Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Korean and Japanese textbook differences

Objectivity is something that I imagine all good teachers, historians and writers strive for when interpreting history. Of course I am viewing the world through my own unique cultural lens as we all are but I try to view history without taking a modern agenda but like all human beings, it's hard not to listen to the little angel and devil on your shoulder sometimes.

I ran across this chart last week on VANK's website and although I haven't really delved into it, I still wanted to share it. Before you take it all to heart, perhaps a trip to wikpedia's entry on VANK is well worth a few moments of your time. "Consider the source" my mother always said.

Speaking of which, I cannot for the life of me find the original article as listed at the bottom of the chart. Anyone have a link?

UPDATE: I forgot to link back to what got me thinking about this in the first place. Japan recently apologized to Korea. Why? Read on, kind reader.

What Japanese Textbooks say
Korean Analysis
Mimana: Ancient Japanese occupation post in Korea
* Japanese forces from the Yamato court advanced to the Korean Peninsula across the sea and established a military outpost named Mimana.*The Yamato forces formed an alliance with Paekche and Silla to fight against Koruryo during the Three Kingdoms Period in Korea (in the late 5th century).
*Koguryo suffered serious setbacks due to resistance from Japanese forces based in Mimana and Paekche
* Yamato failed in its attempt to advance further into the peninsula and retreated from Mimana.
* Despite their research for the last five decades on the theory that Japan operated a military outpost named Mimana in Korea, both Korean and Japanese historians have failed to verify this theory.* This is a clear mistake.  According to the epitaph for King Kwanggaeto of Koguryo, the forces of Koguryo participated in the battle to assist Silla on Silla's request, and drove away the invading Japanese forces 
* Such a description is possible only when it is based on the hypothesis that Japan had its forces permanently deployed in Korea. But there are no historical records from Korea relating to Japan's activities on the Korean Peninsula, not to mention its operation of a permanent outpost of any sort. So, the description must be deleted.
Relations among the Three Kingdoms in the late fourth century
* Koguyro made a strong offensive against the other two Korean kingdoms - Paekche and Silla - which ruled southern regions of the peninsula.
* This is a clear distortion of historical facts.  Koguryo supported Silla in the latter half of the fourth century.
Internal and external relations of the Three Kingdoms in the sixth century
* Koguryo began to wane and so did Wei, a northern Chinese dynasty that supported Koguryo.* Koguryo and Silla formed a military alliance and stepped up their offensive against Paekche.
* This argument is groundless. In the sixth century, Koguryo confronted Wei militarily.* This is an indisputable error.  In fact, the two small kingdoms of Silla and Paekche formed an alliance to cope with the southern advance of Koguryo.
Three Kingdoms' diplomatic relations with Yamato
* Koguryo suddenly approached the Yamato court, while Silla and Paekche began to offer tributes to Yamato.
* This argument is solely based onNihon Shoki, an ancient Japanese history book whose credibility is widely questioned as it combines legends and facts. (No historical records in Korea and China mention Korea's tributary relations with Japan at this time.)
Japanese pirates
* The Japanese pirates known by the name of wako included Koreans as well as Japanese.  But, in fact, the majority of the pirates were Chinese.
* Wako is described as pirates who included Koreans and Chinese, in order to give the impression that wako pirates were not solely comprised of Japanese people.
Korea's state name
I* General Vi Song-gye brought down the Koryo Dynasty and established the Yi Choson in 1392.
* "Yi Choson," a derogative name used by the Japanese colonialists, is used again, instead of the official name of the dynasty, Choson.
Hideyoshi Invasion of Korea
* The title reads "Sending Troops to Korea."* Toyotomi Hideyoshi sent troops to Choson as part of his grandiose dream of conquering Ming China. The second stage of his plan was to conquer India.
*As a result of Japan dispatching its troops, the land of Choson and the lives of the people were remarkably dilapadated.
* The historical fact that Japan invaded Korea is concealed with the passive description that it "sent troops."* Causes of the invasion are attributed merely to Hideyoshi's personal illusion of conquering Ming China.
* Description of the damage caused by the Japanese troops is scaled down.
Korean emissary to Japan
* The Bakufu military government of Japan re- stored diplomatic relations with Choson (in the wake of the Hideyoshi Invasion).*Choson dispatched royal emissaries whenever a new shogun, or supreme military leader, took office.
* A Japanese trading post for commercial activities with local Koreans was opened in the southern Korean port of Pusan.
.The postwar normalization of diplomatic relations between Korea and Japan was made possible by the relentless efforts of Japan's shogun, Tokugawa leyasu. Such a simple description of the final result might lead to the misunderstanding of the entire process.*Korean diplomatic delegations are simply labeled as congratulatory royal emissaries, without duly describing the purpose of their visits or Japan's purpose of inviting them.
.By stating that the trading post was set up by Japan as part of its administrative system, the fact that the Korean government permitted Japan to establish the post has been ignored.
Korea's perception of Western powers and its international status
