Sunday, January 10, 2010

False Korean History?

While thinking of movies that I would like to see and download, I saw show on TV that looked like some black and white footage of Korean history.  I wonder why I haven't gotten a chance to learn about Korean history before this point!  I know about the Korean war and how the south became democratic while the north became communist, but that's really about it.  My Korean coworkers don't talk about it.  Most of the references to historical periods or past leaders in museums and temples have mental "hooks," no frame of reference, to to "hang" the new information I read.

So I googled "korean history, and I followed the video links.  From there I found an 18-part series on the Korean war, but more numerous, however, were kind of lectures through text about how Koreans fabricated most of the major points of their history or stole them from China and Japan.  The videos said, in not the best English, that Koreans claim Confucius as Korean, stole Chinese symbols to use on their flag, and Seoul was a grand slum before the Japanese occupation made it a successful metropolis.  One video even claims "Korean cultural plagiarism."  Wow. 

With titles like, "Why Koreans Always Lose to Japan," and "All Your Culture Are Belong to Us (sic)," it's hard to just ignore such a great presence of this propaganda!  Korea's so small, why would people feel such a need to pick on it? My best guess is their fantastic global economic image is causing part of it, but if anyone has any comments on this, please post in the box below!


  1. That is pretty bizzare, I really was trying to grasp or understand why that view of Korea is present with other Asian countries of the area...for one thing, Japan and China tried to invade/conquer Korea for the past couple hundred years (not straight but here and there) and really couldn't accomplish it. Plus in the 1800's, Korea and China were economic 'partners' in that they traded with each other and was able to become more successful. Korea seems to be viewed as the weird uncle in the Asian family. Very interesting post.

  2. The Chinese and Japanese distortions of Korean history are done by citizens of those countries and their governments. The distortion from citizens came as a result of envy/jealousy due to the influence of the "Korean Wave" in China and Japan. Japanese netizens resented the success of the Korean Wave because they felt it threatened their own sense of cultural superiority. Chinese netizen distortions were sponsored in part by the Chinese government who were uneasy about the wave's influence on its own citizens. Both Chinese and Japanese governments try to distort Korean history to serve their own personal interests. In the case of China, colonial interests have made them register Korean cultural properties like the Korean national anthem and the farmers' dance among others as their own. The Japanese government wants to whitewash their own past aggression in Korea by claiming that colonization is what brought modernization to Korea.