A hotly debated issue in Korean modern history is the point at which South Korea’s modernization originated. One side argues that this development commenced during Japan’s occupation of the Korean peninsula and the other that it occurred prior to this time. Hwang’s Rationalizing Korea suggests a third option—Korean modernization covering a time period from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century when rationalizing peninsula administrations “underwent extensive diversification and growth in its regulatory, extractive, and symbolic capacities” (147). Japanese colonization extended a process begun in prior reform movements, particularly the Gabo Reforms (1894–1895), during which various governments extended their influence into the lives of the Korean people.

Hwang offers a number of areas in which Korean administrations employed a system that Foucault identifies as governmentality, including religion, public schooling, registration and classification, and biopolitics (both health and hygiene).1 Changes in regulations and classification (Chapter 7) were introduced as a...

You do not currently have access to this content.