Assimilating Seoul, the first book-length study written in English about Seoul during the colonial period, challenges conventional nationalist paradigms by revealing the intersection of Korean and Japanese history in this important capital. Through microhistories of Shinto festivals, industrial expositions, and sanitation campaigns, Todd A. Henry offers a transnational account that treats the city’s public spaces as "contact zones," showing how residents negotiated pressures to become loyal, industrious, and hygienic subjects of the Japanese empire. Unlike previous, top-down analyses, this ethnographic history investigates modalities of Japanese rule as experienced from below. Although the colonial state set ambitious goals for the integration of Koreans, Japanese settler elites and lower-class expatriates shaped the speed and direction of assimilation by bending government initiatives to their own interests and identities. Meanwhile, Korean men and women of different classes and generations rearticulated the terms and degree of their incorporation into a multiethnic polity. Assimilating Seoul captures these fascinating responses to an empire that used the lure of empowerment to disguise the reality of alienation.
Assimilating Seoul Japanese Rule and the Politics of Public Space in Colonial Korea, 1910–1945
The Uneven Spaces of a Colonial Capital
This chapter traces the Government-General's attempts to transform the symbolic and material landscape of Hanyang, royal city of the Chosŏn dynasty, into the colonial capital of Keijō (Kyŏngsŏng). Through an initial period of urban reforms and a later phase of city planning, the colonial state remade the skeletal and aesthetic frames of Keijō even as it neglected considerable parts of the city, especially in the Korean-populated northern village. To borrow a metaphor used by Gyan Prakash in his study of colonial India, the smooth and sanitary circulation envisioned by officials only reached the city's main arteries, rather than penetrating to the capillary level of everyday life.1 The result was a multilayered built environment, characterized by unlikely juxtapositions of old and new, neglect and excess, and chaos and order. Like other modern cities in the metropole to which planners frequently compared it, Keijō developed in highly uneven ways, a phenomenon further exacerbated by ethnic, class, and other divisions produced through Japanese rule. By its very definition, then, "constructing Keijō" remained a contentious project, one that led concerned officials to invest tremendous financial and ideological resources in transforming this historic capital into the peninsula's showcase city. Although certainly less grandiose in their designs, a diverse group of residents also made assertive claims on the city's spaces, where those who were well placed could seize enriching possibilities, but where many more of the less fortunate residents remained vulnerable to its disrepairs.
From Royal Hanyang to Imperial Hwangsŏng, 1394-1910
When Japanese officials annexed the Korean peninsula in 1910, they inherited a city with more than five hundred years of history. Shortly after establishing the Chosŏn dynasty in 1392, the first king, Yi Sŏng-gye (T'aejo), constructed a new royal city at Hanyang to distance himself from Kaegyŏng (present-day Kaesŏng), the main center of power during the Koryŏ dynasty (918-1392).2 Chosen for its geomantic propitiousness, Hanyang developed according to an adaptation of Chinese planning principles, incorporating elements that would legitimate and protect the new dynasty. As figure 1 illustrates, the city followed many continental precedents.3 For example, Chosŏn planners placed the royal family's ancestral shrine (Chongmyo) to the left of the king's main palace (Kyŏngbokgung) and an altar to the state deities (Sajikdan) to the right. Following the Confucian belief in the five elements and their virtues as described in the Book of Changes, the city's five central points, the (1) East, (2) West, (3) South, and (4) North Gates and (5) the Belfry-which corresponded to (1) wood for benevolence, (2) gold for righteousness, (3) fire for propriety, (4) water for wisdom, and (5) earth for trust-were laid out around Kyŏngbok Palace. The main north-south axis (Chujak taero) emanated from the palace, while the city's other main arteries included Chongno, which extended from the West Gate (Sŏdaemun) to the East Gate (Tongdaemun), and another road extending from the Belfry (Posingak) to the South Gate (Namdaemun). Officials had also ensured that the city met the geomantic prescription that it be surrounded by four auspicious mountains, through which the proper amount of energy (ki) could pass. From these nearby mountains flowed a major source of the city's water supply, the Ch'ŏnggye Stream.4 Although departing from Chinese cities with square or rectangular enclosures, Chosŏn officials constructed an oval wall to defend an urban basin naturally surrounded by four major mountain ranges.
During the mid- to late Chosŏn period, the capital city experienced significant changes. In particular, while continuing to function as a political center, Hanyang also grew into a commercial hub. According to Ko Dong-hwan, both the national circulation of metallic currency and the implementation of the Uniform Land Tax Law during the latter half of the seventeenth century spurred the development of an urban economy based on commercial currency. Poor harvests and epidemics during this period drew desperate peasants to the expanding suburban areas just outside the city's walls. These developments led to a metropolitan population that grew from just over eighty thousand in 1657 to nearly two hundred thousand in 1669, a level it retained until the end of the Chosŏn dynasty.5 Within the city's walls, the commoner markets of Ihyŏn and Ch'ilp'ae came to complement the Six Licensed Stores (Yugŭijŏn), a commercial area located along Chongno that provided goods for the royal palaces. As a result, the majority of Hanyang's population was engaged in some form of commercial enterprise by the eighteenth century. Meanwhile, new, nonelite forms of culture and entertainment developed around the middle classes of the so-called chung'in, bureaucratic specialists in foreign languages, law, and medicine.6
With the onset of imperialist aggression during the late nineteenth century, protecting the economic and political autonomy of the dynasty became a growing concern for Chosŏn's leaders, some of whom sought to refashion the royal city of Hanyang into the imperial capital of Hwangsŏng. After the Sino-Japanese rivalry over the peninsula (1894-95), the assassination of Queen Min by the Japanese military (1895), and King Kojong's flight to the Russian Legation (1896), concerned officials of the newly established Great Han Empire-a novel political, economic, and cultural system aimed at promoting national independence by reasserting the power of the throne-launched the Kwangmu Reforms (1897-1904) under the slogan of "old foundation, new participation" (kubon sinch'am).7 An effort to use Western technology to buttress monarchical authority and develop a modern infrastructure, these reforms aimed to make the city capable of representing and defending the fledgling Korean nation-state at a dangerous time of imperialist intrusions. According to Yi T'ae-jin, the campaign included several important changes, including (1) the destruction of temporary commercial stalls jutting from the city's two main commercial thoroughfares, thus restoring these boulevards to their original width and facilitating smoother conveyance; (2) the creation of roads centered on Emperor Kojong's new court/residence at Kyŏng'un (later Tŏksu) Palace, thereby establishing a radial system of streets linking the new imperial capital to its suburbs; and (3) the erection of buildings and other structures asserting Korea's autonomy under the Korean monarch, such as the Independence Gate, Pagoda Park (built on Wŏn'gak Temple grounds in Chongno where Chosŏn kings accepted petitions from their subjects), and a memorial monument commemorating the fortieth anniversary of Kojong's coronation in 1863 (also a popular site of gatherings). (See figure 2.)
Most Korean historians have understood these changes as part of a program of "internal development" (naejaejŏk paljŏn) and gradual modernization. Yi T'ae-jin, for example, has argued that the Kwangmu Reforms, advanced in large part by Korean diplomats with experience living in Washington, DC, likely adopted the American capital as a conceptual model, an exemplary embodiment of the empire's commitment to "old foundation, new participation."8 In truth, the leaders of the Great Han Empire were engaged in a globalized process of nation-state building, the native and nonnative elements of which cannot be easily disaggregated because of the city's (and the nation's) position in an overlapping network of semicolonial structures. On the one hand, some elites sought to establish greater political autonomy by downplaying China's historical influence and thereby promoting Korea's cultural primacy. The symbolic valence of this project was concretely manifested in the construction of the Western-style Independence Gate, overwriting the ritual site where Qing envoys had been regularly received by the Chosŏn court (Yŏng'ŭn Gate). However, as Andre Schmid has shown, other purifying tactics of official nationalism ironically relied on the hoary symbols of the Middle Kingdom, undercutting efforts to displace the Sino-centric world of Chosŏn's recent past. Such difficulties took concrete shape in the Ring Hall Altar (Hwan'gudan or Wŏn'gudan), a new national structure built for Kojong's elevation in 1897 from king to emperor on the very site of Qing envoys' former residence (Nambyŏl Palace), but which uncannily resembled Beijing's Altar of Heaven.9
On the other hand, these projects to create an imperial capital that exuded self-confidence in official nationalism vis-à-vis a declining China were carried out with and against imperial powers after the Sino-Japanese War, particularly Russia and Japan, but also the United States. Indeed, the very spaces of Hwangsŏng came to reflect the precarious geopolitical position in which the Great Han Empire found itself during this period. It was not by coincidence, then, that the center of the new imperial capital, Kyŏng'un Palace, was constructed in close proximity to the city's foreign legations. In his pioneering work on the Great Han Empire's urban planning projects, Kim Kwang-u uncovered that a secret passageway and bridge were built to link the Russian Legation (where Kojong briefly resided after the Sino-Japanese War) to the new imperial palace complex.10 Other modernizing projects were similarly tied to the semicolonial politics of concessions during this period.11 For example, the Great Han Empire employed two American entrepreneurs, Henry Collbran and H. R. Bostwick, to introduce new technology and to finance the construction of a streetcar system, power lines, street lamps, water pipes, and telephone lines.12 Among the streetcar lines, one was laid symbolically from Kyŏng'un Palace, across the main thoroughfare of Chongno, to Hongnŭng, the site of Queen Min's tomb on the city's eastern fringe. Meanwhile, these monarch-centered projects led to a series of popular riots among local Korean residents, who viewed this foreign technology, managed by American engineers and operated by Japanese conductors, as both a geomantic intrusion into their communal living space and a public threat to property-holding patterns.13
As these riots suggest, Hwangsŏng's perilous position within the transnational politics of East Asian imperialism necessitated internal political changes that were also reflected in city spaces. In spite of Confucian rhetoric calling for a popularly oriented nation, the kind of Korean people envisioned by the elite architects of the Great Han Empire was closer to dutiful subjects rather than citizens endowed with individual rights. Therefore, where once virtually the entire city consisted of royal spaces, government officials now created stronger connections between the symbolic center of the monarchy and groups of socially stratified Koreans. The new streetcar line linking the imperial palace complex with the commercial district along Chongno was one particularly symbolic manifestation of this important transformation. Indeed, the new imperial city witnessed a noticeable increase in the number of contact zones between the sovereign and his subjects, including the area in front of the Taehan Gate (the entrance to Kyŏng'un Palace), where Hwangsŏng's residents gathered for new national events, such as Kojong's elevation in 1897 from king to emperor.14 That these changes reflected new strictures on personal freedoms is supported by the fate of the short-lived Independence Club (1896-98), a group closely associated with the urban reforms of this period.15 In fact, when some members pushed for a more participatory constitutional system, the Korean court quickly disbanded the club and centralized state authority under the newly elevated emperor, Kojong.
