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What Japanese Textbook say

Subject What Japanese
Textbooks say
Korean Analysis
Mimana: Ancient
Japanese occupation
post in Korea
* Japanese forces from the Yamato
court advanced to the Korean
Peninsula across the sea and
established a military outpost named

*The Yamato forces formed an
alliance with Baekje and Silla to
fight against Koruryo during the
Three Kingdoms Period in Korea (in
the late 5th century).

*Goguryeo suffered serious setbacks
due to resistance from Japanese
forces based in Mimana and Baekje

* Yamato failed in its attempt to
advance further into the peninsula
and retreated from Mimana.
* Despite their research for the last
five decades on the theory that
Japan operated a military outpost
named Mimana in Korea, both
Korean and Japanese historians have
failed to verify this theory.

* This is a clear mistake. According
to the epitaph for King Kwanggaeto
of Goguryeo, the forces of Goguryeo
participated in the battle to assist
Silla on Silla's request, and drove
away the invading Japanese for

* Such a description is possible only
when it is based on the hypothesis
that Japan had its forces permanently
deployed in Korea. But there are no
historical records from Korea relating
to Japan's activities on the Korean
Peninsula, not to mention its
operation of a permanent outpost of
any sort. So, the description must be
Relations among the
Three Kingdoms in
the late fourth
* Goguryeo made a strong offensive
against the other two Korean
kingdoms - Baekje and Silla - which
ruled southern regions of the
* This is a clear distortion of historical
facts. Goguryeo supported Silla in the
latter half of the fourth century
Internal and external
relations of the Three
Kingdoms in the sixth
* Goguryeo began to wane and so
did Wei, a northern Chinese dynasty
that supported Goguryeo.

* Goguryeo and Silla formed a
military alliance and stepped up their
offensive against Baekje
* This argument is groundless. In the
sixth century, Goguryeo confronted Wei militarily.

* This is an indisputable error. In
fact, the two small kingdoms of Silla
and Baekje formed an alliance to
cope with the southern advance of
Three Kingdoms'
diplomatic relations
with Yamato
* Goguryeo suddenly approached
the Yamato court, while Silla and
Baekje began to offer tributes to
* This argument is solely based on
Nihon Shoki, an ancient Japanese
history book whose credibility is
widely questioned as it combines
legends and facts. (No historical
records in Korea and China mention
Korea's tributary relations with Japan
at this time.)
Japanese pirates * The Japanese pirates known by the
name of wako included Koreans as
well as Japanese. But, in fact, the
majority of the pirates were Chinese.
* Wako is described as pirates who
included Koreans and Chinese, in
order to give the impression that
wako pirates were not solely
comprised of Japanese people.
Korea's state name * General Yi Song-gye brought down
the Goryeo Dynasty and established
the Yi Choson in 1392.
* "Yi Choson," a derogative name
used by the Japanese colonialists, is
used again, instead of the official
name of the dynasty, Choson.
Hideyoshi Invasion of
* The title reads "Sending Troops to

* Toyotomi Hideyoshi sent troops to
Choson as part of his grandiose
dream of conquering Ming China.
The second stage of his plan was to
conquer India.

*As a result of Japan dispatching its
troops, the land of Choson and the
lives of the people were remarkably
* The historical fact that Japan
invaded Korea is concealed with the
passive description that it "sent

* Causes of the invasion are
attributed merely to Hideyoshi's
personal illusion of conquering Ming

* Description of the damage caused
by the Japanese troops is scaled
Korean emissary to
* The Bakufu military government of
Japan re- stored diplomatic relations
with Choson (in the wake of the
Hideyoshi Invasion).

*Choson dispatched royal emissaries
whenever a new shogun, or supreme
military leader, took office.

* A Japanese trading post for
commercial activities with local
Koreans was opened in the southern
Korean port of Pusan.

*The postwar normalization of
diplomatic relations between Korea
and Japan was made possible by the
relentless efforts of Japan's shogun,
Tokugawa leyasu. Such a simple
description of the final result might
lead to the misunderstanding of the
entire process.

*Korean diplomatic delegations are
simply labeled as congratulatory
royal emissaries, without duly
describing the purpose of their visits
or Japan's purpose of inviting them.

*By stating that the trading post was
set up by Japan as part of its
administrative system, the fact that
the Korean government permitted
Japan to establish the post has been

Korea's perception of
Western powers and
its international status
* East Asian countries were, in
general, not fully aware of the
imminent military threats from the
Western imperial powers (in the late
19th century).

* Choson; which was a vassal state
of China, was no exception.

*Korea's response to the military
threats of Western powers is
downplayed by comparing it with the
Japanese way of (effectively) dealing
with them.

