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Comparative Study of Recognition toward History in South and North Korea - Centering Around Historical Textbooks

Jun-Tae Lee 1

1경희대학교

Candidate

ABSTRACT

History textbook, designed to be used for educational purpose, tends to be considered as an emblem expressing a social or national identity. It is true that all kinds of differences between North and South Korea resulted from the more than a half century’s separation and different political and social ideology. Most of all, although two countries share the same historical background, it is obvious that there is huge difference in describing each country’s history. For instance, ““with positively analyzing historical events or facts, historians in South Korea tend to focus on establishing nationalistic legitimacy and promoting people’s pride of self-reliance Korean history.”” Yet, North Korea historians, based on proletariat social revolution ideology, tend to emphasize anti-foreign influence and building their country as a socialist state’s model. For these differences between two Korea’s historical views, it is appropriate to expect that the next generation of two Korea may have great difficulty in recovering their historical homogeneity when two Koreas are unified as one country. Thus, it is time for discussing the implicit meaning of such difference and searching for a history education method designed to actualize peoples’nationalistic identical unification. In order to realization peoples’ identical unification after the geographical unification, we need to modify our own history textbooks now. It is necessary for two Korea’s historians to consider the following indications of modifying history textbooks. First, the new textbook must be met a global and universal standards of international history. Second, based on the recognition of diversity in terms of describing a certain country’s history, the new textbook must cover the diverse viewpoints in describing Korean history. Third, historians for the new textbook must have neutral viewpoint in terms of their political ideology because they are to evaluate certain political events of current period. Fourth, Korean government needs to establish a new governmental organization that is autonomous and designed to modify Korean history textbook, for instance, ““the committee of history education for the unified Korea.””

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.