1. THE GOVERNMENT-GENERAL
Prior to the annexation of Korea--effected by the Treaty of August, 1910--the influence exerted by Japan upon government in Korea passed through two phases. The first of these may be described as a period of diplomatic advice, during which the Japanese Minister at Seoul, aided by a number of Japanese advisers engaged by the Korean Government, attempted to improve the deplorable condition into which the internal administration of Korea had fallen under native control. This period came to an end in November, 1905, when the JapaneseKorean Convention formulated a new relationship between the two countries.
This Convention introduced the second phase of Japan's influence in Korean government. It may be described as a period of administrative control and participation. In accordance with the terms of the Convention, Japan established in Korea, in February, 1906, a Residency-General, with subordinate Residencies at various points.The functions of the Residency-General were defined in a Convention signed in July, 1907. It was then provided:
(1) That the Government of Korea shall follow the directions of the Resident-General in respect of administrative reforms;
(2) That the Government of Korea shall not enact any laws, ordinances, or regulations, or take any important administrative measures without the previous approval of the Resident-General;
(3) That judicial administration in Korea shall be conducted independently of other branches of administration;
(4) That the appointment and dismissal of all high officials in Korea shall be made with the concurrence of the Resident-General;
(5) That the Government of Korea shall appoint, as Korean officials, Japanese subjects recommended by the Resident-General.
Under this arrangement considerable improvement occurred in the general administration of the country; but in two important matters the system failed of efficiency. These were finance, and the administration of justice.
In respect of the first of these Japan was confronted by the fact, almost universally overlooked, that whatever advantages may flow from administrative reform, and whatever economies such reform may eventually effect, these advantages and economies cannot be produced without increasing the initial cost of administration; in a word, that good government is cheap at the price, but that it cannot be had at a cheap price.
So far as justice was concerned the Korean system was such, both as to its procedure and its officials, that far-reaching reform appeared to be impossible unless its administration was placed in the hands of Japanese public servants.
In order to meet these difficulties Japan arranged for a loan, free of interest, estimated at ten million dollars, but actually reaching a total of thirteen million, for the purpose of stabilizing the Korean budget; and took over the administration of justice and of the prisons, whilst assuming the cost of these departments as a charge upon the Japanese Treasury.
The period of administrative control and participation was brought to an end by the Japanese annexation of Korea in 1910. The circumstances which led to this step have been dealt with in the historical section of Chapter II.
Simultaneously with the annexation of the country the Government-General of Korea was established, on August 29, 1910. It was not, however, until September 30, 1910, that the Organic Regulations of the Government-General were promulgated by an Imperial Japanese Ordinance which made them effective as from the following day.
These Regulations provided for the appointment of a Governor-General, and of a Vice Governor-General; and for the erection of a Government-General to consist of the following six departments: Secretariat; General Affairs; Rome Affairs; Finance; Agriculture, Commerce, and Industry; and Justice. Provision was made for the executive, administrative, technical, and clerical services; and an annual budget was prescribed as the basis of the financial system.
The Organic Regulations have been amended from time to time as experience indicated the necessity. Before describing the organization of the Government of Korea as it now exists a few paragraphs may be devoted to the form it assumed at the end of the first year after the creation of the Government-General.
At the head of the Government was the Governor-General, who conducted public affairs through the instrumentality of two groups of offices--one classified as the Government-General of Korea, the other as Affiliated Offices of the Government-General. The organization of these two groups at the end of 1911 is exhibited in the following table:
PERSONNEL OF THE GOVERNMENT-GENERAL, 1911
|Department of General Affairs||13||116||129|
|Department of Home Affairs||26||140||166|
|Department of Finance||30||142||172|
|Department of Agriculture|
|Commerce, and Industry||23||66||89|
|Department of Justice||4||16||20|
|Courts, Police, Prisons||363||811||1,174|
|Land Survey Bureau||29||1,069||1,098|
|Hospital and Medical School||15||28||43|
|Bureau of Ancient Customs||6||8||14|
|Government Lumber Station||5||16||21|
|Government Coal Mine||2||5||7|
|Central Council||. . . .||2||2|
|Total, Affiliated Officers||979||6,123||7,102|
All the items in the foregoing table are, in a broad sense, self-explanatory, except "Central Council." This body was created at the time of the annexation, 1910, for the purpose of providing the Japanese Governor-General with a Korean advisory committee, which he could consult in regard to administrative measures. The Vice President and all members of the Council were chosen from the ranks of the Korean nobility, gentry, and officialdom. The president of the Council, the chief secretary, and the secretaries were chosen from the higher ranks of the Japanese officials attached to the GovernmentGeneral.
The members of the Council were given honorary official rank; but as they were not to be classed as Government servants, they were not included in the official figures from which the foregoing table was compiled. The actual number of Koreans in the Council at the end of 1911 was 71; and the Japanese staff of the Council consisted of one president, one chief secretary, one assistant secretary, and one interpretersecretary.
By Imperial Ordinance No. 357, promulgated on September 10, 1910, provision was made for local government in Korea. The country was divided into thirteen provinces. The Organic Regulations for Provincial Government established a central authority in each province, headed by a Provincial Governor, and equipped with the administrative staff necessary to conduct the provincial business connected with Finance, Medical and Sanitary Service, Police, Education, Harbors, Forestry, Public Works, and so on.
Each province was subdivided into districts of three types--municipal prefectures, rural counties, and insular districts. The last-named group comprised two of the larger islands lying off the coast of Korea.As originally designed, the Government of Korea presented the following administrative pattern:
13 Provincial Governments,
12 Municipal Prefectures,
218 Rural Counties, and
2 Insular Districts.
The problem presented to Japan by its responsibility for the Government of Korea was one of extreme complexity. The task had neither that kind of simplicity which exists where a powerful and "superior" race assumes control of a people low in the scale of civilization, weak in physical resources, and devoid of the sentiment of nationalism, nor that kind of simplicity which exists when a mere transfer of political control occurs between two peoples of somewhat similar economic and social status.
In a word, the problem was neither that of England ruling the native tribes of New Guinea, nor that of Italy taking over the Austrian administration of Fiume.
The situation was, in fact, almost without precedent in modern times. Measured by the standards of Asiatic civilization the people of Korea constituted an advanced race; like the Japanese they owed much of their culture to China; unlike the Japanese they had been little affected by the political and economic progress of the Western world. Down to the middle of the nineteenth century the description "Hermit Kingdom" would have applied with equal force to Japan and to Korea. Each country possessed an ancient religion, an ancient philosophy, an ancient culture, an ancient aristocracy, and an ancient social organization. If the two countries had been compared at that time on the basis of their national evolution as Asiatic states it would have been impossible to attribute to the Koreans any inherent inferiority to their Japanese neighbors.
At the present time a comparison of such a character would be wholly irrelevant to any practical issue. Since 1858 Japan has become westernized. If the process has conferred upon her many of the alleged advantages of Western progress, it has also infected her with the many evils which appear to be inseparable from the Western type of civilization. Her own problems are now those of the West; their solutions will be found, it at all, by adopting Western methods and by improving upon them, not by attempting to make Asiatic theories and Asiatic practices serve the necessities of a modern society of the Western type.
For my own part, having spent a number of years in various parts of Asia, I am unable to entertain the conviction, so commonly held in Europe and in the Americas, that Western civilization is superior to that of the East. But the question now before me is not one into which any speculations of this kind can enter. It is that of describing the Japanese administrative system in Korea, as an example of an attempt to govern an Asiatic dependency by Western methods.
For the purposes of such a discussion it is essential that two separate subjects should be kept separate--the right of. Japan to govern Korea, and the way in which Japan is actually governing Korea. The former subject is one of great interest and importance, viewed from the standpoint of Imperialism as a phenomenon of statecraft; but it can receive no more than incidental treatment--as it does in the introductory chapter--in a volume devoted to a discussion of matters subsequent to the acquisition of a dependency.
Any description of the Government of Korea, as it is now constituted, must start from the fact that Japan took over the responsibility in 1910, that she was confronted immediately by the condition of the country as it then was, and that in view of that condition she had to establish a Government, formulate a public policy, and construct an administrative machine.
Approaching these tasks from the base line of her own experience of half a century under a westernized Constitution, she found that the immediate situation was full of difficulty; but that, on a long view of her undertaking, the future held out the possibility of a success at least as great as that achieved by any other nation in the direction of governing dependencies.
The chief difficulty with which the newlyformed Government-General was faced was that in respect of modernizing the public administration of the country it could count upon little aid from the past. The existing body of Korean officials were for the most part indifferent, and in some part violently hostile, to reform along Western lines; the mal-administration which, by common consent, had for many years characterized the Government of the native Yi Dynasty, had affected adversely the whole of the Korean public service; the economic stability of the country had been wrecked by an unsound system of taxation and by a debased currency; means of communication were wretched; the country districts were overrun by bandits banking facilities were inadequate for the development of commerce and industry; above all, the Korean people had been reduced by many years of stupid misgovernment and oppression to a state of patient lethargy.Even if there be attributed to Japan no higher motive than that of making a profitable investment out of the annexation of Korea, the pursuit of such an aim could only end in success if the general condition of the country was improved.The general policy through which this improvement was to be achieved was announced in a Proclamation issued on August 29, 1910, by Viscount Masakata Terauchi, the Japanese Resident-General. The Proclamation made official announcement of the annexation, and it was supplemented by a statement in the form of general instructions to the high Japanese officials who would be responsible for the administration of Korea until the Government-General had been organized.Divested of the rhetorical phrases which are to be found in all documents of this character, the Proclamation outlined a clear policy.
