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Factors of Korea Becoming a Japanese Colony

The study of the history of a nation is impossible without a comprehensive study of historical events in the region, where the State is located. Historians that emphasize the study of national history, as a rule, try to define the specific features of the culture and lifestyle of a certain nation. But while no one would deny the role of an integrating world religions such as Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, have made their adjustments to the national culture of many countries. Thus, studying the history of a separate state, it must be a broader and deeper investigation, not only within the framework of any local events, but also in the national history of interaction with the surrounding world. Such a comprehensive study of national history in a regional history may reflect some phenomena that have characterized not only for individual nations, but also for their neighbors. Carrying out such a method of historical research will allow more to provide a picture of national culture in the global space and the role of national culture in world history.

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The relevance of the paper goes from the contemporary relationship between Korea and Japan. Others understand the Japanese and Korean problem of interaction of Korean and Japanese culture has become one of the reasons for the formation of the negative factors in the various fields of Korean-Japanese relations. Despite the visible processes of integration in East Asia in cultural, economic and political sphere, Japan and Korea are trying to preserve the status quo in the understanding and awareness of their own culture and the culture of its nearest neighbor. The Japanese side, looking at the traditional culture of Japan, stresses the identity of the Japanese nation, which lived evolved in the same natural environment, in the same space, in the same ethnic composition, without foreign invasions and the forced introduction of foreign elements.

Confrontations between the Korean and Japanese scholars in their own vision of the historical and cultural relationship between the two nations continued for a very long time, both parties do not intend to give up their points of view and, moreover, rely on the opinion of their opponent.

Thus, based on a very complex relationship between Korea and Japan, due to different visions of historical events in East Asia, there is need for an objective reflection of the history of Korean-Japanese relations in the socio-cultural aspects.

February 23, 1904 King Kodjon under the pressure from the Japanese signed the union treaty, which the Japanese commanders had received the right to occupy any point in the territory of Korea. In summer 1904, Japan imposed the Korean Government’s advisers on the financial, foreign and military affairs, in fact, usurped power in these departments. Later in the hands of the Japanese turned the management of post, telegraph, telephone. A reduced number of the Korean army and police, led by Japanese military officers have been placed. “Union treaty” led to the establishment in Korea, the Japanese military occupation (Eckert, 1991).

By mid-March, 1904 the total number of Japanese soldiers in Korea were more than 100 thousand people.

Russian-Japanese war finished with the defeat of Russia. According to Portsmouth treaty on the 5th of Sept, 1905 “Russia, Japan, recognized the overriding interests of the Korean political, military and economic, undertake the actions management, protection and supervision, Japanese government would honor necessary to take in Korea.” (Ch’oe, 2000)

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The ruling circles of the United States and England had the full support of Japan at the conclusion of the treaty of Portsmouth. July 29, 1905 there was a secret agreement between the United States military Minister H. Taft and Japanese Prime Minister Katsura T., in which the U.S. recognized Japanese interests in Korea, in return for recognition of the last American interests in the Philippines. August 12, 1905 was signed by the second Anglo-Japanese treaty. Having obtained the consent of the United States and Britain to establish a Japanese protectorate over Korea and making war with Russia in recognition of its interests in Korea, Japanese authorities decided to strengthen the pressure on the Korean government and persuade it to “voluntarily” signed the contract on the Protectorate.

Assistance in preparing and establishing a protectorate over Korea, had a Japanese ruling circles Society Ilchinhve, organization, uniting in its ranks of pro-Japanese Koreans configured. After the end of hostilities between Japan and Russia treacherous nature “Ilchinhve became apparent. 5 Nov., 1905 at the instigation of Japanese authorities, leaders of society and produced a declaration calling for the establishment of a Japanese protectorate over Korea. This declaration is used by the Japanese government in order to disseminate false assurances about the “strong desire of the Koreans the Japanese protectorate.” (Eckert, 1991)

Japan-Korean Treaty of November 17, 1905 was forced, under pressure from the Japanese prisoner of armed forces and there is every reason to believe the “contract” on the Protectorate, to which Japan invaded in their own hands the power in Korea illegally.

In January 1906 the Japanese consulate in Korea have been turned into vehicles of provincial residents who have been established in all the open ports, such as Seoul, Incheon, Busan, Wonsan, Chinnanpho, Masanpho and in provincial centers. While the former kept the administrative structure of local government: provincial governors, district chiefs in the districts and the mayor of Seoul, but all the local government was under strict Japanese control. Provincial Japanese residents received the right advisers Korean governors on all matters of local governance Korea. With the establishment of general occupation of Korea became a dual system of governance, in which the decisive role played residence apparatus.

In summer 1907 the emperor Kodjon tried to appeal to the great powers, and secretly sent a delegation to an international conference to The Hague, but also met the representatives of Western countries have refused to listen to the Korean mission.

April 10, 1909 in Tokyo held a secret meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Katsura, Foreign Minister Komura, and the general resident Ito and unanimously agreed that the annexation could only allow the Korean problem. July 6, 1909 at a meeting of the Japanese cabinet was made a formal decision on the annexation of Korea. People’s Movement and the anti-Japanese protests of Russia hindered Japan from carrying out its purpose, but the Japanese government systematically pursued a policy of gradual seizure of Korea (Ch’oe, 2000).

