接 '副歌'部分)
主唱：Redwan Ali作词：Ken Chong作曲：Redwan Ali
Official Chinese Site including cast, pics, storyline,etc:
Official English Site including cast, pics, storyline:
Please do try to watch this drama if u are able to obtain it....its well worth ur time given that its one of my all-time favourite Chinese dramas now:)
Monday, December 25, 2006
Sydney is pretty cold which is great as it gives Christmas a more festive feel...hehe...took some photos which i will upload later...
Merry Christmas 2006 Everybody!!!
Friday, December 22, 2006
Japanese Films 日電影推介 日本の映画お勧め：
I attended the 10th Japanese Film Festival in Sydney about some weeks back and saw 3 films: The Face of Jiｚo, Forget me Not, and The Stars Converge....They were all pretty good...
The Face of Jizo (2005): 父と暮らせば （I actually really like the Japanese film title which translates as 'If I were living with my father' . Jizo referred to in the English version of the title is the buddha that consoles parents who have lost their children. In the film, its the exact opposite with the child having lost a parent.)
This film details the post-atomic bombing effect on survivors of the Hiroshima Atomic Bombing. The film starts in 1948, three years after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and the female character miraculously sees her father again. (He died in the atomic bombing three yrs back) The film chronicles the one week of conversations she has with him and her guilt with being the only one alive amongst her family and friends. Quite a haunting film about the Atomic Bombing.
Official Website in Japanese: http://www.pal-ep.com/father/
Note: I didn't realise the actress Miyazawa Rie was so pretty and elegant until i saw this film...wow she looked stunning....she's extremely famous in Japan..
The Stars Converge/Chilsok Summer (2003): チルソクの夏
A Japanese-Korean love story set in 1977 which chronicles the love relationship between a Korean highschool boy and a Japanese highschool girl during the friendship games held between Shimonoseki and Pusan every year. The story is relating to the Chinese/Japanese/Korean 'Valentine's Day' (七夕)called Qixi in Chinese, Tanabata in Japanese and Chilsok in Korean whereby the two lovers can meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month when the stars are said to converge. Very nice and romantic as well as dealing with the deep rooted prejudices between the two sides back then (and to an extent even now)
Official Website in Japanese: http://www.chirusoku.jp/
Note: The Japanese name is 'Chilsok Summer' and the use of the Korean pronunciation instead of the Japanese one is again an indication of the growing trend in Japan of goodwill feelings towards Korea and the use of korean words for japanese films (remember my earlier film recomm. called Pacchigi? That's a korean word too) I initially was attempting to work out what 'Chilsok' meant in Japanese and was glad that it wasn't my lack of understanding of Japanese..
Korean Films 韓電影推介 韓国映画お薦め：
If You Were Me 2 (2006) :
This is an omnibus film consisting of 5 short films all revolving around the theme of discrimination and the less priviledged in Korea. Its directed by famous korean directors, and produced by the National Korean Human Rights Commission. It is the second instalment of If You Were Me, which was a critical success and was screened at film festivals, like the current instalment, worldwide ( i actually saw the first instalment at the Melbourne International Film Festival). It is very unique and you get to see the various social issues faced by modern day South Korea.
In this instalment, there is one short each about a down syndrome girl, the life of contract workers, chinese-koreans and their plight in South Korea (note there are around 1.3 million koreans living in China, mainly in north-eastern China, whom have chinese citizenship and are chinese for all purposes except their ethnicity. They however retain their cultural traditions and language like the Chinese of Singapore and Malaysia), illegal North Korean defectors in South Korea and korean masculinity and its suffocating and negative impact on society and human relationships at large.
I personally liked the Chinese-Korean, contract workers, and korean masculinity sections better....especially the korean masculinity one as it dealt with a host of perceived problems inherent in some korean men, namely, sexism (this occurs at the very beginning when the main character bumps into a group of girls drinking at the table and curses them to his friends asking 'why the bitches are out so late at night?), racism (the main person bumps into a foreign worker and again curses them for taking away korean jobs), homophobia (i was very surprised at the inclusion of this cos they made quite a fair bit of emphasis on the issue of gay discrimination in korea cos one of the main character's best friend turns out to be gay, and the friend's also the most masculine one too...the guy then starts saying they've been friends for over 20 yrs...how he could have caught a disease from the other guy...blah..blah..blah...i laughed out when he said the disease part...at first i thought he was a closeted gay too and had sex with the other guy thats y he was worried about getting a disease, but then i realise it was just pure ignorance on his part....thinking that having a homosexual friend would give someone AIDS or something...)....watching this film will definitely provide audiences with an insight into the issues of discrimination affecting South Korea now....highly recommended.
