I saw on CNN's website that Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada had officially apologized for colonizing the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945, expressing deep regret for the sadness his country caused. If you saw the news article, you might have thought, "Wow, Japan finally apologized -- now the two countries and get on with their lives." In reality, this was the 7th official statement of apology to Korea, and the 44th apology issued since World War II ended. As a dispassionate observer who loves both Japanese culture and Korean food, it's difficult to know how to feel about the long history between the two countries. On the one hand, one of the themes of Japan over the past 150 years has been its great respect for that other influential island nation, England, and how it tried to emulate it by creating a British-style empire in Asia. On the other hand, they did many terrible things, and haven't faced up to them as they should have, especially with their own people. Happily, the best antidote for the bad feelings left over from war are peace, commerce and shared popular culture, and in the time I've been in Japan the relationship between the two countries has really blossomed. Of course, the most interesting soccer games are still the ones between Japan and South Korea -- both teams really try hard to win ^_^
Tthe history between Japan and Korea is a complex one, though it's getting better.