May 30, 1910 as a resident general in Korea, was appointed Terauti Masatake preserving them for the portfolio of military minister of Japan, representing the most warlike and aggressive of the Japanese cabinet. Jun 21, 1910  – decree of the Japanese emperor was a Colonial Office, which reports to Prime Minister and knew cases of Taiwan, Sakhalin, and Korea. This is a Japan Open Korea equated to their colonies.

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In mid-August 1910, General Terauti demanded the Prime Minister of Korea’s Lee Wan-Yong has already prepared to sign an agreement on the annexation. August 18, 1910 Lee Wan Yong gathered cabinet meeting, which raised the question of accession of Korea to Japan. All members Japanese-oriented government, except education minister Li Yong Sic, concurred. August 22, held a special meeting of members of the cabinet with the participation of the Korean Emperor and the oldest public figures. The meeting also adopted the conditions proposed by General Terauti. On the same day, Lee Wan-Yong, received credentials from the emperor signed a “contract” on the annexation of Korea. August 29, “the contract was issued. Under this” treaty “Korean emperor yielded to the Emperor of Japan” completely and forever” all power management Korea. Korea becomes a general-governor – part of the Japanese empire (Eckert, 1991).

Protectorate regime paved the way for enhanced economic, political and cultural expansion of Japanese imperialism. To force the implementation of development plans colonial Korea, it was necessary to resolve the staffing issue and attract labor from Japan. In September 1906 the Resident-General Ito Hirobumi issued “The sponsorship of migrants”, which contained the privileges and benefits in support of the Japanese colonization. In the five years from 1906 to 1910, the number of Japanese people has increased from 81.7 thousand to 171.5 thousand, ie twice the number of officials of government agencies has increased from 5037 to 22, 9 thousand people .

In the field of industry, Japanese policymakers adopted policies aimed at transforming Korea into an agrarian and raw-material appendage metropolis. The most actively developed the construction of transport communications, the creation of lines of telegraph and telephone communications, as well as the mining industry, that is, the industry had for Japan military-strategic importance. Using the Resident-General has taken administrative measures to control mining and to provide additional benefits and privileges of Japanese businessmen. During the Protectorate, Japan took the dominant position not only in the mining industry, but in the entire industry in Korea (Ch’oe, 2000).

Japanese governor-general had his hands full legislative, executive and judicial branches. In his conduct there is police, the gendarmerie, the courts, prisons and the armed forces. The Governor-General reports directly to the Emperor of Japan. Based on the regular army, gendarmerie, a network of police stations Japanese colonial authorities deprived the Koreans of basic political rights, banned the activities of any Korean national organizations. From the very beginning of the period of the Protectorate Japanese government set a target to take full control of educational institutions in Korea and to subjugate the education system. To achieve its objectives there were the following events.

First, the Japanese adviser in Hakpu assumed full leadership of the educational system, leaving the Korean minister for the duty to sign all orders and decrees.

Secondly, in all educational institutions, particularly government and public schools, teacher training colleges appointed by the Japanese teachers, who have been to determine all matters of teaching and educational process.

The third was a course for Japanese orientation of Korean schools; where as a compulsory subject from first to last class was introduced to Japanese language. Studying the Japanese language from 1 st to 4 th grade of elementary schools had the same importance as the home language or numeracy.

And fourthly, the content of schooling was defined to minimum knowledge and practical skills that get out of its graduates obedient and cheap working hands. Education of Korean students in the Japanese spirit was more important than the transfer of real knowledge.

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At the time, when Japan made Korea a colony, the development of capitalism, was still late. The objective of colonial rule, the western powers at that time had been the removal of resources or the use of their capital through indirect control. Japan does not have sufficient strength required for the management of Korea solely on the basis of a dominant position in a market economy. In the end, Japan remained the only resort to the direct management of its colony. As a result, the Japanese colonial rule was very brutal in comparison with the colonial rule of other powers.

Activities of the Japanese authorities on the land register, or did deprive the peasant masses of the earth, or relegate them to the situation of smallholders.

This meant the desire to make the Koreans Japanese, that is, the refusal to recognize the Korean culture and tradition. In the words enunciated assimilation, in fact, is being carried out ethnic discrimination.

The policy of the Japanese colonial authorities met resistance from the population and despite the strict control of the Japanese people at home and abroad, gaining independence movement.


Eckert Carter , Lee Ki-Baik , Lew Young , Robinson Michael , Wagner Edward W. , Korea Old and New: A History (Korea Institute), Harvard Korea Institute, 1991.

Ch’oe Yôngho,   Lee Peter H. , Bary Wm. Theodore de , Ch’ , Yôngho oe, Sources of Korean Tradition, Vol. 2: From the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Centuries,  Columbia University Press, 2000.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 29). Factors of Korea Becoming a Japanese Colony.

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StudyCorgi. "Factors of Korea Becoming a Japanese Colony." December 29, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Factors of Korea Becoming a Japanese Colony." December 29, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Factors of Korea Becoming a Japanese Colony'. 29 December.

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