Skip to navigation – Site map

The History Textbook Controversy in Japan and South Korea

La controverse nippo‑coréenne au sujet des manuels d’histoire
Samuel Guex

Abstracts

This paper deals with the history textbook crisis of 2001 following the authorization of the revisionist textbook from the Society for History Textbook Reform. Our purpose is not to delve into that textbook but to examine both the reactions it sparked in South Korea, where it was deemed to be the tip of the iceberg of a wider problem affecting all Japanese history textbooks, and the response that supporters of the revisionist textbook gave to South Korean criticisms. Beyond the mutual charges of “distorting” history, the comparative analysis of the controversial issues reveals far less discrepancies than the diplomatic row triggered by that crisis may have suggested. Comparison with succeeding editions of the textbooks indicates that both sides have drawn the conclusions to avoid a similar crisis.

Top of page

Full text

  • 1 Japan’s history textbooks had already been the subject of controversy during the lawsuits filed by (...)

1Since the 1980s, relations within East Asia have been hit on several occasions by controversies surrounding Japanese history textbooks.1 The first crisis arose in 1982 during the screening process for new history textbooks. The Ministry of Education’s attempts to whitewash the reality of Japan’s actions in China, by requesting for example that authors replace the term “invasion” (shinryaku 侵略) by “advancement” (shinshutsu 進出), unleashed a flurry of protests within Asia. This outcry prompted the Suzuki Zenkō 鈴木善幸 administration to offer an apology and add a so‑called Neighbouring Country Clause (kinrin shokoku jōkō 近隣諸国条) to the textbook authorisation system stipulating the need to show understanding and seek international harmony when dealing with Asia’s modern and contemporary history.

  • 2 Although use of the second edition Tsukuru‑kai textbook (2005) increased significantly compared to (...)
  • 3 Officially entitled “Ilbon chunghakkyo kyogwasŏ Han’guk kwallyŏn naeyong sujŏng yogu charyo” 일본 중학교(...)

2After two decades of relative calm, a new crisis broke out in 2001 following the publication of a nationalist textbook by the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform (Atarashii Rekishi Kyōkasho o Tsukuru‑kai, or Tsukuru‑kai for short). Although it was only adopted by a tiny minority of junior high schools,2 this textbook provoked a virulent reaction among Japan’s neighbouring countries, in particular the People’s Republic of China and South Korea. In Korea it is seen as the tip of an iceberg concealing a wider problem of an “erroneous” view of history that in reality affects all Japanese textbooks to varying degrees. Accordingly, when the textbook was approved in April 2001, South Korea was not content to simply follow China’s lead by criticising the way this particular book dealt with modern and contemporary history; its grievances concerned all historical periods and even extended to Japan’s seven other history textbooks.3

  • 4 Yi Wŏnsun 이원순 and Chŏng Chaejŏng 정재정 (eds.), Ilbon yŏksa kyogwasŏ muŏt i munje inga 일본역사교과서 무엇이 문제인 (...)
  • 5 Statement made on 15 August 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, i (...)
  • 6 Joint Korean and Japanese statement (Nikkan kyōdō seimei 日韓共同声明) from 8 October 1998 in which the S (...)

3The Korean government justified its actions by stating the need for a “correct” (olbarŭn 올바른) view of history if friendly relations between the two countries were to be maintained. Instead, the Japanese textbooks authorised in 2001 were deemed guilty of “disparaging” (p’yŏm ) Korean history with a view to “embellishing” (mihwa 美化) Japan’s own history and placing the blame for colonisation on others, in this case Korea.4 In doing so they were violating the Neighbouring Country Clause and going against the spirit of the statements made by prime ministers Murayama Tomiichi 村山富市 (1995)5 and Obuchi Keizō 小渕恵三 (1998).6

  • 7 See Ilbon kyogwasŏ paro chapki undong ponbu 일본 교과서 바로 잡기 운동 본부 (ed.), Mundap ŭro ingnŭn Ilbon kyogw (...)
  • 8 Pierre Lavelle, « la Société pour la rédaction de nouveaux manuels d’histoire : Renouveau ou déclin (...)

4The Korean government’s displeasure is largely shared by the Korean population, as evidenced, for example, by the creation in recent years of dozens of citizens associations protesting against Japanese textbook revisionism.7 It is true that the content of the Tsukuru‑kai textbook faithfully reflects the most conservative right‑wing view of history by presenting contemporary Japanese wars as defensive or by emphasising the generally positive effects of these wars, the colonisation of Taiwan and the annexation of Korea.8

  • 9 Arnaud Nanta, « l’Actualité du révisionnisme historique au Japon » (Historical Revisionism in Japan (...)
  • 10 Sven Saaler, Politics, Memory and Public Opinion: The History Textbook Controversy and Japanese Soc (...)
  • 11 Nohira Shunsui 野平俊水, Kankokujin no nihon gishi 韓国人の日本偽史 (Japanese History Falsified by the Koreans) (...)

5While Japanese textbooks are now the subject of international attention and are examined from a variety of angles, whether it be the scale and filiation of Japanese revisionism9 or the political use of textbooks in Japan’s nationalist discourse,10 few studies have focused on Korean textbooks and how they are perceived by the Japanese. And yet, as Nohira Shunsui has pointed out, the legitimacy of Korea’s criticisms over the shortcomings of Japanese textbooks does not mean that the historical consciousness of the Koreans is above reproach.11

  • 12 Toriumi Yasushi 鳥海靖, Nichūkanror Rekishi kyōkasho wa konna ni chigau 日中韓露歴史教科書はこんなに違う (The Huge Div (...)
  • 13 Yokota Yasuji 横田安治, Kankoku no rekishi kyōkasho ni waikyoku wa nai to iwaretara 韓国の歴史教科書に歪曲はないと言わ (...)

6While the Japanese government has never officially criticised Korean textbooks, voices close to the Tsukuru‑kai have not failed to identify certain problematic aspects, including an overly nationalistic perspective12 and a simplistic portrayal of Japan, which is described essentially as an aggressor or a diligent student that absorbed Korea’s “advanced” culture over hundreds of years.13

  • 14 Chŏng Taegyun 鄭大均, Kankoku no nashonarizumu 韓国のナショナリズム (Korean Nationalism), Tokyo, Iwanami Shoten (...)
  • 15 Katsuoka Kanji 勝岡寛次, Kankoku, chūgoku “rekishi kyōkasho” o tettei hihan suru: waikyoku sareta tai‑n (...)

7These polemical books no doubt serve as a reminder that in this controversy the criticisms are not unilateral: often accused of fanning the flames of “anti‑Japanese” sentiment,14 history education in Korea is also a source of legitimate concern in Japan. However, the motives of some authors can be questioned when they seek to use their criticisms of Korean textbooks to present the Tsukuru‑kai text as a model textbook.15

8The aim of this paper is to consider the “history textbook issue” from both the Japanese and Korean perspectives. I will examine some of the most sensitive historical issues with a view to assessing the validity of the reciprocal criticisms voiced by the Korean government in 2001 and those close to the Tsukuru‑kai. A comparison of the main textbooks currently in use in the two countries will enable me to determine the extent to which their content has changed since the 2001 crisis. Finally, presenting where necessary the views of specialists in both countries will provide a more nuanced assessment of the true scale of the divergences separating Koreans and Japanese in their view of the past.

Japanese and Korean textbooks

9The Japanese government has not produced its own textbooks since the School Education Law (Gakkō Kyōiku‑hō 育法) was adopted in 1948. Authors are nonetheless required to submit their drafts to the Textbook Authorisation and Research Council (Kyōka‑yō Tosho Kentei Chōsa Shingi‑kai 科用定調査審議) at the Ministry of Education. Based on a report written by “examiners” (kyōkasho chōsakan 科書調査官) responsible for examining the content of manuscripts, the council may make authorisation dependent on certain modifications being made. This system thus gives the Ministry of Education considerable control over the content of textbooks prior to publication.

  • 16 For example, of the four examiners responsible for Japanese history textbooks, two are former stude (...)

10One of the problems with this procedure lies in the appointment of examiners, whose report is often a key element in the decision made by the Authorisation Council. University professors or lecturers, these examiners are hired on the recommendation of previous examiners or members of the Authorisation Council according to criteria that remain vague and place a question mark over the examiners’ impartiality.16

  • 17 These establishments account for less than 10% of Japanese junior high school students. Liu Jie 劉傑, (...)
  • 18 These selection areas, which numbered 591 in 2008, generally consist of two cities (shi ) or distr (...)

11The actual selection of junior high school textbooks varies according to the type of school. Private schools (shiritsu gakkō 私立) or those under state supervision (kokuritsu gakkō )17 are free to choose any authorised text. On the other hand, responsibility for choosing textbooks at public schools (kōritsu gakkō 公立), which are grouped according to selection areas (saitaku chiku ), lies with the Municipal Boards of Education (Shichōson Kyōiku Iinkai 市町村育委員). However, the decision is largely determined by the recommendations of the Prefectural Boards of Education (Todōfuken Kyōiku Iinkai 都道府県 委員) which appoint school principals, teachers or education board members as examiners responsible for evaluating the authorised textbooks. Their conclusions are then sent to the education boards of the various municipalities, which take them into account when making their final decision. In instances where the selection area consists of several municipalities, districts or villages, a deliberation council (kyōgikai 協議) in reality selects the textbooks, with the various municipal education boards merely ratifying their decision.18

12Teachers have no decision‑making power in this system. At most they can communicate their wishes (kibō‑hyō 希望票) to the education boards or deliberation councils, with no guarantee that they will be taken into consideration.

  • 19 Chang Sin 장신, Ilbon ŭi kyogwasŏ chedo wa munjechŏm 일본의 교과서 제도와 문제점 (The Problem with Japan’s Text (...)

13Korean specialists make no bones about denouncing the constraints imposed upon Japanese textbook authors, who are forced to accept the state‑ordained ideology, with some of them likening the Japanese system to “censorship” (kŏmyŏl ).19 These very real problems, which are also the subject of debate in Japan itself, nonetheless remain minor compared to the situation in Korea, where the government has virtually total control over textbooks.

14The first Korean‑language secondary school history textbook was published in May 1946 following the country’s liberation. It was the first in a series of materials published under the supervision of the United States. In 1954, after the Korean War and the division of the country, South Korea adopted a hybrid system combining state‑authorised textbooks (kukchŏng 國定) –notably for studying the national language– and approved textbooks (kŏminjŏng 檢認定) for the teaching of history and geography.

  • 20 Kim Hanjong 김한종, Yŏksa kyoyuk kwajŏng kwa kyogwasŏ yŏngu 역사교육과정과 교과서연구 (Textbook Research and the P (...)

