Formation of the Modern City of Busan: Focusing on the Space and Culture of the Japanese Settlement in Busan before 1910
(Vol.48. No.3 Autumn, 2008 pp.41~76)
Hong Soon Kwon
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The Japanese settlement in Busan began with the designation of Choryang as a Japanese residential area in 1876. With the increase in Japanese entries into Busan, Japan expanded the settlement in various ways both legally and illegally. Japan built a grided network of streets centered around Mt. Yongdu and overhauled the district. It was around 1901 that urban Busan was taking shape as a modern city. In addition, Japanese people started to reclaim the coastal areas to secure more city space from that time on. After the establishment of the Japanese Residency-General in 1906, Japan organized an association of Japanese residents in Busan to take charge of the city administration and attempted to expand its urban space by annexing illegally purchased land to its settlement. As a result, the Japanese settlement that was once just a small fishing village developed into a city with a population of 20,000 people in 1910. The Japanese-led urbanization of Busan was much imbued with Japanese characteristics in terms of both urban space and culture. The Japanese quarters formed the central part of the city, while Koreans were driven to the outskirts. The ethnic division of living quarters in Busan contributed to ethnic discrimination within the urban culture of Busan, after the Japanese annexation of Korea.
Keywords: Japanese settlement, port-opening period, colonial city, Busan, concession, reclamation, urban space, resident, urban culture,
Types: Articles
Subject: History , History
About the author(s) Hong Soon Kwon is Professor of History at Dong-A University. He received his Ph.D. in Korean history from Seoul National University in 1991. His publications include Geundae dosi-ui hyeongseong-gwa baljeon (The Formation and Development of Modern Cities) (2008). E-mail: