Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact

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Gunkanjima (Battleship Island): A World Heritage Site Soiled by Korea Part 3 , Chapter 9,10

By MATSUKI Kunitoshi,

History distorted Part III Lunatic Korean Anti-Japanese Sentiment

Due intensive anti-Japanese education since the Syngman-Rhee administration, Korean anti-Japanese sentiment has encouraged self-destruction. When someone thinks up a “Japanese atrocity,” claiming that “Japan has done such a cruel thing,” others will agree: “The atrocious Japanese must have surely done that,” and will go on and on until groundless rumor becomes fact, incorporated into living memory and runs on its own. The film Gunkanjima is a typical example of this fact creating process.

Thus, every time Koreans demand that Japan look at the face of history, holding up its fabricated history, Japan, so far, has simply apologized without making an effort to verify the authenticity of the history that Korea presents. Consequently, the Koreans fall into false credulousness, that they are always in the right.

Part III will describe the process in which Korean anti-Japanese sentiment heightened and at the same time clarify the true circumstance of conceited Korean anti-Japanese actions which have now reached levels similar to that of occult religions.

Chapter 9: Korean history distorted after World War II

Historical fabrication by Syngman Rhee

It was, in fact, after World War II that intensive anti-Japanese sentiment as we know it was born. It all started with the first President, Syngman Rhee, who distorted historical fact.

At the very least, if the Korean Peninsula was to become independent, it would have been natural for the Korean Empire, which succeeded the Joseon Dynasty and concluded the Treaty of Annexation with Japan, to be revived. In fact, the official heir to the Joseon Dynasty, Prince Yi Un, was in Japan and he had a strong intention to revive the Korean Empire.

However, a republic was established, instead of an empire, and Syngman Rhee became head of the state, backed up by the United States. Syngman Rhee would be remembered as the “revolutionary” who robbed the Joseon Dynasty of its continued rule over Korea. If such as the case, then he had to fabricate history in order to avoid the dishonor of being called a revolutionary.

One more reason why he fabricated history was that he wanted to sever the Korean people’s “nostalgia for the days under Japanese rule.” Korea was separated from Japan after the War and fell from the world’s “first-rate country” to one of the poorest. People would then think, “Well, we were better off under Japanese rule in every respect,” yearning for good old days under Japan’s rule. This feeling permeated the country. If days under Japan’s rule were better, there would be no backing of the new administration. Therefore, Syngman Rhee distorted history as follows:

1. Japan destroyed the Joseon Dynasty, colonized and brutally ruled Korea.
2. Independence fighters who went into exile in Shanghai established an interim government of the Korean Republic, organized an “Army of Restoration,” fought against Japan as a member of the Allied Forces, and contributed to relieving the suffering of the Korean people under Japanese rule.
3. It was Syngman Rhee’s administration that succeeded the interim government of the Republic of Korea.

These are sheer “fictions.” Japan’s Annexation of Korea was an annexation between countries based on an official treaty and it is not true that Japan colonized the Korean Peninsula. The Japanese annexation was similar to that of the “annexation” between England and Scotland, and in present terms, it is equivalent of new territory becoming the fifty-first state of the United States. Through the annexation, the people of Korea became subjects of Imperial Japan, which was a “first-rate” country at the time–Koreans were endowed with the same rights and bore the same responsibilities as the Japanese people.

Japanese rule was far from ham-handed colonialism, based on the principle of “treating all people on equal terms, regardless of social status, nationality or other characteristics.” Thus, Japanese and Koreans got along on friendly terms. In the Greater East Asian War, most young Korean men volunteered for duty in the Japanese Army and fought as soldiers of the Japanese Army to liberate Asian people from Whites colonial control. For details, please refer to this author’s book, Korean History Was, in Fact, Wonderful (Heart Publishers).

However, to legitimize the Syngman Rhee Administration, it was most important to assert that Japan’s rule was merely “colonialism”. Thus, Syngman Rhee revised history, fabricating one unrealistic Japanese atrocity after another to legitimize his administration and make it appear worthy of the peoples’ support.

Moreover, he absolutely condemned as “political criminals” those who told the truth about what had happened during the time of Japanese rule and sowed the seeds of hatred toward Japan in the minds of the Korean people through intensive anti-Japanese education.

Concealing a massacre of their own people

There was one more major reason why Syngman Rhee fabricated history as stated above. It was because he had to divert the Korean people from his massacre of his own people.

In the 4-3 Incident, which took place on Cheju Island in 1948, many innocent civilians were suspected of assisting Communist guerrilla and massacred by the Government Army. According to an investigation conducted based on the “Special law concerning efforts to find the truth about the Cheju 4-3 incident and to recover the honor of victims,” which was promulgated under the Kim Dae-jung Administration, 25,000 to 30,000 people were massacred.