(1) To afford relief to the people by abandoning the Government's claim on unpaid'land taxes, by making a reduction of twenty per cent in the land tax about to fall due, by making a donation of seventeen million yen (about $8,500,000) from the Imperial Japanese Treasury for promoting education and for the relief of famine and other disasters.
(2) To establish law and order throughout the country, in order that life and property might be secure and the people supplied with an incentive to industry.
(3) To improve the means of communication and transportation, thus aiding material development whilst affording occupation to large numbers of Koreans.
(4) The creation of a Council of responsible and experienced Koreans to be consulted with reference to proposed administrative measures.
(5) The establishment of a charity hospital in each province to extend and supplement the work of the Central Hospital at Seoul, and of the three charity hospitals, institutions which had been put in operation by the Japanese before annexation.
(6) The extension of educational facilities and the adoption of an educational policy which should "instil into the minds of the young men the detestation of idleness and the love of real work, thrift and diligence."
(7) The guaranty of freedom of religious belief. The paragraph in the Proclamation of Annexation which deals with this matter was framed as follows:
The freedom of religious belief is recognized in all civilized countries. There is, indeed, nothing to be said against anybody trying to gain spiritual peace by believing in whatever religious faith he or she considers to be true. But those who engage in strife on account of sectarian differences or take part in politics or pursue political intrigues under the name of religious propaganda, will injure good customs and manners and disturb the public order, and, as such, will be dealt with by law. There is no doubt, however, that a good religion, be it Buddhism, or Confucianism, or Christianity, has as its aim the spiritual and material improvement of mankind, and in this not only does it not conflict with the administration of Government, but really helps it in attaining the purpose it has in view. Consequently all religions shall be treated equally and, further, due protection and facilities shall be accorded to their legitimate propagation.
The Instructions issued to Japanese officials at the time of annexation include a paragraph which is quoted in full here, because it discloses the fact that up to that time the relations between the Japanese and the Koreans had been marked by an attitude of contempt towards the natives, and that the Resident-General was fully aware of the obstacles which such an attitude would place in the way of his general policy of conciliation and development.
The aim and purpose of the annexation is to consolidate the bonds uniting the two countries, to remove all causes for territorial and national discrimi. nations, necessarily existing between separate powers, in order that the mutual welfare and happiness of the two peoples may be promoted. Consequently, should the Japanese people regard the annexation as a result of the conquest of a weak country by a stronger one, and should speak and act under such an illusion in an overbearing and undignified manner they would act in a spirit contrary to that in which the present step has been taken.
Japanese settlers in Korea seem hitherto to have considered that they were living in a foreign land, and have often fallen into the mistake of adopting a superior attitude toward the people of the country. If, in connection with the inauguration of the new, order of things, they were to increase their self-conceit, and were to subject the people just incorporated into the Empire to any sort of insult, they would arouse ill-feeling, with the result that in everything they would be in collision with the natives, and the opportunity would be denied of establishing an intimate relation between the two peoples, which would be an unmeasurable calamity for the future. It is opportune that things have now assumed a new aspect. Let the Japanese settlers take this occasion to change their ideas and their attitude toward the people of Korea. Let them always bear in mind that they are our brothers, and treat them with sympathy and friendship, thus, by mutual help and co-operation, enabling both peoples to contribute their share to the growth and progress of the whole Empire.
Starting with the organization briefly described in the foregoing pages, the passage of time and the extension of governmental activities pointed to the necessity of effecting a number of changes in the routine of public business. Both as to methods and as to personnel experience served as a guide to a number of adjustments and reforms which, in the aggregate, have brought the administrative system to the highest state of efficiency attained since the annexation.
The actual development of administrative work in Korea, in the more important branches, is shown in the following table:
PUBLIC EXPENDITURES ON VARIOUS OBJECTS (In yen. One yen=50 cents. U. S.)
|Courts and Prisons||2,,372,951||6,816,139||187|
roads, bridges, railroads
|Research: chiefly relating to industry,|
and natural resources.
Allowing for certain minor changes in administrative organization effected between the years 1910 and 1919, Korea was, in effect, governed for the ten years following annexation under the provisions of the Organic Regulations of the Government-General, which were promulgated on September 30, 1910, and went into effect on the following day.
On August 19, 1919, an Imperial Ordinance was promulgated on the subject of the reorganization of the Government-General of Korea; and was put in force the same day. The general purpose of the reorganization is set forth in the following quotation from the Rescript:
We are persuaded that the state of development now reached in Korea calls for certain reforms in the administrative organization of the GovernmentGeneral; and We hereby issue our Imperial command that such reforms be put into operation. The measures thus taken are solely designed to facilitate the working of administration and to secure enlightened and efficient government, in pursuance of Our settled policy, and for the purpose of meeting the altered needs of the country.