* East Asian countries were, in general, not fully aware of the imminent military threats from the Western imperial powers (in the late 19th century).* Choson; which was a vassal state of China, was no exception.
*Korea's response to the military threats of Western powers is downplayed by comparing it with the Japanese way of (effectively) dealing with them.* Korea is erroneously defined as a "vassal state" of China. There is no explanation of the China-centered tributary system in dynastic times, or how a tributary state differed from modern colonies.
Korea and the pre-modern international order in East Asia
* Chosun (Korea) and Vietnam were both conquered by the successive Chinese dynasties, but Japan remained independent of the China-centered world order and enjoyed freedom.
* The nature of pre-modern relations among nations in East Asia is distorted.  Recognition of new monarchs and the offering of tributes constituted a diplomatic formality between China and the smaller countries that surrounded it in pre-modern times. China never interfered with Korea's internal affairs.* Japan, in contrast to Korea, is mistakenly defined as an "independent sovereign state;' omitting the fact Japan remained a part of China's tributary system until the 17th century.
Juxtaposing the social characteristics of Korea and Japan
* There is a theory that China and Choson (Korea) couldn't successfully cope with the (military) threats from Western powers because their societies had traditionally been ruled by Confucian scholar-officials (unlike feudal Japan, which was built around military values.)
* This is an account intended to promote the unfounded view that Japan's military society was superior to the civilian social systems of China and Korea, thus implicitly justifying Japan's aggression into these countries in later years.
"Punish Korea" Campaign
* In 1873, a group of Japanese military activists contended that Japan should launch a military attack on Korea in punishment for disrespectfully refusing Japan's official request to open its ports.* It main proponent, Takamori Saigo, volunteered to die a sacrificial death in Korea in order to provide Japan with an excuse to attack Korea.
* The overall background leading to Korea's refusal is ignored. The background is deliberately ignored to defend Japan's attempts to abrogate traditional diplomatic procedures between the two countries.* This account is misleading because it is based on a hypothesis that Saigo might have been murdered in Korea.
Kanghwa Island Incident
* A skirmish broke out between Japan and Choson off Kanghwa Island as Japanese warships took measurements, as well as conducting other activities, in a show of force without Choson's permission.
* It is not stated that Japanese warships intentionally provoked Choson into opening fire, not to mention who triggered the skirmish, why and how.
Threat from Korea
* The Korean Peninsula is tantamount to a forearm protruding from the continent to Japan.*If the Korean Peninsula came under control of a nation antagonistic to Japan, it could be used as a launching paid for an invasion of Japan.
* Japan's invasion of Korea is justified as indispensable for its security through the description of the Korean Peninsula as an intimidating geographical position.  Likewise, both the Sino-Japanese and the Russo-Japanese wars were justified as inevitable for the cause of Japan's self-defense.
Japan's plans to neutralize Choson
* Some Japanese government officials argues that Japan should request to other concerned nations that they sign a treaty to neutralize Choson and that Japan must strengthen its military to guarantee Choson's neutrality.
* A short debate on the possibility of neutralizing Choson in the Japanese government has been overstated with the intention to whitewash Japan's oppressive policy in Korea.* The fact that Japan's military buildup was aimed at occupying Choson by force has been covered up.  Instead, it is incorrectly stated that Japan reinforced its military to help  Choson maintain its neutrality.
Modernization of Choson and its relations with Japan
* Since Choson opened its doors to the outside world, Japan has supported the military reforms of the Korean dynasty as part of its efforts toward the modernization of Choson. It was vital to the security of Japan that Choson developed into a modern state capable of self-defense without yielding to foreign domination.
* Japan's intention to expand its influence on Choson is covered up. It is portrayed as if Japan contributed to Korea's independence through its military assistance, which is a gross distortion of historical facts.
Sino-Japanese conflict over Choson
* Qing China came to regard Japan as a prospective enemy for fear of losing control over Choson, which was its last potent tributary state.* In 1884, Km Ok-kyun lead a coup...but the Qing military effectively quelled the pro-Japanese forces.
* This is a unilateral description of confrontation between Qing and Japan over Choson.  In fact, Japan considered China to be a potential enemy.* Kim Ok-kyun and his fellow progressives are mistakenly defined as a pro-Japanese party.
Tonghak movement of farmers and the Sino-Japanese War
*In 1894, a peasant insurrection called the "Tonghak Riot" broke out in the southern region... the Tonghak Party was a group of people who believed in the "Eastern Learning" as opposed to the 'Western Learning" which referred to Catholicism.*Peasant militias approached Hansong, the capital of Choson.
* Choson asked China to send troops... Japan also dispatched its forces to Korea under an agreement with China... a military collision broke out between Japan and China, which led to the Sino-Japanese War.
.Tonghak was a movement against the corrupt government and foreign forces, so it is inappropriate to refer to it as a "riot." It is also misleading to reduce the peasant movement to a movement of a certain religious group.* This is an unquestionable mistake.  Tonghak militias did not "approach the capital," but they only occupied the city of Chonju in the south.
