Sanitizing Empire: Japanese Articulations of Korean Otherness and the Construction of Early Colonial Seoul, 1905.1919
TODD A. HENRY
It would have been too good if that mythical portrait had remained a pure illusion,
a look at the colonized which would only have softened the colonizer’s bad conscience.
However, impelled by the same needs which created it, it cannot fail to be expressed
in actual conduct, in active and constructive behavior.
(Memmi 1991, 90)
Over the last decade, a noticeable shift has taken place in the focus of English-language scholarship on the history of the Japanese empire. Whereas previous work tended to take a predominantly Tokyo-centered approach to the study of Japanese
Todd A. Henry (email@example.com) is a PhD candidate in modern Japanese and Korean history at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is currently completing a dissertation on the spatial (re)construction of Japanese colonial Seoul (Keijo￣) and the history of its “public” sites, including shrines, expositions, and neighborhoods.
I wish to thank the Center for Japanese Studies at UCLA and the Korea Foundation for their generous .nancial support of my research in Japan and Korea. This article began as a paper for Miriam Silverberg’s graduate seminar on race and ethnicity in modern Japan and was rewritten in Wendy Belcher’s academic writing workshop. I am indebted to the partici-pants of both forums for their intellectual stimulation, critical advice, and emotional support. I thank Micah Auerback for being a particularly generous reader and intimate champion of my ongoing intellectual work. A .nal and stimulating discussion with Miriam Silverberg inspired me to strengthen the language of my argument and thus clarify the position of my scholarship. Journal of Asian Studies editor Ann Waltner, her diligent staff, and three anonymous reviewers helped me greatly in crafting the present version, the limitations of which are, of course, my own.
All non-English terms are Japanese unless otherwise indicated.
The Journal of Asian Studies 64, no. 3 (August 2005):639.75.
. 2005 by the Association for Asian Studies, Inc.
imperialism, the new scholarship, in.uenced by postcolonial and critical colonial studies, has begun to call into question the epistemology, methodology, and scholarly practice that has posited (either implicitly or explicitly) a rather simple, unidirectional diffusion of ideas and institutions that were ostensibly exported from the metropole and transplanted to the colonies.1 In contrast, the new imperial history begins with the premise that the ideas and projects of Japanese modernization as well as the experiences and identities that it spawned coincided, both temporally and spatially, with those of empire building and were often worked out on colonial grounds. It is clear, for example, that despite Fukuzawa Yukichi’s oft-cited slogan from the early 1880s advocating that Meiji Japan (1868.1912) “leave Asia for the West” (datsu-A nyu￣-O￣ ), Japanese efforts to attain diplomatic and commercial parity with the Western powers by modernizing its society, economy, and politics were simultaneously carried out and facilitated by imperialistic policies aimed at Hokkaido (formerly Ezo), Oki-nawa (formerly Ryu￣kyu￣), Taiwan, Karafuto (southern Sakhalin), Korea, the mandate islands of Micronesia (Nan’yo￣), and parts of China. The geographic proximity of the Japanese metropole (naichi) to its colonies.often cited as a unique feature of Japanese colonialism, along with capitalist underdevelopment and putative racial af.nity with the colonized (on the relationship between the particular and universal in the study of Japanese colonialism, see Ching 2001, 20.50).is indeed an important factor to consider but more in terms of the economic, political, and cultural relationships forged across space in the creation and operation of speci.c imperial projects such as the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. The concomitant range of experiences of Japanese modernity in and outside the home islands was also produced through the outworking of these mutually constitutive relationships. As Oguma Eiji (1995, 1998, 2002) has reminded us in his wide-ranging analyses of modern theories of mixed ethnos (kongo￣ minzukuron), to be “Japanese” was less of a .xed entity than it was a .uid identity frequently adjusted to speci.c colonial encounters and projects and in fact changed according to the contours of Japan’s territorial possessions.
Scholars of colonialism based primarily in the United States have just begun to explore the intricate and complex ways in which the Japanese metropole, its colonial territories (gaichi), and places beyond were linked in congeries of power relations, as were the inhabitants of each. Tessa Morris-Suzuki’s work on Karafuto, for example, has shown how the tensions between assimilating the so-called natives and main-taining differences from them.institutionally embodied in the distinction between formal citizenship (kokuseki) and membership in different family-registration systems (koseki).created “many concentric circles of colonial citizenship” in a hierarchy of relations among “Japanese proper” (naichijin), colonized Koreans and Taiwanese, and “Karafuto Natives” (dojin) (1998, 168; see Howell 2004 on the modern assimilation of the Ainu; see Walker 2001 for pre-Meiji relations with Ezo and its inhabitants). Alan Christy’s writing also highlights the centrality of the greater imperial context and the power relations embedded within it, arguing that Okinawans, not unlike their Ainu counterparts, struggled to deal with discrimination and improve their economic lot by distancing themselves from an identity that was discursively linked to the colonized peoples of Taiwan and Korea, the lower rungs of the working class, and powerless female prostitutes (1997, 149.55). As the title of his book Becoming “Japanese” suggests, Leo Ching likewise situates his analyses of changing identity
1For an “island history” critique of this kind of Japanese colonial historiography, a response to that critique, and a counterresponse, see Schmid 2000; “Communications to the Editor” 2001.
formations in colonial Taiwan within a speci.c triangular relationship consisting of imperial Japan, colonial Taiwan (including its non-Chinese Aborigines), and Nation-alist China. He argues: “Japanese or Japaneseness, Taiwanese or Taiwaneseness, aborigines or aboriginality, and Chinese or Chineseness.as embodied in compart-mentalized national, racial, or cultural categories.do not exist outside the tempo-rality and spatiality of colonial modernity, but are instead enabled by it” (2001, 11). Complementing these studies, which focus primarily on colonial discourses and identity formations, is the work of Louise Young, who has meticulously detailed the processes through which military occupation, economic development, and Japanese settlement in Manchukuo wove an increasingly intricate web of connections between empire and metropole. Although she stresses the effects of the wartime empire on the naichi and its inhabitants rather than on the gaichi and its multiethnic population, Young’s conceptualization of what she calls “total imperialism” skillfully demon-strates “the widespread, even comprehensive, character of Manchukuo’s impact on Japanese society” (1998, 13; on the Korean population in Manchuria and its rela-tionship with the Japanese metropole, see Park 2000; see also Brooks 1998 for pre-1931 developments).
This article is intended as a contribution to this growing body of critical scholarship on the empire by focusing on the ways in which Japanese imperial ideologies and projects intersected and interacted with preexisting institutions and practices in the colony itself. The Japanese-led projects to sanitize early colonial Seoul and to reform the hygienic habits of the city’s Korean residents discussed below resemble, in many ways, similar tasks being carried out simultaneously in the metropole, especially in regard to the urban poor (see, for example, Ishizuka 1981; Ambo 1989; Abe 1996; Narita 2003, 80.111). However, their speci.c discursive and practical in.ections in the colonial setting require, as Christy has advised, that one not collapse “the very real distinctions of location within the hierarchy of power established by Japanese imperialism” (1997, 163). Mindful of this admonition, I anchor my discussion in the speci.c context of early colonial Seoul, a methodological maneuver meant to encourage a treatment of metropolitan knowledge and perspectives as mediated by events, people, and places on the peninsula, rather than being unproblematically diffused to the latter. And although I can only gesture at the many complex connections between metropolitan Japan and colonial Korea in what follows, these mutual interactions can, I hope, be appreciated by considering the homologous relationship between Japanese colonizers and colonized Koreans, as analyzed below. More speci.cally, I intend to show how the poetics of Japanese colonial discourses converged with the politics of policymaking in a series of urban projects that laid the foundations for Japan’s rule over Seoul and beyond, from the onset of the protectorate in 1905 through the .rst decade of colonial rule, from 1910 to 1919.2 To illustrate
2This period corresponds to the .rst phase of Japanese colonialism, wherein one strand of colonial discourse and practice.the “civilizational” (or what I will later refer to as the “developmentalist” narrative).was characterized by the marking of difference between the col-onizing Japanese and his or her Korean other. The other discursive strand of incorporation (or “Japanization”), treated here only insofar as it resonates with the civilizational, expanded dra-matically following the explosive anticolonial uprising of March 1919. This incorporative dimension of Japanese colonialism is best illustrated by the then governor-general Saito￣ Makoto’s adoption of a policy of gradual “assimilation” (do￣ka;K: tonghwa), which aimed to contain and accommodate the growing demands of the Korean elite as well as to distinguish Japanese colonial policy from those of its Western counterparts (see Kang 1979). For an illuminating discussion of the operation of do￣ka policy in addition to the shift from this era of gradual assimilation (1919.37) to the subsequent era of forced imperialization (ko￣minka, 1937.45) in colonial Taiwan, see Ching 2001, 89.132.
this convergence, I bring together three seemingly divergent yet discursively interrelated sets of Japanese colonial materials for critical analysis: what I will call “popular ethnographies” of Korean “manners and customs” (fu￣zoku;K: p’ungsok); government documents on the administration of early colonial Seoul, especially on colonial census counts and urban sanitation projects; and representations of colonial Seoul as portrayed in Japanese guides to the colonial city. Although focusing on different aspects of the colonial experience, these writings all converge on projects aimed at reconstructing the urban spaces of the capital and reforming the hygienic practices of the city’s inhabitants in accordance with the dictates of Japanese colonial rule.
As Nicholas Thomas has suggested elsewhere and as I will insist throughout, however, these texts, rather than being an end-all solution to the challenges of managing social and cultural relations in early colonial Seoul, are also an expression of the tensions and con.icts that they produced, exacerbated, and exhibited (1994, 44). To expose these tensions and con.icts, I will primarily engage in what Ann Stoler has called an analysis “along the archival grain”.that is, “reading for [the archive’s] regularities, for its logic of recall, for its densities and distributions, for its consistencies of misinformation, omission and mistake” (2002, 92; see also Stoler forthcoming). In addition to such a critical discursive analysis, I also pursue a more conventional reading “against the grain,” or what Thomas calls an “ethnography of colonial projects” (1994, 60), probing the extent to which the three overlapping and sometimes contradictory colonial discourses mentioned above were adopted and adapted in the implementation of speci.c sanitation and hygiene projects. By critically engaging with Korean-language newspaper articles from the early colonial period (1905.19)3, I hope to show how lofty Japanese colonial discourses were often forced to come to terms with the quotidian exigencies of urban administration, which, rather than reviling and excluding the colonized, sought to incorporate Koreans into the fold of colonial modernity, both in terms of a particular yet still poorly articulated Japanese policy of emperor-centered “assimilation” and of a more universal pattern of globalizing colonial capitalism. This tension-ridden interplay between the exclu-sionary effect of the civilizational or developmentalist discourse on urban sanitation and the inclusive effect of the assimilative discourse on personal hygiene was, I will contend, at the center of the various Japanese urban reform projects aimed at reordering and controlling the spaces of early colonial Seoul.
