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Gunkanjima (Battleship Island): A World Heritage Site Soiled by Korea

By MATSUKI Kunitoshi,

Gunkanjima (Battleship Island):
A World Heritage Site Soiled by Korea
–Another distortion of history, akin to the “comfort women”

Matsuki Kunitoshi

Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact©

Copyright ©2018 by Matsuki Kunitoshi.
Originally published as Gunkanjima: Kankoku ni Kizutsukerareta Sekai Isan by Heart Publishers, Tokyo, Japan 2018. English language copyright ©2020 by Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact. All rights reserved, including the rights of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

Japanese personal names have been rendered surname first, in accordance with Japanese custom.


In March 2018, I visited Korea for the media and I was totally flabbergasted to witness the implementation of extraordinary “anti-Japanese education”. In Independence Hall located at Cheonan in Chungcheong Province, georamas depicted women being pushed aboard a truck, destined to become sex slaves. A three-dimension image showed a Japanese soldier mercilessly shooting to death Korean sisters who were comfort women. At the “National Memorial Museum of Forced Mobilization under Japanese Occupation” in Pusan, a video showed a Korean girl being raped by a Japanese soldier. These horrible scenes are shown to Korean children, imbuing their young minds with hatred and fear toward Japan.

At a square in front of Yongsan Station, a train station in Seoul, a pitiful statue of a “mobilized laborer”, after “harsh forced labor”, stands, nothing but skin and bones. In front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul and the Japanese Consulate in Pusan, comfort women statues stand, as if glaring at Japan. Turn on the television and you will hear a news that “another former comfort woman passed away without receiving due apology.”

Why are the Koreans so maddeningly determined to condemn Japan?

In fact, Korea has no understanding of what is known as “washing away the past.” Grudges once held are handed down from generation to generation. A grudge never dissolves until the descendants of the enemy meet the same fate. Therefore, the Korean people, who firmly believe that “Japan ruled Korea as a colony in the cruelest manner that the world has ever seen,” must rule Japan as a colony and abuse the Japanese people and have their ancestors’ revenge on the Japanese people.

However, it is impossible at present time to directly inflict revenge. Instead, it seems that the Koreans are trying to achieve their “revenge” by spreading anti-Japanese propaganda all over the world, degrading Japan’s international status and defaming the Japanese people. At the very least, such psychology unmistakably exists in the deepest part of the Korean mind.

So long as the anti-Japanese propaganda on the part of Koreans is their “revenge” on Japan, there will be no end to apologies and compensation, however sincerely Japan offers them. Their “grudge” will be passed onto consecutive generations until Korea sees to it that the Japanese people become the target of insults and hate among the peoples of the world and fall into decay amidst disgrace.

A film titled Gunkanjima (Battleship Island) was first shown in Korea in August 2017, a totally fictional film with the clear intent of vilifying Japan.

At the beginning of the film, “mobilized workers” and “comfort women” brought over from the Korean Peninsula are packed into windowless freight trains by Japanese soldiers. From the very start, the film aims to impress upon the audience’s mind that Japan committed atrocities against Koreans equivalent to the Jewish Holocaust.

In the film, a little girl undergoes a venereal disease check as a comfort woman. Mobilized Korean workers are abused in a manner beyond words. There is also a scene in which a comfort woman is brutally murdered by a Japanese soldier. At the end of the film, Korean mobilized workers and comfort women take guns and defeat Japanese soldiers. They escape from Gunkanjima by boat. And the following narration appears on the screen:

In 2015, Gunkanjima was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. As of now, the Japanese Government has not followed the UNESCO recommendation that the Japanese Government clarify historical fact concerning various facilities, including those involved in forced mobilization, by December 2017.

Thus, the film clearly tries to tell the audience that the film is true and that conveys significance even today.

The film was shown not only in Korea but also in the United States and Canada and is slated to be shown in Southeast Asia. By highlighting the Japanese people’s atrocity to the entire world, the film aims to damage the honor of the Japanese people for all eternity. If we are careless, we will end up being labelled as “a barbarous country that committed another holocaust.” We must take every possible means to counter these lies as soon as possible.

In Nagasaki, people who used to live in Gunkanjima (the official name of the island is “Hashima”) at that time are so upset about the fact that the film depicts a totally distorted history, tremendously damaging the honor of not only former Hashima residents but also all Japanese people. The former islanders formed the “Society of Hashima Islanders for True History,” and began working to let the entire world see the true Hashima.

This book, based on testimonies and primary sources, examines various scenes from the film Gunkanjima, together with documents and papers the film’s producer referred to in making the film, and clarifies how history was distorted, one piece at a time.

The Koreans distributed this film using the catchphrase “a film made based on fact.” If their basis turns out to be nothing more than sheer fabrication, questions will be raised by people all over the world regarding Korea’s anti-Japanese accusations, including the issue of “forced abduction of the comfort women.” The way will be paved, then, to recover the honor of the Japanese people that has been degraded.

In the latter half of the book, the process of how anti-Japanese sentiment escalated this far is analyzed and at the same time it is made clear that the term “forced abduction” is a “phantom” created through fabrication and a distortion of history.

Once it is understood that “atrocities” and “forced abduction” allegedly committed on the island of Gunkanjima are lies, the instinct for revenge ensconced in the minds of the Korean people will gradually dissolve and disappear. It will surely become possible for Japan and Korea to establish a trustful relationship. If this book serves to achieve that purpose, however slightly, then I will be more than pleased.

August 14, 2018

Matsuki Kunitoshi

Table of Contents


Part I Gunkanjima’s Distorted History
Chapter 1: Inscription of Gunkanjima to the UNESCO World Heritage List
Gunkanjima used to be the Manhattan of Japan
Korea obstructed inscription of Gunkanjima to the List
The weak response by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the root of evil
Gunkanjima is a heritage for all colored people
Chapter 2 : Distortion of history in the film Gunkanjima (Battleship Island)
Having no evidence, they made the film
The opening scene is reminiscent of the Holocaust
Little girls were turned into comfort women
Abused mobilized Korean workers
A comfort woman brutally killed by being pushed down a hill of sharp-tipped 15-centimeter nails
The company plans to annihilate the Koreans, so they shoot back and escape
A fabricated story spread to the rest of the world as historical fact
Chapter 3: Gunkanjima Is an Island of Hell—a book for children
Gunkanjima—shameful UNESCO World Heritage
Hell Island Gunkanjima
Chapter 4: The Korean mass media, using Gunkanjima, prompts people to have anti-Japanese opinions
EBC used a faked photo
MBC’s feature on Gunkanjima
An interview by Yonhap News
Chapter 5: Assertions that “Gunkanjima is hell” coming from Japan
The book Listen to Gunkanjima
Photo documentation—Chikuho, Gunkanjima, Forced Abduction of Koreans and later years
Nagasaki Peace Museum in memory of Oka Masaharu
Part II Gunkanjima Was Not an Island of Hell
Chapter 6: There was no abuse of Koreans
The establishment of the “Society of Hashima Islanders for True History”
“Mom, I miss you so much”—graffiti was setup
Children were not made to engage in hard labor
Korean miners were exempt from dangerous work
No labor was performed with a pickax
Working hours were the same among Japanese and Korean workers
No physical violence was committed against Koreans by Japanese
Instruction policy of the Central Cooperative Society –“physical punishment is very proof of a leader’s inefficiency”
Rate of mortality was the same among Japanese and Korean workers
Ashes of deceased workers from the Korean Peninsula were cordially treated
Chapter 7: The truth about “the escape from Gunkanjima”
All sorts of people lived in Gunkanjima
Were there any cases of escape attempts by mobilized workers?
There was no system to guard against escapes
Gunkanjima was totally free from guns
Chapter 8: Japanese and Korean children went to school together
Japanese and Koreans ate the same food
There was no differentiation regarding housing
There was no differentiation regarding wages
There were quarters for gay Koreans
A doctor who was much appreciated by the Chinese
Japanese and Koreans alike waved farewell, yearning for each other
The film Gunkanjima is a culmination of racial hate
Part III Lunatic Korean Anti-Japanese Sentiment
Chapter 9: Korean history distorted after World War II
Historical fabrication by Syngman Rhee
Concealing a massacre of their own people
Park Chung-hee concealed the fact that he refused to pay pensions to mobilized workers
Korea needs a “history that should be”
A spirit of revenge against Japan sown by a fabrication of history
“A carefree apology” set ablaze the Korean people’s anger
Chapter 10: Anti-Japanese facilities that instigate hatred toward Japan
Korean Independence Hall
Seodaemun Prison Historical Museum
[Column one: About “Seodaemun Prison”]
The War and Women’s Human Rights Museum
National Memorial Museum of Forced Mobilization under Japan’s Occupation
Names of Japanese companies regarded as war criminals by Korea
Historical Museum of the Republic of Korea
A place to remember
Chapter 11: Statues of a comfort woman and of a mobilized worker
A statue of a “curse” in front of the Japanese Consulate
Ubiquitous comfort woman statues in Korea
Comfort woman statues and monuments are being built overseas, one after another
Newly begun installation of mobilized worker statues
People act in a grotesque, self-important manner
Chapter 12: Korean judiciary intent on hurting Japanese companies
The Supreme Court ruled that individual claims are valid
One after another, Japanese companies are ordered to pay compensation
President Moon Jae-in proposes collaborated investigation into the issue of mobilized workers by North and South Korea
A state governed by emotion, preferring emotion over law
Should the plaintiff win, Japanese companies’ assets will be “seized.”
Part IV Phantom of Forced Abduction
Chapter 13: Mobilized workers were not “forcibly abducted”
A new fictional phrase “forced abduction of Koreans”
During Japan’s rule, Korean people were favorably treated
The Japanese Government restricted influx of laborers from the Korean Peninsula
Recruiting of workers was legally conducted
“Free recruiting” made it possible to directly recruit Korean workers in the Korean Peninsula
“Official good offices” were not binding
An original source of the fiction that “women were abducted and taken aboard a truck”
“Mobilization” was the people’s obligation
Chapter 14: A note of a Korean mobilized worker
Food and living left nothing to be desired
Korean mobilized workers were friendly with Japanese
A pleasant workplace surrounded female factory workers
Went sightseeing on a holiday
If workers became physically weak, special leave was allowed
Boarding homes were happy and noisy with drinking and gambling
Finally, on their way home, bidding farewell to their Japanese friends

Chapter 15: Koreans came over to Japan of their own accord
A great number of Koreans came looking for jobs
Testimonies of those who yearned for Japan
Sixty percent of wartime immigrants in Japan were not mobilized workers
Seventy-five percent of Korean residents in Japan from the Korean Peninsula at the end of the War had come to Japan voluntarily.
A great number of people entered Japan illegally from the Korean Peninsula
Koreans testified that there was no discrimination
[Column two: It took a lot of effort to stop Koreans from coming over to Japan]
Chapter 16: Korean workers earned a lot of money
Monthly salary of 300 for labor at a coal mine
Families back home in Korea became yangban (wealthy class) due to money regularly sent by Korean workers in Japan
Hearty condolence money for those who died at work
As long as they remained in Japan, it was possible to earn bountifully at bunkhouses [Column three: Workers continued to earn money after expiration of their contract]
Chapter 17: The fiction of the “forced abduction of comfort women”
Why was there no record of a single case of resistance or disobedience?
The story of “forced abduction of comfort women” was thus created
Manipulation of information on the part of the Asahi Newspaper
Anti-Japanese Japanese lawyer who ran about persuading former comfort women
The “forced abduction of comfort women” was Yoshida Seiji’s fabrication
Japan became a “sex-slave state” after the Kono Statement
“Coomaraswamy Report” was full of malice towards Japan
The “Kono Statement” was “Kono Collusion”
“Abductors” were Korean pimps
The total number of comfort women, including Koreans, was around five thousand
Comfort women were not sex slaves
The violation of women’s human rights now under way should be condemned foremost
Chapter 18: The issue of compensation has been resolved
The agreement “Concerning the Settlement of Problems in Regard of Property and Claims between Japan and Korea and Economic Cooperation” finally settled the matter
Japanese assets abandoned following the Agreement amounted to 16 trillion
[Column four: The Syngman Rhee Line]
Compensation was paid inclusively to Korea, including compensation for North Korea
It is feared that the conflict between Japan and Korea may lead to unwanted results on both sides
Let’s remember the time when Japan and Korea fought together
[Column five: Merely two hundred forty-five Koreans out of those who had been mobilized from the Korean Peninsula during the War remained in Japan after the returning-home program was completed]

Reference and Bibliography

Part I Gunkanjima’s Distorted History

In July 2015, the former coal mining facility of Gunkanjima (Battleship Island), located southwest of the Port of Nagasaki, was inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Property. Gunkanjima’s underwater coal mines produced the best quality coal, rarely found anywhere else, since the early Meiji Period and has contributed greatly to Japan’s industrial modernization. The coal mines were closed in 1974, but related facilities remain nearly intact, which enables us to appreciate the great endeavors of our predecessors. The facilities are truly a heritage of which the Japanese people should be proud.

However, when we were engaged in having Gunkanjima facilities inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, Korea fiercely opposed our efforts, raising the past and obstructing our efforts with every possible means.

Part I will describe the extent to which Korea has grotesquely distorted the history of Gunkanjima.

Chapter 1: Inscription of Gunkanjima on the UNESCO World Heritage List

Gunkanjima used to be the Manhattan of Japan

Gunkanjima’s official name is “Hashima” and its address is Hashima Village, Takashima Town, Nagasaki City (formerly Hashima Village, Takashima Town, Nishisonogi County, Nagasaki Prefecture). The island is located 18.5 kilometers off Nagasaki Port and came to be called “Gunkanjima” because the shape of the island looks like that of the battleship Tosa.

