Offspring of Empire

The Koch'ang Kims and the Colonial Origins of Korean Capitalism, 1876-1945

Carter J. Eckert

  • Published: August 2015
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies / Korea; History
  • Bibliographic information: 416 pp., 61 illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Series: Korean Studies of the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies
  • Contents

According to conventional interpretations, the Japanese annexation of Korea in 1910 destroyed a budding native capitalist economy on the peninsula and blocked the development of a Korean capitalist class until 1945. In this expansive and provocative study, now available in paperback, Carter J. Eckert challenges the standard view and argues that Japanese imperialism, while politically oppressive, was also the catalyst and cradle of modern Korean industrial development. Ancient ties to China were replaced by new ones to Japan - ties that have continued to shape the South Korean political economy down to the present day.

Eckert explores a wide range of themes, including the roots of capitalist development in Korea, the origins of the modern business elite, the nature of Japanese colonial policy and the Japanese colonial state, the relationship between the colonial government and the Korean economic elite, and the nature of Korean collaboration. He conveys a clear sense of the human complexity, archival richness, and intellectual challenge of the historical period. His documentation is thorough; his arguments are compelling and often strikingly innovative.
Carter J. Eckert is Yoon Se Young Professor of Korean History at Harvard University.
List of Illustrations
1. Merchants and Landlords
2. An Industrial Bourgeoisie
3. Class and State: The Financial Nexus
4. Class and State: Partners in Management
5. Between Metropole and Hinterland: The Acquisition of Raw Materials and Technology
6. Between Metropole and Hinterland: The Quest for Markets
7. "Without Any Trouble"
8. Class Over Nation
Guide to Romanization

"Should be ranked among the best in the field of Korean studies and should be required reading for those interested in Korea studies and/or serious about Japanese and Asian studies."
-Journal of Asian Studies

"Must become required reading for all students of East Asia in the twentieth century."
-Journal of the School of Oriental and African Studies