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Changes in Administrative Districts and Population in Hamgyeong-do During the Japanese Colonial Period

Jung, Byung Wook 1

1고려대학교 민족문화연구원

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ABSTRACT

During the Japanese colonial period, Hamgyeong-do (province) was the only place where the number of “Gun (郡)” (districts) increased. These four newly established districts can be divided into two categories. Two of them were divided under the prefecture system of 1914 which divided each “Bu (府)” (city) and made the remaining areas “Gun.” The other two were divided due to the large size and population of administrative districts in Hamgyeong-do. The latter seemed to consider the balance of the “Gun” within “Do” and the possibility of resource development. In addition, Hamgyeong-do experienced more active increase in “Bu” and “Eup(邑)” (town) than in other places. This means that urbanization took place at a rapid pace as a result of Japan’s military occupation and the “Development Plan of North Korea” after the 1930s. Changes in the demographics of Hamgyeong-do appeared alongside the changes in its administrative districts. Hamgyeong-do’s industrial population shows that the province's economy was predominated by the primary industry with 85% of its people in agriculture, which was similar to the national average in 1920. But by 1940, the percentage of the population in agriculture decreased and did not even reach 50%. It is worth noting that instead, the number of people in mining and manufacturing industries and fishery increased, followed by that in the commerce and transportation industries. The increased population in Hamgyeong-do was greatly affected by social factors. Improvements in many business projects related to the “Development Plan of North Korea” could be attributed for the increase in immigrants. Thus, not only Koreans but also Chinese and Japanese came looking for jobs.

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* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

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