Unessay Project Overview

For my Unessay project, my goal was to expose the meaning of the Rising Sun flag while comparing it to the Nazi Swastika flag. I was interested in this topic because as South Korean, I grew up learning about the remnants of Japanese colonial period that still remains in South Korea. Also, as one of handful of Asian students who went to a private Jewish High School, comparing Nazi flag and the Rising sun flag was something that naturally provoked me a lot. The dichotomy of the two flags, how one flag is considered as a taboo and other one is merely as a ‘cool’ design, always made me feel frustrated. One thing that I wanted to gain a clear perspective on was about how German and Japan is remembering and repenting their war victims and war crimes.

Throughout my research, I learned that how each country reacted to their past is polar opposite of each other. Compared to Japan, Germany’s sincere action of penance and apology was able to show what a leader of nation can do to make up for the past mistakes their predecessors have made. For Japan, even though the action of penance and apology was all that the victims have asked for, but they have never delivered that long-overdue apology. Instead, Prime ministers of Japan have been attending the memorial service at the Yasukuni shrine on the 15th of August every year to pay respect to their war criminals and war veterans, whose remains are buried with the victims they have killed themselves during the colonial period.  

As I chose the PowerPoint presentation format as a mean to deliver my Unessay project, I mainly used the photos from the WW II era and post-war era to depict the similarities that the Germany and Japan shared and how the ideas behind the flags are almost synonym for one another. For example, I thought that this photo clearly depicts the connection between the Imperialism and Nazism during the war

One main thing that I am taking away from this project is about how Japanese government is reacting to the international criticism of their denial of war crime and history. As I mentioned in my presentation, Japanese government is still trying to erase significant portions of World War history and their exploitation of colonial victims from their textbook, while denying their crimson history. I think that we learn history to learn from our own mistakes. We learn history to not repeat the nightmares that many have gone through without a reason. If no one is willing to learn from their mistakes, what future do they have?


Garbology in this unprecedented time

It has been a couple months since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. Some countries were able to gain their functions back (for example, South Korea just held an election that had 66.2% of the usual national voter turnout rates according to the National Election Commission) , but most countries are still struggling to fight this novel virus. In the midst of this pandemic, people are experiencing a shortage of basic necessities due to the behavior of some irresponsible individuals, including panic buying and hoarding behaviors.

South Korean people waiting in line to vote. Seoul, 15th of April 2020. (BBC Korea) https://www.bbc.com/korean/news-52290203

Yesterday, April 16th, 2020, was the garbage collection day for my street. My recycle bin mainly consisted of aluminium soda cans, plastic bottles (orange juice and hand sanitizer), glass bottles, as well as plastic and cardboard takeout containers. I had a greater than usual amount of cardboard boxes, as I have been ordering almost everything online lately (dog food, small household items, and even some groceries).

Accumulation of delivery boxes in my garage. (These were accumulated over a year, although the pile is getting bigger during this COVID-19 outbreak)

For the general garbage, I noticed an increase in the amount of paper towels and Clorox wipes, as well as packaging for perishable items like Styrofoam trays and cool packs, because I have been cooking items like meat and fish at home more frequently. Also, I noticed an increase in non-perishable item packaging such as plastic wrappers and containers. Since I am ordering takeout food less often and cooking at home more, I have been definitely using more parchment paper and other cooking-related items.

After taking a sneak peak at the neighbors’ bins (it was out on the street for collection), I was able see lots of aluminum beer cans/soda cans, cardboard boxes, recreational herb containers, and also the containers for various cleaning/disinfecting products. One notable pattern among my neighbors was pizza boxes, recreational herb containers/wrappers and beer cases. These findings reflect the current situation, as bars and restaurants are closed and people are forced to stay inside as much as possible. One interesting thing that I noticed is that, despite the mayhem caused by the toilet paper and isopropyl alcohol hoarding of some people, I didn’t see many empty toilet paper rolls or empty rubbing alcohol containers (although I did see lots of Clorox wipe containers) in my neighbors’ bins. This is partly because it takes time to use up toilet paper, and COVID-19 does not cause an increase in the frequency of defecation.

This dad’s reaction pretty much sums up how I feel about panic buyers

Future Archaeologists might interpret our current discarding pattern as odd because it does not entirely reflect what people are buying at the store. People are still discarding items like beer and pizza cases, which were common well before the outbreak. But I think it is safe to say that people are consuming the same things as they were before but the frequency or amount of items being consumed is what changed during the outbreak, as people are forced to be at home.


Corson, Naomi. “Dad’s Math Rant on Toilet Paper Hoarding”, YouTube, Published by How to be a dad, 19 MAR 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ch7gUrebnjA

Unknown, “총선: 코로나 사태 가운데 치러진 선거…잠정투표율 28년 만에 66.2% 넘어”, BBC Korea, 15 APR 2020, https://www.bbc.com/korean/news-52290203#orb-banner

About me: Jin

Hello world,

My name is Jin Ho, I am an undergraduate student at the University of Washington majoring in Anthropology. I am a native Korean speaker and English is my second language. I can speak conversational Japanese and can read a little bit of Chinese as well. I was born in South Korea but moved to Sydney, Australia when I was 13. A fun fact about me is that I went to a Jewish high school in Sydney.

I usually go by Jin or Jeff. Interesting thing about my name is that the Chinese character for “Jin” means treasure in Korean. However, I recently found out that the character “Jin” also can mean boba pearls.

I have an Australian Shepherd mix boy named Ragnar. He just turned 1 couple weeks ago.