My Crazy Girlfriend (2006) :
This is one of the best and most innovative film i've ever seen. It blends a commercial film with an independent art house film and produces something uniquely spectacular! It has a low budget and only so-so stars cast but managed to break into the top 10 grossing Korean films of the yr 2006 (last time i checked was in August) Recommended....GO WATCH IT.
The story is about a guy who has been hard on luck with love...he has a monotanous and boring life everyday repeating the same routine a zillion times all the time, is suffering from depression and watches porn and wanks when he feels horny...then he meets what seems to be the perfect girl...they start a passionate relationship and he throws out all his porn collection,etc...they seem like your average loving couple....but what he doesn't realise is that his average looking girlfriend is actually a killer! The film is really well worth your time...i highly recommend this!!
Over the Border (2006):
A film about a North Korean man and how he escapes to South Korea with his family. The film focuses on how they resettle and get accustomed to their new life in South Korea as well as his love relationship with a North Korean girl whom later escapes to South Korea as well. I especially liked the beginning where they show you what life is like in the closeted North Korea, in Pyongyang, at least from the eyes of S. Koreans. I also like the actor Cha Seong Won alot cos he is really cute and manly and i watch alot of his films...AND there is a scene where he is in a white brief so you get to see his 'package' also....hehe.....you get to see alot of male nudity in Korean films...i've seen Yu ji-tae and Cho Seung Woo's butt in films before....they seem to have no problems at all....overall a nice film:)
frankly, the past 3 months has been difficult for me...extremely....alot of incidences have occurred which have thoroughly crippled and broken my spirit, my hopes, my self-worth....
I am recovering...... I lost hope, the most precious thing in life....but i will find it back...somehow.
Don't treat me like i am worthless cos i am not. Being treated like i am worthless doesn't mean treating me like i am worth nothing but instead, being worth LESS than other people which is where the word got its origins. Cos i am worth something. Or at least that's what i keep telling myself...I have no idea at all how in the world people can justify their unfair and heartless treatment, where is there conscience?? Perhaps they do not realise it, but thats no excuse. Cos if they were to truly care and treat me like other people, they would have realised.....
I've had to bear the unbearable and accept the unacceptable....but i will survive...:(
我一向问心无愧. 可为何有人能如此的绝情. 我真的很痛嘚：（
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Anyways, BEST THING is its so cheap my rent...the cheapest i've lived in since coming to Oz....And i am moving to a bigger room with a view of the city on Jan 1st 2007 in the same apartment cos my housemate is moving out and i like her room better...its more expensive but the rent will be the same as the one i paid in the suburb so its ok...which means my current room rent is even CHEAPER than my suburban room in Artarmon!! Great deal heh?!! hahaha...
Anyways, my very 1st day of working life in a law firm starts next week Monday....it will last 3.5 mths in satisfaction of my legal work requirements for admission to practice on the bar but hope i get retained or am able to obtain another permanent job on completion. Going to court to present my plea for a client next week as part of my criminal law assessment...looking forward to the experience:):)
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
List of Nanking Massacre Victim Names
PLA Soldiers present wreaths of flowers in memory of the massacre victims at a ceremony in front of the Nanking Massacre Memorial Hall.
Today marks the 69th anniversary of the 'Rape of Nanking'. This refers to the Dec 1937 to Jan 1938 massacre of chinese civilians and soldiers in the former capital of China, Nanjing. About 300,000 Chinese and around 20,000-80,000 Chinese women were raped by invading Japanese forces. This massacre continues to remain a thorny issue between China and Japan, with the Chinese emphasizing it whenever the issue of Japanese invasion of China comes along and the Japanese seeking to downplay or some right-wing Japanese elements even seeking to deny it.
Below are some websites and articles related to the massacre. There are currently plans on a documentary and films commemorating the 'Rape' in time for the 70th Anniversary next year in 2007.
http://firstname.lastname@example.org (Nanking Massacre 69th anniversary)
http://nanking-bearing-witness.blogspot.com/ (nanking massacre blog) http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200612/14/eng20061214_332363.html (69th Nanking Massacre Anniversary)
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200612/13/eng20061213_332172.html (Nanking Massacre) http://www.nj1937.org/english/
http://www.nj1937.org/ (Official Nanking Massacre Memorial Hall website in English and Chinese)
http://www.nankingthefilm.com/ (AOL Vice-President-funded Documentary accepted for Sundance Film festival screening in Jan 2007)
Pic projects revisit Nanking massacre
Produce Green's $50 mil pic based on Chang's tome
By CLIFFORD COONAN
NANJING -- The 1937 invasion by Japanese troops of the city that was then China's capital was dubbed "The Rape of Nanking," with memories of that massacre still causing anguish to many Chinese. Now a slew of films will revisit the trauma.
The most high-profile is a $50 million-$60 million project being put together by producer Gerald Green's Viridian Entertainment and by the Jiangsu provincial government.
Based on Iris Chang's bestselling book "The Rape of Nanking," the pic is being penned by William Macdonald, creator of the epic HBO skein "Rome."
