Shades of Urban Modernization
The Japanese sought perpetual domination of Korea on the one hand while using the Korean Peninsula as a staging ground for invading the Northeast Asian mainland on the other. They determined the direction of colonial development to serve their own needs, and thus the administration of Gyeongseong always tilted toward Japan's interests.
The capital remained the center of popular resistance against the government throughout the period of Japanese colonial rule.
A series of uprisings and movements against Japanese imperialism were staged, starting with the March 1st Movement in 1919.
The Japanese transformed the urban space of Gyeongseong, and this gave rise to the widespread perception that the Koreans were far behind the Japanese in their development. While suffering rampant discrimination, the Koreans yearned for modernity in every way.
Japan invaded mainland China in 1937, and the war expanded to all parts of Asia in 1941. The shadows of war deepened in Gyeongseong as well. The Korean people were mired in extreme poverty and under the Japanese were subjected to appropriation of their property, ideological education, and forced labor.