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Acta Koreana is published semi-annually on June 15 and December 15 by Academia Koreana, Keimyung University.
 
 
Title THE INVENTION OF TAEKWONDO TRADITION, 1945–1972: WHEN MYTHOLOGY BECOMES ‘HISTORY’
 
Author
UDO MOENIG and KIM MINHO
Volume Vol. 19 No. 2
Pages pp. 131~164 (all 34 pages)
Publication Date DECEMBER, 2016
Keyword taekwondo history, invention of tradition, hwarang, martial arts, Korean nationalism
Abstract Taekwondo’s popular, historical narrative presents an excellent example of nationalistic attitudes in South Korean society toward portraying historical accounts in a favorable light, regardless of empirical evidence. This article explores various historical accounts regarding the origins of taekwondo, as presented by early taekwondo pioneers. After Korea’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule, taekwondo’s earliest and most central historical source became the hwarang myth, which dominated, due to its promotion by the government as a symbol of South Korea’s military might, martial traditions, and nationalism. Only over time, did a variety of additional events result in an ‘official’ martial arts narrative for taekwondo. By 1971, the accounts became consolidated and unified with taekwondo’s emergence as an internationally known Korean national sport, with all references to foreign influences omitted from the official record. This article demonstrates how the creation of taekwondo’s historical narrative represents a classic case of, ‘the invention of tradition.’
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