SDHF Newsletter No.254 Gunkanjima (Battlehsip Insland) No.5
Gunkanjima (Battleship Island): A World Heritage Site Soiled by Korea
–Another distortion of history, akin to the “comfort women”
By Matsuki Kunitoshi
Series No.5: Part 2: Chapter 7, 8
October 4, 2019
Chapter 7 is titled as ‘The truth about ‘the escape from Gunkanjima’”.
In Chikuho/Gunkanjima, published in Japan, it claims that “[Korean workers] were no longer able to endure slave labor and attempted to escape from the island as a last resort.” In the film Gunkanjima, there was a watch tower on Hashima and as soon as an escape was detected, the watchtower guard shot the escapee to death. A former Korean coal miner who appears in Chikuho/Gunkanjima claims: “I have hardly heard of a successful escape from the island. When an escapee was captured, men in charge of labor tortured him to death and the body was thrown into the sea.”
But these depictions are entirely contrary to the following testimony of a Korean worker contained in that same book, Chikuho/Gunkanjima:
“On August 9, I took a swim in the sea. I was off at the time.”
This statement indicates that there was no “watch tower” on Hashima, nor was there “a motorboat searching around Hashima”. Koreans workers freely took swims in the sea. This was the real situation.
Chapter 8 verifies that “there was no discrimination against Koreans”.
A children’s book, Gunkanjima—Shameful UNESCO World Heritage, claims that twelve-year-old boys were accommodated in a prison and were made to engage in hard labor in the coal mine galleries. The fact is that both Japanese and Korean children were good friends and went to school together.
Mr. Che Sok Young, who was enrolled in a Hashima primary school, writes in his webpage that “The film Gunkanjima is faked,” “Children whose fathers were miners were able to go to school. … [Omitted] School life there was not bad. A boy named Goo Yon-chol learned Japanese before he came to Japan and he was so clever that he was able to get the best grades in class, outdoing his Japanese classmates.”
According to a report from the Nagasaki Nichinichi Newspaper, dated January 17, 1942, the average monthly salary of workers at Hashima Coal Mines was \150.
When Korean workers left the island after the war, both Japanese and Koreans alike waved farewell, yearning for each other. When the Koreans got aboard their ship, as it was leaving Hashima, all Japanese gathered at the pier and waved goodbye to the Koreans, who waved back to us until they were gone, out of sight. This was also the real situation.
Questions are welcome.
MOTEKI Hiromichi, Acting Chairman
for KASE Hideaki, Chairman
Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact