chapter  7
20 Pages

: Resurrecting the Ruins of Japan’s Mythical Homelands: Colonial

ByHyung Il Pai

The development of Japanese archaeology as a field discipline paralleled territorial expansion and the establishment of modern cultural institutions, such as museums and cultural preservation committees, not only in Japan but also in its colonies. The first modern-era heritage legislation was introduced during the Meiji era (1868-1912) when Japan’s newly established Education Ministry and Exposition Office imported classifications systems, museum inventories, and exhibition formats from Europe. Following the Japanese occupation of the Korean Peninsula in 1910, the Colonial Government-General Office in Korea (CGK 1910-1945) sponsored the first systematic archaeological surveys to be carried out in the empire (Table 7.1). The Korean Peninsula was the only Japanese colony where the colonial government and academics spent more than four decades conducting annual

surveys and nationwide excavations, building museums, and launching massive tourist restoration projects ranging from burial mounds to Buddhist temples and palaces (Pai 1994, 2000). Here, I have only space enough to introduce the major archaeological discoveries made by the first generation of professionally trained archaeologists, ethnologists, and art historians who were sent to conduct fieldwork in Korea at the turn of the century. Their archaeological discoveries between 1900 and 1915 were critical in the creation of the CGK Committee on Korean Antiquities and the promulgation of the first comprehensive set of archaeological heritage management laws in the peninsula. I then discuss the pivotal role that print media, from picture postcards to travel guidebooks, played in the dissemination of archaeological information targeted toward Japanese tourists as

Table 7.1 Chronology of Heritage Management in Japan and Korea (Fieldwork, Disciplines, Institutions, and Tourist Industry)

well as foreigners. Colonial-era tourist publications featuring Korea’s ancient remains (koseki) and customs (fu¯zoku) advertising the peninsula as the most “historically scenic” destination transformed the colony into the most popular Japanese tourist destination in the 1920s and 1930s. Since the end of the Pacific War in 1945, many South Korean archaeologists have continued to condemn the prewar-era Japanese archaeologists’ activities as “systematic plunder,” without understanding why and how ruins and relics were reclaimed as part of “Japanese racial and imperial heritage” in the colonial era.1