3Unfortunately, there is a considerable lack of other sources in Korean, both primary and secondary, especially for the decade following the annexation. In fact, the only Korean news-paper in existence during the 1910s and the one upon which I will primarily rely, the Maeil sinbo (Daily News), was managed and censored by the governor-general and must, therefore, be read and analyzed carefully (on the Maeil sinbo, see Hwang 2002, 11.31; Chang 1992, 409.56; C. Cho.ng 1980; for the pre-1910 period, see Schmid 2002, 47.54). The majority of the approximately forty periodicals from the period lasted only a matter of years or even months, primarily the result of heavy pressure from the colonial government. Largely due to this lack of primary materials, there is also a dearth of Korean scholarship on the 1910s, which continues to be characterized under the historiographic rubric of “military rule” (budan seiji;
K: mudan cho.ngch’i). One notable exception is the work of Kwo.n T’aeo.k and his graduate students, who have been working on the Japanese policy “assimilation” during this decade (see Kwo.n 2002; S. Cho.ng 2001; Y. Cho.ng 2004). For new research that makes use of the Maeil sinbo, see the essays in Suyo yo.ksa yo.nguhoe 2002.
Writing Korean Culture: Exploring JapanesePopular Ethnographies of Protectorate Korea
In order to maintain a critical distance between the Japanese colonial archive and my own analysis, I approach the accounts of Japanese writers in this section as ethnographies and their discursive practices as “writing Korean culture,” to invoke the words of James Clifford and George Marcus (1986). I have chosen to call these accounts ethnographies to underscore, as these proponents of self-re.exive forms of anthropology have, the inseparability of the poetic and the political. “[This] focus on text making and rhetoric,” as James Clifford writes, “serves to highlight the constructed, arti.cial nature of cultural accounts. It undermines overly transparent modes of authority, and it draws attention to the historical predicament of ethnog-raphy, the fact that it is always caught up in the invention, not the representation, of cultures” (1986, 2). Thus, my purpose in revisiting the discriminatory language of Japanese colonial ethnographies is not to validate in any way their representations of Korean culture; it is, rather, to emphasize how this colonial rhetoric.highlighted, generalized, exaggerated, and essentialized in these texts.constituted a powerful tool to justify the implementation of urban projects aimed at controlling the colonized according to these very discursive prescriptions.
This rhetorical instrumentality insinuates itself in the speci.c ways through which the ethnographies with which I deal below were produced. For analytical purposes, these texts can be considered popular in the sense that they could be bought and sold on the market in book form. Accompanied with easy-to-read phonetic letters (furigana), they provided useful information for potential Japanese emigrants and travelers to the peninsula. Other ethnographies, in contrast, were not intended for public consumption and were thus con.ned primarily to the ranks of of.cialdom, although their conclusions were often similar to their commercial counterparts. These “of.cial” texts were, in fact, closer to ethnologies, or race studies, in that they tended to embrace the rational exposition of science in addition to the descriptive detail of ethnography and emerged in greater number following the consolidation of colonial rule in 1910 (see, for example, Cho￣sen eisei fu￣shu￣roku 1915; Cho￣senjin no ishokuju￣ oyobi sono ta no eisei 1915; Shiraishi 1918; on the relationship between “amateur ethnographers” and “armchair ethnologists” in the creation of a modern Japanese anthropology, see Shimizu 1999). In spite of their formal dif-ferences, however, these texts are united in their ideological formation as an art of “skillful[ly] fashioning useful artifacts,” an “artisanal [practice] tied to the worldly work of writing” (Clifford 1986, 6).
It is no surprise, then, that many of the Japanese who took it upon themselves to pursue the worldly work of writing Korean culture were professional journalists (on protectorate-period Japanese journalistic activities in Korea, see Kimura 1989, 152.207). These journalists-cum-ethnographers followed the horde of of.cials, merchants, and other members of the middle to upper class who .ooded into the peninsula after Japan’s victory against Russia and the establishment of the protectorate in 1905.4 Such was the case with Okita Kinjo￣, author of Rimen no Kankoku (Korea
4In 1905, before the outbreak of hostilities, there were only 5,113 Japanese living in Korea. The number had shrunk from 10,391 ten years earlier when Japan defeated the Chinese in the 1894.95 Sino-Japanese War and when carpetbaggers realized the dif.culties of pene-trating the Korean market. Victory in the 1904.5 Russo-Japanese War secured Japan’s
Figure 1. The publishing house Nikkan shobo￣ (Ko￣sho￣yu￣bi KanokuShashin-cho￣ 1908, plate 9).
behind the Mask, 1905); Arakawa Goro￣, author of Saikin Cho￣sen jijo￣ (Recent Affairs in Korea, 1906); and Usuda Zan’un (1877.1956), who wrote Yoboki (Records of Koreanness, 1908) and Ankoku naru Cho￣sen (Dark Korea, 1908) and coauthored Cho￣sen manga (Korean Caricatures, 1909) with Torigoe Seiki. Unfortunately, only scant details remain about the lives of these individuals. All that is known about Okita, for example, is that he was an Osaka-based journalist, and spent some time in Korea after the Russo-Japanese War. Arakawa was also a journalist who worked for the Chu￣goku shimbun in Hiroshima, where he also served as a politician. After studying literature in Tokyo, Usuda became a journalist and later wrote novels for a living.
Like many popular ethnographers, Usuda worked for the Keijo￣ nippo￣ (Seoul Daily), a newspaper established in 1906 under the auspices of the Japanese residency-general. After annexation and the establishment of the governor-general in 1910, the Keijo￣ nippo￣ was placed under the reins of Tokutomi Soho￣ (1863.1957), president of the major Tokyo-based newspaper Kokumin shimbun (The Citizen) who brought many of his trusted journalist friends to Seoul. So tied were these two newspapers that journalists from the Keijo￣ nippo￣ were said to have called Kokuminshimbun “headquarters” (honsha) while referring to their own company as a “branch of.ce” (shisha) of the latter (Shibasaki 1983, 65; see also Moriyama 1993). Soho￣ used the Keijo￣ nippo￣ to discourage native resistance to annexation and to build sympathy for the policies of the Japanese government among the Korean people and foreigners living on the peninsula through its af.liated Korean-and English-language newspapers, the Maeil sinbo (Daily News) and the Seoul Press (Pierce 1980, 298).
political presence in Korea once and for all.setting the stage for an unprecedented in.ux of people that reached 171,543 by 1910 and 347,850 by 1920, the largest number of overseas Japanese anywhere in world (Duus 1995, 290). For a full breakdown of the Japanese population in Korea at the time of annexation, see Kimura 1989, 12.
Not unlike other prominent Japanese colonialists, these popular ethnographers were thus closely tied to the institutions and people of power in early colonial Korea. Many of their writings were published by Nikkan shobo￣, a local bookstore located in the Honmachi district of Seoul, the center of Japanese commercial power in the city (.g. 1); Do￣bunkan, a Tokyo-based publishing house, did its part by distributing copies of their works in the Japanese metropole. Printing its .rst book in 1907 and releasing a total of twenty more publications before 1915, Nikkan shobo￣ played a particularly important cultural role in Japan’s push toward annexing Korea and in the initial stage of colonial rule. In addition to purely ethnographic accounts, it also eagerly published maps, Korean conversation manuals, picture books, and guides to Seoul for Korea-bound emigrants and visitors. Even those who decided not to join the “civilizing mission” in Korea themselves could use these materials to participate vicariously in empire building from the metropole. As one advertisement for a Korean picture book evocatively suggested, “when you open this book, it feels like you are ‘wandering’ (asobu) through Korea while you are at home” (Usuda 1908).
Imamura Tomo’s 1914 book on Korean manners and customs, which was not published by Nikkan shobo￣, was inseparably linked to colonial power and adminis-tration in another important way. The author states in the introduction that he became interested in Korean culture because it had a close relation to his job as police chief of Ch’ungch’o.ng and Kangwo.n provinces (1914, iii). As I will discuss in further detail below, colonial knowledge about Korea was generated through intense and often violent police surveillance, particularly as part of census taking and urban sanitation projects. Akiyama Masanosuke (1866.1937), a legal scholar who wrote the laudatory foreword to Imamura’s book, summed up the inextricable relationship between colonial culture and imperial rule as follows: “In certain ways, manners and customs (fu￣zoku) are the unwritten codes (fubunritsu) of society and maintain a close relationship to a variety of arrangements; they must be adapted to the work of administration and law” (Imamura 1914, iii).
Hence, what impelled these popular ethnographers was not the dispassionate chronicling of Korean culture as such, but the discursive construction of difference between Koreans and Japanese, a task that ultimately justi.ed Japan’s imperial presence in protectorate Korea and its future colonial projects after the 1910 annexation. For Japanese ethnographers, the discursive creation of difference was a particularly important yet potentially vexing project due to the fact that Koreans and Japanese possessed considerable physiognomic, linguistic, and cultural similarities. Arakawa Goro￣ admitted in 1906:
There is nothing especially different about them. They look just like the Japanese,
of the same Oriental race, with the same coloring and physique, and the same black
hair. Those who crop their hair and wear Western clothes, like railroad attendants
or students, are not a bit different from the Japanese. If you . . . did not look carefully,
you might mistake them for Japanese. Considering that the appearance and build of
the Koreans and Japanese are generally the same, that the structure and grammar of
their language are exactly the same, and that their ancient customs resemble each
other’s, you might think the Japanese and Koreans are the same type of human being.
(86.87; quoted in Duus 1995, 398)
After suggesting putative racial af.nity between Japanese and Koreans, Arakawa quickly moved from physical characteristics to the cultural practices and personal habits of the latter as the criteria for distinguishing between these two peoples. He continued:
[But i]f you look closely [at the Koreans], they appear to be a bit vacant, their mouths open and their eyes dull, somehow lacking.... In their lines of their mouths and faces you can discern a certain looseness, and when it comes to sanitation and sickness they are loose in the extreme. Indeed, to put it in the worst terms, one could even say that they are closer to beasts than to human beings.
(87; quoted in Duus 1995, 398).
It is this so-called bestiality, this strange and unknown world of Koreans, that the ethnographers dedicated themselves to chronicling for a Japanese audience of potential colonizers, both government of.cials already in Korea and the public back in Japan who, through their writings, were being urged to join the “civilizing mission.” In this sense, these writers served as a critical transnational link between the metropole and Japan’s semicolony in Korea by providing practical, self-serving information about the peninsula and its people to a wide Japanese readership.
