Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Image of South Korea in Argentina

Argentinean textbooks are about to become the victim of the revisionists of history.

"Argentinean Textbook Beautifies Japanese Colonialism, South Korea: A New Japan"

Contents related to Korea in Argentinean textbooks are shocking. Middle school textbooks in Argentina beautifies Japan's colonial rule of Korea and views Korea as an inferior imitator of Japan. Moreover, Argentine media portrays and criticizes Korean businessmen as exploiters or slave drivers. Prof. Mera (Dept. of Sociology, University of Buenos Aires) gave a presentation on the image of Korea in Argentina at the "4th Colloquium on Images of Korea," which was held on August 12 at The Center for Information on Korean Culture (CIKC), The Academy of Korean Studies (AKS). The presentation was originally scheduled to last for 1 ½ hours, but it lasted for over 2 hours due to heated discussions. Approximately 40 people, including professors from various colleges such as Seoul National University, Kyunghee University, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, University of Sydney in Australia, Jawaji University in India, personnel from the Ministry of Education of Korea, and foreign students of AKS came to hear the presentation. The key points of the colloquium are below.

▣ Korea's Economic Growth Due to Japanese Colonialism?

Prof. Mera revealed that the most surprising of the distorted image of Korea Argentineans have is the theory of colonial modernization. Argentinean textbooks teach that "the foundation of Korea's economic growth is due to the infrastructure built during the Japanese colonial period." Korea was able to achieve economic development because of the infrastructure such as railroads and roads constructed by the Japanese. This is a typical assertion made by the Japanese. Argentineans having such a seriously erroneous image of Korea arises from ignorance of Korea's history. This can give rise to the possibility of Argentineans forming a negative attitude toward Korea.

▣ Koreans as Exploiters of Argentine Laborers

Argentineans have a negative image of Korean immigrants living in Argentina. The Argentine media portrays Korean immigrants in Argentina as bad people who exploit and discriminate against the natives. Korean immigrants are criticized for being selfish and for frantically hoarding money. One media report uses the term "invasion" to describe the influx of Korean immigrants. In a word, this reveals a great antagonism against Korea, from which mutual misunderstanding and distrust have formed.

takeshima dokdo dokto tokdo tokto
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