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Offspring of Empire

Koch'ang Kims and the Colonial Origins of Korean Capitalism 1876-1945

by Carter J. Eckert

Publication Year: 2014

Published by: University of Washington Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Preface to the First Edition

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pp. xi-xvi

South Korea's rose to global economic prominence in the last three decades is one of the great stories of out time and has captures the interest and imagination of scholars throughout the world. There is no need here to recite familiar statistics. Suffice it to say that we are...

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Preface to the 2014 Edition

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pp. xvii-xxvi

I frequently tell my bright and ambitious students, who are far too preoccupied with trying to plan and control their distant futures, that they should remain open to the possibilities and opportunities that chance may afford them in their lives. As an undergraduate at Lawrence College and later as a...

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Part I: The Rise of Korean Capitalism

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pp. 1-6

In 1876, on the eve of the Kanghwa Treaty that would open Korea's ports to international commerce, Min Tuho and Pak Munhoe were roughly the same age and were both residents of Kyonggi Province. Their relative positions in Yi (Choson) dynasty (1392-1910) society...

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1. Merchants and Landlords: The Accumulation of Capital, 1876 - 1919

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pp. 7-26

Imperialism came to Korea in the 1870s, but the old civilization did not immediately shrivel up and die. While the forms and patterns of capitalist society, as well as the technology, were now available for Korean adaptation, the actual growth of a Korean industrial bourgeoisie was nevertheless an evolutionary process. Ultimately it would...

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2. An Industrial Bourgeoisie: Transition and Emergence, 1919 - 45

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pp. 27-64

The year 1919 was in many ways a watershed in modern Korean history. It is best remembered today for its politics, for the idealism and unity of March First independence movement, when Koreans from all walks of life joined together in a massive nationwide protest against...

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Part II: The Patterns of Growth

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pp. 65-68

The growth of the Kyongsong Spinning and Weaving Company represented the pinnacle of Korean capitalist development before 1945. The company's achievements belie the common notion that the sprouts of capitalist growth, first seen in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries...

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3. Class and State: The Financial Nexus

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pp. 69-102

The focus here and in chapter 4 is on the Korean bourgeoisie's relationship with the colonial state. But it was the state, not the bourgeoisie, that set the basic terms of the relationship, and it is therefore with the state that we must begin. If Karl Wittfogel had studied Korea instead of China, he would...

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4. Class and State: Partners in Management

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pp. 103-126

The blurring of public and private spheres that we have found in Kyongbang's financial structure may also be seen in the actual management of the company. Even though Kyongbang was managed on a mundane level in the office and factory by its own board of directors...

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5. Between Metropole and Hinterland: The Acquisition of Raw Materials and Technology

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pp. 127-153

Fusion with the state was one conspicuous aspect of Korean capitalism during the colonial period. Another no less striking feature was the extreme dependence of Korean capitalism on the larger, more established capitalist firms based in Japan itself, and on the particular imperial...

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6. Between Metropole and Hinterland: The Quest for Markets

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pp. 154-187

Production in itself involves only expense. To transform debits into credits, production must be complemented by marketing, which involves two different though related areas. The first concerns the distribution channels through which any company sells its products. The...

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Part III: Class and Society

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pp. 188-190

Between 1919 and 1945 the Korean bourgeoisie developed a dense and wide-ranging web of ties with the colonial state and Japanese private capital that greatly helped to propel Korean capitalist growth. The bourgeoisie's relationship with Korean society, however, was far...

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7. "Without Any Trouble" : Capitalist Views and Treatment of the Working Class

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pp. 191-223

Andrew Grajdanzev has described colonial Korea's labor conditions as constituting a "paradise for Japanese industrialists."! He was not exaggerating. Although the Japanese were fond of characterizing the Korean worker as unambitious, physically and intellectually lazy, and...

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8. Class Over Nation: Naisen Ittai and the Korean Bourgeoisie

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pp. 224-253

While the public excoriation of Kim Yonsu in 1945 as a "vicious" factory owner underscored the anger and alienation that capitalist treatment of the working class had provoked during the colonial period, his being further denounced at the time as an "imperialist lackey"...

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Conclusion: The Colonial Legacy

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pp. 254-259

Korea's first great industrialization, begun modestly towards the end of World War I, expanded rapidly and dramatically in the 1930s after the Japanese seizure of Manchuria and the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War, only to be abruptly truncated by Japan's defeat in World...

Appendix 1. Protectorate and Colonial Administrations, 1905 - 45

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pp. 260-261

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Appendix 2. "Dying for a Righteous Cause: The Responsibility of Imperial Citizens Is Great"

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pp. 262-264

[In the past] I have continually been saying [this] to you in the classroom or as the occasion arose, and it is hardly necessary to say [it] again here and now, but [please bear with me]. On the one hand you have been exerting yourself in intellectual endeavors, and at the same time you have worked hard...


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pp. 265-338

Guide to Romanization

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pp. 339-358


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pp. 249-370


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pp. 271-388

E-ISBN-13: 9780295805139
E-ISBN-10: 0295805137
Print-ISBN-13: 9780295993881
Print-ISBN-10: 029599388X

Page Count: 430
Publication Year: 2014