A Centennial to Remember for Korea and Japan

18 02 2011

A century ago, in August 1910, Japan annexed the Korean peninsula, making it officially a Japanese colony. It was the first step in realizing Japan’s ambitions to become a continental power and proved that it had become a “first-class nation.” On August 29th, the day the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty was proclaimed, gaily bedecked hana densha (“flower trolleys”) paraded down Tokyo streets, bands played, and people celebrated with abandon late into the night.

Ten decades have since passed, and today the Republic of Korea ranks fifteenth in GNP in the world and the momentum of the “Korean wave” just keeps on rolling. Economic growth may have slowed, but the Korean government’s focus on the country’s emergence as an advanced nation is unwavering.

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