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Nov 18, 2008

Korean textbook controversy not unlike Taiwan's internal debate

While the DPP administration and reputable publishers never went so far as to actually teach children that the KMT constituted an occupying foreign power, that is in fact how many people on the Green side feel. Take a look at this IHT article on a Korean textbook controversy.

To conservative critics, a popular textbook's version of how U.S. and Soviet forces took control of Korea from Japanese colonialists in 1945 exemplifies all that's wrong with how South Korean history is taught to young people today.

The facts no one disputes are that, at the end of World War II, the Soviet military swept into northern Korea and installed a friendly Communist government while a U.S. military administration assumed control in the south.

But then the high school textbook takes a direction that is raising hackles among conservatives. It argues that the Japanese occupation was followed not by a free, self-determining Korea, but by a divided peninsula dominated once again by foreign powers.

"It was not our national flag that was hoisted to replace the Japanese flag," reads the textbook published by Kumsung Publishing. "The flag that flew in its place was the American Stars and Stripes. Our liberation through the Allied forces' victory prevented us from building a new country according to our own wishes."

The article continues.

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