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International Journal of Korean History > Volume 15(2); 2010 > Article
International Journal of Korean History 2010;15(2): 1-33.
The Rural Control Policy and Peasant Ruling Strategy of the Government-General of Chosŏn in the 1930s-1940s
Songsoon Lee
Lecturer, Korea University
고려대학교 강사
The rural control policy of the 1930s was rooted in the Rural Revitalization Campaign. To this end, the Rural Economic Rehabilitation Plan was implemented as the main measure used to actualize the campaign. However, the Government-General of Chosŏn’s announcement of the Plan for the Expansion of Rehabilitated Villages in January 1935 effectively transformed the Rural Revitalization Campaign into a group guidance undertaking that was to be carried out at the village level. This principle became the main focal point of the rural control and production increase policies that were put in place after 1940. The advent of the National Mobilization Campaign in 1940 saw the Rural Revitalization Campaign be transformed into the Rural Patriotic Service Production Campaign, and the Village Production Expansion Plan implemented as a means to mobilize the human and material resources needed to wage war. Thereafter, the growing need to increase agricultural productivity in order to ensure effective mobilization for war resulted in the Rural Reorganization Plan and the Chosŏn Agricultural Plan being established. These measures were motivated by the desire to mobilize military supplies through ideological education and propaganda, as well as coercive organization, once it became apparent that the limitations reached in terms of productivity all but negated the ability to mobilize the required material and human resources. The rural control policy of the Government-General of Chosŏn was carried out based on the use of Korean collaborators as its proxies. To control the farmers, rural revitalization committees which served as government-led agricultural organizations were established. Those placed in charge of these rural revitalization committees were the so-called ‘leading figures’ that had been produced based on the Government-General of Chosŏn’s modern colonial education system and colonial policy. The intensification of the mobilization for war after 1940 saw the villages be upgraded to ku, which constituted the lowest administrative level, and the directors of the Village Leagues appointed as kujang. The number of kujang was rapidly increased during this process. In exchange for conducting their role as the party responsible for the mobilization for war, the kujang were granted enhanced administrative authority and material compensation by the Government-General of Chosŏn. However, as the Government-General of Chosŏn’s forced mobilization and exploitation worsened, the kujang and local petty officials were left to stand as the public faces of this mobilization system, a denouement that resulted in their becoming the main targets of the people’s resentment. The evaluation of these leading figures, which belonged to the pro-Japanese or collaborator camp rather than to those groups who resisted against colonial rule, is intricately related to the overall evaluation of the Japanese colonial rule.
Keywords: farmer control, wartime mobilization, Rural Revitalization Campaign, Rural Economic Rehabilitation Plan, National Mobilization Campaign, Village Production Expansion Plan, Rural Reorganization Plan, Rural Revitalization Committees, leading figures, director of Village League, kujang, local petty officials (ŏp and myŏn level)

1930년대 농촌통제정책은 농촌진홍운동으로 시작되었고, 이것의 주요한 실행 방안으로 개별 농가경제 안정을 목표로 한 「농가경제갱생계획」이 실시되었다. 그러나 총독부는 1935년 「갱생지도부락확충계획」(Village of Rehabilitation guidance Expansion Plan)을 발표하여, 부락 단위의 집단 지도 방식으로 전환하였다. 이것은 1940년 이후 농촌통제정책 및 증산정책의 원칙이 되었다. 1940년 국민총력운동 실시와 함께 전쟁 수행을 위한 안적, 물적자원의 총동원을 위해 농촌진홍운동을 농산촌생산보국운동으로 전환하고 「부락생산확충계획」을 실시했다. 이후 전쟁 동원을 보다 효율적으로 하기 위해 농업생산력을 증가시킬 필요가 있었고, 이를 위해 「조선농촌재편성계획」과 「조선농업계획요강」이 만들어졌다. 그 내용은 조선 농촌에서 생산력의 한계로 물적ㆍ인적 자원의 동원이 어렵게 되자 이데올로기적 교육과 선전, 강제적 조직화를 통해 군수를 동원하고자 했던 것이다. 이러한 총독부의 조선농촌 통제정책은 조선인 협력자를 대리인으로 하여 진행되었다. 농민들을 장악하기 위해 관제농촌단체로서 농촌진흥회를 설치하였고, 이 담당자는 대체로 식민지 근대교육과 총독부 식민정책에 의해 성장한 ‘중견인물’이라 불리는 인물들이었다. 1940년 이후 전시 동원이 강화되면서 부락을 행정의 말단 단위인 구로 승격시키고 부락연맹이사장이 구장을 겸임토록 하였다. 이 과정에서 구장의 수가 상당히 증가했고, 총독부는 구장에 대해 상당한 행정적 권한과 물질적 보수를 주어 전시 동원의 말단 책임자로서 역할을 수행하도록 했다. 그러나 총독부의 강제 동원과 수탈이 심해질수록 구장 및 읍면서기 등은 전시 동원정책의 말단 집행인으로서 총동원체제의 최전선에 서게 되었고, 민중들의 원성의 표적이 되었다. 이들은 식민지배에 대한 저항세력이 아닌 친일 내지는 협력 그룹으로, 이들에 대한 평가는 일제 식민지배에 대한 평가와 맞물려 있다.
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