In 1810, a coal mine was discovered in Hashima and coal mining started in 1870. In 1890, Mitsubishi bought the island from Nabeshima Magorokuro and for the next eighty years, a great volume of coal was produced.

Hashima was originally a reef, stretching nearly 320 meters from south to north and 120 meters from east to west. The reef was reclaimed mainly by using waste from the coal mines and the island eventually stretched nearly 480 meters from south to north and 160 meters from east to west.

The population, too, increased drastically and was over 2,000 at the end of the Meiji Period. To cope with the expanded population, the construction of high-rise apartments of reinforced concrete began in 1915.

The following year, in 1916, seven-storied building No. 30 was completed. In 1918, five buildings, No. 16 to No. 20, four nine-storied and one six-storied buildings, were completed.

In order to accommodate as many people as possible in a small area of land, high-rise buildings were constructed. So, at that time, with these high rises, the island looked like a Japanese Manhattan, exceeding Tokyo’s Ginza in grandeur.

Later, living facilities continued to expand and the peak population after the War reached 5,300. Shopping facilities were also available—almost everything from food to utensils were readily available within the island. In addition, there was a movie theater, mahjongg parlors and other places of amusement, and all items people needed for every-day living was available; not available were crematories and graves. The standard of living on the island surely exceeded that of the mainland.

Korea blocked inscription of Gunkanjima to the List

Hashima’s coal mines were closed in 1974 and the island became un-inhabited. All residential facilities in addition to the coal mining facilities are currently as they were at that time. The coal mining lifestyle such as that of Hashima’s is rarely elsewhere in the world.

Thus, people coalesced to have Hashima inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and in August 2003, the Society to Have Hashima Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List was certified as a nonprofit organization (NPO).

Later, Hashima’s coal mining facilities were officially nominated as a candidate for World Cultural Heritage status, thanks to efforts of the Society and local people.

However, regarding the inscription of Gunkanjima to the UNESCO World Heritage List, Korea opposed the plan from the very start and stubbornly blocked our efforts. As I will explain later, in Korea, the history of the period under Japanese rule has been completely altered following the War. The end result is that the Korean people are entirely convinced that Japan ruled Korea as a colony in the cruelest manner, unprecedented in world history. They firmly believe that Japanese officials “forcibly abducted” Koreans and were sent to Hashima’s hell-like coalmines. Therefore, a Meiji-era relic of the Japanese industrial revolution (hereinafter, a “heritage of the industrial revolution”) should not be inscribed on the World Cultural Heritage List.

In order to prevent inscription, a Korean civic group produced materials which had nothing to do with Gunkanjima and distributed them to members of the UNESCO Selection Committee as part of a systematic scheme to foil Japanese efforts.

Gunkanjima (Hashima) at present.

One of these was a photo that allegedly demonstrated abuse of Korean workers at Gunkanjima. An expert examined the photo and found that it was a photo from the Asahikawa Newspaper, dated September 9, 1926. The photo was part of an article about an incident in which a Japanese worker at a road construction site in Hokkaido (the northernmost part of Japan) was overworked, not even being spared a drop of water. The photo had nothing whatsoever to do with workers from the Korean Peninsula.

To prevent the inscription of a “heritage of the industrial revolution,” the Korean Foreign Ministry organized a so-called truth-examining committee, published several brochures of propaganda, and widely chastised Japan, even going as far as saying that “many women were deceived and abducted” in relation to the comfort women issue, which had nothing to do with World Cultural Heritage.

In the brochures, to our surprise, there was criticism of Shokason-juku School in Hagi, Yamaguchi Prefecture, one of the components of the heritage of the industrial revolution. It stated that “Yoshida Shoin’s Choshu (presently Yamaguchi Prefecture) retainer led Japanese imperialism, targeting the Korean Peninsula.” They even made commercials and showed them in their public transportation system, including buses, and spread a campaign against inscription all across Korea. Thus, resorting to vile tactics, Korea attempted to disrupt our efforts.

Thus, to reduce friction, Japan persuaded Korea into agreeing to a mutually supported effort for two inscriptions. And following Korean promises of cooperation, Japan supported the inscription of the Baekje District to the List to the extent that it could.

Nevertheless, when the Baekje District was successfully inscribed, Korea broke their promise. Korea pointed out alleged faults, claiming that “it is not clearly stated that workers from the Korean Peninsula were forced laborers in an inhuman environment,” and opposed, at the last minute, to the inscription of Japan’s heritage of the industrial revolution. Thus, dispute after dispute occurred over alleged “forced labor” during the inscription deliberation, involving the members of the World Cultural Heritage Committee, before they reached a final decision.

The root of evil is the weak response by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

As this book clearly demonstrates, neither forced abduction nor mistreatment of mobilized Korean workers occurred. However, Japan’s Foreign Ministry acknowledged “forced labor” to the Committee on World Cultural Heritage at the time of inscription, feeling constrained by Korean intentions and readily accepted their assertion. By any interpretation, he admitted that Japan engaged in “forced abduction of mobilized workers.” On top of that, Japan committed itself to set up an information center to show the true nature of mobilized Koreans who worked in Hashima Island.

The then-Foreign Minister, Kishida Fumio, explained, “[This] means that they were recruited under the National Mobilization Act and does not mean they were ‘forcibly abducted.’” However, such an explanation will hardly stand in the international community. As a matter of course, the Koreans in the United Nations declared that Japan admitted to “forced mobilization”. Japan’s position became worse and worse.

We are simply dumb-struck by the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s peace-at-any-price thinking. If they have the determination and the sense of mission to protect the honor of our homeland, they should at least try to make it clear that “there was no forced abduction” through the information center that was slated to be set-up.

Gunkanjima is a heritage for all colored people

The facilities and buildings in Hashima were inscribed as components of a “Heritage of the Industrial Revolution” on the UNESCO World Heritage List in July 2015. The efforts of numerous people over 16 long years eventually bore fruit.

This “Heritage of the Industrial Revolution” consists of 23 properties in eleven cities in eight prefectures, from Iwate Prefecture in the north to Kagoshima Prefecture in the south, and it was inscribed on the List using the serial nomination method. These industrial properties show the chronologically progression by which Japan quickly achieved remarkable development in heavy industries, including iron and steel manufacturing, shipbuilding, and coal mining, which supported manufacturing, in a mere half century, from the end of the Edo Period into the Meiji Period.

Since the Meiji Period and thereafter, coal was the most vital source of energy that propelled the industrial revolution in Japan. Coal produced at Hashima Coal Mines in particular was strong coking coal, which has the highest heat output, compared to pitch coal and rich high-fluidity material coal, which is rarely found elsewhere. Thanks to coal from Hashima, Nippon Seitetsu (Japan Iron Manufacturing, currently Shinnittetsu Sumikin) Yawata Iron Manufacturing Factory became very prosperous.

In mining and transporting coal, the most advanced machinery and equipment of the time were constantly being introduced. Hashima Coal Mines produced a total of about 15.7 million tons of coal, from the early Meiji Period until 1974, when the mines were closed, thereby unmeasurably contributing to the modernization of Japanese industries.

Within an overall global perspective, the “Properties of the Industrial Revolution”, including Hashima Mines, played extremely significant roles as the “propellant” in the fight against White colonial rule by non-white people and in establishing today’s world without racial discrimination. In that sense, it is no exaggeration to say that the properties of the industrial revolution belong to all colored people everywhere.

Chapter 2: Distorted history in the film Gunkanjima (Battleship Island)
Having no evidence, they made a movie

Thus, the “Heritage of the Industrial Revolution” was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, after numerous twists and turns, thanks to the tireless efforts of those concerned. However, Korea is not so forgiving as to quickly drop this episode.

The Korean Government repeatedly demanded that the Japanese Foreign Ministry confess to Japan’s role in forced labor and inhuman treatment of mobilized workers. Simultaneously, Park Jin-un, Consulate-General of Korea, requested that the Mayor of Nagasaki City, who is responsible for Hashima, to lobby the Government, regarding the promise made. Park stated, “Although the Japanese Government promised to set up an information center to state the facts concerning forced labor upon the decision of inscription on the World Heritage Cultural Property, no progress has been made concerning the establishment of this center.”

However, no evidence of “forced abduction” was found with research by the Japanese government and what is more, it is hardly acceptable that an information center be created as Korea demands, construction of which will imply that Japan admits to this falsehood. This is totally reasonable. However, the situation made Korea so angry that they made a horrible film, Gunkanjima, completely distorting the facts, with the intention of declaring that, “Having no evidence, we will make a movie that supports our claim.”

The film costed about 22 billion won (nearly 2.2 billion yen) the most popular actor in Korea, Song Joong Ki, had the leading role. Within two weeks after the film premiered, 6 million saw the film. On the first day, the film was shown on 2,168 screens, 85% of all 2,575 screens in Korea, establishing an unprecedented record.

Now, let’s examine the film and see what is depicted in the film.

The opening scene is reminiscent of the Holocaust

First, mobilized workers and comfort women are packed into the bottom of a boat operating between Shimonoseki, Japan, and Pusan, Korea, under the surveillance of Japanese officials and brought to Japan. Arriving at Shimonoseki, Japanese Army soldiers pack them into windowless freight trains. Then, they are sent to Gunkanjima by boat. On arrival at Gunkanjima, Japanese soldiers come on board the boat and force Koreans ashore by clubbing them. As soon as they land, they undergo a physical checkup and their personal belongings are confiscated.

Entering a building, callous announcements come over P.A. system, “your cost of living, meals and other expenses involved in your work are deducted from your monthly pay, and if there is a shortage of money, it is to be deducted from the next month’s pay.” The scenes are reminiscent of those in films of the Nazi Jewish Holocaust. From the start, the audience is given the impression that “going to Gunkanjima” was the same as the Holocaust.

Little girls were turned into comfort women

In this film, a Korean jazz band is taken as a group and in the band are a father and his daughter. The father is the leader of the band and played by one of the most popular actors in Korea, Hwang Jung-min, while his elementary school-aged daughter is played by a popular child actress, Kim Soo-An.

As soon as they arrive at Gunkanjima, the daughter is separated from her father by Japanese soldiers and is made to undergo an exam for venereal disease and to serve as a comfort woman. The scene in which she desperately cries for help, being carried away by soldiers, is horrible beyond description.

Korean Parental and filial affection is a moving theme and this scene alone is enough to deeply imprint an abhorrence and hatred against Japanese people in hearts of the audience.

Abused mobilized Korean workers

Also in the film, mobilized Korean workers are given meager meals laced with cockroaches and their living facilities are extremely poor. If they step onto the tatami floor, foul water spreads out from it.

Inside the coal mines, mobilized Korean workers are met with racism and they are treated like slaves. They sneak into narrow and dangerous galleries wearing nothing but a “loincloth” and dig using a pickax. If they stop working for a moment, they are clubbed. When water erupts and they try to escape, they are clubbed again. Some are killed in accidents. If gas explodes in a section where Koreans are working, the company orders the section shut down, leaving Korean workers inside, lest the explosion spreads to other mines.

Koreans who can no longer stand their ordeal and attempt to escape are shot to death by watch tower guards. If they try to escape by sea, company men chase after them by boat and catch them using a fishing net, as if they were fish. Hashima, depicted in the film, is nothing but a hell.

A comfort woman is brutally killed by being pushed down a hill of sharp 15-centimeter nails

There are brutal scenes throughout the film. The most hideous is a scene in which they kill a comfort woman by rolling her over sharp nails. A comfort woman working at a comfort station in Hashima tells her Korean customer an old story that “one day a comfort woman refused to serve the Japanese military and she was murdered on the very day.” In a flashback, two Japanese soldiers hold the Korean comfort woman by the hands and feet and roll her down over a door covered with sharp 15-centimeter nails. The comfort woman shrieks and dies, covered all over with blood.

This scene is an exact enactment of a flat-out fantasy in a report submitted to the U.N. Committee by UN Rapporteur Ms. Coomaraswamy, who was appointed “Special Rapporteur on violence against women” by the United Nations Human Rights Committee (hereinafter “Coomaraswamy Report.”) (Please refer to page xx for details of the Coomaraswamy Report.)

The company plans to annihilate the Koreans, so they fight back and escape

An atomic bomb is dropped over Hiroshima and Japan’s defeat becomes all but inevitable. The Japanese chief of Hashima mines, fearing being labeled a “war criminal” for having mistreated Koreans, plots to kill all Koreans in Hashima to conceal the “evidence” and reveals his plan to a Korean leader who is his subordinate. The Korean leader is, in fact, a “traitor” who cooperated with the chief and stole money from the Korean workers’ pay. Eavesdropping on the two is an agent of the Independence Army of the Great Korean Republic (refer to page xx), disguised as a mobilized worker, played by Song Joong Ki. He confronts the traitorous Korean and executes him. He then leads the mobilized Korean workers and they manage to deprive the Japanese soldiers of their guns. Even Korean comfort women take up arms and exchange fire against the Japanese soldiers. Finally, the Japanese chief is engulfed in flames and Song Joong Ki beheads the chief with his sword, declaring, “It is all over now!”

All Koreans successfully escape aboard a boat and an atomic bomb explodes over Nagasaki when they are out on open water. Looking up at a giant mushroom cloud, someone whispers, “There are some Koreans over there…” Of course, no sympathy is extended to the tens of thousands of Japanese killed under the horrible mushroom cloud. Rather, as a finale, there is a sense of satisfaction that Japan was punished by Heaven through the dropping of an atomic bomb.

