Chapter 3: Social policy and its implications to structural shifts: a comparison between Taiwan and Korea in the colonial era
East Asian welfare development has been an important field in comparative social policy, and a large body of studies followed (Ku and Finer, 2007), but few of them trace back the origins of colonial policy before the Second World War. East Asian societies were forever experiencing different colonial dominations, which had a tremendous impact on their economic transformation to serve a specific part in the empires. Both Hong Kong and Singapore became British colonies in the nineteenth century, while Taiwan and Korea were included in the emerging Japanese empire in 1895 and 1910 respectively. This chapter reviews the impacts of Japanese colonialism with special reference to the cases of Taiwan and Korea. We would argue that, owing to the specific nature of Japanese colonialism as the late-developed country that shaped its catch-up ideology towards development, both Taiwan and Korea were transformed to serve the ultimate national goal, and this in turn laid down the development trajectory of both former Japanese colonies in the post-war era. However, despite the bitter experiences under colonialism, some important social policies were introduced and were accompanied by quite successful social development, especially in the aspects of infrastructure, education and health, which precisely echoed the most updated studies on developmentalist / productivist welfare regimes in East Asia (e.g. Y. Lee and Ku, 2007; also see chapter 10 in this volume).
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