Friday, March 25, 2011

Japanese and allies opions about Korea

Andre Schmid's Korea Between Empires, 1895-1919 gives a description:

...the colonial authorities sought to disseminate to the West the rationale for their growing Asian empire... To this end, an elaborate propaganda campaign was launched by the Resident General Office and, after 1910, continued by the Governor General Office. For a Japanese-speaking colonial administration seeking to gain the West's support for its endeavors in Korea, this plunged the office into the task of preparing foreign-language materials about its endeavors. It's premier series, begun in 1907, was a glossy yearbook written in English entitled Annual Report on the Progress and Reforms in Korea, a less than subtle promotion of colonialism. During the first decade of publication, the yearbooks' format was a "before and after" presentation offering explanatory, pictorial, and statistical evidence of changes Japan had made on the peninsula since establishing the Protectorate. This approach could be applied to almost any topic, from hygiene to road systems, with the contrast achieved through the judicious choice of adjectives. Accordingly, the peninsula's financial condition before annexation was in the "wildest confusion," and expenditures were "wasted to no purpose". But after Japan's reforms, the foundation of Korea's finances was "firmer," and details of how these achievements had been accomplished were buttressed by reams of statistics. This contrastive effect was also captured in photographs, as in the case of two pictures of the Han River south of Seoul. A photograph of a bridge built under the new Japanese administration was placed next to a second photograph showing a few boats moving back and forth across the river, labeled "before the construction of the Iron Bridge."[emphasis added]

Korea's Fight For Freedom":
Then Japan sought to make the land a show place. Elaborate public buildings were erected, railroads opened, state maintained, far in excess of the economic strength of the nation. To pay for extravagant improvements, taxation and personal service were made to bear heavily on the people. Many of the improvements were of no possible service to the Koreans themselves. They were made to benefit Japanese or to impress strangers. And the officials forgot that even subject peoples have ideals and souls. They sought to force loyalty, to beat it into children with the stick and drill it into men by grueling experiences in prison cells. Then they were amazed that they had bred rebels. They sought to wipe out Korean culture, and then were aggrieved because Koreans would not take kindly to Japanese learning. They treated the Koreans with open contempt, and then wondered that they did not love them.

One important factor is discussed in Korea's Fight For Freedom (1920), where F.A. McKenzie wrote this of Japan's actions in the years immediately prior to Korea's annexation:
They had carefully organized their claque in Europe and America, especially in America. They engaged the services of a group of paid agents--some of them holding highly responsible positions--to sing their praises and advocate their cause. They enlisted others by more subtle means, delicate flattery and social ambition. They taught diplomats and consular officials, especially of Great Britain and America, that it was a bad thing to become a persona non grata to Tokyo. They were backed by a number of people, who were sincerely won over by the finer sides of the Japanese character. In diplomatic and social intrigue, the Japanese make the rest of the world look as children. They used their forces not merely to laud themselves, but to promote the belief that the Koreans were an exhausted and good-for-nothing race.

At any rate, after undertaking a great deal of pioneering research in the field of psychology, and retiring from Yale, Ladd and his wife made their third trip to Japan in 1906. On the first page of his book, Ladd tells two stories related to the Russo-Japanese War he heard while en route to Japan, and explains why he's telling them:

...they are repeated here because they illustrate the code of honor whose spirit so generally pervaded the army and navy of Japan during their contest with their formidable enemy. It is in reliance on the triumph of this code that those who know the nation best are hopeful of its ability to overcome the difficulties which are being encountered in the effort to establish a condition favorable to safety, peace, and prosperity by a Japanese protectorate over Korea.

While the first page alone already gives the reader a pretty clear idea of how he feels about Japan regarding its relationship with Korea (in fact, Burgeson characterizes the book as "an answer in search of a question, one in which the author's mind about his subject has been fixed at the outset, and refuses to open itself to any changes or new discoveries."), he goes on to explain that while he had planned to lecture on philosopy and psychology, as he had done on his previous trips in 1892 and 1899,

The thought of seeing something of the "Hermit Kingdom" (a title, by the way, no longer appropriate) had been in our minds before leaving America, only as a somewhat remote possibility. Not long after our arrival in Japan the hint was several times given by an intimate friend, who is also in the confidence of Marquis Ito, that the latter intended, on his return in mid-winter from Seoul, to invite us to be his guests in his Korean residence.

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