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Chōsen (Twilight of a New Era)

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Joseon
朝鮮 (Japanese)
조선 (Korean)
Timeline: Twilight of a New Era

OTL equivalent: Korea under Japanese rule
Flag of the Japanese Resident General of Korea (1905) Seal of the Government-General of Korea
Flag of Governor-General of Korea Seal of the Government-General of Korea
250px-Locator map of Korea svg
Anthem "Korean Empire Aegukga (대한 제국 애국가), modified to resemble Kimigayo"
Capital Keijō (in Japanese) / Gyeongseong (in Korea) - Present day Seoul
Largest city Seoul
Other cities Pyongyang, Busan and Incheon
Language Japanese and Korean
Religion
  main
 
Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Cheondoism, Christianism and Korean Shamanism
  others State Shinto
Ethnic Groups
  main
 
Korean
  others Japanese
Government Constitutional monarchy (Territory of the Empire of Japan)
Emperor
Governor-General of Korea
Area 222,300 km²
Annexation to Empire of Japan
  date 1910-1946
Currency Korean Yen
Organizations Greater East Asian Prosperity Alliance (since 1934, has territory of the Empire of Japan)

Joseon (officially, the Japanese pronunciation is Chōsen), present day Korea, was ruled has part of the Empire of Japan from 1910 until the Great Pacific War. The name 朝鮮 (Chōsen) was chosen has a means to assimilate culturally Korea to Japan. After the war (1946), Korea regained its independence has the People's Republic of Korea. The Japanese administration promoted and built an extensive industrial base radically changing the agrarian base of the country.

Historical development

The March 1st Movement manifestations (1919) and its violent quell, prompt the organization of Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea in exile. A consequence of the 1919 manifestations was that the military police was replaced by a civilian force, and limited press freedom was permitted under what was termed the 'cultural policy'. However these lenient policies were reversed during the Second Sino-Japanese and Great Pacific Wars.

After 1919, the Governor-General promoted and established cooperating agencies to foster links and collaboration with Japanese authorities. These agencies should help maintain public order, promote Japanese values and Pan-Asianism, provided certain public services via the neighborhood associations. They also played a role in increasing productivity, monitoring rationing, and organizing civil defense. The Society for a New Korea was the main collaborating organization, along the Korea Labor Association.

News of Revolution in Japan (1945), divide officers in two camps, those urging to continue the war effort and others calling for a complete retreat and return to Japan to help or squash the uprising in the Home Islands. A successful mutiny of the latter and the carnage of opposing forces, started a massive return, by any means available to Japan. People's Liberation Committees (PLC) rose to administer and control retreating areas. In most of cases peacefully, except in the south of the peninsula where skirmishes occurred between PLPs and retreating Japanese forces over the control of ports and airfields.

Administration of Chōsen

The Japanese Governor-General of Korea served as the chief administrator of the Japanese government in Korea while it was held as the Japanese colony of Chōsen. However, the position was unique in among Japan's external possessions, as the Governor-General had sweeping plenipotentiary powers. In addition to administrative tasks, the Governor-General had command of the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy units stationed in Chōsen (former Korean Empire), and the position also entailed judicial oversight and some legislative powers. Given the powers and levels of responsibility, only ranking full generals in the Japanese Army were selected for the post.

The Japanese occupation mainly depended on the police to keep order and enforce its rule.

After the Japanese defeat in Great Pacific War, Korea came under tutelage of the Joint Allies Administration of Korea (JAAK) integrated by China, FSR, USA and ICF. The Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea (in exile) and the People's Liberation Committee of Korea, created on the Japanese retreat from the Korean Peninsula, became the provisional government of the PR of Korea by common agreement with the JAAK.

Administrative divisions

Map of Chosen

Chosen and its 13 provinces.

The former thirteen provinces (Do ; hangul: 도; hanja: 道) of the Korean Empire were keep, only taking on the Japanese reading of the hanja.

The Provinces of Chōsen were: Keikidō (Gyeonggi-do), Kōgendō (Gangwon-do), Chūsei-hokudō (Chungcheongbuk-do), Chūsei-nandō (Chungcheongnam-do), Zenra-hokudō (Jeollabuk-do), Zenra-nandō (Jeollanam-do), Keishō-hokudō (Gyeongsangbuk-do), Keishō-nandō (Gyeongsangnam-do), Heian-nandō (Pyeongannam-do), Heian-hokudō (Pyeonganbuk-do), Kōkaidō (Hwanghae-do), Kankyō-nandō (Hamgyeongnam-do), and Kankyō-hokudo (Hamgyeongbuk-do).

Economy of Chōsen

The Korean economy went through significant changes during the Japanese occupation. During the late Joseon period, Korea was largely an isolationist pre-industrial society, where foreign trade was prohibited and attempts at economic modernization were stifled by an extremely conservative Court and landed aristocracy. There were some modernization efforts, however, and by the late 19th century, Seoul became the first city in East Asia to have electricity, trolley cars, water, telephone and telegraph systems all at the same time. But Korea remained a largely backward agricultural economy at the turn of the century. Japan's initial colonial policy was to increase agricultural production in Korea to meet Japan's growing need for rice. Japan had also begun to build large-scale industries in Korea in the 1930s as part of the empire-wide program of economic self-sufficiency and war preparation.

The Japanese government created a system of colonial mercantilism, requiring construction of significant transportation infrastructure on the Korean Peninsula for the purpose of extracting and exploiting resources such as raw materials (timber), foodstuff (mostly rice and fish), and mineral resources (coal and iron ore). The Japanese developed port facilities and an extensive railway system which included a main truck railway from the southern port city of Pusan through the capital of Seoul and north to the Chinese border. This infrastructure was intended not only to facilitate a colonial mercantilist economy, but was also viewed as a strategic necessity for the Japanese military to control Korea and to move large numbers of troops and materials to the Chinese border at short notice.

From the late 1920s and into the 1930s, concentrated efforts were made to build up the industrial base in Korea. This was especially true in the areas of heavy industry, such as chemical plants and steel mills, and munitions production. The Japanese military felt it would be beneficial to have production closer to the source of raw materials and closer to potential front lines for a future war with China.

By the early 1930s, Japanese investment was curtailed by the Great Depression, competition for investment opportunities from the potentially more lucrative Manchukuo, and by Japan's own limited economic capacity.

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