Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

History 3003.1 The Globe, Part II: Imperialism, Colonialism, and Post-colonialism

Japan, Korea, and Political Assassinations: Whodunit? And Why?

Read and Respond to Prompts (in your Research Journal):

On March 23, 1908 Chang In-hwan assassinated Durham White Stevens in San Francisco. Chang, a Korean nationalist, blamed Stevens, a pro-Japanese advisor to the Korean government, for the increasing Japanese presence in Korea. The Stevens assassination set off a firestorm of news coverage that examined the Korean independence movement, exposed Stevens' activities in Korea, and reignited debates surrounding Asian immigration to the United States.


A. Primary Sources about the Event

New York Times Archive, 1904-1908 :   

California Papers, 1900-1909 (Focus on 1908) :

Search, find and quickly read 5-6 relevant headlines and stories about the assassination of Stevens, and the Korean nationalists. 

1. How was the political assassination covered in the NY Times and by California papers?   (1-2 sentences)

2. What would original readers have learned about the case- (and what have you gathered from te primary sources about  the case -- the background,  assassination, the arrest, the trial, conviction, etc.? (1-2 sentences) 


B. Background Reading for Context about Korean Independence

Secondary Source for facts on Korean immigration to San Francisco :

1. Do an a quick search in this article for information:  When was "peak" migration to America for Koreans? Why did they come? And where did they enter at? 

2. Who were the leaders of the Korean Independence Movement? (1-2 sentences)

3. Read for Korean Freedom for background


C. Primary Source - analysis of Stevens policy ideas.  

Stevens: China and Japan in Korea, North American Review, 1894

1. Do a quick inspectional reading of this primary source 1894 publication from Stevens.  What is are his views about Japanese colonization of Korea (expressed in the first few paragraphs) ? Be specific how and / or why does he justify imperial conquest of Korea?  (1-2 sentences)


D. Historian's Narrative and Connecting the Dots

“Japan is doing in Korea and for the Koreans what the United States is doing in the Philippines"-- DW Stevens-- 

1.  Having gathered some facts from primary sources (historic) newspapers and journals of the day (North American Review) do a little deeper reading of this historian's work to tie things together.  What specifically was the United States doing in the Philippines?    If it was similar then what follows for United States policy in the Pacific? What does this whole case tell us about US relations to empire and colonization?  (2-3 sentences)

To answer this question you will need information about the Spanish-American War and information about what was decided about the Philippines in the Treaty of Paris? 

2. A few years after the Treaty of Paris and before the 1908 assassination in San Francisco, Japanese also went to War with Russia (Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905). Why or how is the relevant to Korean history? (1-2 sentences)  

3. Russia and Japan have a longer history that includes WWII settlements.  Quick read: How is the war in Ukraine raising land issues for Russia and Japan? (1 sentence) 


E. Colonization and Decolonization of Korea

Japan formally annexes Korea in the Treaty of Annexation, 1910. 

1. Do a quick inspectional read of the original Treaty of Annexation.  Provide an informative and concise summary of the terms of the Treaty. Paraphrase (1-2 sentences). 

2. According to this source, Korea was a colony of Imperial Japan during what period

3. The Japanese Empire fought with what other nations in WWII?   This group of allies is known as the ____________ Powers?