Seoul / Bibliography
TODD, H. (2014) Assimilating Seoul: Japanese Rule and The Politics of Public Space in Colonial Korea, 1910-1945. Asia Pacific Modern. A Philip E. Lilienthal Book in Asian Studies (1st chapter)
In his book, “Assimilating Seoul“, Todd A. Henry proposes a new vision of the japanese occupation of Korea and more importantly the physical impact on the city of Seoul. Whereas all of the existing studies treating this period used top-down analysis, Todd A. Henry is studying its consequences on Korean history using the contrary scheme and based on studies of the public space and everyday life aspects.
“Assimilating Seoul” helps understanding how Japanese occupation shaped the city of Seoul. If Japan has developed most of the infrastructures of the capital and ensured it was to elevate Seoul at the level of international modern cities –
“the new colonial capital also served as a gauge for what Mochiji called the “country’s level of civilization” and its “barometer of culture.” Judging Keijō by these universal standards, he concluded that Korea was the most undeveloped country. To transform the capital into the most advanced and civilized city, Mochiji recommended that officials straighten and widen Keijō’s irregular and winding streets”
– it appears that the construction of the infrastructures started before the Japanese occupation and this period was more like a urban transition and revolution to serve the needs of Japanese expansion and permit the assimilation of the korean culture. “Assimilating Seoul” is revealing possible intersections between this political and sociological changes and the urban transformations of Seoul.