Dealing with a Difficult Past: Japan, South Korea and the UNESCO World Heritage List

  • Ioan Trifu
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Cultural Heritage and Conflict book series (PSCHC)


This chapter explores the ways in which contested colonial heritage leads to cultural contestation between Japan and South-Korea. On May 4 2015, Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs announced that it would recommend parts of its late nineteenth-century industrial sites to be placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. These sites symbolised Japan’s swift economic and political development towards a superpower, challenging Western nations. The South-Korean government was quick to point out that Korean civilians did forced labor at these industrial sites during the Second World War. As such, Korean government felt that Japan ignored its feelings about the shared colonial past, leading to political conflict between the two states


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ioan Trifu
    • 1
  1. 1.Goethe University FrankfurtFrankfurt am MainGermany

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