FILE - In this Oct. 19, 2011 file photo, former South Korean comfort women who were forced to serve for the Japanese Army as sexual slaves during World War II, stage a rally to demand an official apology and compensation from the Japanese government in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea. The fierce grudges over historical persecution and a thousand perceived national and cultural slights cannot be untwined from the sports for many Koreans, and these swirling emotions will be front and center Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, when a combined team of North and South Koreans plays regional power Japan in women’s hockey. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

'Deep down': Rivalry between Koreas, Japan transcends sport

February 14, 2018 - 12:39 am
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GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — There are sports rivalries, and then there's Korea versus Japan. It's an often toxic mix of history, much of it violent, and politics with a dose of cultural chauvinism and envy mixed in.

The fierce grudges over historical persecution and a thousand perceived national and cultural slights cannot be untwined from the sports for many Koreans. These swirling emotions are front and center as a combined team of North and South Koreans plays regional power Japan in women's hockey.

Both have yet to win a game these Olympics. Both desperately want that win to come against their loathed rival.

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