Controversial Korean History?

Mar 2012
1
I'm currently living in Korea and, as any foreigner who has ever lived here can attest, possibly the single most frequent history topic I encounter here is all the ways Japan has mistreated Korea. Dokdo and the destruction/theft of art and architecture during various Japanese invasions are particularly emphasized. Discussion of such topics is also typically followed with criticism of Japan for distorting or omitting facts from their history textbooks.

This has caused me to wonder if similar examples of distortions of history can also be found in Korea. A few of my Korean friends seem fairly confident that the history they learned in school is the truth, and only other countries like Japan and the United States teach whitewashed versions of history. But I would imagine that every country has at least some nationalist bias in their history education, minimizing or distorting unflattering aspects of their national history. But since I have only ever learned Korean history from Korean sources, I'm not in a good position to identify such a nationalist bias. Is anyone else aware of any biases, distortions, or outright falsehoods in the history taught in Korea?

The only concrete example I have personally recognized is a Korean teacher who insisted that tofu originated in Korea, even though in researching the topic I found no strong evidence that that is true.
 

mingming

Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
4,742
Los Santos, San Andreas
Certain historical views of certain Koreans are just.....stupidly funny. I've heard Korean people say that Confucius was born in Korea. There is also this ridiculous notion that Chi You was Korean and that he defeated the Yellow Emperor somewhere in Korea, even though scholars in both China and the U.S. said this cannot be taken seriously. Some even claim that Chinese characters, Chinese medicine, and Chinese literature all come from Korean. Completely absurd. I'm not sure how far this go though, maybe it's taught in schools maybe it's not. I can only find out if I read their textbooks and/or listen to their lectures but I don't live in Korea.
 
Jan 2012
233
Among the more unusual instances of historical revisionism in Korea:

Korean historians widely deny the existence of Han dynasty Chinese commanderies in north Korea. They state that the Chinese artifacts were relocated from China to Korea by the Japanese occupiers in order to lower Korean morale.

Many Korean historians deny that Goguryeo was a multi-ethnic state, even though records from the time make this very clear. It is instead interpreted as a "pure Korean nation"

Gojoseon is interpreted as historical fact by many Korean historians, making Korea the oldest civilization in Asia

Korea applied to make the Chinese dragon boat festival and Fengshui registered Korean cultural heritage.

etc etc
 
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fangqingming

Ad Honorem
Mar 2011
3,160
dragon's area
well, i had ever traveled in south korea.

i went to one of their museums, there have a map, they claimed the signs are the places where find " ancient korean historical relics " under ground, the funny thing is, a lot of signs are in east-north area of china, a little rest parts of signs are in north korea, very very rare things are in south korea.

that means that south korea have not many historical relics at all. but they claimed that those historical relics are korean historical evidences.

(my camera lost battery, i should take pictures for you, that map are really very strange. )

be honest, i didn't thought that all korean historians are stupid although sometimes i can saw some strange historical Views, just like korean history is above 8000 years long or ancient korea was very strong, the land included even a half of ancient china, etc.

but i don't know what to say after i watched that map, well, they really have some strange historical views, and they really believe in that, although that is false.
 
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mingming

Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
4,742
Los Santos, San Andreas
They tried to make the UN change the name of Chinese medicine to Korean medicine. Whatever, no one takes them seriously anyways.
 

fangqingming

Ad Honorem
Mar 2011
3,160
dragon's area
by Erocia
Claiming that the Jin, Liao and Qing were Korean dynasties
oh, my god.
Did they claim Jin are korean dynasty?
my manchu friend who have surname "wanyan" , he must cry for he become korean. XD

