Monday, March 07, 2005

Korea History Distortion

Op Ed Quotes

"Korean history has come under serious threats. The
nation now faces a daunting challenge of defending its
national history from encroachment by two neighboring
giants. Japan has persistently tried to rationalize its
colonial rule of Korea, and is even intensifying
territorial disputes over Tokto, a group of islets
between the two countries.

And the increasingly powerful and nationalistic China is
attempting to incorporate the most important part of
Korea’s ancient history, the Koguryo Kingdom, into its
own. The Japanese education ministry is now examining
the latest revision of a ``new’’ history textbook for
middle school students. The textbook contains more
contents to gloss over Japan’s wartime atrocities and
justify its colonization of Asian neighbors. Its 2001
version was adopted by less than 0.1 percent of middle
schools thanks to the opposition by conscientious
Japanese intellectuals and civic groups. Korea recalled
its ambassador, froze private-sector exchanges and put
off the cultural market opening at the time.

This year, Japan’s ultra-rightists appear determined to
raise the adoption ratio to 10 percent, with the support
of some politicians. These politicians are advised to
exercise self-restraint. We also hope the Japanese
government will make bold corrections of descriptions
that might deepen its neighbors’ pains. The promoters of
the new textbook call for overcoming ``masochistic’’
historical views but for most other Asian countries,
Tokyo’s official position is still closer to

Japan’s denial of dark historical memories not only
hurts the East Asian cooperation but also hinders its
own growth as a regional leader. Some Japanese ask why
they should keep apologizing: the answer is they have
not apologized genuinely even once. In contrast, Germany
has made heartfelt apologies and sufficient compensation
to their former victims, obtained their forgiveness and
played a central role in Europe’s integration. Japan,
which copied the German state model in the past, should
follow this as well.

More seriously, Tokyo is now spreading its diplomatic
propaganda across the world, with considerable success.
In a latest instance, France’s ARTE TV marked Tokto with
the Japanese name of Takeshima and called it a territory
of Japan. The number of Internet Web sites that describe
the islets in both names has increased from 600 last
July to 2,000. In another example of historical
distortion, Yahoo, the largest U.S. portal site,
describes Pyongyang as a colony of China for 2,000

Something should be done quite urgently, or Korea will
be regarded as a tributary of China for thousands of
years that was modernized thanks to the Japanese
colonialists. The government should act now to rectify
widespread historical distortions and international
prejudices against the nation. It ought to conduct more
active propagation of our history and culture to the
world. At home, it needs to revive the national history
as a compulsory subject at schools and include it in all
state exams."

Korea times
end of quotes

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