15In 1974, Pak Chŏnghŭi, instigator of the 1961 military coup and South Korea’s president from 1963 to 1979, decided to tighten the state’s control of education. The authorisation system was abandoned in order to standardise history education, leaving one single national history textbook.20 Despite opposition from within the academic world, this state stranglehold on history education continues to this day.

  • 21 The six publishers are: Kŭmsŏng Ch’ulp’ansa 金星出版社, Taehan Kyogwasŏ 大韓教科書, Pŏmmunsa 法文社, Ch’ŏnjae Ky (...)
  • 22 Chunghakkyo Kuksa 중학교 국사 (National History, Junior High), Seoul, Kyohaksa 교학사, 2006. Kodŭnghakkyo K (...)

16However, the reintroduction in 2002 of an authorisation system to select textbooks for teaching modern and contemporary Korean history (Han’guk kŭn‑hyŏndae kyogwasŏ 韓國近現代教科書) perhaps marks the beginning of a gradual relaxation in South Korea’s education policy. To date, six textbooks by independent publishing houses have obtained this authorisation.21 Progress remains tentative, however, since the textbooks in question are aimed at senior high school students for use in optional classes, unlike the classes in national history (Kuksa 國史), which are compulsory. Consequently, there are currently only two textbooks for the compulsory teaching of Korean history: one for junior high and one for senior high.22

  • 23 Katsuoka Kanji, op. cit., p. 43.
  • 24 Song Kiho 송기호, Tongasia ŭi yŏksa punjaeng 동아시아의 역사 분쟁 (Historical Disputes in East Asia), Seoul, So (...)

17Given these circumstances, it is easy for Japanese revisionists to discredit South Korea’s criticisms by presenting them as illustrating the country’s desire to impose its vision of history upon the Japanese.23 However pertinent its demands may be, South Korea undeniably suffers from this comparison to Japan with regards its textbook selection system, a problem of which many Korean historians are also aware.24

The controversial issues

  • 25 For example, the Tsukuru‑kai textbook claimed that “the Yamato army came to the aid of Paekche and (...)
  • 26 Robert A. Fish, “A Call for Outrage? A Victory for Freedom? The Annexation of Korea and Japanese Pa (...)

18Accounting for twenty‑five of the thirty‑five criticisms formulated by the Korean government during the 2001 crisis, the Tsukuru‑kai textbook was at the heart of the controversy. Aside from factual errors that were corrected in the following edition,25 Korea’s complaints essentially focused on statements that were “technically correct” but potentially misleading.26 An illustrative example of this tendency of the Tsukuru‑kai textbook is its description of the 1910 annexation of Korea:

  • 27 Atarashii rekishi kyōkasho, op. cit., 2001, p. 240. The underlined passage was removed from the sec (...)

The Japanese government saw the annexation of Korea as vital to protect Japanese security and defend its interests in Manchuria. Great Britain, the United States and Russia, who were mutually suspicious of the increase in each other’s influence, made no objection. […] Within Korea there were also voices in favour of annexation, but there was bitter resistance to the loss of Korea’s independence and movements to regain it continued resolutely. After the annexation and colonisation of Korea, Japan developed railway and irrigation infrastructure and undertook a cadastral land survey. However, many peasants were driven from their land in the course of this survey. Furthermore, the teaching of Japanese and the assimilation policy [dōka seisaku 同化政策] exacerbated Korean hostility against Japan.27

19While it is true that a certain number of Koreans were in favour of annexation, the textbook attaches too much importance to this fact. Moreover, the portrait it paints places excessive emphasis on the “need” for Japan to annexe Korea, as well as on the positive aspects of colonisation, all the while playing down the negative effects on the Korean people.

  • 28 In 2002 the usage rates for these junior high school textbooks were as follows: Tōkyō Shoseki 東京書籍 (...)
  • 29 Atarashii shakai, Rekishi 新しい社会 歴史 (New Society, History), Tōkyō Shoseki, 2006, p. 160; Rekishiteki (...)

20However, the biased view presented by the Tsuruku‑kai textbook is rarely shared by other Japanese texts.28 In the case of this particular example, the Tōkyō Shoseki and Ōsaka Shoseki textbooks describe in no uncertain terms the coercive nature of the annexation process and refrain from mentioning the Korean minority in favour of annexation, as well as Japan’s contribution to the “development” of Korea.29

  • 30 This does not mean that this episode in the two countries’ shared history is not a controversial su (...)
  • 31 Yi Wŏnsun and Chŏng Chaejŏng (eds.), op. cit., p. 367.

21Contrary to what one might think, the annexation of Korea is thus not a particularly problematic subject as far as history textbooks are concerned30. In fact, among the seven other Japanese textbooks, only the Nihon Bunkyō Shuppan was criticised in this regard for having suggested that the annexation was brought about by the assassination of Itō Hirobumi.31

22In actual fact, the majority of the thirty‑five points identified by the Korean government in 2001 concerned only a minority of the eight Japanese junior high school textbooks. Accordingly, I have retained only those subjects posing a problem not merely in the Tsukuru‑kai textbook, but also in Japan’s representative texts —in particular the Tōkyō Shoseki textbook— and which thus denote genuine differences in the two countries’ perception of events.

Wakō

23One of the controversial subjects to concern the majority of Japanese textbooks pertains to the composition of pirate bands known as Wakō, which the Tsukuru‑kai textbook describes as follows:

Wakō were bands of pirates who raided the coastlines of Korea and China during this period. In addition to Japanese members, there were many Koreans. […]

  • 32 Atarashii rekishi kyōkasho, op. cit., 2001, p. 97 and 106. This passage was modified in the second  (...)

After the death of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, when the tally trade [kangō bōeki 勘合貿易] with the Ming was suspended [chūdan 中断], the Wakō resumed their activities with renewed vigour but their members were mostly Chinese.32

  • 33 Kim Urim 김우림, Tŏrŏun yŏksa kyogwasŏ 더러운 역사 교과서 (A Vile History Textbook), Seoul, Lux Media 럭스미디어, 2 (...)

24The Korean government’s complaints focused essentially on the claim that Koreans and Chinese could be found among Wakō pirates. Such comments were seen as indicative of the Tsukuru‑kai’s desire to dispel the notion that Wakō = Japanese, something which Korea considered an “established” fact (kijon 既存).33

  • 34 Atarashii shakai rekishi, op. cit., p. 65.

25On this issue, the current editions of Japan’s major textbooks deviate little from the Tsukuru‑kai. While the Tōkyō Shoseki remains slighter vaguer by noting that “the Wakō included many non‑Japanese34, the Ōsaka Shoseki textbook is more precise:

  • 35 Rekishiteki bun’ya, op. cit., p. 62.

In Japan, beginning in the Northern and Southern Courts period, warriors and merchants on the islands of Northern Kyūshū and the Seto Inland Sea traded with Korea and China. Because they sometimes became pirates and attacked the coastlines of the continent, they were feared and referred to as Wakō. (Note: in addition to Japanese, Wakō also included many Koreans).35

  • 36 Saeki Kōji 佐伯弘次, “Kaizoku‑ron 海賊論 (On Piracy), in Arano Yasunori 荒野泰典, Ishii Masatoshi 石井正敏 and Mu (...)

26In reality, contrary to the Korean government’s claims, the question of the composition of Wakō is far from being an “established” fact and in fact divides Japanese and Korean specialists. The former believe that late‑fourteenth‑century Wakō consisted partly, or even mainly, of Koreans, and insist on the need to consider the term Wakō in a perspective that goes beyond the concepts of border and nation, and to not associate it systematically with the concept of “Japanese”.36

  • 37 Yi Yŏng 이영, “Waegu ŭi chuch’e 왜구의 주체 (The Main Constituent of Wakō), in Waegu wisa munje wa Han‑Il (...)
  • 38 Nam Kihak 남기학, Chungse Koryŏ Ilbon kwan’gye ŭi chaengchŏm: Monggol ŭi Ilbon ch’imnyak kwa Waegu (...)
  • 39 Chunghakkyo Kuksa, op. cit., p. 130.
  • 40 Han Yŏng’u 한영우, Tasi ch’annŭn Uri yŏksa 다시 찾는 우리역사, vol. 2, Seoul, Kyŏngsewŏn 경세원, 2005, p. 72.; Ha (...)

27Korean scholars refute this theory. They demonstrate that on the contrary, late‑fourteenth‑century Wakō originated predominantly from Japan, and in particular Shikoku and Kyūshū.37 While it is possible that some Koreans may have indulged in piracy by masquerading as Wakō, they were in a minority; these exceptions do not challenge the fact that the Wakō were perceived by the Koryŏ and Chosŏn dynasties as being “Japanese”.38 This viewpoint is clearly expressed in the Korean secondary school textbook, which presents Wakō as “Japanese pirates based out of Tsushima Island”,39 it also seems to be tacitly shared by the main books on Korean history published in Korea, the West or Japan, since they make no mention of the presence of Koreans among Wakō pirates.40

The invasions by Hideyoshi

  • 41 The Korean government sees the word “shuppei” as an attempt to conceal the fact that this was a uni (...)

28In the chapter on the invasions launched by Hideyoshi, which the Tsukuru‑kai textbook titles “The Korean Expedition” (Chōsen e no shuppei 朝鮮への出兵),41 the main bone of contention dividing scholars concerns Hideyoshi’s motives:

  • 42 Atarashii rekishi kyōkasho, op. cit., 2001, p. 121. In the second edition the term “consumed” was r (...)

Hideyoshi, consumed by an excessive desire to conquer Ming China with the intent of moving there with the Japanese emperor and ruling over East Asia as far as India, sent a vast army of 150,000 men to Korea in 1592 (Bunroku 1) […] The two military expeditions laid waste [ichijirushiku arehateta 著しく荒れ果てた] to both the land and lives of Koreans.42

29The Korean government’s main criticism was that Hideyoshi’s thirst for power and his desire to conquer China were the only reasons given to explain these invasions. Moreover, summarising the effects of these invasions with the expression “laid to waste” was deemed overly simplistic and not reflective of the extent of the destruction inflicted on Korea.

  • 43 The term “shinryaku” is also used by the Ōsaka Shoseki (p. 91) and Kyōiku Shuppan (p. 79) textbooks(...)

30With a section titled “The Invasion of Korea” (Chōsen shinryaku 朝鮮侵略),43 the current edition of the Tōkyō Shoseki textbook leaves no doubt as to the aggressive nature of the expeditions:

  • 44 Atarashii shakai rekishi, op. cit., p. 87.

