Category : 【 THE NEW KOREA 】::┣Chapter [I] ~ [III] Tag :
CHAPTER II DESCRIPTIVE AND HISTORICAL
Korea (*) is a peninsula extending almost due south from Manchuria. Its area is approximately 85,000 square miles; its coast-line is about eleven thousand miles long, and has the peculiarity that on the west and south it is deeply indented and, for the most part, fringed with islands, whereas the east coast presents an almost unbroken front and has very few islands adjacent to it.
(*The Japanese have adopted officially the name Chosen, by which the Peninsula was known in ancient times. Throughout this volume ' Korea' is used, as being more familiar to the world at large.)
On the north, Korea is bounded by Manchuria, from which it is separated by the Yalu River, and by Asiatic Russia, which lies on the other side of the Tumen River; on the east by the Sea of Japan; on the west by the Yellow Sea; and on the south by the Korea Strait. The distance from Fusan, Korea's southeastern port, to Moji, the port at the southwestern entrance of Japan's Inland Sea, is only 135 miles.
The east coast of Korea has but two harbors of consequence--Seishin and Gensan--both in the northern sector, on the improvement of which the Government-General has expended more than five million yen. On the south and west coasts, however, Korea is well supplied with good ports. Of these the principal one is Fusan, at the southeastern tip of the Peninsula. Here the Government has spent more than thirteen million yen in providing modern facilities. A steamer runs twice daily to and from Japan, and passengers can transfer directly on the dock to a train of the South Manchuria Railway. This railway enables one to travel without changing cars as far as Changchun in Northern Manchuria and, with a single change there or at Mukden, to go to Peking, Dairen in Southern Manchuria, or to make connection with the Trans-Siberian. Thus, one can go by rail from Fusan to any point in Northern Asia or in Europe which is provided with a railroad.
The capital of Korea, Keijo (commonly called Seoul), is on the main line from Fusan, and is also connected by rail with the port of Jinsen (Chemulpo) on the west coast, and with Gensan on the east coast. Near the mouth of the Yalu is Shin-gishu, also on the South Manchuria Railway main line, which is becoming year by year an increasingly important depot for trade both by land and by sea. Other important ports on the west coast are Chinnampo, which serves Heijo, capital of the Province of South Heian; Kunsan, which is connected by rail with Ko-shu, the Provincial Capital of South Chusei; and Mokpo, which is the port for Kwo-shu, capital of the Province of North Zenra.
Korea may be described, topographically, as a country of constricted plains intersected by rugged mountain ranges. Along the east coast from north to south the mountains thrust themselves almost into the sea, and I have never seen a more beautiful or striking region than the Diamond Mountains, which lie to the south of Gensan. The whole of the east coast, so far as I saw it, presents an aspect of romantic wildness, which is enhanced by the extraordinary coloring of the soil and of the fantastically shaped crags and isolated pillars of rock. The soil is of a rich terracotta color, the unplanted portions furnishing a rich background for the brilliant green of the young rice plants. The rocks and crags, which in some places are bare, in others clothed with creepers, range in color between deep purple and rich yellow. It would not be a difficult undertaking to make the east coast of Korea into one of the most popular tourist resorts in the Far East.
The climate of Korea, generally speaking, runs to extremes both of heat and of cold. Spring and autumn are very short seasons, and the difference in temperature between day and night is very great, sometimes reaching 25 degrees Fahrenheit in places near the Manchurian border. This difference is not so great in the south of the Peninsula, since there the climate is somewhat modified by the surrounding ocean. The cold in winter fluctuates, there being frequent short spells of mild weather, so that the people describe the winter climate as "three cold and four warm."
The mean annual temperature in southern Korea is about 55° F., in central Korea about 52°, and on the northern border about 40°. The fall of rain and of snow is abundant compared with that of Manchuria and Mongolia, but scanty compared with that of Japan proper, being from thirty to forty inches a year in most places, gradually decreasing in the direction from southeast to northwest.
The following account of the seasons is abridged from Dr. J. D. Van Buskirk "The Climate of Korea, and Its Probable Effect on Human Efficiency," which was printed in the Transactions of the Korea Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. 10, 1919.
Like the rest of the temperate zone, Korea has four seasons. The winter is quite cold and in the northern part especially is severe. In the north, frost occurs in September or October; and for about five months the mean daily temperature is below freezing point on the Manchurian border. Streams are frozen over for the whole winter, and there are severe snow storms. The station at Chukochin reports temperature as low as 41° below freezing point, Fahrenheit. Seoul has over two months with the mean daily temperature below freezing, and, during a period of five years, averaged twenty-eight days a year below freezing point every hour of the day.
Summer is the rainy season. There are not such intensely hot days as are common in the United States, but the heat is continuous, so that the summers are more trying than in places in the United States having the same mean temperature. The highest temperature reported by the Government stations is 103.2° F. from Wonsan (Gensan), but this is exceptional. Taikyu, the Provincial capital of North Keisho-do has as a rule the hottest weather, its maximum going as high as 103° F. The coast towns in the south have less extreme heat, Fusan reporting a maximum of 91.5° F. and Mokpo 95.2° F. The humidity of the summer is high, and this, with the steady heat and the rains, makes the total effect of the summers quite depressing.
Spring and autumn are nearly ideal seasons in Korea. The winter ends and spring advances almost imperceptibly--no hot days followed by severe cold, but a gradual warming up, with bright sunshine, occasional rains, and for the most part gentle winds. There is in the southern part of the country, even as far north as Seoul, a distinct short season of rains in April. This furnishes an abundant supply of water to irrigate the rice fields and makes this an ideal region for rice-farming. The heat gradually grows more intense and the rains more heavy, and then summer has come.
The autumn is comparatively warmer than the spring, alike sunshiny and equable. There is a more distinct marking of the beginning of autumn than of any other season. The rains rather suddenly cease in September and there is a different feeling in the air. But autumn changes to winter so gradually that one hardly knows when winter begins.
