What Japanese Textbook say


Subject What Japanese
Textbooks say
Korean Analysis
Mimana: Ancient 
Japanese occupation 
post in Korea
* Japanese forces from the Yamato 
court advanced to the Korean 
Peninsula across the sea and 
established a military outpost named 
Mimana. *The Yamato forces formed an 
alliance with Baekje and Silla to 
fight against Koruryo during the 
Three Kingdoms Period in Korea (in 
the late 5th century).*Goguryeo suffered serious setbacks 
due to resistance from Japanese 
forces based in Mimana and Baekje

* Yamato failed in its attempt to 
advance further into the peninsula 
and retreated from Mimana.

* Despite their research for the last
five decades on the theory that 
Japan operated a military outpost 
named Mimana in Korea, both 
Korean and Japanese historians have
failed to verify this theory.* This is a clear mistake. According 
to the epitaph for King Kwanggaeto 
of Goguryeo, the forces of Goguryeo 
participated in the battle to assist 
Silla on Silla’s request, and drove 
away the invading Japanese for* Such a description is possible only 
when it is based on the hypothesis 
that Japan had its forces permanently
deployed in Korea. But there are no 
historical records from Korea relating 
to Japan’s activities on the Korean 
Peninsula, not to mention its 
operation of a permanent outpost of
any sort. So, the description must be 
Relations among the 
Three Kingdoms in 
the late fourth
* Goguryeo made a strong offensive 
against the other two Korean 
kingdoms – Baekje and Silla – which 
ruled southern regions of the 
* This is a clear distortion of historical 
facts. Goguryeo supported Silla in the 
latter half of the fourth century
Internal and external 
relations of the Three 
Kingdoms in the sixth 
* Goguryeo began to wane and so 
did Wei, a northern Chinese dynasty 
that supported Goguryeo. * Goguryeo and Silla formed a 
military alliance and stepped up their 
offensive against Baekje
* This argument is groundless. In the
sixth century, Goguryeo confronted Wei militarily. * This is an indisputable error. In 
fact, the two small kingdoms of Silla 
and Baekje formed an alliance to 
cope with the southern advance of 
Three Kingdoms’ 
diplomatic relations 
with Yamato
* Goguryeo suddenly approached 
the Yamato court, while Silla and 
Baekje began to offer tributes to 
* This argument is solely based on 
Nihon Shoki, an ancient Japanese 
history book whose credibility is 
widely questioned as it combines 
legends and facts. (No historical 
records in Korea and China mention 
Korea’s tributary relations with Japan 
at this time.)
Japanese pirates * The Japanese pirates known by the 
name of wako included Koreans as 
well as Japanese. But, in fact, the 
majority of the pirates were Chinese.
* Wako is described as pirates who 
included Koreans and Chinese, in 
order to give the impression that 
wako pirates were not solely 
comprised of Japanese people.
Korea’s state name * General Yi Song-gye brought down 
the Goryeo Dynasty and established 
the Yi Choson in 1392.
* “Yi Choson,” a derogative name 
used by the Japanese colonialists, is 
used again, instead of the official 
name of the dynasty, Choson.
Hideyoshi Invasion of 
* The title reads “Sending Troops to 
Korea.” * Toyotomi Hideyoshi sent troops to 
Choson as part of his grandiose 
dream of conquering Ming China. 
The second stage of his plan was to 
conquer India.*As a result of Japan dispatching its 
troops, the land of Choson and the 
lives of the people were remarkably 
* The historical fact that Japan 
invaded Korea is concealed with the 
passive description that it “sent 
troops.” * Causes of the invasion are 
attributed merely to Hideyoshi’s 
personal illusion of conquering Ming 
China. * Description of the damage caused 
by the Japanese troops is scaled 
Korean emissary to 
* The Bakufu military government of 
Japan re- stored diplomatic relations 
with Choson (in the wake of the 
Hideyoshi Invasion).*Choson dispatched royal emissaries 
whenever a new shogun, or supreme 
military leader, took office.* A Japanese trading post for 
commercial activities with local 
Koreans was opened in the southern 
Korean port of Pusan.
