Despite the statement in the lecture announcement that history should be studied objectively and based on historical facts and "concrete evidence," it seems obvious from the announcement that Dr. Kim will not be there to explain the history of Dokdo (Liancourt Rocks) objectively, but will be there to promote Korea's invented claims.
RAS Lecture Meeting
February 24, 2009
Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.
2nd floor, Residents lounge
Somerset Palace, Seoul
Dr. Kim, Yongdeok
History and Justice - Approaches to the Dokdo Island Issue
The dispute between Korea and Japan concerning Dokdo Island is especially difficult for outsiders to understand. The highly emotional, nationalistic rhetoric often used by both sides provides no objective basis for an informed opinion. Many have gained the impression that there exists no such objective, factual basis and that they should take sides in the dispute simply on the basis of their own instinctive liking for one or the other country.
Among scholars of history and law in Japan and Korea, there has long been controversy surrounding their differing ways of seeing the history of Dokdo and of applying the system of international law to it. Yet all agree that accurate history must of course be based on historical facts, which are established by reference to concrete evidence as to what really happened in the past. Accurate historical research leads to correct history, which in turn supports right legal judgment and the establishment of justice.
Our speaker tonight, Professor Kim Yongdeok, is one of the most respected Korean scholars of Japanese history, and of the history of relations between Japan and Korea. He has long advocated a reasoned dialogue in place of impassioned rhetoric in order to resolve the Dokdo issue. His opinion is that although there is plentiful evidence in support of the Korean claims to sovereignty over Dokdo among Korean sources, the most persuasive way to convince any third party and the international community at large will be to invoke foreign sources, including Japanese documents, about Dokdo (Takeshima in Japanese) to support the claims made by Korea. Tonight he will explain the Korean position in the current dispute, not by making use of Korean sources, or mere rhetoric, but by refering to Japanese and other foreign sources and employing a logic based entirely on historical evidence and the rules of international law.
Kim Yongdeok has been the President of the Northeast Asian History Foundation, Seoul, since 2006. He received his B.A and M.A in history from Seoul National University before going to Harvard, where he received a Ph.D. in history in 1979. From 1980 until his retirement in 2008 he was a Professor in the Department of History at Seoul National University. During that time he served as President of the (Korean) Association of Japanese History Research (1996-1998), as President of the Korean Historical Association (1999-2000), as Dean of the Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University (2003-2006), as Director of the Institute for Japanese Studies, Seoul National University (2004-2006). He has published a number of books and articles on Japanese history and on the relations between Japan and Korea. LINK
The announcement also says that Dr. Kim will be focusing on Japanese sources instead of Korean. In other words, he seems to be planning to avoid the embarrassing task of trying to explain that why there are no old Korean maps showing Dokdo and why there is no evidence, Korean, Japanese, or otherwise, that Koreans ever traveled to Dokdo (Liancourt Rocks) before Japanese fishermen started taking them there in the early 1900s. Instead, he will likely try to claim that Japan recognized Korea's claim on Dokdo by using smoke-and-mirror evidence that is far from "concrete." Many of the people who read this blog already know some of the shady methods that Korean historians use to try to distort the history of Dokdo.
Anyway, the lecture could be interesting, not because of what Dr. Kim will likely say, but because there may be some in the audience who will question some of his claims, if given the chance.
If anyone is thinking about visiting Korea and is interested in the Dokdo dispute, February 24 may be a good time to visit.
Thanks, Matt, for the heads up.