Not satisfied with the unification of Japan, Hideyoshi sent missives to Korea, India, Luzon (Philippines) and Takasankoku (Taiwan) demanding their submission. In 1592 (Bunroku 1), he sent a vast army to Korea with the intent of conquering the Ming Dynasty (China). […] Following seven years of war in Korea, many men were killed or taken to Japan.44

  • 45 The Korean textbook provides a more detailed list of the damage: two thirds of arable land destroye (...)

31Although Japan’s main textbooks provide supplementary information concerning the damage inflicted on Korea (many victims, prisoners taken to Japan),45 they echo the Tsukuru‑kai textbook in their analysis of Hideyoshi’s motives: his main target was not Korea but China. In other words, Korea suffered the collateral damage of a more ambitious operation of which it was not the primary target.

32Such an explanation, suggesting that Korea was above all a victim of her geographic location rather than a deliberately aggressive act by Japan, does not seem to satisfy the Korean government. While the government has not proposed its own interpretation of the causes of the invasion, the Korean textbook leaves no doubt as to Japan’s designs on Korea:

  • 46 Chunghakkyo Kuksa, op. cit., p. 147.

In a bid divert the attention of disgruntled Japanese away from Japan and give free rein to his desire to advance [chinch’ul 進出] across the continent, [Hideyoshi] decided to invade Korea. […] Claiming [kusil 口實] to require passage through Korea in order to conquer the Ming, he sent more than 200,000 soldiers.46

  • 47 Kim Munja 김문자, Chŏnjaeng kwa p’yŏnghwa ŭi kŭnse Han‑Il kwan’gye: Imjin Waeran kwa t’ongsinsa 전쟁과 (...)

33Here the conquest of China is presented as nothing more than an excuse to justify an invasion that in reality targeted Korea. Moreover, while Toyotomi Hideyoshi was not devoid of territorial ambitions regarding the “continent”, including China, his overriding motive was to channel the discontent of all the Japanese left out of the country’s unification and reorganisation process, most of all the warriors.47

  • 48 According to Korean specialists, another example of this idea is the “Debate over an Expedition to (...)

34Many Koreans see Hideyoshi’s attitude as illustrating one of the characteristics of relations between the two countries: Japan’s use of Korea to settle its political problems at home48. In other words, in return for having introduced Sino‑Korean culture to Japan over the centuries, Korea received nothing but condescension and military aggression.

Korean embassies to Japan

  • 49 On this subject see the article and translation by Vincent Grépinet, Cipango no. 17.

35The purpose and objectives behind the Yi Dynasty’s sending of these famous missions are interpreted in a radically different light by Japanese and Korean textbooks.49 Below is the version presented by the Tsukuru‑kai:

  • 50 Atarashii rekishi kyōkasho, op. cit., 2001, p. 131. Two details were modified in the second edition (...)

During Ieyasu’s rule, the bakufu, through the Sō clan in Tsushima, re‑established diplomatic relations with Korea, which had been cut off since the military expeditions of Hideyoshi. The two countries maintained egalitarian relations and whenever a new shōgun was appointed, Korea sent embassies to Edo known as “Communication Envoys” (Tsūshinshi 通信使), which were warmly received wherever they went. Furthermore, a “Japanese embassy” [Wakan 和館] belonging to the Sō clan was established in Pusan, Korea, housing between 400 and 500 Japanese engaged in trade or intelligence gathering.50

  • 51 Kim Urim, op. cit., p. 252.

36Three points were raised by the Korean government. Firstly, the lack of explanation concerning Ieyasu’s reasons for establishing diplomatic relations with Korea. Secondly, the textbook’s silence as to the two countries’ objectives and the suggestion that these missions were sent merely to pay respect to the new shōguns. Thirdly, by omitting to point out that it was Korea that had established a “Japanese embassy” in Pusan, the authors were deceiving readers into believing that Japan had set up an administrative organ overseas on its own initiative.51

37These three aspects can also be found in Japan’s other main textbooks, which paint a relatively similar picture to that of the Tsukuru‑kai:

  • 52 Atarashii shakai rekishi, op. cit., p. 97, Rekishiteki bun’ya, op. cit., p. 99.

Peace was re‑established with Korea during Ieyasu’s reign and it became usual to see an embassy (Tsūshinshi) of four or five hundred people dispatched to Japan each time a new shogun was appointed. In addition to managing diplomatic relations, the Tsushima domain obtained permission to trade [with Korea]. In the Japanese embassy set up in Pusan, Korea, silver and bronze were exported while cotton, Korean ginseng and raw silk were imported.52

  • 53 Chunghakkyo Kuksa, op. cit., p. 150.

38Concerning the first two points, namely the resumption of diplomatic relations and sending of Korean embassies, the Korean government merely criticised the imprecision of Japanese textbooks but refrained from providing its own interpretation of the reasons behind this rapprochement. A comparison with the Korean textbook nonetheless provides a partial answer. According to this book, the “communication envoys” were invited to Edo by Japan where they “carried out intense diplomatic activities, notably by meeting with the shōgun”. But above all, “they helped to develop Japanese culture, to the extent that even after their departure, Korean culture and customs spread throughout Japan”.53

  • 54 Chunghakkyo Kuksa (ha), 2001, p. 192.

39Curiously, just like its Japanese counterparts, the Korean textbook devotes little space to explaining why diplomatic relations between the two countries were resumed. On the other hand, the previous edition, used between 1997 and 2001, specified that it was the Tokugawa bakufu that had insisted on re‑establishing contact, keen as it was to “import Korea’s advanced culture”.54 In other words, the envoys’ objective was not to pay tribute to the shōgun but to satisfy Japan’s thirst for Korea’s more “advanced” culture.

  • 55 See Kim Munja, op. cit., pp. 193‑194; Chang Sunsun 장순순, Chosŏn sidae t’ongsinsa yŏngu ŭi hyŏnguang (...)
  • 56 Nakao Hiroshi 仲尾宏, Chōsen tsūshinshi 朝鮮通信使 (The Korean Embassies), Iwanami Shoten 岩波書店, 2007, p. ii (...)
  • 57 Miyake Hidetoshi 三宅英利, Kinsei nihon to Chōsen 近世日本と朝鮮 (Japan and Korea in the Early Modern Era), Kō (...)

40Historians in the two countries provide a more nuanced account. For Korean specialists the Tokugawa clan wanted to distance itself from Hideyoshi and ensure the stability of its regime by re‑establishing friendly relations with Korea; as for Korea’s objective, it was to ensure the return of Korean prisoners taken during Hideyoshi’s campaigns and re‑establish good neighbourly relations (kyorin 交隣) in the hope of avoiding further Japanese aggression55. Japanese specialists also emphasise the egalitarian nature of the context in which these embassies were sent,56 all the while pointing out that once peaceful relations had resumed, political and military preoccupations gradually gave way to a cultural dimension in which each party sought to express its sense of superiority.57

Debate over the Korean expedition

41Although the controversy specifically concerned the factors behind the Seikan‑ron, it also more generally pertained to the portrayal of Korea as a “hermit kingdom”. Below is the version proposed by the Tsukuru‑kai:

  • 58 Atarashii rekishi kyōkasho, op. cit., 2001, pp. 202‑203.

In 1873 (Meiji 6) a “debate on the Korean expedition” [Seikan‑ron 征韓論] broke out among the samurai. They considered Korea’s refusal of Japan’s requests to open its doors insulting [burei 無礼] and suggested forcing Korea’s hand through the use of military force.58

  • 59 Kim Urim, op. cit., p. 253.

42The Korean government accused the Tsukuru‑kai textbook of bias for presenting the Japanese position without indicating the reasons for the Korean stance, particularly the fact that Japan was threatening to unilaterally break off the friendly relations (kyorin ch’eje 交隣體制) that had existed between the two nations for several centuries.59

43The Tsukuru‑kai textbook is not the only Japanese textbook to link the emergence of the Seikan‑ron controversy to Korea’s refusal to “open up”:

  • 60 Atarashii shakai rekishi, op. cit., p. 148.

In 1871 a treaty (Nisshin shūkō jōki 日清修好条規) was signed with the Qing on an equal footing but Korea, which was a tributary state of China, remained closed to Westerners and refused to establish diplomatic relations with the Meiji government. Amongst Japan’s leaders voices called for Korea to be opened up by force (Seikan‑ron).60 […] 

  • 61 Rekishiteki bun’ya, op. cit., p. 144.

In an effort to deflect the attention of the disgruntled samurai away from Japan, Saigō Takamori and others proposed to forcibly establish diplomatic relations with Korea, which was pursuing its [policy of] isolation [sakoku 鎖国] (Seikan‑ron).61 

44The wording of the Tōkyō Shoseki textbook could be construed as suggesting that Korea was only closed to Westerners and not to the Japanese, an image that more closely resembles the Korean stance. On the other hand, the lack of explanation concerning Korea’s refusal “to establish diplomatic relations with the Meiji government” is partly responsible for making this refusal the main cause of the “calls to open Korea by force”.

  • 62 See earlier on in this article.
  • 63 On the Seikan‑ron and its treatment in Japanese textbooks, see Noriko Berlinguez‑Kōno, “l’Asiatisme (...)

45From the Korean point of view, the Ōsaka Shoseki textbook no doubt has the virtue of acknowledging that the Seikan‑ron was designed to use Korea as a diversion to solve a domestic problem within Japan,62 however, it nonetheless continues the trend of describing a closed Korea refusing all diplomatic relations.63

46Although in its criticism the Korean government placed responsibility for Korea’s refusal to “open up” with the Meiji leaders’ decision to unilaterally break off the historically friendly relations between the two countries, it did not specify in what way the Japanese request to establish new diplomatic ties undermined Japanese‑Korean relations. For its part, the Korean history textbook offers the following explanation:

  • 64 Chunghakkyo Kuksa, op. cit., p. 194. Note that a different explanation was given in the previous ed (...)

Japan, which since the Meiji Restoration had a new political regime in place, demanded that diplomatic and trade relations be established. However, the Korean government refused this request because the diplomatic letter contained an expression reflecting the Japanese king’s [kugwang 國王] sense of superiority towards the Korean king, as well as elements that went against conventional diplomatic practice.64

  • 65 Han Ugŭn, op. cit., p. 391.
  • 66 Kim Kihyŏk 김기혁, Kŭndae Han‑Chung‑Il kwan’gyesa 근대 한중일관계사 (History of Modern Relations: Korea, China (...)

