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Regarding Korea image

To whom it May Concern
First of all, I'd like to express my respect for publishing such an excellent and valuable textbook.

I'm _______________ and working with VANK, a cyber diplomatic mission. Please allow me to introduce you to VANK.

VANK is a cyber diplomatic mission whose goal is to raise the national image of Korea throughout the world. We are carrying out a variety of activities to introduce valuable information about Korea to foreigners around the world who don't know about Korea, and show a national image of a "Friendly Korea, Friends of the World" in the hearts of the people around the world by promoting international exchange with foreigners and Koreans.

Recently I had an opportunity to review a textbook that was published by your company. I'd like to inform you that there were some important contents seriously damaging to the national image of Korea and possibly damaging to future diplomatic relations between two countries. 'World History", published by your company, describes the following statement on page 356, saying "As a Korean proverb, 'Bursting the back of shrimp because of the fight between whales,' the whole history of Korea was the one of invasion, amalgamation and colonization by other countries."

When you described Korean history in connection with China and Japan, by using the metaphor of a shrimp jammed between two whales - whales being China and Japan, a shrimp being Korea, you seriously damaged the national image of Korea. I think it came from a misunderstanding of the historical relations between Korea and China, as well as between Korea and Japan.

First, ancient Japan was not an influential nation on Korea in culture, politics or economics. On the contrary, Korea introduced Japan to letters, religion, academy, arts, civil engineering, and agricultural technology, from ancient to modern times. Especially, the Korean Baekjei Kingdom of ancient times sent many scholars and doctors such as Ajiggi and Wangin to Japan, spreading the Thousand Character Text and Chinese letters throughout Japan. Accordingly, Baekjei made a major contribution in creating Aska culture in Japan.

Moreover, in the case of China, because China used to be superior to many other counties in East Asia for a long time, most surrounding countries used to pay tribute to China for its economical stabilization and international exchange. Paying tribute was a pattern of friendship in East Asia that made all possible relations of diplomatic exchange, cultural exchange and trade exchange.

Accordingly, relations of tribute don't necessarily mean relationships of forced dependency under European feudal society or colonization (that which rules and is ruled). Further, China in its history had many other tribes besides the 'Han' to control the land of China, such as the Kitan, the Tungus, the Mongol and the Manchurian.

On the contrary, though there were several times of invasion by China and Japan through 5,000 years of Koran history, there was no period when the independence of Korea was damaged, but for the time of the Japanese Occupation Period.(1910 - 1945) You may find systematically well grounded information at the following website.

The reasons why you think of Korea as a shrimp between whales, in spite of this sound historical evidence, are because under Japanese Occupation, Japanese scholars twisted and bended Korean history to destroy the national pride and national identity of Korea, and after the independence of Korea, Japan spread wrong information about Korea to the world.

Truth in scholarship

Above all, the fact that such a credential publisher like you has distorted knowledge about Korean history because of the influence of Japanese scholars who neglected the academic truth, hurts all Koreans of the past, present and future. Many people in the world will be influenced by the distorted knowledge about Korea from the books of your company.

Therefore, we, cyber diplomatic mission VANK, hereby, request with our sincerity and courtesy, you to correct the afore-mentioned statement of "a shrimp jammed between whales" from a textbook published by your company and reflect the true national image of Korea to the world. You may be able to find numerous references to introduce the true national image of Korea to the world by a visit to the website below.

Korea history

We will remain in silence while we wait for your sincere reply at your earliest convenience. VANK's Dream is for all people in the world to learn about Korean history and culture, become "familiar with Korea" and "make friends" that share dreams and friendships with everyone in the world. This can be done though our own effort to make a good image of Korea.

Thank you and Best Regards.

Sincerely yours. * Contact to VANK
email: textbook@prkorea.org


1) Their claim that the East Sea has some historical precedent worked, as some major book and map publishers, educational web sites and other reference materials now include the East Sea name along with the Sea of Japan.

2) We provide Korean pictures to the Photoatlas.com, you can see the pictures at this site :