What if the Japanese empire never invaded Korea?

In a world where Koreans were deprived of Pokémon till 2002, and SNSD (Girls generation) member Tiffany was bashed for posting the Japanese flag on Instagram, it becomes quite clear that there is some tension between these nations. If these incidences don’t provide enough evidence of the strained and complicated relationship between the two nations, a glimpse into history shows that the Japanese brutalized Koreans for years and left them a destroyed and weakened nation stripped of its identity, by the end of WW2 in 1945. Not long after this, the interference of the Allied nations indirectly damaged the prospects of a unified Korea by dividing it into two halves.

The most significant of changes would most likely be that Korea might have stayed unified. This is because the Allied nations only split countries that were formerly under Axis control. Therefore, since Korea would not have been an Axis territory, a split would most likely have been avoided. The most obvious difference being the absence of North Korea! Well, that begs the question of who would those communists have exploited instead? This would probably have led to the Soviets extending the Iron Curtain to include the island of Hokkaido after Japan’s surrender. The Iron Curtain refers to a group of states located in Eastern Europe created by the Soviet Union after the fall of the Third Reich, as a shield between Western nations and the Soviet Union.  This is because Stalin was eager to introduce Communism to Japan, but could not due to US intervention. Since Korea is unified in the given scenario, Stalin could have potentially extended the Iron Curtain to Japan. So, North Korea would have been part of the Iron Curtain! So, the ongoing war between the Koreas wouldn’t be a thing nor would YouTube be wrought with “Crazy Facts About (North Korea\Kim Jong Un)”, along with those relentless social justice warriors fighting over twitter thinking they make a difference! Also, since Japan never actually committed any form of war crimes in Korea like forcing Korean women to serve as ‘comfort-women’ (glorified sex slaves) for Japanese soldiers on war fronts, blaming the Koreans living in Japan to be responsible for natural disasters, such as the Great Kanto Earthquake that ravaged the country in 1923, or trying to destroy their culture and identity, there might not be any of the current animosity between the Japanese and the Korea. Since Japan industrialized Korea,  any form of industrial or economic development would not have been at current levels nor would their country be enjoying their current political autonomy. Japan and the unified Korea could have therefore become allies, much quicker in the present timeline. As a result, Korean people would be less resistant to accept Japanese pop culture and vice versa. No longer would the Pikachus and Otakus of Korea have to wait that grueling extra few months for their cultural exports and neither would Japan, and I think that would have been the most radical and important difference.

– Saif Khan

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