Korea is located at the physical boundary among three powerful nations: China, Japan, and Russia. As these nations sought to establish geopolitical "spheres of influence," Korea naturally became the focus of contention among the three. Japan defeated both China (1895) and Russia (1905) in separate wars, leaving Korea completely in Japan's control. After the defeat of the Russians, Japan first dominated and then annexed Choson in 1910. Over the next 35 years, Japan attempted to completely destroy Korean culture by outlawing the Korean language and even Korean family names, purging all nationalists that appeared, and by taking over the land control system and all middle and upper level government positions. Assimilation efforts ended only with defeat of Japan at the end of World War II.
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