EAS105H1 Final: Question 6 (Hyigiene) and 9 (Eurocentrism)

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University of Toronto St. George
East Asian Studies
Andre Schmid

EAS105-Exam Notes Questions 6 1. Todd Henry Article • Todd Henry article, pg. 647 o “They don’t have the slightest feelings for people outside their family…Koreans only shed blood and tears within the narrow confines of their families. It is as if there was no need or desire to have an effect on those outside the family. On this point, they…provide no adequate credentials for being members of society or the nation” ▪ The focus on the family and the family being the definition of this writing is self- interested ▪ Idea that what you can get from this song is the selfishness ▪ Selfishness of Koreans is having them not think of the public • He’s reading that from the song and clinging there’s a pattern in Korea • Todd Henry article “hygiene” • Health = inspections • Hygiene is important for public, related to health with relates to strength of the country allows police to inspect how clean your house is • Difference between the Choson dynasty and the knowledge of the capacity of the state in pre- modern did not come close to modern • Things we understand as good enable a certain type of power • Readings: • The new imperial history begins with the premise that the ideas and projects of Japanese modernization as well as the experiences and identities, both temporally and spatially, with those of empire building and were often worked out on colonial grounds • Early colonial Seoul, a methodological maneuver meant to encourage a treatment of metropolitan knowledge and perspectives as mediated by events, people, and places on the peninsula, rather than being unproblematically diffused to the latter • Metropolitan Japan and colonial Korea in what follows, these mutual interactions can, I hope, be appreciated by considering the homologous relationship between Japanese colonizers and colonized Koreans, as analyzed below • Japanese colonial discourses converged with the politics of policymaking in a series of urban projects that laid the foundations for Japan’s rule over Seoul and beyond, from the onset of the protectorate in 1905 through the first decade of colonial rule, from 1910 to 1919. • In addition to purely ethnographic accounts, it also eagerly published maps, Korean conversation manuals, picture books, and guides to Seoul for Korea-bound emigrants and visitors • colonial knowledge about Korea was generated through intense and often violent police surveillance, particularly as part of census taking and urban sanitation projects • Korean culture as such, but the discursive construction of difference between Koreans and Japanese, a task that ultimately justified Japan’s imperial presence in protectorate Korea and its future colonial projects after the 1910 annexation. • Ramifications of such variations when applied to the colonized, popular ethnographers’ dichotomized representations of a more sanitarily advanced Japan and a purportedly hygienically backward Korea served, nonetheless, to create the cultural difference necessary to justify Japan’s imperial presence in the peninsula • Koreans in Seoul were also accused of carelessly disposing of their human waste in the city’s waterways, thus giving the water a yellow color. • Polluted water did not prevent Korean women from washing clothes in the waterways. In fact, keeping her husband’s white attire clean was, according to Japanese colonial accounts, the woman’s national pastime in Korea • Such imperial representations of urban filth—the actual conditions of the city notwithstanding— thus opened up a space for further Japanese interventions in the form of colonial projects, to be discussed in the next section. • Another cause for the numerical discrepancy in population statistics seems to have been related to the intrusive way in which the Japanese police carried out the census. • Given that the third population survey, in 1908, was carried out by local police officials under increasing Japanese pressure to establish an accurate census count, intrusions into native homes to survey their conditions likely offended Korean sensibilities. • Around this same time, it was also reported that many ailing Koreans were, in fact, hiding in their homes and avoiding outside medical treatment altogether, fearing rumors that the Japanese inspecting police and military doctors might poison them • In early colonial Korea, where a number of cholera outbreaks led to greater attempts to monitor the colonized population, official concern over the scourge of contagious disease in early Meiji Japan resulted in the implementation of a number of sanitary reforms and an extensive government campaign to introduce the concept of public health to the Japanese populace • In the early colonial context, in contrast, the potentially intermediary role that such nonofficial individuals and institutions might have played was all but bypassed in favor of a more direct, forceful, and instrumental view of rule, the significant cultural gap between Japanese and Koreans described by Japan’s popular ethnographers notwithstanding • Disregarding these immediate material concerns, SSA officials explained this cultural gap by resorting to the ethnographic discourse described in the previous section, focusing instead on Koreans’ particularities—that is, their alleged lack of proper hygienic knowledge and undeveloped sense of “public morality.” • ongoing cultural gap, colonial officials began to experiment with a number of expedient measures during the 1910s—the institutionalization of locally organized neighborhood sanitation cooperatives and personal hygiene lectures • In terms of the colonial sanitary project, such duties and responsibilities, or what was commonly referred to as “personal hygiene” were incredibly wide ranging and included everything from keeping one’s house and the area around it adequately clean to getting the proper amount of physical activity, including sex • In the end, however, this distancing strategy could not completely eliminate the potentially “menacing” image of Japan’s Korean other—who, after all, formed the bulk of the urban population and whose discursive presence as unhygienic continued to insinuate itself into the otherwise untainted narrative of Japan’s guides to colonial Seoul • Japanese narratives presented Seoul primarily as a place of dynamic colonial development, boasting clean streets, prosperous banks, and a bustling commercial center • One of the first narratives to take up this colonialist understanding of the city was not a guide per se, but a contemporary Japanese account of Seoul. • Within this colonialist story of the city’s past, developments occurring outside the spatial confines of the settlement community are relevant only insofar as they infringe on Japanese progress and thus serve as a justification for outward expansion and eventually for control over
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