Preface [chapter]

1963 The Politics of Korean Nationalism  
A HE NATIONALISM of the new independent countries is one of the most important forces in the world today. The twentieth century has been an era of national revolutions, and the events of this era are likely to have a prolonged impact upon those of the future. Awareness of the significance of this sociopolitical force has led many scholars to explore the development of nationalism and nationalist movements. Increased knowledge of the factors involved in these developments, of the pattern of
more » ... the pattern of behavior exhibited by the nationalists, and of the reaction of particular groups toward certain external forces and influences should contribute greatly toward an understanding both of the particular nations concerned and also of politics and human behavior in general. It was with this assumption that I undertook this study of the nationalist movement in Korea. There are two major dimensions to the work. Essentially it is an account of the struggles of the Koreans against an alien regime to regain their independence. (The word "regain" is used because Korea, although for centuries a vassal kingdom under imperial China, was for all practical purposes independent until the latter part of the nineteenth century.) But it attempts also to discover uniformities and recurring patterns that might vii viii Preface contribute to the understanding of political movements in general. There are five parts. Part I examines the Yi dynasty in Korea (1392-1910), particularly the latter half. Certain social, political, and intellectual aspects of the old society are analyzed in an attempt to determine their consequences. This part provides a view of the background against which the early mass movements were carried out. The traditions of old Korea were important determinants of both the values and the behavior of the nationalists. Part II deals with the changes that culminated in the Japanese annexation in 1910. It begins with the Tonghak rebellion of 1894-1895, which precipitated the first Sino-Japanese war and made manifest the weaknesses of the old regime. Also examined are the origins of the Sino-Japanese war, the repercussions of the war upon the Korean government, the attempts by progressives to regenerate Korean society and prevent the downfall of the kingdom, and the process through which Korea lost her sovereignty. After Japan gained dominion over Korea, the Japanese governorsgeneral ruled the country with great severity until the "March First movement" took place in 1919. Part III examines Japanese rule in this period and its consequences. It also examines the March First movement, which was an explosion of pent-up emotions against alien, authoritarian rule and at the same time a manifestation of growing nationalism in Korea. The events of 1919 precipitated a revival of nationalist activity by Koreans residing abroad. Many nationalists made efforts at establishing a government-in-exile and attempted to unify the movement. Many others in various parts of the world continued their stubborn struggles against the Japanese. Part IV deals with the activities of the nationalists abroad until the liberaton of their homeland in 1945. Despite the movements abroad, Japanese control over Korea never wavered. It was obvious to all that Japanese rule could not be terminated by the Koreans alone and that the Japanese would not voluntarily withdraw. But the Koreans within the country carried on various nationalistic movements, striving to maintain national consciousness among the people, and, indeed, there were some incidents of mass demonstrations. Part V deals with the activities of nationalists within Korea against the background of Japanese rule. A short chapter of conclusions follows Part V.
doi:10.1525/9780520323155-001 fatcat:d673akkigrecvle74kllgntwsm