Occidentalism
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Abiola does it again

February 15th, 2007 . by Matt

Another great post from Foreign Dispatches, this time a book review of Offspring of Empire, a book detailing the life of capitalists during the colonial period (I have it, but still haven’t reviewed it).

Here is a taster –

I recently took delivery of Carter J. Eckert’s book Offspring of Empire: The Koch’Ang Kims and the Colonial Origins of Korean Capitalism, 1876-1945, and based on what I’ve read thus far I can already say that nothing I’ve read in the last 12 months has been as revelatory as this book has been.

If one were to believe the farcical rubbish preferred by ignorant Korean activists with anti-Japanese axes to grind, the period between 1910 and 1945 was for Koreans one of unrelenting exploitation at the hands of rapacious Japanese imperialists, though long-time readers of this blog will already know better: for Korea the period was actually one of strong growth after a century of stagnation, and the benefits of this growth were shared substantially by Koreans from all walks of life. What makes Eckert’s book fascinating is that it not only provides a wealth of information substantiating this assertion, but also goes on to show how closely Korean businessmen worked with their Japanese counterparts and the Japanese government itself to make this growth happen; far from being crushed by heavily discriminatory Japanese colonial policies, from 1920 onwards they were the beneficiaries of what can only be called affirmative action, in that through favorable loans, regulations and outright subsidies the colonial government went out of its way to prop up Korean businesses competing against more efficient Japanese concerns.

Go and read the rest yourself!


6 Responses to “Abiola does it again”

  1. comment number 1 by: dogbert

    Lapite has some good posts and seems to be a great photographer, but he’s far too tightly wound and more than a bit resentful (i.e., the hate-on for “blue-eyed” folk in Japan).

  2. comment number 2 by: kteen

    Those ‘businessmen’ you talk about were acting the same way as some Jews cooperated with Nazi Germany. Simply, they were traitors to their people.

  3. comment number 3 by: James

    Another post bound to piss off ultra-nationalists in Korea. A good reason why he maintains a login-to-comment policy on his blog. 😉

  4. comment number 4 by: HanComplex

    Kteen, it’s easy to say that there’s a conspiracy when you don’t want to believe the truth, isn’t it?

    I hope this book gets translated to Korean and finds its way there. I wonder how Koreans will react when they find out that the evil Japanese was instrumental for their so-called ‘Miracle on the Han.’ Their cerebral cortex might implode or something. It’s just too much to handle.

  5. comment number 5 by: kteen

    HanComplex,
    Both my grandfathers cooperated with the japanese when Korea was under japanese rule(and I’m asahmed shit by the fact). And if you think it that way, the a-bomb explosions on hiroshima and nagasaki must have contributed a great deal in japan’s rise to become the second largest economy in the world.

    *one more thing: how do you delete your posts?

  6. comment number 6 by: nighthawk

    kteen, people in history did not know what was to come in their future. Don’t call your ancestors “traitors” just because they lived and worked for their happiness and prosperity as law-abiding citizens of Japanese empire. Back in the 1930s, people did not know Japan was to be defeated in 1945 and there will be two separate and independent Korean nations.