The following data in regard to the population of Chosen are taken from the Annual Report on Administration of Chosen, 1922-1923 compiled by the Government-General, and issued in December 1924.
Under the old Korean Government no census, strictly speaking, was ever taken, or, if attempted, it was taken solely for the purpose of fixing the basis of tax assessment. The men in charge unscrupulously indulged in the vicious practice of falsifying their returns in order that they might fatten on the taxes paid by families which they had omitted to record in the official registers. The statistics compiled in this way were, of course, absolutely worthless. When Japan established its protectorate, in 1906, the Japanese police adviser to the Korean Government found this evil very detrimental to the smooth working of civil administration, and therefore caused instructions to be sent to each provincial police office to make an honest count of the entire population on a given date. This was, one may say, the first real census ever taken in Korea. As there were many difficulties to be overcome the count could not be made as accurately as was desired, but the results showed that the population had been very much underestimated. Hitherto the population had been put at something over five million; the new count proved it to be nearly seven million. A more careful investigation, made after the annexation of 1910, placed the total population at 13,313,017; and the estimated population in 1923 was 17,626,761. Of this total the Koreans make up something over 17,000,000, the Japanese nearly 400,000, all other races about 32,000. The ratio of females to males was 94 to 100 among Koreans, 88 to 100 among Japanese, and 13.7 to 100 among foreigners.
The following table shows the distribution of the population according to occupation.
Occupation Japanese Korean Foreign Total
and stock-farming 38,573 14,738,126 5.346 14,782,045
Fishing, and salt-
manufacture 10,775 213,266 25 224,066
Industries 63,999 358,205 3,517 425,721
Commerce, and trans-
portation 126,893 984,405 16,080 1,127,378
Public service, and the
professions 117,080 325,733 1,576 444,389
Miscellaneous 20,642 410,561 4,737 435,940
Unrecorded 8,531 177,843 848 187,222
386,493 17,208,139 32,129 17,626,761
It is thus seen that slightly more than 80 per cent of the entire population of Korea is dependent for its subsistence upon direct use of land.
The exact number of Koreans living outside the Japanese Empire is not known, but the latest investigations put it at more than 1,500,000, the large majority of whom live in Manchuria and Siberia, and the remainder in China (chiefly in Shanghai), in the United States, Hawaii, and Mexico. For the protection of Koreans living abroad, particularly for those in neighboring Chinese territory, a special item was incorporated in the Korean budget for 1920; and the Governor-General, in co-operation with the Japanese consulates in Manchuria, is doing his best for their welfare by founding schools, hospitals, and monetary organs in important places, by sending doctors to treat gratis the sick in remoter parts, by encouraging the formation of Korean societies and giving them financial help, and by providing for the relief of poor Koreans in times of natural calamity.
Moreover, as the activities, open or otherwise, of agitators abroad were the first cause of the popular unrest in Chosen at the time of the Independence Movement, the Japanese authorities saw the necessity of controlling them, as well as of protecting law-abiding Koreans from the intrigues of the disaffected, by a more efficient method than had hitherto been employed. Accordingly, the Japanese consuls at Antung, Mukden, Kirin, and Chientao--all in Manchuria --were, in 1920, charged with the duty of acting as secretaries of the Government-General of Korea.
Little is known of the original inhabitants of Korea. When the Chinese statesman, Ki-tze, invaded the country in the twelfth century, B.C., he found the Peninsula occupied by cavedwellers living in a state of savagery. The race as it exists today is clearly of Mongol stock, but it presents points of difference from both the Chinese and the Japanese. The general consensus of opinion among foreign residents is that the Koreans are an amiable and intelligent people quite capable of responding to education and to other measures designed to foster social progress. I may add that neither in Korea nor in Japan proper did I encounter any anti-Korean feeling. On the contrary I met many Japanese who were eager to enlarge upon the admirable features of the early Korean culture and to express their appreciation of the contribution which Koreans had made to the art, religion, and philosophy of Japan itself, in the centuries preceding the accession of the Yi Dynasty, which, after more than five hundred years of misrule had reduced the Korean people to a cultural and economic condition deplorable in the extreme, and which came to an end when Japan annexed the country in 1910.
The first railway construction undertaken in Korea was a line of about 25 miles between Seoul and Chemulpo. A concession for this undertaking was secured from the Government of Korea by an American citizen, Mr. James R. Morse, in 1898. The selection of this particular route was due to the circumstance that the line would connect the capital of the country with the nearest deep-water port.
Whilst the line was still under construction it was bought by a Japanese company which carried the undertaking through and opened the line to traffic in 1902. The next line to be constructed was that from Seoul to Fusan, a port at the extreme southeastern tip of the Peninsula, about 135 miles from Moji, the nearest Japanese port. The concession for the construction and operation of this line was granted in 1898 to a Japanese syndicate which began work in 1901. The line was completed in 1904 and was opened to traffic on January 1, 1905, its length being 268 miles.
The outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904 gave a strong impetus to railway construction, and by the end of 1905 the total mileage had increased to 636. In the following year the Japanese Government purchased the lines from Seoul to Fusan, and from Seoul to Chemulpo, and took over the two lines (Seoul-Shingishu, and the Masan branch line) built by the Japanese military engineers, thus bringing the whole railroad system under government control and management. At the time of the annexation of the country by Japan ( 1910) the management of the railways was assigned to the Railroad Department of the Government-General.
From this time onward a steady increase has occurred in railroad mileage, and a great deal has been spent on improving the lines. Among the more important undertakings are to be noted the construction of an iron bridge, about 3000 feet long, across the Yalu River, connecting the Korean railroad system with that of the South Manchuria Railway Company; and the building of branch lines connecting the ports of Gensan on the east coast, Chinampo on the west coast, and Mokpo on the south coast with the main line running north and south the whole length of the Peninsula. Several other lines are projected as part of a general plan to provide Korea with an adequate net-work of standard-guage and light railroads.