A fabrication spreads to the rest of the world as historical fact

The director of this film, Ryoo Seung-wan, said during a program on MBC TV, a Korean TV station, “I have interviewed people. Through many testimonies, we have materials which are most likely to be facts…. Descriptions, such as ‘in underground coal mines, one thousand meters deep down, Koreans are made to work and live a life with their human rights being trampled,’ are all based on historical facts.” Regarding the film’s setting, he also said, “It is based on thorough chronological investigation.” In fact, at the beginning of this film, the caption reads: “This film was produced after we carefully examined the materials of “the committee to investigate victims of forced mobilization during the period of anti-Japanese struggles” and to support victims of forced mobilization and others, as well as articles of the time and interviews we conducted.”

The film’s distributor, Korean CJ Entertainment, promoted the film using the huge moving electronic billboard at Times Square in New York City, and advertising it as “a film faithfully enacted based on historical facts” for one week, advertised as such to the whole world.

The distributor held a premiere the film in Paris, where the headquarters of UNESCO is located, on July 28, 2017. According to Korean Yonhap News, thirty people from the Korean Government attended the film’s premiere, including the Korean Ambassadors to the UNESCO and OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). So did Ambassadors from Turkey and Kuwait, member countries of the Committee of World Heritage Cultural Properties–all were appreciative of the film. The distributor described the premiere, “Regarding the fact that Japan does not comply with the UNESCO recommendation asking Japan to deal with how to remember the alleged forced mobilization of Koreans in Gunkanjima, we wanted to attract the international community’s attention to the issue.”

From August 2017 onward, this film has been shown at more than forty locations in the United States and Canada and is also slated to be shown in Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia and Singapore. Now, the film, openly labelling Japan as a “beast”, is spreading lies all over the world.

Chapter 3: Gunkanjima Is an Island of Hell—A book for children

Gunkanjima—shameful UNESCO World Heritage

It is not only grown-up films that Korea uses to spread its propaganda. In Korea, using picture books and other media, they even teach little children that “Gunkanjima” was hell. One of these books is Gunkanjima—Shameful UNESCO World Heritage (written by Lee Munyon, Uri Education). This book states:

Japan caused the War out of sheer madness and forcibly abducted even little boys from the Korean Peninsula to Japan. …[Omitted] Without being told the destination of the trip, Cedori [a twelve-year old lead character in the book] was taken to Gunkanjima, a hell. …[Omitted] Boys went down as deep as one thousand meters underground and had to dig coal, which Japan used as resources of war. They were packed within a pit, with the temperature at forty-five degrees centigrade. They were given only a small ball of rice for a day’s entire meal and they were made to work for twelve hours every day. [Author’s notes in brackets.]

There is an illustration of boys who are forced to live in an iron-latticed pen. On close examination, you can see graffiti on the outside wall of the latticed pen in Hangul, meaning “Mom, I miss you so much,” “I’m starving,” “I want to go home,” and so on.

Worse than slaves, they were treated like dogs. Sedori and other boys decided to escape, thinking that there was no way they could survive in
hell and get out safely, it was better to die Gunkanjima—Shameful UNESCO World Heritage
swallowed up by waves. But they failed and were caught by
Japanese soldiers, who punished the boys by inflicting cruel torture. One boy died and his body was wrapped in cloth and thrown away. Descriptions of cruelty continue, “They were whipped by Japanese guard soldiers, blood streaming and pieces of flesh tearing off.” Boys were like ragdolls, physically and mentally, torture after torture, which lasted all night long. There are pictures of boys being whipped and hung upside down from the ceiling.

In the end, Sedori was killed in a gas explosion. Boys who survived the accident met their ends in an equally dismal manner. After an atomic bomb was dropped over Nagasaki, they were sent to Nagasaki to clean up the debris. Thus, they were fully exposed to radiation and gradually all of them died very painful deaths.

At the end of this book, the following statements for children are made:

1. Japan took Korean young men, saying deceivingly, “Here is an opportunity to earn a lot of money,” and, in fact, it was forced abduction.
2. Those who tried to escape were either washed away by waves or if they were caught, they were shot to death. [My emphasis.]
3. Now, there is no longer a way to identify victims of forced mobilized labor. We cannot remain silent, knowing Japan’s atrocities.

I will state that what is written in this book is totally untrue. However, my heart aches just to think how this picture book plants in the minds of little Korean children fear and hatred against Japan. It is very likely that these fabricated descriptions will be remembered as traumatic for the rest of their lives.

Hell Island Gunkanjima

Moreover, a nursery story for early elementary school students, titled Hell Island Gunkanjima, was published by Pullbit Publisher and written by Kim Yon-suk—it is selling well now. The author of this book said that the book was written based on interviews with people who once worked in Hashima (Gunkanjima). The book begins with the following scene:

Hell Island Gunkanjima
In 1900 onward, Japan aimed at Korea and took Korea in 1910, following the Treaty of the Annexation of Korea and Japan, which was forcibly concluded. At first, nobody knew what it meant. Japan took everything in sight from Korea—rice, clothes, coal, precious metals, trees and even people. No one was allowed to return home unless he or she fell seriously ill or died. How cruel it was!

The leading character’s name is Gunte. His father said to Gunte, “Those Japanese came aboard a truck and abducted people walking on the street at random. You’d better be careful.” Gunte was appalled to hear this. Gunte cried, thinking that “Even a little boy like me is to be mobilized.”

In October 1943, Gunte’s father received a notice for his service and he was “forcibly taken” to Hashima. Not a penny was sent home from his father. Moreover, in April 1944, to Gunte himself and his mother received a “notice”. Both of them were forcibly taken to Hashima, leaving his grandmother at home all by herself. Gunte saw his father again in Hashima. He looked black and sooty, nothing but skin and bones. Gunte could not recognize him at first.

The place allocated for them to live was on the lowest floor and was very humid, with sea water rushing in, and an iron grating for a window. They were surrounded by watch towers. His mother worked without rest, from morning till night, at the canteen, did laundry for chief workers, and cleaned up the public bath. Little boys like Gunte were made to work in the coal mines.

Workers had to buy their tools and outfits, from a pickax and a shovel to a safety cap and work clothes. Work clothes were just a loincloth. Korean miners dug coal at the foremost and narrowest point of the gallery, lying flat on the ground and using a pickax. Gunte collected coal and put it in a transfer car. The workplace was terribly hot and stifling. Gunte worked twelve hours on two small rice balls a day and was not allowed to go up to the ground surface until he accomplished his quota. If miners tried to rest for a moment, the boss hit them with a club or the handle of a pickax. Even little Gunte was hit hard many times. In the adjacent gallery, a Korean miner who had been seriously injured by the violent boss was left unattended and died. If a miner died while working, the company demanded the fee for the funeral from the deceased, without offering compensation.

Gunte cursed from the bottom of his heart those grownups who cheated him, saying, “Once you come to Hashima, you will have a house, good wages and you children can go to school.” At the end of this story, Gunte was transferred to a shipyard in Nagasaki alone and he escaped from there. Eventually, an atomic bomb was dropped over Nagasaki and Japan surrendered. After the events, Gunte saw his mother again. His father had died in the coal mine and his mother was seriously ill with tuberculosis.

On the back cover of this book, a review reads, “This book will become a good guide for our Korean children to learn the true history,” written by Professor Sogyon-dok of Korean Sei-jin Women’s University. Thus, Korean children grow up to be “good Koreans,” taking what is written in this book as facts and bearing hate against the Japanese people.

Chapter 4: The Korean mass media, using Gunkanjima, prompt people to have anti-Japanese feelings

EBS used a faked photo

EBS, a public-oriented educational television station, equivalent to Japan’s NHK E Television, took up the issue of “wartime forced abduction of Koreans” in a history program, broadcast on December 2014. However, according a reputable Japanese scholar, a photo claiming to show a “mistreated Korean” was actually of a miner from the middle of the Meiji Period.

This same photo was also used when Korean CJ Entertainment promoted its film Gunkanjima on the world’s largest electronic billboard at Times Square in New York City. Today, a relief of this photo is engraved on a monument (refer to the photo on the next page) in the square in front of Yongsan Station in Seoul, the terminal station for KTX (Korean Train Express).

MBC’s feature on Gunkanjima

On February 8, 2017, Korean MBC Television broadcast a feature on Gunkanjima during its Evening News program. And in the feature, the following were stated:

In the gallery over one-thousand meters deep underground, the temperature rose to over 45 degrees Celsius and it was like a sauna.

Inside the coal mine, it was so narrow that miners could not stretch out while toxic gas frequently erupted.

And the graffiti as mentioned in Gunkanjima—shameful UNESCO World Heritage, “I’m starving,” “I want to go home,” and “Mom, I miss you so much” were found on the walls inside the coal mines.

However, several photos used as evidence of mistreatment of Koreans, in fact, had nothing to do with Gunkamjima. According to Professor Miwa Munehiro of Kyushu University, what MBC broadcast showing “miners working in Hashima (Gunkanjima)” were in fact of miners strip-mining at Kaizuka Mine in Fukuoka Prefecture.

The photo taken by the author: A photo engraving on a monument in the square in front of Yongsan Station, which was taken in a coal mine during the Meiji Period, not at Hashima (Gunkanjima), and misrepresented as a “mistreated mobilized worker.”

However, several photos used as evidence of mistreatment of Koreans, in fact, had nothing to do with Gunkamjima. According to Professor Miwa Munehiro of Kyushu University, what MBC broadcast showing “miners working in Hashima (Gunkanjima)” were in fact of miners strip-mining at Kaizuka Mine in Fukuoka Prefecture. A photo showing a male miner lying in a narrow space is from Chikuho Coal Mine during the middle of the Meiji Period. Mr. Tanaka Naoki, Professor Emeritus of Nihon University, who is well-versed in coal mining, points out, “At Hashima, where coal mining was highly mechanized, manual labor was unheard of, even absurd.”

In the same program, a photo which shown during narration, “Constant whipping left snake-like scars on our bodies,” was the same photo used by the aforementioned Korean civic group, submitted to the UNESCO Committee to prevent Japan’s inscription to the List. In fact, the photo is from 1926, from an article in the Asahikawa Newspaper, which reported an incident of a Japanese worker being abused to death at a road construction site in Hokkaido, the northernmost part of Japan.

The Sanken Newspaper confronted MBC with these facts, sending “a letter of questions,” including the fact that the photos were taken elsewhere– not Hashima (Gunkanjima). However, MBC’s rebuttal was that, “Although the photos were taken elsewhere, in the context that Koreans were forcibly abducted and suffered tremendous damages, these photos are valuable historical sources, which enable us to have a glimpse of history.” MBC has yet to show any reflection on its error.

It is undeniable that Korean television promotes anti-Japanese thinking by continuously broadcasting assertions of so-called historical facts, which are completely false, which support Korea.

Interviews by Yonhap News

Besides Korean television, Korean news busily disseminates Gunkanjima-related news. Yonhap News, dated July 27, 2017 reported interviews with former Korean coal miners who had worked in Hashima (Gunkanjima) following orders for mobilization, prior to the showing of the film Gunkanjima:

Mr. Choe, who had been mobilized in 1943, said, “I spent three years in Hashima surrounded by the seas, living a ‘prison life.’ I worked wearing nothing but underwear.” Most of the workers at Hashima Coal Mines run by Mitsubishi were forcibly abducted Koreans or Chinese. According to the official record, about 800 Koreans were taken to Hashima between 1939 and 1945, out of which 134 Koreans died.
Most of the Koreans who were made to work in Hashima were engaged in mining coal at the deepest tip of the gallery or in burying the former coal mining sites so that they would not collapse. …[Omitted] Gunkanjima was surrounded by seas and was called a “prison island” or an “island of hell.” Some tried to escape from the island, but they either drowned or were captured before they were able to safely reach land.

Mr. Lee recollected life there, saying, “There was a small island next to Hashima and this island was called crematory. Those who died during work or in failed attempts to escape were cremated there.”

Mr. Lee continued, “After I stayed in Hashima for eight months or so, I became twenty years old and got drafted by the Japanese Army. How rigorous it was [the forced labor in Hashima]! I even felt relieved when I got drafted by the Army.”

The Japanese side referred to the words of “forced to work” and admitted that there was forced abduction during a meeting of the World Cultural Heritage Committee and promised to set up an information board explaining the forced mobilization by December 2017… [Omitted] There are only five months to go before their promise is due, but the plan to carry out the promise yet to been announced.

Yonhap News concluded this article with the following comment from Kim Yon-bon, Director of the Foundation for Victims of Imperial Japan’s Forced Mobilization:

Japan maintains that the compensation to the victims has been completed using $300 million Japan provided following the Agreement concerning the Settlement of Problems in regard of Property and Claims between Japan and Korea and Economic Cooperation, which was concluded in 1965. However, at that time, the money was spent on public enterprises such as POSCO and Korean Roads Corporation, and most of the victims and their bereaved families were not able to receive money… [Omitted] The Japanese companies that have benefited from the Agreement on Claims should start supporting the victims of forced mobilization and their bereaved families from now on… [Omitted]

As I will explain later, the issue of compensation between Japan and Korea has been finally and completely resolved by the Agreement Concerning the Settlement of Problems in Regard of Property and Claims between Japan and Korea and Economic Cooperation. Yonhap News not only reported the testimonies of former workers as facts, but also manipulated information as if the Japanese Government and companies had not fulfilled their responsibilities. Thus, they are misleading Koreans and encouraging the view of abandoning the official agreement concluded between the two countries.

Chapter 5: Assertions that Gunkanjima was an island of hell was originally disseminated from Japan

Listen to Gunkanjima

In fact, stories that Gunkanjima was an island of hell originated mostly from Japan.

