ROK President Yoon Suk Yeol Recalls Visiting Tokyo as Child

The Yomiuri Shimbun
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol shows pictures of his dogs to Shoichi Oikawa, representative director and chairman of the board, senior deputy editor-in-chief of The Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings, in Seoul on Tuesday.

SEOUL — South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol fondly recalled childhood memories of visits to Japan to see his father, an economist who attended Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo in the late 1960s, in an exclusive interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun in Seoul on Tuesday.

“I can still see in my mind’s eye [the streets of] Kunitachi where Hitotsubashi University is located,” Yoon, 62, said.

When his father, now professor emeritus of Yonsei University, was a professor at Hanyang University, he attended Hitotsubashi University for a year in 1966. Japan and South Korea normalized diplomatic relations in 1965.

According to Tadao Miyakawa, 91, professor emeritus of Hitotsubashi University who conducted research with Yoon’s father, the president’s father came to Japan again in 1982 as a visiting professor at Hitotsubashi University.

The president visited Japan with his family. “We took a train from Ueno Station, got off at Kunitachi Station and went to my father’s apartment,” he said.

The younger Yoon spent time in Japan again when he was a student.

Asked about his impression of Japan, Yoon said, “Just as a developed country is supposed to be, it was clean.” Recalling the Japanese people he met at the time, “I felt Japanese people are honest and precise [in everything],” he added.

Yoon also said he likes Japanese food and listed “mori soba, udon and unaju eel over rice,” as his favorite dishes.

When the Japanese gourmet documentary drama “Solitary Gourmet” airs on South Korean TV, he “always watches it,” he said.

During a photo session after the interview, Yoon pointed out photos on his desk and said with a smile, “We have many puppies at home, and this one is our youngest.”

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