Populist Collaborators: The Ilchinhoe and the Japanese Colonization of Korea, 1896-1910 (Hardback)Yumi Moon (author)
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An empire invites local collaborators in the making and sustenance of its colonies. Between 1896 and 1910, Japan's project to colonize Korea was deeply intertwined with the movements of reform-minded Koreans to solve the crisis of the Choson dynasty (1392-1910). Among those reformers, it was the Ilchinhoe (Advance in Unity Society)-a unique group of reformers from various social origins-that most ardently embraced Japan's discourse of "civilizing Korea" and saw Japan's colonization as an opportunity to advance its own "populist agendas." The Ilchinhoe members called themselves "representatives of the people" and mobilized vibrant popular movements that claimed to protect the people's freedom, property, and lives. Neither modernist nor traditionalist, they were willing to sacrifice the sovereignty of the Korean monarchy if that would ensure the rights and equality of the people.
Both the Japanese colonizers and the Korean elites disliked the Ilchinhoe for its aggressive activism, which sought to control local tax administration and reverse the existing power relations between the people and government officials. Ultimately, the Ilchinhoe members faced visceral moral condemnation from their fellow Koreans when their language and actions resulted in nothing but assist the emergence of the Japanese colonial empire in Korea. In Populist Collaborators, Yumi Moon examines the vexed position of these Korean reformers in the final years of the Choson dynasty, and highlights the global significance of their case for revisiting the politics of local collaboration in the history of a colonial empire.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 312
Weight: 28 g
Dimensions: 235 x 155 x 25 mm
"Moon crafts a persuasiveargument that the Ilchinhoe and its members were not merely trying to cozy up tothe Japanese in the hope of gaining benefit when the inevitable happened and theJapanese gained control of the peninsula. She mines the reports of government officials investigating local unrest as well as petitions submittedon behalf of Ilchinhoe members to local government offices to unearth the specificsof peasant complaints against the government. Moon powerfully counters the traditional nationalistic slant of much of modernKorean historiography with her portrayal of the collaborationist Ilchinhoe, and thereligious community out of which it emerged.. giving us a broader view of how Korea changed theway it did over the first half of the twentieth century."-- Don Baker * Momumenta Nipponica *
"The most notorious Korean organization, denounced by many (then and today) for its treasonous role in the 1910 Japanese annexation of Korea, was the Ilchinhoe, translated by the author of this full-fledged study as Advance in Unity Society. Yumi Moon's is a bold and meticulously argued study, with incontrovertible evidence filling up all its substantive chapters.... Moon has written a very nuanced work that is sure to be the subject of many animated discussions in Korean history circles."-- Vipan Chandra * Pacific Affairs *
"The value of this book is evident. The Ilchinhoe's record expertly studied by the author is sure to elicit much debate on pro-Japanese collaboration, a topic that still raises a strong reaction in Korea's historical memory.Populist Collaboratorssheds important light on the Korean responses to the changes during the protectorate period and the interactions between various political groups. It expends siginificantly our knowledge of this pivotal period in Korean history."-- Marie Seong-Hak Kim * Journal of Japanese Studies *
"This is a bold and ambitious study that tackles the sensitive issue of collaborationand pro-Japanese groups in Korea in the period before the annexation of the countryby Japan in 1910....The study provides a rich and convincingpicture of the Ilchinhoe's 'populist collaboration', and shows how the challenge toroyal power that the Ilchinhoe constituted not only was a reaction to thechallengesKorea faced in the late nineteenth century but also had its roots in social developments and state policies in the preceding period."-- Anders Karlsson * Asian Studies Review *
"With this monograph, Yumi Moon plugs one hitherto gaping hole in the history of the years that preceded Japanese annexation. Additionally, she offers a sophisticated argument on collaboration that will prove useful for those examining this behavior over the colonial period, as well as Korea's post-liberation handling of this colonial dreg."-- Mark E. Caprio * The American Historical Review *
"Challenging the dominant line of modern Korean history, Moon demonstrates the existence of local and social divisions within Korea during the last years of the Choson dynasty in dealing with the nation's crisis.... this revisionist book deserves scholary attention for an expanded debate over the meaning and complexity of collaboration in eastern Asia."-- Dongyoun Hwang * The Historian *