The self-proclaimed position of the authors of these texts was one of expert, even though they may have only lived in Korea for a matter of months. This position of authority was almost always backed up with claims of possessing a superior knowledge of Korea and Koreans. Okita Kinjo￣ wrote shortly after the establishment of the protectorate in 1905 that
clever people have already begun surveying all kinds of projects, are establishing a course of action, and are making swift plans for the future. However, very few of those people are adequately versed in the Korean situation. Of late, there are people who.in the name of surveying, inspecting, and various other pretexts.are gradually investigating the conditions of Korea, but I do not think that there is anyone who is familiar with the actual situation of Korea behind the mask. If you are not someone who has at least resided on your own in the Korean interior, lived a Korean life, or eaten Korean food for an extended period, you are certainly not someone who understands the reality of the situation (shinso￣).
In order to explain this reality, popular ethnographers such as Okita appropriated speci.c elements of Korean culture.songs, clothes, houses, habits, and so on.useful artifacts which, when repeated and arranged in an essentialized picture of the colonized, could be used to justify further Japanese interventions in the form of a series of colonial reforms.
Despite such attempts to erase the relations of power that these texts and their authors maintained with their putative objects of study, this process of colonial knowledge production was far from seamless. In critically analyzing the politics of Japanese cultural othering and its accompanying effects, it is, therefore, imperative to expose the challenges to such colonial impositions by focusing on the tensions within ethnographic rhetoric, including the obscured realm of Korean everyday practice. Most useful in illuminating this conjunction between Japanese colonial poetics and politics is Okita’s popular ethnography Korea behind the Mask.5 Perhaps more disparaging in its rhetoric than others, this text and its essentialized motifs of Korean individualism, laziness, and .lth were central to the language of Japanese
5It is in investigating how the power of colonial discourses fueled and became embedded in a number of colonial projects that my approach to Okita’s text differs from that taken by Peter Duus (1995), who, as Andre Schmid has argued, tends “to accept claims made about Korean society and politics as unproblematic truths” (2000, 967). For studies of other Japanese colonialist travel writers, see Ryang 1997; Han 1997.
othering and, in turn, to the projects of administering early colonial Seoul. In what follows, then, I focus on this in.uential text, interspersing my critique of it with overlapping examples from other popular ethnographies that, together, came to create a mythic yet powerful portrait of Korean manners and customs.
Okita began his work with the highly questionable presupposition that all Koreans were individualistic and clannish and thus lacked a sense of public conscious-ness that their Japanese colonizers were, in contrast, said to possess. To support this essentialized claim for Korean civic apathy, he looked to the native folksong “Arirang,” which Koreans.regardless of age, status, or place of residence.were, he asserted, accustomed to singing. The lyrics to the standard (Kyo.nggi Province) version of this song are as follows: “Arirang, Arirang, Arariyo / Cross over Arirang Hill / The love who goes off and leaves me / Before he goes ten li will be footsore” (McCann 1979, 46). In these few, simple words, Okita boldly claimed to have found what he decried as a lingering “imbecility” (aro￣) which had supposedly left its singers throughout Korea “deaf and dumb” (oshi ya tsunbo). He also detected “a certain sadness and pitifulness” (isshu monoganashii awareppoi) in the song’s rhyme; it was, in short, the mark of a “doomed country” (bo￣koku), Okita declared, although without ever acknowledging that this national “doom” was largely the result of Japan’s own imperial domination of the peninsula. Closing their eyes and ears to the country’s business and thus making themselves strangers in their own country, Koreans, in spite of their contemporaneous efforts at state building and anticolonial nationalism, were accused of spending their days in pure idleness. Having come to dominate the personality and behavior of all Koreans, this one song purportedly produced the Korean national character, tautologically de.ned by what Okita called “arirang-ism.” By this term, he meant a combination of individualism and clanism that supposedly prevented the emergence of a public consciousness:
They don’t have the slightest feelings for people outside their family. Even if there
is a person fallen on the roadside or a neighbor with a nasty illness, Koreans only
shed blood and tears within the narrow con.nes of their families. It is as if there were
no need or desire to have an effect on those outside the family. On this point, they
are family people to the end and provide no adequate credentials (tekiseru shikaku) for
being members of society or the nation (shakai kokka).
Likening this insular “arirang-ism” to Korea’s alleged inability to progress, Okita was then able to go one step further and use this rhetoric of lack as an explanation for the associated dearth of social-welfare facilities (orphanages, indigents’ schools, and hospitals) and public spaces (parks, theaters, and other entertainment facilities). Although this explanation, of course, downplayed the pre-1905 urban reforms led by the Korean progressives of the Independence Club (K: Tongnip hyo.phoe) and those surrounding King Kojong (see Kw. Kim 1990; Sin 1997, 218.33; T. Yi 1999; on the Independence Club more generally, see Chandra 1988), it nonetheless worked to create a .eld for Japanese of.cials to carry out their own future urban projects in early colonial Seoul.
According to Okita and other popular ethnographers, Koreans’ inability to make progress was also due to their severe addiction to tobacco, which supposedly enervated them and made them lazy. Although he vacillated in understanding “whether those who smoke tobacco are lazy or whether those who are lazy smoke tobacco,” Okita unequivocally asserted that “the reason for the lack of mettle and energy in today’s Koreans and for their being the world’s laziest people is due to the poisonous power of nicotine. . .” (1905, 13). Indeed, in most Japanese illustrations from the early twentieth century, Koreans were depicted as wearing white clothing (to be discussed in further detail below) and clutching long pipes. In Korean Caricatures, a popular ethnography accompanied by cartoonlike illustrations, the authors portray Koreans as a secluded and idle people with few daily activities except for their leisurely enjoyment of smoking:
[Koreans] live a life in retreat (kankyo) without making goals for themselves. It is not
that they are absorbed in entering the world of Zen, hold strong to some ideals (ku￣so￣),
or are worried about their nation. Even if they collect thousands of books in their
secluded rooms (okubo￣), they are consigned to leisure, lacking even the aspiration to
read extensively through them. They just want to feel comfort in clothing themselves,
eating, and living to their hearts’ content. Never do they re.ect on the past, nor do
they have any regrets. When they think about the future, it is not that they hold
protracted concerns (chitose no urei); they just spend this moment alone, arrogantly
crouched down with pipe in hand while feigning ignorance (usoboku).
(Torigoe and Usuda 1909, 5.6)
As this quotation and the accompanying picture suggest (.g. 2), smoking was a key cultural sign of Koreans’ languor and their inability to make progress.that is, of course, without Japanese “help.” Thus, although Okita argued that smoking tobacco was bad for one’s health and the economy, he nevertheless urged Japanese immigrant farmers in Korea to grow this inexpensive agricultural product and improve on its production. In this convergence of colonial politics and poetics, then, Japan could reap the pro.ts from such a project while maintaining and even reinforcing the constructed cultural difference between the Korean nicotine addict and the idealized other, the “healthy” and “productive” Japanese settler.
Discussing Koreans’ use of tobacco and its supposed link to torpor brought Okita and other writers into the native home, which, when forcefully opened up to ethnographic inspection and discursive scrutiny, could then be infused with a healthy dose of Japanese civilization, both imagined and real. Ethnographers described the residences of all Koreans, whether of the low classes or members of the yangban aristocracy, as dirty and dangerous places, both in terms of their allegedly unhygienic and immoral conditions (on the yangban as a lamentable representational embodiment of the Korean past and its national culture, see Schmid 2002, 121.29). According to their accounts, horse dung was commonly used to reinforce house walls. Once inside, one could also .nd human urine, which was supposedly kept in a container close to the kitchen and was used for washing one’s face. Figure 3 visually depicts this image of a woman washing her face with a chamber pot (benki) right beside her. The caption reads: “Here is another unhygienic portrait. Koreans decorate their rooms by putting the chamber pot and wash pan next to each other. When they awake in the morning, they urinate and wash their faces with the same hand. When one thinks about it, this description is indeed a .lthy one” (Torigoe and Usuda 1909, 117). While such blatantly derogatory and culturally insensitive descriptions might imply that Jap-anese, in contrast, had long since conquered such habits by 1909, the authors themselves acknowledged that the project of instilling of.cially sanctioned standards of hygiene was not in fact complete, citing metropolitan women in speci.c as their “internal” object of scorn (see Narita 1995, 1999). “Japanese women,” Torigoe and Usuda lament in the same passage, “still urinate standing up and use the same hand to grab dumplings” (1909, 117), thus suggesting that the gender-speci.c project of metropolitan hygienic improvement was ongoing and still incomplete. Ignoring the
Figure 2. Secluded life on the ondol (Torigoe and Usuda 1909, 5.6).
rami.cations of such variations when applied to the colonized, popular ethnographers’ dichotomized representations of a more sanitarily advanced Japan and a purportedly hygienically backward Korea served, nonetheless, to create the cultural difference necessary to justify Japan’s imperial presence in the peninsula.
Indeed, what supposedly distinguished the Korean domicile from its metropolitan counterpart was, according to a troubled Okita, that its doors could not easily be penetrated by outsiders, especially the intrusive Japanese. Even the Korean neighbors, he commented, were not allowed into the con.nes of the native home, surrounded by a wall that protected it and its members from the world outside. Repeating a rhetorical strategy associated with “Arirang” mentioned above, Okita argued that this household
Figure 3. Proximity of the chamber pot to face (Torigoe and Usuda 1909, 117).
con.guration likewise produced a sheltered sense of arirang individualism, making Koreans deeply suspicious, full of cunning, and thus unable to make progress. The house, wrote Okita in a typically condescending and hyperbolic manner, thus functions as an “immoral and unethical factory of criminality” (furin no hanzai sezo￣sho). In a discursive maneuver that quickly moved from ethnographic description to policy prescription, Okita argued that the best cure for the morally and hygienically depraved conditions of the Korean home was to break down the door and crush the residents’ “stubborn pride” (kakkyoteki konjo￣). Only such actions, he concluded, would “allow new rays of light and clean air to circulate in their homes” (atarashiki ko￣sen to kiyoki ku￣ki o ryu￣tsu￣ seshimete) (1905, 28.30). As I will discuss in further detail below, the “major clean-up” (daiseiketsuho￣) technique and “grand laundering” (daisentaku) project proposed by Okita facilitated the penetration of Korean homes through police-led census surveys and hygienic inspections, thereby allowing Japanese of.cials to generate further knowledge on Korean habits.