There is a book entitled Listen to Gunkanjima—A Record of Forcibly Abducted Koreans and Chinese in Hashima (hereinafter Listen to Gunkanjima). The book was published in 2011 by the Society to Vindicate the Human Rights of Korean Residents in Nagasaki. The book contains testimonies of Korean workers who had been allegedly abducted to Hashima and the results of original analysis of ‘cremation and burial permits’ which had been found there and brought back to the mainland after the coal mines were closed. The introduction of the book states:

We are not in a position to act against the inscription of Gunkanjima to the World Heritage, but we cannot easily accept the current all-out attempts to realize the inscription while concealing the history of atrocities committed during the War. When we mention the assets of industrial modernization, we must not forget that Japan’s modernization was one and the same with invasion. It is not too much to say that Hashima was a microcosm of modern Japan. Besides, “World Heritage,” as is true of the Auschwitz concentration camp, should become universally valuable only when the heritage includes the dark side of history as well.
Unless it is based on the correct recognition of history, it is impossible to inscribe the site to the World Heritage.

Thus, this book regards Gunkanjima as the same as Auschwitz and presents statements such as “people came out of the island only when they were seriously ill or dead,” and “At the dead end of a gallery, Koreans mined coal, wearing nothing but a loincloth, lying down on the stomach or sideways” as facts, which were “testimonies” dispensed by the Korean media. Since the Japanese themselves are condemning Japan’s past, the book is most convenient as evidence against Japan for Koreans. It is without doubt that the film Gunkanjima and picture books for children are based on this book. Listen to Gunkanjima

It is true, however, that the book also contains testimonies that are based on facts and I will carefully examine the “facts” later on in this book.

Photo documentation—Chikuho, Gunkanjima, forced abduction of Koreans and later years

There is another book, titled Photo documentation—Chikuho, Gunkanjima, Forced Abduction of Koreans and later years (hereinafter, Chikuho/Gunkanjima), written by Hayashi Eidai (Gen Shobo).

At the beginning of the book, the author asserts: “So far, how many of the Japanese people have thought of the sufferings of Korean families whose family members were forcibly abducted? The issue of forced abduction, which is impermissible in terms of humanity, was an
extension of Imperial Japanese colonial policy. We should firmly Chikuho, Gunkanjima
bear this fact in mind.” The testimonies in the book include the following:

“[About burials] A co-miner was killed in an accident and he was cremated. Then a man in charge of labor who accompanied us to watch the cremation ordered us to scoop the ashes with a shovel and throw them into a unused mine. We did as we were ordered.”

“During the War, to watch those who tried to escape, armed legionnaires stood on their guard.”

“When Chinese miners went on a hunger strike, refusing to enter the mine, the company requested military action. Reportedly, there occurred a fierce battle between the Chinese and the Omura Regiment that came to repress the riot.”

In making of the film Gunkanjima, this book seems to have provided much referential information. The testimonies in Chikuho/Gunkanjima will also be examined later in this book.

Nagasaki Peace Museum in memory of Oka Masaharu

In Nagasaki City, there is a facility called the Nagasaki Peace Museum in memory of Oka Masaharu. About this museum, the following article appeared in the Sankei Newspaper, dated June 7, 2017.

It often happens that media reports that are far from true appear, because false information is disseminated from Japan. A typical source of false information is the Nagasaki Peace Museum in memory of Oka Masaharu. The museum is located along a slope a little ways from the site of the Martyrdom of the 26 Saints of Japan at Nishizaka in Nagasaki City. Foreigners, one after another, visit this museum… [Omitted] In the museum, comfort women are described as “sex slaves,” and the follow is stated: “Young Korean women who had been hunted like animals (allegedly there were two hundred thousand or more of them).” Regarding the “Great Nanjing Massacre,” excerpts from a Chinese textbook state, “Murdered victims amounted to more than three hundred thousand.”

The museum was opened in October 2007 by Nagasaki University Professor Emeritus Takazane Yasunori, who headed the Society to Vindicate the Human Rights of Korean Residents in Nagasaki, following the will of Oka Masaharu, a peace activist and clergyman… [Omitted] Regarding Takazane, who died in April 2017, the local Nagasaki Newspaper reported Takazane’s death on its front page and published a generous biography in its social section, with the headline, “History of perpetration—Contributes to clarify the truth.”

In October 2015, Takazane told a Korean student who visited the museum, “Koreans were made to live in extremely humid and poor environment on Gunkanjima.” The museum describes Hashima, “On an island isolated from land, forcibly abducted people lived and worked in a cruel and poor labor environment beyond imagination, struggling for survival, under violence constantly inflicted upon them. They called Hashima ‘hell’.”

Korea used Takazane’s activities. In March 2004, the Korean National Assembly enacted the “Special law concerning the investigation of the truth about the forcibly mobilized victims under the Imperial Japanese occupation” and established a committee to engage in truth-finding activities. The findings of the committee was announced in a report on June 2016 and the names of Takazane and the peace museum were clearly stated as overseas inquiry members… [Omitted]

Takazane also engaged in exchanges with North Korea. In November 2016, he acted as executive chairman of a concert when North Korean Kumgang-san Musical Company performed in Nagasaki… [Omitted] Takazane was also related to currently special-assigned professor of Ritsumeikan University Suh Sung, who was arrested by the Korean Army Security Command Office as a North Korean spy and agent and imprisoned as political prisoner in 1970. Takazane was also a member of the Society to Save Suh Brothers, which aimed to rescue the imprisoned So-sun and his younger brother… [Omitted]

I have visited this museum. I was terrified, in that this museum was the very stronghold of a powerful anti-Japanese ideology. In addition to many foreign visitors, there are Japanese junior and senior high school students who also frequent this museum, led by teachers of Japan Teachers’ Union. Thus, “Japanese atrocities” are endlessly disseminated to the world from within Japan.

Part II Gunkanjima Was Not an Island of Hell

The alleged circumstances of Korean workers in the movie Gunkanjima was played to the hilt. The testimonies of Koreans in published materials such as Listen to Gunkanjima and Chikuho Gunkanjima assert that, under extremely poor living conditions, Koreans were forced to engage in dangerous and hard labor that defies description and suffered from continuous Japanese racism and lynching. How true, though, are these Koreans assertions?

Part II will clearly and concretely demonstrate life in Hashima (Gunkanjima) at that time, based on testimonies of former Hashima residents, based on the findings of experts and on information this author obtained during an on-the-scene investigation conducted in November 2017.

Chapter 6: There was no abuse of Koreans

The establishment of the “Society of Hashima Islanders for True History”

When those who know Hashima as it was before and during World War II saw the trailer of the film Gunkanjima, they were totally flabbergasted to learn how far removed the film was from reality.

Thinking, “If this film is disseminated worldwide as true history, the honor and pride not only of us former Hashima islanders, but also of all the Japanese people, will be shredded to pieces,” former Hashima islanders could no longer remain silent.

With Matsumoto Sakae, aged eighty-eight at the time, as leader, former residents of Hashima gathered together and established the “Society of Hashima Islanders for True History” (hereinafter, the “Society of Hashima Islanders”) on January 23, 2017 and began disseminating information to correct any distorted and fabricated history of the island.

“In Hashima, a.k.a. Gunkanjima, no inhuman atrocities were committed, certainly nothing that equaled the Nazi Holocaust.”

The Society of Hashima Islanders sent a letter of protest, stating the above, to a German newspaper, The South German Paper, at the end of May 2017. The German newspaper wrote about Hashima in an article published on July 6, 2015:

1) During World War II, Japanese workers were moved to safe places while Chinese and Korean workers took their place.
2) More than 1,000 of them died.
3) The bodies were thrown into the sea or into deserted mines.

These assertions have no ground whatsoever. If a body had been thrown into the sea and people had found it ashore, it would have caused as much fuss as a case of murder.

However, if we leave this as is, hoping that nobody would believe such an absurd story, such an absurdity would eventually permeate worldwide as fact. The South German Paper has not yet complied with a demand to correct their article. Still, it is most important that we continuously and

strenuously protest incorrect information to prevent “fake information” from spreading worldwide as fact.

I urge mindful Japanese people, as one, to support the activities of the Society of Hashima Islanders.

A creation of Korean film

Graffiti like “Mom, I miss you so much,” which appear in the book Gunkanjima—shameful UNESCO World Heritage and which the Korean media also espouse, do not exist in Hashima. The place where graffiti were discovered is a former dormitory for mobilized Korean workers at Bushu Coal Mines in Chikufo, and they were fabricated.

How the graffiti came into being was explained in detail in the Nishi-Nihon Newspaper of January 3, 2000:

(Headline) “Tragic Symbol of Forced Abduction of Koreans,” “Wailing Graffiti were Set-up,” “Engraved during Filming a movie,” and “Former Staff Testifies.”
(Article): It was made clear that the graffiti in Hangul found at Chikuho Mine Field in Fukuoka Prefecture, which were known as “wailing poems of forcibly abducted Korean workers,” were, in fact, written by staff of the film crew during filming of a movie after the War. …[Omitted] Graffiti stating “Mom, I miss you so much/ I’m starving/ I want to go home” were engraved on the wall of a dormitory for Korean workers at Bushu Coal Mines (Kawasaki Town, Fukuoka Prefecture). According to an investigation by The Nishi-Nihon Newspaper, Japan Federation of Korean Literary Men and Artists, which is an organization under the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (in Tokyo), made a film entitled The Traitor of the Year 1965 in 1965 as part of activities against the conclusion of the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea. To emphasize supposed traces of forced abduction, four Korean film crew members went to Chikuho and shot scenes there. The graffiti were the creation of a female recording staff member who engraved the words on the wall using a stick after the four of them discussed what to write on the spot.

The former member of the film crew who agreed to be interviewed talked about what happened then and how she felt about what she had done.

—Why did you write the graffiti?

Former staff: In the first place, there are few visual references about forced abductions. Besides, the dormitory for Koreans was deserted and there was nothing left worth filming. Then, the director said, “Wouldn’t it be better to have something that expresses the feeling of those who were taken here?” And the rest of us said, “That’s a good idea.” … [Omitted]

—Didn’t you feel a little underhanded about creating impromptu graffiti?

Former staff: No, not at all. I did so out of a professional obligation to make a good film.

—What made you decide to tell the truth now?

Former staff: Two years ago, I saw the graffiti for the first time. I spoke with an acquaintance of mine, and I was very shocked to learn that this graffiti is almost everywhere, in books and magazines. Though the graffiti expresses the feeling of those who were abducted, I don’t think it right for this set-up graffiti to be regarded as a piece of fact. … [Omitted]

Thus, what proved to be set-up decades ago in Japan is nonetheless still generally believed to be fact in Korea. Children’s books unfalteringly write it as fact and the Korean TV station, MBC, broadcasts it as fact to Korean viewers at home.

Children were not made to engage in hard labor

In the book Gunkanjima—shameful UNESCO World Heritage, even a 12 year old boy is abducted and abused every day in Hashima coal mines. Is this story true?

As a matter of fact, there was a law called the Factory Law in effect before World War II, which prohibited persons under the age of sixteen from working in a gallery of a coal mine. According to the book The Heritage of Gunkanjima, co-written by Goto Keinosuke and Sakamoto Michinori (published by Nagasaki Newspaper Co.), in August 1939, women aged twenty-five or older were allowed to work in galleries and in April 1940, boys aged under sixteen years were permitted to work in galleries, with conditions of “within twice a week and eight hours of work per week.”

However, as the author heard it from former islanders, there were, in fact, no young boys who worked in the galleries, and if there were, it most likely was an exceptional occasion. Even if a young boy had worked there, he would have been protected by the strict rule of “within twice a week and eight working hours a week.” Therefore, the story that “he worked for over twelve hours every day and was not allowed to go up to the surface unless he accomplished his work quota,” which appears in a children’s book, was clearly a fabrication.

Also, Professor Miwa Munehiro of Kyushu University, whom I previously mentioned, after a close examination of coalmining-related materials, made it clear that most mobilized Korean workers were sixteen years old or older, with the exception of a few Koreans who were aged fifteen, based on the traditional way of counting ones age which includes the year of one’s birth as one year.

Common sense tells that it would be unrealistic to abduct children from Korea and make them work in galleries. They would only become burdensome there, diminishing work efficiency while being a hazard to others.

Korean workers were exempt from dangerous work

How about the accusation that “Koreans were made to work at the foremost and most dangerous coal face?” This author visited Gunkanjima Digital Museum in Nagasaki City, as part of an inspection of Hashima (Gunkanjima) at the end of November 2017. Here, those who lived in Hashima during the time now serve as museum guides. When I asked one of them, “Did they make Koreans from the Korean Peninsula work at dangerous places?” he answered in the following manner:

“No, that is not true at all. We cannot make inexperienced workers engage in dangerous work. Once the inexperienced incur an accident, it may then lead to serious accidents such as a cave-in and gas explosions. Dangerous work was done by skilled and experienced Japanese workers.”

“Once an accident occurs, no one can survive safely. Within the galleries, Japanese and Koreans were one community, sharing the fate of life or death.”

At that time, Japanese and Koreans worked in the same coal face. In the galleries, there was an orderly line of work from mining coal and filling the empty coal bed, to transporting coal. Unless each worker cooperated and worked carefully, work efficiency would be low, and worse still, there would be the danger of a cave-in. In particular, at the foremost and dangerous coal face, it was necessary for experienced and skilled workers to do the important work and experienced and skilled Japanese workers did the job. Once stepping into the gallery, it made no difference if there was a Japanese or a Korean. The miner community shared the same fate and engaged in the work as one.

In the book Listen to Gunkanjima, a Chinese worker claims that “When gas leaked in the gallery, the Japanese chief immediately tried to shut up the entrance to the gallery, totally disregarding life or death of the Chinese workers inside the gallery.” In the film Gunkanjima, a gas explosion takes place and they try to shut up the entrance of the gallery, leaving Koreans inside. The film’s scriptwriter may have gotten the idea of the scene from the book Listen to Gunkanjima.

