Friday, January 31, 2014

Feb. 6 EASC Special Event: Chinoh Chu "The Korean 'History War'"

PRESENTER: Chinoh Chu (History, Sangmyung University)

TOPIC:  The Korean “History War”

DATE: Thursday, February 6, 2014

TIME: 4:00p.m.
LOCATION: Sassafras Room, Indiana Memorial Union

In its editorial titled Politicians and Textbookson January 13th, 2014, the New York Times wrote that the political leaders of South Korea and Japan, President Park Keun-hye of South Korea and Prime Minister Abe Shinzo of Japan, “are pushing to have high school history textbooks in their countries rewritten to reflect their political views.” The South Korean government and conservative media criticized the New York Times loudly.

At the heart of this dispute is the controversy over a recently approved high school textbook of Korean history, which was written by those who had criticized that the history textbooks currently used in South Korea are left-leaning and pro-North Korea. The book appears to inwardly paint positive aspects of the rule of the imperial Japan, and to pass over the dictatorship and authoritarian rules of former Presidents Syngman Rhee and Park Chung-hee, describing them even as the guardians of liberal democracy. On the other hand, it downplays the role and status of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea (1919-1948) and the significance of the Democratic Movement in Korea.

Scholars and educators have heavily criticized the textbook not only for its ideologically charged claims and biased views, but also for thousands of factual errors and misleading statements. Despite the controversy and its poor quality as a secondary school textbook, the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology approved it along with seven other textbooks. The controversy continued when the textbook failed to revise its tone and correct errors to the satisfaction of scholars and educators, and recently failed to be selected even by a single high school as a textbook. However, the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology has continued its efforts to save it.

This talk will address issues and controversies over the secondary school Korean history textbook and an apparent government attempt to rewrite history to its taste, and the history war surrounding them.

Chinoh Chu is a professor of History at Sangmyung University, where he has been teaching since 1987. He has authored or co-authored several books including Landlords, Peasants & Intellectuals in Modern Korea (Cornell East Asia Series, 2005), and several secondary school Korean history textbooks. He is currently the chair of the Association of Korean History Textbook Authors.

Persons with disabilities interested in attending our events who may require assistance, please contact us in advance at (812)855-3765.

East Asian Studies Center

Indiana University

1021 East Third Street

Memorial Hall West 207

Bloomington, IN  47405

Phone:  (812) 855-3765

Fax:  (812) 855-7762



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