* Korea is erroneously defined as a
"vassal state" of China. There is no
explanation of the China-centered
tributary system in dynastic times, or
how a tributary state differed from
modern colonies.
Korea and the pre-
modern international
order in East Asia
* Chosun (Korea) and Vietnam were
both conquered by the successive
Chinese dynasties, but Japan
remained independent of the China-
centered world order and enjoyed
* The nature of pre-modern relations
among nations in East Asia is
distorted. Recognition of new
monarchs and the offering of tributes
constituted a diplomatic formality
between China and the smaller
countries that surrounded it in pre-
modern times. China never
interfered with Korea's internal

* Japan, in contrast to Korea, is
mistakenly defined as an
"independent sovereign state;'
omitting the fact Japan remained a
part of China's tributary system until
the 17th century.
Juxtaposing the social
characteristics of
Korea and Japan
* There is a theory that China and
Choson (Korea) couldn't successfully
cope with the (military) threats from
Western powers because their
societies had traditionally been ruled
by Confucian scholar-officials (unlike
feudal Japan, which was built around
military values.)
* This is an account intended to
promote the unfounded view that
Japan's military society was superior
to the civilian social systems of China and Korea, thus implicitly
justifying Japan's aggression into
these countries in later years.
"Punish Korea"
* In 1873, a group of Japanese
military activists contended that
Japan should launch a military attack
on Korea in punishment for
disrespectfully refusing Japan's
official request to open its ports.

* It main proponent, Takamori
Saigo, volunteered to die a sacrificial
death in Korea in order to provide
Japan with an excuse to attack
* The overall background leading to
Korea's refusal is ignored. The
background is deliberately ignored to defend Japan's attempts to abrogate
traditional diplomatic procedures
between the two countries.

* This account is misleading because it is based on a hypothesis that Saigo might have been murdered in Korea
Kanghwa Island
* A skirmish broke out between
Japan and Choson off Kanghwa
Island as Japanese warships took
measurements, as well as conducting
other activities, in a show of force
without Choson's permission.
* It is not stated that Japanese
warships intentionally provoked
Choson into opening fire, not to
mention who triggered the skirmish,
why and how.
Threat from Korea * The Korean Peninsula is
tantamount to a forearm protruding
from the continent to Japan.

*If the Korean Peninsula came under
control of a nation antagonistic to
Japan, it could be used as a
launching paid for an invasion of
*Japan's invasion of Korea is
justified as indispensable for its security through the description of the Korean Peninsula as an intimidating geographical position. Likewise, both the Sino-Japanese and the Russo- Japanese wars were justified as inevitable for the cause of Japan's self-defense.
Japan's plans to
neutralize Choson
* Some Japanese government
officials argues that Japan should
request to other concerned nations
that they sign a treaty to neutralize
Choson and that Japan must
strengthen its military to guarantee
Choson's neutrality.
* A short debate on the possibility of
neutralizing Choson in the Japanese
government has been overstated
with the intention to whitewash
Japan's oppressive policy in Korea.

* The fact that Japan's military
buildup was aimed at occupying
Choson by force has been covered
up. Instead, it is incorrectly stated
that Japan reinforced its military to
help Choson maintain its neutrality.
Modernization of
Choson and its
relations with Japan
* Since Choson opened its doors to
the outside world, Japan has
supported the military reforms of the
Korean dynasty as part of its efforts
toward the modernization of Choson.
It was vital to the security of Japan
that Choson developed into a modern
state capable of self-defense without
yielding to foreign domination.
* Japan's intention to expand its
influence on Choson is covered up.
It is portrayed as if Japan contributed
to Korea's independence through its
military assistance, which is a gross
distortion of historical facts.
conflict over Choson
* Qing China came to regard Japan
as a prospective enemy for fear of
losing control over Choson, which
was its last potent tributary state.

* In 1884, Kim Ok-kyun lead a
coup...but the Qing military
effectively quelled the pro-Japanese
* This is a unilateral description of
confrontation between Qing and
Japan over Choson. In fact, Japan
considered China to be a potential

* Kim Ok-kyun and his fellow
progressives are mistakenly defined
as a pro-Japanese party.
Tonghak movement
of farmers and the
Sino-Japanese War
*In 1894, a peasant insurrection
called the "Tonghak Riot" broke out
in the southern region... the Tonghak
Party was a group of people who
believed in the "Eastern Learning" as
opposed to the 'Western Learning"
which referred to Catholicism.

*Peasant militias approached
Hansong, the capital of Choson.

* Choson asked China to send
troops... Japan also dispatched its
forces to Korea under an agreement
with China... a military collision
broke out between Japan and China,
which led to the Sino-Japanese War.

*Tonghak was a movement against
the corrupt government and foreign
forces, so it is inappropriate to refer
to it as a "riot." It is also misleading
to reduce the peasant movement to
a movement of a certain religious

* This is an unquestionable mistake.
Tonghak militias did not "approach
the capital," but they only occupied
the city of Chonju in the south.

