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Assassination, Abduction and Normalisation: Historical Mythologies and Misrepresentation in Post-War South Korea-Japan Relations

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Early relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) were critically shaped by three decisive events: diplomatic normalization in1965, the 1973 abduction of opposition politician Kim Dae-jung from Japan and the attempted assassination of President Park Chunghee in 1974. These events have remained controversial, not least because much of the detailed information surrounding them has been classified. Prompted by the partial declassification initiatives of the Roh Moon-hyun administration, this article relies on recently released archival material and new scholarship in Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom to consider the extent to which difficulties in the bilateral relationship were a product of traditional patterns of historical animosity, and to assess the role of the United States in bringing the contending parties together. In the process, the article critically considers the persuasiveness of international relations theory in making sense of changes in the post-war Korea-Japan relationship.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group series.

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