I’ve just finished reading this book “Korea and Her Neighbors”. This book is just a great book. Anyone.. anyone who are interested in Korea and her history MUST read.
Read it(only parts of the book)
If you’ve only learned Korean history in Korea, you’ll be shocked to death for sure. Korean version of this book is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to get in South Korea due to political/historical reason. Korean government has been lying to Korean nationals about some sensible historical facts such as true relationship between China and Korea.
Also she wrote “Unbeaten Tracks in Japan”. If you are interested, read on full text here.
Here is a quote from “Korea and her neighbors”.
.. it must be remarked in connection with education in Korea that so lately as the close of 1896 a book, Called Confucianist Scholars’ Handbook of Latitudes and Longitudes, had been edited by Sin Ki Sun, Minister of Education, prefaced by two Councilors of the Education Department, and published at Government expense, in which the following sentences occur：－
P．52：”Europe is too far away from the centre of civilization, i.e. the Middle Kingdom； hence Russians, Turks, English, French, Germans, and Belgians look more like birds and beasts than men, and their language sound like the chirping of fowls.”
Again：”According to the views of recent generations,what westerners call the Christian Religion is vulgar, shallow, and erroneous,and is an instance of the vileness of barbarian customs, which are not worthy of serious discussion….
They worship the heavenly spirits, but do not sacrifice to parents, they insult heaven in every way, and overturn the social relations. This is truly a type of Barbarian vileness, and is not worth of treatment in our review of foreign customs, especially as at this time the religion is somewhat on the wane．
“Europeans have planted their spawn in every country of the globe except China．All of them honor this religion(!), but we are surprised to find that the Chinese scholars and people have not escaped contamination by it.”
On p.42 it is said: “Of late the so-called Ye Su Kyo（Christianity）has been trying to contaminate the world with its barbarous teachings. It deceives the masses by its stories of Heaven and Hell: it interferes with the rite of ancestral worship, and interdicts the custom of bowing before the gods of Heaven and Earth. These are the ravingd of a disordered intellect, and are not worth discussing.”
P.50: “How grand and glorious is the Empire of China, the Middle Kingdom! She is the largest and richest in the world. The grandest men of the world have all come from the Middle Empire.”
This is the typical Sinocentrism/사대주의(事大主義)/Flunkeyism that had poisoned Korea for a long long time. This is the thing Fukuzawa wrote about Korea in the “Datsu-A Ron”.