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Final Reflection

Option 1:

I learned a lot throughout this course, but the main thing that stuck out was the colonial time period in Korea. The reason I learned the most about this topic probably related to the fact that I did my final project on colonial Korea and spent the most time on the particular time period. I think it was important to understand this time period to understand how Korea is operating today. In the colonial time period, the Japanese took over and instituted policy after policy and enforcement of the policies to dominate Koreans. The system in which the Japanese ran was built a lot on the fear that Koreans had for stepping out of their boundaries and fighting back against Japan to regain their country. I can see this same fear in North Korea today. After reading about North Korea and watching a documentary, I realized that the citizens are scared of their government which is so powerful. The people are scared to break laws that confine them such as limited internet access and the inability to speak their minds. This current trend can be seen in the colonial time period when the Japanese government demolished Korean history books and hand-picked what people were allowed to know in hopes that the Korean people would become one with Japan. Korea was able to take back their country eventually, but it required plenty of protests and support from other nations. Maybe North Koreans today will be able to break out from the fear that is held over them and take back their lives just as the Koreans of the colonial time period did. I will share this trend with others because not a lot of people know about Korean history. Many people think that they do not need to know about it, but here in the United States we seem to have our hands on many major conflicts around the world so it would not hurt for people to understand the history of the countries that we are either assisting or have tensions with. 

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Week 13 Reflection

Last week we researched either North or South Korea and how they operate today. I picked North Korea and watched a documentary that did a great job explaining the harsh conditions that people live in. North Korea is strictly regulated by the government in regards to internet access, what people can say or do, and even going outside for a walk! There is an extreme sense of loyalty to the government, but it seems as if the majority of the country runs on fear. People are scared of being thrown in prison or even killed if they are not loyal to the government or do not follow the rules. I think it would be very difficult to live in North Korea coming from a free country, but if you live there your whole life you probably don’t know any better.

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Outline of Final Project

Cheat Sheet on Japanese Colonization in Korea:

  1. Using Source 1: outline what colonization is and how it affected Korea, more specifically Korean education and family values
  2. Using Source 2: outline Japanese colonial rule more specifically than the ideology behind it (as source 1 does)
  3. Using Source 3: outline society and culture in Korea during the colonial time period

Example from source 1:

Source 1:

“Colonial Rule and Social Change in Korea: The Paradox of Colonial Control”

  • Japanese colonial rule (1910-1945) is usually looked at economically
  • It is important to understand social changes that occurred 
  • Necessary to see the contradictions between conflicting needs of colonial rule and the imbalance opposed by control
  • Generalizations based on one economic analysis does not paint the full picture
  • Social ties and family issues are two topics focused on to understand social consequences and contradictions in colonial rule
  • Orthodox interpretation of Japanese colonial rule in Korea is known for nationalism, focus on political dependency, social control and repression, economic exploitation, and loss of cultural identity
    • Emphasizes suffering because of discrimination and physical and psychological controls (doesn’t go farther than that) 
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hst259

Week 12 Reflection

Last week we learned about the Korean War, what caused it and the results of it. I watched a documentary that had the phrase “The Forgotten War” in the title. I thought this was interesting because the Korean War took place, but it is not often talked about, especially in the United States. The United States got involved in the war between North and South Korea with the idea that they would shield the country from communistic approaches. However, in the end, there was little change from before and after the war. The North and South would always be at odds. I think it was called the Forgotten War because the United States did not gain much, if anything, from it. So, from the perspective of Americans, it was a war that should be forgotten and many people believe that we should have never gotten involved in the first place.

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Week 11 Reflection

Last week we looked at the fall of the Chosŏn Dynasty and how it led to Japanese colonial rule. I thought this was interesting because it is the topic that I hope to cover in my final project. I read part of Hamel’s journal in which he was hoping to find Taiwan but ended up being captured and sent to Korea. He was not expecting to meet friendly people but he found that the people he met were not as bad as they seemed. He tried to escape but was not able to do so. Hamel was told he would have to stay in Korea until he died and was taught some Korean ways. I think Hamel was surprised that he was not simply killed off and that he was offered a life in Korea even though it was not the life he was originally hoping for. This one personal account led me to believe that the Japanese were not as bad as people may have expected them to be. I can see how the Korean people would be upset to be taken over by another country, but I think that they realized that the Japanese were not as much of an enemy that they originally thought.

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Final Project Description

My topic for my final project is Japanese Colonialism in Korea. The main ideas that I plan on highlighting are colonial rule in Korea by the Japanese, how Japan gained control of Korea (fall of Choson Dynasty), and what the colonial state and society looked like on a practical level. I think it will be important for readers to understand what people in the colonial state looked like and how they acted in order to understand how Japan gained control of Korea and how the Japanese ruled in the colonial time. I hope the readers will be able to get a simplistic and realistic view of the time period. I also hope that the readers will take this information to help them understand Korea’s state today. Like I had mentioned in a previous post, I plan on creating a “cheat sheet” to display the important parts of these sources. I think it will be beneficial for students to have an easy source that they do not have to sift through to find important parts.