The Japanese Colonial Legacy In Korea Essay

713 Words 3 Pages
The Japanese Colonial Legacy In Korea


North and South Korea are nations that while filled with contempt for
Japan have used the foundations that Japan laid during the colonial period to
further industrialization. Japan's colonization of Korea is critical in
understanding what enabled Korea to industrialize in the period since 1961.
Japan's program of colonial industrialization is unique in the world.
Japan was the only colonizer to locate various heavy industry is in its colonies.
By 1945 the industrial plants in Korea accounted for about a quarter of Japan's
industrial base. Japan's colonization of Korea was therefore much more
comparable to the relationship between England and Ireland then that of European
colonization of Asia or
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For
many years the North had the fastest growth rates of the communist countries,
and its cities were on par with those of Eastern Europe. It was not until the
early 1970's that the South surpassed the North in levels of industrialization.
Because most of the heavy industrial plants were either located in North Korea
or destroyed by the Korean War the groundwork for industrialization that South
Korea received from Japanese colonialism consisted mostly of social changes.
During colonialism Korea's populace in increasing numbers moved to cities and
became urbanized these new urbanites worked in factories and were used to the
organization of modern commerce. The Japanese also let a small number of Koreans
develop into a semi-elite. Although this group never held powerful positions
many of them were educated in Japanese schools, and became either involved in
the military or worked as businessmen, bureaucrats, lawyers, and doctors. This
elite provided much of the leadership and framework for post World War Two
Korean Government in Korea. They had an intimate knowledge of Japanese companies,
language, organizational structure, and government.
The Korean elites that emerged after the liberation of 1945 and helped
steer Korea's economic policies under Park Chung Hee had an intimate knowledge
of Japan. Some of them like Park had been educated in Japanese schools, some had
worked for the Japanese, and nearly all of them spoke fluent Japanese. It was
this…

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