Assassination, Abduction and Normalisation: Historical Mythologies and Misrepresentation in Post-War South Korea-Japan Relations

Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group
John Swenson-Wright
Entertaining Room, Darwin College
Tuesday, November 11, 2008 - 13:15 to 14:00

Early relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK)
were critically shaped by three decisive events: diplomatic normalization
in1965, the 1973 abduction of opposition politician Kim Dae-jung from Japan
and the attempted assassination of President Park Chunghee in 1974. These
events have remained controversial, not least because much of the detailed
information surrounding them has been classified. Prompted by the partial
declassification initiatives of the Roh Moon-hyun administration, this
article relies on recently released archival material and new scholarship
in Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom to consider the extent to
which difficulties in the bilateral relationship were a product of
traditional patterns of historical animosity, and to assess the role of the
United States in bringing the contending parties together. In the process,
the article critically considers the persuasiveness of international
relations theory in making sense of changes in the post-war Korea-Japan
relationship.

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