The management of all the state-owned railways in Korea was, in 1917, entrusted to the South Manchuria Railway Company--an important and highly efficient Japanese Corporation. The terms of the arrangement are, in brief, that the Government makes the plans for new construction and improvements, and provides the capital for these purposes, while the Company is responsible for carrying out these plans, for the proper maintenance of the railways, and for their operation. With respect to the capital advanced by the Government since the annexation the Company must pay interest on it at the rate of 6 per cent, though the concession was made in 1921 that for the following three years it should pay interest at 4 per cent instead of 6 on the capital advanced in and after 1921. In the management of the railways the Company must work within the terms of the laws and regulations of the Government-General, which are, except in minor details, the same as those in force in Japan proper.
The general features of railway development during the ten years ending on March 31, 1922 are shown in the following table:★
RAILWAY DEVELOPMENT KOREA
Total amount of capital † Yen. 114,720,385 214,906,215
Construction and repairs ‡ Yen. 8,767,647 18,9.87,156
Passenger receipts Yen. 3,820,185 13,361,903
Freight receipts Yen. 2,816,482 11,454,094
Miscellaneous receipts Yen. 180,596 3,293,689
Total receipts Yen. 6,817,263 28,109,695
Operating expenses Yen. 5,012,712 21,629,879
Number of passengers carried 4,399,022 13,821,144
Tons of freight carried 1,105,362 3,331,381
Miles of line open to traffic 837 1,165
*The figures are for fiscal years, which end on March 31.
†Invested up to the year.
‡During the year.
Later figures are available for some of the foregoing items. Thus at the end of March, 1925, the mileage had increased to 1300, the number of passengers carried to 17,487,874, the receipts from traffic to 29,027,866, whilst the tonnage of freight carried remained practically stationary.
In addition to the state railways there are a number of short privately owned lines. At the time of annexation there was only one private line in operation, having a length of five miles. In 1914 the Government decided to subsidise such lines, on the principle of making up any deficit in profit below a certain percentage on the paid-up capital. Up to 1917 deficiencies were made up by subsidy to the point of 6 per cent. This was raised to 7 per cent in 1918, and to 8 per cent in 1919. This policy exerted a marked influence on private railway construction. By 1923 the length of such lines open to traffic had increased to 333 miles, whilst those under construction, or projected, totaled 1340 miles.
During the ten years 1912-1922 the number of passengers carried on private railways increased from 156,523 to 1,995,259, and the tonnage of freight carried from 4161 to 536,650, including baggage. During the same period the paid-up capital of these undertakings mounted from less than 200 thousand yen to more than 26 million.
Prior to the establishment of the GovernmentGeneral, 1910, there were not fifty miles of good road in the whole country, almost all travel and transportation being done on narrow, deeprutted tracks. In the interest of cultural and economic progress the Government-General laid out a project for constructing a net-work of good roads throughout the length and breadth of the Peninsula. The first part of the programme provided for the construction, over a number of years, of about 8000 miles of first- and secondclass roads, the cost to be borne by the general revenue of the country, and of about 7000 miles of third-class road, to be paid for out of local taxation. Of this programme there had been carried to completion by the end of 1923 between 60 and 70 per cent of the proposed road-mileage --more than 5000 miles of first- and second-class roads and a little under 5000 miles of the third class.
The classification of the roads is made according to the width--24 feet or more for the first class, not less than 18 feet for the second, and not less than 12 feet for the third. Of the total mileage now open to traffic, about 4000 miles can be used by automobiles.
The most recent issue of the Annual Report on Administration of Chosen is that covering the year ending on March 31, 1923. It deals as follows with the question of street improvements.
Towns in Chosen for the most part contain narrow, dirty, and crooked streets, causing great inconvenience to communications and to sanitary and firebrigade arrangements, and naturally hindering their development, so of late years much has been done for their improvement by straightening, grading, and widening existing streets, and by constructing new ones as circumstances required.
Keijo ( Seoul) is the capital of Chosen and quite different in scale and plan from other towns, so it was decided to conduct street improvements in it at national expense. Forty-three of its streets were selected for improvement, of which thirteen were completed at a cost of three million yen in the eight years from 1911 to 1918. The most important of these were made from 72 to 90 feet in width and provided with sidewalks. Where the traffic is heaviest the macadamised surface is tarred. Other roads were made not less than 48 feet in width, thus bringing about an extraordinary change in both the appearance and traffic-efficiency of the city.
The second programme takes in nine streets, the budget estimate for which is 3,400,000 yen spread over six years from the fiscal year 1919, and this is still in course of execution. Chosen being still in the first stages of modernization in many ways, it was highly necessary to lay down a permanent plan for street improvement in towns of importance and promise, so the Government-General incorporated in the budget for the fiscal years 1921 and onward an item for investigation regarding town-planning, and started work on it in four large cities--Keijo, Fusan, Taikyu, and Heijo.
There are now nine towns marked out for street improvement, including the principal seaports and provincial centers. The expenditure for this is to be defrayed out of local revenue with some assistance from the national treasury, and work in each is going on actively as a four to seven year enterprise.
A proper sewerage system is a very necessary aid to sanitation, so it was decided to carry on its establishment side by side with street improvement. On this work the city of Heijo was pledged to spend 580,000 yen in eleven years, Keijo 1,600,000 yen in seven years, and Taikyu 150,000 yen in five years. Part of the money thus allocated is provided by the national treasury and part by public bodies.
