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Delayed Reconciliation and Transitional Justice in Korea

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Three Levels of Conditions for National Reconciliation

image of Asian Journal of Social Science

The Jeju April 3rd Incident of 1948, which resulted in the largest number of casualties in modern Korean history other than in war, was a national tragedy. The complexity of the incident and its importance in Korean history explain the failure to discuss it publicly until the late 1980s. For this reason, existing studies have largely focused on uncovering the truth about this incident. Even though national reconciliation is an important topic in South Korea, a more structured study from a transitional justice perspective has not been undertaken of this violent event that led to a divided country. Thus, this study provides a theoretical framework for the conditioning of the institutionalisation, national narratives and psychological healing that are required to establish national reconciliation. The paper, then, applies this framework to the Jeju April 3rd Incident. Finally, it evaluates the limitations and challenges of national reconciliation in South Korea.

Affiliations: 1: Korea University


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