With Japan's victory against Russia in 1905 and the subsequent establishment of a semicolonial protectorate government, the monarch-centered project to transform Hwangsŏng into a national center became nearly impossible, especially after Kojong's forced abdication in 1907. When Japan annexed the peninsula in 1910, early colonial officials hijacked these reforms and began to institute their own improvements, remaking the city's spaces into a showcase of Japanese modernity. However, the modern project of physically and symbolically transforming the capital initiated by the leaders of the Great Han Empire continued after 1910. The major change was, of course, that thereafter a colonial state now attempted to use spatial reorganization to incorporate Koreans as subjects of the Japanese emperor.
The Limits of "Urban Reforms," 1910-1925
With the promulgation of the Annexation Treaty on August 29, 1910, Japanese authorities moved to gain full control over the symbolic topography not just of Seoul, but of the entire peninsula. To this end, they changed the name of the colony back to Chōsen (Chosŏn) from its previous designation, the Great Han Empire, a name associated with a nationalizing state under Emperor Kojong. In addition to "Great Han," the name "Hwangsŏng" as a designation for the capital of this former empire was prohibited.16 Instead, officials symbolically "renamed" the city Keijō, invoking the Chinese character for capital. As the political center of Japan's empire on the peninsula, this symbolic change mirrored the recent history of Edo, the seat of shogunal authority during the Tokugawa period (1600-1868), which had been renamed Tokyo (literally, eastern capital) in 1868, replacing the ancient city of Kyoto (literally, capital city from 794 until 1868) as the new imperial capital.17 In the case of Japan, Tokyo did not emerge as the nation's symbolic center until 1889 due to the historical weight of Kyoto and the emperor's peregrinations outside of the new capital-practices recently reenacted by protectorate officials who had dispatched Sunjong (the last Korean emperor; r. 1907-10) on nationwide processions to promote Japan's control over the peninsula.18 Although the Korean capital was itself never relocated like Kyoto/Tokyo, the transformation of Hanyang/Hwangsŏng into Keijō was neither immediate nor uncontested, and it required spatial interventions that spanned the first fifteen years of Japanese rule (1910-25).19
This project of respatialization was, like the annexation itself, launched on the path of extinguishing and then desacralizing the Korean royal house. It thus began in symbolic fashion with the strategic reconstruction of the city's palaces, whose private grounds Japanese officials converted into civic parks and other public monuments. Made accessible for the first time, these once sacred sites were used to interpolate the Korean masses as subordinated members of the new imperial community. Before annexation, Japanese commentators-drawing on recent experiences of converting domanial complexes from the Tokugawa period into parks, schools, and other public spaces-commonly referred to Kyŏng'un Palace, Kojong's residence, as the "kingdom's castle" (J: ōjō; wangsŏng) or the "imperial castle" (J: kōjō; hwangsŏng). Already by 1907, protectorate officials had begun to downplay the symbolic importance of Kyŏng'un Palace, when they forced Kojong to abdicate in favor of his young son, Sunjong, Korea's last (puppet) emperor, whose residence was then relocated to Ch'angdŏk Palace. Between 1908 and 1911, Japanese officials, following the Meiji model of "modernizing" Ueno Park under imperial auspices, transformed the adjacent Ch'anggyŏng Palace into another public site, outfitted with a royal museum, zoo, and garden.20 Meanwhile, authorities quickly moved to destroy or sell buildings related to Kyŏnghŭi Palace, which had functioned as part of the ruling palace complex during the Great Han Empire.21 Parts of Kyŏng'un Palace, symbolically renamed Tŏksu Palace after Kojong's 1907 abdication, remained, although it was stripped of its modernizing emperor and the powerful symbols he wielded. In 1910, officials built a Western-style art museum on the grounds of this palace and, in 1914, replaced the Ring Hall Altar with another modern facility, the railway-operated Chōsen Hotel.22 A similar fate awaited Kyŏngbok Palace, the "oldcastle" (J: kyū-ōjō; ku-wangsŏng), the king's main residence until its destruction by Hideyoshi's invasions of 1590s. Although partially rebuilt during the reign of Kojong's regent father, the Hŭngsŏn Taewŏn'gun (1863-73), this "old castle" had remained in disuse until its symbolic opening to public viewing in 1908.23 During the colonial period, this desacralized site became home to the new Government-General building (est. 1926) and the stage for several spectacular expositions. In this this way, Kyŏngbok Palace grounds aimed to display Japan's authority over the peninsula's ineluctable "progress" and Koreans' subordinated participation in colonial modernization.
In addition to the symbolic deconstruction and reconstruction of Hanyang/Hwangsŏng's palace grounds, Japanese officials also sought to rearrange roads and neighborhoods in order to advance both colonial authority and capitalist accumulation. First carried out in late-nineteenth-century Tokyo, these "urban reforms" (J: shiku kaisei; sigu kaejŏng; literally, "re-forming city districts") included widening and straightening extant roads, expanding waterways for sewage and, as mentioned above, refashioning domanial and religious spaces into civic parks and plazas.24 Together, they aimed at a partial upgrade of the existing city rather than the systematic transformation of space that would characterize the planning movement of the 1920s and 1930s. In early Keijō, planners, borrowing the German term for urban regulations (Regulierung der Städte), focused their efforts on sanitizing, widening, and straightening the city's main arteries and constructing new ones in order to establish a more rationalized system of roads.25 Over these roads, officials hoped to lay a series of radials connected to three symbolic rotaries in the creation of what bureaucrats liked to call a "civilized city," a term downplaying similar modernizing techniques recently used by the Great Han Empire.
This ambitious plan, modeled on the one first implemented in colonial Taipei, had failed in Tokyo, where entrenched landowners prevented its implementation.26 To be sure, the protectorate and early colonial governments, backed by a coercive military force, had far greater leverage to impose urban reforms in Korea than officials in the metropole. However, even in Keijō, these efforts did not go uncontested, particularly by Japanese settlers who, as residents of the peninsula since the early 1880s, sought to influence the city according to their own interests. The Residency-General and its successor, the Government-General, were themselves far from monolithic or coherent, either in their motives or in the exercise of their authority. Even the most ambitious planners soon realized that the city's existing structure and perennial finance problems would severely limit what they could accomplish. As a result, (semi)colonial officials, drawing on modernizing tactics developed in Meiji Japan and its fledgling empire, succeeded in implementing only a limited program of urban reforms.
