Saturday, March 29, 2008

South Korean Revisionist Textbook

The Daily NK, a very informative website on North Korea, reports on “A Textbook Alternative to the Historical Leftist View”. According to the report, the Textbook Forum of the New Right Party, which published the “Alternative Textbook, South Korean Modern History”, “claims the need for an alternative textbook because current textbooks negatively depict South Korea's 60-year history since liberation from Japanese colonialism. The most significant characteristic of the alternative textbook is that it emphasizes the "legitimacy" of the establishment of the South Korean government in 1948 saying the true meaning of Korea’s Liberation that it bought freedom, human rights, and the market economy, all of which were oppressed under colonial rule.” According to TNK, the alternative textbook offers some corrective on the colonial years as well:

While describing the Japanese colonial government as "a violent and repressive regime which denied the political autonomy of Korea," it held a different perspective from the currently recognized view giving credit to the colonial rulers for initiating industrial development in Korea.”

This evaluation by itself is not particularly remarkable. Even Bruce Cumings, a revisionist from the left in the American sense and notable non-fan of Japan, allows as much. Of course for the Japanese media, the story is mostly about… us, as this Sankei report shows. The hard copy Yomiuri is also carrying a shorter article, with the same focus.

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