The thrust of these reforms was to focus, at least initially, on the capital city of Seoul, the center of Japanese colonial power in Korea. According to Okita, Korean sanitary conditions there were most appalling and thus in urgent need of improving. He frequently called Seoul the “shit capital” (kuso no miyako) and, based on his investigations of the city, urged his Japanese readers to imagine the rest of the country in a similar way.that is, as a “shit country” (kuso no kuni). According to Okita’s and others’ ethnographic accounts, the metropolitan visitor to early twentieth-century Seoul could not escape the foul smell of human and animal feces, which were supposedly strewn all over the city’s streets. Koreans in Seoul were also accused of carelessly disposing of their human waste in the city’s waterways, thus giving the water a yellow color. However, according to Okita, polluted water did not prevent Korean women from washing clothes in the waterways. In fact, keeping her husband’s white attire clean was, according to Japanese colonial accounts, the woman’s national pastime in Korea. Isabella Bird Bishop, the globetrotting Englishwoman and visitor to Korea in the last years of the nineteenth century, produced a remarkably similar colonialist portrait, vividly describing the scene as follows:
One of the “sights” of Seoul is the stream or drain or watercourse, a wide, walled,
open conduit, along which a dark-colored festering stream slowly drags its
malodorous length, among manure and refuse heaps which cover up most of what
was once its shingly bed. There, tired crowds masculine solely [sic], one may be
refreshed by the sight of women of the poorest class, some ladling into pails the
compound which passes for water, and others washing clothes in the fetid pools which
pass for a stream.... Washing is her manifest destiny so long as her lord wears
white.... Clothes are partially unpicked, boiled with ley [sic] three times, rolled
into hard bundles, and pounded with heavy sticks on stones. After being dried they
are beaten with wooden sticks on cylinders, till they attain a polish resembling dull
satin. The women are slaves to the laundry, and the only sound which breaks the
stillness of a Seoul night is the regular beat of their laundry sticks.
An illustration from a Japanese two-volume series on Korean manners and customs from 1910 shows a scene like that described by Bishop (.g. 4).6
While many of Okita’s colonial representations of the purportedly .lthy Korean city resembled those made by Bishop a decade earlier, we must not to lose sight of the speci.c historical contingency and ideological arbitrariness of the dichotomy constructed between what Japanese ethnographers deemed dirty and that which was seen as suf.ciently clean. In fact, a number of sanitary improvements made to the city
6The hand-painted ethnographic picture of Koreans was a frequent mode of colonial rep-resentation, reproduced in various sources. It was, however, soon to be displaced with the advent of photography, which served to perpetuate and multiply this enduring image of the Korean woman washing alongside the river. For example, an English-language government-general publication from 1935 touting Japanese colonial progress shows women bent over washing clothes in a river and is accompanied by the hackneyed caption “laundry work, the daily task of Korean women” (Thriving Chosen: A Survey of Twenty-Five Years’ Administration 1935, second illustrated page after p. 6). On the instrumentality of Japanese photography in colonial and postcolonial Korea, see Ross 1996.
Figure 4. Korean woman pounding the laundry (Nakamura 1910, 1:12).
during the short-lived existence of the Independence Club (1896.98) and the Great Han period (1897.1905) were actually praised by Bishop after her return to Seoul in 1897:
Seoul in many parts, especially in the direction of the south and west gates, was literally not recognizable. Streets, with a minimum width of 55 feet, with deep stone-lined channels on both sides, bridged by stone slabs, had replaced the foul alleys, which were breeding-grounds of cholera.... [A]n order forbidding the throwing of refuse into the streets was enforced, .refuse matter is now removed from the city
by of.cial scavengers, and Seoul, from having been the foulest is now on its way to being the cleanest city of the Far East!7 (1897/1970, 435)
Despite this triumphant language of sanitary progress, Okita and other Japanese popular ethnographers overlooked these and other pre-1905 changes, for what motivated them most was the political moment of the protectorate.that is, Japan’s opportunity to make Seoul into a sanitary city under its aegis. In describing their impressions of Seoul, they were thus led to depict the city for their Japanese readers as Bishop had done for her particular audience, namely, as a place of squalor. Such imperial representations of urban .lth.the actual conditions of the city notwith-standing.thus opened up a space for further Japanese interventions in the form of colonial projects, to be discussed in the next section.
What Okita speci.cally had in mind and what inextricably linked his imperial poetics with the colonial politics of policymaking was the institution of a force that would circumambulate the city, collect human excrement, and turn it into agricul-tural fertilizer. “Isn’t an excremental wholesale facility in the shit capital an interesting plan indeed,” he remarked in the form of a rhetorical question and a policy proposal. “If one calculated the value of the mountain of shit discharged on the streets,” he continued, “it would actually be an incredibly large sum” (1905, 33). In this one statement, Okita presciently suggested how urban .lth, as discursively construed by him and other popular ethnographers, could be transformed into an array of sanitizing projects that might serve both to clean up the city and bring Japan a pro.t. It is to the implementation of these colonial projects and their role in the administration of early colonial Seoul that we now turn.
Administering Early Colonial Seoul:Colonial Census Counts and UrbanSanitation Projects
In his Korea behind the Mask, Okita Kinjo￣ bemoaned Japanese of.cials’ lack of accurate information on the number of bodies which they had been delegated the task of “protecting” since 1905. He wrote in frustration: “When discussing the extent of the Korean population, some say there are ten million, while others claim that there are twelve, .fteen, or even twenty million; but if we rely on Korean government statistics, there are not even ten million people. This is a strange state of affairs indeed! At any rate, since an independent nation [like Korea] does not maintain statistics on its own people, one cannot determine the value of this country” (1905, 4). With his typically condescending attitude, Okita emphasized the importance of accurately quantifying the population in order to maximize Japan’s ability to pursue its modernizing prerogatives.a task that, like that of reforming personal hygienic practices, had yet to be completed in the Japanese metropole (see Ishizuka 1979, 1981; Yoshino 1989). Although the Meiji government had intended to carry out a
7Other sanitary improvements included the establishment of waste collection sites and public toilets (K: kongnip twikkan) in addition to the distribution of chamber pots. According toSin Tongwo.n, however, manyof thesemeasuresfailedtobeimplementedconsistently,thus plaguing the city with chronic sanitary problems (1997, 218.33).
national census survey before it faced the burden of .nancing the 1904.5 Russo-Japanese War, it was in Japan’s .rst colony, Taiwan, where such a survey was actually conducted in 1905 (Hayami 2001, 65; for a detailed discussion, see Sato￣ 2002, 69. 82). From that experience, the colonial census gradually became part of a system that placed the colonized under systematic behavioral control, close surveillance, and complex arrangements of observation and registration. Unlike the surveys periodically conducted by the precolonial Choso.n state and which were limited to matters of taxation, the colonial census aimed at collecting a wide range of information on the speci.cs of the population and its overall health, quantifying the ethnographic particularities of Korean manners and customs as described in the previous section (Chu. Lee 1999, 36, 38; on the role of statistics in the Japanese rule of colonial Korea, see M. Pak and So. 2003). This process of enumeration, as Arjun Appadurai has eloquently argued, “constituted a kind of metalanguage for colonial bureaucratic discourse within which more exotic understandings could be packaged, at a time when enumerating populations and controlling and reforming society had come to-gether. . .” (1996, 126).
The ability of Japanese authorities to accurately survey and effectively monitor the colonial population of Korea slowly emerged out of a trial-and-error process encumbered by various enumerative dif.culties. In fact, a total of three population surveys were conducted between the years 1906 and 1908, all generating different results. The .rst, which the residency-general carried out in 1906, counted 9,781,671 Koreans. Unsatis.ed with these results, the head of.ce of the advisory police force (keimu komon honbu) conducted its own population survey a year later. This survey calculated a total of 9,638,578 Koreans, a sum 143,093 less than the residency-general’s numbers from the year before. In 1908 a third survey was conducted by of.cers from the local police stations, which, from that same year, had been placed under the jurisdiction of the Sanitation Bureau of the Protectorate’s Home Ministry (Naibu eiseikyoku), as had been the case in Meiji Japan (for the state’s administration of metropolitan hygienic matters, see Johnston 1995, 174.76). The results of this government-led survey, also diverging from previous statistics, counted 8,800,154 Koreans, a sum 981,517 less than the .rst survey and 838,424 less than the second (Kankoku eisei ippan 1909, 1). Despite Japan’s gradual in.ltration of the Korean government during the protectorate period (1905.10), internal administrative problems continued to inhibit of.cials from obtaining accurate census numbers.
Another cause for the numerical discrepancy in population statistics seems to have been related to the intrusive way in which the Japanese police carried out the census. In his ethnographic description of the typical Korean home, Okita had recognized that except for the immediate family and servants, the woman’s living quarters (K: anbang) were “a place that not even the most intimate of individuals are allowed to enter. In some cases,” he continued, “public servants on of.cial business can be denied entry to what should be called the sacred place [of the Korean home]” (1905, 26). Given that the third population survey, in 1908, was carried out by local police of.cials under increasing Japanese pressure to establish an accurate census count, intrusions into native homes to survey their conditions likely offended Korean sensibilities. As Okita himself had warned, “because Japanese unfamiliar with these conventions sometimes mistakenly barge into the living quarters, they oftentimes shock the wife and children and cause a great uproar” (1905, 26.27). A 1909 report on Korean health conditions con.rmed Okita’s fears when it openly acknowledged that such insensitive treatment of Korean customs had prevented both the completion of the population register and the ability to reach Korean bodies to carry out medical examinations and vaccinations (Kankoku eisei ippan 1909, 11). Around this same time, it was also reported that many ailing Koreans were, in fact, hiding in their homes and avoiding outside medical treatment altogether, fearing rumors that the Japanese inspecting police and military doctors might poison them. As a result, the residency-general was forced to modify its approach to home medical treatment by dispatching Korean assistants, where and when available, to accompany the otherwise uncom-promising Japanese military doctors (Y. Pak 2002, 107.8).
