Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact


SDHF Newsletter No.258 Book review Anti-Japanese Tribalism


Anti-Japanese Tribalism, Bungei Shinju Publishers Inc.
By Lee Yeong-hoon et al.

December 4, 2019

Anti-Japanese Tribalism was published in July, 2019 by Miraesa (Seoul) and became a bestseller, selling more than 130,000 copies up to the end of October. The Japanese-translated version was published by Bungei Shunju Publishers, Inc., (Tokyo) on November 15. It also became a bestseller, selling more than 300,000 copies.
What Mr. Lee means by tribalism is South Korea’s failure to form a civil society. In other words, Korean nationalism has not progressed beyond hostility between tribes in a world where only the strong survive. Korean anti-Japanese sentiment has no connection whatsoever with healthy nationalism; it is a tribalist sentiment that creates the Japanese as an imaginary enemy. The authors see through this exceedingly unscientific, exclusive ideology that positions Japan as a nation of absolute evil (a “nation of demons”), and Korea as one of absolute good (a “nation of angels”).
Lee Young-hoon writes about a Korean Supreme Court case in which the court ordered Nippon Steel to pay damages to former (allegedly exploited) conscripted workers in October 2018. Lee maintains that this was a civil case, pure and simple, and what really happened was that a Korean dormitory supervisor failed to hand over salary payments to Korean workers.
He adds, “I find it incredible that a case like this went all the way to the Supreme Court! Justices are not historians. They are only jurists who know nothing about the situation during the war.” Furthermore, “It never occurred to them that the plaintiffs might be lying. After all, they’ve been taught nothing but lies since childhood.”
At long last, conscientious Korean historians have risen up to reveal the truth about their country’s past.

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MOTEKI romichi, Acting Chairman
for KASE Hideaki, Chairman
Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact