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How Japan Affected Korean Culture during 1910-1930

Published onApr 29, 2022
How Japan Affected Korean Culture during 1910-1930


Korea and Japan are close geographically however, there were a lot of historical troubles until now. From 1910, Korea experienced colonial rule for thirty six years until 1945. Since Korea was a colony of Japan for thirteen six years, Korean culture is affected by Japanese culture a lot in a few aspects. Especially Korea is affected in these three areas: education, politic, society. Japanese government tried to make Korea similar to Japan in all areas. Even the streets and buildings in Korea are also very similar to Japan and the overall atmosphere of Korea is similar to Japan. Colonization brings benefits to a country's economy and it makes more easy developing countries change developed countries. However it brings fatal damages to citizens such as victims of forced labor and comfort women. As a result of Japanese colonial rule in Korea, not only a lot of Korean people were killed by Japan but also a lot of Japanese people were also damaged.


Japanese focused on educating the Korean young generation in a Japanese way. Most of the education from elementary school to highschool were processed and taught by Japanese teachers and the schools which were built by Japan. The goal of education to Korean students was to train loyal Korean nations as Japanese colonies. Japan wanted to train a lot of obedient Korean citizens for the Japanese government. Every education was focused on Japanese culture and Japanese teachers empathized with ‘Naisen ittai’ ideology. This ideology emphasizes that the relationship between Korea and Japan is older brother - younger brother. The reason why Japan empathized with this ideology on the education of young Koreans. They wanted to assimilate Korean ethnicity into Japanese ethnicity. If Korean people have the same ethnicity as Japanese, it is easier to manage citizens and Korea will be colonized more easily and early so that Japan can save a lot of costs from war. Thus, Korean students should learn about Japan and they should use Japanese language in school. In addition, every morning at the same time, every school in Korea should have time for worship and salute to the Japanese emperor. Since, Japanese emperor was in Tokyo, people should salute toward Tokyo. Every morning usually Korean people should salute toward the east.


Korean politics was affected by Japan changing the structure and increasing the rate of Japanese public workers. There was a Korean royal family and the Korean emperor ruled Korea even during the colonial period. However, There was nothing the Korean emperor could do for citizens. The Korean emperor was a formal king for citizens, he could not intervene in policies for Koreans. The main role that the last Korean emperor could do was that he delivered the new policies which were determined by the Japanese government to Korean citizens. Since the Japanese government already knew that Korean citizens had a very critical opinion to the policies which were made by the Japanese government, they did not make a new announcement through the Japanese government directly to Korea. Japan let the Korean emperor announce new policies or let him encourage or prize Korean citizens for doing the right things which would bring benefits to the Japanese government.

1910s - 1940s was the ‘Era of Chaos’ for Japan. In this age, Japan was attracted to strong imperialism so that they made a lot of colonies. Since, Japan is an island they wanted to expand toward the land, they started to invade China, Taiwan and Korea. Invading and making colonies in Japan and Korea had meaning to the Japanese as they expanded and built new roads to land. From the 1920s, Japanese annihilation started and Japanese colonial rule was getting more stronger in especially early 1920.


 Japan built a lot of public institutions such as hospitals, schools, and gyms. Japan built the first modern bank in Seoul, Korea. That building was built following modern architecture style. This building was built and opened in 1909 for a Japanese bank. In addition, it has significant meaning since it is the first modern style building in Korea. This bank was operated until 1945 then after Korea's independence from Japan, the Korean government used it as a Korean bank until 1987.

Japan also built the first huge station in Seoul in 1930. This station was a central station in Seoul, and it was an important place. A lot of Korean and Japanese people were gathering in this central station and it was a huge place of meeting.Tokyo station were affected by Japanese Meiji architecture style. Almost all modern buildings in Seoul were built during 1910-1930, at this time. In the 1920s, Japanese architects followed western architecture so that they built a lot of western style architecture. These western style architectures which Japanese architects built are called the Meiji architecture style. For this reason, a lot of Meiji style modern buildings were built in 1910 - 1930 in Korea.

The first huge department store also built by Japan in 1923 in Seoul. That department store was the most huge department store in Seoul and it’s name was ‘Mitsukoshi’ when it was built and opened for the first time. Mitsukoshi was a luxury department store at that time and it was famous among both Japanese and Korean women. Japan built this modern department store to increase and advance sales of Japanese brands in Korea.

After Independence

As time has changed from the modern era after independence to until now, there has been a lot of evaluation and discussion about the question that ‘Is the colonization history brings more damages or benefits to Korea?''In addition, Korea achieved rapid economic growth with great city systems such as school and expressway during colonization, however, a lot of problems and victims still exist now. Colonization can brings and developments to country's economy however it brings fatal damages to humans. As a result of Japanese colonial rule in Korea, not only a lot of Korean people were killed by Japan but also a lot of Japanese people were also damaged. Even though the economy has grown up, the mental damage in mental health for colonization victims can’t be healed. 


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