NBC News (by Stephany Bai):
Despite heavy involvement from the U.S. military, the Korean War is often referred to as “the forgotten war” because of its relatively low profile in history, according to military historians.
A new film, “Operation Chromite,” is spotlighting one of the key figures of the war, United States Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Liam Neeson portrays MacArthur in the film and is joined by two major Korean actors, Bum Soo Lee and Jung Jae Lee, in telling the story of the amphibious landing at Incheon, which the filmmakers say was one of the most consequential moments of the war. The movie, which makes its American debut on Aug. 12, opened at number one in South Korea, according to Variety.
“[MacArthur] is a very well-known and respected figure in South Korea,” Bum Soo Lee told NBC News. “There may be people who have different ideologies in Korea, but overall the Korean people appreciate and respect what [General MacArthur and the US military] did.”
He added that the events portrayed in the film, and the people behind them, are directly responsible for the growth of South Korea, noting that the South Korean soldiers had been on the verge of giving up a key military stronghold when MacArthur executed the Incheon landing operation.
“The Battle of Incheon and the landing operation cut the supply chain of the North Korean military and soldiers, and that contributed a lot to turning the tide of the war,” he said. “That lead to building democracy in South Korea and contributed to the economic growth that we’re seeing to this day.”
Bum Soo Lee, center, in “Operation Chromite”
Bum Soo Lee plays the villain of the film, a North Korean spy, while Jung Jae Lee is a South Korean commander who infiltrates the North Korean army. Both actors emphasized to NBC News the research and preparation they did for the film.
“What we as actors, as well as the director, focus so much on is speaking towards the truth,” Bum Soo Lee said. “This movie is based on a true event, on history. There was a lot of pressure on our shoulders because we were telling the story of these unsung heroes, who sacrificed themselves in the war, and we really wanted to pay respect to them.”
Jung Jae Lee added that the same was true for Neeson. “[Neeson] created new scenes and suggestions that were incorporated because he really tried his best to depict the real character,” Jung Jae Lee said. “The amount of effort he put into the character was really impressive.”
Jung Jae Lee said that he believes “Operation Chromite” represents a step toward greater collaboration between Hollywood and the Korean movie industry.
“These days you see a lot of Hollywood movies open in advance in Korea, and big actors coming to promote their movies in Korea,” he said. “I can’t say there are a lot of Korean actors working in Hollywood, but the few we do already have are doing a great job in TV and movies. I believe that we’ll be able to see more of that in the near future.”
Hiroshima on Saturday marked the 71st anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing, with Mayor Kazumi Matsui calling on world leaders to do more to abolish nuclear weapons and to follow U.S. President Barack Obama’s historic visit to the city in May with trips of their own.
At a memorial ceremony, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe echoed Matsui’s call and also urged young people to visit to observe the harrowing reality of the atomic bombing. Abe also reiterated Japan’s role in combating nuclear proliferation as the only country to have been attacked with nuclear weapons.
In the Peace Declaration read at the city’s annual memorial ceremony, Matsui urged the leaders of all nations to visit Hiroshima, which was devastated by an atomic bomb on Aug. 6, 1945, and Nagasaki, which was obliterated by another atomic strike three days later by the United States, in order to “etch the reality of the atomic bombings in each (leader’s) heart.”
Matsui then called on the world to “unify and manifest our passion in action” to proceed toward a world free of nuclear weapons.
A moment of silence was observed at 8:15 a.m., the time the atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima at an altitude of about 600 meters, killing an estimated 140,000 people by the end of 1945. A second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on Aug. 9 that year, and Japan surrendered six days later, effectively ending the war.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe emphasized the importance of maintaining and enhancing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that binds its signatories not to pursue atomic weapons programs.
Abe also said he will maintain his efforts to create a world free of nuclear weapons by asking both nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states for cooperation, and by showing world leaders and young people the painful reality of radiation exposure.
During the ceremony, a message from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was also read out by a representative.
“Today, the world needs the hibakusha spirit more than ever,” at a time when “global tensions are rising” and progress on nuclear disarmament is “hard to find,” the message said, adding that nuclear powers “have special responsibility to prevent another Hiroshima,”
Ban urged all nations to “find common ground through inclusive dialogue.”
The ceremony was attended by representatives from 91 nations, including recognized nuclear weapons states such as Britain, France, the United States and Russia. The European Union was also represented.
The number of hibakusha stood at 174,080 as of March, and their average age was just over 80 years old.