"Rape of Nanking" will look at the experiences of a Chinese family during the massacre. Green says preproduction is due to start in November, shooting in March and the planned release date is December 2007, the 70th anniversary of the invasion.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong director Stanley Tong, best known for his work on action movies with Jackie Chan, is working on "The Diary," which would also be released by the Dec. 13 anniversary of the invasion. Tong says the $40 million project, by his China Intl. Media Group, has received approval from Chinese film authorities and adds that coin would come from Germany, the U.S., Japan and China.
A documentary is also in the works. AOL vice prexy Ted Leonsis is reportedly taking more of a backseat role at his company to concentrate on "Nanking." The docu has already sold Chinese TV rights, and although he has yet to find a distributor in the U.S., Leonsis is getting it ready for Sundance.
Two other projects are in early planning stages. Transworld Pictures in London has been working on a project for three years, and executive producer Chris Stewart says it would be filmed in China with post-production in London, using a British writer.
Another project based on the novel "Nanking" by Kevin Kent is being developed.
Local media is buzzing with rumors about who will star in Gerald Green's version. Though everyone from Ziyi Zhang and Michelle Yeoh to Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep are being mentioned, Green insists that casting (either in China or the United States) has not started yet.
Tong told local media he has been gearing up for his project for five years and he wants Chow Yun-Fat, Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau and Norika Fujiwara to star.
The massacre remains a major obstacle to healthy relations with Japan. China says 300,000 Chinese people were slaughtered by invading Japanese soldiers in Nanjing; the 1948 Tokyo war crimes tribunal found Japanese troops killed 155,000 people. Beijing believes Japan has not done enough to atone for the invasion, while the Japanese are increasingly tired of being harangued over their wartime past.
With political relations between China and Japan still tense, the Chinese government is not averse to exploiting the propaganda value of the incident. One of the top films in China this year is "Tokyo Trials," about the post-war tribunals investigating Japanese war crimes.
Monkey Peaches Exclusive 14 Dec 2006:
Yesterday is the 69th anniversary of the fall of Nanking/Nanjing, then capital of China and the beginning of a weeks long massacre carried out by the Japanese force, which took the life of hundreds thousands of civilians and prisons of war. A ceremony was hold outside the city to mark the beginning of the set construction for The Rape of Nanking, based on the same title book by late author Iris Chang..The near US$40 million project is jointly produced by China's Jiangsu Cultural Industry Group and US-based Viridian Entertainment, with partial funding from the UK. The film will focus on how a group of foreign nationals helped protecting thousands of civilians during the massacre. The script is written by William J. MacDonald (Rome the TV series), who also serves as one of the project?s producers. The project is helmed by Simon West (Con Air, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, When a Stranger Calls). The cast list has not been finalized but the producers have hope Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep, Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi to sign on. The set, which will occupy an area equal to about 7 and a half football fields, will include replicated buildings of the Nanjing City from the 1930s, including a city gate, a harbor, an embassy district, a women's school, residential houses and several major intersections. Shooting will start in spring next year and wrap by July. The release is aimed at December 2007.
Chinese director Lu Chuan (Kekexili: The Mountain Patrol, The Missing Gun), works as a consultant of The Rape of Nanking, is also planning his own Nanjing Massacre project, titled Nanjing! Nanjing!, which is also in serious pre-production. It is budgeted to cost about US$26 millions, which will be shared by China Film Group Corp., Beijing-based Stellar MegaMedia and Hong Kong-based Emperor Motion Pictures. The story will follow a Chinese soldier and a Japanese soldier?s stories during the massacre. A set, occupying an area equal to almost 28 football fields, will be constructed in Sichuan Province, near 800 miles west of Nanjing. Shooting is scheduled to begin next Spring and the release is also planned for December.
The third project, titled The Diary, is pushed by Hong Kong director Stanley Tong (The Myth, First Strike, Rumble in Bronx.). The story will begin in 1937, when Japan launched the full scale invasion against China and will end by 1946, the year dozens of Japanese war criminals were trialed in Tokyo. The investment, almost US$40 millions, will come from China, the US, Germany and Japan. Shooting is set to start by next March.
The Manila Massacres:
I didn't know about this horrendous massacre until very recently and was horrified to know about it. It is a pity that not more publicity is given to this horrendous episode in Phillipine history and that many people including a Japan and Ww2 historian like myself didn't know about it until recently.
The Manila Massacre refers to the 100,000 filipino civilians killed by retreating Japanese troops as the Americans sought to recapture the capital in Feb 1945. The month long massacre by Japanese troops of filipino civilians was as a result of venting out demoralised attitudes and feelings as well as an attempt to use the filipinos as a human shield against the Americans.