This heavy-handed approach by the colonial police and military distinguished sanitary and hygienic reforms in the colony from those carried out in the metropole. Not unlike what had happened in early colonial Korea, where a number of cholera outbreaks led to greater attempts to monitor the colonized population, of.cial concern over the scourge of contagious disease in early Meiji Japan resulted in the imple-mentation of a number of sanitary reforms and an extensive government campaign to introduce the concept of public health to the Japanese populace (on the outbreak of contagious diseases and the development of hospitals during the protectorate period, see Y. Pak 2002, 110.36; Sin 1997, 332.73, 383.92). Despite the unforeseen dif.culties of spreading this message, of.cials in the metropole could rely on the institutional support of temple clergy, local notables, medical professionals, and other nonof.cials who used evening chats, slide shows, and local exhibitions to instill a new knowledge of hygienic propriety (Ambo 1989; Abe 1996; Henry 2001). In the early colonial context, in contrast, the potentially intermediary role that such nonof.cial individuals and institutions might have played was all but bypassed in favor of a more direct, forceful, and instrumental view of rule, the signi.cant cultural gap between Japanese and Koreans described by Japan’s popular ethnographers notwithstanding. Pak Yunjae has shown, for example, how the critical suggestions of Korean elites such as Yu Byo.ngp’il to involve local leaders and Korean doctors in the .ght against cholera, although entertained by a few Japanese policymakers, were eventually ignored in favor of a draconian system of sanitary reforms led by the military-trained hygiene police (2002, 132.36).8 This system contrasted with that instilled in Japan’s metro-politan cities where clean-up supervising of.cials operated under the 1900 Law Concerning Waste Disposal (Obutsu so￣jiho￣) and were assistedbyprofessionallytrained medical doctors, both of whom worked to check the otherwise arbitrary power of the police. Furthermore, unlike those in Tokyo, where various conceptions of the city. including, but not limited to, the sanitary one.competed for prominence, urban reforms in early colonial Seoul were backed by a much greater degree of administrative consensus and of.cial sponsorship.
It was no surprise, then, that the organization established to carry out sanitary reforms in early colonial Seoul, the Seoul Sanitation Association (SSA) (Kanjo￣ eiseikai;
K: Hanso.ng wisaenghoe), was founded by the crown prince Yoshihito (1879.1926) and future emperor Taisho￣ (r. 1912.26) upon his visit to the city in 1907 (on the SSA, see Y. Pak 2004; on Yoshihito’s visit to Korea, see Hara 2001, 168.87). Troubled by the outbreak of cholera and “deeply concerned” about the sanitary conditions of Korea, Yoshihito made an imperial donation of thirty thousand yen to establish this association, which devoted itself to a general cleanup of the city along the lines suggested by Okita (KEJI 1914, 1). With its main of.ces in the Metropolitan Police Headquarters (Keishicho￣) and branch of.ces located in police stations
8On the development of the hygiene police system in colonial Korea, see Y. Pak 2002, 101.10; Sin 1997, 329.32. In early colonial Taiwan, in contrast, the Japanese colonial police forcefully superimposed itself over the preexisting “mutual responsibility” (C: baojia) system to carry out sanitary and hygienic reforms (Wakimura 1997, 44.47).
throughout the city, the SSA, in conjunction with the hygiene police, forcefully took charge of disposing human excrement, collecting garbage, and dredging ditches for sewerage in order to improve the city’s sanitary conditions. Convinced of the bene.ts of creating a healthy urban environment, the SSA worked to install public bathrooms throughout the city and to plant rows of white willow trees, both of which were believed to improve the overall salubriousness of the urban environment (on the role of roadside trees in Japanese city planning, see Shirahata 1995, 285.318). To deal with recurring outbreaks of contagious disease.which in 1909 alone was said to have killed approximately one thousand Seoulites.the SSA also led a campaign to build a quarantine hospital and regulate the hygienic conditions of the city’s butcher houses. To .nance these projects, the SSA, whose duties the Metropolitan Government of Seoul (Keijo￣ fucho￣) took over following the establishment of a uniform city administration in 1914, received .nancial support from the metropolitan Japanese government in addition to funding provided by a monthly service fee placed on the residents of Seoul (eight sen9 for Japanese and two sen for Koreans).
Notwithstanding the .nancial largesse provided by Tokyo, this fee-based scheme considerably disrupted the preexisting sanitation system for Korean fertilizer merchants (K: punsang) as well as the residents of Seoul and beyond. Notably contradicting Okita’s contention that urban .lth was an inherent problem of the (semi)colonized, one Korean newspaper reported in 1908: “In former days, the Korean fertilizer merchants consistently collected excrement everyday; but because the Japanese sanitation companies come around to collect once every ten or twenty days, shit piles up like mounds in and around people’s houses and, therefore, popular resentment is widespread.... Hitherto, the Korean fertilizer merchants gathered human waste everyday without charging the people a single cent; however, following the establishment of the so-called sanitation companies, a sanitation fee of two cho.n10 is levied on every room (kan). . .” (“Wisaeng hoesa” [Sanitation Companies], Taehan maeil sinbo [Great Han Daily], December 15, 1908, n.p.). According to newspaper reports, many Koreans, especially the city’s poor, refused to pay this rather expensive fee, thus making the sanitary situation even worse (“Wisaeng haesaeng” [Sanitary Damage], Taehan maeil sinbo, June 26, 1909).11 The colonial police responded to this situation by continuing to make intrusive visits to Korean homes, threatening to take food in lieu of the sanitation fee (“Minsim kyo.gang” [Deep Resentment of thePeople], Taehan maeil sinbo, April 3, 1909; “Sunsa haengp’ae” [Violence by Police Of.-cer], Taehan maeil sinbo, April 22, 1909). There was even mention of Koreans who were beaten because they offered to pay the sanitation fee for a friend or family member who lacked the necessary funds (Sin 1997, 402). As one Korean newspaper article
9One hundred sen equal one yen.
10One hundred cho.n equal one wo.n.
11Many of the strict regulations instituted by the SSA.the building and maintaining of open drains and toilets as well as the use of chamber pots made of stone, ceramic, or another impermeable material, for example.seem to have been dif.cult to follow, especially for the poorer elements of Korean society. For them, of.cials made exceptions.using wooden chamber pots, for instance.as long as they were covered with a coating of protective tar. If this or any of the other stringent sanitary regulations were broken, however, Koreans could be punished with an exorbitant .ne of up to .ve yen or be detained for up to ten days. As a solution, indigent Koreans were hired by the SSA at low wages (one-third those of Japanese laborers) to carry out the dirty work of waste collection rather than be forced to pay the sanitation fee. By 1912 the colonized were made to take full responsibility for cleaning up after their brethren, thus becoming mobilized to participate in the civilizing mission of Japanese colonialism (KEJI 1914, 38, 166).
summed up the situation, “the dunning threat [of the sanitation fee] is more pressing than a falling meteor; even the chickens and dogs [around the house] cannot be at peace due to the aggressive .nancial demands of police of.cers” (“Wisaeng hoesa,” Taehan maeil sinbo, December 15, 1908, n.p.). For the Korean waste collectors of Seoul, the near monopolization of the night-soil business by a new Japanese-controlled sanitation system meant a loss of pro.ts; for their countryside consumers, this translated into a lower supply of fertilizer at higher prices. One concerned Korean nationalist passionately wrote not long before the annexation:
The Japanese take advantage of this opening to use their fertilizer companies to collect
human excrement extensively within the city walls and sell it at a high price to the
farmers outside the city walls. Therefore, thousands of Koreans’ excrement is put in
the hands of the Japanese; the pro.t produced by hundreds and thousands of bushels
of human fertilizer enters the hands of the Japanese.... Alas, if our brethren fail to
understand business competition (saengo.p kyo.ngjaeng) in this age of business
competition and stand by idly, they will perish and meet their death (kosa ru.l
(“Hanbiryo wa ilin” [Korean Fertilizer and the Japanese], Taehan maeil sinbo, October 11, 1908, n.p.)
So disruptive was this new sanitation system that, in the spring of 1909, the SSA was forced to deal with desperate farmers in the countryside and the city’s displaced Korean waste collectors by allowing the latter to use the SSA’s sanitation equipment in order to provide the former with needed night soil (Sin 1997, 401). This measure aimed to placate the Korean waste collectors and thereby reincorporate them into Japan’s emerging system of colonial urban sanitation.
In contrast to such institutional reforms.which, despite the initial setbacks mentioned above, were .rmly under the control of the colonial government. modifying the personal hygienic practices of Koreans, which also had a direct impact on the sanitary condition of the city, was not such an easy task. In fact, one can detect a frequent slippage between the “objective” sanitary conditions of the city and the “subjective” knowledge and practice of personal hygiene by the colonized, the latter of which, although central to Japan’s imperial project of “assimilation,” often running counter to the former. Take, for example, the issue of public toilets in early colonial Seoul, a meeting ground of Japanese sanitary policy and Korean hygienic practice. The SSA, disturbed by inadequate lavatory facilities within Korean homes and plagued by the inability to change swiftly the hygienic customs of their inhabitants, attempted to reform the habits of the colonized by making them publicly participate in their own self-surveillance and, hence, self-regulation (Bennett 1999, 335). One SSA report suggested that “because the public bathroom has a close connection to public health and the outer appearance of the city, one must pay adequate attention to its structure and cleaning in addition to the planting of trees [imported] from overseas, thereby
12Urban sanitation was inextricably linked to the imperial agricultural project, namely, that of encouraging Japanese farmers to emigrate to the Korean countryside. In fact, the Oriental Development Company (To￣yo￣ takushoku gaisha), established in 1908 to lead this campaign, was a major customer of night soil to be used on its newly purchased .elds (on the Oriental Development Company’s largely unsuccessful attempts at transplanting Japanese ag-ricultural colonists in the Korean countryside, see Duus 1995, 301.12). After the annexation, the SSA proceeded to sell all urban excrement to a local Japanese .rm, the South Mountain, Inc. (Nanzan sho￣kai), which used it to produce agricultural fertilizer (KEJI 1914, 4).
seeking to make [the public bathroom] accessible to the public eye”(KEJI 1914, 37; emphasis added). To achieve this goal, the SSA installed a number of public toilets throughout the city (seventy-nine by 1913), particularly in the Korean neighborhoods around Chongno. In practice, however, seeing was not necessarily believing in or acting on behalf of the colonial power, as the colonized actively treated bathrooms and other public sanitary facilities in ways that often diverged from the norms of the colonial system that they had no choice but to accept (Certeau 1984, xiii). With a typical tone of civilizational superiority, SSA of.cials described the tactics of some as follows: “Koreans.who, from the beginning, lack a knowledge of health and who have not developed a sense of ‘civic morality’ (ko￣tokushin;K: kongdo.ksim).sometimes break down the bathroom door, steal it, and use it as .rewood for the underground heating
(K: ondol) in their homes. They try to defecate in the urinals, urinate outside the cesspools, and use the public toilet as if it were the property of their own families” (KEJI 1914, 37). For its part, the Maeil sinbo (the governor-general-censored Korean-language newspaper) reported a number of times that Koreans were uprooting the willow trees that had been planted to serve as the “lungs” of the city; such offenders were whipped and punished with a .ne of three to four yen (see, for example, “Wisaenggi cho.lch’wibo.m” [Crimes for Uprooting Sanitation Trees], April 20, 1911). Such behavior, its criminalization notwithstanding, suggests that pressing economic concerns, such as an adequate supply of .rewood for heating the Korean home, were more important than adhering to unfamiliar and stringent notions of hygienic propriety.
