Seoul / Impact in Korea by the Japanese occupation

The colonization of Korea by the Japanese Empire starts from 1910 with the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty and ends in 1945.

First, Japan sent anthropologists to take photos of the Korean village as an “evidence” that Korea needed to be modernized (cf. Atkins, E. Taylor (2010). Primitive Selves: Korea in the Japanese Colonial Gaze, 1910-1945′. Berkeley: University of California Press). But then the subject of modernization and industrialization brought by the Japanese stay, still today, as a controversy between the North and South Korea with Japan. In fact, even if Japan helped the Korean economy to grow, where were going the real wealth? By that way, how is the impacts of this colonial period on Korea?

It is true that Korea knew some major changes in different field during the Japanese colonization period such as the education, the work and the daily life by the construction of new infrastructures.

But then those three areas can be discussed as their validity as an argument of being given, helpful and unavoidable by the Japanese. In fact, in the subject of the education, Japan erased all the previous organization with the schools that were run by missionaries. Even in private schools, the program taught had to be allowed by the government which led to a total control of the new generation. Korean who lived under the Japanese rules had to obey and by taking the authority of the education, they were taught basic principles in order to follow the ideology of the colonialism way of thinking.

Only after the liberation from the colonial rule that the level of the education starts to know a great increase. In 1960, almost 20% of Koreans had past the primary level and 56%, at least primary education.

Then, in the work area, Korea was principally a country based on the agriculture and the fishing. In 1910-15, 95.2% of the activity was in this field whereas there were only 3.5% in manufacturing. However, in 1940, there were 69.7% in agriculture and fishing while the manufacturing area, 22%. More than that the mining activity knew a real increase from 1.3% in 1910-15 to 8.3% in 1940.

By demonstrating this, the economic growth under the Japanese colonization is real but then if we look closer to the ownership of each activity such as metallurgy, chemicals, electrical and gas area and many other, we can notice that the Japanese hold more than 95% in it. So this rising the fact that the Korean population stayed without any formation in each area since the Japanese workers got the control of all. That explain why the Korean economy crashed after the Colonial period.

It is true that the Japanese colonization had a great impact on Korea in its growth in various areas. But then, all those improvement was made in order to serve the interest of a colonial point of view. So in long-range, it can’t be helpful when this come to an end.


Reference for percentages:

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