Korean immigration to Hawaii provides a striking glimpse of the inner workings of Yi-dynasty Korea in its final decade. It is a picture of confusion, functionalism, corruption, oppression, and failure of leadership at all levels of government. Patterson suggests that the weakness of the Korean government on the issue of emigration made it easier for Japanese imperialism to succeed in Korea. He also revises the standard interpretation of Japanese foreign policy by suggestion that prestige--the need to prevent the United States from passing a Japanese exclusion act--as well as security was a motivating factor in the establishment of a protectorate over Korea in 1905. In the process he uncovers a heretofore hidden link between Japanese imperialism in Korea and Japanese-American relations at the turn of the century.
The author has made extensive use of archival materials in Korea, Japan, Hawaii, and Washington, D.C. in researching a subject that has been neglected both in the United States and Korea. The study presents new information on the subject along with a keen analysis and innovative interpretation in a readable and accessible style. The work will be of significant value to specialists in Korean history, Korean-American relations, Japanese history, Japanese-Korean relations, U.S.-Japanese relations, Hawaiian history, and U.S. diplomatic history.
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