That was not all. The Syngman Rhee Administration murdered a great number of Korean people during the Korean War, which broke out in 1950. Immediately after the War began, they executed members of the “Federation to Lead the People,” which was organized to re-educate converts from the Left, for fear that they should double-cross the Republic. In the “Committee to Arrange Past History for the Truth and Reconciliation,” which was established by the Korean Government under the Roh Moo-hyun Administration, the Korean government admitted that 4,934 people were killed–a rumor had it that more than a hundred thousand members of the Federation were executed.

Moreover, in the process of subjugating North Korean guerrillas, in mountain villages in Jeolla and Gyeongsang Provinces, many civilians, including women and children, supposedly regarded as “Communist guerrilla sympathizers” were killed by the hundreds, even in the thousand.

Clearly, responsibility of these incidents of massacre rested with the Korean Government and sooner or later, the Government with will hit with the public’s accusations. So, Syngman Rhee stated that “it was all because of Japan’s illegal rule of Korea that brought about the separation of Korea into north and south and that we Koreans (both Northern and Southern) were forced to kill each other during the Korean War.” Thus, he distorted history and led all sorts of grudges in the chaotic tumult emerging within the Korean Peninsula to turn into “grudges against Japan.”

Park Chung-hee concealed the fact that he refused to pay pensions to mobilized workers

Subsequent Korean Government administrations tried to raise their favorable ratings by stirring up Korean anti-Japanese sentiment. It was the same with Park Chung-hee, who grabbed political power by a coup d’etat in 1961 and sat at the top of the Korean Government for nineteen years. He might have personally held gratitude toward his Japanese benefactors, who pulled him out of a poor family of farmers and opened the way to success as a member of the military. However, in order to maintain his rule, he could not openly show his personal feelings. There was nothing else other than using “anti-Japanese sentiment” to unite the people.

In June 1965, following the conclusion of the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea, the Agreement Concerning the Settlement of Problems in Regard of Property and Claims between Japan and Korea and Economic Cooperation was concluded.

Based on this Agreement, Japan abandoned private Japanese properties which were left behind in the Korean Peninsula (regarding those in the South alone, currently equivalent to 8 trillion) and what’s more, Japan agreed to give Korea $300 million in economic aid, $200 million in loans and $300 million for a private trust, totaling $800 million. This is equivalent to 2.5 years of the Korean national budget at the time. By contrast, Japan owned merely $2.1 billion in foreign currency.

The fact is that during the negotiation of this deal, Japan proposed to the Korean Government that it would like to individually pay pensions to those Koreans who had worked for Japanese Governmental offices and private companies before and during the War, partly for the sake of compensation.

In fact, in the case of Taiwan, Japan provides pensions to 8,000 Taiwanese who worked at Koza Naval Factory in Kanagawa Prefecture . This act was, in part, a token of gratitude for their having supported Japan during the War. In turn, those Taiwanese, supported by Japanese pensions, have greatly contributed to the industrial development of Taiwan, using know-how they learned at Japanese factory.

On the other hand, President Park Chung-hee insisted that, “The responsibility to fulfill the individual compensation rests with the Korean Government and the Korean Government will fully receive the money Japan ought to pay.” Park Chung-hee feared that if Korean people were to receive individual pensions from Japan, the Korean people might fondly remember the days under Japanese rule and, as a result, their loyalty toward Korea would diminish.

Thus, Japan was unable to pay pensions to those Koreans who had cooperated in running Korea and Koreans who were mobilized for labor.

The fact that Japan proposed to pay pensions to individual Koreans but Park Chung-hee flatly refused the offer has never been revealed in Korea, which led to the present situation, where those who did not receive sufficient compensation from the Korean Government hold grudges against Japan, increase all the more over time.

Korea needs a “should have been” history

Readers may simply wonder whether the Koreans have no qualm about making revisions or concealing their history. However, it is totally permissible to do these things in Korea.

In Korean society, one’s entire life depends on one’s ancestors. If a Korean has an ancestor who was a “hero of the people,” he will be favorably treated for all eternity, whereas one with a “dubious” character in the family lineage may his social status or property once past infamy is revealed. During the Roh Moo-hyun Administration, descendants of those who were alleged to have cooperated in Japan’s rule over Korea had their assets, totaling nearly 20 billion, confiscated. In the society so keen on one’s ancestry, people come to be abnormally obsessed with flourishing one’s past family history. In Confucian thinking, which lies in the background of Korean culture, it is the “filial piety” to conceal one’s ancestors’ wrongdoing and to engage in total ancestor worship. To fix the past to one’s heart’s content is a means of protecting oneself and meets ethical requirements at the same time. Therefore, Koreans think it is perfectly natural to do this, without any qualms at all.