47Japan’s error was thus to have broken off friendly relations by seeking to impose unequal relations on Korea. This explanation is often repeated by Korean historians, who mention the “insolence” (oman 傲慢) of the Japanese letter65. In other words, the reason for Korea’s refusal to establish new diplomatic relations was not the obtuse attitude of King Kojong, but rather the wording of the Japanese missive, which departed from the common practice of the day. Rarer are those, on the other hand, that specify in what way Japan’s diplomatic letter was “insolent”, namely its use of the character “hwang” to refer to the Japanese emperor, which officially placed him above the Korean “wang” .66

  • 67 Han‑Il kwan’gyesa hakhwoe 한일관계사학회 (ed.), Han‑Il kwan’gye 2 ch’ŏn nyŏn (kŭn hyŏndae) 한일관계 2천년 (근현대) (...)

48Some Korean historians are more radical and reject any causal link between Korea’s refusal to “open up” and the Seikan‑ron’s appearance in Japan. They consider the claim that Korea was closed to Japan, or that diplomatic relations between the two countries did not exist until the signing of the Treaty of Kanghwa in 1876, to be erroneous. Admittedly, no Korean embassy had been sent to Japan since 1811; however, this is no way signified that the two countries had broken off relations. They see this as best evidenced by the existence of the “Japanese Embassy” in Pusan.67

  • 68 Hyŏn Myŏngch’ŏl 현명철, Chŏnghannon ŭn wae saenggyŏnna 정한론은 생겨났나 (Why the Debate over the Korean E (...)

49Thus, Korea had not refused to “open up” but merely to change the nature of the friendly relations it had maintained since the beginning of the Edo period. Advocates of the Seikan‑ron were then quick to use this refusal to justify an operation that in reality aimed to deflect the samurais’ dissatisfaction away from Japan, just as during Hideyoshi’s invasions.68

  • 69 See Awaya Ken’ichi 粟谷憲一, “Kindai gaikō taisei no sōshutsu: Chōsen no baai o chūshin ni 近代外交体制の創出(...)
  • 70 Yoshino Makoto 吉野誠, Higashi ajia‑shi no naka no nihon to chōsen 東アジア史のなかの日本と朝鮮 (Japan and Korea in (...)
  • 71 Okamoto Kōji 岡本幸治, Kindai nihon no ajia‑kan 近代日本のアジア観 (Perceptions of Asia in Modern Japan), Minerv (...)

50Japanese scholars provide a relatively similar analysis. Firstly, they underline Korea’s refusal to modify the traditional context of neighbourly relations between the two countries rather than its refusal to “open up”.69 They claim that Meiji leaders purposely used terms that disparaged the Korean monarch’s status in order to provoke a refusal from Korea. Having taken diplomatic power back from the bakufu, the emperor had a duty to assert his superiority over the shōgun and his Korean counterpart.70 As for the Seikan‑ron itself, some specialists rightly point out that if the idea of a military expedition to Korea came about so easily, and this independently of the objectives of its advocates (deflecting samurai dissatisfaction, etc.), this was also due to the negative image of a weak country inferior to Japan associated with Korea during this period.71

Comfort women”

  • 72 Kim Urim, op. cit., p. 256. Although the term comfort women has practically disappeared from junior (...)

51While colonisation is the main cause of Korea’s resentment towards Japan, this period drew few criticisms from the Korean government. The sole reproach made of a majority of Japanese textbooks concerned the absence of any mention of “comfort women”.72

52This sensitive issue is now one of the main symbols of Japanese aggression in Korea. This no doubt explains why along with the Nanking Massacre it is the central focus of Japanese revisionists, who have made it one of their key concerns.

  • 73 Yoshimi Yoshiaki 吉見義明, Jūgun ianfu 従軍慰安婦 (Army Comfort Women), Iwanami Shoten 岩波書店, 1995, p. 43.

53Although the research of Yoshimi Yoshiaki and other scholars has clearly demonstrated the Imperial Army’s role in setting up “comfort stations” and recruiting “comfort women”,73 Japanese historians do not seem to have succeeded in imposing these views in the realm of education. While all junior high school textbooks mentioned the term “comfort women” in 1996, only three did so in 2001 and just one in 2006. As an example, below is the Tōkyō Shoseki textbook’s presentation in its 1997 and 2006 editions:

  • 74 Atarashii shakai, Rekishi, 2002, p. 263.

To compensate for the lack of Japanese workers, many Koreans and Chinese were forcibly taken to Japan where they were made to undertake arduous work in factories. Many young women were also sent to the battlefields against their will to work as comfort women.74

  • 75 Atarashii shakai, Rekishi, op. cit., pp. 192‑193.

In the regions of East and South‑East Asia that were invaded [shinryaku 侵略] by Japan, there were also many civilian victims –including women and children–, whether killed on the battlefield or taken away for forced labour. Additionally, some Koreans and Chinese were forcibly taken to Japan where they lived extremely difficult lives with particularly harsh [kakoku 過酷] working conditions and meagre salaries.75

  • 76 Ch’oe Pyŏnghŏn 崔柄憲, “Nihon no rekishi kyōkasho no waikyoku to rekishi ninshiki no mondai‑ten 日本の歴史 (...)

54Korean historians are particularly concerned by this regression compared to the 1990s, seeing it as the result of a “domino effect” set in motion by the Tsukuru‑kai and now affecting almost all junior high school textbooks.76

  • 77 See Kang Chŏngsuk 姜貞淑, Ilbon‑gun ‘wianbu’ munje ŭi ponjil kwa Hangugin ŭi insik 일본군위안부문제의 본질과(...)

55In South Korea the opposite trend can be observed. As in Japan, it was in the mid‑1990s (1994 for senior high school textbooks and 1996 for junior high school) that the term “comfort women for the Japanese Army” (Ilbon‑gun wianbu 日本軍慰安婦) made an appearance in Korean textbooks77. Since then, the subject has been the focus of increasing attention:

  • 78 Chunghakkyo Kuksa (ha), op. cit., p. 151.

The Japanese Empire did not content itself with plundering raw materials. It forcibly recruited Koreans to work in harsh conditions in mines and factories, and set up a system for conscripting and mobilising students as voluntary soldiers [chiwŏnbyŏng 志願兵]. Consequently, many Koreans, both the young and men in the prime of their lives, perished on various fronts. During this period even women were drafted into so‑called female volunteer battalions [chŏngsindae 挺身隊] and sacrificed at comfort stations for the Japanese Army.78

56In the subsequent edition (2006) this passage was modified as follows:

  • 79 Chunghakkyo Kuksa, opcit., p. 262.

The Japanese Empire also took women, who were exploited in so‑called battalions of workers for the homeland [kŭllo pogugtae 勤労報国隊] or battalions of female volunteers. Furthermore, it forcibly mobilised a large number of women who were sent to the four corners of Asia where the Japanese Army was stationed. They were forced to live an inhumane life as comfort women. Note: the term comfort women refers to women from the colonies or countries occupied by Japan, such as Korea, China or the Philippines, who were sent to the battlefields and forced to work as sex slaves. This barbaric practice began in the early 1930s and continued until the defeat of the Japanese Empire in 1945.79

  • 80 This statement was made in August 1993 by Kōno Yōhei, the Miyazaki administration’s Chief Cabinet S (...)

57Despite the gradual disappearance of any mention of “comfort women” in Japanese textbooks, it should be pointed out that this event is hardly the subject of debate among Japanese and Korean historians, with most specialists largely in agreement with the views of Yoshimi Yoshiaki. Certainly, voices in Japan continue to question whether or not these women were forcibly enlisted, but they have not challenged the Japanese government’s official position as represented by the “Kōno Statement” (Kōno danwa 河野談話), which recognised the direct or indirect role of the army in setting up comfort stations and drafting “comfort women”.80

Lessons learned from the 2001 crisis

58Although the Japanese government officially rejected the majority of Korea’s demands, Japanese textbook writers, including those of the Tsukuru‑kai text, have nonetheless visibly made a number of modifications in line with Korea’s remarks. The removal of all allusions to the fact that voices within Korea accepted the annexation is one striking example.

  • 81 While Japanese specialists now seem to agree that the Nihon‑fu was not an instrument for Yamato’s c (...)

59This is also the case for another sensitive issue, namely relations between Yamato and the Kaya (Kara) Confederacy in the south of the Korean peninsula, particularly the alleged establishment in the second half of the fourth century of a “Japanese colony” at Mimana (Mimana nihon‑fu setsu 任那日本府説).81 

  • 82 The Korean government sees the use of phrases such as “Yamato lost its influence over the Korean pe (...)

60In 2001, Japan’s two main textbooks, Tōkyō Shoseki and Ōsaka Shoseki, were among six textbooks (out of eight) that claimed, according to the Korean government, that Yamato had ruled Kaya and the south of the peninsula82. Five years later, writers of the Tōkyō Shoseki textbook seemed to have taken Korea’s comments on board (2006, p. 26):

On numerous occasions during the fifth century, the Yamato kings […] sent envoys to the Southern Court of China (Five Kings of Wa) in order to gain the Chinese Emperor’s recognition of their title as king of the Wa, as well as the right to militarily command (shiki 指揮) the south of the Korean peninsula.

  • 83 In 451, Sei of the Wa is said to have obtained Chinese recognition of his role as protector of the (...)

61Note that no clear mention is made of the establishment of a base or “Japanese colony” in Korea, the textbook now contenting itself with an allusion to the Yamato king’s claims to power in southern Korea.83

  • 84 Chūgaku shakai, Rekishiteki bun’ya, Ōsaka Shoseki, 2006, p. 25.
  • 85 Michael J. Seth, A Concise History of Korea, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2006, p. 32.

62As for the Ōsaka Shoseki textbook, it merely points out the links (tsunagari) between the Yamato court and the states making up the Kaya region, which were used by the latter to resist neighbouring Paekche and Silla.84 Such remarks suggest close, yet egalitarian, relations between Yamato and Kaya characterised by exchange rather than the domination of Kaya by Yamato. This view more closely reflects the findings of current research, which suggests the existence during this period of a kind of continuum of closely linked peoples and cultures rather than distinct Korean and Japanese peoples.85

63This evolution is not restricted to Japanese textbooks. A certain number of modifications can also been seen in their Korean counterpart, of which the description of Korea’s role in disseminating Sino‑Korean culture in Japan is just one example. The previous edition (2001) of the Korean history textbook presented the three kingdoms’ foreign relations as follows:

Paekche enjoyed close relations with Japan. Consequently, of the three kingdoms this was the one to have the greatest influence on Japanese culture. During the time of King Kŭnch’ogo, Ajikki and Wangin travelled to Japan and introduced the Chinese script (hanmun), the Analects of Confucius and the Qianziwen. During the time of King Muryŏng, Tan Yangi and Ko Anmu, among others, introduced the study of Han Dynasty texts (hanhak) and Confucianism. They also disseminated political thinking and the concepts of loyalty and filial devotion. Later, during the time of King Sŏng, in addition to Buddhism they introduced scientific techniques such as astronomy, geography and the calendar.

