VI. The World Wars and the Interwar Period, 1914–1945 > H. East Asia, 1902–1945 > 4. Korea, 1910–1945 > 1927, Jan
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
1927, Jan
The Sin'ganhoe (New Korea Society) was founded as an organization representing all the various nationalist and anti-Japanese groups. By 1930 it claimed nearly 77,000 members in numerous branches nationwide. It remained active until May 1931, when its radical wing took control of the leadership and voted to disband. There was as well a parallel women's organization, the Kunuhoe.  1
1929, Jan.–April
Although defeated, the Wonsan general strike and the Kwangju student movement (Nov. 1929–spring 1930) were the only major exceptions to a period of quiet in the independence movement.  2
1931, July
Gen. Ugaki Kazushige (1868–1956) took up the post of governor-general of Korea. He had served briefly in this capacity in 1927, with several others following him, serving short terms in the post. He remained there until the summer of 1936. While the economy developed under Ugaki, the nationalist movement was suppressed.  3
From 1931, as Japanese ambitions on the northeast Asian mainland grew, Korea was drawn further into plans linking its economy with that of Japan and Manchuria. Ninety-five percent of all Korean exports in 1931 went to Japan; 80 percent of all Korean imports came from Japan. As the Korean economy grew industrially in the 1930s, many new jobs became available in industrial plants, and peasants most often filled them just as rural misery was growing as well.  4
1934, May
The Chindan Study Society for research into Korean history and literature was founded by Yi Pyng-do (b. 1896), Kim T'ae-jun (1904?–49), and Son Chin-t'ae (b. 1900). It worked to preserve scholarship on Korea in the face of the government-general's plans for cultural assimilation. It was eventually suppressed.  5
Governor-General Ugaki began to require Korean students and government bureaucrats to participate in Shinto rituals. Unrest among Korean Christians exploded, leading to the expulsion of some missionaries and arrests of many Korean Christians (1935–38).  6
1936, Aug.–1942, May
During the period when Gen. Minami Jir served as the Japanese governor-general of Korea, forced assimilation of Koreans and their mobilization for the war effort were local policy. From 1937 all Korean organizations were closed, and in 1938 the government-general set up its own organizations to expedite Japan's war needs. In late 1939, Koreans were required to change their names to Japanese ones, considered a great humiliation. By the early 1940s, the Korean language was all but completely banned, with even banks and other businesses compelled to use Japanese alone. Concomitant with “assimilation” came suffrage, passed in the Japanese Diet in the late 1930s and 1941; the program never saw fruition because of Japan's surrender. As a result of the countless mass organizations in which Koreans were forced to participate and the difficult circumstances of everyday life during the long period of colonial rule, the Japanese produced numerous Korean “collaborators.”  7
The number of Koreans mobilized to fight on Japan's behalf or to engage in labor to that end outside the borders of Korea reached 4 million by 1944, or 16 percent of the population. There was a general conscription for Koreans from 1943, and a group of “comfort women”—so-called because they were forced into prostitution for the Japanese troops at the front—was dragooned. The number of women so humiliated remains unknown. Some Korean guerrillas allied with the Chinese fighting against Japan.  8
In exchange for Soviet participation in the Asian war, the Allies (at Yalta and Potsdam) were ready to allow Soviet control over Korea (and Manchuria). The Red Army invaded Manchuria in the final days of the war. The U.S. was able to negotiate a dividing line at the 38th parallel for the two occupation zones. The U.S. zone in the south contained Seoul; the Soviets' to the north had P’yngyang.  9
1943, Dec
The U.S., China, and Great Britain agreed at the Cairo Conference that Korea should become independent “in due course.”  10
1945, Aug. 15
Japan's unconditional surrender spelled the end of colonial rule in Korea. (See Korea (North and South), 1945–2000)  11
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.