Colonial Korea explores the question of why the peninsula’s early modern built environment looked the way that it did. It began as a series of travel photo essays documenting remaining architecture from the Japanese occupation — however essentially a way for me to make sense of an architectural history that I had little understanding of at the time. Colonial Korea has since taken a more academic tone, but those old (sometimes inaccurate) photo essays have been left here as they provide visual information to the public that is not always easy to find.
As an ignorant outsider, those experiences of wandering through little urban alleys and distant rural towns had a profound impact on me, leading to unanswered question after unanswered question. Who built this? How did they build it? Why this and not that? These kinds of questions still bother me today. Fortunately, after (a lot of) reading and talking with people who know more than me, Colonial Korea has developed into something a little more research based. Its name is now somewhat misleading since it discusses architecture outside of the Japanese colonial period. However, it arguably still applies, for in a sense, and in various forms, colonialism began decades before Korea’s annexation in 1910. It should be said that this blog does not seek to romanticize colonialism. Rather, it tries to meaningfully contextualize and explain examples of early modern architecture in Korea.
Discussion on Colonial Korea is highly encouraged, and comments are always welcome. If you see an error, questionable content, or a point you’d like to talk about, please feel free to add your thoughts or contact me directly using the contact form.
This is a noncommercial website. However, some of its content is copyrighted or owned by myself and not licensed out for reproduction. Please contact me directly if you wish to reproduce images and photographs for purposes outside of the standard rules of Fair Use. If I own the originals, or they are photographs I took myself, I can get you a higher resolution version for commercial purposes.