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Colonial Rule and Social Change in Korea 1910-1945

edited by Yong-Chool Ha, Hong Yung Lee, and Clark W. Sorensen

Publication Year: 2013

Published by: University of Washington Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-7


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pp. 8-9

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pp. ix-xi

This book has had an unusually long history from its inception to its publication. Scholarly attention has long been directed at Japan's experiences with rapid economic development; in the 1990s, increasing evidence of South Korea's remarkable economic success, combined with widespread scholarly interest in Japan's colonization of Korea, resulted in a trend towards attributing...

List of Illustrations

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pp. xii-2

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Introduction: A Critique of “Colonial Modernity”

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pp. 3-38

It is not surprising that people who have been colonized often view their colonial past in ways that are diametrically opposite to those of the colonizers. Despite Japan’s official apology for their annexation of Korea, Japanese rightists have continued to insist that colonialism played a positive role in Korean history. Colonialism transformed Korea “from a potentially degenerate kingdom...

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1. Colonial Rule and Social Change in Korea: The Paradox of Colonial Control

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pp. 39-75

Studies of Japanese colonial rule (1910–45) in Korea have long been preoccupied with the economic impact of both development and exploitation. Important as the economic issues may be, the debates have preempted equally important efforts to understand the nature of social changes that occurred during colonial rule. This chapter is an attempt to create a bridge between...

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2. Politics of Communication and the Colonial Public Sphere in 1920s Korea

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pp. 76-113

The first decade 1910–19, of Japanese rule in Korea was a period of military rule (budan seiji) during which Koreans did not have any political freedom or liberties. Japan’s colony of Chōsen was outwardly tranquil, and it seemed that the status quo could be perpetuated without much difficulty. However, in the spring of 1919, the March First movement broke out. This national independence...

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3. Expansion of Elementary Schooling under Colonialism: Top Down or Bottom up?1

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pp. 114-139

Prior studies of the process of structuring elementary education under colonial rule have mostly focused on the analysis of how colonizers handled education policies in the colonized country. While in the case of Korea it is important to identify the elements of Japanese education policy that were adopted, we will focus here on the even more important question of the reaction of the Korean...

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4. National Identity and Class Interest in the Peasant Movements of the Colonial Period1

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pp. 140-172

Understanding Japanese colonialism in Korea is essential not only for reconstructing Korea’s historical experience, but also for understanding the current functioning of contemporary Korean society, which has been considerably conditioned by its colonial legacy. Social distortions in the everyday life of Korean people today are often attributed to the malicious heritage of the...

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5. The 1920 Colonial Reforms and the June 10 (1926) Movement: A Korean Search for Ethnic Space1

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pp. 173-205

On April 26, 1926 Sunjong (1873–1926), the last emperor of the long Chosŏn Dynasty (1392–1910), quietly passed away at the age of fifty-three. He had served three years as emperor (1907–10) and sixteen years as “king” following his demotion by the Japanese colonial authorities in 1910. The Japanese colonial government quickly announced June 10 as the day that the ex-monarch...

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6. Japanese Assimilation Policy and Thought Conversion in Colonial Korea

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pp. 206-233


An early definition of thought conversion (K. chŏnhyang; J. tenkō 轉向)1 was framed through the collective studies of thought conversion in 1959. At that time, thought conversion was defined as “the change of thought as a result of power forcibly exerted.”2 This definition is too broad to indicate if thought conversion is specific to any specific time period or geographic region, for...

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7. “Colonial Modernity” and the Hegemony of the Body Politic in Leprosy Relief Work

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pp. 234-263

In recent studies of the colonial history of East Asia, the consensus that colonial reality cannot be understood as a simple, colonizer-colonized dichotomy, but only in more complex structures has made significant progress. Tani Barlow argues that the category of “colonial modernity”1 is a useful innovation for grasping a complex reality and for historicizing “the detritus of the...

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8. Colonial Body and Indigenous Soul: Religion as a Contested Terrain of Culture

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pp. 264-313

Focusing on the experiences of a colonized people and their ways of remembering the past, this chapter aims to reconsider the issues of the colonization of consciousness and the consciousness of colonization among Koreans during the Japanese occupation. Through a reconstruction of the historical process in which the Japanese colonialists destroyed the cultural system of the colonized...

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9. The Korean Family in Colonial Space—Caught between Modernization and Assimilation

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pp. 314-334

After Korean liberation in 1945, two powers with different agendas immediately occupied the Korean peninsula. In the North, the Soviet Union facilitated a revolutionary transformation of Korean society designed to free Koreans from feudal (ponggŏnjuŭijŏk) social and class relations. This required the elimination of authoritarian family ties founded on male control...


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pp. 335-363

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pp. 364-366

HONG YUNG LEE is currently professor of Political Science at the University of California–Berkeley. His research areas of interest include the domestic politics of China and Korea and political economy and international relations in East Asia. He authored Politics of Chinese Cultural Revolution (1978) and From Revolutionary Cadres Party Technocrats in Socialist China (1991) and edited Korean...


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pp. 367-379

E-ISBN-13: 9780295804491
E-ISBN-10: 0295804491
Print-ISBN-13: 9780295992167
Print-ISBN-10: 0295992166

Page Count: 391
Publication Year: 2013

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Korea -- History -- Japanese occupation, 1910-1945.
  • Korea -- Social conditions -- 1910-1945.
  • Social change -- Korea -- History -- 20th century.
  • National characteristics, Korea.
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