First steps towards assimilation: Japanese-run education in korea, 1905-1910

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During the Protectorate era of 1905-1910 Japanese officials in Korea used education as a tool in their attempt to transform the Korean population into a people both friendly and cooperative towards Japan. As Korea was still formally an independent country, these officials could not openly call for assimilation. Yet they systematically worked to leverage the Koreans' growing passion for education to achieve their goals, through taking over the largely moribund Korean public school system. The public school system had languished with little public or popular support since its creation in 1895, and the Japanese turned it into a well-funded, planned, and staffed elementary school system, with assurance of job placement upon graduation. Many Korean elites, however, feared the loss of sovereignty and the impact on patriotism a Japanese-run system could cause, and a wave of private "patriotic" and Christian school openings resulted. The annexation of Korea in 1910 made Japanese control over public education complete, and increased the pressure on private schools to conform. This article will examine the internal and public writings of the leading Japanese officials in Korea in this period, such as Ito Hirobumi, Shidehara Taira, Tawara Magoichi, Mitsuchi Chuzo to understand their goals and explicate the system they created, including curriculum requirements, the expansion of elementary education, the hiring of Japanese teachers, as well as the suppression of secondary schooling, and the suppression of modern private schools. In particular it will analyze the content of the language textbooks they published.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-391
Number of pages35
JournalActa Koreana
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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