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Journal Article

Standards of Living in Colonial Korea: Did the Masses Become Worse Off or Better Off Under Japanese Rule?

Mitsuhiko Kimura
The Journal of Economic History
Vol. 53, No. 3 (Sep., 1993), pp. 629-652
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2122408
Page Count: 24
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Standards of Living in Colonial Korea: Did the Masses Become Worse Off or Better Off Under Japanese Rule?
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Abstract

This article discusses the changing living standards among the Korean masses under Japanese rule. Farm income per household, agricultural real wages, and per capita calorie intake from staple foods declined. On the other hand primary school enrollment, literacy, and survival rates rose, and average stature at least did not decrease. Arguing that literacy rates, survival rates, and average stature are variables more directly related to living conditions than the others, this article concludes that the Korean masses' standards of living rose between colonization and 1940. Still, any summary assessment depends on the weights assigned to different variables.

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