Disregarding these immediate material concerns, SSA of.cials explained this cultural gap by resorting to the ethnographic discourse described in the previous section, focusing instead on Koreans’ particularities.that is, their alleged lack of proper hygienic knowledge and undeveloped sense of “public morality.” What they added to the ethnographic discourse was the power of numbers to .ll this gap in the creation of a colonialist imaginary centering on matters scatological. By quantifying Korean bodies and their excrement, of.cials sought to tame what they considered to be the products of unsanitary Korean habits. Based on detailed tables enumerating the monthly quantity of excrement collected and the population of the city, Japanese of.cials presided over a plethora of statistical information generated by urban sanitation projects. They even took the time to calculate the average amount of excremental output produced by Koreans per day. Through these and other enumerative strategies, the SSA transformed the many individuals composing the category of the colonized into a singular image centering on their unhygienic excremental practices (Appadurai 1996, 133). In turn, they sought to control these practices through sanitary interventions such as the installation of public toilets, although the effects of such projects, as we have seen, often ran at odds with this Japanese colonial imaginary.
As a result of this ongoing cultural gap, colonial of.cials began to experiment with a number of expedient measures during the 1910s.the institutionalization of locally organized neighborhood sanitation cooperatives and personal hygiene lectures and slide shows, the publication of seasonal health warnings and articles on improving household hygiene, and participation by Koreans in police-led house cleanings in the spring and fall.all of which aimed at creating a stronger link between Japanese-led sanitary reforms of the city and the hygienic knowledge and practice of its Korean residents. Indeed, Japanese notions of public health, both in their metropolitan and colonial forms, hinged on this organic connection between the health of the individual (kojin;K: kaein) and, radiating outward, that of his/her family, community, society, and country. Yamane Masaji, a Japanese doctor working in the governor-general’s Sanitary Bureau, explained to an audience of Koreans at a hygiene lecture in 1910: “Because hygiene means making one’s body healthy, if each individual citizen (K: kungmin i kaein mada) exerts himself or herself, it is only natural that the country
(K: kukka) will become rich and its army powerful” (“Yamane ssi u.i wisaengkanghwa” [Mr. Yamane’s Lecture on Hygiene], Maeil sinbo, December 11, 1910, n.p.). When this notion of hygiene was “translated” from the metropolitan to the colonial context, however, the potentially thorny question arose as to the nature of its Korean practitioners.that is to say, of imperial subjects burdened with duties and responsibilities like their colonizers were, but lacking the political and economic rights bestowed upon Japanese citizens. As a result of this seeming contradiction in colonial policy and the challenges that it could pose, strenuous efforts were made throughout the decade to encourage Koreans .rst to work hard to carry out their duties and responsibilities. Then, according to one lofty newspaper editorial entitled “Nodong u.i sinso.ng” (The Sanctity of Labor), they would, at a later date, be rewarded with treatment and rights of a “.rst-class citizen” (iltu.ng kungmin)(Maeilsinbo,October 21, 1910). In terms of the colonial sanitary project, such duties and responsibilities, or what was commonly referred to as “personal hygiene” (K: kaein wisaeng), were incredibly wide ranging and included everything from keeping one’s house and the area around it adequately clean to getting the proper amount of physical activity, including sex (see “Wisaeng kanghwa” [Lectures on Hygiene], Maeil sinbo, February 15.17, 20, 22.24, 26, 1918). In all these areas, writers in the Maeil sinbo repeatedly emphasized the important role of the self-regulating “individual” in carrying out these responsibilities, both for one’s own health and for that of one’s surrounding community. Invoking the Korean word for “self” or “individual” (chagi) three times in one sentence one such author exhorted: “Each individual (chagi) resident should clean the road in front of one’s (chagi) house, thereby not only promoting the hygiene of one’s (chagi) home but also offering regular passersby with an impressive sight” (“Tosang pangik aksu.p” [The Bad Habit of Abandoning Things along the Road], Maeil sinbo, March 3, 1912, n.p.).
According to the Japanese administrative narrative as documented by the SSA, such exhortations gradually led to the development of a knowledge of health and hygiene among Koreans and thus resulted in the reduction of the sanitary force from 473 in 1909 to 287 in 1914 (KEJI 1914, 87). While such self-congratulation copiously adorns many such documents of the Japanese colonial archive, we must approach such statements critically, treating them not simply as a re.ection of the politicized reality that they purport to describe but also, in the words of Ann Stoler, as “technologies of rule in themselves” (2002, 83). Indeed, if one follows the number of police of.cers and gendarmes (which remained about the same during the 1910s), Seoul’s police/military of.cer-to-resident ratio (which outnumbered that of Tokyo by almost four to one), and the numerous and unprecedented minor regulations instituted in the city during the decade (Cho. Lee 2001), a case different from that offered by the SSA can be made. That is to say, Koreans’ continued evasion of Japanese sanitary impositions actually required an increasingly sophisticated formula of coercive and persuasive measures to control effectively the colonized. As was the case with the “misuse” of public toilets and sanitation trees, there is ample evidence from newspaper reports into the late 1910s and early 1920s to suggest that Korean residents of Seoul, particularly the most indigent, continued to violate Japanese standards of public health (“Manggak toen kongjung wisaeng” [Public Health Forgotten], Maeil sinbo, September 11, 12, 14.15, 1918). According to one such report from 1920, even those of the “so-called middle class and above” (K: sowi chungnyu kyegu.p isang) exercised sanitary vigilance only during the biannual police-enforced cleanups, regularly failing to remove the trash and dirt from in front of their homes (“Kyo.ngso.ng u.i pulwanjo.n han wisaeng siso.l e taehaya ” [On the Incompleteness of Sanitary Facilities in Seoul, pt. 1], Maeil sinbo, July 6, 1920). To .ll this continuing gap between such practices deemed unhygienic and sanitary improvements made to the city’s infrastructure, the SSA, as I have tried to show, drew on the ethnographic discourse of .lth to quantify the sanitary conditions of the Korean home and attempt to tame the hygienic practices that were beyond its direct control. In the face of persistent problems with administering early colonial Seoul, this statistical knowledge thus helped create a sense of controllable indigenous reality for Japanese of.cialdom, however self-ful.lling it might have been.
Welcome to Modern Keijo￣!:Early Twentieth-Century Japanese Guidesto the Colonial Capital
In addition to justifying sanitizing inventions throughout the city, the creation of a colonial imaginary of urban order was also an important discursive strategy to solicit potential Japanese emigrants and visitors to colonial Seoul and elsewhere in Korea. In order to summon these individuals, early twentieth-century Japanese guides to the colonial capital, which began to appear in large number after the annexation (1910), had to present the city as a salubrious place with all the conveniences of modern life in Japan. Unlike the popular ethnographies and of.cial health reports, which were .xated on the unhygienic manners and customs of Koreans, the devel-opmentalist narrative of these guides deployed a representational strategy to displace the colonized to the fringes of the modern city, where they would not pose a threat to the image of the city as clean, healthy, and progressive. In the end, however, this distancing strategy could not completely eliminate the potentially “menacing” image of Japan’s Korean other.who, after all, formed the bulk of the urban population and whose discursive presence as unhygienic continued to insinuate itself into the otherwise untainted narrative of Japan’s guides to colonial Seoul. The impetus to expel the ethnographic image of the un.t Korean body also ran at odds with the emergent projects to incorporate the colonized as hard-working and productive members in the empire’s modern development, if not as dutiful and loyal Japanese imperial subjects. This ambiguity, like that between the reality of political inequality and the demands of cultural integration (as discussed in relation to the administration of early colonial Seoul), was, as I will show in this section, at the center of Japanese guidebook representations of the city.
One of the initial urban reform projects carried out by the governor-general involved sanitizing, widening, and straightening the city’s preexisting roads, over which would then be laid a grid system of streets connected by a series of rotaries converging on the Ko￣ganemachi Plaza in the Japanese settlement of southern Seoul (map 1). Such an ambitious urban-planning project, although modi.ed somewhat in 1919 (Ki. Kim 1995, 55, 57), had proven impossible in the new Japanese capital, Tokyo, where entrenched landowners had prevented its implementation (Ishida 1987, 51.106; Sorensen 2002, 60.84). Without such restraints, Japanese of.cials imple-mented a comparable plan .rst in early colonial Taipei (Goto￣ 1998; Huang 1992). In a similar fashion, the comprehensive 1913 law regulating urban reforms in colonial
Map 1. Projected road improvements in Seoul, 1912 (adapted fromShinsen Keijo￣ annai 1913 by Fukumoto Taku, Kyoto University).
Seoul (Shigaichi kenchiku torishimari kisoku) was passed by the Korean governor-general six years before a similar law was instituted in the metropole (Goto￣ 1995, 53).13 This law expanded on the .rst phase of road improvements (1907.13), which had linked the Taehan Gate in the western part of the city to the Kwanghwa Gate and connected the city’s train station near the South Gate to the Korean neighborhoods around Chongno in the north. In fact, from 1913 to 1917, the governor-general sought to widen and straighten thirty-one major roads (although only eleven such projects were actually implemented during this period), the majority of which were to be undertaken in the southern half of the city where Japanese of.cials and the expanding expatriot business community resided. According to the city plan for 1919, the southern part of the city.also home to Japan’s sacerdotal and militarycenters,Cho￣sen Shrine (completed in 1925) at Namsan and the military headquarters at Yongsan. was to be connected to city’s north on the grounds of Kyo.ngbok Palace, which had
13Various attempts were made at passing a building code in the metropole, but a lack of public .nances in addition to the entrenched interests of property holders in Meiji Tokyo prevented its passage (Sorensen 2002, 69.71).
served as the precolonial royal center and would, in a symbolically signi.cant maneuver, become the future site of the government-general building (completed in 1926). This focus on a planned network of roads with a main north-south axis. beginning at Kyo.ngbok Palace grounds, passing by the entrances to Namsan’s Cho￣sen Shrine and Seoul Train Station, and terminating at the military boom town of Yongsan.was thus aimed at consolidating Japanese control over the Korean neighborhoods of Chongno and clearing the way for the ef.cient circulation of goods and people necessary to facilitate the imperial development of the city and beyond (map 2) (see Goto￣ 1995, 52.76; Son 1990, 98.114; Ki. Kim 1995, 41.66; M. Yi 1994, 421.49; Cho.n 1999).
While the governor-general took the lead in postannexation urban reforms, Japanese publishers jumped on the bandwagon by issuing a number of guides to colonial Seoul, encouraging Japanese businessmen, petty merchants, and other middle-class colonialists to take advantage of the many opportunities that the city offered.14 These Japanese narratives presented Seoul primarily as a place of dynamic colonial development, boasting clean streets, prosperous banks, and a bustling commercial center. However, this positive image of the colonial present.although juxtaposed with a precolonial Korean past that was portrayed as undeveloped and stagnant.was all but divorced from the intimate imperial relationship that Japan had established with the peninsula and its people beginning in the 1870s.
One of the .rst narratives to take up this colonialist understanding of the city was not a guide per se, but a contemporary Japanese account of Seoul. Published in 1912 by the Japanese Residents’ Association of Seoul (Kyoryu￣ mindan), Keijo￣ hattatsushi (A Developmental History of Seoul) tells the story of the city’s colonial present as the past of Japan’s gradual penetration of the peninsula. Beginning in 1882 with the establishment of a residential enclave, the narrative proceeds chronologically to recount advancements made within the con.nes of the Japanese settlement, devoting a chapter each to economics, commerce, education, sanitation, religion, transportation, and so on. Within this colonialist story of the city’s past, developments occurring outside the spatial con.nes of the settlement community are relevant only insofar as they infringe on Japanese progress and thus serve as a justi.cation for outward expansion and eventually for control over the entire city and peninsula in 1910. In regard to the sanitary situation, for example, the authors of this work blame the “infantile Koreans” (yo￣chi no Kanjin) for the outbreak of various contagious diseases within the city, notwithstanding the fact that the Japanese (and other foreigner settlers) tended to bring such diseases into Korea from overseas (see, for example, “Naeji hoyo.k kwa wisaeng” [The Cholera Epidemic in the Metropole and Hygiene], Maeil sinbo, August 17, 1916). According to A Developmental History of Seoul, Japanese settlers took various measures to insulate themselves from the scourge of disease, including the construction of quarantine hospitals, the employment of sanitation specialists, and the inoculation of the expatriate community. Like the rationale for instituting these urban health reforms, the narrative thus attempts to insulate itself from the Korean outside, denying it what Johannes Fabian has called coevalness by
14Despite various attempts by the semiof.cial Oriental Development Company to lure Japanese farmers to the Korean countryside, nearly 70 percent of Japanese residents in early colonial Korea were engaged in urban-based tertiary occupations (commerce, government, and service), while less than 10 percent were employed in both secondary (manufacturing) and primary (agriculture and .shing) industries. Another 16 percent were unemployed or engaged in “miscellaneous” activities, including prostitution (Duus 1995, 334.35). For a fuller break-down of speci.c occupations, see Duus 1995, 336.37.
Map 2. Projected road improvements in Seoul, 1919 (adapted fromShinsen Keijo￣ annai 1913 by Fukumoto Taku, Kyoto University).
placing its other in a time different from that of the speaker of this Japanese colonial discourse (1983, 31).
The city, however, is a place where the specter of contagious disease poses a constant threat to the health of all its inhabitants. As such, this otherwise allochro-nistic narrative of urban development is forced to admit the undeniable reality of urban cohabitation (zakkyo), even if its Japanese authors must blame Koreans and other “others” for Seoul’s unsanitary conditions. Japanese Resident-General Ito￣ Hirobumi (1841.1909) wrote in 1907 that “even if the Japanese city streets in Seoul are cleaned, harmful materials will naturally make their way from the dirty Korean city streets into Japanese homes. Even if the Korean city streets are thoroughly cleaned, the Chinese homes are unclean, thus producing the same result. We must thus aim to sanitize the entire city through a coordinated effort. . .” (Cho.ngm. Kim 1965, 6:556; quoted in Sin 1997, 393). As this quotation suggests, despite the attempt to place the colonizer’s others completely outside its discourse, Koreans were, in practice, drawn into a web of power relations with the city’s Japanese residents, a fact that even A Developmental History of Seoul hints at when it mentions the SSA’s sanitary penetrations into the predominantly Korean neighborhood of Chongno.
Although never totally successful even at the level of discourse, Japanese guides to colonial Seoul persistently attempted to displace the Korean population outside the city’s self-de.ned sanitary limits. The visual component of this distancing strategy can be found on the covers of many such guides. Take, for example, the illustration that adorns the 1913 publication Shinsen Keijo￣ annai (A New Guide to Seoul) (.g. 5). In this picture, a Korean man is symbolically placed outside one of the city gates looking in. Dressed in the typical Korean white garb, he is shown with a pipe in his mouth, which, as explained earlier, was a quintessential Japanese colonial image for Korean laziness.15 When juxtaposed with the developmentalist narrative that dominates the pages of this and other such guides, this depiction of Koreans’ indolence and isolation denies, at least on a representational level, their participation in the city’s progress, this civilizing mission thus arrogated for Japanese colonialists to pursue themselves. With Koreans representationally dislocated from the city, the develop-mentalist narrative proceeds to highlight the increasingly modern infrastructure of colonial Seoul, concentrated in the southern part of the city where the Japanese presence dominated.
In order to construct such an image, travel-guide narratives of early colonial Seoul strategically juxtaposed what they referred to as the “dynamic” and “modern” part of the city’s southern neighborhoods with the “quaint” and “decrepit” anachronisms of the northern part of the city, which was home to most of Seoul’s Korean population and the then defunct royal palaces.16 This discursive strategy worked to strip these sites of their precolonial signi.cance as centers of kingly rule and their potential in the colonial present as rallying points of Korean nationalism. Instead, they were refashioned as archaic counterparts to the modern present and future of the city, converted into entertainment and tourist sites to be visited by Japanese and foreign travelers. One English-language travel brochure noted in reference to Kyo.ngbok
15Another such illustration (showing a Korean family) can be found on the cover of Keijo￣ annai (A Guide to Seoul) 1915.
16On the division of the city into a Japanese south and a Korean north, see Son 1996a, 355.98. Although the so-called northern city (K: pukch’on) was populated overwhelmingly by Koreans (92.9 percent according to the 1925 census), the colonized also made up slightly over 35 percent of the population in the so-called southern city (K: namch’on) (Son 1996a, 371. 72).
Figure 5. Cover of Shinsen Keijo￣ annai (1913).
Palace: “[M]ake acquaintance with the old attire, peculiar customs, and distinctive architecture of this ‘Hermit Kingdom’ which is no longer shut off from the rest of the world, but is now passing through a great and rapid change under the progressive policy of the Japanese administration” (“A Guide to Keijo [Seoul], Chosen” 1918, 1). Westerners, Japanese, and Koreans alike were encouraged to consume this politically dichotomized image, which was visually displayed at the 1915 Cho￣sen Industrial Exhibition (Cho￣sen bussan kyo￣shinkai; K: Choso.n mulsan kongjinhoe), held on the reconstructed grounds of Kyo.ngbok Palace and future site of the government-general building (see Joo 2002; for the colonial transformation of Kyo.ngbok palace grounds, see Son 1996b, 520.60; Ho. 1996; Cho.ngd. Kim 2000, 183.227).
After visiting Kyo.ngbok Palace, tourists could then make their way to Ch’anggyo.ng Palace (see map 1 for major sites mentioned below) by proceeding east along the main thoroughfare, Chongno, in the northern part of the city. Ch’anggyo.ng Palace, formerly a Koryo. (918.1392) summer palace and later the home to the last Korean emperor, Sunjong, had, like Kyo.ngbok Palace, been transformed into another example of the dichotomizing strategy that sought to separate what was portrayed as the “modern” and “progressive” Japanese present from the “premodern” and “anachronistic” Korean past. Once inside the grounds, visitors could tour the palace buildings from which, according to the English guide mentioned above, “the kings formerly dealt with affairs of state” (“A Guide to Keijo [Seoul], Chosen” 1918, 10; emphasis added). Having observed the defunct palace where the former Korean emperor resided, visitors could then proceed outdoors to enjoy the rest of the palace grounds, which had been converted into a modern colonial park. On this part of the palace grounds, one could visit the museum with “a large number of valuable old wares, paintings, writings, etc. . . for studying the ancient arts of the country,” the botanical garden “laid out in the former Japanese style with lakelets, artistic bridge, etc., and [which] is being stocked gradually with rare plants,” and the zoological garden which contained “the usual assortment of animals from rodents to elephants, besides some splendid tigers, leopards, and bears” (“A Guide to Keijo [Seoul], Chosen” 1918, 10). On the grounds of Ch’anggyo.ng Palace, then, one could .nd a smaller spatial replication of the citywide phenomenon through which a discredited pre-colonial Korean past was symbolically juxtaposed with the progressive Japanese colonial present.
It was, of course, the latter phenomenon on which the colonial guides focused most of their attention. Upon opening A New Guide to Seoul, for example, Japanese readers were greeted with a photograph of Governor-General Terauchi Masatake (1852.1919) dressed in full military garb. His protecting image is followed by a series of photographic scenes that the Japanese visitor/settler might encounter after he or she got off the train at Seoul Station. From here, one sees the South Gate, around which an electric streetcar passes and picks one up for a ride to the Japanese part of town. Along the way, one travels on the widened streets of Nandaimon and Ko￣gane-machi boulevards, on the sides of which are located the modern structures and symbols of Japan’s colonial presence in Seoul.the Oriental Development Company, the Cho￣sen Bank, the headquarters of the military police, the government-general’s middle school, and so on.
After dropping off his or her luggage in the Japanese settlement, the newcomer to the city reboards the streetcar for a journey across Chongno, which is shown with electric poles and some new two-story buildings. There is no sign in the photographic images of this tour of Seoul that Koreans actually live along this route to Ch’anggyo.ng Palace. In fact, it is only at the entrance to the palace that Koreans are shown, ostensibly gathered to enter the grounds of this edifying civic site. Other photographic scenes bring the visitor back to the Japanese settlement where he or she could see the rotary press at the local Japanese-language newspaper, the Keijo￣ nippo￣, or visit various merchant outlets selling watches and clocks, photographic equipment, bicycles, automobiles, musical instruments, and a whole host of other modern goods.17 Having toured colonial Seoul from the metropole, the Japanese reader of A New Guide to Seoul could then page through the rest of this and other such guides to discover the details of modern life in the colonial city, with each chapter systematically outlining a different aspect of the development of Seoul, such as the spread of gas and electricity,
17Mok Suhyo.n describes a similar south-north-south urban tour in the narrative of the 1936 Japanese colonial guidebook, Shinban dai-Keijo￣ annai (The Latest Guide to Greater Keijo￣) (2003, 23.38).
commercial development, sanitation facilities, communication networks, educational and religious organizations, and so on.
