BackStories » Asia » Society » Architecture » [Photos] The Disappearing Japanese Colonial Architecture Of Korea

[Photos] The Disappearing Japanese Colonial Architecture Of Korea

Like the European empires of France, Britain, Spain and the Netherlands, Japan once occupied wide swaths of Asia, imposing its military and cultural influence over its colonies.

With increased military and economic might as a result of the Meiji Restoration (1868 - 1912), the land of the rising sun expanded it imperial footprint from northern China to Singapore.

Like other empires, Japan’s consolidation of power was accomplished through the subjection of local populations, often by brute force. But it was Korea, where Japan first flexed its newfound imperial muscle (starting in 1876), that its influence was most deeply felt.

The colonial administration banned Korean-language newspapers, instituted an education system modeled after the Japanese school system, forced 450,000 Korean men into involuntary servitude and up to 200,000 women into sexual slavery.

While this all ended with the fall of the Japanese Empire in 1945, physical remnants of occupation are still visible to this day.

Across its former imperial holdings, architectural fragments of Japanese domination lasted for decades, though much of it has been swept away by the tides of modernization, especially in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

However, many of these buildings have been destroyed due in part to both development and nationalism (see the Japanese governor general's office), a significant but dwindling number of these structures still exist in both North and South Korea, from shop houses to grand, neo-classical stone government buildings.

Here is a collection of some survivors (as of 2007) taken by Flickr user Moravius.

Chinhae Post Office.

Chinhae streets.

Former Bank of Korea, Seoul.

Former Japanese garrison, Sinuiju.

Former Japanese houses, Pusan.

Former Japanese residence, Sin'gye-dong, Seoul.

Former Japanese villa, Wonsan.

Former Japanese warehouse, Pusan.

Former Pumin-gwan, Seoul.

Former Pyongyang Public Hall.

Japanese corner house, Chinhae.

Japanese-style house, Pusan.

Japanese-style houses, Pusan.

Japanese-style houses, Chinhae.

Japanese-style window in Sin'gye-dong, Seoul.

Namdaemun Street no.134, Seoul.

Old and new residences in Sin'gye-dong, Seoul.

Party Founding Museum, Pyongyang.

Portal, Chinhae Post Office.

Pyongyang Medical University Hospital.

Pyongyang Medical University.

Seoul City Hall.

Seoul Station.

Taedong Bridge, Pyongyang.

Wonsan Revolutionary Museum.


Related Articles

in Architecture

'Gentle House' Taps Traditional Vietnamese Architecture for Modern Inspiration

Blending the natural environment and modern construction, in 2012, Ngoc Luong Le Architects created the gentle house, a home on Hanoi’s outskirts that combines modern and traditional design elements t...

in Architecture

2 Slim Vietnamese Homes Featured In British Architecture Magazine

2 Vietnamese homes designed by Vietnamese architects have made Deezen Magazine’s list of “10 Super Skinny Houses.”

in Architecture

2 Vietnamese Designs Take Home Top Awards at International Architecture Festival

A21 Studio’s “The Chapel” and Vo Trong Nghia Architect’s “House For Trees” both took home top awards at last week’s World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Singapore.

in Architecture

CNN: Vo Trong Nghia Is Next Big Name In Architecture

Vietnamese starchitect, Vo Trong Nghia, had quite a 2014 with a number of his firm’s designs receiving international commendation. It looks like he’s off to a great start in 2015 as American news netw...

in Architecture

Canadian Artist Reimagines Saigon's Architecture

Stories have recently surfaced about historical buildings in Saigon that have been or are on their way to being destroyed to make room for new, modern offices and luxury apartments.

in Architecture

Hanoi's National Assembly Building: Rethinking Modern Vietnamese Architecture

Archdaily recently caught up with GMP Architekten, the minds behind Hanoi’s new National Assembly building who, with their design, attempted to answer the question: “What is Vietnamese building cultur...

Partner Content