In full, to the Korean people, history as it was is not really worthwhile. What counts is making up a “should have been” history and going along with it in its entirety.

The spirit of revenge against Japan sown by fabricated history

What is more troublesome is that Korea has no understanding of what is known as “washing away the past” in their culture. The “hatred” and “grudges” held by their ancestors are handed down from generation to generation, which will never dissolve until their descendants have dealt their ancestors’ fate to their enemy. Koreans who have grown up with the historical view planted within them, that “Japan ruled Korea as a colony in the cruelest manner that the world has ever seen,” must take revenge against Japan, no matter how many years it may take, tens or hundreds of years, to do so.

However, in today’s world, it is virtually impossible to rule Japan as a colony. Instead, Koreans bring up issues such as comfort women and mobilized workers and will continue to disgrace Japan, for the next thousand years, as acts of revenge.

The Moon Jae-in Administration, evoking anti-Japanese confrontation, announced that Korea would support the inscription of materials related to the comfort women to the UNESCO Memory of the World and designated August 14 as the “Comfort Women Day.” It was also decided that the Korean Government would build a monument for comfort women at the National Cemetery and establish the Japanese Military “Comfort Women” Study Institute.

In addition, Minister Jong Hyon-bek of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family stated that “in order to pass on the comfort women issue to the future generations, it is important to teach the issue to young students as a historical subject.”

This author cannot help but think that Korean Government is working steadily and eagerly towards taking revenge on Japan.

A “careless apology” set ablaze the Korean people’s anger

Why Korean anti-Japanese sentiment became so inflated rests mainly on Japan’s shoulders. Minister Kono’s statement, Prime Minister Murayama’s statement and Prime Minister Kan’s statement—consecutive Japanese Prime Ministers and high governmental officials repeatedly apologized to Korea in a careless manner.

Rather than mutual concessions, diplomacy requires each side pushing the other. One side never yields in consideration to the other—absolutely not. The essence of diplomacy lies in seeing how far the other side can be pushed and eventually a compromise arises at some point. There is no room for “sincerity” at the diplomatic deal, let alone an apology. One side apologizes and the other side seizes upon this. It is the same with accepting an unconditional surrender. It is a big mistake to think an apology can solve problems. Rather, from an apology, the recipient begins to pin responsibility of the issue on the issuer.

In the first place, no state has resorted to an apology as means of solving an issue. If a state officially apologizes to another state, this act will leave an indelible stain on the history of the apologizing country. Moreover, the state will be bound to pay enormous compensation. Furthermore, it could be possible that the responsible party will end up on trial in the other party’s judicial system, which could go so far as to render a death sentence.

A state apologizing to another state will jeopardize its own national honor and dignity, the people’s lives, national economy and its own future. It is probably for these reasons that European countries never apologized for their past colonial rule and the United States for using nuclear weapons on Japan.

On the other hand, Japan repeatedly apologized, in a “careless” manner, in response to issues such as the comfort women. However, the Japanese Government, in its official capacity, has never punished those responsible or compensated the alleged victims. Since there is no evidence that proves that a crime took place, there is no way to punish the perpetrators or compensate the victims. However, to foreigners, this looks like an extraordinarily irresponsible attitude for a government to take.

Koreans are thinking, “Japan officially apologized and admitted fault. How come they never sent compensation as a state? How come they never punished those responsible?” and their anger has increased over time.

Chapter 10: Anti-Japanese facilities that instigate hatred toward Japan

The previous chapter described the Korean psyche that favors heaping disgrace on Japan on issues such as the “comfort women” and “mobilized workers.” This chapter clearly and concretely describes the horrifying facts of the anti-Japanese education implemented in Korea and how anti-Japanese propaganda is disseminated, which the author confirmed through an on-the-scene report conducted in Korea, from the end of March to the beginning of April 2018.

Korea’s Independence Hall

A grand anti-Japanese institution called Independence Hall of Korea sits in Tenan, roughly a hundred kilometers to the south of Seoul. At the height of the anti-Japanese wave, during the tumult over a rewritten school history textbook in 1982, a fund-raising campaign was started to build Independence Hall, and the Hall was completed in 1987 as an institution administered by the Korean Government.

In its vast confines, there are recreational facilities, and many families visit this place on holidays.

