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The Influence of Japanese Colonialism on South Korea's Development Open Access

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This paper explores the ongoing scholarly argument concerning Japanese Colonialism's role in South Korea's development in the 20th century. Kohli (1994) suggests that the Japanese occupation of South Korea laid the ground work for rapid development to occur. In a response to Kohli's scholarship, Haggard, Kang and Moon (1997) suggested that the Japanese occupation of South Korea was less relevant to South Korea's rapid development as Kohli had thought. They identify the cause of South Korea's development to be the political, policy, and institutional changes which occurred following the military coup in 1961. This paper analyzes per capita GDP changes in South Korea in relation to Japan's per capita GDP changes alongside historical eras to suggest that Japanese colonialism only modestly influenced South Korea's rapid development in the latter half of the 20th century. Keywords: South Korea, development, Japanese colonialism, gross domestic product

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