For their part, Japanese settlers played an important, if distracting, role in the development of early Keijō. During the protectorate period, for example, expatriate leaders petitioned the Residency-General to make road improvements around Honmachi, the historic center of their community. In 1907, settler elites submitted a proposal to widen this narrow but important street.27 Concerned primarily with their own living space, local leaders envisioned a city that would promote their commercial interests at the expense of the northern village. Later, in 1911, an 824,000-yen plan submitted to the Government-General included an expansion of Honmachi in the direction of the South Gate and the Kwanghŭi Gate. To fortify their presence in the southern village, settler leaders also hoped to upgrade an auxiliary road south of Honmachi Street to divert heavy traffic, a proposal that bore fruit only in the late 1920s.28 Mirroring a project recently advanced by the Great Han Empire, the final component of this expatriate initiative aimed to connect the nearby boomtown of Yongsan-the new home to the Japanese military, railroad facilities, and a growing settler population-to the burgeoning commercial area of Map'o along the Han River.29
Although Japanese settlers sought considerable government support to finance this Honmachi-centered plan, it did not coincide with the state's own vision of transforming a wider portion of the city into a showcase for Japanese modernity. That plan began to take shape in May 1912, when officials announced that a new Government-General building, to be erected on the grounds of Kyŏngbok Palace, would replace the smaller Residency-General building, which sat in the heart of the settler community. In addition to creating a new political center in the northern village, officials also decided to build a major Shintō complex, eventually located in close proximity to the settler-managed Seoul Shrine. At a joint cost of three hundred thousand yen, the new Government-General building and Korea Shrine would form the political and sacerdotal termini of the city's main thoroughfare, Taihei Boulevard, linking the train station in the south to Kyŏngbok Palace in the north.30
Having heard rumors as early as 1911 that the Government-General building would eventually move away from Honmachi, some members of the Japanese settler association reacted to this plan with disbelief. Fearing that the heart of the city would ultimately shift northward to the Korean neighborhoods of Chongno, some insular expatriates even called for excluding the colonized population from a new system of urban administration, which, in 1914, put the two ethnic communities together.31 Seeking to retain a voice in Keijō's development, Fuchigami Tadasuke, director of the settler community's road widening committee, reiterated the interests of Japanese expatriates by demanding that the Government-General expand Honmachi Street.32 At a cost four times more than repairs planned for Taihei Boulevard, colonial officials rejected this grandiose plea. Even some settlers considered the project a fiscal fantasy, while others lambasted it as hidebound for only including a corner of the southern half of the city rather than embracing the entire city.33
In June 1912, Mochiji Rokusaburō (1867-1923), a veteran bureaucrat who had served in early colonial Taiwan and was now appointed to head the Civil Engineering Bureau, identified both the practical and symbolic import of Keijō, placing the city within the global contexts of modern imperialism and urban planning.34 As he wrote, "A great colonial city in the [Japanese] empire and in the grand logic of the world, [Keijō] has come to stand in a position deserving notable attention as Korea's railway connection to Asia." In addition to being a transportation hub, the new colonial capital also served as a gauge for what Mochiji called the "country's level of civilization" and its "barometer of culture." Judging Keijō by these universal standards, he concluded that Korea was the most undeveloped country. To transform the capital into the most advanced and civilized city, Mochiji recommended that officials straighten and widen Keijō's irregular and winding streets. In particular, he recommended the new city-style of London recently adopted in Dairen, a reference to the system of rotaries designed by Russian city planners before Japan gained control over this Manchurian port city in 1905.35
The globally circulating ideas of city planning invoked by Mochiji are clearly seen in the first urban reform plan for Keijō (1913-17), which was issued in June 1912 and which was to have an astounding cost of three million yen (see figure 3).36 Building on reforms made during the Great Han Empire, this ambitious plan aimed to superimpose a radial and grid system of roads onto the city's existing street formation. While north-south and east-west roads would create the grid, the diagonal roads would form three rotaries, each converging on an important power center in the early colonial city. Officials located one such plaza in front of Kyŏngbok Palace where Taihei Boulevard met Chongno, the main east-west axis during the Chosŏn dynasty. This plaza aimed to displace Tŏksu (formerly Kyŏng'un) Palace, the center of power during the Great Han Empire. As figure 3 shows, constructing a plaza in front of Kyŏngbok Palace (the planned site of the Government-General building) would require three new radial roads emanating in northwesterly, northeasterly, and southeasterly directions.
Urban reformers planned a second plaza in Kōgane-machi where Kōganemachi Avenue (present-day Ŭljiro), an east-west thoroughfare, bisected the southern half of the city.37 This proposal aimed to placate the commercial interests of the expatriate community, which repeatedly petitioned the Government-General to include Honmachi Street in its urban reforms.38 Although these efforts fell upon deaf ears, officials did plan to make most street improvements in the southern village, including repairs actually completed on Kōganemachi Avenue, one of four major arteries that converged on the plaza. Another radial emanating northwesterly from Kōgane-machi would have connected this Japanese-dominated area to a third plaza in the heart of the northern village. The Taean-dong Plaza would have also linked Kyŏngbok Palace and Pagoda Park, the only civic space of its kind in the northern village.
The significance of these urban reforms becomes clear in the context of the colonial state's desire to promote "assimilation," a term officials often used to describe the city's respatialization.39 From the start, these efforts focused on amalgamating the city's Korean and Japanese populations through a unified administrative system. To this end, officials promulgated a law in 1914 that disbanded the legal authority of the Japanese community and other foreign settlements still retaining extraterritorial privileges. Two years later, the Government-General passed another ordinance that placed both Koreans and Japanese under the official supervision of neighborhood representatives. The north-south road projects completed during the first phase of urban reforms embodied attempts to connect the Korean neighborhoods of the northern village to the settler community of the southern village.40 The most important of these north-south roads continued to be Taihei Boulevard, a central axis officials hoped to extend (along with train and telephone connections) southward to connect the central city to the boomtown of Yongsan.41 In the fall of 1917, 150,000 residents gathered to celebrate the unveiling of a bridge built across the Han River just south of Yongsan. The new bridge, which linked the historic core in the northern village to the booming parts of southern Keijō, symbolized one important shift in the city's development.42 Featuring both Japanese geisha and Korean kisaeng in another popular symbol of assimilation, the festive unveiling ceremony marked the end of the first phase of urban reforms and inaugurated the second phase (1919-24).
As figure 4 shows, the Government-General's second urban reform plan not only included the southward extension of Taihei Boulevard in the direction of Yongsan, but also highlighted the northern terminus of this thoroughfare. While the new plan was significantly scaled back from its predecessor from 1913 and made almost no reference to the ambitious project of superimposing radial and grid roads onto the precolonial configuration of streets, it still showcased the growing authority of the Government-General at the expense of the disenfranchised settler community. In particular, the plan jettisoned the aforementioned proposal for an interlocking system of centers, including the Kōganemachi Plaza, leaving the future site of the Government-General building as the only plaza.43 Officials had already used this site to stage the Industrial Exhibition in 1915, the first major spectacle of its kind in colonial Korea. Now urban reformers continued to highlight the former grounds of Kyŏngbok Palace by relocating the one remaining plaza from the plan from 1913 to the area in front of the palace's main gate, Kwanghwamun. During the second phase of urban reforms, this plaza, enlarged more than two times the width of the broadest city thoroughfare, worked to spotlight the new Government-General building at the expense of the expatriate community.
Even as colonial officials subordinated the insular initiatives of settler elites, their plan from 1919 continued to favor the southern village, although ultimately producing only a rudimentary system of gridded roads. Largely a result of financial limitations, planners completed only fifteen of forty-two roads (35.7 percent) designated for reconstruction during the first decade of colonial rule.44 Of the street improvements successfully completed, many also underwent considerable revisions in their final implementation. Such modifications not only tempered the respatialization of early Keijō but also privileged the living spaces of Japanese settlers. A good example of such ethnic discrimination is evidenced by a north-south avenue planned to connect eastern Honmachi and Pagoda Park. As Gotō Yasushi has shown, officials completed only half of this artery. Faced with fiduciary restrictions, they abandoned their original plan to pave a new street, straightening and widening a nearby road instead.45 More important, this upgraded road extended only from Honmachi to Kōganemachi Avenue, an area primarily inhabited by Japanese settlers. By contrast, officials neglected the area north of Kōgane-machi. Bisected by the Ch'ŏnggye Stream, this overpopulated and unsanitary part of Keijō was inhabited primarily by indigent Koreans.46 Neglect of slums like those along the Ch'ŏnggye Stream resulted in considerable continuities, rather than radical departures, from the precolonial system of roads.
This spatial holdover, in turn, ensured that the existing contours of administrative districts tended to override more intrusive plans to rationalize and even "assimilate" neighborhood formations. Following the pre-Meiji tradition of constructing commoner areas in a grid pattern of rectangular blocks (J: chō), urban reformers aimed to create uniform administrative units. According to this plan, a straight road would bisect approximately three subblocs (J: chōme), thus creating one rectangular unit. Such respatializations depended on the successful implementation of gridded roads, only partially completed before 1925. As a result, the existing principle of "natural" neighborhoods tended to prevail, especially in areas where colonized Koreans resided. "Natural" neighborhoods refer to communal living spaces consisting of a number of plots (p'ilji) and divided by a few cul de sacs or by one minor (but not necessarily straight) road. Comparing land register maps produced by the Great Han Empire and the early colonial state, Sŏ Hyŏn-ju has demonstrated that the Government-General reconstructed only eight (14.5 percent) of fifty-five "natural" Korean neighborhoods by bisecting two or more of these neighborhoods with a new road.47 In other words, 85.5 percent of the city's Korean neighborhoods retained their precolonial administrative boundaries, despite the construction of a modest grid network of thoroughfares around them. The stark contrast between excessive attention to the city's arterial contours and woeful neglect of much of its capillary organization reveals, in spatial terms, the highly uneven and disjointed state of early Keijō.
