• Kyodo

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A retired high school teacher from Saga Prefecture has translated a portion of a South Korean history textbook into Japanese and recently published it at his own expense.

Masaaki Fujii, 60, from the town of Genkai, said he wanted to let Japanese know how relations with Japan are taught in neighboring countries.

He translated and published the modern and contemporary history sections of the textbook, which is authorized by the government and used in South Korean high schools.

The textbook says in the preface that the purpose of learning history is “to design for the future properly by correctly recognizing the present through understanding the past.”

Among topics covered in the translated text is Korean resistance to Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

Since retiring as a teacher at age 56, Fujii has been studying the Korean language and history.

Fujii said South Korean history textbooks are written like academic papers, and the aspiration for peaceful reunification of the two Koreas is a key theme through which historical topics are viewed.

Relations between Japan and South Korea have been strained by the Japanese government’s approval in April of history textbooks that critics say gloss over Japan’s wartime aggression in Asia. The textbooks include one compiled by a group of nationalist historians.

Seoul has called on Tokyo to revise the textbooks, and contacts at a regional level between Japan and South Korea have also been affected.

The Japanese government says it has no plans to revise them because they have been approved after normal screening procedures.

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