For elementary school and junior high school students, it is a destination for their school picnics or field trips.

There are buildings from No. 1 Hall to No. 7 Hall. Except for No. 1 Hall (dealing with the roots of the Korean people), the buildings deal with “Japanese atrocities and “anti-Japanese struggles.” History as distorted by Syngman Rhee after World War II appears here as “true”, with scenes of exaggerated brutal Japanese treatment of the Korean people and how the Korean peoples’ ancestors bravely fought back against Japanese rule. This place is the focus of anti-Japanese education in Korea.

In the exhibit rooms, georamas and realistic wax mannequins are used everywhere along with audio and visual effects, sowing “fear and hatred” toward Japan in the minds of visitors.

At the comfort women corner, georamas show women being forcibly pulled onto a truck and

Korean women are forcibly pulled onto a truck.

Japanese soldiers waiting in line at a comfort station.

Japanese officials inflicting torture upon an independence fighter (wax mannequins).

Japanese soldiers waiting in line for their turn at a comfort station.

And next to this, a three-dimensional movie shows a Japanese soldier, shouting “Die gladly for the sake of Japan,” shooting Korean sisters who were forced to be comfort women, in order to conceal evidence of cruel treatment of the comfort women. After the sisters are killed, a female commentator appears and flatly concludes, “The forced abduction of comfort women was an atrocious act systematically conducted by the Japanese Government.” The movie then blacks out.

The corner enacting torture inflicted by Japanese officials is equally gruesome. Scenes of independence fighters being tortured are enacted by moving wax mannequins. In one scene, a woman has her hands tied and a club strikes between her legs. The sounds of cracking bones and the woman’s screams fill the room. This torture is called churi, which was used during the Joseon Dynasty. During Japan’s rule, however, the Korean Governor-General’s Office prohibited the use of such cruel torture. Here, though, Korean torture is shown as Japanese torture.

A child shook with terror on seeing such scenes. And this author heard the child’s father moan, “This is what the Japanese did. Bastards!”

Seodaemun Prison Historical Museum

Inside the Seodaemun Independence Park in Seoul, is Seodaemon Prison Historical Museum (hereinafter, Historical Museum), which is also filled with anti-Japanese brainwashing exhibits utilizing visual and audio effects.

In a reproduction of the basement prison, a captured female independence fighter looms out of the dark, grievingly shouting Manse, Manse! [“Hurrah, Hurrah!”] Many pictures showing scenes of torture by Japanese officials are pasted up on the walls. There are wax mannequins of male Koreans hanging upside down from the ceiling undergoing “water-torture.”

There are many materials sold at the museum store, including booklets for “low elementary school grades,” “upper elementary school grades,” and “youths”.

At the beginning of the elementary school low graders booklet, this is written:

Headline: If you don’t follow what I say, I will send you here!
To make those who are not obedient follow you, it is best to use threats.
That’s what Japan did. About a hundred years ago, Japan tried to make our country its own, using every possible means. Naturally, many of our people tried to resist. So, Japan built a huge prison at the very busy Seodaemun to make people know. Many people will see the prison and become too scared to resist against Japan’s invasion!

Moreover, terrorists’ actions are praised as part of a “valiant, patriotic struggle.” The booklet reads:

Headline: Patriotic, valiant struggle—do with Japan using force!
If we kill great leaders who make important decisions in Japan or Korean Japanophiles who help Japan, the action will make it difficult for Japan to rule our country. It will be also very effective to destroy buildings which are important to Japan like police stations. These actions are called “patriotic, valiant struggles.” In 1910, when Japan completely occupied our country, more and more people participated in “patriotic struggles,” risking their own lives. It is reported that valiant Lee Jae-myung tried to kill Japan’s cat’s-paw Ye Wanyong , and bravely shouted in the court, “Even if those Japanese kill me using unfair laws, they cannot kill my loyal soul!”

Regarding torture by Japanese officials, the following is written:

Headline: Having endured cruel torture by Japan
The basement of the Preservation of Public Peace Agency is the place where Japan inflicted unbearably cruel torture after torture. … [Omitted] It makes us heartbroken, but at the same time, truly proud and respectful of them to know how bravely our patriots endured those hardships and fought for independence.
Let all of us give them our heart-felt thought and gratitude.

Lastly, the site of execution is described in detail:

Headline: Never lived to see the independence of our beloved country…
The site of execution was built in 1923, and it was surrounded with walls five meters tall. Looking inside, you will see a chair and a rope. In the basement, there is a morgue for holding bodies. The whole place has an eerie feeling as if you were there as a witness.

Young children visit this museum on field trips, led by their teachers. Thus, Korean children are

Children visiting the Museum on a field trip.