*The postwar normalization of 
diplomatic relations between Korea 
and Japan was made possible by the 
relentless efforts of Japan’s shogun, 
Tokugawa leyasu. Such a simple 
description of the final result might 
lead to the misunderstanding of the 
entire process.*Korean diplomatic delegations are 
simply labeled as congratulatory 
royal emissaries, without duly 
describing the purpose of their visits 
or Japan’s purpose of inviting them.*By stating that the trading post was 
set up by Japan as part of its 
administrative system, the fact that 
the Korean government permitted 
Japan to establish the post has been 
Korea’s perception of 
Western powers and 
its international status
* East Asian countries were, in 
general, not fully aware of the 
imminent military threats from the 
Western imperial powers (in the late 
19th century).* Choson; which was a vassal state 
of China, was no exception.
*Korea’s response to the military 
threats of Western powers is 
downplayed by comparing it with the
Japanese way of (effectively) dealing
with them. * Korea is erroneously defined as a
“vassal state” of China. There is no 
explanation of the China-centered
tributary system in dynastic times, or
how a tributary state differed from
modern colonies.
Korea and the pre-
modern international 
order in East Asia
* Chosun (Korea) and Vietnam were
both conquered by the successive 
Chinese dynasties, but Japan 
remained independent of the China-
centered world order and enjoyed 
* The nature of pre-modern relations 
among nations in East Asia is 
distorted. Recognition of new 
monarchs and the offering of tributes 
constituted a diplomatic formality 
between China and the smaller 
countries that surrounded it in pre-
modern times. China never 
interfered with Korea’s internal 
affairs. * Japan, in contrast to Korea, is 
mistakenly defined as an 
“independent sovereign state;’ 
omitting the fact Japan remained a 
part of China’s tributary system until 
the 17th century. 
Juxtaposing the social 
characteristics of 
Korea and Japan
* There is a theory that China and 
Choson (Korea) couldn’t successfully 
cope with the (military) threats from 
Western powers because their 
societies had traditionally been ruled 
by Confucian scholar-officials (unlike 
feudal Japan, which was built around 
military values.)
* This is an account intended to
promote the unfounded view that
Japan’s military society was superior
to the civilian social systems of China and Korea, thus implicitly
justifying Japan’s aggression into
these countries in later years.
“Punish Korea” 
* In 1873, a group of Japanese 
military activists contended that 
Japan should launch a military attack 
on Korea in punishment for 
disrespectfully refusing Japan’s 
official request to open its ports. * It main proponent, Takamori 
Saigo, volunteered to die a sacrificial 
death in Korea in order to provide 
Japan with an excuse to attack 
* The overall background leading to 
Korea’s refusal is ignored. The 
background is deliberately ignored to defend Japan’s attempts to abrogate 
traditional diplomatic procedures 
between the two countries. * This account is misleading because it is based on a hypothesis that Saigo might have been murdered in Korea
Kanghwa Island 
* A skirmish broke out between 
Japan and Choson off Kanghwa 
Island as Japanese warships took 
measurements, as well as conducting 
other activities, in a show of force 
without Choson’s permission.
* It is not stated that Japanese 
warships intentionally provoked 
Choson into opening fire, not to 
mention who triggered the skirmish, 
why and how.
Threat from Korea * The Korean Peninsula is 
tantamount to a forearm protruding 
from the continent to Japan. *If the Korean Peninsula came under 
control of a nation antagonistic to 
Japan, it could be used as a 
launching paid for an invasion of 
*Japan’s invasion of Korea is 
justified as indispensable for its security through the description of the Korean Peninsula as an intimidating geographical position. Likewise, both the Sino-Japanese and the Russo- Japanese wars were justified as inevitable for the cause of Japan’s self-defense.
