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Why did Japan annex Korea?

Japan annexed Korea in 1910 to expand its empire and secure a strategic military and economic position in East Asia.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japan was rapidly modernising and industrialising, following the Meiji Restoration in 1868. This transformation was largely influenced by Western powers, and Japan sought to emulate their imperialistic ambitions. Korea, being a close neighbour, was an attractive target for expansion. The annexation of Korea was part of Japan's broader imperialistic policy, which aimed to establish a 'Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere'.

Japan's interest in Korea was also driven by strategic military considerations. Korea's geographical location made it a valuable asset for Japan's military ambitions. It served as a buffer zone against potential threats from China and Russia, both of whom had shown interest in Korea. By controlling Korea, Japan could protect its home islands and further its regional dominance.

Economically, Korea was rich in natural resources, including coal and iron, which were vital for Japan's industrialisation efforts. The annexation allowed Japan to exploit these resources and fuel its growing industries. Moreover, Korea's agricultural sector provided a steady supply of rice, a staple food in Japan, helping to alleviate food shortages at home.

Culturally, Japan sought to assimilate Korea into its empire. The Japanese government implemented policies to suppress Korean culture and promote Japanese language and customs. This cultural assimilation was part of Japan's broader goal to create a unified, homogenous empire.

In conclusion, Japan's annexation of Korea was driven by a combination of imperialistic ambitions, strategic military considerations, economic interests, and cultural assimilation policies. It was a significant event in the history of East Asia, marking the beginning of Japan's imperial expansion and setting the stage for its role in World War II.

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