Strategic disregard for the city's colonized neighborhoods was also reflected in the names associated with administrative districts and in the ways local residents likely identified with their immediate surroundings. In the southern village, officials modified the names of most districts, often by changing their administrative suffixes from the Korean dong to the Japanese machi. They took similar measures to "Japanize" several districts in the northern village, adding or subtracting a Chinese character where necessary. Yet in spite of these changes, few districts with distinctly Japanese names-of famous people, places related to the empire, or sites referring to the expatriate settlement-coincided with areas where Koreans tended to reside. In fact, almost every district in the northern village retained names that had existed since the Chosŏn dynasty, thus leaving them markedly unassimilated.48 The notable continuity of neighborhood names in these Korean-populated areas is another important indication that urban reforms did not deeply penetrate the city's existing spatiality.49 The unevenness of these reforms, in turn, helped produce the administrative appearance, if not the sociocultural reality, of two distinct ethnic enclaves, a binary configuration that Korean nationalists only further strengthened by demanding a more egalitarian redistribution of public resources for "their" numerically underrepresented neighborhoods. At the same time, considerable instances of interethnic mixing in terms of residential patterns and working conditions undercut highly politicized divisions between the northern and southern villages, demonstrating that the boundary between them was, at least to some degree, porous and artificial.50
Although early colonial power failed to reach the capillary level, street improvements did produce remarkably strong effects on individuals living and working along Keijō's arterial infrastructure. In order to transform them into showcase thoroughfares, officials required inhabitants to relinquish land and property. To this end, the Government-General passed the Land Confiscation Law of 1911 and a series of other ordinances, such as the Regulations Controlling Urban Construction and the Regulations Controlling Roads of 1913. Extended from the metropole but significantly widened in terms of their coverage and enforcement, these laws imposed heavy fines on individuals who failed to surrender holdings in exchange for monetary compensation. Meanwhile, the colonial state also sought to imbue Keijō with a notion of social criminality, one that would allow it to move away from the vengeful hand of sovereign power toward gentler punishments aimed at defending the urban collective. Through a combination of punishments and rewards, officials thus intensified the stakes in promoting what official newspapers championed as "civic morality" (kongdŏksim; J: kōtokushin). Criticizing stalwart landowners who refused to contribute to the public good, the Government-General encouraged residents to reform their attitudes according to street improvements. In this way, authorities hoped to transform human mores in support of state goals and to bring back into the fold of civic normalcy individuals who had temporarily transgressed top-down reorderings of urban space. The discourse of civic morality thus points to experiments with new forms of subjectification aimed at producing illegalities commensurate with modern capitalism and property rights. However, police coercion in these processes frequently undercut pretentions to governmentality, reinstituting the sovereignty of an external force that struggled to widely disseminate its political and economic rationalities.
Government reports published in the Maeil sinbo, the Korean-language version of the Keijō nippō, reveal considerable resistance to urban reforms and, in response to this situation, the repeated use of racializing discourses on civic morality. Exhortative articles repeatedly chastised colonized residents for refusing to cooperate with the land survey, a project central to establishing a modern system of property ownership and closely tied to constructing a rationalized system of roads. Published in the same year as the first urban reform plan, one article put the matter in these ideologically dichotomous terms: "Civilized people wholeheartedly welcome and approve this [project], but those lacking knowledge rely on barbarian traditions. . . . Thus, misunderstandings regarding the land and building surveys are many, as are wild rumors that taxes will increase or that dim-witted people's homes and land will be confiscated without warning."51 Deploying an assimilationist rhetoric of imperial benevolence, officials took pains to explain that expropriated land would be properly compensated.52 Despite financial inducements, the Maeil sinbo continued to carry admonitory accounts of "stubborn" Koreans, a countervailing reference to racialized conceptions of ethnic difference. In stark contrast to their "civilized" Japanese counterparts who surrendered themselves to the public good, these colonized stalwarts were accused of overstating their property out of extreme self-interest-a "selfish" behavior that, according to colonialist stereotypes, came to define Koreans as essentially clannish.53 Such clan-caused selfishness, Japanese pundits claimed, "forced" officials to implement the Land Confiscation Law. Urban reformers also complained about frequent and unpredictable land transfers, including cases of falsified property sales and even "unfilial" instances wherein they accused Korean sons of selling their fathers' land as their own property.54 The intersection of spatial and racial domination thus deprived the colonized population of their venerated traditions of Confucianism, customs that nationalists would soon redeploy to condemn the immorality of Japanese rule.
Meanwhile, the official accounts that "civilized" Japanese settlers also failed to relinquish their property strained the racist dichotomizes that supposed only Koreans lacked a sense of civic morality. In an article published in 1911, the Maeil sinbo reported that two Koreans and one Japanese living along Nandaimon Boulevard, a major thoroughfare slated for widening, refused to surrender their property. In the end, Pak Sŏn-ho and Yun Ch'ang-sŏk grudgingly acquiesced, but Hamaoka Ryōsuke refused to comply, forcing officials to apply legal sanctions. The article then complained that Japanese settlers like Hamaoka, despite considerable knowledge and wealth, could conduct themselves without common sense, relegating them to the position of "uncivilized" Koreans.55 Throughout the 1910s, compromising accounts of other uncooperative Japanese settlers continued to fill the pages of the Maeil sinbo. An editorial from 1913, for example, reported that increasingly few Koreans refused to sell their land or sold only at exorbitantly high prices, whereas settlers continued to commit such "selfish" acts. How, the author anxiously wondered, could Japanese as "forerunners of civilization" hold such "perverse ideas"?56 Although some settlers may have wielded enough power to resist government impositions, doing so disrupted both official discourses aimed at "enlightening" Koreans and the implementation of urban reforms. As a result, police officers often deployed another set of regulations criminalizing "minor offenses" (J: keihanzai; kyŏngbŏmjoe), the colonial version of which provided them even greater latitude in enforcing measures necessary to ensure public safety, commercial transactions, and a sanitary environment along the city's main thoroughfares.57
Even as the practices of some expatriates undermined colonialist dichotomies, officials continued to exhort Koreans to actively promote what officials liked to call a "unity of interests." Although still poorly operationalized due to frequent police interventions, this governing rationality aimed to create greater subjective connections between government-led street improvements and the potentially enriching benefits of capitalist development. As one Maeil sinbo editorialist explained in 1912, "Generally speaking, roads have a direct connection with civilized transportation; . . . if transit is convenient, import and export frequent, and the coming and going of people trouble-free, there will naturally be unlimited profits."58 However, official neglect of thoroughfares in the northern village made it difficult, if not impossible, for most residents to buy into the "enlightened" use of public roads. The same editorialist, although writing to excoriate Koreans for their lack of industry, conceded that Keijō's narrow and uneven streets overlapped like snakes, making it difficult for people to pass. Even Chongno, the main commercial thoroughfare of the precolonial city, remained congested due to the unregulated erection of commercial stalls, preventing the "civilized" circulation of goods and people.59 Deploying both a capitalist logic of accumulation and a colonialist rhetoric of assimilation, officials hoped that destroying these structures would help create an urban infrastructure wherein Koreans themselves would carry out their duties as diligent subjects while simultaneously making a profit.
This assimilationist ideology of profit-making was similarly deployed to persuade residents to embrace a related idea of urban reform that caught the attention of the early colonial state. With the advent of electricity, which had first been used on the peninsula in 1886 to illuminate Kyŏngbok Palace, Japanese pundits called for the expansion of this new technology beyond elite, private locales, establishing night markets to strengthen the link between profit-making roads and their enriching use by local residents. These writers often related the "enlightened" use of public spaces to the efficient use of time, which would "contribute to the prosperity of states and to the development of humanity," to quote one early colonial proponent of night markets.60 Reiterating Orientalist views of native "backwardness" used to excoriate uncooperative landlords, this particular pundit argued that Korean merchants had squandered opportunities to make profits by closing their doors after dusk, which he criticized as the country's most uncivilized and anachronistic practice. Having recently rescinded the ban on Korean women using streets during the day when the city's gates and markets were open, the next logical step, he argued, was to install streetlights and other electrical devices necessary for nocturnal business. Soon the Government-General's official newspaper exhorted the colonized population: "After you lose a day's profit, a month's profit, and a year's profit, what would be the point of lamenting the downfall of your business? I hope you all do business, not only during the daytime, but also at night. If you work diligently, you will make some profit."61 Thus personal profit served as the rhetorical enticement to use public roads in this "enlightened" way. Not coincidentally, establishing night markets along the city's thoroughfares also allowed officials to reincorporate into the urban economy those itinerant hawkers recently displaced by the destruction of their temporary stalls.
Still other writers promoted social education facilities such as parks, theaters, music halls, clubs, libraries, art museums, and zoological gardens as a means of assimilating Korean residents through officially sanctioned uses of public space. Matsui Shigeru (1866-1945), a protectorate-period police bureaucrat, had considered these civic institutions the most effective way to advance civic morality among the colonized population.62 Adopting an assimilationist model of Confucian paternalism, Matsui had proposed the need to fully "enlighten" expatriates who, as elder brothers, could then direct their younger Korean siblings toward civilization.63 After annexation, similar pundits called for a highbrow theater, a proper club, and a major Shintō shrine as way of improving the city's "taste."64 However, in practice, the sensibilities of the Japanese middle class did not necessarily reflect the everyday reality of the early colonial city, where lower-class Japanese peddlers roamed the streets for profit and many metropolitan women found themselves in the booming entertainment districts.65 As a result, the colonial police had to enforce "proper" standards of civic morality among both unruly Japanese and noncompliant Koreans, thereby undermining the experiment of instituting a self-governing form of colonial rule.