However, there was no way that the Chinese, who were even less experienced than the inexperienced Koreans, would work by themselves. In the book, a Chinese worker claimed that, “After Japanese bore a hole in coal bed and blasted it, I was made to keep digging.” This book clearly shows though that the Japanese and Chinese worked together and the Japanese performed dangerous labor.

No labor was performed with a pickax

What of the Korean story of “lying on the stomach or on the side, a worker wearing only a loincloth dug coal with a pickax in the narrow space merely sixty centimeters high”?

In fact, labor with a pickax was performed during the Meiji Period. At Hashima (Gunkanjima), since the Taisho Period (1911 – 1926), after the Meiji Period, mechanization was well under way. The true state of labor during this time is explained in detail in the book Heritage of Gunkanjima, which I previously mentioned. I will quote the relevant parts:

From the Taisho Period to the time prior to the outbreak of World War II, a remarkable technical innovation in coal mining and industrial rationalization took place. First, the mining was drastically changed from the conventional method of leaving pillars in coal beds to that of building long walls (in 1923). In the pillar method, miners continued to dig coal through the coal bed, leaving coal pillars, while with the new method of building long walls, workers keep digging, simultaneously evacuating coal beds nearly forty meters wide (later expanded to seventy to ninety meters wide), and then filling up the rest of the space with rock debris left behind after coal is taken out. By adopting the method of building the main gallery in the rocks below the coal bed, called “under the plate gallery method,” it became much easier to mechanize mining operations and to maintain the gallery in good condition. The method was also preferable in terms of preventing natural and accidental fires in the gallery. Moreover, the method was advantageous in minimizing damage caused by disasters by making the originally hit area airtight.

Next, a coal pick, the introduction of a new mining machine powered by high-pressured air, put an end to the era of pickaxes. High-pressured air is safer than gas power. Electricity and high-pressured air became the major motive powers in the coal mining industry and were used until coal mines were finally closed. In addition, carrying coal and rock debris was also highly mechanized, using endless-binding chain conveyors and then belt conveyors (since 1936). Transfer using mechanized conveyors was an epical innovation in history of transportation.

Also, the true circumstance of Hashima Coal Mines was reported on the spot with the article “Come See the Amazing Scientific Essence,” in the Nagasaki Nichi-nichi Newspaper, dated February 28, 1941.

After touring the long gallery, full of curiosity, we reached the spot where coal is being dug. When it comes to digging coal, we think of a pickax. However, the time now is far ahead of the era of pickaxes. An electric mining machine called “pick” moves on fast, digging through the coal bed. …[Omitted] Deafening sound of dynamos—this is the sound of motors eliminating underground water. In a cell six hundred meters down below, it is perfectly comfortable to breathe, without the usual smell of gas, because ideal fanning machines keep sending down fresh air from the ground surface. Using such scientific powers to the full, you can stay perfectly safe, free from danger in the gallery deep down. Under such ideal conditions, voluntary workers of laymen who suddenly come down to the gallery gladly engage in the work. … [Omitted] It gives us the proof that this place is not a hell at all, as people allegedly claim. Happy-faced workers want people to have the right idea about what a coal mine is really like.

Also, Listen to Gunkanjima mentions that “machines do everything in Hashima.” Now you see how ridiculous and untrue the Korean assertions are, that mobilized workers mine coal in coal beds sixty centimeters high, lying sideways and wearing nothing but a loincloth. Therefore, it is perfectly clear that without knowing anything about Hashima Coal Mines at the time, Koreans made up “Japanese atrocities,” purely out of their imagination.

For that matter, Korean MBC Broadcasting and the book Gunkanjima—Shameful UNESCO World Heritage reported that galleries were located one thousand meters underground and scorching hells with temperatures reaching 45 degrees Celsius. According to what I heard directly from former Hashima islanders, during the war, the galleries were located a little over seven hundred meters below the surface and the temperature was at most 35 degrees Celsius. And of course, workers mining coal, were not lying sideways and wore nothing but loincloths, according to their testimonies.

Working hours were the same among Japanese and Korean workers

A story that “Korean workers were made to engage in hard labor for twelve to sixteen hours a day” appears in Listen to Gunkanjima. However, though it may appear to be hard labor by present day standards of labor, during a time when basic labor laws were not yet standardized, it was common practice to work for ten to twelve hours a day, especially during war, when it was necessary to produce enough coal in order to win the War. Consequently, miners’ work hours were around fifteen hours a day.

Chairman Kachi Hideo of the Society of Hashima Islanders writes in his book The Record of My Gunkanjima (published by Nagasaki Bunken-sha), “in 1943, the War became more and more fierce and people worked for twelve to fifteen hours a day to increase coal production. … [Omitted] Since my father left home for work very early in the morning and came home late at night, my family rarely ate together at home.”

Japanese and Koreans did their best for victory in the War. Of course, there was no difference in working hours between Japanese and Koreans.

No physical violence was committed against Koreans by Japanese

The Japanese are a sadistic people, unparalleled in the world. They constantly inflicted brutal violence upon Koreans who were forcibly abducted by Japan.

Present, this is a commonly shared notion in Korea of the Japanese. In many publications domestically produced in Korea, Japan’s atrocity is described as fact.

On the other hand, in the book Listen to Gunkanjima, published in Japan, it is written that “it is estimated that out of the twenty Koreans from the Korean Peninsula who died in Hashima, almost all of them died due to lynching, abuse and violence inflicted by Japanese workers and supervisors, which is certainly a correct estimate.”

However, it is unbelievable that our Japanese ancestors had such a sadistic trait. I, the author, worked for a trading company, in charge of overseas trading, for thirty years and I have experienced foreign cultures first hand. I firmly believe that no other people are as gentle and kind as the Japanese. We Japanese are honest, don’t lie, consider brutality as something unclean, respect WA (peace and harmony) and give as much as possible consideration to other people’s feelings—these Japanese traits have been passed on, generation after generation, since the ancient Jomon Period and stamped deeply into the Japanese gene. The Japanese are gentle in every aspect, opposite of those who indulge in atrocities.

Former Hashima islanders testify, full of anger, against accusations that “Koreans were abused in Gunkanjima”:

“I lived in Hashima for years and there was absolutely no abuse whatsoever.”

“When a Japanese and a Korean had a fight, the Japanese was called out and strongly admonished by the company.”

“Certainly, there was physical punishment. But the punishment was meant for ‘idle workers’ and equally inflicted upon Japanese and Koreans alike. There was no discrimination in that.”

“All there is to it are stories of Korean workers being abused. I feel really angry at the fact that articles painted with deceptions, fabrications and exaggerations are all over the place.”

“When I read a book about Hashima, the book said that Hashima is the same as Nazi Germany’s Auschwitz Concentration Camp, and I was really upset. We must uncover the lie in the book and disseminate the truth domestically and internationally.”

“They say that in Korea, Hashima is called ‘Prison Island’ and ‘Island of Hell’. But we have never lived in such a place. It is written that felons and those sentenced to lifetime imprisonment were sent to Gunkanjima. We absolutely had nothing to do with them.”

Also, in Listen to Gunkanjima, there is a claim of police brutality. One of the former islanders pointedly denies this:

“I say it a lie because police don’t interfere with matters that occur within the galleries. Never. Matters that occur in the galleries are taken care of by the Safety and Security Supervising Section and the police have no business there whatsoever.”

There is also an interesting description in Chikuho/Gunkanjima: “At Hashima Coal Mines, labor administration employees for outside workers were all Koreans and they were especially strict to their Korean colleagues. Their management skill determined how many Korean workers were to be sent into the coal mine. So, they urged and forced Koreans to enter the coal mine, sometimes hitting them.” If Korean workers were in fact struck by someone, it was likely Koreans that hit them. [Emphasis by the author.]

In the book Life Stories of A Million People, compiled by the Conditions of A Million People’s Lives committee (Toho Publishers), a story by Be Re-son, who used to work at Kawaminami Shipyard, which was located at Nishimatsuura County, Saga Prefecture, is included. Since it is helpful to understand the situation at the time, I will quote a part of it:

“In my group, there was a Korean named Lee, then aged 32. … [Omitted] The on-site supervisor was frequently violent to him. The supervisor was also Korean. … [Omitted] As it is true of all factories in Japan, when they use Korean employees, they also use Korean supervisors. Thus, the factory people made Koreans hate each other. That is colonial control in the truest sense. ‘You are one of us, aren’t you? Why, then do you hit me so?’ Thus, hatred is aggravated all the more. If it were a Japanese supervisor, things would not be so bad.”

As this book was compiled with the purpose of condemning Japan’s “colonial control,” the phrase “colonial control in the truest sense” comes up. As a matter of fact, in employing people from the Korean Peninsula, who don’t understand the Japanese language, and have trouble communicating, it is a proper practice to leave Korean workers to Korean supervisors. The same was done in Hashima. So, if there ever was any abuse against Korean workers, it must have taken place among the Koreans. In the film Gunkanjima, a mobilized outlaw boss gets angry at insolent an Korean laborer and has a big fight with him. In a rare moment, am apparently real scene is depicted.

Instruction policy of the Central Cooperative Society — “physical punishment is very proof of a leader’s inefficiency”

In the book Collection of Materials Related to Korean Residents in Japan (Volume V), written and compiled by Park Kyon-sik, is included a book entitled Indispensable Book on Training of Immigrant Laborers’ Ways of Living, made by the “Central Cooperative Society,” which was an organ of the Welfare and Interior Ministries. In the book are instructions and guidelines concerning workers from the Korean Peninsula and the book starts with the following instructions:

1. It is wrong to contrast “Japanese” and “Koreans” and to use insulting appellations in referring to Koreans. Try to use respectful appellations such as “people living in mainland,” “Korean people” or “brothers from the Peninsula.”
2. Even when you become angry at them, put yourself a step higher and refrain from abusing them in public, hitting or scolding them. Instead, you must be patient and instruct them kindly and repeatedly, showing them how to do something yourself. Inflicting physical punishment upon them means you lack ability as a leader.
3. Try to nourish a sense of trustworthiness so that they can be confident of their safety, economically, physically and mentally, so long as they stay with us and work for us.
4. As leader, it is necessary for you to write letters on their welfare, how much money he saves, how his physical condition is, etc. so that his parents and relatives at home in Korea are reassured about his life in Japan.

As stated above, it is pointed out that Japanese must be careful about their language and that inflicting physical punishment is the proof of a leader’s inefficiency. This material clearly shows that, far from abusing Koreans, Japan cared about workers from the Korean Peninsula to the extent that it could.

Rate of mortality was the same among Japanese and Korean workers

In the book Listen to Gunkanjima, there is the claim that “Koreans have a higher rate of mortality than Japanese. This is because Koreans were made to engage in dangerous work,” based on the figures obtained from “cremation and burial permits.” However, this author confirmed these figures, referring to the book History of Coal Mines, Chronicle of Coal Mining in Nagasaki Prefecture, compiled by Maekawa Masao (Stored at the National Diet Library) (hereinafter, Chronicle of Coal Mining) and obtained the following figures. The number of deaths and victims caused by accidents in Hashima Coal Mines from 1935 to 1945 are as follows:

March 1935: Gas explosion 18 Japanese died, and 9 people from the Korean Peninsula died.
October 1936: Death caused by cave-in 1 Japanese
May 1937: Accidental death 1 Japanese (touching the cage)
November 1937: Death caused by cave-in 1 Japanese
June 1938: Accident 1 Japanese died, hit by wooden wreckages while breaking gallery wood
June 1942: Accident 1 Japanese died by falling
July 1944: Gushing gas 5 workers died (no information pertaining to their origin)

A person testifies in Listen to Gunkanjima, “Due to cave-in accidents, roughly four or five workers
died per month. The security and safety of coal mines at that time was far from the coal mines of today.” However, according to the statistics in this book, there were only twelve cases of cave-in between 1935 and 1945. According to the Chronicle of Coal Mining, only two miners died due to cave-in during those ten years. As I mentioned before, at Takashima Coal Mines, the latest technology was introduced and the utmost consideration was given when it comes to the safety of workers.

According to Listen to Gunkanjima, two Korean workers died due to an “accident due to a severed rope” in June 1943, which cannot be confirmed by the Chronicle of Coal Mining. On the other hand, Listen to Gunkanjima states that in an accident in 1935, two Korean workers died, while the Chronicle of Coal Mining states that nine Korean workers died. Anyway, following the Chronicle of Coal Mining, most of the victims of accidents were Japanese. (Regarding the accident of July 1944, according to testimony, the five victims were all Japanese, .)

In addition, when Professor Miwa Munehiro of Kyushu University examined the material made by the Society to Control Coal (stored at Ibaraki Prefectural Historical Museum), he found out that there was hardly any difference in mortality among Japanese and Korean workers.

The true circumstance of accidental deaths at Hashima Coal Mines was described as above. Ms. Sakurai Yoshiko mentioned the following testimony of a former Hashima resident in an article titled “To the beautiful and strong country” in the Sankei Newspaper, dated December 4, 2017.

“If I were to die, I would never have my (Korean) men killed. That’s the tradition here. We have very humanistic feelings toward others, quite characteristically of Hashima.”

The Korean assertion, that “Gunkanjima was an island of hell, to the extent that once entering it, no one leaves alive,” is an utterly groundless and a fabrication.

Ashes of deceased workers from the Korean Peninsula were cordially treated

In Chikuho/Gunkanjima, there is this description: “when a miner was killed in an accident and the cremation was over, we were directed by a man in charge of labor who accompanied us to watch the cremation to scoop the ashes with a shovel and throw them into a dead mine.”

It was probably that ashes were put into a small pot and the remaining ashes were thrown away using something like a shovel.