Japan’s plans to 
neutralize Choson
* Some Japanese government 
officials argues that Japan should 
request to other concerned nations 
that they sign a treaty to neutralize 
Choson and that Japan must 
strengthen its military to guarantee 
Choson’s neutrality.
* A short debate on the possibility of 
neutralizing Choson in the Japanese 
government has been overstated 
with the intention to whitewash 
Japan’s oppressive policy in Korea. * The fact that Japan’s military 
buildup was aimed at occupying 
Choson by force has been covered 
up. Instead, it is incorrectly stated 
that Japan reinforced its military to 
help Choson maintain its neutrality.
Modernization of 
Choson and its 
relations with Japan
* Since Choson opened its doors to 
the outside world, Japan has 
supported the military reforms of the 
Korean dynasty as part of its efforts 
toward the modernization of Choson. 
It was vital to the security of Japan 
that Choson developed into a modern 
state capable of self-defense without 
yielding to foreign domination.
* Japan’s intention to expand its 
influence on Choson is covered up. 
It is portrayed as if Japan contributed 
to Korea’s independence through its 
military assistance, which is a gross 
distortion of historical facts.
conflict over Choson
* Qing China came to regard Japan 
as a prospective enemy for fear of 
losing control over Choson, which 
was its last potent tributary state. * In 1884, Kim Ok-kyun lead a 
coup…but the Qing military 
effectively quelled the pro-Japanese 
* This is a unilateral description of 
confrontation between Qing and 
Japan over Choson. In fact, Japan 
considered China to be a potential 
enemy. * Kim Ok-kyun and his fellow 
progressives are mistakenly defined 
as a pro-Japanese party.
Tonghak movement 
of farmers and the 
Sino-Japanese War
*In 1894, a peasant insurrection 
called the “Tonghak Riot” broke out 
in the southern region… the Tonghak 
Party was a group of people who 
believed in the “Eastern Learning” as 
opposed to the ‘Western Learning” 
which referred to Catholicism. *Peasant militias approached 
Hansong, the capital of Choson.* Choson asked China to send 
troops… Japan also dispatched its 
forces to Korea under an agreement 
with China… a military collision 
broke out between Japan and China, 
which led to the Sino-Japanese War.
*Tonghak was a movement against 
the corrupt government and foreign 
forces, so it is inappropriate to refer 
to it as a “riot.” It is also misleading 
to reduce the peasant movement to 
a movement of a certain religious 
group. * This is an unquestionable mistake. 
Tonghak militias did not “approach 
the capital,” but they only occupied 
the city of Chonju in the south.*Japan sent its troops to Korea under 
a strategy to provoke a war with 
China. It was not a mere 
countermeasure to cope with China’s 
Russo-Japanese War * Russia constructed a military base 
in the northern part of Choson. * It was evident that Russia’s 
military in the Far East would grow 
so powerful that Japan could hardly 
match it …The (Japanese) 
government decided to wage a war 
against Russia before it was too late.* After the war ended, Russia 
recognized Japan’s rule of Korea 
(Choson)…It was a momentous war 
that brought victory to a non-white 
race of people over Russia, an 
empire of white people with the 
world’s largest army. The victory 
inspired tremendous hope for 
independence among the oppressed 
nations around the world.
*It was not a military base but in fact 
lumber camps that Russia built in 
northern Korea. * Although Japan instigated the war 
against Russia, it is erroneously 
stated that the war broke out 
because Japan felt threatened by the 
Russian military.*Japan’s true aim was to secure 
hegemony over the Korean Peninsula 
and Manchuria. But it is deliberately 
covered up and the conflict is 
glorified as a “war between races.”

*It is erroneously stated that Japan 
gained recognition of its domination 
of Choson and at the same time gave
hope for independence to other 
oppressed nations.