In order to insure regular maritime communication, both coastwise and foreign, the old Korean government found it necessary to subsidise local steamship lines. This policy was adopted by the Government-General at the time of annexation, and has been continued down to the present time. At the beginning of 1923 it was granting an annual subsidy of 1,144,371 yen, distributed among 126 vessels of a total tonnage of about 20,000. The contracts under which these subsidies are granted prescribe the routes to be followed, the number of voyages to be made, and the time-schedule to be maintained. In 1923 there were eighteen routes, of which four connected Korea with Japan, North China, and Vladivostock, the remainder linking up the various Korean ports with each other.
Postal, Telegraph, and Telephone Communications--
Prior to 1876 there was nothing in Korea which could be dignified by the name of a postal service. In that year, however, the Japanese Government opened a post office at Fusan, when the port was opened to foreign trade, and later, as Japanese settlers became more numerous, the number of post offices was gradually increased. At first only ordinary mail business was done; but as early as 1880 money orders were made available and a postal savings system started. To these services a parcel post was added in 1900. In the meantime the Korean Government had, in 1896, engaged a Japanese adviser in the Communications Department and organized the post office on modern lines. An agreement was concluded in 1905 by which the postal service of Korea was placed under the charge of the Imperial Japanese Government; but in the following year the control was transferred to the newly-established Residency-General. When Korea was annexed to Japan in 1910 a Communications Bureau was created in the Government-General, and to it were assigned the control and management of all postal, telegraph, and telephone business. In 1923 the permanent staff of the communication services numbered nearly 11,000 employees, with several thousand temporary workers engaged as occasion demanded.
As illustrating the rapidly increasing use made of the communication services it may be noted that between 1910 and 1923 the number of pieces of ordinary mail delivered in Korea advanced from 53 to 174 million, the number of parcels delivered from less than one million to more than two million and a half, the number of offices available for postal, telephone, or telegraph service'from 395 to 739, and the number of telephone calls from less than 25 million to more than 82 million in the year.
There is a steadily growing resort to the Post Office Savings Banks. In 1910 the total amount deposited by Japanese was 3 million yen, and by Koreans 200 thousand yen; in 1922 these figures had grown to 17 million and 2,750,000 respectively.
Wireless apparatus was installed in 1910 on the Government signal-inspecting ship, and at three lighthouses; but the service has not yet been opened to the general public.
A brief account of the relations between Korea and Japan in modern times will suffice to give the reader the broad facts pertinent to a consideration of the situation as it exists today.
In 1894 Japan declared war on China, largely for the purpose of settling once for all the international status of Korea, about which there had existed for centuries a dispute which constantly threatened the peace of the Far East. During more than two thousand years Korea had been alternately independent, and under the suzerainty of China, or of Japan. She had been repeatedly invaded from the north--by China, under both the Chinese and Manchu dynasties, by Mongols, and by nomadic tribes--and in 1592 the Regent of Japan, Hideyoshi, attacked Korea with an army of 300,000 men, as part of a project for the conquest of China. These various invasions and raids, together with the prevalence of piracy in Korean waters led the Korean authorities to adopt and to enforce with the utmost rigor a policy of absolute national seclusion, a policy which was followed for several centuries and was enforced with great rigor. It was from this circumstance that Korea became known throughout the world as the Hermit Kingdom. History has proved that this attitude of no-intercourse cannot be indefinitely maintained. In the case of Korea the matter was complicated by the question of the Chinese suzerainty. Was Korea a vassal state of China, or was she not? The answer made by Korea and China was at one time yes, at another time no. Thus, whenever it suited the purpose of the Koreans to claim the protection of China, the plea was made that the suzerain must defend the vassal; when, however, China sought to make its suzerainty effective for some purpose of her own, the Korean argument was that the suzerainty was a mere figment, the annual tribute being paid solely on sentimental grounds in perpetuation of an ancient custom which had completely lost its practical significance.
Conversely, when Peking saw some advantage to be gained by insisting on the living force of the suzerainty the point was made very clear to the Koreans; but when, as occurred from time to time--as, for example, when French and American punitive expeditions attacked Korea in 1866 and 1871, respectively--foreign nations sought redress from Korea for wrongs done to their citizens, China disclaimed any kind of bond with Korea which made her responsible for the latter's acts.
No country had more reason to be irritated by the posture of Korean affairs than had Japan. In 1875 a Japanese war-ship was fired on by a Korean shore-battery without the slightest provocation. The Japanese at once captured the fort, and seized all the arms and ammunition in it. Tokyo decided that the occasion was favorable for bringing to an end the equivocal relationship between Korea and China. General Kiyotaka Kuroda was sent to Korea as Envoy Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, charged with the task of concluding a treaty between Japan and Korea. This compact, known as the Treaty of Kwangha, was signed in 1876. It provided for the mutual opening of ports, for mutual permission to trade, and for the formal recognition by Japan of the independence of Korea. It is from this date that an account of Japanese-Korean relations, in modern times, may take its departure.
In 1880 a Japanese Legation was established at Seoul, and it was hoped by sober-minded Japanese statesmen that with direct representation at the Korean capital the relations between the two countries would assume a more friendly tone. These hopes were not destined to be fulfilled. There existed at the time a long-standing rivalry between a party headed by the King of Korea's uncle, the Tai Wen Kun, and the rich and powerful family of the Mins, of which the Queen of Korea was a member. In this domestic quarrel China intervened on the side of the Mins, sending troops into the Peninsula for the purpose of suppressing a revolt started by the Tai Wen Kun. For years Korea was the scene of coups d'état and of insurrections, in the course of which the Japanese Legation was twice attacked --once in 1882 by a Korean mob aided by Korean soldiers, and once in 1884 by Korean and Chinese troops acting in co-operation. On each occasion the Japanese Minister, with his wife and children, had to seek safety in flight.
