Colonial Expositions on the Kyŏngbok Palace Grounds
This chapter demonstrates how government officials and their business associates used Kyŏngbok Palace to promote the uneven development of the Korean economy. At the 1915 exhibition, designers sought to advance industry through Western architecture and machinery, powerful symbols of progress that they carefully juxtaposed to the anachronistic palace. Although some educated Koreans successfully decoded and cautiously embraced this modernizing vision, nonelites tended to relate the newfangled tools of industry to the playful world of recreation. The 1931 exposition even further subsumed the peninsula into a multiethnic display of coprosperity, symbolized by an ersatz form of palace architecture. As nationalist critics charged, however, the “Korean style” only represented increasingly hegemonic forms of colonial domination, exemplified by the impecunious plight of their downtrodden brethren.
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