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  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

Ruptures and Conflicts in the Colonial Power Bloc: The Great Keijo Plan of the 1920s

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2008, v.48 no.3, pp.10-40
https://doi.org/10.25024/kj.2008.48.3.10

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Abstract

Seoul, a 500-year-old historical city, experienced a rapid transformation after the Russo-Japanese War from the traditional capital of the Joseon dynasty to a colonial city of the Japanese Empire, resulting in the establishment of Gyeongseong (Keijo), the capital city of the colonial Korean peninsula, in 1914. Initially, the city of Keijo took on an hourglass shape as a dual colonial city that juxtaposed two opposing pairs: the contrast between the northern town (Bukchon; the old residences of the colonized Koreans) and the southern town (Namchon; the newly-built residences composed mainly of Japanese settlers) in the downtown area as well as the contrast between the old town and the new one built around the Japanese military compound in Yongsan. Entering the 1920s, the discussion between the Japanese Government-General in Korea and Japanese residents in Seoul as to how to develop Gyeongseong became more pronounced. The Former pursued the “northern advance” with the aim of developing Seoul as a colonial administrative center, whereas the latter sought development centered on both the Namchon and Hangang river, in order to develop Seoul as a commercial city. Debates over the Great Keijo Plan arose centered around two controversial issues: whether the northern or southern areas of Seoul should be developed as well as how to secure the financial resources for the deveopment. These debates exemplify the rupture and conflicts in the colonial urban power bloc, which was comprised of plural agents concerning the colonial urban transformation.

keywords
Seoul colonial city colonial modernization urban planning urban history historical city urban space Japanese imperialism colonial power

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