The Ambassador’s Hair

I I Samuel 10:4 Wherefore Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments​in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away. In this event King David had sent ambassadors to comfort a king over the death of his father. This king, suspecting them to be spies dished out this disgraceful treatment and started a war. So facial hair is important.

Recently I have read of political tension in Korea. I have been to Korea and Japan and have talked to Japanese and Koreans here in the United States. One peculiarity about Americans is the lack of understanding of other cultures, particularly Asian. I know many who don’t know the difference between a Chinese, Korean,or Japanese. So for some background. The Asian countries for the most part are not as culturally diverse as America. They have more homogeneous society and longer histories and tradition than we do. And they remember history.

Japan and Korea have been doing joint Naval exercises but Japan has been raising the Rising Sun flag on their ships. This concerns the Koreans as they remember World War II. Korea was under Japanese domination as part of their empire for a long time then suffered under the war. They were forced to provide food, lumber, labor, and “comfort girls” for the Japanese military machine. Then after the war the country was split by foreign governments over communist and democratic ideology. While we look on North and South Korea as communist and democratic they look at themselves as Koreans. They have relatives on both sides of the border and wish for peaceful reunification.

So about the facial hair. Our ambassador to Korea is an American of Japanese descent. Of course these fine people are just as much American as any other citizen of our nation. But this ambassador has decided to grow a mustache. If you have looked at pictures of the Japanese rulers of World War II you will notice that many had finely trimmed mustaches. This offends the Koreans. To put this in perspective imagine having an American ambassador of German descent to Israel wearing a Hitler style mustache. While I am sure he means no offense and most Americans would view this as trivial we must understand and respect their feelings and know the history behind the uproar.

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