Below is a Wikipedia page giving more detail on the massacre:
The Singapore 'Sook Ching' (Purge thru Purification):
This is a reference to the Feb- March 1942 massacre of around 50,000 Chinese men in Singapore when the Japanese occupying forces conducted a whole island screening when they took over Singapore officially on 15 feb 1942 to root out anti-japanese elements. Many men were simply driven off and shot at the beaches on mere suspicion of being anti-japanese with no concrete evidence whatsoever. The ex-PM of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew also records in his memoirs how he narrowly escaped them. The massacre was uncovered only after the war when war memoirs of many people corresponded and mass grave sites were uncovered revealing the horrible incident.
Below is a Wikipedia site giving more detail on the massacre:
Japanese War Orphans Left in China:
At the end of WW2, 1 million Japanese people were residing in Northeast China (previously known as Manchuria) as part of the then Japanese government's plan of populating the area with their own nationals so as to consolidate their control over it. At the end of the war in August 1945, when the Soviet troops invaded and occupied Manchuria, many Japanese were stranded and chaos reigned. About more than 500,000 Japanese soldiers were taken to Siberia to work in labour camps by the Soviets and Japanese civilians tried to make their way back home to Japan in the chaos. However, at that time, about 10,000 or so children and infants were abandoned by their japanese parents or were separated in the ensuing chaotic period or were simply handed over to Chinese adoptive parents by their Japanese parents whom thought that they would have a better chance of surviving if they were left with Chinese people. Their parents didn't even know if they could survive themselves even less so if their children would be able to and thus left them to Chinese adoptive parents. Thus, when China closed to the outside world with the Communist takeover in 1949, all hopes of recovering their children was lost. In the 80s, these parents and their children left behind in China made attempts to reestablish contact and many were successful. Many of these 'war orphans' were able to reunite with their biological parents. However, they have been experiencing difficulties with fitting in Japanese society given that they did not speak any Japanese and were brought up Chinese.
Below is an article on the 'Japanese War Orphan' issue.
EDITORIAL/ War-displaced Japanese 12/04/2006 (Asahi Shimbun)
Japanese abandoned as children in China at the end of World War II had long yearned to live in their home country with dignity. However, foot-dragging by the Japanese government delayed their return home. Not only that, the government was deficient in providing assistance so that these war-displaced Japanese could live independently since they settled here. The Kobe District Court recognized these facts in a group lawsuit filed by war-displaced Japanese and ordered the central government to pay more than 460 million yen in total compensation. This is the first victory for the plaintiffs among suits filed in 15 areas across the country. The plaintiffs are all advanced in years and anxious about their futures. We urge the government to accept the ruling and not appeal it. The lawsuit in question concerns Japanese who were left behind in Northeast China (former Manchuria) and raised by Chinese. The Japanese government finally began inviting them back to Japan in 1981 for identity verification, opening the path for them to return home. In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs slammed the government for not fulfilling its responsibility to protect its citizens. The Kobe District Court ruling squarely addressed that issue. The court said that Japanese who journeyed to the former Manchuria as farmers were not properly apprised of the war situation and were left unprotected in the postwar chaos. Thus, the court ruled, the postwar government had a political responsibility to provide relief to those war-displaced citizens. The court also pointed out that the government could have offered assistance by taking advantage of the normalization of diplomatic ties between Japan and China in 1972. However, the Japanese government did not acknowledge the war-displaced Japanese as its own citizens, treating them as non-Japanese and even requiring their relatives in Japan to act as guarantors if they wished to return to Japan. This caused the extensive delays in allowing them to permanently resettle here. The Kobe District Court determined that it was illegal to place restrictions on their return to Japan, and ordered the government to pay compensation of 100,000 yen for each month of delay. In addition, the court said the plaintiffs should be paid 6 million yen per person based on the fact that governmental financial support was less than the program for citizens abducted by North Korea. Of approximately 2,500 people who have returned to Japan, about 2,200 joined in the series of group lawsuits. Most cannot speak Japanese fluently due to a lack of government assistance, which has limited their job opportunities. The fact that more than 80 percent of those who returned have resorted to legal suits reflects how impoverished they are. Nearly 70 percent of all war-displaced Japanese who returned to Japan are living on welfare. They are eligible for a part of national pension payments, yet the amount they receive is only slightly more than 20,000 yen each month. The sum is deducted from their livelihood subsidies. The court ruling says the government must establish separate benefit and pension systems from the subsidy system so that these people have a means of support. We wholeheartedly agree with this decision. Diet members in the ruling coalition have set up a project team to study a benefit plan, but it has not made much progress. New legislation is needed to set up a program quickly. For those orphans who feel they were abandoned by their country twice--when Japan lost the war and then again after they returned home--the lawsuit has been a battle to regain their dignity as human beings. They are now happy to say that they have finally become Japanese again, and the government must not trample upon their sentiments. --The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 2(IHT/Asahi: December 4,2006)