In fact, this is common practice in Kyushu. When this author’s father-in-law died and was cremated at Saku City, Nagano Prefecture (located in the center of Honshu), we collected his ashes to the last bit using a brush and cordially put them into a pot. Quite contrary, when my own father died in Kumamoto Prefecture, Kyushu, his ashes were forcibly put into a small pot and then, by using something like a fire stick, ashes were crushed to pieces. The minute I thought, “How awful!”, the man in charge of the crematory ceremony put the remaining ashes into a waste basket. I cried out, “What on earth are you going to do with that?” The man calmly answered, “Well, there is a common dumping yard for leftover ashes.” I was totally appalled.

Probably, at Hashima, just as they did at Kumamoto, remaining ashes were disposed of at a designated place. It is most likely that in Chikuho/Gunkanjima, a common procedure is exaggerated, as if ashes were completely discarded.

However, considering the mentality of the Korean people, who abhor cremation and bury the deceased in a most reverential manner, they are likely thinking, “Do you mean to kill the deceased over again?” I cannot help but think it perfectly natural for Koreans to become angry at the thought of throwing away leftover ashes.

Even so, the fact is that ashes were treated cordially following Japanese tradition and we Japanese have nothing to be ashamed of.

For that matter, ashes of those from the Korean Peninsula were cordially brought back to their Korean home. A former mobilized worker, Mr. Choe Chan-sop, after he saw the film, told a reporter from the Korean Daily News that “what the film Gunkanjima demonstrates is far from facts and too exaggerated.” Mr. Choe also stated, “Many workers died at Hashima, but when they died, Japanese people cordially mourned the deceased and sent back the ashes to Korea. Regarding this matter, Japanese did a really good job, I should say.”

Chapter 7: The truth about “the escape from Gunkanjima”

All sorts of people lived in “Gunkanjima”

In Chikuho/Gunkanjima, there is a description that “(Korean workers) were no longer able to endure slave labor and attempted to escape from the island as a last resort.”

What, then, was the truth about those who attempted to escape? To understand this, it is necessary to understand what kind of people came to work on the island.

During the Meiji Period, a system called the “barn system” was established to assemble laborers to work at coal mines. In this system, the barn master recruited miners and had them live and eat at a barn and work at the coal mine under the barn master’s supervision.

However, barn masters had local gamblers and other men of dubious character collect workers on his behalf. Consequently, the situation became serious—miners were forcibly collected, some were borderline abducted, and they were forced to engage in cruel labor, often being hit with clubs for being lazy.

It was an everyday occurrence that barn masters stole their miners’ pay and they sent far more miners than the company’s production plan required and eventually the barn system came under scrutiny. At Takashima and Hashima Mines, the system was abolished in 1897 (the 30th year of Meiji).

However, the subcontracting system was never abolished. A master of a bunkhouse came with laborers and made a contract with the company. The master often ruled over the laborers as a warden of the company dormitory. Among the wardens were Koreans and they used Korean laborers. Let me call those who came to work at Hashima through this process the “first group”.

Next, there were those who wanted to work in a coal mine, who came of their own accord or through the good office of a mediator. Most came with their families and lived in company’s housing. There were many emigrant workers from the Korean Peninsula. They were said to be able to freely move in and out of the island. Let’s say that this forms the “second group”.

There were also people who were directly recruited by the company overseas, such as within the Korean Peninsula. They came, as I will explain later, through “free recruiting,” “official good offices,” and “mobilization.” Let us suppose they belong to the “third group”.

Regarding workers of the third group, those who were ”freely recruited” and recruited by “official good offices” lived under nearly the same conditions as the second group of workers, while those who came to work as part of mobilization lived at the company dormitory with a leader, called a “commander,” to be selected among them. When those workers were to leave the island, they needed a permit and a special reason, such as critical illness or death in the family. There were some Chinese workers in Hashima and they were treated in the same manner as the “mobilized” workers.

On Hashima, there were also regular employees of Mitsubishi. They frequently moved in and out of the island and did not stay there for long. Let us call them the “fourth group”.

Were there any cases of attempted escape by mobilized workers?

So if there ever were cases of attempted escape, what group of workers attempted to do so? Since the second and fourth groups had the liberty to leave the island as they liked, they had no need to attempt to escape. The most likely to attempt to escape was the first group.

There were allegations in which barn masters stole their workers’ pay and made their workers engage in gambling schemes or visit prostitutes, with workers in the end owing the barn master money, binding their workers in debt with two to three-year contract. Sometimes workers faced debt after debt and they were forever bound to their master. Work at coal mines was not at all easy and when workers could not earn needed money from work the situation degenerated into something similar to slavery. So, some workers must have attempted to escape from the island at the risk of their lives. If they were caught attempting to flee, the boss would have beaten them. Although such a situation might have been regarded as an inadequacy on the part of the company’s labor management, this does not necessarily mean that the company is directly responsible for the victims.

Among the third group, the “free recruited” and those recruited by “official good offices”, conditions were the same as the second group, so attempts to escape would not make sense. What about the “mobilized workers”?

According to Listen to Gunkanjima, many Koreans jumped into the sea and lost their lives, attempting to escape from unbearably cruel forced labor. When a monument to mourn the nameless victims, built at Nangoshimyo in the Nomozaki Peninsula, opposite of Hashima, was unearthed, four bodies were discovered. Upon this discovery, with that the news that “the mining company identified the bodies as Koreans,” it appears as if the company buried the bodies and simply classified them as either ‘unidentified’ or ‘without relations.’ Thus, one could conclude that “the bodies of drowned Korean were buried.”

However, a municipal officer flatly denies the book’s premise, stating, “If the bodies belonged to Koreans who escaped from Gunkanjima, the bodies were returned to the island for identification and then cremated there.”

There is a testimony by a Sempuku-ji Temple priest, which was located at the center of Hashima:

“I saw Koreans on the island, but I never talked with them nor performed burial ceremony for them. I have nothing particular to recall about them. I have never heard of a story of a Korean worker who jumped into the sea and died, attempting to escape from the island.”

Another person, named Hamaguchi Saburo, who worked at Takashima Coal Mines, which is located next to Hashima, states in the book: “At Takashima, I have never heard that a Korean escaped and died during an escape.”

As I will explain later, in Japan at that time, there were bunkhouses run by Korean masters all over the country and even Koreans who had no command of the Japanese language were readily hired by these establishments. It was said that there were Koreans who made a lot of money working at one Korean-run bunkhouse after another. Hearing of such a bonanza, mobilized workers might have thought it a good idea to escape from the island to make easy money elsewhere. Or, there might have been some Koreans who attempted to escape, no longer able to bear abuse by the boss or other workers.

However, it is extremely difficult to verify whether there were those who attempted to escape and died in the process among “mobilized Korean workers.”

There was no system to guard against escapes

In the film Gunkanjima, there was a watch tower on Hashima and as soon as an escapee was detected, he was shot to death. A former Korean coal miner who appears in Chikuho/Gunkanjima testifies: “I have hardly heard of a successful escape from the island. When a failed escapee was captured, men in charge of labor tortured him to death and the body was thrown into the sea.” “The company’s countermeasures against miners’ escape was thorough. A In motorboat searched around Hashima and at night when there was no air raid, they played a search light on the pier.”

However, a body thrown into the sea would eventually make its way to shore and the police would immediately open an investigation into a murder. Moreover, given that the company was supposedly thoroughly prepared for escape attempts, building a watch tower and motorboat patrols, how should we interpret the following Korean worker’s testimony in Listen to Gunkanjima ?

“On August 9, I was swimming in the sea. I was off work at the time.”

How was it possible for a guard in a watch tower to know the difference between those enjoying a swim from those attempting to escape?

In the first place, there was no watch tower. I myself went to Hashima and the fact is that there was no land available to build a watch tower. I think it is very likely that the “watch tower”, which is often mentioned in Korean testimonies, was, in fact, a shaft turret. A photo of a “shaft turret” was mistaken for that of a “watch tower”. There were many “shaft turrets” in Hashima and the tallest one stood 47 meters high.

Hashima was not a prison. Those in charge of Korean workers were their fellow Koreans. There was never a system in which the Japanese prevented escape attempts by Korean workers.

Incidentally, in Gunkanjima—shameful UNESCO World Heritage, there is a description of boys who were accommodated in cells with iron gratings. When I spoke with a former islander, he said, “That was totally untrue. How could one have done such a cruel thing? There was a house of detention to accommodate two or three persons at the police station in Hashima and it was usually drunks who stayed their overnight.”

Gunkanjima was totally free from guns

In Chikuho/Gunkanjima, there is a statement that “to watch those who tried to escape, armed legionnaires stood on their guard.” Also, in Gunkanjima—shameful UNESCO World Heritage, it is stated that “those who were caught while attempting to escape were shot to death.”

Were there armed guards to watch those who tried to escape or to shoot those who were caught during an attempt? According to testimonies of former islanders whom the author interviewed, there were only two policemen stationed in Hashima at the time. Policemen at the time were unarmed and did not carry guns. There were no Army personnel stationed in Hashima. The island was perfectly safe in terms of security and defense and there was no need for a military presence on Hashima at all.

In the film Gunkanjima, Koreans exchanged gunfire with Japanese soldiers in their escape from Hashima, a scene which might have been inspired by the following testimony in Chikuho/Gunkanjima:

While coal mining, two Chinese workers received blows from a Japanese instructor and they fought back using shovels, seriously injuring the Japanese. The Chinese were blamed for the incident and were taken to the company office where they were violently struck. Due to this incident, a riot arose, and all workers refused to enter the mine. The mining company requested Nagasaki Prefecture for military action. … [Omitted] Reportedly, there was a fierce battle between Chinese workers and the Omura Regiment which came to repress the riot.

However, if it had been labor trouble between employer and employee, the police, not the military, would have been called. Or, if there ever was such a “fierce battle,” people would surely remember this. However, a statement about a “fierce battle” is nowhere to be found. No record of a battle exists, either. Hashima was a peaceful island, completely free from guns. How would it have been possible for an “exchange of gunfire” or “shooting someone to death” to have taken place?

Incidentally, in the film Gunkanjima, there is a scene in which Hashima is bombarded by American bombers and only Japanese people take refuge in anti-air raid shelters while Koreans are shut out of the shelters and are engulfed in flames, one after another, and die. Again, the author asked former islanders about this, and they answered, “Hashima was never once bombarded by American military aircraft. Only once, a coal carrying boat was attacked by a torpedo, but there were no casualties among the islanders. Immediately before the end of the War, Futago Electric Power Generating Station at Takashima, located next to Hashima, was bombarded and the transmission of electricity to Hashima stopped. The film might have gotten the idea of shooting from this fabricated incident. Clearly, history is fabricated again.

Chapter 8: There was no discrimination against Koreans

In Chikuho/Gunkanjima, there is a testimony of a former Korean worker: “Those in charge of labor did not treat Koreans as humans. They thought Koreans were the lowest kind on world and they were always hollering orders at us Koreans.”

Also, in Listen to Gunkanjima, there is a statement: “At that time, Koreans were insultingly called ‘dogs, cats, pigs, Chankoro (Chinese) and Chosenjin (Koreans) by Japanese people and were not treated as humans.”

Well, then, is it true that people from the Korean Peninsula were discriminated against to such an extent in Hashima?

Japanese and Korean children went to school together

In the film Gunkanjima, an elementary school-aged girl is made to undergo an exam for venereal disease, and in the picture book Gunkanjima—shameful UNESCO World Heritage, it is stated that twelve-year-old boys were accommodated in a prison and were made to engage in hard labor in the galleries. The fact is that both Japanese and Korean children were good friends and went to school together.

Mr. Uchida Yoshiyuki, who moved to Hashima at the age of nine with his father, a doctor, remembers in his book Burning Lone Island (published by Fukuin) the following:

I changed schools and began attending Hashima Elementary School in August 1941. There were two classmates with remarkably large physiques. Their faces looked different from ours. They were called Kakusan-kun and Kin-kun. They were of Korean nationality. Kin-kun’s Japanese name was Iwaya-kun, but I called him Kin-kun, anyway.

These two boys gave their teachers and us classmates a lot of trouble. It often happened that, because of them, the entire class was punished. Responsibility fell on all of us.
Kin-kun made it a rule to wear his hair five to six centimeters long. A teacher tied his long hair with red cloth just like a ribbon. I clearly remember how Kin-kun smiled a shy smile with his hair tied with a ribbon. He and I were not particularly close friends, but somewhat I felt we got along well with each other.

Another Korean who went to elementary school in Hashima with Japanese children remembers his school days in his book :

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 Japanese classmates. He was good-natured, fun with frequent jokes, and good at playing sports, which made him a popular figure among Japanese children.

In addition, when I, the author, visited Hashima in person, a former islander told me about his experience:

“There was a Korean boy among my good friends. When I first went to his house, the place smelled of Kimuchi (traditional Korean pickles) everywhere. But I immediately got used to it and I frequented his house and we played together.”

From these testimonies, we can vividly imagine how happily Japanese and Korean children spent those days together. Obviously, they lived an ordinary school life in a pleasant manner.

During the period of Japan’s Annexation of Korea, Korean people were “Japanese citizens” and were protected by Japanese laws as Japanese citizens. It was not at all permissible to make little children engage in forced labor or prostitution. If such a thing had occurred, the police would have immediately been involved and arrested the perpetrators and sent them to prison.

How extraordinarily creative those who came up with a film or picture books are! I only wish they used their vigorous imagination in a more constructive manner.

Japanese and Koreans ate the same food

In Listen to Gunkanjima, a former Korean worker who claims that “he was forcibly taken to Gunkanjima at the age of fourteen” claims: “As reward for such hard labor, I was given ‘rice’ consisting of eighty-percent bean cake and twenty-percent unpolished rice with a side dish of boiled and muddled sardine. Almost every day, I had diarrhea and became physically exhausted.”

