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Hankooksinsa, a Korean Shrine, Was Also Destroyed

Posted March. 16, 2005 23:06,   


Distortion of historical facts by Japan seems to be always ongoing. This was the first feeling from the site of the disappeared Karakuni Shrine. It takes about an hour to reach this place by train from Matsue, the provincial seat of Shimane Prefecture. Hinomisaki Shrine is near the seashore of Izumo city. According to an old legend about the origin of the Hinomisaki Shrine, Susanoonomikoto, the brother of Amateras, the legendary founder of Japan, migrated there from the Korean Peninsula and settled down. Karakuni Shrine was originally in the precincts of Hinomisaki Shrine, but nothing remains now.

In the early 1970s, Korean-Japanese writer Kim Dal-su (1919-1997) wrote in his book, “The Korean Spirit Flowing in Japan,” after visiting the place, “What? Was Karakuni Shrine here?… Was Hinomisaki Shrine actually Karakuni Shrine? There are plenty of cases in which a main temple became a small temple within the pale of a shrine (a branch temple where gods who are closely related to the shrine are served) after the core temple had collapsed. In particular, it is highly possible that this shrine experienced the same situation since Hinomisaki Shrine was a place where the solar god was served like Shilla.

There is much evidence that shows the vigorous trading with not only Shilla but also Balhae and Goryeo in Shimane Prefecture. Also, there are 11 shrines, which contain the character “Han,” meaning the Korean Peninsula in the ancient times, which exist in Shimane including Karashima, Karakamishiragi, and Karakuniitate. However, Karakuni Shrine, which tells the fact that the origin of Japan in the old times may have been from the Korean Peninsula, has disappeared and was reduced to a branch shrine and nothing has remained as Kim saw. Korean-Japanese Kim Ho-su, who lamented the fact, restored the shrine in 1996 near the pale of the shrine, but it was so small and wretched that it was hard to see even the plate containing “Hankooksinsa” (meaning Korean shrine) in Chinese characters. The recent series of scandals of distortion of historic facts in Japan are nothing new. The case of Hankooksinsa also is just one of these cases. Moreover, it is also worrisome that the honest testimonies by relevant people to the shrine will someday disappear.

Hun-Joo Cho hanscho@donga.com