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The Realities of ‘Colonial City’ Cheongjin under Japanese Occupation

  • The Review of Korean History
  • 2013, (110), pp.327-390
  • Publisher : The Historical Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > History

SONG, Kue-jin 1

1고려대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Cheongjin, which was constructed newly at the time of Japanese occupation but became the fourth largest city in Chosun in 1944 in terms of population, could be regarded as a representative ‘colonial city’. It was after the Russo-Japanese War when Cheongjin became a logistical base for the war, attracting civilian dwellers as well. The name Cheongjin itself was named by a Japanese military unit. In Cheongjin, Japanese organizations maintained a close linkage with colonial elites, who encouraged them to establish an association of Japanese dwellers and the chamber of commerce. Japanese leaders in Cheongjin had continuously lobbied the Japanese government, the Japanese Diet and the Office of the Governor General in Chosun to settle various pending local issues in their favor. These efforts laid the groundwork for the development of Cheongjin. When a railroad system started to be constructed to transport war supplies, Japanese leaders in Cheongjin launched a strenuous campaign for railroad construction to expand their sphere of commerce into northeastern Manchuria. The steady campaign led to the opening of the Hamgyeong Line and the Gilhoe Line. Another important catalyst for the development of Cheongjin was the establishment of a sea route. Even when the Japanese government suffered from financial difficulties, the Japanese leaders in Cheongjin lobbied successfully for the designation of direct sea routes to its port. The expansion of harbor facilities and the improvement of water supply and drainage systems caused an explosive increase in the population of Cheongjin and spurred economic growth. As much as the city expanded, ‘Colonial City’ Cheongjin faced many cases of serious discrimination against Koreans as well. Like other colonial cities, almost all key developers and beneficiaries were Japanese. This situation became associated with discrimination in educational opportunities, which caused even the ‘pro-Japanese’ Chosun assemblymen of Cheongjin to tender resignations collectively.

Citation status

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This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.