USA Today (by Jaleesa M. Jones):
Constance Wu has had it with Hollywood’s white savior complex.
The Fresh Off the Boat actress and two-time Television Critics Association Awards nominee posted a pointed letter to Twitter Friday, in which she criticized the whitewashing of Chinese history with the casting of Matt Damon in 2017’s action epic The Great Wall and called for Hollywood to change the narrative.
“We have to stop perpetuating the racist myth that only a white man can save the world,” Wu wrote one day after the trailer debut for The Great Wall, which features Damon as its dragon-slaying lead. “It’s not based in actual fact. Our heroes don’t look like Matt Damon. They look like Malala. (Gandhi). Mandela. Your big sister when she stood up for you to those bullies that one time.”
Wu went on to challenge the argument that it’s hard to finance and profit from movies that aren’t toplined by white talent, and urged studios to consider the message tacitly communicated by scores of films that revolve around white heroes and struggling communities of color.
“Money is the lamest excuse in the history of being human,” she wrote. “So is blaming the Chinese investors. (POC’s choices can based on unconscious bias too.) Remember it’s not about blaming individuals, which will only lead to soothing their lame ‘b-but I had good intentions! but…money!’ microaggressive excuses. Rather, it’s about pointing out the repeatedly implied racist notion that white people are superior to POC and that POC need salvation from our own color via white strength. When you consistently make movies like this, you ARE saying that.”
Wu also questioned why projects starring entertainers of color aren’t given the benefit of the doubt — or the latitude to fail — that is afforded to projects starring white actors.
“If white actors are forgiven for having a box office failure once in a while, why can’t a POC sometimes have one? And how COOL would it be if you were the movie that took the ‘risk’ to make a POC as your hero, and you sold the (expletive) out of it?! The whole community would be celebrating! If nothing else, you’d get some mad respect (which is WAY more valuable than money) so MAKE that choice.”
The actress punctuated the call to action by invoking the importance of representation, particularly for children whose dreams may expand or contract based on the images they see, which are still decidedly limited according to Hollywood’s announced 2016 slates.
“If you know a kid, you should care too,” Wu argued. “Because we WERE those kids. Why do you think it was so nice to see a nerdy white kid have a girl fall in love with him? Because you WERE that nerdy white kid who felt unloved. And seeing pictures of it in Hollywood’s stories made it feel possible. That’s why it moved you, that’s why it was a great story. Hollywood is supposed to be about making great stories. So make them.”
Resonate (by Cohan Chew):
Next year will mark the annual competition’s 65th year in the running and will be the third time that the pageant will be hosted in the Philippines.
Wanda Teo, the Tourism Secretary of the Philippines announced that the Miss Universe 2017 pageant will be held in the country on 30 January 2017.
“We have a president who comes from Mindanao, and our Miss Universe is from Mindanao, so I think this is the best time for us to do the Miss Universe here in the Philippines… I would like to inform everybody that the Miss Universe beauty pageant will be on January 30, 2017 here in the Philippines.”
Teo also assured that the Filipino government “is not going to spend a single centavo” on the international pageant. “It will be the private sector that will shoulder the expenses,” the Tourism Secretary said, citing a budget of $11 million.
Reigning Miss Universe, Pia Wurtzbach, was the third Filipino woman to win the award since the pageant’s inception in 1952. Previous Filipino winners were Margie Moran in 1973 and Gloria Diaz in 1969. The Philippines has hosted the competition twice before, in 1974 and 1994.
Representing the Philippines will be Maxine Medina,a 25-year-old interior designer who has been modelling since 2008, in next year’s pageant. She will attempt to succeed Wurtzbach, the first Filipino woman to win the title in over four decades.
This August, Team USA will be headed to the 2016 Rio Olympics with over 500 athletes across 42 Olympic sport disciplines. Of these athletes, over 30, competing in a variety of sports including swimming, fencing, table tennis, and volleyball, identify as Asian American. Below are 10 Asian-American athletes to watch during the Rio Olympics. Keep their names in mind, as there’s a good chance that some of them will be leaving Rio with new medals.
Born to a Greek father and a Taiwanese mother, San Francisco native Alexander Massialas is poised to win a medal at the Rio Olympics this year. Currently ranked the number one male foil fencer in the world, Massialas was also the youngest male member of the 2012 U.S. Olympics team.