Meanwhile, the Government-General continued to try to hide the coercive hand of its police proxies in public sites reconstructed to serve both recreational and educational purposes. Such was the case with Pagoda Park, which officials of the Great Han Empire had created on the grounds of Wŏn'gak Temple to establish stronger links between the Korean monarch and his subjects. When completed in 1900, the park was open to the public on Sundays, while the Imperial Household used it during the rest of the week.66 Citing this "private" domination of public space as proof of Hwangsŏng's backwardness, colonial officials decided to open the park to the public on a daily basis in late July 1913. To further establish their regime's modernity, they also upgraded the park with benches, flowers, walking paths, electrical lighting, and trees.67 But newspaper reports repeatedly criticized Koreans for uprooting trees, damaging foliage, and otherwise mistreating this public site. Ignoring the material privation underlying these acts, colonial officials instead assailed such behavior as selfish and uncivilized, seeking to control it by championing the public good. As one Maeil sinbo article explained: "Regardless of the conditions of their construction, parks are not the private property of an individual; rather, they belong to the public. Hence, they should be carefully treated with civic spirit. If . . . this spirit of tender careis weak or damaged, it is fair to say this person is without civic morality."68 By bringing detractors of this project back into the collective fold through discursive, legal, and other punishments, the Government-General gradually began to saturate parks, roads, and other public sites with the ideology of civic morality. Rather than simply punish deviant individuals through sovereign power, officials urged residents to reform "wayward" practices that continued to undercut their efforts to defend society, an ideology necessary to mask the forceful expropriation of land for urban reforms.
City Planning as "Cultural Rule," 1925-1934
Although only implemented in piecemeal fashion, street improvements continued to dominate urban reforms during the early 1920s. By the mid-1920s, officials began to respond to the structural limitations of early colonial rule by seeking to further entrench the powers of city planning, a transnational movement circulating both within Japan's empire and across the modern world. Pursued with considerable contestation among the Government-General, the municipal government, and semigovernmental organizations, the project to create what planners now grandiosely called "Great Keijō" (Tae Kyŏngsŏng) widened the scope of earlier urban reforms and offered a series of updated methods. Rather than operating primarily in a negativeregister by forbidding certain practices, this intensified form of power created an increasingly positiveeconomy aimed at integrating the productive capacities of the city and its multiethnic inhabitants. However, utopian invocations of the city as an organically united social body concealed even more invasive projects such as land readjustment, a planning technique that aimed to superimpose the city's rudimentary system of gridded roads onto the microspaces of dilapidated neighborhoods. In a similar way, land readjustment called on taxpaying landowners to relinquish a portion of their land in exchange for anticipated increases in property values and commercial profits. Thus while its success in transforming Keijō remained limited, city planning converged with the Government-General's harmonizing tactics of "cultural rule," which also aimed to co-opt bourgeois Koreans (and Japanese) as active supporters of Keijō's markedly uneven modernization.69
As discussed in the introduction, most histories of Korea continue to use the nationalist uprising of 1919 as the central event explaining colonial politics during the 1920s. To be sure, this epochal event helps account for the rapid increase in divide-and-rule strategies typically associated with cultural rule, including the introduction of a civilian police force, relaxation on Korean-language media, and support for moderate political organizations. However, other transnational developments linked the metropole and colony to wider, global phenomena such as city planning. In fact, in the very year that the colonial military squelched the March First Uprising, the imperial Diet in Tokyo passed the City Planning Law and the Urban Buildings Law. Together, these metropolitan laws replaced the urban reforms implemented up to then, setting in motion what André Sorensen has described as "a comprehensive planning system that would regulate whole city areas and allow planned urban growth." Drawing on German and French precedents, the new system included zoning regulations as well as financial measures, such as a tax on increases in land values, a betterment levy for landowners benefiting from planning projects, and land expropriation procedures.70 While the Government-General did not pass similar laws until 1934, a belated development often criticized as proof of the colony's "warped modernization" (oegok toen kŭndaehwa), Keijō officials did actively borrow new planning techniques from the laws of 1919, especially land readjustment and the betterment levy.71 They also drew on transnational networks of personnel and organizations to localize city planning, making its global idioms and practices fit both the challenging conditions and contentious politics of colonial urbanism.72
Like its Euro-American counterparts, Japanese planning stressed scientific accuracy and rational forecasting.73 In other words, planners believed that the careful, empirical study of roads, parks, traffic, and sanitation would produce the information necessary to efficiently reorder city spaces. To this end, Gotō Shimpei (1857-1929)-a German-trained doctor and veteran statesman who became Home Minister in 1916-established the Tokyo-based Urban Research Association (URA) in 1917.74 Staffed by other prominent Home Ministry bureaucrats, including Ikeda Hiroshi (1881-1939),university professors, Diet members, and newspaper journalists, URA served as an extragovernmental organ. This organization published its latest research in a monthly journal entitled Urban Digest (Toshi kōron), an important forum for debates on city planning. Before going on to become Foreign Minister in 1918, Gotō created a formal city planning section within the Home Ministry. He also founded the Urban Planning Research Association, a semigovernmental advisory board which became an institutional model for the KeijōCity Planning Research Association (KCPRA; est. 1921).
Gotō's successor as Home Minister, Mizuno Rentarō (1868-1949), functioned as another important link between metropolitan and colonial planners. During his tenure, Mizuno passed the aforementioned planning laws of 1919, before becoming Director-General of Political Affairs under Governor-General Saitō Makoto (r. 1919-27). He also served as chairman of KCPRA, a post he retained even after his return to the Home Ministry in 1922. Many of Mizuno's subordinates who helped formulate the language of the laws of 1919 visited Keijō, offering lectures to colonial planners. These individuals include the Tokyo Imperial University architecture professors Sano Toshikata (1880-1956) and Uchida Yoshikazu (1885-1972) and their protégé, the Home Ministry's Kasahara Toshirō (1882-1969). Sano later became an honorary member of KCPRA, as did the prolific architect Kataoka Yasushi (1876-1946). In addition to the visits officials from the metropole made to the colony, members of KCPRA made frequent research trips to the metropole and to Manchuria to meet with local planning leaders. For example, Hizuka Shōta, a member of KCPRA and a city councilman, visited the Tokyo-based Urban Planning Research Association in late March 1922, consulting with Gotō, Uchida, and Mizuno.75 The frequency and depth of such interactions between metropole and colony suggest the need to treat planning movements within the Japanese empire as one unit of analysis, while specifying their local inflections.76
Like debates published in Urban Digest, the colonial planning discussed in Keijō Digest (Keijō ihō), the municipal government's monthly bulletin, focused on the scientific transformation of urban space into an organic system. However, in contrast to their metropolitan counterparts, Keijō officials faced the added burden of overcoming deep social divisions along class and ethnic lines, a difficulty few publicly admitted. Kawano Makoto, for instance, a technician working for the municipal government, simply urged colonial planners to transcend superficial alterations made during the previous decade. As he explained in 1922, "If we look at the city as one organic body, . . . measures such as the repair of roads and the maintenance of cleanliness are one part of efforts to complete the unification of that organic body-namely, the road and sewage plans. . . . In the future, we must therefore move forward with a unified plan, [relating these parts] to one another."77 The organic metaphors Kawano used to describe Keijō's development assumed a more systematic and ideological form in the writings of Sano Toshikata, who, speaking at KCPRA's inaugural meeting in the fall of 1921, likened the idealized arrangement of domestic space to that of the city. As he wrote: "When house plans are well arranged, living conditions are comfortable. Based on the convenience level of a home's corridors, which are just like the streets of a city, the hard work of the family is done expeditiously or, conversely, in a tiresome way. . . . Only when a myriad of such perfect homes congregate is a splendid city born."78 Drawing on emperor-centered notions of the family-state (J: kazoku kokka; kajok kukka), Sano even proposed reconstructing Keijō as a "family-city" (J: kazoku tosi; kajok tosi)-a metaphor commonly used by planners writing in metropolitan journals.79 By "family-city," Sano was referring to a unified urban community consisting of male-dominated households, all linked to the paterfamilias through the ideology of "imperial loyalty and filial piety as one" (J: chūkō itchi; ch'unghyo ilch'i).