Koguryŏ also introduced many cultural elements to Japan. The monk Hyeja from Koguryŏ became tutor to Shōtoku Taishi; Tamjing taught the Japanese the art of making paper, ink and inkwells; the mural Kumtang at Hōryūji is known to be his handiwork. The wall paintings of the Takamatsu Kofun were highly influenced by Koguryŏ.

Silla introduced shipbuilding techniques to Japan as well as techniques for constructing dykes and castles (sŏngkwak). As for Kaya, it introduced pottery‑making.

  • 86 Chunghakkyo Kuksa (sang) 중학교 국사 (), Seoul, Kyohaksa 교학사, 2001, pp. 62‑63.

In this way, the three kingdoms introduced an advanced culture to Japan, which greatly contributed to the development of ancient Japanese culture during the Asuka period.86

  • 87 Katsuoka Kanji, opcit., p. 53.
  • 88 Tei and Furuta (eds.), opcit., p. 292.

64This succession of terms such as “teach” and “introduce” did not fail to rile the Japanese far right, which condemned Korea’s propensity to emphasise the cultural superiority of the Three Kingdoms over Japan during this period (6th century).87 From its opening pages the Korean textbook painted a picture of Japan‑Korea relations which basically consisted of two images: on the one hand a Korea that generously introduced its advanced culture to Japan, and on the other, a Japan that repaid Korea with aggression.88

65However, this section entitled “Cultural Transmission and Trade Relations” was left out of the current edition of the Korean textbook (2006). Only two references remain to this aspect of Korea’s relations with Japan:

Part of Kaya’s political forces emigrated to Japan and contributed to the cultural development of ancient Japan.

  • 89 Chunghakkyo Kuksa 중학교 국사, Seoul, Kyohaksa 교학사, 2006, pp. 42, 51.

[Paekche] encouraged Buddhism and set up cultural exchanges with China; friendly relations were also enjoyed with the Wa, and [Paekche] introduced many cultural elements, in particular Buddhism.89

  • 90 Yang Migang 양미강, “Hanguk ŭi kyogwasŏ undong kŭ sŏngkwa wa kwaje 한국의 교과서운동 성과와 과제 (The Textbook M (...)

66These changes illustrate an encouraging evolution in Korea. While the approval of the Tsukuru‑kai textbook certainly revealed Korea’s extreme sensitivity to historical issues, it has also encouraged a re‑evaluation of Korean history textbooks.90

  • 91 Kim Hanjong 김한종, Yŏksa kyoyuk kwajŏng kwa kyokwasŏ yŏngu 역사교육과정과 교과서연구 (The History Teaching Proces (...)
  • 92 Im Chihyŏn 임지현, “Kuksa ŭi an kwa pakk: hegemoni wa kuksa ŭi taeyŏnsoae 국사의 안과 헤게모니와 국사의 대연쇄 (Na (...)

67Some Korean scholars have accompanied this re‑evaluation with a more balanced examination of the way history is taught in Japan. Their approach is not limited solely to analysing the “distortions” but also strives to identify the positive aspects, from which Korean textbooks could take inspiration. This is the case, for example, of the importance attached by Japanese textbooks to world history, thus placing Japanese history in a context that is not solely national and which puts the different points of view into perspective.91 Incidentally, note that, unlike Japanese textbooks, and despite calls by some South Korean historians to “deconstruct” the national history framework,92 Korean history textbooks for junior and senior high schools are still entitled “Kuksa” 國史, literally “National History”.

  • 93 Chosŏn ilbo, 10 April 2002.

68In this context, governments should show restraint and leave the task of solving the textbook problem to history and education specialists. The Korean government seems to have understood this, as illustrated by the events of 2002, when the screening process for senior high school history textbooks led the Korean media to denounce new “distortions”, notably the Saishin Nishon‑shi 最新日本史textbook’s claim that the island of Takeshima/Tokto was part of Japan. Despite vigorous protests from citizen groups, who saw Japan’s claims on Takeshima as a resurgence of Japanese militarism, the Korean government, no doubt keen to avoid poisoning relations between the two countries just a few months ahead of the jointly organised Japan‑Korea World Cup, announced via its Minister for Foreign Affairs that it would defer to the judgement of the “Joint Research Committee on Japanese‑Korean History” (Nikkan Rekishi Kyōdō Kenkyū Iinkai 日韓歴史共同研究委員会).93

  • 94 Only 10% considered these demands justified. http://www.tv‑asahi.co.jp/asanama/video/0105/mail/inde (...)

69The government maintained this policy three years later by refraining from reiterating its demands for changes to be made to the Japanese textbooks approved in 2005, including the Tsukuru‑kai text. Demanding that a neighbour modify its textbooks while failing to address the problems of one’s own historical consciousness can be counter‑productive. This is illustrated by the Tsukuru‑kai’s reaction to the crisis of 2001, but also the survey carried out by the television channel Asahi in May 2001, revealing that over 50% of those questioned saw the Chinese and Korean demands for modifications as interference in Japanese domestic affairs.94

  • 95 These two research groups have jointly published a certain number of works in both languages, in pa (...)
  • 96 This book was the fruit of a joint effort between Chinese, Japanese and Korean scholars and teacher (...)

70In addition to this relative restraint, efforts have also been made in recent years to address the problem of differing historical perceptions prior to the textbook writing process, notably through joint studies carried out by a certain number of civil and official organisations. Examples of this are the joint research conducted since 1997 by the Research Society for History Textbooks (Yŏksa Kyogwasŏ Yŏnguhoe 역사교과서연구회) and the Research Society for History Education (Rekishi Kyōiku Kenkyū‑kai 歴史教育研究会),95 as well as the publishing in 2005 of a book edited by Chinese, Japanese and Korean specialists, published96 in all three languages and intended to be a concrete example of what a history textbook used jointly in all three countries might resemble.

Conclusion

71In China, where the historical dispute with Japan also has deep roots, Sino‑Japanese relations are generally considered to have been good, or even excellent, for the majority of history and that it was only with the Meiji Restoration and the emergence of a militarist Japan that this friendship gave way to animosity on the one side and contempt on the other. In other words, the Japanese aggression that began in the late nineteenth century is a trauma whose consequences remain visible today, but which is fundamentally seen as an anomaly. Admittedly, the textbook controversy has convinced many Chinese that Japan has still not managed to rid itself of its militarist demons and that this anomaly is liable to recur. Yet this fear has in no way cast doubt on the friendly relations that existed between the two countries in ancient and early‑modern times.

  • 97 Chŏng Chaejŏng 鄭在貞, “Chaengchŏm kwa kwaje: Hanguk kwa Ilbon ŭi yŏksa kyoyuk 쟁점과 과제 : 한국과 일본의 역사 교육(...)

72Perceptions in Korea are markedly different. For many, the 1910 annexation marks the culmination of a process that began long before the Meiji Restoration and joins a long list of aggressions by Japan against the Korean peninsula, beginning during the Three Kingdoms period with Yamato’s claims on Mimana. This process continued with the invasions by Hideyoshi and simply intensified in the late nineteenth century with the “debate on the Korean expedition”.97

73This perception of Japan‑Korea relations is coupled with a “national frustration” with the former coloniser. While the Chinese can pride themselves on having triumphed militarily over their Japanese invaders a victory that was no doubt partly responsible for Mao Zedong’s magnanimous attitude in waiving his demands for a war indemnity, the Koreans owe their liberation to the military intervention of the Allies. Deprived of the satisfaction of having recovered their independence by their own means, the Koreans found themselves victors of the Second World War without the benefits.

  • 98 Soh Chunghee Sarah, “Politics of the Victim/Victor Complex: Interpreting South Korea’s National Fur (...)

74These factors explain the deep‑seated resentment and distrust shown by Koreans towards a Japan that has never truly shown signs of repentance and is still seen as a threat. Whether real or imagined, this fear is fuelled by incidents such as the approval of the Tsukuru‑kai textbook or the prime ministerial visits to Yasukuni Shrine, which are seen as warning signs of a possible remilitarisation of Japan.98

  • 99 Kimura Kan 木村幹, Chōsen hantō o dō miru ka 朝鮮半島をどう見るか (How Should We View the Korean Peninsula?), Sh (...)

75Despite the joint endeavours aiming to reduce the differences of opinion, voices in both countries question the pertinence of efforts aimed at building a shared historical consciousness. While a parallel is often drawn with the progress achieved by European nations, some scholars have pointed out that France was never colonised by Germany and that the case of Japan and Korea would be better compared to that of Great Britain and India, in which the absence of a shared view of history does not appear to have presented a stumbling block in the development of friendly relations between former colony and former metropole.99

76When faced with irreconcilable differences, emphasising common ground rather than divergences is a less ambitious strategy that should not be overlooked. While the quest for a shared view of history is laudable, it should not be seen as an absolute condition for building relations that are, if not friendly, at least sufficiently peaceful to not hinder exchanges between the two countries.

Top of page

Bibliography

Original release: Samuel Guex, « La controverse nippo‑coréenne au sujet des manuels d’histoire », Cipango, 19, 2012, 111‑148.

Samuel Guex, « La controverse nippo coréenne au sujet des manuels d’histoire », Cipango [En ligne], 19, 2012, mis en ligne le 27 mars 2014, URL : http://cipango.revues.org/1688 ; DOI : 10.4000/cipango.1688

Top of page

Notes

1 Japan’s history textbooks had already been the subject of controversy during the lawsuits filed by Ienaga, but these controversies were confined to Japan. It was following the Ministry of Education’s refusal to authorise a textbook he had written that the historian Ienaga Saburō 家永三郎filed several suits against the Japanese government between 1965 and 1993. His central claim concerning the unconstitutional nature of the textbook authorisation system was rejected. However, several of the court rulings, notably that of 1970 (Sugimoto hanketsu 杉本判決), judged the ban on Ienaga’s textbook to be illegal and unconstitutional. This led the Ministry of Education to gradually relax its criteria for authorisation throughout the 1970s.

2 Although use of the second edition Tsukuru‑kai textbook (2005) increased significantly compared to the firstedition (2001), it remains below 0.5%. “Heisei 17 nendo rekishi kōmin kyōkasho no saitaku ni tsuite no ‘Tsukuru‑kai’ seimei” 平成17年度歴史・公民教科書の採択結果についての「つくる会」声明 (Statement by the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform on the adoption of history and civics textbooks for 2005): http://www.tsukurukai.com/02_about_us/05_adopt.html (23 October 2008).