The constant intrusion of China upon the field of Korean domestic affairs is what led up to the Chino-Japanese War of 1894-5. Japan had recognized the independence of Korea in 1876, by the Treaty of Kwangha; and there was, of course, a reciprocal obligation on the shoulders of Korea to repudiate the Chinese suzerainty. Notwithstanding this, the Korean Government, in 1894, asked China to send troops to Korea to put down a formidable rebellion. Early in June the Chinese force arrived, and the Japanese immediately countered by sending a military guard to her Minister in Seoul, and, a little later, by despatching to the Peninsula a force of some 5000 troops. The situation thus created was difficult in the extreme. The Japanese were not prepared to recognize the Chinese claim that Chinese troops were in the country as the defenders of a Chinese dependency; but they suggested that the Chinese and the Japanese should act together in restoring order and in initiating such reforms as should conduce to the future peace of the country. This proposal was rejected. In the meantime China had moved an army of about eight thousand troops to a point on the Yalu, near the Korean frontier. The Japanese Minister brought the matter to a head by delivering an ultimatum to the Korean Government in respect to its failure to live up to the terms of the Treaty of Kwangha. This was on July 20th; three days later the Japanese occupied the palace and, virtually, made the King prisoner.
Japan declared war on China on August 1st, actual fighting having taken place a few days earlier, both on land and at sea. The details of the fighting are of no interest in the present connection. Japan was completely victorious, the extent of her triumph being testified to by the terms of the Treaty of Shimonoseki. So far as Korea was concerned, Japan carried her point, the recognition of the absolute independence of the country.
Shortly after this the Queen of Korea was murdered under circumstances for which no terms of condemnation could be too strong. The facts are relevant to the relations of Korea and Japan at the time, for the murder had a very important influence upon the subsequent course of events. On October 8, 1895, a band of Korean and Japanese assassins, after long and careful preparation, entered the inner chambers of the Palace at Seoul and killed the Queen. Not only does the evidence establish it beyond doubt that one of the prime movers in this plot was the Japanese Minister at Seoul; but that evidence is supplied by the Japanese Judge of Preliminary Enquiry who investigated the murder. The findings of this judge make the most extraordinary reading. He describes the plot, names all the prisoners before him as having been concerned in it, states that its object was to murder the Queen, leads his conspirators to the outside of the palace, and continues: "About dawn the whole party entered the palace through the Kwang-hwa Gate, and at once proceeded to the inner chambers. Notwithstanding these facts, there is no sufficient evidence to prove that any of the accused actually committed the crime originally meditated by them . . ."; and then immediately discharges all the prisoners!
This is certainly one of the most disgraceful episodes in the annals of colonial rule. It is relieved by only one mitigating circumstance, namely that there is no evidence to show that any of the Government officials in Tokyo were concerned in the matter.
The murder of the Queen improved the general aspect of affairs, from the Japanese standpoint, by removing a woman who had been their bitterest and most unscrupulous opponent, and by increasing the influence of the Tai Wen Kun, who was supple to the Japanese intentions.
The conception undoubtedly entertained in Tokyo at the conclusion of the war with China was that, with the question of the Chinese suzerainty definitely and finally disposed of, Korea, reformed and strengthened by Japanese aid and advice, would serve as an effective buffer state as against China or Asiatic Russia, should either of them attempt to use the Peninsula as a base for operations against Japan. It is very doubtful whether the real independence of Korea could have been preserved even under the most favorable circumstances; and as time passed the circumstances became, from the Japanese point of view, as unfavorable as could be imagined.
A Japanese statesman called upon to defend the Korean policy of his country in the years following the Chino-Japanese War would present his case somewhat as follows.
In going to war with China, Japan had thrown her own fate into the scales. If she should suffer defeat--and when you fight a people which outnumbers your own by ten to one, and whose territory and natural resources present an equal disproportion, defeat is certainly a very serious possibility--she was prepared to suffer the consequences. That among these would have been loss of territory and the payment of an indemnity cannot be doubted.
If Japan secured a complete victory--as, in the event, she did--she expected to gather such fruits as she could compel her adversary to deliver as the price of a treaty of peace. Among these fruits was the cession to Japan of the Chinese Peninsula of Liao-tung. Before the treaty was signed, however, France, Germany, and Russia intervened, and forbade the cession to Japan of any territory on the Chinese mainland. It was impossible for Japan to offer any resistance to an ultimatum with such formidable backing: her victorious troops were withdrawn; the Liao-tung Peninsula was restored to China.
Within three years of the date on which the principle of an inviolate Chinese mainland had been used as the pretext for forcing Japan out of Liao-tung, the three defenders of China against Japanese "aggression" were all in comfortable occupation of various parts of the "inviolate" Chinese mainland--Germany in Kiaochow, on a 99 years' lease; France in Kwangchouwan, on a 99 years' lease; and, as a crowning triumph of international cynicism, Russia, on a 25 years' lease of the very Liaotung Peninsula from which she had been chiefly instrumental in ejecting Japan.
Although Great Britain had refused to take any part in the coercion of Japan, her conception of her own national interest led her to adopt the policy of occupying Chinese territory on lease. In the south she secured a 99 years' lease of 370 square miles on the mainland opposite Hong Kong, as an offset to the French lease of Kwangchouwan; in the north she leased the territory of Wei-hai-wei, 285 square miles, for so long a time as Russia should remain in possession of Port Arthur.
In what sense was Japan to interpret these manœuvres? Was it possible for her to see in them anything but a determination on the part of the great European powers to prescribe for and to enforce upon Japan a rule of conduct totally different from that by which they themselves would be bound; and which, if Japan should subscribe to it, would deprive her not only of every advantage attached to her geographical situation off the coast of Asia, but also of every further advantage which she might legitimately (according to the international code of ethics hitherto in force) expect to derive from her rapid development, from her strong and unifying sentiment of nationality, from her tireless industry, and from her heroic military qualities?
