Colonial Timekeeping: Bringing Koreans Up to Speed

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Like other colonial powers and Christian missionaries, the Japanese justified intervention by portraying natives as lacking in diligence and interest in progress. In order to serve their empire, colonies had to be reorganised and brought up to speed. The Western calendar and its time-keeping standards and technologies represented modernity and development. Their introduction was a priority for the colonial administration and the many businesses that depended on punctuality and the appeal of modern timekeeping. While the tourism industry was equally reliant on their implementation, its imagery portrayed Koreans as an exotic, traditional people who were naturally inclined to walk through life at a different pace. The crucial impact of new timekeeping notions and technologies on the daily life of Koreans during the colonial period has thus far gone largely unstudied. How did the Japanese promote the use of timetables and punctuality among their Korean colonial subjects? Which aspects of these did the Koreans resist, and why? What meaning did the resultant changes have for the relationship between Japan and Korea? This chapter analyses how the introduction of timekeeping systems affected public life in colonial Korea and allowed for a greater integration of Koreans in the empire�s operations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPopular Culture and Transformation of Japan-Korea Relations
    Editors Rumi Sakamoto and Stephen Epstein
    Place of PublicationLondon, United Kingdom
    ISBN (Print)978-0-367-02444-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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