3 Officially entitled “Ilbon chunghakkyo kyogwasŏ Han’guk kwallyŏn naeyong sujŏng yogu charyo” 일본 중학교 교과서 한국 관련 내용 수정 요구 자료 (Document demanding the modification of Korea‑related content in junior high school history textbooks), the South Korean government’s request, made to the Japanese ambassador in Seoul on 8 May 2001, concerned 25 passages in the Tsukuru‑kai textbook in addition to 10 passages from seven other textbooks. China, for its part, merely demanded the modification of eight passages from the Tsukuru‑kai text.

4 Yi Wŏnsun 이원순 and Chŏng Chaejŏng 정재정 (eds.), Ilbon yŏksa kyogwasŏ muŏt i munje inga 일본역사교과서 무엇이 문제인가 (The Problems with Japanese History Textbooks), Seoul, Tongbang Midiŏ 동방미디어, 2002, pp. 332‑333.

5 Statement made on 15 August 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, in which Murayama Tomiichi apologised (“o wabi no kimochi o hyōmei suruおわびの気持ちを表明する) for the damage and suffering inflicted on Asian countries subjected to Japanese colonial rule and aggression.

6 Joint Korean and Japanese statement (Nikkan kyōdō seimei 日韓共同声明) from 8 October 1998 in which the South Korean President Kim Taejung, who was visiting Japan, and the Japanese Prime Minister Obuchi Keizō expressed their shared belief in the “importance of deepening the historical consciousness of the two peoples, particularly that of the younger generations”.

7 See Ilbon kyogwasŏ paro chapki undong ponbu 일본 교과서 바로 잡기 운동 본부 (ed.), Mundap ŭro ingnŭn Ilbon kyogwasŏ yŏksa waegok 문답으로 읽는 일본 교과서 역사왜곡 (Questions and Answers on the Distortion of History by Japanese Textbooks), Seoul, Yŏksa Pip’yŏngsa 역사 비평사, 2001, p. 123.

8 Pierre Lavelle, « la Société pour la rédaction de nouveaux manuels d’histoire : Renouveau ou déclin du nationalisme ? » (The Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform: Revival or Decline of Nationalism?), Cipango no. 10, 2003, p. 14.

9 Arnaud Nanta, « l’Actualité du révisionnisme historique au Japon » (Historical Revisionism in Japan Today), Ebisu no. 26 (pp. 127‑153), no. 27 (pp. 129‑138), no. 28 (pp. 185‑195), from 2001 to 2002. From the same author, see also « Le débat sur l’enseignement de l’histoire au Japon » (The Debate on History Education in Japan), Matériaux pour l’histoire de notre temps, BDIC, no. 88, 2007, pp. 13‑19.

10 Sven Saaler, Politics, Memory and Public Opinion: The History Textbook Controversy and Japanese Society, Munich, Iudicium, 2005.

11 Nohira Shunsui 野平俊水, Kankokujin no nihon gishi 韓国人の日本偽史 (Japanese History Falsified by the Koreans), Tokyo, Shōgakukan 小学館, 2002, p. 6.

12 Toriumi Yasushi 鳥海靖, Nichūkanror Rekishi kyōkasho wa konna ni chigau 日中韓露歴史教科書はこんなに違う (The Huge Divergences between Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian History Textbooks), Tokyo, Fusōsha 扶桑社, 2005, p. 83.

13 Yokota Yasuji 横田安治, Kankoku no rekishi kyōkasho ni waikyoku wa nai to iwaretara 韓国の歴史教科書に歪曲はないと言われたら (To Those Who Claim There Are No Distortions in Korean History Textbooks), in Chŏng Taegyun 鄭大均 and Furuta Hiroshi 古田博司 (eds.), Kankoku, Kita chōsen no uso o miyaburu: kingendai‑shi no sōten 30 韓国・北朝鮮の嘘を見破る近現代史の争点30 (The Lies of South and North Korea Revealed: Thirty Contentious Issues in Modern and Contemporary History), Tokyo, Bungei Shunjū 文藝春秋, 2006, p. 292.

14 Chŏng Taegyun 鄭大均, Kankoku no nashonarizumu 韓国のナショナリズム (Korean Nationalism), Tokyo, Iwanami Shoten 岩波書店, 2003, p. 192. See also Takazaki Sōji 高崎宗司, Han‑Nichi kanjō: Kankoku‑Chōsenjin to nihonjin 反日感情韓国・朝鮮人と日本人 (Anti‑Japanese Sentiment: Koreans and Japanese), Tokyo, Kōdansha 講談社, 1993, p. 14.

15 Katsuoka Kanji 勝岡寛次, Kankoku, chūgoku “rekishi kyōkasho” o tettei hihan suru: waikyoku sareta tai‑nichi kankei‑shi 韓国・中国「歴史教科書」を徹底批判する歪曲された対日関係史 (Radical Criticism of Chinese and Korean “History Textbooks”: A Distorted History of Relations with Japan), Tokyo Shōgakukan 小学館, 2001.

16 For example, of the four examiners responsible for Japanese history textbooks, two are former students of Itō Takashi 伊藤隆, a professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo and writer and editor‑in‑chief for the Tsukuru‑kai textbook. See Asahi Shinbun (17 January 2008). I would like to thank Lionel Babicz for bringing this issue to my attention.

17 These establishments account for less than 10% of Japanese junior high school students. Liu Jie 劉傑, Mitani Hiroshi 三谷博, Yang Daqing 楊大慶 (eds.), Kokkyō o koeru rekishi ninshiki: nitchū taiwa no kokoromi 国境を越える歴史認識 日中対話の試み (Cross‑Border Historical Consciousness: An Attempt at Sino‑Japanese Dialogue), Tōkyō Daigaku Shuppan 東京大学出版, 2006, p. 210.

18 These selection areas, which numbered 591 in 2008, generally consist of two cities (shi ) or districts (gun ). See “Kyōkasho seido no gaiyō 教科書制度の概要 (Overview of the School Textbook System), http://www.mext.go.jp/a_menu/ shotou/kyoukasho/gaiyou/04060901/006.htm (25 May 2008).

19 Chang Sin 장신, Ilbon ŭi kyogwasŏ chedo wa munjechŏm 일본의 교과서 제도와 문제점 (The Problem with Japan’s Textbook System), in Mundap ŭro ingnŭn Ilbon kyogwasŏ yŏksa waegok, op. cit., p. 33.

20 Kim Hanjong 김한종, Yŏksa kyoyuk kwajŏng kwa kyogwasŏ yŏngu 역사교육과정과 교과서연구 (Textbook Research and the Process of Teaching History), Seoul, Sŏn’in 선인, 2005, pp. 42‑43.

21 The six publishers are: Kŭmsŏng Ch’ulp’ansa 金星出版社, Taehan Kyogwasŏ 大韓教科書, Pŏmmunsa 法文社, Ch’ŏnjae Kyoyuk 天才教育, Chung’ang Kyoyuk Chin’ŭng Yŏnguso 中央教育振興研究所, and Tusan Kyogwasŏ斗山教科書.

22 Chunghakkyo Kuksa 중학교 국사 (National History, Junior High), Seoul, Kyohaksa 교학사, 2006. Kodŭnghakkyo Kuksa 고등학교 국사 (National History, Senior High), Seoul, Kyohaksa 교학사, 2006.

23 Katsuoka Kanji, op. cit., p. 43.

24 Song Kiho 송기호, Tongasia ŭi yŏksa punjaeng 동아시아의 역사 분쟁 (Historical Disputes in East Asia), Seoul, Sol , 2007, p. 41.

25 For example, the Tsukuru‑kai textbook claimed that “the Yamato army came to the aid of Paekche and Silla and waged violent battles against Koguryŏ” (p. 38), whereas in reality the Koguryŏ army drove back the Japanese at the request of Silla. Consequently, this passage was modified in the following edition (2006) to read: “the Yamato army came to Paekche’s aid and waged violent battles against Koguryŏ” (p. 32).

26 Robert A. Fish, “A Call for Outrage? A Victory for Freedom? The Annexation of Korea and Japanese Participation in World War I as Portrayed in the Atarashii Rekishi Kyokasho and Competing Japanese Junior High School History Textbooks”, Studies on Asia, series iii, vol. 1, no. 1, 2004, p. 32.

27 Atarashii rekishi kyōkasho, op. cit., 2001, p. 240. The underlined passage was removed from the second edition (2006). The passage in italics was modified as follows: “the Western powers recognised Japan’s annexation of Korea in exchange for Japanese recognition of their colonial hold over India for Great Britain, Indochina for France, the Philippines for the United States and Outer Mongolia for Russia” (p. 170). For a discussion of the issues surrounding this passage, see the article by A. Nanta, “Les débats au xxe siècle sur la légalité de l'annexion de la Corée par le Japon : histoire et légitimité” (20th‑Century Debates on the Legality of Japan’s Annexation of Korea: History and Legitimacy), Cipango, no. 19, 2012, pp. 75‑110.

28 In 2002 the usage rates for these junior high school textbooks were as follows: Tōkyō Shoseki 東京書籍 (51.2%), Ōsaka Shoseki 大阪書籍 (14%), Kyōiku Shuppan 教育出版 (13%), Teikoku Shoin 帝国書院 (10.9%), Nihon Shoseki Shinsha 日本書籍新社 (5.9%), Shimizu Shoin 清水書院 (2.5%), Nihon Bunkyō Shuppan 日本文教出版 (2.3%).

29 Atarashii shakai, Rekishi 新しい社会 歴史 (New Society, History), Tōkyō Shoseki, 2006, p. 160; Rekishiteki bun’ya 歴史的分野 (The Historical Domain), Ōsaka Shoseki, 2006, p. 160.

30 This does not mean that this episode in the two countries’ shared history is not a controversial subject. The question of the legality of the annexation treaties is, as Arnaud Nanta has pointed out, a divisive subject for Japanese and Korean historians.

31 Yi Wŏnsun and Chŏng Chaejŏng (eds.), op. cit., p. 367.

32 Atarashii rekishi kyōkasho, op. cit., 2001, p. 97 and 106. This passage was modified in the second edition (2006) to read: “Around the middle of the sixteenth century, when the tally trade was suspended [teishi 停止]…” (p. 79).

33 Kim Urim 김우림, Tŏrŏun yŏksa kyogwasŏ 더러운 역사 교과서 (A Vile History Textbook), Seoul, Lux Media 럭스미디어, 2001, p. 251.

34 Atarashii shakai rekishi, op. cit., p. 65.

35 Rekishiteki bun’ya, op. cit., p. 62.

36 Saeki Kōji 佐伯弘次, “Kaizoku‑ron 海賊論 (On Piracy), in Arano Yasunori 荒野泰典, Ishii Masatoshi 石井正敏 and Murai Shōsuke 村井章介, Ajia no naka no nihon‑shi iii アジアのなかの日本史iii (The History of Japan in Asia, vol. 3), Tōkyō Daigaku Shuppan‑kai 東京大学出版会, 1992, p. 45.