Was Japan, in brief, to accept the restrictions of a self-denying ordinance at the very moment when England had reached the climax of her territorial acquisitions in every quarter of the globe, when Russia and Germany were fortifying themselves on Chinese soil almost within sight of the Japanese coast, when France was reforming her administration, strengthening her garrison, and extending her control in Indo-China, when the United States had recently taken possession of the Philippine Islands?
To have yielded to such a preposterous demand would have constituted a betrayal of the Japanese nation in which no reputable statesman could conceivably have become an accomplice, since so to yield would have earned for the persons responsible the just execration of their own nationals and the just contempt of all men who esteem patriotism to be a virtue.
Thus, a hypothetical Japanese statesman. For my own part I am convinced that whatever chance there had ever been of Korea attaining independent nationhood, was destroyed when Germany, France, and Russia deprived Japan of the fruits of her victory over China, took those very fruits for themselves, and thus taught Japan the bitter lesson that if she wished to obtain a valid guaranty for her future security, to present to the world a valid sanction for her foreign policy, she must develop her own military strength.
This Japan proceeded to do. Prior to the Chino-Japanese War, Japan's expenditure on her army had, for a number of years, averaged less than seven million dollars; in 1903 the army estimates exceeded 25 million dollars. At the outbreak of the Chino-Japanese War Japan's navy consisted of about fifty vessels of a total tonnage of less than 75,000; at the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War, 1904, the number of vessels had increased to 160, the tonnage to approximately 300,000.
I was in the Far East during the years 1902-4. Everyone with whom I discussed the matter, from Lahore to Wei-bai-wei, was confident that war between Japan and Russia was inevitable unless one or the other of two highly improbable contingencies should arise--one that Japan should decide to acquiesce in Russia's obvious intention of making herself the dominating power in Korea; the other that Russia should reverse her historic policy of thrusting southward from the Trans-Siberian Railway until she found herself, at whatever cost of men and money, mistress of an ice-free port in northeastern Asia.
The Russian advance toward the north Pacific had been carefully planned and effectively executed. At the beginning of the twentieth century Japan saw her great rival occupying the Liao-tung Peninsula, in virtual control of the Chinese Province of Manchuria, and in possession of two of the most formidable naval and military bases to be found anywhere in the world-Vladivostock, within a few hours' steaming of Korea's northeastern boundary; Port Arthur, within a few hours of her southwestern boundary. That these fortresses were separated by the Korean Peninsula, that the former was ice-bound for six months in the year, that the latter was too small to serve adequately the naval and commercial needs of Russia in that quarter were facts to be set side by side with Russia's diplomatic pressure on the Korean Court, her intimate relations with the anti-Japanese party in Korea, and her efforts to purchase land in or near Korea's southern ports. There were a number of attractive possibilities: the excellent ice-free port of Masampo might be leased, thus giving Russia a naval base within two hundred miles of the Japanese coast; it might be feasible to secure control of the proposed railroad from Wiju, on the Manchurian frontier, for the construction of which a French company had obtained a concession, thus assuring an all-rail connection from northern Manchuria into the heart of the Peninsula; and other, similar, opportunities presented themselves.
During the summer of 1903 Japan decided that the time was ripe to make a definite stand against Russia's steady advance through Manchuria to the Korean border, and to put an end to the ceaseless intrigues by which, within Korea itself, Russian agents were preparing for the day when the Russian flag would fly over the palace at Seoul. Negotiations were opened with St. Petersburg with a view to reaching some agreement on the broad question of Russian-Japanese relations in the Far East. Between August, 1903, and February, 1904, ten different drafts of a proposed treaty were discussed; but the evasive and otherwise unsatisfactory character of the Russian proposals and counter-proposals convinced the Japanese cabinet that it was hopeless to look for a peaceful solution of the problem. Japan having, in defence of her Korean policy, fought the most populous nation of Asia would now, in the same cause, fight the most populous nation of Europe. On February 5, 1904, the negotiations were broken off, and a few days later war was declared.
From this point onward Japanese policy toward Korea stiffened. The first evidence of the new attitude was the conclusion of a Protocol between the two countries on February 23, 1904. Although Japan reasserts her guaranty of the independence and territorial integrity of Korea, it is agreed that ". . . the Imperial Government of Korea shall place full confidence in the Imperial Government of Japan and adopt the advice of the latter in regard to improvements in administration"; and, further, that "in case the welfare of the Imperial House of Korea, or the territorial integrity of Korea, is endangered by the aggression of a third power, or by internal disturbances, the Imperial Government of Japan shall immediately take such necessary measures as the circumstances require, and in such cases, the Imperial Government of Korea shall give full facilities to promote the action of the Imperial Japanese Government. . . . Japan may, for the attainment of the above mentioned objects, occupy, when the circumstances require it, such places as may be necessary from strategical points of view."
Another agreement, signed on August 22, 1904, makes it mandatory on the Korean Government to engage a Japanese financial adviser, whose advice must be heard before any financial matter is acted upon; and a foreign diplomatic adviser, recommended by the Japanese Government, without whose previous counsel no important matter concerning foreign relations is to be dealt with. The final article of the agreement reads: "The Korean Government shall previously consult the Japanese Government in concluding treaties and conventions with foreign powers, and in dealing with other important diplomatic affairs, such as the grant of concessions to or contracts with foreigners."
It is obvious that one effect of this agreement was to make Korea a protectorate of Japan, whilst leaving public authority to be exercised in the name of the Emperor of Korea. The next step taken in the course which led, finally, to annexation, was an agreement dated November 17, 1905. The preamble contains the significant provision that "the following stipulations are to serve until the moment arrives when it is recognized that Korea has attained national strength." The agreement provided that the external relations of Korea should in future be conducted by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo; that Japanese diplomatic and consular officers should have charge of the subjects and interests of Korea in foreign countries; that Japan should assume responsibility for the execution of treaties already existing between Korea and other powers; that the Government of Korea should not in future enter into any act or engagement of an international character except through the medium of the Government of Japan; and that the Government of Japan undertakes to maintain the welfare and dignity of the Imperial House of Korea.