*Japan sent its troops to Korea under
a strategy to provoke a war with
China. It was not a mere
countermeasure to cope with China's

Russo-Japanese War

* Russia constructed a military base
in the northern part of Choson.

* It was evident that Russia's
military in the Far East would grow
so powerful that Japan could hardly
match it ...The (Japanese)
government decided to wage a war
against Russia before it was too late.

* After the war ended, Russia
recognized Japan's rule of Korea
(Choson)...It was a momentous war
that brought victory to a non-white
race of people over Russia, an
empire of white people with the
world's largest army. The victory
inspired tremendous hope for
independence among the oppressed
nations around the world.

*It was not a military base but in fact
lumber camps that Russia built in
northern Korea.

* Although Japan instigated the war
against Russia, it is erroneously
stated that the war broke out
because Japan felt threatened by the
Russian military.

*Japan's true aim was to secure
hegemony over the Korean Peninsula
and Manchuria. But it is deliberately
covered up and the conflict is
glorified as a "war between races."

*It is erroneously stated that Japan
gained recognition of its domination
of Choson and at the same time gave
hope for independence to other
oppressed nations.

Forcible annexation of
* The Japanese government believed
that Korea had to be annexed to
guarantee Japan's security and
protect the interests of Manchuria.
Britain, the United States, and Russia
held each other in check to prevent
their rivals from strengthening their
influence on the Korean Peninsula.
They did not oppose Japan's
annexation of Korea because they
believed it would help stabilize East

* There were some voices within
Korea accommodating Japan's
* The forcible nation of Japan's
aggression and the process of
annexation of Korea are covered up
in this passage. Annexation is
described as an act carried out with
international recognition.

* Descriptions of nationalist struggle
by the militia and the individual
patriotic activities, including the
assassination of Ito Hirobumi by Ahn
Jung-gun, are minimized, while a
limited number of pro-Japanese
Koreans are deliberately highlighted.
Development of the
colonized Korea
* For the colonized Korea, Japan
pushed ahead with development
projects, building railroads and
improving irrigation facilities.
* The description reflects the opinion of the Japanese colonialists who
insisted that Japan's development
projects contributed to the
modernization of Korea and benefited
its people. But they were in fact designed to facilitate Japan's colonial rule and exploitation of Korea.
The Great Earthquake
in 1923 and Koreans
* At the time of the Great
Earthquake that shook the Kanto
region on Sept.1 , 1923, rumors
spread that Koreans and socialists
were attempting to exploit the chaos
to engage in subversive activities.
Therefore, Japanese civilian security
forces killed Koreans and Chinese.
* The massacre by the Japanese
military and police has been covered
up. Despite that most of those killed
were Koreans (about 7,000), the
victims are lined up in the order of
"socialists, Koreans and Chinese" for
the purpose of playing down the
sacrifice of Koreans that was the
core of the incident.
Forced conscription * Conscription for wartime labor and
military service also took place in the

* Young Korean men who
volunteered for conscription (picture
caption). In Korea, a voluntary draft
system was implemented... Many
ordinary Koreans, including women
and children. fell victim to the policy.
* It is not clearly stated ho the
conscripted workers were exploited.

* The forcible nature of the draft
system is distorted to suggest that
Koreans voluntarily participated in
the war.
Sexual slavery * Omitted * Two special reports on military
slavery and sexual crimes in wartime,
which have recently been submitted to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, denounced Japan's use of the "comfort women" as a wartime crime against humanity.

*The Japanese government also
admitted in a statement in August
1993, that the Japanese army was
involved in the establishment and
operation of military brothels and that the "comfort women" were mobilized, moved (to the battlefields) and
managed against their will both by
coercion and cajolery.
Assimilation policy * In Korea, Japan stepped up its
policy to assimilate Koreans into the
Japanese society.

* Koreans were forced to assimilate
in ways worthy of being considered
"people of the Emperor."

* The policy to Japanize the Korean
people is not clearly explained.
Nor is it sufficiently described how Japan exploited Korea. The Korean people are vaguely treated as part of the Japanese nation, thereby
misrepresenting the nature of Japan's colonial policy.

* Details of the assimilation policy
are ignored. It must be stated that
Koreans were forced to pay homage
at Shinto shrines, adopt the Japanese family names and learn Japanese,

Korean War * The UN forces under the command
of Gen. Douglas MacArthur made a
counterattack...Chinese troops sided
with the North Koreans.

* The war situation became stalled
near the existing borderline of 38
degrees north latitude.
* The South Korean forces are
ignored as the war is depicted as a
conflict between the UN forces
against the allied forces of China and
North Korea.

* The 38th parallel is mistakenly
referred to as the national border,
giving the impression that Korea has
been divided for a long time.
Source from Choe Yong-shik, Hwang Jang-jin and Kim Min-hee, The Korea Herald May 9, 2001