Handbook on East Asian Social Policy
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Handbook on East Asian Social Policy

Edited by Misa Izuhara

Dramatic socio-economic transformations over the last two decades have brought social policy and social welfare issues to prominence in many East Asian societies. Since the 1990s and in response to national as well as global pressure, there have been substantial developments and reforms in social policy in the region but the development paths have been uneven. Until recently, comparative analysis of East Asian social policy tends to have focused on the established welfare state of Japan and the emerging welfare regimes of four ‘Tiger Economies’. Much of the recent debate indeed preceded China’s re-emergence onto the world economy. In this context, this Handbook brings China more fully into the contemporary social policy debates in East Asia. Organised around five themes from welfare state developments, to theories and methodologies, to current social policy issues, the Handbook presents original research from leading specialists in the fields, and provides a fresh and updated perspective to the study of social policy.
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Chapter 3: Social policy and its implications to structural shifts: a comparison between Taiwan and Korea in the colonial era

Yu-fang Chang and Yeun-wen Ku


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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