Article 3 completely changed the character of Japan's representation vis-à-vis the Korean Court. The envoy is replaced by a ResidentGeneral, having the right of private and personal audience with the Emperor of Korea, and the Japanese consuls are replaced by Residents, to be stationed at the several open ports and at such other places in Korea as the Government of Japan may deem necessary.
It is to be observed that in this agreement no mention is made of Korean independence, the fact being, probably, that by this time Japan realized the impracticable quality of a policy which on the one hand made her responsible for Korea's national status, and on the other left her with no sufficient authority in the country to prevent the occurrence of events which might at any moment involve her in the most serious international difficulties.
On November 22, 1905, the Japanese Government issued a declaration to the powers in treatyrelation with Korea, in which is presented a clear and frank account of her new Korean policy. The document runs as follows:
The relations of propinquity have made it necessary for Japan to take and exercise, for reasons closely connected with her own safety and repose, a paramount interest and influence in the political and military affairs of Korea. The measures hitherto taken have been purely advisory, but the experience of recent years has demonstrated the insufficiency of measures of guidance alone. The unwise and improvident action of Korea, more especially in the domain of her international affairs, has in the past been the most fruitful source of complications. To permit the present unsatisfactory condition of things to continue unrestrained and unregulated would be to invite fresh difficulties, and Japan believes that she owes it to herself and to her desire for the general pacification of the extreme East to take the steps necessary to put an end once for all to this dangerous situation. Accordingly, with that object in view and in order at the same time to safeguard its own position and to promote the well-being of the government and people of Korea, the Imperial Government has resolved to assume a more intimate and direct influence and responsibility than heretofore in the external relations of the Peninsula. The Government of His Majesty the Emperor of Korea is in accord with the Imperial Government as to the absolute necessity of the measure, and the two Governments, in order to provide for the peaceful and amicable establishment of the new order of things, have concluded the accompanying compact. In bringing this agreement to the notice of the powers having treaties with Korea, the Imperial Government declares that in assuming charge of the foreign relations of Korea and in undertaking the duty of watching over the execution of the existing treaties of that country, they will see that those treaties are maintained and respected, and also engages not to prejudice in any way the legitimate commercial and industrial interests of those powers in Korea.
Both in respect of foreign and of internal affairs the new arrangement proved to be unsatisfactory. So far as reforming the Korean system of administration was concerned two circumstances combined to make the task hopeless; the Korean officials were bound to listen to the advice of their Japanese advisers in the various departments, but they were not bound to follow it; and most of these officials were dishonest and grossly incompetent. The situation might have prolonged itself had it not been for a highly injudicious step taken by the Korean Emperor, in 1907, in direct violation of that article of the agreement of 1905 under which Korea pledged herself not to enter into any act of an international character, except through the medium of Japan. In July, 1907, there appeared at The Hague three Koreans who sought recognition as delegates to the Peace Conference, offering as their credentials a document bearing the seal of the Korean Emperor. When this news reached Japan it created a good deal of excitement, since it appeared to contain the threat that the whole Korean problem was about to be opened up again. Public opinion was seriously disturbed, and the press was almost unanimous in demanding a strong course of action. Such a course the Government decided to adopt.
At the time, Marquis Ito (a sincere friend and well-wisher of Korea) was Resident-General in Seoul. To him was sent Viscount Hayashi, the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, with authority to act in the circumstances, after consultation with the Resident-General. He arrived in Seoul on July 18. During his service as Resident-General, Marquis Ito had reached the firm conviction that Korean affairs could never be put in any decent state of order as long as the throne was occupied by the Emperor, who had shown himself to be wholly untrustworthy, and who, moreover, had done everything possible to hinder the progress of internal reform. Fortunately there had recently been appointed a new Korean Cabinet, composed of men who saw clearly that unless the Emperor and his Court should cease their pernicious interference with the conduct of Government, it would be impossible to save the Imperial House from the most serious consequences. The present crisis put in the hands of the Cabinet a weapon which they were glad to employ in the general interest of the country. Even before the arrival of Viscount Hayashi the Cabinet had urged upon the Emperor the advisability of abdicating in favor of his son. The day after the Viscount's arrival their arguments prevailed; and on July 17, the Korean Minister of Justice carried to the Resident-General the Emperor's announcement of his abdication. Shortly after the matter became generally known there was serious rioting in Seoul, precipitated by a mutinous regiment of Korean troops.
After a series of conferences between the Japanese Representatives and the Korean Cabinet, and between the latter and the new Emperor, an agreement was signed between Japan and Korea on July 24, 1907.
This agreement left the Imperial Korean House still on the throne; but it placed Japan in practical control of the administration of the country, by making the appointment and dismissal of all high officials in Korea dependent upon the concurrence of the Resident-General, by providing for his previous assent to the enactment by the Korean Government of all laws, ordinances, and regulations, and by binding the Government to appoint as Korean officials any, Japanese subjects recommended by the ResidentGeneral.
Having in view the general conditions of the country in the period after the new agreement, it is difficult to see how Japan could long postpone an act of annexation, unless she was prepared to face indefinitely the risks and inconveniences of an anomalous administrative system. A Treaty of Annexation was negotiated between the two governments, and was signed on August 22, 1910, by Viscount Masakata Terauchi, Resident-General, and by Yi Wan Yong, Minister President of State.
In the first Annual Report compiled by the Government-General, which succeeded the Residency-General, the subject of the annexation is thus dealt with:
The Governments of both Japan and Korea, exerting for more than four years, their utmost efforts in the way of administrative reform, and looking forward to the consummation of the desired end, the improvements and progress made were by no means small. But they failed to find in the Protectorate régime sufficient guarantees of the permanent welfare of the Imperial Family of Korea and of the prosperity of the people.
