Unlike Taiwan’s relatively passive acceptance of colonial rule, Korean resistance to Japan’s takeover in 1910 was obstinate and strong. Imperial Japanese reforms, designed to eradicate Korean national identity, were often ruthlessly enforced.

A more liberal Japanese government under Prime Minister Hara Takashi (1918-21) began to address civil rights in its colonies, but Hara was assassinated by a right wing extremist. By the mid-1920s rising ultranationalism reversed any liberal trend in policy toward the colonies.