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The Japanese Colonial Legacy In Korea North and South Korea are nations that while filled withcontempt for Japan have used the foundations that Japan laidduring the colonial period to further industrializationJapans colonization of Korea is critical in understandingwhat enabled Korea to industrialize in the period since 1961 Japans program of colonial industrialization is uniquein the world Japan was the only colonizer to locate variousheavy industry is in its colonies By 1945 the industrialplants in Korea accounted for about a quarter of Japansindustrial base Japans colonization of Korea was thereforemuch more comparable to the relationship between England andIreland then that of European colonization of Asia or AfricaJapans push to create colonial industry lead Japan to builda vast network of railroads ports and a system ofhydro-electric dams and heavy industrial plants around theYalu River in what is now North Korea The Japanese tofacilitate and manage the industrialization of a colony alsoput in place a strong central government Although Japans colonial industrialism in Korea wasaimed at advancing Japanese policies and goals and not thoseof the Korean populace colonization left Korea with distinctadvantages over other developing countries at the end ofWorld War Two Korea was left with a base forindustrializing a high level of literacy experience withmodern commerce and close ties to Japan Japans colonialheavy industrial plants were located primarily around theYalu River in North Korea Because of this the North had anedge in industrialization For many years the North had thefastest growth rates of the communist countries and itscities were on par with those of Eastern Europe It was notuntil the early 1970s that the South surpassed the North inlevels of industrialization Because most of the heavyindustrial plants were either located in North Korea ordestroyed by the Korean War the groundwork forindustrialization that South Korea received from Japanesecolonialism consisted mostly of social changes Duringcolonialism Koreas populace in increasing numbers moved tocities and became urbanized these new
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