He comes from an accomplished fencing family — his father Greg was a three-time Olympic fencer and his younger sister Sabrina was the first U.S. fencer to ever win a Youth Olympic Games gold medal. Massialas is currently a student at Stanford University and majors in mechanical engineering. He can speak Mandarin and attended the Chinese American International School as a child.
Like Massialas, Gerek Meindhart is also a Taiwanese-American fencer. The two are good friends since Meinhardt’s mother Jane was primary school classmates with Massialas’ mom Vivian, and it was Vivian’s suggestion to have Meinhardt join the fencing club. While both of Meinhardt’s parents were architects and not fencers, Massialas helped coach Meinhardt for competition.
In the past, Meinhardt also played basketball. His sister Katie played the sport at Boston University (BU) and still holds the BU record for most points in a game. Meinhardt recently received an MBA from Notre Dame and works as a Deloitte consultant when he isn’t competing in the games.
Filipino-American fencer Lee Kiefer is currently ranked third in women’s foil and was the first athlete to ever win seven consecutive individual titles at the Pan American Championships. Fencing also runs in the family — she is the daughter of a former Duke University fencing captain and has a sister Alex and brother Axel who also compete.
Kiefer is currently a senior pre-med major at the University of Notre Dame. Her father Steve is a neurosurgeon, her mother Teresa is a psychiatrist, and her older sister Alex is a Harvard pre-med student.
This three-time Olympic swimming gold medalist will be back in 2016. In this year’s Olympics, Adrian will compete in the 50 meter and 100 meter freestyle events. Adrian is in a good position to defend his Olympic gold medal in the 100m, as he finished first place in that event at the U.S. Olympic Trials. This Bremerton-born athlete is half-Chinese and was honored at the Robert Chinn Foundation‘s Asian Hall of Fame. Adrian majored in public health and graduated with honors from UC Berkeley in Spring 2012. After he retires from competitive swimming, Adrian has expressed interest in becoming a doctor.
Paige McPherson is an Olympic taekwondo competitor of Filipino and African-American descent. McPherson, who won a bronze medal in the women’s 67 kilogram taekwondo event in 2012, will return to compete in Rio. While McPherson grew up in Sturgis, South Dakota, she comes from what she likes to call a “rainbow family.” McPherson is one of five adopted kids in her family — she has a Korean brother, a St. Lucian little sister, and two Native American siblings. McPherson attended Miami-Dade College and continues to train primarily in Miami. After the 2015 Pan Am Games Team Trials, McPherson got the chance to meet her biological brother. Once the Rio Olympic Games come to a close, McPherson hopes to meet more members of her biological family.
Olympic swimmer Lia Neal identifies as both African American and Chinese American. Neal celebrates all Chinese holidays, and went to a Chinese pre-school program — which is why she speaks Cantonese and has studied Mandarin for years. This Brooklyn native won a bronze medal at the London Games in the 4 by 100-meter freestyle relay with Missy Franklin, Jessica Hardy, and Allison Schmitt. This year, Neal came in fourth during the 4 by 100 freestyle Olympic trials, allowing her the fourth spot in the 4 by 100-meter freestyle relay team. Neal is currently a Stanford University student, and her classmate Simone Manuel also made it onto the Olympic swimming team. This makes it the first time two Black female swimmers will swim simultaneously on the U.S. Olympic team.
Jay Litherland is an Olympic swimmer majoring in business at the University of Georgia. He’s also a triplet – and has triple citizenship in the U.S., Japan, and New Zealand. He can speak Japanese and started swimming at the age of 8. At this year’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials, he managed to finish second in the 400 meter individual medley. Litherland won the second of two U.S. Olympic spots in the event, eking out the defending Olympic gold medalist, Ryan Lochte, by approximately a second. This will be the first time he will be attending the Olympics. He previously competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2012.
Micah Christenson, Kawika Shoji, and Erik Shoji
These three athletes will be representing the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team at the Rio Olympics. Micah Christenson comes from a tall family – his father played basketball at the University of Hawaii-Hilo and his mother won three national volleyball championships at the same university. Anderson currently plays for Italian club team Cucine Lube Civitanova but won a gold medal with the USA team in the 2015 Men’s World Cup. Christenson graduated from the University of Southern California and will be a setter for the men’s national team. His full name is Micah Makanamaikalani Christenson, and his middle name means “gift from heaven.”
