The Commonwealth of Korea and Japan (Shintaro Ishihara Right on Cooperative Colonization of Corea)

Shame on Tokyo Gov. Ishihara,” by Park Moo-jong, The Korea Times, 4 November 2003,

The Economic History of Korea,” by Myung Cha, EH.Net Encyclopedia, 21 June 2004,

The Korean Economy Under Japanese Rule,” by Abiola Lapite, Foreign Dispatches, 23 November 2005, (from SimonWorld).

Mitsuhiko Kimura, ‘The Economics of Japanese Imperialism in Korea, 1910-1939’,” by mike, Historï¿¥, 10 May 2005,

One Japanese Korea?

I’m a big fan of Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara. From standing up to North Korean state-terrorism, supporting Taiwan and stopping crushing, or even just bad-mouthing French, to advocate of a strong “Leviathan” anti-Dictatorship Navy, “the Ish” rarely strikes a bad note. But a Korea Times editorial attacks Ishihara for a questionable claim on Korea?

As reported, an unrepentant Ishihara triggered international criticism as well as anger by spitting out thoughtless gaffes last week that Japan’s invasion and brutal [sic] 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean peninsula was a union the Koreans chose.

Well, it’s not like Korea objected to foreign “SysAdmin” troops on her soil:

In 1894 peasants protested against a local administrator’s attempts to generate private income by collecting fees for using waterways, which had been built by peasants. The uprising quickly developed into a nationwide peasant rebellion, which the crumbling government could suppress only by calling in military forces from China and Japan. An unforeseen consequence of the rebellion was the Sino-Japanese war fought on the Korean soil, where Japan defeated China, tipping the balance of power in Korea critically in her favor.

But surely the farmers themselves objected to development by a regional stake-holder?

Though sharply opposing unrestricted imports of colonial rice, however, farmers never expressed opposition to the actual occupation of Korea. On the contrary, this ‘rural crisis’ rapidly bred nationalist-fascist attitudes among farmers after the First World War; the militarists and the rightists led farmers to believe that a key solution to their economic problems was further imperial expansion abroad, not abandonment of the colony. As a result, farmers wholeheartedly supported Japanese imperialist policy.

A Core Worth Remembering?

Japan’s attack on the United States on December 7, 1941 justly destroyed her empire. Imperial Japan, like Imperial Germany before her, rightfully was brought under the Allies for crimes against them. However, this straightforward understanding of history should not take away from Japan’s significant contributions to Korea and Taiwan, or used to support neo-Juche isolationism by demagogues in South Korea and elsewhere.

4 thoughts on “The Commonwealth of Korea and Japan (Shintaro Ishihara Right on Cooperative Colonization of Corea)”

  1. 2 memes for you:
    “comfort women”
    “human bio/chem war experimentation”

    Imperial Japan had issues. Your article glosses them over. You might want to rethink that. While Korean farmers might have been as happy as WW II Ukrainians to have gotten rid of the previous bozos, that doesn't mean they were happy with the new crop.

  2. TM, good memes.

    The Japanese Empire, much like most other fighting forces, had informal relationships with prostitutes and their pimps. The most serious credible comfort woman complaints amount to criticism that Japan did not succifiently regulate this grey industry, not that Japan systematically engaged in slavery and rape. Considering that Japan used the same system to supply the American Occupation army with Japanese women, anti-Japanese comfort woman complaints seem misplaced.

    Unit 731 killed about three thousand victims in medical experiments. However, applauding the break-up of Japan on this count is like saying the police were right to shoot a violent suspect — who became violent after the police attacked him. Unit 731's actions were relatively late in the war.

    Japan, like all Empires, had problems. The 1930s, which reduced connectivity in every country, affected Japan like all other states. Certainly if we start counting from the militarists' coup the record is mixed, but if we examine how Korea and Taiwan fared under Japanese tutelage compared to before, there can be no question that the Japanese were a progressive and connecting force. And because the Japanese gave Koreans food priority over their own soldiers, the Empire never let the “engine” of their empire run faster than their “caboose.”

  3. Here's a flawed, but interesting examination of the meme you're pushing (, that the 100k-200k Imperial system was morally equivalent to Allied nations sending around doctors to local brothels to ensure that VD didn't decimate their forces. It certainly saves face for Japan and is a narrative they seem to be pushing but it is ultimately unpersuasive. If you're the 24th guy a woman's “had” that day, you know it and if you're living in a decent system, you can do something about it. It wasn't an option in imperial Japan.

    The Japanese took POW women for whom they were responsible and turned them into forced prostitutes. They condoned the use of kidnapped and otherwise coerced girls in the system. They did not abandon the system once it was revealed to be ineffective at preventing civilian rape during conquest. They instituted the system in the very early '30s, not late in the process of disconnection and societal deformation.

    Unit 731 is a contraction and a hiding euphamism. The unit had several names and came from the Kempeitai Political Department ( The names all had to do with “epidemic prevention” and “water purification”. The unit dates back at least as far back as 1932 so, no, not late in the war at all. Here's a description that might not turn your stomach too much (

    I really doubt the 3000 dead number. Epidemic prevention was a big job and they used many facilities over many years starting in the early thirties stretching over both Korea and China. If you've got an open air facility for testing bio and chem war candidates, it's very likely that you're going to *use* it.

    Japan had tremendous good press over their 1905 fight with Russia. Again, like the Ukrainians, it's possible for peasants to ignorantly choose on the basis of “it can't get any worse than this”. The question of whether a union is freely chosen gets into matters of continuing consent and informed consent and have ramifications far beyond Asia.

  4. The Japanese effort to provide comfort women to American occupiers went beyond sending doctors to brothels. Dr. Dowers “Embracing Defeat” can provide more information here.

    The link you provide equates Dutch occupation policies in Indonesia with Japanese policies in Asia. I agree.

    If you're being shot at, you know it and if you're living in a decent system, you can do something about it. Militaries, specifically non-empowering ones like Imperial Japan's, aren't decent systems. They are nightmare circus mirrors of the nations that spawn them. That's why it's such a noble sacrifice to serve in them, even in peacetime.

    War is clearly a process of societal deformation for the militaries that fight it.

    The three-thousand number comes from the technology artist link you provided, among others. Of course, if one wishes to substitute the historical record for capabilities analys, a number much greater than 3,000 leaps out.

    The perpetuity of unions is an interesting question, and one that not a few hundred thousand Americans died to resolve. That said, the important question isn't whether a union is or is not just, or popular, but whether it increases or decreases connectivity. With the Japanese-Korean-Taiwanese Union, the answer is a clear yes.

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