To implement this organic notion of urban society, officials placed an increasingly heavy burden on individual residents, although the government ironically refused to institute a system of self-rule allowing local elites to lead debates on "Great Keijō." As Jun Uchida has argued, continuing exclusion from colonial politics led Japanese elites and their Korean counterparts to engage in informal campaigns aimed at securing a stronger claim to national/imperial citizenship. These efforts included participation in new local assemblies, advisory councils that functioned largely at the behest of the mayor, but which members also used to advance their own interests-collective tools of communication that Yun Hae-dong has innovatively termed "colonial publicness" (singminji konggongsŏng; J: shokuminchi kōkyōsei).80 Despite official expectations that disenfranchised residents would support city planning, even some councilmen voiced serious concerns about the knowledge and commitment of the urban masses. As Tanaka Hanshirō, a Japanese member of the local Chamber of Commerce, warned in the fall of 1920: "Generally speaking, Keijō residents not only lack basic concepts about urban administration, but also do not possess strong convictions about the city. . . . If residents lack a basic self-awareness to participate in the affairs of urban administration, there is absolutely no hope for the advancement and development of municipal affairs." As local elites exposed the negative consequences of disenfranchising colonial society, some planners remained optimistic that a united community could overcome the obstacles of creating a modern metropolis. Thus Sano Toshikata argued that planning officials, although limited financially, could rely on Keijō's families to unite in a spirit of mental largesse.81 By contrast, more skeptical officials, such as Iwai Chōzaburō of the Government-General's Civil Engineering Bureau, echoed concerns voiced by Japanese leaders like Tanaka, condemning Koreans' lack of understanding, effort, and support for city planning as the primary obstacle of this difficult project.82
To elicit popular support for city planning, colonial officials focused their efforts on encouraging residents to consider themselves organic parts of a greater urban whole, filling the front pages of the Keijō Digest with hortative terms also used by their metropolitan counterparts, such as "self-awareness," "training," and "social solidarity."83 In one piece entitled "Urban Residents and Training," planners expressed concerns about the city's growing population, which increased from approximately 246,000 in 1920 to 343,000 by 1925. According to this article, rural residents could alleviate social problems by relying on relatively strong communal bonds. By contrast, Keijō, home to an increasingly large population of newcomers from the countryside, required welfare agencies, job introduction offices, and other social services that could train inhabitants to deal with urban problems. To this end, the authors encouraged denizens to acquire a thorough knowledge of sewers, hygiene, waste disposal, home building, tax payments, parks, and transportation.84 Another article, entitled "Social Solidarity and Training," focused on strengthening the spiritual foundations of urban life. To remedy the harmful effects of modernity, the authors recommended popular education and edification, strategies of "social solidarity" simultaneously invoked in the metropole.85 As they wrote, "Without making the mistake of moving away from the dualistic concept of individual and society and harmonizing both material and spiritual dimensions [of modern life], we can cultivate the needs of [our] age: individual probity and personal ability."86 Given the unprecedented need to rely on the capacities of Keijō's population suggested by these colonial planners, individual cooperation with city planning would greatly determine the ability of officials to transform their ideals into a built reality.
As with earlier urban reforms, settler leaders continued to play an important role in promoting city planning to protect the commercial interests of their own community, not all of which coincided with the political aims of the Government-General. As early as 1912, expatriates had voiced concerns about damage regularly caused by the monsoon flooding of the Han River, especially along the highly vulnerable areas of Yongsan. Chronic floods led settler elites to petition the early colonial state to institute preventive measures, and the Government-General responded by channeling creeks in some areas and building levees around them.87 However, these makeshift responses did not prevent a series of unprecedented floods that completely inundated Yongsan and neighboring areas in the summer of 1920. It took another deluge in 1922 and repeated petitions from settler organizations to convince the Government-General to embark on a comprehensive scheme for flood control. However, particularly heavy rains during the summer of 1925 demonstrated that even newly built levees did not adequately protect the residents of this area.88 As Japanese settlers continued to seek flood protection, local leaders used natural disasters to further develop the southern village at the expense of the northern village.
However, as Kim Paek-yŏng has shown, the deluge of 1925 appears to have finally convinced government officials that a design focused narrowly on the flood-prone areas of Yongsan for the city's expansion was inadequate to the task of building a "Great Keijō."89 Instead, the Government-General continued to pursue its own plans to transform Keijō into a showcase city, using the impending unveiling of its administrative complex on Kyŏngbok Palace to build a nearby residential compound, rather than focus only on the residential enclave of expatriates. This plan naturally provoked anxiety among settler elites who repeated long-standing fears that the colonial state was privileging the northern village over the southern village. For their part, Korean nationalists writing in the reemergent vernacular press voiced their own concerns, fretting that the government's new residential compound would result in a Japanese invasion of the one area where colonized residents dominated, at least numerically. To accommodate predicted increases in the Korean population, they called for residential expansion into the city's eastern and western suburbs, including Map'o, Ch'ŏngnyangni, and Wangsimni.90 In the end, resistance by both Korean and Japanese elites forestalled the Government-General's plan for a "northern advance," resulting in a compromise between expatriate leaders and government officials. As a result, planners decided to locate the city's geographical center atop Namsan and made the southern village the locus of future commercial development in the direction of Inch'ŏn.
Amid these contestations over the city's future, government officials and local business leaders established the KCPRA in the summer of 1921. Founded to systematically and scientifically survey the colonial capital, KCPRA was divided into twelve departments like its Tokyo model, the Urban Planning Research Association (UPRA). Each department carried out a different aspect of city planning: regional development, communications, sanitation, public safety, economics, education, parks, social facilities, administrative systems, architecture, housing, and finances.91 Unlike UPRA, KCPRA comprised a comparatively high number of middle-class professionals. This difference derived from limits on the government money available to fund KCPRA, which therefore relied more heavily on prominent businessmen for both financial and administrative support.92 Reliance on the private sector, in turn, allowed Japanese settlers and a smaller number of Korean elites to use KCPRA as an interest group, which voiced their opinions on how best to transform Keijō into a modern metropolis. It was no coincidence, then, that KCPRA's first organizational meeting took place in the offices of the Keijō Chamber of Commerce, an important organization for promoting the business interests of the settler community. However, Keijō's development was ultimately led by the colonial state, which, over time, relegated KCPRA and other semigovernmental organizations to an advisory role.93 During the early 1920s, the Government-General centralized responsibility for urban reforms within the general affairs division of the municipal government in an unsuccessful attempt to promulgate colonial planning laws. By early January 1925, however, the division's four-hundred-person staff did complete 80 percent of its surveys, far surpassing those outlined by KCPRA in 1921.94
These surveys led to the city's first official planning proposal. Published in April 1926, the plan incorporated some proposals favored by Japanese settlers and, to a lesser extent, those of Korean leaders, while seeking to consolidate the city's capacities into one organic unit. On the one hand, a proposal to connect the commercial city of Keijō to the industrial city of Inchŏn along the Han River responded to ideas previously championed by the Japanese business leaders of KCPRA.95 On the other, the plan from 1926 also recommended expanding the city eastward toward Ch'ŏngnyangni and westward toward Yŏngdǔngp'o. Officials offered this concession to the marginalized Korean participants in city planning who had championed developing this region as a way to deal with the city's growing population. To overcome such competing interests, the plan of 1926, reiterating the harmonizing rhetoric of experts, called for the "systematic operation [of Keijō] as an organic body." With scientific data on population increases, transportation routes, sanitation facilities, and building regulations, officials sought to harness Keijō's resources in the creation of a unified urban system.96 Road development, the basis for the efficient circulation of an increasing number of goods and people within the city, perhaps best exemplifies this assimilatory rationality. According to the plan of 1926, streets accounted for approximately 7 percent of Keijō's surface, a figure considerable less than the 25 to 30 percent boasted by other modern cities.97 To meet these universal standards, planners proposed a street network that built on the urban reform plan of 1919, but extended roads into the city's suburban areas.98 But these infrastructural improvements required 150 million yen, an astronomical sum even when supplemented by a hefty betterment levy. As a result, Korean pundits greeted this proposal with harsh criticisms, calling it illusionary and fanciful. Even some members of the Keijō Municipal Council, an organization dominated by Japanese business elites, predicted that the plan of 1926 would never leave the drawing board and, indeed, such was its doomed fate.99
