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History History Japan South Korea

A lot of people always wonder, “Why is it that Japanese people are hated by the Korean?” Now this is not always true. Not everyone in Korea hates Japanese people, but many might hold a grudge or disappointment against Japan. This has to do with the past. If you look back in History you might find the reason behind the difficult relationship between Korea and Japan. After 3 treaties, Japan took control over Korea, forcing their culture and lifestyle onto the Korean people. During the World War II many Korean women were used as “Comfort women”. After the Sino-Japanese war and World war II Japan prohibited Korean people from speaking Korean, instead they were forced to adapt to Japanese and had to adopt Japanese names, and so on..

Back in 1910 Japan managed to annex Korea effectively due to the so called “Japan-Korea Annexation treaty” This treaty was made on 22th August 1910, by representatives of the Empire of japan and the Korean empire.

This, however, wasn’t the first time the Korean and Japanese had a treaty. The first one was in 1905, Also known as the Eulsa treaty. This one was never signed by the emperor, however, 5 Ministers signed the treaty, which is the reason why it went into effect after all. This treaty deprived Korea of it’s Diplomatic sovereignty. It also made Korea a Protectorate (meaning; A state or territorium that is partially ruled by another state, Normally this is stated as protection against other, more aggressive states.) This took effect on November 17, 1905 and was the foundation of the following two.

In 1907 another treaty was signed. This treaty aimed that Korea should act under the guidance of a Japanese resident general. Because of the Eulsa treaty Korea had no longer anything to say about this as the administration of internal affairs was turned over to Japan. Since the korean empire had become a protectorate of Japan, they lost the right to conduct diplomatic exchanges with other countries. Korean emperor Gojong sent a secret envoy to the Hague conference on world peace, however he was not granted access to the conference. Not long after emperor Gojong resigned and his son, Sungjong took over.


On the 29th of Augustus 1910 the new treaty was officially proclaimed to the public, this started the Period of japanese rule in Korea. Even though the treaty had the national seal of the Korean empire, emperor Sungjong of Korea refused to sign it, this however is mandatory under the Korean law for the treaty to be effective. This caused many issues in negotiating the establishment of basic diplomatic relations between the two parties. After the annexation, Japan tried to repress the Korean tradition and culture, forcing their own traditions upon the Korean crowd. European-styled transport and communication networks were established all across Korea in order to extract resourced and labor. Most of those networks were later on destroyed during the Korean war. The Japanese removed the Joseon hierarchy and destroyed much of the Gyeonbokgung Palace. It was replaced with the government office building.

In January 1919 Emperor Gojong died, it was Rumored he was poisoned. This caused nationwide independence rallies against the Japanese invaders on 1 March 1919 (also known ad the March 1st movement). This movement was suppressed by force and about 7000 people were killed by the Japanese soldiers and police. Continued Anti-Japanese uprises led into the strengthening of military rule in 1931. After the Sino-Japanese war (1937) and World war II (1939) Japan attempted to exterminate Korea as a Nation. The Japanese made any continuation of Korea culture illegal. It was mandatory to worship at Japanese Shinto shrines. The Korean language and history classes at Korean schools were eliminated and the Korean language was completely banned. Korean people were forced to adopt Japanese names. Newspapers were also prohibited from publishing in Korean. Many Korean cultural artifacts were destroys or brought to Japan. According to an investigation from the South Korean government, about 75,311 Cultural assets were taken from Korea.

During the World war II many Korean men were conscripted into the Japanese military. Around 200,000 girls and women, many from China and Korea, but also from countries like Holland, were forced into Sexual slavery for the Japanese soldiers. Those were called “Comfort women”. Previous Korean “Comfort women” are still protesting against the Japanese Government for compensations.


Korea was ruled by Japan untill Japan’s unconditional surrender to the allied forces on 15 August 1945. A compromise was reached due to article ll of the 1965 treaty on basic relations. Only then it was confirmed that all the treaties are null and void.

Even though all the happenings Japan has never apologized for these happenings and keep saying those were misunderstandings. Many Korean people died or suffered by the hands of the Japanese. This is why a lot of Korean people might hold a grudge or dislike the Japanese. Of course this does not mean everyone in Korea hates the Japanese, but the next time you think Korea is ridiculous for “causing troubles regarding something Japanese”, you will know why they act the way they do. Never judge a book by it’s cover.

Sources: Wikipedia.
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