37 Yi Yŏng 이영, “Waegu ŭi chuch’e 왜구의 주체 (The Main Constituent of Wakō), in Waegu wisa munje wa Han‑Il kwan’gye 왜구・위사 문제와 한일관계 (Japan‑Korea Relations and the Issue of Wakō and the Pseudo‑Embassies), Seoul, Kyŏng’in Munwhasa 景仁文化社, 2005, p. 192.

38 Nam Kihak 남기학, Chungse Koryŏ Ilbon kwan’gye ŭi chaengchŏm: Monggol ŭi Ilbon ch’imnyak kwa Waegu 중세 고려・일본 관계의 쟁점 : 몽골의 일본 침략과 왜구, in Yi Kyehwang 이계황 et al., Kiŏk ŭi chŏnjaeng : Hyŏndae Ilbon ŭi yŏksa insik kwa Han‑Il kwan’gye 기억의 전쟁 현대 일본의 역사인식과 한일관계, Seoul, Ihwa Yŏja Taehakkyo Ch’ulp’anbu 이화여자대학교출판부, 2003, p. 163; Chang Tŭkjin 장득진, Waegu nŭn Ilbonin in’ga Hangugin in’ga 왜구는 일본인인가 한국인인가 (Were Wakō Korean or Japanese?), in Han‑Il kuangye sahakhoe 한일관계사학회, Hanguk kwa Ilbon: waegok kwa komp’ŭlleksŭ ŭi yŏksa 한국과 일본, 왜곡과 콤플렉스의 역사 (Korea and Japan: A History of Distortions and Complexes), vol. 1, Seoul, Chajangnamu 자작나무, 1999, pp. 77 and 80.

39 Chunghakkyo Kuksa, op. cit., p. 130.

40 Han Yŏng’u 한영우, Tasi ch’annŭn Uri yŏksa 다시 찾는 우리역사, vol. 2, Seoul, Kyŏngsewŏn 경세원, 2005, p. 72.; Han Ugŭn 한우근, Kaejŏngp’an Hanguk t’ongsa 改訂版 韓國通史, Seoul, Ŭryu Munhwasa 乙酉文化社, 2001, p. 282 (this author mentions however the presence of Chinese among 16th‑century Wakō); Carter J. Eckert et al., Korea Old and New, A History, Harvard UP, 1990, p. 100; Michael J. Seth, op. cit., pp. 138‑139; Takeda Yukio 武田幸男 (ed.), Chōsen‑shi 朝鮮史, Yamakawa Shuppan 山川出版, 1993, pp. 141‑146; Chōsen‑shi Kenkyū‑kai 朝鮮史研究会 (ed.), Chōsen no rekishi 朝鮮の歴史, Sansei‑dō 三省堂, 1995, pp. 150‑151. Western specialists researching the issue believe that while the majority of fourteenth‑century Wakō were Japanese from Kyūshū, the phenomenon took on an international dimension in the mid‑fifteenth century, notably through the arrival of pirates originating from Cheju, and that in the sixteenth century Wakō pirates were as “Chinese” as they were “Japanese”. See, for example, Roderich Ptak, Die maritime Seidenstrasse: Küstenräume, Seefahrt und Handel in vorkolonialer Zeit, Munich, Beck, 2007, pp. 213, 278.

41 The Korean government sees the word “shuppei” as an attempt to conceal the fact that this was a unilateral act of aggression by Japan. Kim Urim, op. cit., p. 251.

42 Atarashii rekishi kyōkasho, op. cit., 2001, p. 121. In the second edition the term “consumed” was replaced by the following phrase: “Hideyoshi came to nurture an excessive desire to…” [motsu ni itatta 持つにいたった] (p. 97).

43 The term “shinryaku” is also used by the Ōsaka Shoseki (p. 91) and Kyōiku Shuppan (p. 79) textbooks.

44 Atarashii shakai rekishi, op. cit., p. 87.

45 The Korean textbook provides a more detailed list of the damage: two thirds of arable land destroyed, tens of thousands of prisoners taken to Japan, temples and archives burnt, cultural objects (books, pottery, scroll paintings, etc.) pillaged. See Chunghakkyo Kuksa, op. cit., p. 149.

46 Chunghakkyo Kuksa, op. cit., p. 147.

47 Kim Munja 김문자, Chŏnjaeng kwa p’yŏnghwa ŭi kŭnse Han‑Il kwan’gye: Imjin Waeran kwa t’ongsinsa 전쟁과 평화의 근세 한일 관계: 임진돼란과 통신사 (War and Peace in Early‑modern Relations Between Japan and Korea: Hideyoshi’s Invasions and the Communication Envoys) in Yi Kyehwang 이계황 et al., op. cit., p. 182. This idea is echoed by many Korean historians: Han Yŏng’u, op. cit., vol. 2, p. 154; Yi Kibaek 이기백, Hanguksa sillon 한국사신론 (New History of Korea), Ilchogak 일조각, 1990, p. 232). On the other hand, Han Ugŭn (op. cit., p. 283) is far more factual than the Korean textbook and devotes little space to Hideyoshi’s unknown motives. He simply points out that Hideyoshi requested permission from the Yi Dynasty to transit through Korea in order to invade China. Korea refused and for some time feared a retaliatory attack from the Japanese.

48 According to Korean specialists, another example of this idea is the “Debate over an Expedition to Korea” (Seikanron 征韓論) during the early Meiji era. See Han‑Il kwan’gye sahakhoe 한일관계사학회, Hanguk kwa Ilbon: waegok kwa komp’ŭlleksŭ ŭi yŏksa 한국과 일본, 왜곡과 콤플렉스의 역사 (Korea and Japan: A History of Distortions and Complexes), Seoul, Chajangnamu 자작나무, 1999, p. 165.

49 On this subject see the article and translation by Vincent Grépinet, Cipango no. 17.

50 Atarashii rekishi kyōkasho, op. cit., 2001, p. 131. Two details were modified in the second edition (2006): “maintained relations” was replaced by “established relations”; “between 400 and” was removed (p. 106).

51 Kim Urim, op. cit., p. 252.

52 Atarashii shakai rekishi, op. cit., p. 97, Rekishiteki bun’ya, op. cit., p. 99.

53 Chunghakkyo Kuksa, op. cit., p. 150.

54 Chunghakkyo Kuksa (ha), 2001, p. 192.

55 See Kim Munja, op. cit., pp. 193‑194; Chang Sunsun 장순순, Chosŏn sidae t’ongsinsa yŏngu ŭi hyŏnguang kwa kwaje 朝鮮時代 通信使 研究의 現況과 課題 (Research Themes and Current State of Research on the Chosŏn‑Period Communication Envoys) in T’ongsinsa, Waegwan kwa Han‑Il kwan’gye 통신사・왜관과 한일관계 (Communication Envoys, Japanese Embassy and Japan‑Korea Relations), Seoul, Kyŏng’in Munhwasa 景仁文化社, 2005, p. 8.

56 Nakao Hiroshi 仲尾宏, Chōsen tsūshinshi 朝鮮通信使 (The Korean Embassies), Iwanami Shoten 岩波書店, 2007, p. iii.

57 Miyake Hidetoshi 三宅英利, Kinsei nihon to Chōsen 近世日本と朝鮮 (Japan and Korea in the Early Modern Era), Kōdansha 講談社, 2006, p. 162.

58 Atarashii rekishi kyōkasho, op. cit., 2001, pp. 202‑203.

59 Kim Urim, op. cit., p. 253.

60 Atarashii shakai rekishi, op. cit., p. 148.

61 Rekishiteki bun’ya, op. cit., p. 144.

62 See earlier on in this article.

63 On the Seikan‑ron and its treatment in Japanese textbooks, see Noriko Berlinguez‑Kōno, “l’Asiatisme au prisme de la mémoire et de l’histoire : le cas de Saigō Takamori entre bellicisme et pacifisme” (Asianism Through the Prism of Memory and History: the Case of Saigō Takamori, from Warmongering to Pacifism), in Japon Pluriel 7, Actes du septième colloque de la Société française des études japonaises (Proceedings from the Seventh SFEJ Symposium), Arles, Picquier, 2007.

64 Chunghakkyo Kuksa, op. cit., p. 194. Note that a different explanation was given in the previous edition (Chunghakkyo Kuksa (ha), 2001, p. 66): “Since the Meiji Restoration, Japan had put in place a new political regime and in order to increase its influence had requested that Korea enter into negotiations. This was refused by the Korean government, which believed that establishing diplomatic relations with Japan would automatically lead to Western interference.”

65 Han Ugŭn, op. cit., p. 391.

66 Kim Kihyŏk 김기혁, Kŭndae Han‑Chung‑Il kwan’gyesa 근대 한중일관계사 (History of Modern Relations: Korea, China and Japan), Seoul, Yŏnse Taehakkyo Ch’ulp’anbu 연세대학교 출판부, 2007 (1955), p. 79.

67 Han‑Il kwan’gyesa hakhwoe 한일관계사학회 (ed.), Han‑Il kwan’gye 2 ch’ŏn nyŏn (kŭn hyŏndae) 한일관계 2천년 (근현대) (Two Thousand Years of Japan‑Korea Relations: Modern and Contemporary Eras), Seoul, Kyŏng’in Munhwasa 景仁文化社, 2006, p. 13.

68 Hyŏn Myŏngch’ŏl 현명철, Chŏnghannon ŭn wae saenggyŏnna 정한론은 생겨났나 (Why the Debate over the Korean Expedition?), in Hanguk kwa Ilbon: waegok kwa…, vol. 1, op. cit., p. 165. It should be noted, however, that some Korean researchers, while still in the minority, suggest placing the Seikan‑ron in a wider context and seeing it as the result of the Meiji government’s policy aimed at reorganising the Asian order by establishing unequal relations with China and Korea, as evidenced by the treaties signed with these two countries; Ch’oe Sŏgwan 최석완, Pip’aengch’ang juŭiron ŭi hwaksan kwa munjechŏm: Chŏnghannon kwa Ch’ŏng‑Il chŏnjaeng ŭl parabonŭn sigak 비팽창주의론의 확산과 문제점 : 정한론과 청일전쟁을 바라보는 시각 (The Dissemination of Anti‑Expansionist Discourses and Problems: Opinions on the Seikanron and the Sino‑Japanese War) in Yi Kyehwang et al., op. cit., p. 213.

