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Taiwan And Korea Differently Treated By Japan History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Japan was a country with strong military force, with great force came with a wild ambition, an ambition to take over the the world. In the past decades Japan had colonized many countries, some countries are now still belong to Japan, for example Okinawa. And there are some other countries that made it to freedom after Japan raised the white flag in World War Two. Taiwan and Korea, two asian countries Japan had taken and made as its colony. Korea, on one side, has a rich culture background and practices, and on the other side, Taiwan, an island previously colonized by China’s Qing dynasty. Both countries experienced Japan’s colonization, for thirty years Japan occupied Korea, and for fifty years Taiwan was taken by Japan, setting a scar in people whom suffered the horrible experiences, the outcome is still now haunting the nations. But was the result of the colonization of Taiwan and Korea just pure negative? Perhaps, in a way, the colonization “improved” them; by taking over the country, Japan enhanced its trade with foreign countries, introduce modern technology, or even educated their people more openly. Korea and Taiwan, did Japan treat one country more harshly than the other? One easier to taken over than the other? As the people of the colony, how did they see their colonizer, Japan?

Japan had thoughts about colonizing Taiwan since 1592, several attempts to invade Taiwan was unsuccessful. Japan had the power, all it was missing was luck. After the victory of the First Sino-Japanese War, Japan and China signed the Treaty of Shimonseki, in 17 April 1895, not only Japan received a generous offer of 200 million Kuping taels as reparation, and made the Korea independence(which in a way means giving Korea to Japan) ; Taiwan, along with the Penghu Islands were also given to Japan “in perpetuity. This was the starting margin of the 50 years long colonial period.

Japan had wanted to invade Korea since Hideyoshi came to power, he led the newly unified Japan into the fist invasion, in 1592, with the goal of conquering China, India and Korea; It was a failure. Hideyoshi was not satisfied with the result of the first attack, and decided to attack Korea shortly after a year from the last defeat, a second wave of invasion was launched, this time it was aimed at Korea solely. The invasion was also known as the ” Seven Year War” (due to its span). With the aid from China, Korea successfully defeated Japan from invading. “Hideyoshi died in 1598, shortly after issuing the order for the evacuation of Korea,”(Japan pg81). After the last invasion, which ended in 1598, Korea enjoyed 312 years of peace without the Japanese invading. It wasn’t until the out come of the Russo-Japanese War, which lead to the signing of the Eulsa Treaty in 1905. This treaty effect made Korea a dominion of Japan, permanently. Another treaty was signed between the Empire of Japan and the Korean Empire named The Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty in 1907, which made Korea protectorate of Japan, this treaty limited Japanese power over Korea by assigning high ranking officials. It wasn’t until the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty 1910, Japan had complete control over Korea.

Japan wanted to “Japanize” all its colonies, this is known as the “Kominka Movement” this made the colonists “inferior Japanese citizens”, they don’t have rights like the “real Japanese citizens.

Why did the Taiwanese followed and accepted the “Kominka Movement”, but the Koreans resisted till death?

Towards the end of World War Two, the spirt of Japanese colonial mobilization, known as the Kominka, had wiped out Korea and Taiwan’s traditional language, name, and culture; it scarred both nations for life.

As the “imperial national citizen”(皇臣民) of Korea and Taiwan, they were forced to pray in the Shinto shrine, instead of their traditional believe. Every morning students had to sing the “Oath of the Imperial National Citizen”(皇國臣民的誓詞). The whole purpose of making “imperial national citizen” was to ensure that there will be a source for supporting the Japan’s military power.

During the Japanization, native speaking language was abolished, instead, all the textbooks and the teachings are now synchronized with Japan, officially put an end to the use of Mandarin Chinese and Korean, forcing them to speak Japanese only. The odd thing was, why did Taiwanese comfortably followed, where as the Koreans strongly rebelled against it? For example. In 1942, a the Koreans secretly organized the “Korean Language Association”, it was developing the “Korean Dictionary”, the organization had approximately 30 members, all of them were arrested for ” violation of the Law of Order”. If we look back in history, Taiwan had been a colony of many countries long before the Japanese. It was first colonized by Dutch in 1624, in 1622 Kingdom of Donging, 1683 to 1895 Qing, then starting from 1895, Japan. Where as Korea, it was never a colony until 1910 when Japan colonized it. In a way we can say that Taiwan, was used to being colonized, but Korea, since it was it’s first time, an unwilling behavior lead to a strong rebellion.

Another act by the Japanizaion, or “imperial national movement”(皇民åŒ-運動), to its colony was the change of name. Both Taiwanese and Japanese were to change their name, from a usual three character name, to a Japanese style, usually length from three to four words. The Japanese government call it “Arbitrary rename”, which means you can change you’re name freely according to you will, but in reality, people were forced to change their name. By changing the name style, it was a step for Korea and Taiwan to give up their root, and officially become a Japanese nation.


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