i will tell him about this. XD
 
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Sep 2006
1,453
Korea (but I'm American!)
In East Asia, history is politics.
I've lived in Korea for almost six years now. Korea's biggest national chip on its shoulder is what happened in the late 19th century and 20th century. Koreans believe that Korea is superior to Japan. For most of history Japan had been sort of a backwater in Asia and it is true that many things that came to Japan came by way of Korea. Obviously geography plays a role here.
During the late 19th century Korea's Kingdom was collapsing while Japan was becoming powerful. Foreign Armies used Korea as a battleground four times between 1894 and 1950. Finally Korea was lost to Japan. Japan tried to stamp out Korea's identity. Korea has never gotten revenge for Japan's colonial occupation and the Koreans were not the ones who liberated their own country. And even after liberation their destiny was in the hands of the USSR and USA.
On top of this, Japan (in their own arrogance and stupidity), refuses to acknowledge the events of WW2 and their Imperial Rise.
I've read quite a few books in Korean because there aren't that many in english anyway. Yes Korean history has a very big nationalist tinge to it. One book was just so utterly biased that I had to stop reading it because it wasn't real research but more like an anti-Japanese rant. It just wasn't scholarship at all. And he was a professor at Seoul University.

Koreans in general get quite offended when anyone says anything negative about their country. They are very touchy.

One controversy I know is the border between Korea and Manchuria. I first heard it from my wife when she said that Japan had given away part of Manchuria to China during the colonial occupation. I had never heard of that before but recenty I looked into it and realized that there is a basis for the argument.
During the Joseon Dynasty the border hadn't quite been settled and due to a misunderstanding of Chinese characters used for the name of the Tumen River, both sides believed the border was marked by a different river. During the Japanese Occupation Japan settled the border with China (which Koreans don't accept), and later North Korea signed an agreement making the current border the accepted border which angers many Koreans. Korea's history extended into Manchuria but there isn't much chance of ever getting it back I think.
 
Jan 2011
1,202
Delaware & Pennsylvania
In East Asia, history is politics.
I've lived in Korea for almost six years now. Korea's biggest national chip on its shoulder is what happened in the late 19th century and 20th century. Koreans believe that Korea is superior to Japan. For most of history Japan had been sort of a backwater in Asia and it is true that many things that came to Japan came by way of Korea. Obviously geography plays a role here.
During the late 19th century Korea's Kingdom was collapsing while Japan was becoming powerful. Foreign Armies used Korea as a battleground four times between 1894 and 1950. Finally Korea was lost to Japan. Japan tried to stamp out Korea's identity. Korea has never gotten revenge for Japan's colonial occupation and the Koreans were not the ones who liberated their own country. And even after liberation their destiny was in the hands of the USSR and USA.
On top of this, Japan (in their own arrogance and stupidity), refuses to acknowledge the events of WW2 and their Imperial Rise.
I've read quite a few books in Korean because there aren't that many in english anyway. Yes Korean history has a very big nationalist tinge to it. One book was just so utterly biased that I had to stop reading it because it wasn't real research but more like an anti-Japanese rant. It just wasn't scholarship at all. And he was a professor at Seoul University.

Koreans in general get quite offended when anyone says anything negative about their country. They are very touchy.

One controversy I know is the border between Korea and Manchuria. I first heard it from my wife when she said that Japan had given away part of Manchuria to China during the colonial occupation. I had never heard of that before but recenty I looked into it and realized that there is a basis for the argument.
During the Joseon Dynasty the border hadn't quite been settled and due to a misunderstanding of Chinese characters used for the name of the Tumen River, both sides believed the border was marked by a different river. During the Japanese Occupation Japan settled the border with China (which Koreans don't accept), and later North Korea signed an agreement making the current border the accepted border which angers many Koreans. Korea's history extended into Manchuria but there isn't much chance of ever getting it back I think.
I think it angers anyone who knows history that some group made a very stupid decision like that, I know that I would throw my book onto the wall every time the history text mentions the cultural revolution :p
 

mingming

Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
4,742
Los Santos, San Andreas
Which rivers? I don't see how anyone can get Tumen and Yalu mixed up. :zany:
图们江 圖們江
鸭绿江 鴨綠江
 
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