Regarding this claim, Mr. Kachi Hideo, Chairman of the Society of Hashima Islanders for True History, whom I previously mentioned, recollects in his book, The Record of My Gunkanjima the following:

“In 1944, I became the sixth grader. As the war situation gradually became worse, so did the food situation and we were short of almost everything. Accordingly, food we received was barley, minor cereals, sweet potatoes and bean cake.”

Koreans were understandably not satisfied with food provided by Japan. However, it was war then and the entire nation suffered from food shortage. Japanese people were in the same poorly fed condition as Korean people.

In Listen to Gunkanjima, there is also a statement of another former Korean worker: Food given was “bean cake” and “pressed barley” at almost every meal and I felt hungry all the time. But I got used to it over four years.

Another said, “I secretly purchased beans the Japanese brought to the island and ate them to help satisfy my stomach.”

Everyone was hungry. From testimonies of former islanders, clearly there was no differentiation between Japanese and Koreans regarding food rations.

There was no discrimination regarding housing

The housing situation of Korean workers as described in the film Gunkanjima is extremely poor. Their rooms are located quasi-underground and if they step onto the tatami floor, foul water spreads out from it. Also, in Listen to Gunkanjima, there is this cliam: In the nine-storied concrete apartment building, rooms allocated for Koreans were on the semi-basement floor, with no sunshine all day and bad ventilation.

However, the housing facilities in Hashima were all equipped with perfectly functional anti-tidal measures. Building No. 30, the oldest concrete building in Japan, was built in a circular-square shape and doors to the rooms and stairs were faced inside so that tide wound not wash into the building. And at relevant sections of corridors, thick anti-tidal doors were installed to keep waves from rushing into the building.

Incidentally, regarding buildings constructed in 1918, there was an anti-tide structure installed in which the first floor was used for the tide to exit, which washed over the island . It is very likely that in the film Gunkanjima, to emphasize atrocious Japanese behavior, mobilized Korean workers are made to live on the uninhabitable “exit floor.” Even so, mobilized Korean workers were a very important workforce, and everyone will easily see that the company would never have them live in such unhealthy conditions lest they catch a cold and become unfit for work.

In the case of Hashima Coal Mines, except for those who worked on the island as traders, employees of Mitsubishi, miners, their families and subcontracted workers hardly worried about rent, utility expenses and other living expenses. A wife of a former miner recollects those dear days :

The rent at the time was only 2. Electricity and water were provided free of charge. As for gas, several free coupons for propane were distributed to each household. When we needed more gas, we just bought it.

The more senior workers could afford the better rooms. Points were accumulated according to years of service, and using the points, workers could move to the better rooms in the apartment building.

This system applied equally to Japanese and Korean workers . There is the following in Chikuho/Gunkanjima.

Mr. and Mrs. Jiang wanted to start their life as newlyweds in Hashima, but two Korean couples were ahead of them for the apartment they wanted and they could not move into the apartment as they wished. For the time being, they lived with the husband’s acquaintance. … [Omitted] When an apartment became vacant, the Jiangs happily moved to the apartment on the seventh floor.

Both Japanese and Koreans lived in the same apartment buildings and clearly, there was no discrimination regarding housing.

There was no discrimination regarding wages

In Listen to Gunkanjima, there are stories such as: “I have never been paid. My memory is certain,” or “As I was not paid, I could not go to bars for drinks or restaurants.”

On the other hand, however, one person states, “I was paid 60 to 90 per month. As I became a skilled worker, I got paid more. I sent money back home to Korea and my family received money I sent.” Why are these stories conflicting?

First, let us confirm the situation in terms of laws.

According to Article 18 of Imperial Order No. 89, issued on February 18, 1944 (the Order came into effect in the Korean Peninsula in the same year):

The salary of a mobilized worker shall be paid by the governmental office or a private employer that uses the mobilized worker, according to the worker’s skill, the kind of work, the place of work and on consideration of the worker’s former salary and other income.

In terms of the state, it is stipulated that salary is to be paid, considering the former salary and other incomes. However, this would be the minimum wage. In fact, Japanese mining company had no race-based wage system and they paid wages to workers from the Korean Peninsula on the same terms with Japanese workers.

A Japanese who worked at the overseas employment section of Hashima Coal Mines at that time testifies, in Listen to Gunkanjima: “We paid the same wages to Koreans as Japanese and let them behave as they liked.” As to the fact that there was no discrimination regarding wages, I will explain in detail later. (Refer to page )

Moreover, in Hashima Coal Mines, workers were paid higher wages than at other coal mines. A staff member at the Gunkanjima Digital Museum states :

Koreans say that they were brought to Japan under mobilization. Of course, there were those mobilized workers, but mostly, Korean workers came to Hashima from other coal mines, saying, “They offer good wage and working conditions here.”

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, and a Korean who had spent his boyhood in Hashima writes as follows :

My father was a skilled worker and his monthly salary jumped to 180 during wartime when prices rose. His monthly salary was higher than those of teachers and municipal officers. Moreover, even if we wanted to spend money, there was no place to spend money on the isolated island. So, we saved a fair amount of money.

Koreans who worked at Hashima earned far more money than those who worked in the Korean Peninsula.

If this is true, then Korean claims that they were never paid sound strange indeed. At least, so far as workers with families were concerned, a former islander states, “On payday, they never failed to come to the office with their personal seals to receive their salary, forming a line.” In the case of single men, the person in charge of their dormitory came to the office to receive their salaries in the mass and then handed to each worker his salary. If there ever was any trouble in receiving one’s salary, it would have been most likely in the latter case.

There was a brothel for Koreans

There was also a brothel for workers from the Korean Peninsula. Brothels in Hashima were written about in Gunkanjima, Miraculous Industrial Assets, written by Kurosawa Naganori (Jitsugyo no Nihon Sha):

There were three brothels in Hashima, two of which were houses called “Honda” and “Morimoto” for the Japanese and the remaining house was called “Yoshida” for Koreans. … [Omitted] There was an article describing “Honda” in the Nagasaki Newspaper, dated January 1933.

A restaurant called Honda-Ya, run by Mr. Honda Isematsu, a member of the Nagasaki Prefectural Assembly, demonstrates a soft side of Hashima Coal Mines, by offering comfort and joy to coal-dusted miners’ bodies and minds with a variety of tender and passionate emotions.

From this passage, as Mr. Kurosawa points out, we learn many things: the vital role brothels played in the coal mining island community, what kind of island Gunkanjima was and even the social conditions at the time.

At “Yoshida,” Korean women worked as prostitutes, and it is said that the brothel continued its business after the War. … [Omitted] It can be said that at least employees at “Yoshida” got along well with Japanese and their children were good friends and played together with Japanese children living in Gunkanjima.

A brothel exclusively for Koreans appears in the film Gunkanjima. Korean prostitutes at the time were friendly to Japanese. From the fact that the brothel for Korean workers had brisk business, we can we can conclude that Korean workers earned good wages.

A doctor who was much appreciated by the Chinese

There is a brochure titled Hashima (Gunkanjima), which the town of Takashima published, commemorating the 30th anniversary of the closure of the coal mines. In the brochure, the following is written:

“Safety to you,” is a galleries greeting. In the pitch-darkness of the galleries, miners exchange the greeting “safety to you,” with anyone appearing in the light of the cap-lamp. There are no other greetings in the galleries. There, one man’s carelessness leads to danger to all. Such spirit of solidarity and safety-mindedness are concentrated in “Safety to you”. Coal mining is conducted under the ground where working conditions are very harsh. In the galleries, miners remain incessantly alert. However, once out of the mines, “men of the coal mines” are all brothers and one family, tied with a strong sense of unity. Hashima has been called One Family Island.

This was the true Hashima before and after the War. How was it ever possible for the people of this island to abuse Koreans and Chinese?

Mr. Uchida Yoshiuki, whom I mentioned earlier, tells us about a Chinese worker in his book Burning Lone Island.

The man came to Mr. Uchida’ house one day and said in broken Japanese:

“I am Chinese. I got injured in the leg while working in the gallery about a month ago. Doctor Uchida treated me for my injury. Dr. Uchida was so kind to me, a Chinese, treating me as if I were Japanese. I was so happy to receive such kindness for the first time since I came to this island.”

Then, the Chinese man gave him a piece of bread wrapped in newspaper he was holding in his hand, bowed very politely and left. When Mr. Uchida’s father came home from the hospital in the evening, he told his father about the Chinese. His father said to him:

“There are some Koreans and Chinese among my patients. I have never treated them differently from Japanese. Rather, thinking that they came all the way from home to Japan, I might be unconsciously kind and sympathetic to them .”

In addition to the “men of the coal mines” who worked as one, doctors and nurses who supported the workers dealt with Koreans and Chinese without distinction.

In Listen to Gunkanjima, it is claimed that “in the case of Koreans, it is believed that even when they received medical treatment, the treatment was substandard and many were left unattended.” In this case, by all means, I would like Mr. Uchida’s testimony to be heard by all.

Japanese and Koreans alike waved farewell, yearning for each other

And finally, on August 15, 1945, the War was over and Korean workers were to return home.

According to a member of the Society of Hashima Islanders, Korean workers were sent home to the Korean Peninsula aboard the ship owned by Mitsubishi. A former islander told me about the day of their departure when I, the author, inspected Hashima:

Both Japanese and Koreans alike waved farewell, yearning for each other. When they got aboard the ship and as it was leaving Hashima, all Japanese gathered at the pier and waved to the Koreans, who waved back to us until they were gone, out of sight.

According to the previously mentioned Chronicle of Coal Mining, there is a statement about the day of departure of Korean workers from Oshima Coal Mines (Oshima Office of Mitsubishi Coal Mines) on Oshima (Saikai City, Nagasaki Prefecture), located to the north of Hashima:

Not waiting for governmental orders, the office contemplated a plan to send back the “nine hundred Korean workers” who supported coal at production Oshima during the War, and through the cooperation of Korean leaders, the plan was smoothly carried out from October to November. The company gave each departing worker his calculated wage together with rice, miso and other daily goods and provided them with a ship. Korean workers exchanged farewell with the Japanese and left Oshima quietly at night.

When Korean workers left Japan for home, there seemed to be scenes of parting everywhere between Koreans and Japanese, yearning for one another. The Chairman of the Society of Hashima Islanders says of the time:

Slave labor depicted in the film could have never taken place. In galleries, a Korean old= hand showed Japanese newcomers how to work and after the War, some Koreans returned to the island, saying, “They pay more here at Hashima.” In the narrow island, if there ever was abuse or murder of Koreans, everybody would have known about it. Such cases did not happen at all. About one hundred Korean families lived In Hashima and their children went to school with our Japanese children.

The truth about Hashima is certainly distilled in these words.

The film Gunkanjima is a culmination of race-hate

Far from discrimination, the people of Hashima and the people from the Korean Peninsula were closely united in spirit.

In the film Gunkanjima, Koreans escape from the island after an exchange of gunfire. I would like Director Ryoo Seung-wan to fully understand how much the film’s lies have hurt the feelings of former islanders.

According to Mr. Kuroda Katsuhiro, a member of the Sankei Newspaper’s editorial committee, who lives in Seoul, when he temporarily returned to Japan on board Asiana Airlines, a Korean airline, the film Gunkanjima was shown as an in-flight movie. Other anti-Japanese movies such as Park-lie, which depicted the massacre of Koreans during the Great Kanto Earthquake and I Can Speak, dealing with the comfort women issue, were also on the list of in-flight movies. I don’t understand how they can show these movies, which openly calls Japan a “beast”, during Japan-bound flights. No wonder the number of Japanese tourists to Korea has drastically decreased.

When I flew from Haneda to Seoul on Korean Air, the in-flight map of our position loudly proclaimed “Dokdo” (Takeshima), which was nothing more than an in-your-face to Japan.

Korean people call themselves a “people of feelings.” Well, then they should know that the Japanese people also have feelings. Korean people are free to make films, but they are not free to distort facts. In particular, films that are a culmination of race–hatred, degrading another people using visual images which leave terrifying impressions. As such, this kind of action is not acceptable.

For our honor and pride, we Japanese urge those who were involved in the production of this film to engage in deep self-reflection.

