[KS] Re: Collaboration

T.Han taehwan at hawaii.edu
Fri Feb 5 03:31:01 EST 1999

Dear List Members:

I read many arguments with great interest. These arguments are very
helpful to understand colonial and/or post-colonial intellectuals in

But all arguments are missing the most important point. Instead of arguing
if Yi Kwang Su and other intellectuals were collaborating with the
Japanese colonizer, we have to pay more attention to a question why many
"collaborators" were welcomed, treated, and respected as national
heros/heroines in Korean history, while others who faught against the
Japanese colonizers were simply stereotyped as "communists." I think that 
one of the most important themes in Cumings' pathbreaking classic, "Origin
of the Korean War," was trying to answer the question. From the Rhee to
the Rho regime, the question was continuously asked by some historians
including Cumings, but scholars who tried to answer the question very
seriously were quickly lebeled as "leftists," "revisionist," or "communist
symphathizers" by "mainstream" historians. I feel this was the problem. 

Thus, debating who was collaborators and who was not is too sterile to
figure out the problem of collaboration. Rather, we should talk about why
the so-called collaborators are fabricated as real patriots of Korea. This
distortion of history has to be corrected. Otherwise, the Korean history
will repeat and can not escape from vicious cycles of historical

Taehwan Han


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