Reconciliation and the Goguryeo/Gāogōulì Disputes between China and South Korea

Authored by: David Hundt , Baogang He

Routledge Handbook of Memory and Reconciliation in East Asia

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415835138
eBook ISBN: 9780203740323
Adobe ISBN: 9781135009212


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History tends to be written for specific audiences, and the Goguryeo/Gāogōulì1 dispute between Korea and China is no exception. According to Chase, ‘shared stories of the past are a primary source of national identity’.2 All histories are contemporary histories, or the history of ideas.3 In the eyes of Oakeshott,4 historians create history through their writing. If the writing of history is predominantly the remit of state elites, the facts at the heart of nationalist narratives may be fabricated and lack deliberative qualities. And if history is reimagined and rewritten free of competing voices, it is vulnerable to ‘mythmaking’. That is, the ‘divergence of national memories created by elite historical mythmaking’ has ‘perpetuated and reinforced the problems of history’5 in relations between East Asian states. In China, for instance, ‘historical writing… has been closely linked to elite political power’.6

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