While officials desperately searched for additional sources of funding to implement a comprehensive city plan, they had some success in promoting outward transformations of public space at the larger, arterial level that they hoped would eventually inspire the collective energies of urban residents and Keijō visitors. For instance, they allocated 520,000 yen to transform Taihei Boulevard into what planners liked to call Keijō's Champs-Élysées. Seeking to create a world-class capital on par with Paris, planners widened this symbolic thoroughfare to a remarkable sixty-two meters, consisting of a twenty-meter central roadway, a thirteen-meter passage for vehicular traffic, and a six-meter pedestrian walkway. To add further functionality as a city parkway, they also included a grassy outer fringe lined with trees and benches where residents could take a break from their everyday schedules of hard work.100 In addition, a series of newly unveiled monuments along Taihei Boulevard aimed to redirect the collective attention of residents and visitors alike in ways conducive to Japanese rule. Sites like the Keijō Train Station (est. 1925) beckoned individuals to enjoy their modern facilities. Upon entering the station-a cutting-edge, three-story, red-and-white brick building with concrete reinforcements that one newspaper article described as "popularly oriented" to capture its mass dimensions-visitors found themselves in a large hall boasting a vaulted dome fitted with brightly colored stained glass. Other modern accoutrements such as elevators, flush toilets, restaurants, and a barbershop awaited thousands of passengers as they made their way to and from the capital city.101
A short northward journey around the South Gate brought one to City Hall, another new site along Taihei Boulevard. Located across from the Great Han Empire's former palace complex, this modern structure, designed with stones the same color as Koreans' white clothing, encouraged the colonized population (and Japanese settlers) to focus on the present and their roles in supporting city planning.102 Often referred to as Keijō's "civic center," City Hall was designed with a large plaza where celebrations and other communal activities frequently took place.103 For example, on October 30, 1926, more than six thousand students and other well-wishers converged here to participate in the building's unveiling ceremony. Holding small flags emblazoned with the municipal government's insignia, school children sang Keijō's new song and yelled, "Long live the municipal government!" three times. Officials also mobilized the members of seventy local civic groups to participate in a paper lantern procession, whose nighttime march ended at the plaza, where a crowd of over twenty thousand people gathered.104 In addition to public gatherings, City Hall also came to function as a transportation pivot, with five major roads passing through it.105 So important did this building figure in the minds of city planners that they designated this area an "urban center," likening it to the heart of the city's organic body.106
Finally, the northern terminus of Taihei Boulevard was home to the new Government-General building on the former palace grounds of Kyŏngbok Palace, so long the focal point of city planning. Understandably, most Korean-language studies have discussed this imposing neoclassical structure as a violent symbol of Japanese domination aimed at erasing Chosŏn's laudable history.107 Even at the time of its unveiling, some concerned Japanese intellectuals, such as the folk craft specialist Yanagi Muneyoshi (1889-1961) and the architect and modernologist Kon Wajirō (1888-1973), harshly criticized the monument, fearing that it would alienate most Koreans rather than assimilate them.108 Yet it is worth considering how the palace's selective destruction also constituted a significant reconstruction. Like other monuments lining Taihei Boulevard, this site was open to the public, if only in periodic and limited ways. To lure visitors, officials put in a modern garden, hundreds of trees, and a series of gravel pathways. For a small fee, visitors could enter the Government-General Art Museum, a permanent fixture from the exhibition of 1915. Opened in the spring of 1925, a new park constructed on the northwestern quadrant of the grounds also beckoned visitors to enjoy cherry blossoms, a cultural symbol of Japan found at many city public parks and Shintō shrines.109
Although officials did successfully transform Keijō's main arteries into showcases of Japanese modernity, not all Koreans, of course, experienced these sites according to the rosy dreams of urban planners. For example, Pak T'ae-wŏn's short story "A Day in the Life of Kubo the Novelist," published in 1934, describes Taihei Boulevard, the most symbolic thoroughfare of the colonial state, as a place of intense alienation and even illness, contradicting top-down views of city planning as a movement promoting a collective spirit and public health. Although perhaps "publicly oriented" insofar as Keijō's train station elicited crowds, Pak portrays this building as a site of utter loneliness, packed with impersonal and distrustful visitors as well as travelers suffering from a litany of maladies.110 As mentioned above, city planners often referred to City Hall as Keijō's civic center, which, like the train station, drew residents-in this case, to participate in mass celebrations. However, even after an entire day of wandering the city, Pak never once mentions this landmark. Instead, he dwells on the disreputable fate of the nearby site that City Hall and another Western-style building, an art museum, had displaced, Tŏksu Palace, the Great Han Empire's symbolic center before Japanese annexation. His arresting description of this area suggests the nostalgia and ire likely felt by at least some well-educated Koreans, if not the general populace: "But the shabbiness, the shabbiness of the old palace, this is also something that weighs down on one's heart."111
Whereas elite writers like Pak highlighted the disrespect shown to former palace grounds as destructive efforts to promote street improvements, most lower-class inhabitants would likely have pointed to their own downtrodden neighborhoods as the most contemptuous aspect of Japanese rule. Indeed, the far greater challenge for colonial planners was to implement the organic ideals of a functional city beyond the arterial level, especially in the dilapidated areas of the northern village that they themselves had largely neglected up to then. The ultimate test case for penetrating the city's capillaries was land readjustment (LR), a respatializing technique borrowed from the Japanese planning laws of 1919. This technique involved building local networks of gridded roads and other public facilities such as parks, thereby redividing lands into subblocks. Such invasive projects required that residents pool the ownership of land within a project area, a costly imposition many opposed.112 Given these obstacles, planners frequently resorted to the language of organic harmony, seeking to transform the ailing parts of the urban body into a well-functioning mechanism. Sakai Kenjirō, a Keijō bureaucrat who became the head of the temporary urban planning division in 1926, used such metaphors to describe the integral role that colonized residents would play in facilitating LR. As he wrote:
In city planning, streets are the skeleton, transportational routes the arteries, and conveyers the blood. With these [elements], a city proceeds to grow, while buildings serve as the city's veritable muscles. Keijō's muscles are, in fact, extremely disordered and emaciated. Their organization does not form a fixed system or unity, but is an assemblage of muscular nodes that are poor and in ruins; with those winding roads and cul de sacs, it is barely living. The skeleton, heart, and blood of Keijō are complete, but no muscle adheres [to that body]. For this to happen, the city's residents must rely on their [own] awakening. What is that awakening? It is one thing: land readjustment.113
Under this self-governing logic, planners called on Koreans to make personal sacrifices for the public good by supporting LR and thus helping to remedy the sanitary problems of the northern village. By the mid-1920s, this area had become a serious and contested issue of debate among health experts, if only because Japanese settlers continued to suffer from relatively high rates of contagious diseases. Such concerns appeared prominently in yet another city plan published in 1928, one that fell on deaf ears like its predecessor from 1926. As the authors of the plan of 1928 anxiously wrote about the city's Korean enclave, "There are many cul de sacs and clogged sewer water overflows when it rains, [causing] residential areas to virtually lose their value and putting transportation, security, and sanitary conditions in a truly lamentable situation."114 Officials invoked LR as a costly but effective way of transforming dilapidated neighborhoods through grid-like reconstructions, just as the city's main thoroughfares had partially reshaped its macrospatiality.
The plan of 1928 provides good examples of this project, especially the aim to reconfigure district five in western Chongno (figure 5). According to detailed calculations, this district comprised 84 percent residential lands, 14 percent lands occupied by roads, and only 2 percent parkland. Planners sought to decrease district roads by 2 percent and residential lands by 7 percent, making room to expand Pagoda Park by 5 percent.115 Although the proposed decrease in lands occupied by local roads in district five contrasted with an average increase of 3.5 percent in the other four districts marked for LR, the qualitative difference in neighborhood space it would create was dramatic. Take, for example, Insa-dong. Located in the southwestern corner of district five, this neighborhood was bound on the south and west by two straight thoroughfares. However, the northern and eastern boundaries of Insa-dong were slightly angled, the former forming a cul de sac. Only one local road passed through the neighborhood, while other alleys produced a number of dead ends. According to the plan of 1928, a series of north-south and east-west streets would connect four existing roads that bounded Insa-dong, thus creating a local grid.
To facilitate such sweeping projects, colonial officials, having yet to pass laws enforcing LR and other planning principles, had to rely on the civic-minded actions of Korean landowners. They could only hope that local elites would come to see the common interests of class and ethnicity and relinquish a portion of their land in return for future increases in land values and improvements in Koreans' standard of living. For example, officials expected Insa-dong residents to cede 6 percent of that neighborhood's land and pay five yen (10 percent) of the costs associated with reconstructing each 3.3-square-meter area of land (fifty yen).116 To encourage Koreans to make public sacrifices, colonial planners proposed creating landowner cooperatives, joint organizations of proprietors who pooled their individual resources.117 Having traveled to the metropole in 1927 to study finance methods for city planning, Sakai described how he hoped Korean landowners would participate in these public projects: "Having established landowner cooperatives, they would take plans made for them by the municipal government and reform those cul de sacs, dead ends, and circuitous roads. If landowners contribute a portion of their property, splendid roads and districts can be built. If [this land] is reallocated and replotted, reshaping it into regulated areas, landowners will not only profit in terms of business, public safety, and sanitation, but the city will actually be able to use that land effectively."118 In addition to providing financial support for government-led projects, these cooperatives would create locally imposed sanctions, compelling all members to participate if at least two-thirds of residents owning at least two-thirds of the land under discussion agreed. Unlike the system of forced land confiscations implemented during the urban reforms of the 1910s, this strategy of cultural rule produced greater local "autonomy" for neighborhood landowners, or at least the illusion thereof.