.Japan sent its troops to Korea under a strategy to provoke a war with China. Itwas not a mere countermeasure to cope with China's action.
Russo-Japanese War
* Russia constructed a military base in the northern part of Choson. * It was evident that Russia's military in the Far East would grow so powerful that Japan could hardly match it ...The (Japanese) government decided to wage a war against Russia before it was too late.
* After the war ended, Russia recognized Japan's rule of Korea (Choson)...It was a momentous war that brought victory to a non-white race of people over Russia, an empire of white people with the world's largest army.  The victory inspired tremendous hope for independence among the oppressed nations around the world.
*It was not a military base but in fact lumber camps that Russia built in northern Korea.* Although Japan instigated the war against Russia, it is erroneously stated that the war broke out because Japan felt threatened by the Russian military.
*Japan's true aim was to secure hegemony over the Korean Peninsula and Manchuria.  But it is deliberately covered up and the conflict is glorified as a "war between races."
*It is erroneously stated that Japan gained recognition of its domination of Choson and at the same time gave hope for independence to other oppressed nations.
Forcible annexation of Choson
* The Japanese government believed that Korea had to be annexed to guarantee Japan's security and protect the interests of Manchuria.  Britain, the United States, and Russia held each other in check to prevent their rivals from strengthening their influence on the Korean Peninsula.  They did not oppose Japan's annexation of Korea because they believed it would help stabilize East Asia.* There were some voices within Korea accommodating Japan's annexation.
* The forcible nation of Japan's aggression and the process of annexation of Korea are covered up in this passage.  Annexation is described as an act carried out with international recognition.* Descriptions of nationalist struggle by the militia and the individual patriotic activities, including the assassination of Ito Hirobumi by Ahn Jung-gun, are minimized, while a limited number of pro-Japanese Koreans are deliberately highlighted.
Development of the colonized Korea
* For the colonized Korea, Japan pushed ahead with development projects, building railroads and improving irrigation facilities.
* The description reflects the opinion of the Japanese colonialists who insisted that Japan's development projects contributed to the modernization of Korea and benefited its people.  But they were in fact designed to facilitate Japan's colonial rule and exploitation of Korea.
The Great Earthquake in 1923 and Koreans
* At the time of the Great Earthquake that shook the Kanto region on Sept.1 , 1923, rumors spread that Koreans and socialists were attempting to exploit the chaos to engage in subversive activities. Therefore, Japanese civilian security forces killed Koreans and Chinese.
* The massacre by the Japanese military and police has been covered up. Despite that most of those killed were Koreans (about 7,000), the victims are lined up in the order of "socialists, Koreans and Chinese" for the purpose of playing down the sacrifice of Koreans that was the core of the incident.
Forced  conscription
* Conscription for wartime labor and military service also took place in the colony.* Young Korean men who volunteered for conscription (picture caption). In Korea, a voluntary draft system was implemented... Many ordinary Koreans, including women and children. fell victim to the policy.
* It is not clearly stated ho the conscripted workers were exploited.* The forcible nature of the draft system is distorted to suggest that Koreans voluntarily participated in the war.
Sexual slavery
* Omitted
* Two special reports on military slavery and sexual crimes in wartime, which have recently been submitted to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, denounced Japan's use of the "comfort women" as a wartime crime against humanity.*The Japanese government also admitted in a statement in August 1993, that the Japanese army was involved in the establishment and operation of military brothels and that the "comfort women" were mobilized, moved (to the battlefields) and managed against their will both by coercion and cajolery.
Assimilation policy
* In Korea, Japan stepped up  its policy to assimilate Koreans into the Japanese society.* Koreans were forced to assimilate in ways worthy of being considered "people of the Emperor."
* The policy to Japanize the Korean people is not clearly explained.  Nor is it sufficiently described how Japan exploited Korea.  The Korean people are vaguely treated as part of the Japanese nation, thereby misrepresenting the nature of Japan's colonial policy.* Details of the assimilation policy are ignored. It must be stated that Koreans were forced to pay homage at Shinto shrines, adopt the Japanese family names and learn Japanese, etc.
Korean War
* The UN forces under the command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur made a counterattack...Chinese troops sided with the North Koreans.* The war situation became stalled near the existing borderline of 38 degrees north latitude.
* The South Korean forces are ignored as the war is depicted as a conflict between the UN forces against the allied forces of China and North Korea.* The 38th parallel is mistakenly referred to as the national border, giving the impression that Korea has been divided for a long time.

by Choe Yong-shik, Hwang Jang-jin and Kim Min-hee, The Korea Herald May 9, 2001


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