SKorea: Incheon University accused of kisaeng diplomacyBy Nathan Schwartzman Nov 03, 2012 1:05PM UTC
Original article in Korean is at this link.
“I thought this letter I suddenly received was so upsetting, it has made really made me angry.”
On the 25th, six members of the administration and planning committee of the Incheon City Council received a message addressed “To the members of the Incheon City Council” from Japanese “parent of a student at Fukuoka University.” The administration and planning committee oversees the operation of Incheon University.
The e-mail claims that two Fukuoka University professors who came to Incheon University from August 13th to 17th as part of an international Korean cultural exchange festival were treated to trips by the University. The festival was attended by the two Japanese professors and 20 students majoring in business. In the e-mail, the parent wrote that “these children participating in the festival said they had ‘realized their hopes for sex’ and said similar degrading things.”
According to the e-mail, on the evening of August 13th, two Incheon University professors took the Japanese professors to Songdo, where they had dinner and then went to a prostitution-related establishment to drink. The two Incheon University professors called over some girls and spent at least an hour singing karaoke and dancing. The Japanese professors refused several times, but the Incheon University professors repeated called the girls over and had them sit down.
“These Incheon University professors, do they not understand the meaning of ‘entertainment’? Their actions are not befitting an adult, are not fit for diplomacy, and I think were an insult to these Japanese people. In Korea, should public funds be used so casually? In Japan such a thing would never happen, it would be illegal. Logically and ethically, this was absolutely unacceptable.”
The parent requested that the City Council “in the future, for proper exchange, for Incheon University, and above everything, for the children, I ask that you deal forthrightly with this issue without letting it fade away.”
Incheon University said in response that “the professors involved participated in the unusual entertainment individually and not as part of the school’s public festival, and the fees were paid not out of public funds but on personal credit cards… however, in the future when there are exchange events with foreign universities we will take extra care that such things not happen.”
Kisaeng diplomacy was originally deployed by the Park Chung-hee government.