March 19, 2007 08:38
Education authorities in Montgomery County, Maryland will strike from a list of recommended books a novel describing abuses of fleeing Japanese at the hands of Koreans at the end of World War II. The Montgomery County Board of Education informed the Korean Embassy in the U.S. and Korean-American organizations that it has removed “So Far From the Bamboo Grove”, an autobiographical novel by Japanese-American Yoko Kawashima Watkins, from the list since it contains inaccurate history and distorted descriptions of Koreans.
Schools in the county will no longer be able to use the novel as a textbook and no more public libraries in the region will purchase the book. The Montgomery Education Board became the first U.S. local education authority to reject the novel, though some U.S. private schools and one public school in New York have voluntarily decided to boycott it.
Many of the 34 middle schools in Montgomery County and nearby Washington D.C., including North Bethesda and Shady Grove, have used the novel as an English textbook for sixth graders. Kwon Tae-myun, the consul general in Washington D.C., hailed the decision as a victory for Korean-American parents and organizations, and predicted it would set a precedent for other local education authorities.
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