A chart showing torture inflicted by officials.

Captured female independence fighter (wax mannequin).

imbued with hatred toward Japan at an early age, lower elementary school grades, whether they like it or not. As they become junior and senior high school students, they are taught about “Japanese atrocities” in more concrete terms. For example, in booklets for upper elementary school grades and for youths, the “box torture” is explained. A small wooden box with sharpened iron bars installed inside is a horrible torture device. A person is put into the box and on moving slightly, he or she will get bloody and badly injured. The older children grow, the more strongly they are taught to embrace anger toward Japan.

Column (1) About “Seodaemun Prison

“Seodaemun Prison” was built in 1912 by the Korean Governor-General’s Office to modernize Korean prisons. Prisons during the Joseon Dynasty were unbelievably filthy and cruel, with fifteen to sixteen prisoners occupying a space merely 3.3 square meters. Prisoners were obliged to take turns sleeping. The Twenty-Five Years’ History of Administration of the Korean Governor’s Office (stored at National Diet Library) records:

“Prisons prior to the Annexation were one of the least attended matters in Korea. The total filth and disorder inside prisons and the cruel treatment of prisoners [omitted] make us shudder just to read about it.”

The fact is that the Korean Governor-General’s Office made utmost efforts to change these “prisons of hell” into humane Japanese prisons. Moreover, the Office prohibited cruel forms of execution and torture which had been practiced during the Joseon Dynasty and had Korean society overall renovated into a modern one governed by laws. However, through distortion of history in the postwar years, Seodaemun Prison has now become a symbol of “cruelties” committed by Japan and one of the leading “anti-Japanese” brainwashing facilities.

The War and Women’s Human Rights Museum

In the Mapo District of Seoul, there is an institution called “The War and Women’s Human Rights Museum,” run by an organization named the “Korean Council to Cope with the Issue of Volunteers Corps. ” Many materials related to comfort women are exhibited here. Presumably, to emphasize “cruelties” of the Japanese military, the place is filled with an eerie air, and, for unknown reasons, photography inside the museum is prohibited.

At the start of the visitors’ route, there are plaster-molded faces and hands of old women sticking out of the walls. At this sight, a chill ran all over my body. The head-set audio guide begins narration in a depressing voice:

Look at the girl on the left wall. Not knowing what cruel fate may await her, she is heading somewhere with her head down. And on the right wall, a victim who has become old after having gone through painful years is staring at you. These works are made of plaster molding after existing victims’ faces and hands. Don’t you feel as if the victims were talking to you? That’s their desperate cries filled with pains and sorrow, and they are whispering, “Listen to me. Listen to my story!”

The pictures on the stair-case wall depict the memories of the comfort women who were victimized by the Japanese military—how they were abducted by Japanese soldiers and transferred aboard a ship to far-off foreign land. These pictures vividly convey how scared the girls were on the way to unknown places beyond vast, almost endless sea.

The audio guide goes on, denouncing Japan and concluding that the comfort women were “sex slaves” incorporated into the Japanese national structure.

Think about what happened in Korea, Japan’s colony, since comfort stations were installed and reconsider the term “comfort women” which you all know well. One important thing is that the term “comfort women” is used to clarify historical fact, but as a matter of fact, they were nothing but “sex slaves.”

The issue of comfort women for the Japanese military was a crime born with the war and aggravated through the war. It is an extreme example of how dreadfully a war destroys people’s living and especially, women’s lives. Above all, in a sense that such a crime was committed by a state power called the Japanese Government in a systematized way, it makes the issue more grave and more serious.

The Japanese Government denied its involvement in the Japanese military’s crime against comfort women. However, when papers indicating Japanese military involvement were found and victims spoke up, the Japanese Government admitted to its involvement, although only partially. It never happened that the Japanese Government totally admitted to the criminal fact or carried out the accompanying legal responsibility. So, victims entered a lawsuit against the Japanese Government in Japan. [Omitted] Korea, Japan and other victimized Asian countries held International Women’s Tribunal for War Crimes to judge the Japanese military sex slaves and brought in a verdict of guilty to Emperor Hirohito in the name of the entire women in the world.

The audio guide narrates to visitors, in a grave, assertive, female voice, how the comfort women had their human rights trampled as sex slaves and lived miserable lives after the War. The voice of a crying old woman, who has come out as former comfort woman, loudly echoes in an exhibit room.

Many foreign visitors look serious and they look at exhibits with equally serious eyes. If a person who has no idea whatsoever about the comfort women issue visits this place, he or she will surely be shocked beyond words at the atrociousness of the Japanese military and think that it is conscionable to condemn the Japanese Government for the comfort women issue.

