The Formation of the Memories of Economic Development in North and South Korea


  • Natalia Matveeva


memory formation, colonial legacy, economic development, South Korea, North Korea


This article focuses on the state-sanctioned and state-led formation of memories related to economic development in the service of post-colonial nation-building. Looking at North and South Korea in the 1940s through the 1960s as a case study, it examines the different strategies utilized by the “pedagogical states” on opposite sides of the Cold War divide to create in the national consciousness a lasting historical myth, in this case – the myth that both countries’ economic development was truly national and had no relation to their former metropole Japan. Based on primary sources, including public speeches by North and South Korean leaders and archival documents, this article explores the importance of public historical education to the formation of memories related to economic development, ways of achieving that, and the role played by nationalism in each country as the memories were formed. Finally, it assesses the role of public historical education in nation-building, its longterm efficacy, and its influence on the present day.

DOI: 10.14712/23363231.2023.4