Foreign Policy Blogs

S. Korea protests Japanese textbook claiming islets

South Korea protested the Japanese government’s approval of a textbook claiming the South Korean-administrated Liancourt Rocks Wednesday.

South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Cho Byung Jae said his government remains firm in its response to Japan’s attempts to undermine South Korea’s territorial sovereignty over the islets. “We express a strong protest and demand an immediate retraction (of the territorial claim),” he said. South Korean foreign minister Kim Sung Hwan summoned Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Masatoshi Muto later Wednesday to deliver a similar protest on the issue.

I’ve mentioned before that Japan has a stronger legal claim over the islets, but South Korea has a stronger historical claim. I’ve also mentioned Japan’s controversial method of approving textbooks, which is influenced by Japan’s right-wing nationalists (imagine the the mafia, the Ku Klux Klan and the tea-party movement rolled into one). (To be fair, South Korean textbooks are written by the government.)

Cho also said the history textbooks “rationalize and glorify a distorted view of history.” Cho’s quote illustrates deeper motives from South Korea to protest the textbooks. South Korea apparently views the claims in the textbooks as part of a bigger picture of Japan’s glossing over the historical atrocities it has committed against Korea.

The U.S. supports Japan’s claim to the islets, but has distanced itself from the dispute in recent years.



Dustin Dye

Dustin Dye is the author of the YAKUZA DYNASTY series, available through the Amazon Kindle.

He lived in Okayama, Japan, where he taught English at a junior high school through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program for three years. He is a graduate from the University of Kansas, where he received a bachelor's degree in anthropology.

His interest in Japan began in elementary school after seeing Godzilla fight Ghidorah, the three-headed monster. But it wasn't until he discovered Akira Kurosawa's films through their spaghetti Western remakes that he truly became fascinated in the people and culture of Japan.

He lives in Kansas with his wife, daughter and guinea pig.

Visit him online at
E-mail him: [email protected]