S-Space Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원) Institute for Japanese Studies(일본연구소) Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies vol.6 no.1(2020)
The Terror of the Crowd: The Riot as a Form of Street Politics in Colonial Korea 1920-29
- Ki, You-Jung
- Issue Date
- Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol.6 No.1, pp. 173-200
- colonial crowd; colonial mass politics; politics of the event; the March First Movement; Japanese settlers in Korea
- This article is a revised and translated version of the author’s Korean article “Singminji kunjung ŭi ‘kilgŏri chŏngch’i’ wa singminja ŭi kongp’o (1920-1929),” published in Toshi yŏn’gu: yŏksa-sahoe-munhwa [Korean journal of urban history] 19 (2018) with the permission of the Tosisa Hakhoe [The Korean Society for Urban History].
- This study examines the “Korean crowd riots” that occurred in 1920s colonial Korea. By viewing these riots as a result of the collective experience generated through the March First Movement, this paper progresses beyond generalized colonialist and modernist discourses to specifically analyze the internal dynamics of the riots that occurred during the period. Colonial authorities and Japanese settlers in Korea during the early 1920s perceived a clear change in Korean society following the March First Movement. More specifically, clashes with colonial authorities or Japanese settlers in daily life now tended to provoke a collective riotous response—a kind of “crowd politics.” To analyze the crowd riots, this study employs two concepts: the “politics of the event” and the “politics of numbers.” It argues that as spontaneous events, Korean crowd riots constituted political behavior and demonstrated the potential social power underlying the institutional/semi-institutional spaces of politics in 1920s colonial Korea.