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Korean War (1950-1953)

A textbook war divides South Korea

A textbook war divides South Korea

SEOUL — For years, the South Korean government and private Korean organizations have objected to Japanese textbooks that convey a rather sunny version of Japan's imperial and colonial history. Now a textbook controversy is turning Koreans against Koreans, and exposing deep divisions in Korean life.

All sides acknowledge that young South Koreans need some understanding of what's going on in North Korea, but how should high schools portray life on the other side of the border? Should they depict their neighbors as enemies or victims? Is objectivity even possible?

The government's National Institute of Korean History, convinced it's the arbiter, plans to replace existing...