Not only foreigners, but also many Japanese people support this institution. On the “list of donors” at the Japan Society to Support the War and Women’s Human Rights Museum website, the following labor unions and organizations are listed. (This author last visited this website on August 9, 2018.)

I wonder what they think of the fact that the Emperor Showa was given a guilty verdict, as the most responsible for the forced abduction of comfort women, in an mock trial called the International Women’s Tribunal for War Crimes, in which one person, allegedly a North Korean agent, acted as a prosecutor.

Zennihon Tetsudo Rodokumiai Rengokai (Japan Federation of Railways Labor Unions)
Joho Sangyo Rodokumiai Rengokai (Federation of Information Industry Labor Unions)
Jichiro Tokyo-to Honbu (Tokyo Metropolitan Headquarters of Municipal Labor Unions)
NTT Rodokumiai Osaka Shibu (NTT Labor Union, Osaka Branch)
Higashi-Nihon Ryokyaku Tetsudo Rodokumiai (East Japan Railway Company Labor Union)
Osaka-shi Rodokumiai (Osaka City Labor Union)
Ota-ku Shokuin Rodokumiai (Ota-ward Workers Labor Union)
Kobe Kokusai Kirisuto Kyokai (Kobe International Christian Church)
Nihon Kirisuto-kyo Kyogikai (Japan Christianity Council)
Peace Boat

National Memorial Museum of Forced Mobilization under Japanese Occupation

In the southern district of Pusan City, the National Memorial Museum of Forced Mobilization under Japanese Occupation opened on December 10, 2015, as “a place to recollect all the history under the Japanese occupation and remember the pains of such history.” This vast museum, covering 12,062 square meters, was built by the Korean Government at the cost of more than 5 billion. Inside this neat, seven-storied building, the records of people who were forcibly mobilized to Japan proper and regions in the south during Japanese rule are exhibited on a grand scale. A booklet written in Japanese reads: Our aim is to have the Korean people know the misery of forced mobilization by Japan, encourage the right recognition of history and provide a place for people’s education for human rights and world peace.

In addition, at the part explaining “female mobilization,” it states: From 1931, when Japan invaded Manchuria, to 1945, with the aim to carry out the war effectively, young women in colonized regions were imprisoned at “comfort stations” established by the Japanese military and were forced to live a miserable life as sex slaves. [Omitted] Reportedly, more than four hundred thousand women were mobilized for this purpose.

Since July 2015, when “Gunkanjima” was inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Property, the Museum placed many materials related to “Gunkanjima”, such as photos from those days, wax mannequins of Korean workers struggling to push a cart of coal, and reproductions of cave-ins where workers are buried alive.

I heard that previously there was a photo of an abused mobilized Korean worker lying sideways in a narrow coal face, digging coal, a scene that was shown on Korean MBC Television, as I mentioned previously. Regarding this photo, the Japanese Sankei Newspaper pointed out that it was a fake photo and presumably, due to this report, the photo in question was no longer there when this author visited the museum.

Exhibits along the visitors’ route included wax mannequins of “forcibly mobilized Korean men” digging anti-air raid shelters on an island in the south, with a sign posted, stating “No entry of Koreans permitted into air raids ditches.”

Stepping into the exhibit related to comfort women, I was totally taken aback. Suddenly, a room at a comfort station appears on a TV screen, showing a man and woman tangling with each other on a bed. The man hits the crying girl, pulls her hair and then rapes her. On the neighboring television screen, the girl, totally confused and numb after she was raped, appears and a caption reads: “What am I doing here?” “I miss my Mom and Dad so much.” Visiting children intently gazed at the “video enactment.” Usually, such a scene is X-rated, but here at a national institution, the vulgar and cruel scene is freely shown to all. I cannot help but feel somewhat sad for Koreans, who have no shame when it comes to dealing with anti-Japanese matters.

After being shown “Japanese atrocities”, one after another, I saw a particularly huge title catch my eye, just before the exit, stating, “Hidden Perpetrators—existing companies of forced mobilization.” Under the title, it is stated:

The perpetrators of forced mobilization are not only the Japanese state authorities, but also Japanese companies. They worked even more actively to obtain manpower for their own profits than the state authorities. Most of small to middle-sized Japanese companies gained tremendous profits and grew to be great companies by using conditions provided by the state authorities, such as securing manpower, procurement of materials and goods, wage control, stabilized prices set on their products they sold to the State and provision of infrastructure. The foundation of development of these companies was exactly the blood and sweat shed by forcibly mobilized Koreans. These companies, under the protection of the Japanese Government and military authorities, forcibly exploited labor and committed illegal acts such as abduction of under-age Korean youths, without ever fulfilling the least obligation against labor-related mishaps.

