Japanese Occupation: Korea

By: Ilse Carrasco

Japanese Invasion

Korea: 1910-1945

Around the beginning of the 20th Century, Korea was whole and refused to accept the new influx of innovative technology unlike Japan. Japan took advantage of this and invaded Korea; Stripping Korea of their sovereignty and freedom as a country. "People were forced to adopt Japanese names...and were forbidden to use the Korean language in schools and business." (20th)

"The biggest thing under this category would be Japan’s attempt to change Korean names into Japanese style names, known as ChangSsiGaeMyung (창씨개명). As the Korean explained before, family name is extremely important to Koreans, and forcing to change them is an intolerable insult. Japan also stole innumerable treasures from Korea, such as porcelain products, paintings, old books, and so on." (Korea)

Japanese occupation of Korea

Korea during Occupation

Comfort Women:

  • "The Comfort Women system carried out by the Japanese army during the Second World War was the ugliest, filthiest, darkest sexual slave system in human history of the 20th century....about 200,000 Chinese women suffered devastation, but only about 200 of them can be checked against historical records"(60) A majority of the women were from Korea, China, Japan and the Phillipines..."
  • “Typically they were given a rough medical examination, which to an ignorant virgin was terrifying enough. Then they were raped by officers. Finally they went into the comfort stations, often thousands of miles from home, sometimes in combat zones (where they were indeed required to serve as nurses)” (Sex slaves)

Arson and Homicide:

  • "The police rounded up roughly 30 Korean Christians in the village into the town church, locked the doors and set the building on fire. 22 died trapped in the building, and 8 were shot outside of the church as they tried to escape."(Korea)

Torture and Massacre:

  • "Japanese colonial government liberally tortured those who were arrested on the suspicion of independence movement for Korea. The most well-documented case is that of Yoo KwanSoon(유관순), who was a 19-year-old student of Ehwa School (이화여자대학교) when she played a key role in organizing the March 1st Movement, the largest mass-protest against the Japanese rule in 1919. Yoo was arrested and died in prison; her teachers at Ehwa were able to retrieve her body because Ehwa was established by Americans and Principal James Fry of Ehwa threatened diplomatic actions if the body was not returned. The returned body of Yoo was in six pieces; her scalp was missing; her nose and ears had been cut off, and all of her finger and toenails were plucked off"(Korea)

Below is the statue of the honorable Yoo KwanSoon (유관순) flying the Korean Flag in Cheonan (천안), South Korea (대한민국).

More Japanese War Crimes in Korea

Murder of Empress MyungSung (여왕명성씨)

  • "A Japanese lieutenant general (with or without the backing of the Japanese government is unclear) commissioned what is essentially a band of Japanese thugs to enter the imperial palace in broad daylight and stabbed the Empress to death. Her body was carried away into a corner of the palace and burned by the same band"(Korea)

Aftermath of the Assassination:

  • "The Gabo Reform and the assassination of Empress Myungsung (여왕명성씨) generated Anti-Japanese sentiment in Korea; also, it caused some Confucian scholars, as well as farmers, to form over 60 successive righteous armies to fight for Korean freedom on the Korean Peninsula"(Korea)

Unit 731

  • "This one is so incredibly depraved that the Korean can’t even go into describing it. He will only say that it was a secret medical unit of the Japanese military, conducting various human experiments."(Korea) "The experiments included hanging people upside down until they choked, burying them alive, injecting air into their veins and placing them in high-pressure chambers."(Human)


The Aftermath in Korea after Japan Surrenders

Japan's Denial

50 Years later..

"It is precisely because of this that old people bring up past humiliation again. Recent news reports say that the new editions of Japanese textbooks either make no mention of or only lightly touch the Nanjing massacre and comfort women. If the bloody history is forgotten even by our posterity, then, it is not impossible that the tragedy would be re-staged...The 83-year-old Meizhi said: "Why don't they admit what they have done indeed?" "I must win this lawsuit. As long as justice can't be upheld, I won't cease the lawsuit," said she with tears covering faces already"(60)

"Japanese mayor: WWII 'comfort women' sex slaves 'necessary' for morale"

“Whether it was of their own volition or against their will, the comfort women system was something necessary,” he said. “For military morale back then, it was probably necessary.”(Japanese)

"Sakihiti Owaza, a senior official in the Japan Restoration Party. “If these comments continue, we will need to look into his true intentions and put a stop to this.”(Japanese)

What did you find out? Is Japan as unrepentant about its past as its neighbors claim?

Yes. But it’s not as simple as that.

"It’s true, Japan has not been as repentant as Germany or other countries that have faced up to the darker sides of their past. Japan has apologized for waging aggressive war and oppressing its neighbors, but those apologies have fumbling and awkward, and often been undercut by revisionist statements from senior politicians. Japan has offered relatively little compensation to the victims. And to this day there are no nationally sponsored museums or monuments that acknowledge Japanese aggression or atrocities.

But Japan has been far more repentant than is often credited. Prime ministers have repeatedly offered apologies for their country’s misdeeds. Japan has sponsored joint historical research with both South Korea and China. Most Japanese school textbooks deal with issues like the Nanjing massacre and the colonial oppression of Koreans in a fairly open manner. Opinion polls suggests that most Japanese feel their country did things in Asia for which the country should apologize." (Why)

Works Cited

Works Cited

"60-Year Sadness Of...Comfort Women." 60-Year Sadness of Chinese Comfort Women. N.p., 18 Oct. 2000. Web. 30 May 2013. <http://english.people.com.cn/english/200009/18/eng20000918_50734.html>.

"Ask a Korean!" "Korea-Japan Relation Saga..." "The Korean", 27 Feb. 2007. Web. 30 May 2013. <http://askakorean.blogspot.com/2007/02/korea-japan-relation-saga-part-iii-wwii.html>.

"History of Korea, Part II." History of Korea, Part II. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 May 2013. <http://www.lifeinkorea.com/information/history2.cfm>.

"Japanese Mayor: WWII 'comfort Women' Sex Slaves 'necessary' for Morale." NBC News. Arata Yamamoto, 14 May 2013. Web. 30 May 2013. <http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/14/18245613-japanese-mayor-wwii-comfort-women-sex-slaves-necessary-for-morale?lite>.

Ryall, Julian. "Human Bones Could Reveal Truth of Japan's 'Unit 731' Experiments." The Telegraph. Julian Ryall, 15 Feb. 2010. Web. 30 May 2013. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/7236099/Human-bones-could-reveal-truth-of-Japans-Unit-731-experiments.html>.

"Sex Slaves for the Emperor: Japan's "Comfort Women"" Sex Slaves for the Emperor: Japan's "Comfort Women" Yoshimi Yoshiaka, Oct. 2012. Web. 30 May 2013. <http://www.warbirdforum.com/comfort.htm>.

"Why Japan Is Still Not Sorry Enough." US Why Japan Is Still Not Sorry Enough Comments. Kirk Spitzer, 11 Dec. 2012. Web. 30 May 2013. <http://nation.time.com/2012/12/11/why-japan-is-still-not-sorry-enough/>.