History and Nationalism: the Analysis of History Textbooks from China, Korea and Japan

Korean Minjok Leadership Academy

Table of Contents

Project completed October 29th 2009; see here

Japanese Invasion of Joseon 1592-1597 , June 1st 2009

Japanese Invasion of Joseon 1592-1597 (as of June 1st 2009) . . . go to Teacher's comment

Table of Contents
I. Introduction
II. Naming of War
III. Causes
III.1 Chinese history book
III.2 Korean history book
III.3 Japanese history book
III.4 Conclusion
IV. Course of war
IV.1 Chinese history book
IV.2 Korean history book
IV.3 Japanese history book
IV.4 Conclusion
V. Effects
V.1 Chinese history book
V.2 Korean history book
V.3 Japanese history book
V.4 Conclusion
VI. Conclusion
VII. Notes

1. Introduction
         History is "a record of past events and times, especially in connection with the human race" (1). However, history does not merely state the truth: history is a record created by human beings and thus although same event, accounts from different nations differ in context. Such differences in historical accounts can be explained through many ways. Records about conflict between countries can vary in specific detail as the records written by the ¡°winners¡± and the ¡°losers¡± of the conflict or the ¡°aggressor¡± and the ¡°defender¡± can all see the event differently. Nationalism also influences the way historical records are written often to glorify certain events or blame faults on other nations. Such influence of nationalism is obvious when analyzing the history books of East Asia: China, Korea and Japan. Due to the proximity among the three nations geographically and culturally, their histories are intertwined and numerous events in history involve all three nations. However, the accounts of such identical events differ greatly depending on the nation the records are written in. The invasion of Joseon in 1592 and 1597 by the Japanese army is one of such events where the history books from China, Korea and Japan show varying contents.
         The differences among the history books of three nations can be categorized into three major aspects: the causes, the course of the war and the effects of war. When comparing the history books of the three nations, 6 books in total were used: one history book from China and Korea each, and 4 Japanese history books. More Japanese books were used because Chinese and Korean high school history books are published by a single governmental publication and thus only one version of the book exists while Japanese high school books are published by a number of private publications with the approval of the ministry of education. The Chinese history book is published by (renmin jiaoyu chubanshe) or People's Education Press which was created in 1950 as a governmental publication that provides the basis for Chinese secondary and university education (2). The Korean history book is published by (guksa pyunchan wuiwonhuei)or the National Institute of Korean History which is a governmental institution created in 1946 after Korean Independence that conducts the collection of historical data and the publication of historical texts (3). It is the only governmental and national historical publication institution and Korean history research institute (4). The Japanese Texts are from varying publications and will be labeled by letters of the alphabet. Text A is from Jikkyo Shuppan (), Text B is from Kirihara Shoten (), Text C is from Sanseido () and text D is from Yamakawa Shuppan (). The alphabets have no meaning and are just for the purpose of labeling the different textbooks. The following table states the market share percentage for the publications for high school Japanese history books.

Table 1 : Japanese History B, new curriculum (5)
Rank Publisher Title Number of Copies Percentage
1 (D) Yamakawa Shuppan () Shosetsu Nihonshi () 336,414 57.5 %
2 Jikkyo Shuppan () Koukou Nihonshi B () 41,108 7.0 %
3 Tokyo Shoseki () Shinsen Nihonshi B () 39,228 6.7 %