On the TV screen installed there, the names of companies which Korea regards as “war criminals” appear, one after another, a total of 266. (In addition, there are two ambiguous descriptions.)

At this corner, panels describe in detail court proceedings of lawsuits filed by former mobilized workers against Japanese companies. Thus, it is clear that the “National Memorial Museum of Forced Mobilization Under Japanese Occupation” is the very center of the Korean war against “war criminal companies” and demands of compensation from Japan.

The very center of the accusations of “war criminal companies”—the National Memorial Museum of Forced Mobilization under Japanese Occupation.

Japanese soldiers make forcibly mobilized Koreans dig air raid shelters (wax mannequins).

A Japanese soldier rapes a Korean girl who was brought to serve as a comfort woman (still image).

Names of Japanese companies regarded as “war criminals” by Korea

The 266 companies named as “war criminal companies” in the previous page are (in order of Japanese wording):

Aisawa Kogyo Co., Inc., Aichi Kikai Kogyo Co., Inc., Aichi Seiko Co., Inc., Aichi Tokei Denki Co., Inc., Akita Kairiku Unso Co., Inc., Asahi Kasei Co., Inc., Asahi Glass Co., Inc., Ajinomoto Co., Inc., Azuma Kaiun Co., Inc., Asutekku Irie, Aso Cement Co., Inc., Arai Kensetsu Co., Inc., Iino Kaiun Co., Inc., Ikegai Co., Inc., Ishida Co., Inc., Ishihara Sangyo Co., Inc., Isuzu Jidosha Co., Inc., Ibiden Co., Inc., Iwata Chisaki Kensetsu Co., Inc., Ube Kosan Co., Inc., Ube Material Co., Inc., Ube Mitsubishi Cement Co., Inc., SEC Carbon Co., Inc., NS United Kaiun Co., Inc., Hitz Hitachi Zosen Co., Inc., Ewaka Kotsu Co., Inc., Osaka Kisen Co., Inc., Osaka Seitetsu Co., Inc., Oji Seishi Co., Inc., Obayashi Gumi Co., Inc., Osaka Gas Co., Inc., Osaka Kinzoku Kogyo Co., Inc., Oem Seisakusho Co., Inc., Oem Boki Co., Inc. Okabe Tekkosho Co., Inc., Kamioka Kogyo Co., Inc., Kyosan Seisakusho Co., Inc., Kashima Kensetsu Co., Inc., Kasuga Kozan Co. Inc., Katakura Kogyo Co., Inc., Katayamaham Neji Kogyo Co., Inc., Kanematsu Nissan Norin Co., Inc., Kawasaki Unso Co., Inc., Kawasaki Kisen Co., Inc., Kawasaki Jugogyo Co., Inc., Kansai Kisen Co., Inc., Kanto Denka Kogyo Co., Inc., Kanzaki Gumi Co., Inc., Kuribayashi Shosen Co., Inc., Kyouwa Hakko Kirin Co., Inc., Kurimoto Tekkosho Co., Inc., Kusakabe Kensetsu Co., Inc., Kumagaya Gumi Co., Inc., Kurashie Holdings Co., Inc., Kurare Co., Inc., Kurosaki Harima Co., Inc., Gunze Co., Inc., Kogi Co., Inc., Koike Gumi Co., Inc., Goto Seitetsu Co., Inc., Konoike Gumi Co., Inc., Kouzu Seisakusho Co., Inc., Kokusan Denki Co., Inc., Kobe Seisakusho Co., Inc., Komatsu Co., Inc., Komatsu NTC Co., Inc., Sagami Gumi Co., Inc., Suction Gas Co., Inc., Sato Kogyo Co., Inc., Sanoya Kensetsu Co. 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Inc., Rin Corporation Co., Inc., Wakodo Co., Inc.,

The Historical Museum of the Republic of Korea

Near Gwanghwamun Gate in the center of Seoul is the national museum called the Historical Museum of the Republic of Korea. Here, historical materials mainly related to the period after Korea became independent in 1945 are exhibited, seemingly with the purpose of remembering how postwar Koreans endeavored to achieve its present-day prosperity and making the people feel proud and confident of their history. However, Syngman Rhee and Park Chung-hee, whom President Moon Jae-in greatly abhorred as “dictators who oppressed democracy,” are among those praised for “distinguished services.” In near future it may be possible that the Moon Jae-in Administration will change the contents of exhibit.

