VANK starts a global campaign that tells the world about a German museum that was built to reflect on German imperialism is in fact used as a propaganda tool for representing distortion on Korean history and Japanese colonialism.
On September 23, the “Humboldt Forum”, a museum in Berlin, Germany, with the meaning of reflecting on the days of German imperialism and reflecting on the history of looting by Germany on non-European countries, were opened on the site of the former Prussian royal palace. In order to express this meaning, the entire 3rd floor of the museum was filled with artifacts from African countries, where Germany had colonized.
In the recent opened Humboldt Forum, artifacts from Korea, China, and Japan, which were not colonies of Germany, are also exhibited here. However, the Korean Pavilion is only one-tenth the size of the adjacent Japanese and Chinese Pavilion, and it is causing a problem as the Korean Pavilion is introducing distorted perceptions regarding Korea.
In the Chinese Pavilion, various relics such as the throne of the Qing dynasty are displayed, and in the Japanese Pavilion, a model of a traditional tea house is displayed along with the relics in a large space. On the other hand, the Korean Pavilion is only 60 square meters, one-tenth the size of Chinese and Japanese Pavilion. If this is left alone, Korea will be perceived as a country without culture and relics in terms of the structure of the pavilion, and the forum can give distorted impression that Korean culture is only part of Chinese or Japanese culture.
What’s worse is that the description of the pavilion introduces Joseon’s ceramics and the Imjin War(1592-1598), a symbol of Japanese aggression, as if introducing Korean exhibits to represent Japan’s colonialist position.
While most relics in the Korean Pavilion are about Korean ceramics, the description explains as if a lot of Korean ceramics flowed into the forum because Japanese tea ceremony masters admired it. It also introduced that Japan took away Korean potters during the Imjin War.
This shows that the Humboldt Forum which was built to reflect on German imperialism is rather supporting and representing Japan’s history of invasion.
In particular, these issues related to the Korean Pavilion had already been noted at least 7 years ago, but the Forum opened as it is without any adjustment.
If the Forum is left alone, it could be a propaganda tool for representing Japanese colonialism, rather than reflecting on the wrongdoings of German imperialism.
Accordingly, VANK request the Humboldt Forum to solve problems regarding the limited space on its Korean Pavilion, and started a global campaign that the Korean Pavilion to be modified in accordance with the Forum’s purpose.
VANK created digital posters in English and Korean in order to raise our voice on the Forum’s neglection of its purpose.
The poster parodies as if it were introducing a special event for the opening of the Humboldt Forum, and it leads to a quiz about the purpose of the forum and leads to choose a correct answer.
The answer to the quiz is choice #1: to reflect on German imperialism, but the Forum has not abided by its aim, has represented Japanese colonialism, moreover, has supported the history of imperialism in East Asia. This is what the quiz is trying to emphasize.
Underneath shows a link where you can find the answer, and on this link, you amy find the Global Petition regarding the problem of the Humboldt Forum.
[Global Petition Link]
Recently, as the Korean Wave Hallyu has been well received around the world, with Korean drams taking the number one spot on Netflix worldwide, interest in Korea is now extending beyond popular culture to Korean history and culture.
In this situation, if we do not properly respond to German museum’s distorted historical awareness regarding Korea, Korean history distortion may spread more quickly along the Korean wave trend.
VANK is looking forward to Koreans around the world to actively tell the world citizens about this situation through Global Petition and Poster.
Special QUIZ EVENT
Which of the following best describes
the purpose of Humboldt Forum?
1) To reflect on German imperialism
2) To represent Japanese colonialism
3) To support imperialist era of East Asia
4) To disregard Korean history
Check your Answer