ROK Drop

Avatar of USinKoreaBy on July 1st, 2012 at 2:38 pm

June 1920–March 1st Movement @ Aftermath

This is a post in a series covering news articles about Korea before, during, and after the March 1st 1919 political uprising against Japanese colonization in Korea.

12 June 1920

Reports Korean Plot

The Japanese Secret Service has uncovered a plot by Koreans against the lives of Prince Li of Korea and Princess Mesako, who recently were married, and Baron Saito…

The alleged plot, which is said to have included bombing the Foreign and Interior offices and Tokio Police Bureau, was intended as a protest against the marriage of Prince Li…


13 June 1920

Two hundred armed Koreans, who attempted to cross the frontier into China north of Hamgyeng, were defeated in the battle which ensued, losing 24 killed, says an official communique issued today.  2 Japanese were wounded.

27 June 1920

Step Toward Korean Self-Government

As a preliminary step toward granting Korea self-government and the right to elect representatives to the Japanese Diet, the Japanese Government has decided to create legislative assemblies in the Korean provinces to which only Koreans can be elected…

29 June 1920

This is a lengthy article analyzing Japan’s place in the world at the time.  A large section of it is entitled “Japan’s Occupation of Asiatic Countries”.

He lays out a case very similar to one I heard a British academic on international law lay out at a conference of Japanese, South, and North Korean scholars concerning the legality of the 1910 annexation.

The idea is that Korea (and Manchuria) had displayed an inability to police itself – resulting in frequent conflict that threatened the peace of neighboring nations.

Later the Bolshevist menace, practical anarchy in Siberia, and the weakness or the absence of Chinese Governmental authority in the Manchurian and Mongolian provinces, threw upon Japan the burden of maintaining by military force law and order in all of the territories mentioned.  To a consideration extent these conditions continue to the present day, Japan asserts that her troops cannot safely be withdrawn from any of these counties as there is no other nation willing or able to make the expenditure necessary to procure an orderly administration of Government in the interval before conditions can be restored.

The only scholars who presented papers at the conference were the Koreans (both North and South).  The Japanese were to respond at another conference a month later in Japan. 

The Brit was asked to give his opinion on the material at the end.  He said that none of the papers had actually addressed what the letter and nature of the law in 1910 had to say about the annexation.  He said he wasn’t familiar with Korea’s situation at the time but he was with Manchuria and that Japan had used international law just as described in the quote above.

The Brit also said that some claim international law is still like that – meaning that international law has been set up to favor the strong over the weak.  He referred it to social Darwinism.

It got me to thinking about Afghanistan and Pakistan.  It also made me think of the Barbary Pirates.  And Cambodia and Laos during the Vietnam War.

What do you do when a state is in a level of dysfunction that violence flares and stretches across its border?

An interesting note – when the Brit started talking about how Japan had justified getting involved in Manchuria and mentioned the idea of a dysfunctional nation and Darwin — a Korean scholar not part of the panel jumped up and started screaming, “Who are YOU to call Korea a dysfunctional nation!  Blah Blah Blah!!”

A Korean hosting the conference quickly walked over and put his hand over the guys mouth and forced him to sit down.

For the next five minutes, as the Brit kept talking, the guy would blurt out, “Darwin, ah!” and stuff like that. 

It was entertaining…

  • setnaffa
    4:56 pm on July 1st, 2012 1

    Before WWI, the Japanese were the most “Western” of Asian nations. After WWI, the Japanese copied a lot from the British who, in their “White Man’s Burden” sort of way, assisted them. Especially since the Japanese had taken over the formerly German possession in the Pacific.

    Lots of room here for long op-ed postings. No one was really on the side of the Angels and the Brits were not unhappy to watch the Japanese keep the Russians/Soviets busy.


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