A Student of History

February 24, 2007

A Useable Past…

Filed under: The past that is still with us — John Maass @ 8:26 am

Koreans seem to be trying to combat an ever-menacing China by using the past, or their interpretation of it at least:

The founding of Korea’s ancient kingdom of Gojoseon will be officially written as part of national history in high school history textbooks. In addition, the Bronze Age on the Korean peninsula will be described to date back 1,000 years earlier than was previously thought.

The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development announced yesterday its plan to deliver the revised history books to schools nationwide for the class of 2007.

Academic and political circles have demanded that the founding of Korea’s first kingdom, currently depicted as a myth, should be rewritten as official history to counter the claim by neighboring countries, especially China’s latest historical re-mapping.

Page 32 of the present high school textbook mentions ancient documents such as “Samguk Yusa” and “Dongguk Tonggam” that describe the foundation by Dankun. According to the new plan, however, the ministry has altered the wording in high school texts to state that Dankun actually found the kingdom. Junior high school textbooks have already carried such an explanation.

China, denying the very existence of the Korean kingdom, teaches false information to its people. Japan also describes that Korean history started from Goguryeo in its chronicles. The books being used in secondary schools explain that the Bronze Age started in the 10th century B.C. on the Korean peninsula and 15th to the 13th century B.C. in Manchuria, but the new book dates it earlier by 500 to 1,000 years.

In the revised version, Korea gradually entered the Bronze Age after the utilization of new earthenware, which was introduced from Liaoning in China, the Amur River in Russia, and the Littoral Province 2000 B.C. at the end of the Neolithic Age and coexisted with the preceding herringbone-patterned earthenware. This will be recorded to be around 2000 to 1500 B.C., when Korea entered the full-fledged Bronze Age.

Choi Mong-ryong from the Ancient Art History Department of Seoul National University, who reviewed the sections in question, said that the time was changed based on relics recently uncovered from Jeongseon in Gangwon Province and Gapyeong in Gyeonggi Province.


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