Forcible annexation of 
* The Japanese government believed 
that Korea had to be annexed to 
guarantee Japan’s security and 
protect the interests of Manchuria. 
Britain, the United States, and Russia 
held each other in check to prevent 
their rivals from strengthening their 
influence on the Korean Peninsula. 
They did not oppose Japan’s 
annexation of Korea because they 
believed it would help stabilize East 
Asia. * There were some voices within 
Korea accommodating Japan’s 
* The forcible nation of Japan’s 
aggression and the process of 
annexation of Korea are covered up 
in this passage. Annexation is 
described as an act carried out with 
international recognition. * Descriptions of nationalist struggle 
by the militia and the individual 
patriotic activities, including the 
assassination of Ito Hirobumi by Ahn 
Jung-gun, are minimized, while a 
limited number of pro-Japanese 
Koreans are deliberately highlighted.
Development of the 
colonized Korea
* For the colonized Korea, Japan 
pushed ahead with development 
projects, building railroads and 
improving irrigation facilities.
* The description reflects the opinion of the Japanese colonialists who 
insisted that Japan’s development 
projects contributed to the 
modernization of Korea and benefited
its people. But they were in fact designed to facilitate Japan’s colonial rule and exploitation of Korea.
The Great Earthquake 
in 1923 and Koreans
* At the time of the Great 
Earthquake that shook the Kanto 
region on Sept.1 , 1923, rumors 
spread that Koreans and socialists 
were attempting to exploit the chaos 
to engage in subversive activities. 
Therefore, Japanese civilian security 
forces killed Koreans and Chinese.
* The massacre by the Japanese 
military and police has been covered 
up. Despite that most of those killed 
were Koreans (about 7,000), the 
victims are lined up in the order of 
“socialists, Koreans and Chinese” for 
the purpose of playing down the 
sacrifice of Koreans that was the 
core of the incident.
Forced conscription * Conscription for wartime labor and 
military service also took place in the 
colony. * Young Korean men who 
volunteered for conscription (picture 
caption). In Korea, a voluntary draft 
system was implemented… Many 
ordinary Koreans, including women 
and children. fell victim to the policy.
* It is not clearly stated ho the 
conscripted workers were exploited. * The forcible nature of the draft 
system is distorted to suggest that 
Koreans voluntarily participated in 
the war.
Sexual slavery * Omitted * Two special reports on military 
slavery and sexual crimes in wartime,
which have recently been submitted to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, denounced Japan’s use of the “comfort women” as a wartime crime against humanity.*The Japanese government also 
admitted in a statement in August 
1993, that the Japanese army was 
involved in the establishment and 
operation of military brothels and that the “comfort women” were mobilized, moved (to the battlefields) and 
managed against their will both by 
coercion and cajolery.
Assimilation policy * In Korea, Japan stepped up its 
policy to assimilate Koreans into the 
Japanese society. * Koreans were forced to assimilate 
in ways worthy of being considered 
“people of the Emperor.”
* The policy to Japanize the Korean 
people is not clearly explained. 
Nor is it sufficiently described how Japan exploited Korea. The Korean people are vaguely treated as part of the Japanese nation, thereby 
misrepresenting the nature of Japan’s colonial policy. * Details of the assimilation policy
are ignored. It must be stated that 
Koreans were forced to pay homage 
at Shinto shrines, adopt the Japanese family names and learn Japanese, 
Korean War * The UN forces under the command 
of Gen. Douglas MacArthur made a 
counterattack…Chinese troops sided 
with the North Koreans.* The war situation became stalled 
near the existing borderline of 38 
degrees north latitude.
* The South Korean forces are 
ignored as the war is depicted as a 
conflict between the UN forces 
against the allied forces of China and 
North Korea. * The 38th parallel is mistakenly 
referred to as the national border, 
giving the impression that Korea has 
been divided for a long time.
Source from Choe Yong-shik, Hwang Jang-jin and Kim Min-hee, The Korea Herald May 9, 2001

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