Updated Mar.20,2003 19:12 KST
by Lee Kyung-eun (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mizuno Shumpei, one of the most famous foreigners residing in Korea and well-known for his fluid use of the Jeolla province dialect on TV programs, has published a book in which he slams the way other Korean books slam the Japanese. In “A Critique of Lousy Books That Make Fools of Koreans,” he targets 34 Korean books, including novels, comic books, history books and collections of essays, exposing their flaws.
Mizuno acknowledges that he was aggressive in his approach, and that many Koreans may be offended by his book. But he said he wrote it to correct misperceptions about Japan that he says are widespread in Korea.
“The books I criticize make Koreans self-satisfied and hinder them from overcoming their antipathies against Japan,” he said. “That’s because they have absolutely no in-depth analysis. These books fail to tell the reader what kind of nation Japan is; they convey a distorted perception.”
His book was first published in Japan in November 2001, under the title “Outbreak of Korea-Japan War”.
Mizuno came to Korea in 1990 after graduating from university in Japan, where he studied Korean. He got his Ph.D in Korean language and literature from Chonnam National University in Gwangju, where he is now a lecturer.
He said his next project would be a turning of the tables, criticizing books in Japan that present flawed portrayals of Koreans. “In Japan there are so many junk books on Korea – Koreans would never believe it,” he said. “My next goal is to carefully examine these books and write about them. I have collected many related publications and am reading three or four books every month. I hope my meticulous research will help both nations overcome their conflicts and their historical rift.”