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Japan-South Korea rift

South Koreans grapple with convention-busting bestseller on Japan

Book forces an uncomfortable reassessment of attitudes toward neighbor

A Japanese man offers free hugs to support South Korean people who attend an anti-Japan rally in Seoul.   © Reuters

SEOUL -- Progressives in South Korea are feeling increasingly uncomfortable with a bestselling book, "Anti-Japan Tribalism," which challenges a number of broadly accepted interpretations of Japan's colonial rule of the country.

"I've come to kill him!" shouted a man in Seoul on Dec. 18 as he assaulted the book's co-author, Lee Woo-yeon, a research fellow at the Naksungdae Institute of Economic Research. Lee was leading a demonstration demanding the removal of a statue of a young girl set up in front of the Japanese Embassy as a symbol of the "comfort women."

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