The legality of Japan’s “annexation” of Korea under international law is an issue which forms the starting point and foundation of the bilateral relations between Korea and Japan. Therefore, it has been the object of acute confrontation between the two states. The so-called Japanese legal responsibility for its colonial rule over Korea is directly affected by the answer to the issue. Theoretically speaking, this legality should be judged solely on the basis of the validity of the 1910 Annexation Treaty between Korea and Japan. However, discussions concerning this issue also cover the validity of a series of other treaties concluded in the process of Japanese plundering of the sovereignty of Korea from 1904 to 1910. The argument for the invalidity of these treaties relating to the “annexation" of Korea is grounded on two major points: firstly, the 1905 Treaty and the 1910 Annexation Treaty were concluded in coercion; and secondly, several of these treaties have formal and procedural defects. Examining the two points, this paper concludes that the treaties relating to the “annexation” of Korea borrowed the mere appearance of treaties and therefore cannot be deemed to be valid.
This research conducts a comparative analysis of the structure and characteristics of Taiwan and Joseon’s legislation systems under Japan’s colonial rule, which aims to examine the formation process and characteristics of this legislative power. Taiwan’s legislation system during the Japanese colonial period is represented by Article 63 of Law enacted in 1896, which weakened parliamentary procedures in Taiwan and ensured the dictatorial power of the Japanese Governor-General in Taiwan. The model of Japan’s colonial rule in Taiwan was introduced to Joseon. Katsura and Terauchi, who led Japan’s annexation of Korea, modified the model in ways that strengthened the governor’s political authority without interference from the Imperial Diet. They enacted a permanent law that delegated the legislative power of Joseon to the Governor-General of Joseon and considerably simplified legislative procedures. As a result, there were no institutional foundations in Joseon that could prevent the governor’s dictatorial power. In conclusion, the system of Japan’s colonial rule in Joseon became the institutional foundation that led to the authoritative and dictatorial characteristics of the Japanese colonial administration.
Methods of viewing colonial societies have been hotly debated in the academic circle at home and abroad since the second half of the 1980s. Current discourse on the topic is dominated by three perspectives: the colonial exploitation theory, the colonial modernization theory, and the colonial modernity theory. In recent years, scholars’ focal interests have gradually shifted to the colonial modernity theory. Research on colonial modernity stresses identifying “modernity” more than “coloniality” and tends to attach less importance to the issue of the nation in a colony (domination by a foreign tribe). Yet the issue of the nation is not something that can be overlooked in addressing colonial Korea. Many Japanese migrated to Korea immediately after the Russo-Japanese War, and their presence changed the colonial Korean society to a great extent. Japanese and Korean residents were separated in terms of area of residence, economic consumption, culture, education, and health service. This was largely due to a series of policies adopted by the Japanese Government-General in Korea to encourage Japanese to move to Korea, such as policies ensuring the same health and education services as available in the Japanese mainland. As a result, colonial Korean society turned into a dual society differentiated by a high class, majorly composed of Japanese and a handful of Koreans, and a low class, consisting of a great majority of Koreans and a few Japanese. In other words, colonial Korean society became a “multilayered dual society” where nation and class were complicatedly intertwined.
This paper attempts to contemplate the objectification and deobjectification of former colonies. It contains a critical examination of the three broad perspectives on this issue: the theory of colonial exploitation, colonial modernization, and colonial modernity. It also introduces the concept of the colonial-imperial regime, understanding the regime as an unequal and asymmetrical one in which discrimination and oppression were internally structured. The regime is not a single simple structure characterized by the relations between the controlling and the controlled, but a compound structure in which subjectivity is formed by organizing and arranging life, behaviors, and knowledge in a specific manner. Based on these concepts, this paper focuses on the peculiar case of writer Kim Sa-ryang. By studying his case, it is possible to learn how the colonial-imperial regime strove to segregate citizens from non-citizens and humans from non-humans so as to turn the latter two types into nonentities. The abject subject unveiled by delving into the person and works of Kim Sa-ryang can be described as a personage who is a living testimony to the sociopolitical order that affected segregation along those splitting lines while at the same time personifying a character who is the product of resistance against the forms of subjectification imposed by rulers.
There are two approaches to questioning the 100th anniversary since Japan’s annexation of Korea. One is to seek ways of overcoming colonialism by duly understanding the process of colonial domination from its outset through the present. Another approach is to position Japan’s annexation of Korea in current circumstances. This study has opted for the second approach. Over the past 100 years, conditions surrounding the matter of Japan’s colonial domination have noticeably changed. Above all, changes in the circumstances defining the relationships between Korea and Japan made inevitable the mention of colonial domination amidst other issues. From the Korean perspective, the fact that what was a single entity 100 years ago has been divided into two is the most fundamental change that has occurred. With this as a starting point, the current paper proposes to address three factors present in the 100 years following Japan’s annexation of Korea. First, the Japanese government’s apologetic statement for colonial domination is combined with the conception of an East Asian community. Second, the framework of perceiving the Korea-Japan relationship and the East Asian community should have a common ground. Lastly, the author also viewed the emergence of China as an essential reason for changes in order of the region in East Asia and the principal condition in defining the present state of affairs.
This research investigates achievements to settle the issues of the past in South Korea and its possible contributions to the East Asian history. Japanese colonial policy was dependent on compelling force, and the imperial policy was justified as the policy to make civilized East Asian nations. As for a look back at the 100 Years of Japanese annexation of Korea, this research is composed widely of two parts: first, the problem of imperialistic consequences such as the relationship between a colonized nation and its colonizer, which still remains today. In the context of the East Asian history, the colonized nation has a right to require compensation and apology for damages received from the colonizer. However, the hegemonic power of the United States over Japan and Korea has made this difficult. Second, the efforts of South Korea to solve the issues of the past created some achievements but have limitations because of the current government-level policy and their attitude for its people. Today, education for history and examination of the true history appear as issues. For peace in East Asia, the role of South Korea in rectifying East Asia’s history has a great significance. At the end, this paper describes the role of South Korea as recognizing the characteristics of the East Asian Cold War history of the nations such as Taiwan, Okinawa, and Vietnam based on the identity.
This analysis of Korean pension politics under the Roh Moo-hyun administration focuses on the roles and limitations of party politics and social dialogue as institutional intermediaries between the state and civil society. It suggests that the social policy reform was made through formal democratic systems but without some of the essential elements of democracy. Although each political party admitted pension problems suggested by civil society during the initial stage of agenda formation, the final decision was made through negotiations among the political parties and government bureaucracy. In making decisions, there was no room to discuss the positions of labor, capital or other social groups. The political parties did not provide a channel for civil society’s positions to be reflected in National Assembly discussions. On the other hand, an attempt at social dialogue was initiated by the new ruling elite. Although various interest groups displayed the possibility of agreement, the process of social dialogue was stopped by the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Even after democratization, bureaucracy affected party politics and dominated social dialogue as Korean pension politics lacked institutional communication between the state and civil society.