February 01, 2010 13:00
Two more kinds of royal texts from the Chosun Dynasty have been discovered in the archives of Japan's Imperial Household Agency. Korea's Cultural Heritage Administration on Sunday said an investigation of looted national treasures confirmed that 375 books, including Confucian teachings as well as medical and military texts and 17 volumes of books used to teach former kings are held by the Japanese archives, which already have a collection of royal protocols called the Uigwe.
Park Sang-kook, the head of the Korea Cultural Heritage Research Institute, who researched classical Korean books held there, said the Uigwe was looted by the Japanese occupiers in 1922 but the exact route of theft of the newly-discovered texts remains unclear. "But it appears that officials in the Japanese colonial administration personally looted them and later donated them to the archives," Park added.
Kim Hong-dong, director of international exchanges at CHA, said, "This year marks the 100th year since Japan annexed Korea, and we are considering asking the Japanese government to return all of the texts that were looted including the Uigwe."
Japan's daily Asahi Shimbun on Sunday said the texts date back to the early days of the Chosun Dynasty and include medical documents similar to those designated as national treasures. "Korea is expected to increase demands for the return of its royal texts," it added. In December 2006, the National Assembly passed a resolution demanding the return of the Uigwe, and the request was made during a bilateral summit in April 2008.
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