The instrument through which the Imperial Rescript was to be made effective was a revised "Organic Regulations of the Government-General" published at the same time as the Rescript. The revised Regulations embodied all amendments made from time to time since the issue of the original Regulations, and such additions of new matter as were needed to give effect to the Rescript.
The organization of Government in Korea, as fixed by the Regulations of 1919 is described in the following pages. The administration of government, that is to say the work performed by the organization, is described in the chapters following this.
At the head of the Government is the Governor-General, appointed by the Emperor of Japan, and directly responsible to him for the administration of government in Korea. Until 1919 it was obligatory that the Governor-General be selected from the Japanese military establishment. The new Regulations abolished this restriction, and made civil officials also eligible for the appointment.
Next in rank is the Vice Governor-General, sometimes described as Director of Civil Administration. His duties resemble those performed by the Secretary General in Java, and by the Colonial Secretary of a British Crown Colony. He is the Governor-General's right-hand man, and is responsible for all administrative decisions, unless or until they require the formal sanction of the Governor-General.
The Governor-General conducts the administration of Korea through the agency of two groups of administrative organs, one of which constitutes the Government-General, the other being designated as Affiliated Offices of the Government-General.
Private Secretaries Office, Councillors Office, Inspectors Office, Foreign Affairs Section, General Affairs Department, Public Works Department, Railways Department.
HOME AFFAIRS BUREAU:
Local Administration Section, Social Works Section, Officials Training Institute.
Internal Revenue Section, Customs Section, Budget Section, Financial Section.
Agricultural Section, Afforestation Section-Branches, Fishery Section, Commercial and Industrial Section, Mining Section--Branches, Land Investigation Section, Geological Investigation Office, Fuel Laboratory, Commercial Museum.
Civil Section, Criminal Section, Prison Section.
School Affairs Section, Compiling Section, Historic Remains Inquiry Office, Religious Section, Museum, Meteorological Observatory--Branches.
Police Affairs Section, High Police Section, Peace Preservation Section, Sanitary Section, Export Cattle Inspecting Station.
General Affairs Section, Investigation Section.
Governor's Secretariat, Internal Affairs Department, Financial Department, Police Department, Municipalities--Districts--Islands, Charity Hospitals, Police Stations.
POLICE TRAINING INSTITUTE.
General Affairs Section, Supervising Section, Accounts Section, Engineering Section, Electric Works Section, Marine Affairs Section--Branches, Special Water-power Inquiry Section, Postal Money Order and Savings Supervising Office, Post Offices-Branches, Employees Training Institute, Sailors Training Institute.
General Affairs Section, Management Section, Manufacturing Section, Branch Offices.
General Affairs Section, Surveillance Section, Customs Duty Section, Inspecting Section, Branch Offices, Coastguard Stations.
Supreme Court--Procurators Office, Appeal Courts --Procurators Offices, Local Courts--Procurators Offices, Local Branch Courts.
LUMBER UNDERTAKING STATION:
General Affairs Section, Management Section, Saw Mill, Branch Offices.
Medical Departments, Medicine Section, General Affairs Section, Nurses and Midwives Training Institute.
GOVERNMENT CHARITY ASYLUM:
Orphans Department, Blind and Deaf-Mutes Department, General Affairs Section.
Branches, Sericultural Experimental Station, Sericultural School for Girls.
CATTLE-DISEASE SERUM LABORATORY.
FISHERIES EXPERIMENTAL STATION.
FORESTRY EXPERIMENTAL STATION.
PERSONAL OF THE GOVERNMENT0-GENERAL
The following table shows the number of officials of the GovernmentGeneral engaged in each branch of administration. The figures refer to the fiscal year 1922-23.
|Bureau of Home Affairs||8||32||40|
|Bureau of Finance||11||51||62|
|Bureau of Industry||48||226||274|
|Bureau of Justice||5||20||25|
|Bureau of Education||311||35||46|
|Bureau of Police||24||49||73|
|Offices Affiliated to the |
|Higher Land Investigation Committee||........||1||1|
|Forest Investigation Committee||5||6||11|
|Bureau of Communications||51||1,502||1,553|
|Bureau of Monopoly||35||401||436|
|Courts of 1st and 2nd Instance||258||650||908|
|Government Higher Schools||84||266||350|
|Provincial Government and|
its Sub-ordinate Agencies
|Government Lumber Business||11||147||158|
|Government Hospitals and Asylums.||22||47||69|
|Heijo Coal Mine Station||4||13||17|
|Police Training Institute||5||7||12|
The terrible economic effects of the Japanese earthquake, 1923, made it necessary to adopt throughout the Empire a policy of drastic retrenchment in government expenditures. One of the measures carried out in Korea was the reduction by nearly twenty-five per cent of the number of government officials.