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Friday, October 07, 2005

Queen Min - links

Queen Min was the most powerful woman in nineteenth-century Korea. She was very anti-Japanese and hoped to use an alliance with Russia against them. She was murdered by the Japanese in 1895.

Japanese documents shed new light on Korean Queen's murder (plus related articles in sidebar)
Queen Min of Korea: Coming to Power
Korea Times article

Korea was occupied by Japan from 1910 to 1945. Before this the Japanese had a long history of interference in the peninsula. Anti-Japanese feeling is an important part of North Korean nationalism and much history teaching in South Korea is also directed against them. The Japanese behaved very badly in Korea so this is hardly surprising.

History teaching in Asia is fraught with difficulties when it comes to Japan's relations with China and Korea. A common complaint is that Japan refuses to recognise the extent of its historical atrocities. I have spoken to Koreans who are bitterly upset about this. I have also spoken to ordinary Japanese people who can't understand what the problem is. As an inexperienced outsider I can't comment on the issue. It does remind me however of my own history education. I went to secondary school in Britain in the early 1990s, and in my history lessons I learnt very little about British interference in Ireland. When I first met Irish teenagers at university I was taken aback by the strength of their feelings and I realised that there was a lot I hadn't been told.


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