The less services provided by the government. However,

history and memory of colonial Korea and Cold War Korea were utilized to shape the
socioeconomic factors in global Korea both positively and negatively. While
contemporary Korea and its people achieved further economic development through
telecommunications and advancement in social movement through internet activism,
the “military comfort women” issue remain unsolved.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, Korea’s rapid economic
development was achieved through the state-led top-down economic directives and
regulations. In the mid-1980s, Korea started to move towards a knowledge based
economy centered on information and communication technologies, or ICTs. As
Korea moved towards the ICT sector, the economic model transformed from a
state-led developmentalism to neoliberalism. In theory, the move brings in
decentralization, privatization, and deregulation. Consequently, there would be
more competition, less regulation in business owners’ decisions, and less
services provided by the government. However, such move led to a concentration
of corporate power, increased corporate welfare, and a supportive state,
burdening small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). This was very similar to
what has happened under Park’s regime when Park and the chaebols formed a
partnership. Until 1996, the mobile phone service market was monopolized by SK
Telecom and in 1999, five firms accounted for the whole market. In the early
2000s, continuous approvals from the Korea Communications Commission regarding
the mergers and acquisitions of major telecommunications firms resulted in an
oligopolistic market structure; as of December 2015, SKT, KT, LGU+, and others
each respectively controlled 47.1%, 26.2%, 18.9%, and 7.7% of the market. To
support further growth in ICTs, the Wireless Internet Platform for
Interoperability (WIPI) policy was introduced as a barrier to prevent foreign
infiltration. Foreign mobile manufacturers were not able to enter the market
due to the absence of WIPI, leading to further growth of domestic mobile
technologies. Instead of dismantling public monopolies, neoliberalism continued
the efforts of the state-led developmentalism. The SMEs were burdened because
the protection and benefit chaebols received left no space for competition.
Nevertheless, the ICT-driven economic policy was successful in further growing
Korea’s national economy. From 1997 to 2014, ICT sector export increased by
approximately six times from $31.2 billion to $173.9 billion, accounting for
more than 30% of the export. Similar to the economic development under Park’s
regime, the chaebols were monumental in the ICT-driven economic development,
but there weren’t any major reforms like the Saemaul Movement to promote mass mobilization.
Overall, the transition from state-led developmentalism to neoliberalism had a
positive effect on the economy, continuing the rapid growth through ICTs.

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a similar fashion, Korea experienced advancement in social movement through
internet activism. Internet activism transformed the social movement modality
in Korea. Teenagers were able to develop political sensibilities through the
rapidly evolving internet culture and started candlelight protests in 2002; the
socioeconomic issues brought major protests in 2004, 2005, and 2008. The 2008
protest caused by Lee Myung Bak’s neoliberal policies and beef incident
connected crowds nationwide and enabled them to speak back to authority without
fear. The older generation viewed the candlelight protests as radical, but it
was a natural response to injustice. These protests were not a waste of time as
it served as building blocks to bring about a significant change to the
country. Beginning October 2016, about two million Koreans participated in the
candlelight protest to impeach President Park Geun-hye regarding a series of
corruption scandals. The protest put enough pressure on the National Assembly
to impeach Park. Such result was achieved through the experience in social
movements that goes back to the colonial period. During Japanese rule and
authoritarian regimes, it was unimaginable to casually participate in protests.
On March 1st,
1919, a series of mass movements started in Korea, but Japanese police and
military took violent measures to contain the revolts; 7,500 were killed and
45,000 arrested. During the 1960s and 1970s, an array of social
movements emerged to protest the normalization treaty with Japan and the Yusin
reform. Park issued a
garrison decree and a set of EDs to repress antigovernment movements; student
leaders were arrested and incarcerated, leading to a significant drop in
student protests. Even though both movements during the colonial era and Park’s
regime did not directly achieve their goals, the arduous efforts were
significant stepping stones that led to the achievement of their ultimate goals
of independence and liberty. The spirit of never giving up was passed on from
colonial and cold war Korea to contemporary Korea where the continuous efforts
of internet activism driven protests led to the impeachment of Park Geun-hye. The shift
through colonial Korea and Cold War Korea added value to the social movement,
making it more efficient and effective. 

global Korea was able to advance in certain socioeconomic parts, “The
Murmuring” and Yang display the trivialization of the comfort women issue that
remains unsolved. The characterization of women since the colonial era has led
to this problem. Jun Yoo and Haeweol Choi depict the ideal “new woman” during
Japanese colonialism to be an educated “wise mother and good wife” who is packed
with womanly virtues that would support the household such as compliance,
wisdom and sacrifice. So, during Japanese rule, women were a medium for
civilization and enlightenment stuck in an oppressive culture expected to live
for the sake of the citizens and nations. This oppressive culture continued during
Cold War Korea. There is a symmetry between the “new women” and camp town
prostitutes, in which both were obedient and sacrificial to support the nation
and citizens. As Katherine Moon delineates in her article, prostitution was
just one of many commodities the government exploited as a medium of income for
economic prosperity. Women who took part in military prostitution were deemed
as a commodity to expand the Korean economy in exchange for foreign investment.
Due to this prolonged portrait of women being the sacrificial character, the “comfort
women” issue remain unsolved. Korean women took up 80 to 90 percent of the
total number of comfort women, estimated to be eighty thousand to two hundred
thousand Korean comfort women. Some comfort stations were run by the Japanese
military, some were run by civilians, and the rest were existing brothels
turned into comfort stations. The documentary, “The Murmuring” explicitly
displayed bodies of the victims and how Korean comfort women were exploited as
a medium of security and comfort. The physical and mental torment they have
received is well-known throughout the public and only recently there have been
some movements to solve the issue. This suggests how some part of Korea has not
really changed through the transition from colonial to global Korea.  

the history and memory of colonial and cold war Korea were building blocks for global
Korea. While there were clear socioeconomic advancements and developments,
there were also issues that remained unsolved. 

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