The industrialization and modernization the Japanese brought to Koreans has continued to be a subject of great controversy between Japan and the two Koreas. According to the Japanese, their main objective was modernizing the Korean society; on the other hand, the two Korean countries claim that Japan derailed their modernization process and exploited them. The vivid memories of Japanese apologists justifying their colonization of Korea and the support the contemporary Westerners gave Japan are still fresh in the minds of the people of North and South Korean. Lee asserts that due to these two divergent positions, the concepts of modernization and industrialization have become tools for describing specific societal phenomena as subjects of
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The conception of modernity risked imposing features of a modernized society on the remaining pre-modern communities. Unfortunately, if this had occurred, the significant changes experienced by the society would have been ignored. Additionally, the conception would have regarded the experiences attributed to repression as anomalous courses of events.
In Lee’s opinion, the concept of modernity as used by the Japanese authorities to colonize and forcefully oppress the Korean territory is similar to the European modernity that caused the great Holocaust. This approach to modernity is what motivated Lee not to look at it as an emancipatory project, but rather as a matter or tool of power that the Japanese used to keep the Koreans under their domination.
To comprehend what Lee meant by “novel modality of power,” there is need to understand the two themes of his discussion. In the first theme, Lee talks about the legal framework of the Japanese rule and the logic disarray in the colonial discourse. The Japanese rule was disguised under the pretense of assimilation and offering ‘enlightened’ forms of governments to the Koreans. In the opinion of Lee, the real intent of the colonial rule was to discriminate the Koreans, which resulted into the problem of inclusion and exclusion. This problem has since become the central issue in