When discussing these topics, the narratives of these guides repeatedly juxtapose the present of Japanese colonial development with the precolonial past of Korean stagnation. In the section on public health, for example, Keijo￣ annai (A Guide to Seoul) discusses the current hygienic practices of Koreans as “having yet to leave the realm of infancy” (yo￣chi no iki o dassezaru) (1915, 56), a conclusion quite different from the self-congratulatory one offered by the SSA a year earlier. This guide suggests that Koreans’ superstitious attitude toward their bodily health, particularly the continued reliance on shamanistic practices to cure human illness, is evidence of these “people of a primitive time” (genshi jidai no minzoku) (56).
To mollify the potential fears of immigrating to what otherwise might seem like a “backward” place, A Guide to Seoul then proceeds to describe the many sanitary improvements made in Seoul since Japan established its colonial presence there. Pictures of the imposing Government-General Hospital and the military headquarters stand to protect the would-be Japanese visitor/settler from the potential threat posed by the allegedly ineffective shaman health practitioners, who are shown on the opposite page of this section of the guide (Keijo￣ annai 1915, 64.68). Underscoring the innocuousness of Seoul, these guides intersperse their developmentalist narratives with a plethora of advertisements for modern facilities (hospitals, photographic studios, and so on), newspapers and magazines, businesses (Mitsui, Mitsukoshi, Cho￣sen Bank, and so on), and products (phonographs, Western clothes, and so on), thus further reassuring the Japanese visitor/settler of the modern comforts of the colonial city.
In contrast to the vibrant Japanese area of early colonial Seoul, the Korean neigh-borhoods and their inhabitants are all but absent from colonial guides to the city. When represented, they remain at a distance from the many urban reforms that the SSA and its administrative discourse boasted of having made during the initial years of colonial rule. Thus, rather than being able to share the same developmentalist time of progress as their colonizers, Koreans are relegated to the stagnant time of an anachronistic past. Reintroducing the scathing language of Okita Kinjo￣ and other popular ethnographers, A New Guide to Seoul (Shinsen Keijo￣ annai), for example, continued to diagnose Koreans with a disease causing “degeneration and feebleness” (ro￣suibyo￣). Adopting in toto the logic and rhetoric of Okita, this guide attributes this lack of spirit and vigor to Korea’s national song, which had allegedly come to dominate the thought of this “deaf and dumb people” (ro￣a no minzoku). Now, however, “Arirang” was discussed not as a sign of Korea’s “doomed” present, as had been the case during the protectorate period, but as a symbol of the colony’s inexorable future progress. This guide questioned: “Who, when one hears the sad tone of this song ‘Arirang,’ does not think of the not-so-distant prospects of developing the peninsula?” (1913, 130). Missing from this rhetorical question, of course, is the role to be played by Koreans, as any progress said to have been made by the colonized is quali.ed by continually insisting on what Dipesh Chakrabarty has called a “not yet” position of deferred political and economic rights (2000, 9).
This description of Koreans as lacking spirit and vigor, however, ran counter to the very goal of colonial development, for central to this task was the incorporation of Korean Seoulites into the emerging urban order of Japanese colonialism, in terms of both its assimilationist and capitalist dimensions. From this ambiguity emerged the recognition that Japanese colonial progress, despite numerous attempts to reject and eliminate the colonized from the developmentalist narratives of Seoul, was highly dependent on the latter. One .nal example will illustrate this point. As was .rst alluded to by Okita and other popular ethnographers, the white clothes worn by most Koreans continued to be viewed by many Japanese writers as a sign of torpor and .lth.18 As A New Guide to Seoul tautologically ruminated: “Is it because they do not work that they wear white clothes, or is it that they wear white clothes so they do not have to work?” (Shinsen Keijo￣ annai 1913, 144). At the same time that this colonial discourse drew on its ethnographic counterpart as a strategy to condemn and portray the colonized as stagnant, it was quickly forced into an about-face in order to mobilize the labor of these allegedly idle (yu￣da) people in the name of colonial development, the shibboleth of Japanese colonial guides to the city. This guide proposed along the lines of a Japanese policy of cultural assimilation that “at this time, we should move quickly to change Koreans’ white clothes [to another color], making them use the same materials of clothes that Japanese wear in the metropole” (144). This measure, of course, was aimed less at providing Korean men and women with the political and economic bene.ts of becoming “Japanese” workers than it was in encouraging them to become more productive laborers. This guide continued, “While encouraging Korean men to become an active labor force, we could thus utilize a greater portion of female labor [that would otherwise] be devoted to [cleaning men’s] clothes” (144). By working in proposed textile factories (rather than importing Chinese or other foreign products), these laborers could carry out their duty of hard work in the emerging colonial project of capitalist development. As this proposal suggests, the gendered labor of both sexes was essential to carry out the developmental projects that this and other colonial guides to Seoul had so copiously boasted about to Japanese and Western readers. Despite repetitive attempts to place the “dirty” and “lazy” Korean outside the city, this colonial discourse, like its ethnographic and enumerative counterparts, had thus come to construct an image of the colonized that remained, by its very de.nition, ambiguous.
When read together, these three genres of colonial materials.the ethnographic of Korean manners and customs, the enumerative of urban sanitation and hygiene, and the invitational of the modern colonial city.illustrate the interconnected logic of Japanese discourse in the various constructions of early colonial Seoul. All converging on the related projects to sanitize the capital city and reform the hygienic habits of its residents, these discourses drew their power by freely sharing one another’s idioms and rhetorical strategies. Okita Kinjo￣’s popular ethnography and others like it sought to open up a space.both metaphorically and practically.by detailing Koreans’ manners and customs as unhygienic and thus in dire need of reform. This writing of Korean culture in turn encouraged the urban interventions of the SSA, which, through its activities to count colonized bodies, collect their excrement, and convert this human byproduct into fertilizer for increased agricultural production, attempted to tame the strange particularities of the colonized with the familiarizing discourse of statistics (Appadurai 1996, 133). This imaginary of a controllable indigenous reality also permeated the pages of Japan’s early twentieth-century guides
18Ironically, the connotations of the color white were reversed when used to refer to Japanese housewives, whose “pure white” (junpaku) dishtowels and kitchen aprons were asso-ciated with hygiene, industry, and ef.ciency (Sand 2003, 68.73).
to colonial Seoul, which sought to represent this potential immigration and tourist site as salubrious, modern, and progressive by representationally displacing outside the city the dirty, defecating Korean of the ethnographic and enumerative discourses.
By pursuing a reading “along the archival grain,” however, I have tried to expose some of the tensions and con.icts that these texts, rather than simply solving the challenges of managing early colonial Seoul, produced and even exacerbated. These fault lines emerged due to the fact that each of the discourses analyzed above, while together forming part of the same colonial archive, maintained their own speci.c goals, modes of expression, and intended audiences. Thus, that they did freely borrow one another’s knowledge also became a source of notable discursive strain. In order to effectively present colonial Seoul as “salubrious,” “modern,” and “progressive,” Jap-anese guides to the capital city were, despite various attempts to expel the colonized, ultimately forced to maintain and selectively display its other.the “unsanitary,” “anachronistic,” and “stagnant” part of the city inhabited by Koreans. This debauched image of Koreans, while supported by the ethnographic language of .lth produced by Okita and others, ultimately contradicted that presented by the SSA, which by 1914 claimed to have successfully instilled an adequate knowledge of hygiene among the colonized.
Although such self-congratulation neatly .t with the logic of progress of which urban sanitary improvements formed a part, implementing such a program of public health within the context of early colonial Seoul was also complicated by the everyday practices of Koreans. Stealing public bathroom doors, uprooting roadside trees, and refusing to pay the burdensome sanitation fee all speak to the obvious gap between the ostensible signs of sanitary progress and the actual conditions of colonized Koreans, whose material deprivations and deep resentment led some, if not many, to contest the more forceful hygienic impositions. Even when the colonized were seemingly erased from the pages of Japan’s guides to early colonial Seoul, the potential for the deadly spread of contagious diseases across the boundaries of Seoul served as a stark reminder that no amount of discursive power could expel the colonized from the temporality and spatiality of a Japanese modernity that, by its very de.nition, included the colonies and its peoples. As suggested above, Japanese colonial policy in fact aimed to incorporate Koreans, into both a long-term program of imperial “assimilation” and a productive labor force for colonialist development. This desire for the colonized only exacerbated the contradictory need to create and maintain cultural difference between Japanese and Koreans and thereby continually justify colonial rule.
The anticolonial/nationalist uprising of March 1919 was, one can argue, a natural outgrowth of and a violent reaction to these tensions. As a result, the newly appointed Governor-General Saito￣ Makoto (1858.1936), responding to the more accommo-dationist policies of the popularly appointed metropolitan government of Hara Kei (1856.1921), moved to institute a new program of “cultural rule” (bunka seiji;K: munhwa cho.ngch’i) in the 1920s. This program aimed at mollifying the disgruntled Korean population by extending to them more opportunities and a greater degree of autonomy; as a more clearly articulated policy of assimilation or “Japanization,” it also sought to establish a stronger basis for hegemonic rule. In comparison to the previous decade, this new milieu allowed Korean elites greater opportunities to participate in overseeing the quotidian tasks of urban sanitary and hygienic reform as centrally delegated proxies (on the complex role of these local administrators, see Y. Kim 2001; Im 1997; S. Pak 2001, chap. 2). With the reemergence of a vibrant vernacular press, some elites even came to question the very terms of Japanese colonial discourse and policy in which they continued to operate. In one 1921 newspaper article boldly titled “Kyo.ngso.ng u.i wisaeng sangt’ae yo.ha: Pu wisaenggye u.i kakso.ng u.l ch’okhago” (The State of Sanitary Conditions in Seoul: Urging the Municipality’s Authorities on Sanitation to Wake Up), for example, the author engaged in the colonizer’s idiom of “lack” to critique urban sanitary policies, calling for more housing facilities, cleaner roads, and more equal use of the sanitation fee in the predominantly Korean neighborhoods of the city (Choso.n ilbo [Korean Daily], June 2, 1921). It was also within this mutually shared but highly unequal space opened up by the tensions of empire in early colonial Seoul that the increasingly diverse nonelite communities of Korean (and Japanese) women and men continued to stake out their respective positions of power, trying as best they could to carve out a place for themselves in the city that had, for better or worse, become their home.
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