In spite of the fact that a number of pacificatory measures with regard to insurgents were put into effect, insurgents and brigands continued to appear in certain localities, and could not be put down. Escorts of police or gendarmes were often needed for officials, individuals, and letter-carriers, travelling in the remote interior or mountainous regions. Even a certain class of peaceful people, instigated by reckless agitators, were led to believe that Japanese revenue officers would carry away to Japan the money collected as taxes; and thus, frequently, they attempted to do injury to these officials. In the blindness of fury and inspired by short-sighted superstition and mistaken patriotism, a band of Koreans assassinated Mr. Durham White Stevens, a citizen of the United States, Councillor to the Korean Government, in March, 1908, in San Francisco, on his way to Washington on furlough. In October of the following year, Prince Ito, who had filled the office of Resident-General in Korea till June, was also assassinated by a Korean in Harbin Station, when he was on a visit to North China. In the following December, a Korean further attempted to kill Mr. Yi Wan-Yong, the Prime Minister of the Korean Government. Thus distressing conditions still existed in Korea, and uneasiness and anxiety often kept the Imperial Family of that country in a state of misery, while the Ministers of State had to be constantly escorted by armed policemen.
In these conditions the Imperial Government failed to find in the régime of a Protectorate in Korea sufficient hope of realising the improvements which they had had in view, despite the fact that many reform measures had been introduced for the benefit of the Korean people. Stability of public peace and order not being firmly established yet, a spirit of suspicion and misunderstanding still dominated the whole Peninsula, and the mass of people were burdened with anxiety. Most of the Japanese and foreigners in Korea had to confine their residence to cities, ports, or towns along the railway lines and could not enter the interior to engage permanently in business.
In order to sweep away evils rooted during the course of many years as well as to secure the wellbeing of the Korean Imperial Family, to promote the prosperity of the country, and at the same time to insure the safety and repose of Japanese and foreign residents, it had been made abundantly clear that, the Protectorate system being unable to achieve these aims, Korea must be annexed to the Empire and brought under the direct administration of the Imperial Government. There being no other way to attain the object in view, the Japanese conceived the policy of annexation as early as July, 1909. Even afterward the actual condition of affairs in Korea had continued to grow worse and worse, with no apparent hope of improvement. The assassinations of Mr. Stevens and Prince Ito, and the attempt to assassinate Premier Yi, mentioned already, induced certain classes of Koreans to tender to their Sovereign and the Resident-General a petition for annexation, so that the question became a matter of public agitation among officials as well as among the people of Japan. In fine the necessity of annexation grew day by day, and the measure was finally carried into effect on August 29, 1910.
That the aims set forth in the foregoing quotation have been pursued during the past sixteen years with a great, and in some directions with an astonishing measure of success is made evident in the body of the present volume. For the first nine years of the Government-General's existence Korea was administered under a system which, though it yielded many benefits for the Korean people, was applied with far too much military harshness and inflexibility. It was most unfortunate for everybody concerned that a rule of this character should have existed at the time when the extremely difficult and arduous work of organizing a new government was in progress. In such an undertaking the authorities could have found no more powerful ally than a spirit of friendliness among the people.
The measures taken to stamp out the Independence Movement of 1919, stupid, cruel, and unjustifiable as some of them undoubtedly were, accomplished their purpose. From that time onward Korea has enjoyed a period of internal tranquillity and of general progress for which the previous history of the country affords no remotest parallel.
Of the Independence Movement itself I have little to say in the present connection. The Independence Party contained many Koreans of excellent intelligence and education, inspired by a deep nationalist feeling. Whether or not the Japanese administration of the country had been so conducted as to justify an attempt to subvert it has no bearing upon the "right" of the Koreans to make the attempt. The "right" of revolt is inherent wherever Government exists, whether that government is of native origin or has been imposed from without.
Whenever such revolts occur those who take part in them fall into three groups--one is made up of men and women profoundly convinced that success will result in benefit to the general welfare, and who have no aim other than this; one contains those who, from selfish motives of personal advantage, wish to substitute themselves for those then in power; one is a nondescript rabble which welcomes the opportunity of fishing in troubled waters. Those who belong to the first group deserve and usually receive the respect which mankind pays to those who offer their lives and their property in support of an honestly held conviction; and of these sincere patriots the Korean Independence Movement contained an unusually large proportion.
It seems to me that there is absolutely no possibility of Korean Independence being reached by the road of revolt. The Koreans cannot drive the Japanese out of the country; and if the cause of Korean Independence were espoused by any nation powerful enough to create a serious threat to the Japanese occupancy, the first move made to carry out that threat would, without question, plunge Asia into war overnight, and would bring most of the balance of the world into the struggle within a month. There is one possibility, and one only, of an independent Korea. If at some future time the League of Nations, or some similar Association of Powers, should prescribe a universal surrender of all colonial dependencies to their native inhabitants, Korea would be one of Japan's contributions to the general settlement. Such a possibility is, of course, too remote to call for present discussion.
I found informed opinion both in Korea and in Japan divided on the question of what, short of independence, would be the ultimate status of the Peninsula. Two theories held the field--one that it will become an integral part of the Japanese political system, sending elected representatives to the Imperial Diet; the other that it will eventually be given Dominion home-rule within the Japanese Empire.
Speaking as a person in whom the idea of Korean Independence incites neither mental nor moral resistance I may express my belief that those Koreans will be doing their country the greatest service who co-operate with the Japanese in building up the cultural and economic conditions favorable on the one hand to the granting, and on the other to the successful use, of local self-government.
During the past year the news from Korea justifies the hope that a trend in this direction has already set in. To whatever extent it exists the credit is due chiefly to the humane and conciliatory attitude of Governor-General Saito toward the Korean people, and to the wise measures which, for more than six years, have been the fruit of an unstinting employment of his unusual energy and of his still more unusual administrative talents.