69 See Awaya Ken’ichi 粟谷憲一, “Kindai gaikō taisei no sōshutsu: Chōsen no baai o chūshin ni 近代外交体制の創出朝鮮の場合を中心に (Creation of the Modern Diplomatic System: the Case of Korea), in Arano Yasunori, Ishii Masatoshi and Murai Shōsuke (eds.), Ajia no naka no nihon‑shi, op. cit., ii, 1992, p. 233.

70 Yoshino Makoto 吉野誠, Higashi ajia‑shi no naka no nihon to chōsen 東アジア史のなかの日本と朝鮮 (Japan and Korea in East Asian History), Akashi Shoten 明石書店, 2004, p. 212.

71 Okamoto Kōji 岡本幸治, Kindai nihon no ajia‑kan 近代日本のアジア観 (Perceptions of Asia in Modern Japan), Minerva Shobō ミネルヴァ書房, 1998, pp. 107‑108.

72 Kim Urim, op. cit., p. 256. Although the term comfort women has practically disappeared from junior high school textbooks, it still appears in the majority of senior high school books: Nihon‑shi B 日本史B (Japanese History, Level B), Tōkyō Shoseki, 2006, p. 348; Nihon‑shi B, Sanseidō, 2006, p. 330; Nihon‑shi B, Jikkyō Shuppan, 2006, p. 209; Shin Nihon‑shi B 新日本史B (New Japanese History, Level B), Yamakawa Shuppan, 2006, p. 356; Nihon‑shi B, Shimizu Shoin, 2006.

73 Yoshimi Yoshiaki 吉見義明, Jūgun ianfu 従軍慰安婦 (Army Comfort Women), Iwanami Shoten 岩波書店, 1995, p. 43.

74 Atarashii shakai, Rekishi, 2002, p. 263.

75 Atarashii shakai, Rekishi, op. cit., pp. 192‑193.

76 Ch’oe Pyŏnghŏn 崔柄憲, “Nihon no rekishi kyōkasho no waikyoku to rekishi ninshiki no mondai‑ten 日本の歴史教科書の歪曲と歴史認識の問題点 (The Distortions of Japanese History Textbooks and Problems of Historical Consciousness), Rekishigaku kenkyū 歴史学研究, no. 767, October 2002, p. 23.

77 See Kang Chŏngsuk 姜貞淑, Ilbon‑gun ‘wianbu’ munje ŭi ponjil kwa Hangugin ŭi insik 일본군위안부문제의 본질과 한국인의 인식 (The Nature of the Japanese Army “Comfort Women” Issue and Korean Consciousness), in Hanguk Yŏksa Kyogwasŏ Yŏnguhoe 한국역사교과서연구회 and Ilbon Yŏksa Kyoyuk Yŏnguhoe 일본역사교육연구회 (eds.), Yŏksa kyogwasŏ sok ŭi Hanguk kwa Ilbon 역사교과서 속의 한국과 일본 (Korea and Japan in the History Textbooks), Seoul, Hyean 혜안, 2000, p. 386.

78 Chunghakkyo Kuksa (ha), op. cit., p. 151.

79 Chunghakkyo Kuksa, opcit., p. 262.

80 This statement was made in August 1993 by Kōno Yōhei, the Miyazaki administration’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, concerning the result of an investigation undertaken by the Japanese government on this issue; Ianfu kankei chōsa kekka happyō ni kan suru Kōnō naikaku kanbō‑chōkan danwa 慰安婦関係調査結果発表に関する河野内閣官房長官談話 (Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Kōnō Regarding the Announced Results of the Comfort Women Investigation), http://www.mofa.go.jp/MOFAJ/area/taisen/kono.html (25 October 2008).

81 While Japanese specialists now seem to agree that the Nihon‑fu was not an instrument for Yamato’s colonial domination of Kaya, opinions differ as to the nature of this organ: diplomatic delegation, trading post, embassies, etc. The same variety of opinions can be found in Korea, in addition to a few more original theories: these include Kim Sŏkhyŏng, who in the 1960s claimed that the Nihon‑fu was located in Japan and not on the Korean peninsula, or Ch’ŏn Kwanu and Kim Hyŏngu, for whom this organ was a sort of headquarters of the Paekche army stationed in Kaya. Nonetheless, all Korean scholars, both past and present, categorically refute the idea that Yamato in any way ruled Kaya. See Na Haengju 나행주, “6 segi Han‑Il kwangwe ŭi yŏngu‑sajŏk kŏmt’o 6세기 한일관계의 연구사적 검토 (An Examination of the History of Research into Japan‑Korea Relations in the 6th Century), in Imna munje wa Han‑Il kwan’gye 임나 문제와 한일관계 (Imna and Japan‑Korea Relations), Seoul, Kyŏng’in Munwhasa 景仁文化社, 2005, pp. 30‑44.

82 The Korean government sees the use of phrases such as “Yamato lost its influence over the Korean peninsula” (Tōkyō Shoseki) or “subsequently, the influence [of Yamato] over the Korean peninsula waned” (Ōsaka Shoseki) to describe relations between Japan and Korea during the 6th century as unacceptable, for they are based on the “erroneous” idea that Yamato ruled Kaya as of the 4th century. See Yi Wŏnsun and Chŏng Chaejŏng (eds.), op. cit., p. 358.

83 In 451, Sei of the Wa is said to have obtained Chinese recognition of his role as protector of the Mimana region. Francine Hérail, Histoire du Japon des origines à Meiji (History of Japan, from its Origins to the Meiji Era), POF, 1986, p. 47.

84 Chūgaku shakai, Rekishiteki bun’ya, Ōsaka Shoseki, 2006, p. 25.

85 Michael J. Seth, A Concise History of Korea, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2006, p. 32.

86 Chunghakkyo Kuksa (sang) 중학교 국사 (), Seoul, Kyohaksa 교학사, 2001, pp. 62‑63.

87 Katsuoka Kanji, opcit., p. 53.

88 Tei and Furuta (eds.), opcit., p. 292.

89 Chunghakkyo Kuksa 중학교 국사, Seoul, Kyohaksa 교학사, 2006, pp. 42, 51.

90 Yang Migang 양미강, “Hanguk ŭi kyogwasŏ undong kŭ sŏngkwa wa kwaje 한국의 교과서운동 성과와 과제 (The Textbook Movement in Korea: Results and Objectives), in Ilbon kyogwasŏ paro chapki undong ponbu 일본교과서바로잡기운동본부 (ed.), Han‑Chung‑Il yŏksa insik kwa Ilbon kyokwasŏ 한중일 역사인식과 일본교과서 (Korean, Chinese and Japanese Conceptions of History and Japanese Textbooks), Seoul, Yŏksa Pip’yŏngsa역사 비평사, 2002, p. 209.

91 Kim Hanjong 김한종, Yŏksa kyoyuk kwajŏng kwa kyokwasŏ yŏngu 역사교육과정과 교과서연구 (The History Teaching Process and Research on Textbooks), Seoul, Sŏn’in 선인, 2005, p. 877.

92 Im Chihyŏn 임지현, “Kuksa ŭi an kwa pakk: hegemoni wa kuksa ŭi taeyŏnsoae 국사의 안과 헤게모니와 국사의 대연쇄 (National History Inside and Out: Hegemony and the Great Chain of National History), in Im Chihyŏn 임지현and Yi Sŏngsi 이성시 (eds.), Kuksa ŭi sinhwa rŭl nŏmŏsŏ 국사의 신화를 넘어서 (Going Beyond the Myth of National History), Hyumŏnisŭtŭ 휴머니스트, Seoul, 2004, p. 29.

93 Chosŏn ilbo, 10 April 2002.

94 Only 10% considered these demands justified. http://www.tv‑asahi.co.jp/asanama/video/0105/mail/index.html#goiken (10 November 2009).

95 These two research groups have jointly published a certain number of works in both languages, in particular a book designed to be a history textbook: Han‑Il yŏksa kongt’ong kyoje Han‑Il kyoryu ŭi yŏksa: sŏnsa but’ŏ hyŏndae kkaji 한일공통교재 한일 교류의 역사: 선사부터 현대까지 (Shared Japanese‑Korean Teaching Materials: the History of Japan‑Korea Relations from their Origins to Modern Times), Seoul, Hyean 혜안, 2007; Nikkan rekishi kyōtsū kyōzai. Nikkan kōryū no rekishi: senshi kara gendai made 日韓歴史共通教材 日韓交流の歴史先史から現代まで, Akashi Shoten 明石書店, 2007.

96 This book was the fruit of a joint effort between Chinese, Japanese and Korean scholars and teachers who met in Nanking in 2002 at the first Forum for Historical Consciousness and Peace in East Asia, in response to the Tsukuru‑kai textbook’s approval in 2001. Unlike the joint history textbook used by French and German senior high school students since 2006, none of the three countries has adopted this book as a textbook. Nevertheless, this project is a tangible sign of the efforts undertaken in the three countries to move beyond the overly simplistic framework of “national histories”. For a detailed examination of the joint initiatives designed to defuse the history‑related controversies in East Asia, see L. Babicz, “Japon, Chine, Corée : vers une conscience historique commune ?” (Japan, China, Korea: Towards a Shared Historical Consciousness?), Ebisu, no. 37, Spring‑Summer 2007, pp. 19‑43.

97 Chŏng Chaejŏng 鄭在貞, “Chaengchŏm kwa kwaje: Hanguk kwa Ilbon ŭi yŏksa kyoyuk 쟁점과 과제 : 한국과 일본의 역사 교육 (Points of Contention and Objectives: History Education in Korea and Japan), in Yŏksa kyogwasŏ sok ŭi Hanguk kwa Ilbon, op. cit., p. 43.

98 Soh Chunghee Sarah, “Politics of the Victim/Victor Complex: Interpreting South Korea’s National Furor over Japanese History Textbooks”, American Asian Review, 21‑4, Winter 2003, p. 176.

99 Kimura Kan 木村幹, Chōsen hantō o dō miru ka 朝鮮半島をどう見るか (How Should We View the Korean Peninsula?), Shūei‑sha 集英社, 2004, p. 130.

Top of page

References

Electronic reference

Samuel Guex, « The History Textbook Controversy in Japan and South Korea  », Cipango - French Journal of Japanese Studies [Online], 4 | 2015, Online since 17 November 2017, connection on 16 December 2017. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/cjs/968 ; DOI : 10.4000/cjs.968

Top of page

About the author

Samuel Guex

University of Geneva

Top of page

Copyright

Creative Commons License
Cipango – French Journal of Japanese Studies is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Top of page
  • Logo Centre d’Etudes Japonaises | Inalco
  • OpenEdition Journals