Japan’s annexation of Korea in 1910 is scramble-like colonial behavior; it is the beginning of a long and bold resistance by Korean patriots whose names will return; it is the occasion for studying Japanese colonialism in East Asia as well as its disputes with Russia. A short episode on Korea’s struggles from the Russo-Japanese War to the 1910 annexation.
By the 1860s it was Korea’s turn to face the dilemma of how to deal with the imperialists. Qing China and Meiji Japan had a lot to say about what they thought Korea should do. We talk about the attempts to reform, Donghak Uprising in Korea, and the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-5.
Following Alexander Woodside’s book Lost Modernities, we talk about the Korean, Vietnamese, and Chinese Mandarinates, the peculiarities and pitfalls of a system based on competitive examinations, the interplay of meritocracy and feudalism, and the relevance of it all to today’s debates about standardized testing and education more generally.