Land grabbing by Japanese imperialism, rapid increase in Manchuria immigration

With the annexation of Korea, Japanese imperialism first began to seize land.

On August 30, 1910, the Japanese Government-General of Korea announced the Land Investigation Ordinance as Jeryeong No. 2 and conducted a nationwide land investigation project. Article 4 of the Land Investigation Ordinance stipulates that ‘the land owner must establish a heading (標木) with the number of the person designated, the name of the family, etc. written on the border of the land within the period designated by the Governor-General of Korea’. In other words, write the county, myeon, ri, pyeong, character name, lot number, land category, durak number, gyeol number, owner, manager, and tenant’s address and name on a stake no longer than 4 cheok in length. The stake was driven more than one foot into the ground.

For a long time in Joseon, it was rare to document land transactions or tenancy relations in particular. There was an unwritten rule that the parties had to make a verbal agreement and acknowledge it in the village. However, such measures by the Government-General of Korea were unfamiliar and unexpected to the farmers, and not many farmers were aware of the contents of the Land Survey Order published in the Official Gazette. Under these circumstances, Japanese officials cut stakes owned by the Japanese Government-General of Korea for lands, forests, and riverbeds that were greedy or whose owners were unknown on paper. In this way, the land taken was tens of millions of pyeong throughout the country. Farmers believed only in the old customs, and there were numerous cases where their land was taken away overnight.

In 1908, before the annexation of Japan, the so-called Oriental Development Co., Ltd. was established as a state-owned company in the so-called Imperial Diet in the name of promoting and developing Korea’s industrial capital. Dongcheok, which was established with a capital of 10 million Won (圓) with its head office in Seoul, began to purchase land from Joseon people. So, by 1913, 47,148 hectares of land were purchased, and in 1914, fertile fields in Jeolla-do and Hwanghae-do were forcibly purchased. In this way, in 1924, 60,591 hectares of land were changed to the ownership of Dongcheok, and up to 17,714 hectares owned by the government were invested, and Dongcheok owned a huge amount of land. In this way, a high rate of rent of more than 50% was collected from tenant farmers for the land that was fortified, while a high interest of more than 20% was received in kind at the time of harvest for grains lent to small farmers.

The large-scale land investigation project from 1910 to 1918, simultaneously with the annexation of Japan, was to establish a colonial land system. The reason why the Japanese imperialism was so enthusiastic about the land survey project was to ① buy land more freely and buy it at a lower price ② increase tax revenue for colonial rule by increasing land tax revenue ③ create state land and make it the property of the Japanese Government-General of Korea ④ Attempting to occupy extensive uncultivated land for free ⑤ To legalize the occupation of land by Japanese commercial usury capital ⑥ Intent to grant land to Japanese immigrants who rapidly increased after occupation ⑦ To improve the land system for full-fledged export of rice to Japan ⑧ Japan It was to prepare an institutional and structural basis to compensate for the labor shortage caused by industrialization by turning tenant farmers into wage workers.

For this purpose, the Japanese Government-General of Korea established a temporary Land Survey Bureau within the Japanese Government-General and organized an ‘Armed Investigation Team’. The armed investigation team, which consisted of dispatchers from the Land Investigation Bureau, police gendarme, mayor, mobile chief, landlord’s corps, and major landlords, was organized with an average of 12 people, and they were divided and toured the country to conduct land investigations. The armed investigation team armed themselves with pistols and bayonets and conducted surveys while carrying telescopes and surveying tools to counter opposition from Joseon farmers.

When the Japanese Government-General of Korea forcibly incorporated farmland into state land under the pretext of a land investigation project and extorted it by making it the property of pro-Japanese or Japanese, a wide-scale land investigation dispute arose among farmers. Out of a total of 19,107,520 required surveys, 33,937 cases or 99,445 disputes occurred. In the process, many farmers were arrested by the Japanese authorities, suffered severe torture, and some lost their lives, and the fields cultivated by their ancestors were robbed.

The Japanese Government-General of Korea nationalized 11,206,873 hectares, including forests, as part of a land survey project, which accounted for 50.4% of the total land area of ​​Joseon at the time. All state lands were reverted to the property of the Government-General.

Due to the land investigation project of the Japanese Government-General of Korea, most of the Joseon farmers became tenant farmers of semi-feudal parasitic landlords, pro-Japanese, and Japanese landlords, losing ownership of land as well as tenant rights, or were forced to emigrate, and some were reduced to wage laborers. And tenant farmers had to suffer double or triple exploitation with high rates of tenant farming and various taxes. In this situation, immigration to Manchuria increased rapidly. (Note 8)

8> Kim Sam-woong, , pp. 66~67, People and People, 1998.

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