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History Education and Reconciliation

Comparative Perspectives on East Asia

Edited By Unsuk Han, Takahiro Kondo, Biao Yang and Falk Pingel

The legacy of crimes committed during the Second World War in East Asia is still a stumbling block for reconciliation and trustful cultural relations between South Korea, China and Japan. The presentation of this issue in history school books is in the focus of a heated public and academic debate. This book written by historians and pedagogues from the three countries offers insight into the construction of historical narratives that are often nation-centered and foster exclusive identity patterns. However, the essays also reveal approaches to a more inclusive regional concept of East Asian history that puts the textbook debate into the wider framework of transitional justice.


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Ide, Hiroto: The Development of History Teaching in Korea


Ide, Hiroto The Development of History Teaching in Korea Introduction This paper focuses on the changes the ‘structure’ of history education in Korea has undergone since the end of the Second World War. With the term ‘structure’, I refer to basic principles that determine educa- tional policy. Education does not exist independently; education, economics, and society exert influence on each other; external and internal context factors have to be taken into account such as children’s realities. The basic structure of the policy of history education in South Korea was formed between the period of U.S. military occupation and the term of office of Rhee, Syng-man, the first South Korean president. In this sense, the politics of history education in South Korea has a path dependency. Successive changes of this structure are self-reinforcing, depending on the political and economic back- ground through the era of the Republic of Korea. In South Korea, the national values as defined by the president have greatly influenced politics in general and educational policy in particular. According to Choi’s research investigating the level of presidential authority, the governments of Park, Chung-hee and Chun, Doo-hwan from the early 1960s to the late 1980s, were defined as periods of ‘monarchic presidential governments’ (Choi, 2005: 304). During this time South Korea experienced an authoritarian system cen- tered on the president. Thus, the meaning of ‘national’ and ‘Asian’ values incul- cated by these presidential governments greatly influenced the curricula and educational practices of history education. The Formation of ‘Vertical’ and...

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