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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Hitherto the exponent and champion of Korean independence


In

the summer of 1907, the resident-general advised the Throne to disband the standing army as an unserviceable and expensive force. The measure was, doubtless desirable, but the docility of the troops had been overrated. Some of them resisted vehemently, and many became the nucleus of an insurrection which lasted in a desultory manner for nearly two years; cost the lives of 21,000 insurgents and 1300 Japanese, and entailed upon Japan an outlay of nearly a million sterling. Altogether, what with building 642 miles of railway, making loans to Korea, providing funds for useful purposes and quelling the insurrection, Japan was fifteen millions sterling $72,000,000 out of pocket on Korea's account by the end of 1909. She had also lost the veteran statesman, Prince Ito, who was assassinated at Harbin by a Korean fanatic on the 26th of October, 1909.*

*Encylopaedia Britannica, (11th Edition); article "Japan," by Brinkley.

ANNEXATION OF KOREA

Japan finally resolved that nothing short of annexation would suit the situation, and that step was taken on August 22, 1910. At what precise moment this conviction forced itself upon Japan's judgment it is impossible to say, She knows how to keep her counsel. But it was certainly with great reluctance that she, hitherto the exponent and champion of Korean independence, accepted the role of annexation. The explanation given by her own Government

is as follows:

-"In its solicitude to put an end to disturbing conditions, the Japanese Government made an arrangement, in 1905, for establishing a protectorate over Korea and they have ever since been assiduously engaged in works of reform, looking forward to the consummation of the desired end. But they have failed to find in the regime of a protectorate sufficient hope for a realization of the object which they had in view, and a condition of unrest and disquietude still prevails throughout the whole peninsula. In these circumstances, the necessity of introducing fundamental changes in the system of government in Korea has become entirely manifest, and an earnest and careful examination of the Korean problem has convinced the Japanese Government that the regime of a protectorate cannot be made to adapt itself to the actual condition of affairs in Korea, and that the responsibilities devolving upon Japan for the due administration of the country cannot be justly fulfilled without the complete annexation of Korea to the Empire."

"Thus the dynasty of sovereigns, which had continued in an unbroken line from 1392, came to an end with the independence of this country, whose national traditions and history had extended over four thousand years, whose foundation as a kingdom was coeval with that of the Assyrian empire; and the two last living representatives of the dynasty exchanged their positions as Imperial dignitaries for those of princes and pensioners of Japan."* Since that drastic step was taken, events seem to have fully justified it. Under the able management of Count Terauchi, the evil conditions inimical to the prosperity and happiness of the people are fast disappearing. Comparative peace and order reign; and there appears to be no reason why the fruits of progressive civilization should not ultimately be gathered in Japan's new province as plentifully as they are in Japan herself.


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