Although Sakai remained optimistic about landowners' commitments to LR, more sober planners expressed serious concerns about ill-financed attempts to transform the microspaces of Korean neighborhoods. Naoki Rintarō, former head of the Tokyo Reconstruction Bureau, was one such critic. Invited to Korea by KCPRA in late 1928, Naoki questioned the feasibility of carrying out LR in the northern village, whose dense neighborhoods left little room for planners to maneuver.119 In terms of financial support, he remained pessimistic that Koreans, whom he deplored as wont to engage in lengthy discussions, would support these projects. Even the spirit of generosity and self-sacrifice he contrastingly credited to Tokyoites after the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923 did not ensure popular support for LR, often forced on reluctant landowners.120 In the colony, Naoki reminded optimists, cooperation with officials was further complicated by the high percentage of mortgages on Korean properties and the widespread suspicion that fees would accrue on their loans. Since the only other option, forced dislocation, threatened to disaffect the colonized population altogether, Naoki encouraged officials to focus their efforts on the rapidly developing suburbs, where some desperate Korean residents might relocate without officials having to expel poor Koreans from the dense city center. Given that the redevelopment of the northern village no longer appeared in the Government-General's city plan of 1930, Naoki's realistic conclusion seems to have convinced colonial planners to abandon this difficult project. As late as 1932, officials were, in fact, still complaining that Korean landowners refused to make even a 5 percent contribution of their land, a figure far lower than the 10 to 30 percent customarily offered by their counterparts in the metropole.121 Only after the passage of the Town Planning Act in 1934 did colonial officials begin to implement LR, limiting these invasive and unpopular projects to developing areas in the suburbs.122
Similar difficulties plagued efforts to institute a viable betterment levy (BL)-a metropolitan technique of finance that taxed local residents between 25 and 50 percent of project costs in exchange for speculated increases in property and land values.123 Even as they hoped to transfer this planning strategy to the colony, officials quickly realized a significant obstacle-namely, ethnic-based inequities of wealth, which increasingly divided the affluent few from the impoverished masses. According to a sobering account published in 1926, Keijō's residents possessed combined financial holdings of 410 million yen. Although seemingly high, this figure equaled that of only small metropolitan cities such as Kumamoto, whose population was less than half that of Keijō. Moreover, many Koreans living in the colonial capital found themselves in dire financial straits, with approximately half of the city's seventy thousand families categorized as poor. What property and land wealthier Koreans could afford was typically held as collateral security. Consequently, many of their holdings were auctioned off, resulting in property transactions in excess of one hundred per month.124 Cognizant of these socioeconomic disparities, colonial planners concluded that an equal BL might provide future profits to land- and property-owning Japanese, but would likely not produce the same benefits for most Koreans.125
Colonized elites writing in the nationalist press came to a similar conclusion, voicing serious concerns that the proposed BL might plunge their already vulnerable working-class neighbors into further destitution. In an article published in the Tonga ilbo, the authors estimated that as many as 80 percent of Keijō's Korean families lived in residences held under collateral security, while only 20 percent owned their own homes. With so many families already unable to pay taxes, the imposition of a betterment levy, they feared, would only exacerbate already precarious living conditions. Such measures might even force some Koreans to sell what little they possessed and leave the city, a reality admitted by a few concerned Japanese planners.126 Another Tonga ilbo article captured this widely held fear, criticizing the BL as part of a profligate city plan benefiting affluent expatriates.127 Korean elites participating in Japanese-dominated advisory committees opposed this planning technique on similar grounds. In March 1927, the Korean members of KCPRA protested the group's decision to implement the BL, questioning a strategy that imposed an unfair tax on planning projects.128 Finally, poorer Koreans themselves resisted the tax, calling on colonial planners to postpone the betterment levy until transportation and sanitary conditions in the northern village improved. Only then, one editorial concluded, would their opposition gradually subside.129
Despite protests from colonized critics, ambitious planners doggedly pushed ahead with plans to implement a BL, made effective in April 1930. The levy remained essential to support a two-phase, ten-year project totaling eleven million yen that aimed to complete the city's rudimentary network of gridded roads. Many Koreans opposed this project not only due to its unequal financing scheme but for its callous treatment of Chosŏn dynasty monuments. For funds, the plan relied on the Government-General and the municipal government to pay 40 and 30 percent of costs, respectively, with residents of designated planning areas to shoulder the additional 30 percent.130As figure 6 shows, five of the seven roads marked for reconstruction during the first phase (1928-33) fell within the northern village, forcing Koreans to pay a significant portion of costs for road and sewer construction.
In the end, ongoing opposition compelled officials to cancel the BL altogether or tax at a relatively low rate. Because construction had already begun on the east-west axis from the Government-General building to the Keijō Imperial University Hospital, officials exempted residents living along the western segment from Tonhwa Gate to Keijō University Hospital (dotted line next to #4 in figure 6).131 Although the Keijō nippō used the availability of government funds to explain this exemption from the BL, this concession also aimed to placate members of the Korean aristocracy who vehemently opposed a thoroughfare that would have bisected the former royal family's ancestral shrine (Chongmyo).132 In 1922, similar complaints, lodged by high-ranking nobles and the last emperor, Sunjong, had forced officials to reroute this intrusive road away from the culturally sensitive monument.133 Meanwhile, other streets falling in neighborhoods heavily populated by Koreans-segments from Chongno 4-chōme to East Gate (#3 in figure 6) and from Hwa-dong to Anguk-dong (dotted line), for example-were taxed at the relatively low rates of 5 and 4 percent, respectively.134
As officials encountered opposition from colonized residents, tax revenue had become all the more important because of the Great Depression, which put a considerable strain on government finances. In Keijō, the economic downturn resulted in a 68 percent reduction of the 850,000-yen budget for first phase of road projects, causing officials to cancel or postpone many of them.135 The segment from Naeja-dong to Hyoja-dong (#7 in figure 6) offers an example of how these two factors contributed to obstruct city planners' goals. Located slightly north and west of the Government-General building, this area was populated almost entirely by Koreans, many of the propertied class.136 As a result, officials set the BL at 17 percent, a rate more than four times that of areas inhabited by poorer Koreans. Although financial problems likely influenced officials' later decision to postpone construction on this segment, newspaper articles suggest that local opposition to the BL posed an equally, if not more, troublesome obstacle. One particularly confrontational editorial published in the fall of 1929 warned that if planning authorities did not win the favor of local residents, the project to construct a road in this area would eventually fail.137 The Tonga ilbo continued to argue that only fully funded projects dedicated to improving roads and sewers in the dilapidated neighborhoods of the northern village would convince nonlandholding Koreans that the BL was somehow in their interest. Questioning the universal ideology of colonial development, the nationalistic critics of another article condemned the highly uneven nature of city planning in the form of a deferential yet pointed question: "Isn't there a need," they asked, "to consider anew the degree to which the high-speed construction of Great Keijō directly and indirectly improves our lives, and the extent to which the urban development enhances our livelihood?"138
It is worth noting that even as wealthier Korean authors often used the plight of those less well-off to criticize the inherent inequalities of colonial planning, other members of the emergent Korean bourgeoisie used their privileged class position to take advantage of street improvements. Such was the case with the eastern half of Chongno (#3 in figure 6), upgraded as part of the ten-year plan of 1928. A report published in the Keijō nippō contrasted the thatched-roof buildings of this relatively undeveloped area to the "splendid, modern beauty" of two- and three-story brick buildings lining the western half of Chongno.139 By constructing a widened asphalt road and sidewalks, officials hoped to rejuvenate the area around the East Gate, prompting nearby merchants to compete with their better-established counterparts in western Chongno. Shortly after the upgrade's completion in the spring of 1933, Kim An-bo, the Korean leader of the Eastern Development League, led a campaign to challenge the merchants of western Chongno. Kim and his associates used a number of marketing strategies to attract consumers entering the city from the rapidly developing suburbs of eastern Keijō, including the distribution of coupons for future purchases.140 These promotional efforts helped create another popular site where consumers could lightheartedly stroll around the East Gate, or what Japanese liked to call tonbura.141 All this pleased city planning officials, to whom Korean business competition signified a more important outcome, the completion of a widened thoroughfare extending the entire length of Chongno.142 The Eastern Development League is an important reminder that colonial rule, although clearly privileging Japanese settlers, also opened up new opportunities for entrepreneurial Koreans to use the transformation of public space to their own class advantage.
It was not until the passage of the Town Planning Act in 1934 that, after fifteen years of debate, the Government-General instituted mechanisms that could more fully enmesh Koreans in the city's highly uneven public infrastructure.143 In 1936, a year before the outbreak of the Asia-Pacific War, colonial officials finally applied this act to create a Great Keijō 3.5 times larger than its previous size. As a result, the population increased to more than nine hundred thousand by the early 1940s, making the city the seventh largest in the Japanese empire. To merge the disparate spaces of Great Keijō into one organic unit, planners reorganized neighborhoods in the northern village along the lines of the administrative units in the southern village and renamed other landmarks-railroad stations, for example-so that they too formed part of an increasingly unified urban body, at least on a symbolic level.144 Before Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 undercut its financial wherewithal, the late colonial state also invested considerable resources in creating thoroughfares that connected the downtown area to newly incorporated areas, zoned suburbs subjected to a number of government-led LR land readjustment projects.145 The various regions of Great Keijō and their diverse communities thus became more integrated parts of the wartime city.
Before this historical threshold, however, officials managed only to provide what one Japanese-language report from 1932 referred to as a "reconstructive and surgical treatment of the existing city."146 To be sure, colonial efforts to displace former Chosŏn royalty, themselves assimilated into the Japanese imperial house as subordinated members, had largely succeeded, although not without considerable criticism and protest by at least some Korean elites.147 Government measures to disassociate the Korean monarchy from an autonomous nation took their most concrete form in the selective destruction of the city's palaces, whose grounds became public spaces showcasing Japanese modernity and colonial authority. However, elaborate plans to transform Hanyang/Hwangsŏng into a capital on par with cities in the metropole and in Euro-American empires continually faltered at the level of the city's capillaries, revealing both the spatial and operational limits of colonial governmentality before 1937. Failure was especially apparent in the Korean-populated neighborhoods of the northern village, which continued to suffer at the expense of the settler-dominated southern village. Even at the arterial level, into which the Government-General funneled considerable resources, financial setbacks and local opposition resulted in the completion of only seventeen of forty-seven (36 percent) streets marked for repairs since the urban reforms of the 1910s and early 1920s.148
That perennially frustrated city planners resorted to corporeal metaphors of disease and organic calls for unity reveals the difficulties they encountered in financing projects of urban renewal. While they sought through rhetoric to more effectively bind the capacities of the city to the governing rationality of increasingly invasive projects, such as LR and a BL, they soon realized the futility of these unpopular and costly projects. As a result, they remained ideas to ponder and schemes to implement in only makeshift and uneven ways. As the following chapters reveal, such limitations also characterized the city's microsites, public spaces that also became the source of considerable attention and manipulation by government officials and their elite proxies as well as an area of intense controversy and contestation among a much larger and diverse group of less fortunate inhabitants.