Erik and Kawika Shoji are brothers — and both will be at the Rio Olympics in the U.S. Men’s volleyball team. The Honolulu-born pair both attended Stanford University and played on the volleyball team when they were there. Their father Dave has coached women’s volleyball at the University of Hawaii for more than 40 years, while their mother Mary played basketball at the same university. Kawika is currently a member of Turkish club Arkas Izmir, while Erik Shoji plays for German club Berlin Recycling Volleys.
Each of the tools that ninjas were actually using back at the time had unique features and often served a multiple purposes. That was because ninjas had to not only combat enemies but also take on various other missions such as infiltrating enemy territories and collecting information. So they carried special tools suitable for the purposes of various missions. Here we have focused on such practical tools, particularly on the weapons of ninjas.
1. Shuriken [手裏剣]
Shuriken or throwing stars is almost synonymous with ninja. From windmill types to stick types, they were varied in shape. Ninjas sometimes poisoned the tips of the blades to make this weapon more deadly.
[Kashaken (火車剣): a variation of shuriken made explosive with gun powder]
2. Shinobigatana (Ninja Sword) [忍刀]
Ninjas were using their own kind of swords. Unlike longer and more curved samurai swords, ninja swords were straight and relatively short. They featured a large tsuba (hand guard) and ninjas sometimes stood their swords against the wall and used the tsuba part as a step when going over the wall. A string was attached to the scabbard so the sword could be collected from above the wall. These swords were also matte finished so they would not reflect light in the darkness.
3. Kunai (Dagger) [くない]
This double bladed tool was used not only as a weapon but also as a shovel, knife and a step ladder for wall climbing. It is versatile as the modern-day “survival knife”. When used as a throwing knife, it was collected with a string attached to it.
4. Makibishi (Caltrop) [撒菱]
Makibishi was scattered on the ground to wound and stop pursuers. Nails of a caltrop are arranged so one of its sharp nails always points upward however you throw it. It is believed that the plant seeds of water caltrops had been used originally for the same purpose.
5. Tekko-Kagi (Claw Dagger) [手甲鉤]
Tekko-kagi is worn on the hands to scratch enemy with its nails. It can also be used defensively against sword attacks and for various other purposes such as digging a hole in the ground and driving the nails into the wall when climbing.
6. Kusarigama (Sickle and Chain) [鎖鎌]
Kusarigama is a chained sickle with a balancing weight on the other end. Without the chain, it can be disguised as an ordinary farming tool. The weight part can be thrown at the enemy while the chain can be used to suppress the enemy before attacking with the sickle. But it requires a very high skill to use this weapon at will.
7. Fukiya (Blow Dart) [吹き矢]
Ninjas were using blow darts poisoned on the tips to assassin enemies remotely. The blowpipes were often disguised as a flute and carried along.
8. Metsubushi (Eye Blinder) [目潰し]
An easily broken bag or hollowed-out egg filled with pepper or chalk powder was thrown at enemies. It was used as an offensive weapon for its eye blinding effect, as well as to distract enemies when running away from them.
9. Shikomizue (Prepared Cane) [仕込み杖]
A sword blade plunges out suddenly from a cane which would never be suspected as a weapon. A ninja disguised as an old man could carry this weapon without alarming anyone.
10. Kakushi (Finger Brass Knuckles) [角指]
This is a kind of brass knuckles for ninjas. But unlike brass knuckles, ninjas wore kakushi with the sharp nails on the palm side and grab the arm or neck of an enemy tightly from behind to deliver a lethal attack. This weapon was perfect for assassination because it was compact to carry.
11. Toribiho (Flame Gun) [捕火方]
This weapon was used to project flames by igniting gunpowder and iron sand filled in the barrel. The technology at the time did not allow flames to reach very far, but it must have been stunning enough for enemies.
12. Tetsumari (Iron Ball) [鉄毬]
Tetsumari is a round weapon with spikes sticking out in all directions. When thrown at enemies, it could deliver a more lethal attack than shuriken due to its penetrative power. But the relatively large size was not ideal for carrying.
13. Nekote (Claw Dagger) [猫手]
This weapon was used by kunoichis, female ninjas. Kunoichis put them on their hands to scratch enemies with the sharp nails. The name “nekote,” literally meaning “cat hand,” comes from its shape like cat’s claws.
14. Shinobi Kumade [忍び熊手]
Shinobi Kumade is a kind of iron rake with collapsible pipe sections making grips. The string threaded through the pipes can be pulled tight to make a long spear-like weapon while loosening it will make this weapon like a nunchaku.