This author looked to see whether the exhibits were anti-Japanese in content and found that many of them were. Picture books exhibited at the children’s corner are full of anti-Japanese materials. A picture shows an extrusive-toothed and evil-looking Japanese military policeman threatening a Korean mother and her child with the caption that says, “Japanese military police were demoniac.” In another page, there is even a picture of Japanese officials arresting and torturing an “independence fighter.” It is likely that children aged four to five read these books. In Korea, it is a top priority to sow feelings of the “hateful Japanese” in the children’s minds, and they don’t seem to be concerned about what serious effects such brainwashing will have on children’s mental and psychological development.

Incidentally, within roughly five minutes’ walk from this museum is the former city hall of Seoul. The hall was built in grand architectural style during Japanese rule, and now it serves as a library, not being big enough to function as a city hall any more. Next to the old city hall, a new city hall building was built in 2012. As the picture shows, the new building looks like “tsunami” about to swallow the old city hall, which is the remnant from the days of the Japanese rule. In fact, the citizens of Seoul nicknamed the new city hall “tsunami” and the architect who designed the hall is said to be pleased with the fact that the building is called “tsunami.”

As a Japanese who suffered terribly from the Great East Japan Earthquake, my hands trembled when I took pictures of the new city hall.

New Seoul City Hall building, nicknamed “tsunami.”

I took pictures of the new city hall.

A place to remember

On August 29, 2016, the City of Seoul and civic groups set up a square called “Place to Remember” in Namsan Park at the foot of Mt. Namsan in Seoul in order to pass on the issue of the Japanese military comfort women to the next generation.

This place used to be the official residence of Japanese Resident-General of Korea from 1905 to 1910 when Korea was protectorate of Japan. When the square was completed, some 120 people, including former comfort women, attended the opening ceremony. In his speech, Mayor of Seoul Park Wong-sun stated, “This square is dedicated to wishing that the sad and painful colonial control will never be repeated again.”

At the square, a big “Eye” staring at history is depicted and on the stone wall in the back a title reads: “What is the most fearful to us all is to forget our painful history.” Underneath, the so-called testimonies of former comfort women are enumerated. The first one states:

I was twelve years old, and I was picking green vegetable with my big sister when a car came and a man with a hat on told us to get in the car. We were so fearful that we clung to each other tight. The man kicked me and pushed my sister into the car, catching her by the head. I cried and I was also caught.

On the stone wall, an enlarged relief of a picture drawn by a former comfort woman depicting a comfort woman being forcibly taken by the Japanese military is engraved. On the monument in the “Place to Remember” square the following is inscribed:

Girls taken as sex slaves by the Japanese military being engaged in the war of invasion were abused close to war-front, some of whom died or became ill and were deserted. Even after they were released, they were far from valid and some fell on the way home, surrounded with danger. Some were obliged to stay and live a hidden, low-spirited life in a strange, foreign land. Even when they finally made it to home after numerous troubles, no one paid any attention to their painful lives. Local communities expelled them. Even in the freed homeland, their lives are ignored by the Government and those who have seen their suffering. They were forced to remain silent. After half a century, however, their silence was broken, and the victims cried out the truth to the world. In the streets, in the courts, in the global arenas for human rights, old women who were victims of inhuman war crimes bravely stood up and worked to promote peace and human rights. In order to demonstrate our determination to pass on their message, social bodies, political circle, female groups, academic societies, cultural circle, and descendants of independence fighters got together and started a fund-raising campaign to establish “Place to Remember.”

With 19,755 participants, the goal to raise the enough money was accomplished and with the cooperation of Seoul City, the “Place to Remember” has been completed. We sincerely hope that the Place to Remember contributes to remembering these old women and provides a place to learn and contemplate so that true justice and peace may be realized here in our land.

Further up from the square is Seoul Youth Hostel. Many Korean youth and young people from other parts of the world stay at the hostel. Most of hostellers pass by the square and they will surely see the big “Eye” and become curious as to what it means.

During the time when Korea was Japan’s protectorate, there used to be an official residence of the Office of Japanese Resident-General of Korea and at a corner of the former site, a monument to former Japanese Minister in Korea Hayashi Gonsuke stands upside down. He was regarded as the one who promoted Japan’s Annexation of Korea and the very ringleader who forcibly dethroned Gojong, the King of Korea at the time. With the spiteful intention of cursing Minister Hayashi, “Go to hell,” the monument on which his name is engraved is thrust upside down in the ground.

Near the entrance to “Place to Remember” Square.

Monument turned upside down.

Monument of “Place to Remember” with a picture of a comfort woman, facing to the right.