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 people’s instigate hatred

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. Inc., Sawaraizu Co., Inc., Sanko Kisen Co., Inc., Sankyu Co., Inc, Sannki Kogyo Co., Inc., Sanden Kotsu Co., Inc., Sanyo Tokushuko Co., Inc., Shinagawa Rifurakutorizu Co., Inc., Shimizu Unso Co., Inc., Shimizu Kensetsu Co., Inc., Joban Kosan Co., Inc., Showa KDE Co., Inc., Showa Sangyo Co., Inc., Showa Tekko Co., Inc., Showa Denko Co. Inc., Showa Hikouki Kogyo Co., Inc., Shosen Mitsui Ocean Expert Co., Inc., Shosen Mitsui Co., Inc., Shosen Mitsui Tanker Kanri Co. Inc., JFE Engineering Co. Inc., JFE Steel Co., Inc., JFE Mineral Co., Inc., JR Group, J. Y. Tex Co., Inc., Sugawara Kensetsu Co., Inc., Shinnetsu Kagaku Kogyo Co., Inc., Sumiishi Holdings Co., Inc., Sumitomo Osaka Cement Co., Inc., Sumitomo Kagaku Co., Inc., Sumitomo Kinzoku Kogyo Co., Inc., Sumitomo Kinzoku Kozan Co., Inc., Sumitomo Kinzoku Kokura Co., Inc., Sumitomo Kokan Co., Inc., Sumitomo Gum Co., Inc., Sumitomo Denki Kogyo Co., Inc., Shinnihonkai Jukogyo Co., Inc., Shinnihon Seitetsu Co., Inc., Shinmeiwa Kogyo Co., Inc., Suzuyo Co., Inc., Zenitaka Gumi Co. Inc., Daiichi Chuo Kisen Co. Inc,. Daikin Kogyo Co., Inc., Daiwabo Holdings Co., Inc., Daido Kagaku Kogyo Co., Inc., Daido Tokushu Ko Co., Inc., Taisei Kensetsu Co. Inc., Taihei Seisakkusho Co., Inc., Taiyo Nihon Kisen Co., Inc., Taiheiyo Kohatsu Co., Inc., Taiheiyo Cement Co., Inc., Taoka Kagaku Kogyo Co., Inc., Takenaka Komuten Co., Inc., Tatsuta Boseki Co., Inc., Tappi Kigyo Co., Inc., Tabuchi Denki Co., Inc., Tamai Shosen Co., Inc., Tanno Gumi Co., Inc., Chuetsu Denki Kogyo Co., Inc., Chuo Denki Kogyo Co., Inc., Chugai Kogyo Co., Inc., Chugoku Denryoku Co., Inc., Chugoku Toryo Co., Inc., Tsuruga Kairiku Unyu Co., Inc., Tsurumi Soda Co., Inc., Teikoku Seni Co., Inc., Teika Co., Inc., Teikoku Yogyo Co., Inc., Tetsudo Kensetsu Co., Inc., Denki Kagaku Kogyo Co., Inc., Toa Kensetsu Kogyo Co., Inc., Tokai Carbon Co., Inc., Tokai Kisen Co., Inc., Tokai Gum Kogyo Co., Inc., Tokyu Sharyo Seizo Co., Inc., Tokyo Mashi Boseki Co., Inc., Tokyo Gas Co., Inc., Tokyo Seiko Co., Inc., Toyo Kohan Co., Inc., Toyo Boseki Co., Inc., Tochiki Kisen Co., Inc., Toda Kensetsu Co., Inc., Tonami Holdings Co., Inc., Tohi Marine Kanko Co., Inc., Tobishima Kensetsu Co., Inc., Topy Kogyo Co., Inc., Dowa Holdings Co., Inc., Naigai Co., Inc., Nabi Tesco Co., Inc., Naoetsu Kairiku Unso Co., Inc., Nakayama Seikosho Co., Inc., Nanao Kairiku Unso Co., Inc., Namura Zosensho Co., Inc., Nishimatsu Kensetsu Co., Inc., Nishimatsu Kensetsu Co., Inc., Nomura Kosan Co., Inc., Nishimatsu Kensetsu Co., Inc., Nomura Kosan Co., Inc., Niigata Zosen Co., Inc., Nicchitsu Co., Inc., Nichiro Co., Inc., Nissan Kagaku Kogyo Co., Inc., Nissan Jidosha Co., Inc., Nittetsu Kogyo Co., Inc., Nisshin Seiko Co., Inc., Nihon Kagaku Co., Inc., Nihon Cotton Co., Inc., Nihon Carbide Co., Inc., Nihon Carbon Co., Inc., Nihon Glass Co., Inc., Nihon Kanryu Co., Inc., Nihon Keikinzoku Co., Inc., Nihon Kentetsu Co., Inc., Nihon Koshuha Kogyo Co., Inc., Nihon Jukagaku Kogyo Co., Inc., Nihon Sharyo Seizo Co., Inc., Nihon Suisan Co., Inc., Nihon Seishi Co., Inc., Nihon Seikosho Co., Inc., Nihon Soda Co., Inc., Nihon Chuzo Co., Inc., Nihon Tsuun Co., Inc., Nihon Teppan Co., Inc., Nihon Musen Co., Inc., Nihon Yamamura Glass Co., Inc., Nihon Yusen Co., Inc., Nihon Hume Co., Inc., Nogami Co., Inc., Hagimori Kosan Co., Inc., Hakodate Dock Co., Inc., Panasonic Co., Inc., Hakata Koun Co., Inc., Hazama Gumi Co., Inc., Hanshin Nainenki Kogyo Co., Inc., Hinode Yusen Co., Inc., Hitachi Kokuhi Co., Inc., Hitachi Zosen Co., Inc., Hitachi Seisakusho Co., Inc., Hiranishki Kensetsu Co., Inc., Himeji Godo Kamotsu Jidosha Co., Inc., Hiroshima Gas Co., Inc., Bingo Tsuun Co., Inc., Fujietsu Co., Inc., Fujita Co., Inc., Fuji Jukogyo Co., Inc., Fuji Denki Co., Inc., Fuji Bo Holdings Co., Inc., Fukukawa Kikai Kinzoku Co., Inc., Furucho Co., Inc., Furukawa Denki Kogyo Co., Inc., Fushiki Kairiku Unso Co., Inc., Hokkaido Tanko Kisen Co., Inc., Hokuetsu Metal Co., Inc., Hodoya Kagaku Kogyo Co., Inc., Mazuda Co., Inc., Matsumura Gumi Co., Inc., Mabuchi Kensetsu Co., Inc., Maruhachi Nichiro Suisan Co., Inc., Mikumi Co., Inc., Mitsui Kagaku Co., Inc., Mitsui Kinzoku Kogyo Co., Inc., Mitsui Sumitomo Kensetsu Co., Inc, Mitsui Zosen Co., Inc., Mitsui Norin Co., Inc., Mitsui Matsushima Sangyo Co., Inc., Mitsubishi Kagaku Co., Inc., Mitsubishi Shoji Co., Inc., Mitsubishi Jukogyo Co., Inc., Mitsubishi Shinko Co., Inc., Mitsubishi Seiko Co., Inc., Mitsubishi Soko Co., Inc., Mitsubishi Denki Co., Inc., Mitsubishi Material Co., Inc., Minevia Co., Inc., Meiji Kaiun Co., Inc., Myojo Cement Co., Inc., Miyaji Salvage Co., Inc., Miraizu Kensetsu Co., Inc., Mukojima Dock Co., Inc., Moji Koun Co., Inc., Morinaga Seika Co., Inc., Yahashi Kogyo Co., Inc., Yano Tekkosho Co., Inc., Yamabun Yuka Co., Inc., Yanmar Co., Inc., Yokohama Gum Co., Inc., Yotai Co., Inc., Yoshinen Co., Inc., Yoshizawa Sekkai Kogyo Co., Inc., Yodogawa Seikosho Co., Inc., Lasa Kogyo Co., Inc., Regal Corporation Co., Inc., Ricoh Elemex Co., Inc., Rin Kagaku Kogyo Co., Inc., Rinkai Nissan Kensetsu Co. 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.

Chapter 11: Statues of a comfort woman and a mobilized worker

A statue of a “curse” in front of the Japanese Consulate

As a part of my on-the-scene reporting, the author visited the comfort woman statue standing in front of the Japanese Embassy in Korea. When I arrived at the site, the statue was surrounded by festive anti-Japanese demonstrations.

Next to the statue, a vinyl tent was set up and inside the tent, several women were stationed to “protect the comfort woman statue.” There was a “girls’ party” atmosphere.

On the wall across from the Embassy was pasted a large banner illustrated with a comfort woman statue which read: “We protect the statue! Volunteers are welcome to protect the statue here with us.” In this manner, they merrily denounced Japan.

On the sidewalk, a large “plate of peace” is inlayed, which says in Hangul, English and Japanese:

On January 8, 1992, Wednesday demonstration for the resolution of the Japanese military comfort women issue began here in front of the Japanese Embassy. To celebrate the one thousandth anniversary of the demonstration on December 14, 2011 and to pass on its sublime spirit and history, we hereby establish “Monument of Peace.”

Along the sidewalk, there were many golden plates inlaid, stating “women who stood up here for truth,” and each plate bore a name of a former comfort woman and a story in Hangul and English, such as: “victim of the Japanese military comfort women system, taken to China at the age of sixteen.”

On the wall in the back of the comfort woman statue, there were many Ema (votive tablet of a horse) boards posted, stating: “Japan must apologize,” or “Old women are dead, but they shall never be forgotten.”

Here, at this place, it is said that even elementary school children shout, “Japan must apologize. Shame on you!”

Surrounded with such words of “vengeance and hatred” against Japan, the comfort woman statue stares at the Japanese Embassy. I felt a chill when the thought crossed my mind that the statue could be considered the “cursing statue,” wishing for Japan’s destruction.

I also visited the comfort woman statue standing in front of the Japanese Consulate in Busan. This one stares right at the Consulate’s stone wall, only several meters away on the sidewalk. There is no festivity here, unlike near the one in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. However, with the stillness, it is all the more eerie and intimidating.

What other country on earth insults so intently foreign consulates in this manner? This clearly breaches the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Article 22-2, concluded to protect the safety, peace and dignity of foreign consulates. I cannot help but wonder why it is that neither the Japanese Government nor the Japanese Embassy requests the immediate removal of the statues.

Ubiquitous comfort woman statues in Korea

Comfort woman statues are not only in front of the Japanese Consulates. Now, they are all over Korea.

In 2014, the prestigious Ewha Woman’s High School led a fund-raising campaign to build a comfort woman statue, and with the participation of 16,000 students from 53 high schools, a statue was built a year later. The statue was installed at Francisco Education Hall in Seoul. Korean Yonhap News reported the students’ activity as wonderful and fully endorsed it, stating, “These high school students who helped build the statue hope that many students will become interested in the comfort women issue.” Korean high school students absolutely believe that “the Japanese military committed cruelties against Korean women that the world has never seen before,” and, feeling morally superior to Japan, they built the statue as an act of “conscientiousness.” The level of thinking has reached the cult stage.

Similar grass-roots, anti-Japanese cultist activities permeate the country as “Korean conscience” and one statue after another have been built in Korea. There are now sixty statutes in Korea as of January 30, 2017. Their related Japanese sister cities and regions are shown in the chart on the next page.

As I will state in Part IV of this book, the “forced abduction of comfort women” is sheer nonsense. After San Francisco permitted the installation of a comfort woman statue in a public area, Osaka City cancelled its sister city relationship with San Francisco. In order to preserve Japan’s prestige and honor, and at the same time to speak the truth to Korea, other Japanese autonomies should follow suit and urge their Korean sister cities to remove their comfort woman statues. If Korean sister cities fail to do so, Japanese cities should cancel their sister city relationships for the honor of the Japanese people.

Korean autonomies that installed comfort woman statues and their Japanese sister cities

Korean Province City/county No. of statues Japanese sister cities
(special city) 5 Tokyo; Hokkaido; Sumida-ku, Tokyo; Tahara, Aichi

Suwon 1
1 Okayama; Kawasaki, Kanagawa
Hida, Saitama
Atsugi, Kanagawa
Hakodate, Hokkaido
Hachijoji, Tokyo
Fukui; Asahikawa, Hokkaido
Gangneung 1
1 Miho, Gifu
Chichibu, Saitama
North Chungcheong Cheongju 1 Tottori; Kofu, Yamanashi
South Chungcheong

Seosan 1
1 Sapporo, Hokkaido
Daisen, Akita
Tago-cho, Aomori; Tenri, Nara
North Gyeongsang Pohan 1 Fukuyama, Hiroshima; Joetsu, Niigata
South Gyeongsang

Namhae Co.

Geoje 1

1 Hagi, Yamaguchi; Niigata
Isa, Kagoshima
Shimonoseki,Yamaguchi; Fukuoka; Hokkaido
Kure, Hiroshima; Himeji, Hyogo
Yame, Fukuoka
North Jeolla Jeonju

Kanazawa, Ishikawa

South Jeolla Muan County
Mokpo 1
1 Nagoya, Aichi
Sendai, Miyagi
Izumi, Kagoshima
Beppu, Oita
Jeju special auton-omous province Jeju 1 Beppu, Oita; Arakawa-ku, Tokyo; Sanda, Hyogo; Wakayama

Comfort woman statues and monuments are being built overseas, one after another

Following the Kono Statement, Korea took it for granted that “Japan admitted that there was forced abduction.” Greatly encouraged by this so-called recognition, Korea began building comfort woman statues and monuments all over the world. Places where such statues and monuments were built as of July 2018 are listed in the next chart.

Cities in which comfort woman statues and monuments are installed

Date ( Country City Site, kind of installation
2010.10 New Jersey, USA Bergen County
Palisese Park Library
2012. 6 New York, USA Nassau County Eisenhower Park
2012.12 California, USA Orange County
Garden Grove Private estate
2013. 3 New Jersey, USA Bergen County
Hackensack Court house
2013. 7 California, USA Los Angeles County
Glendale Central Park
2014. 1 New York, USA Nassau County Eisenhower Park
Monument (second one)
2014. 5 Virginia, USA Fairfax County County office site
2014. 8 New Jersey, USA Hudson County
Union City Square
2014. 8 Michigan, USA Detroit Korean-American Culture Center estate, Monument
2015. 11 Canada Toronto Koreans Hall estate
2016. 8.6 New South Wales, Australia Ash field
Church estate
2017. 4 Bayern, Germany Wiesent
2017. 4 Nepal Himalaya Pavilion Park (estate)
Statue (Epitaph removed)
2017. 6.30 Georgia, USA Brook Heaven Park, Statue
2017. 7 New Jersey, USA Bergen County, Fort Lee Cliffside Park Church
2017. 9.22 California, USA San Francisco St. Mary Park
2017. 10.13 New York, USA Manhattan New York Women’s Club
Museum, Statue
2017. 12. 8 The Philippines Manila Statue (removed on 2018. 4.27)
2018. 5. 23 New Jersey, USA Bergen County
Fort Lee Monument

In New Jersey, U.S., there are already five statues, four of which stand in public property. In New Jersey, bullying of Japanese-Americans and the children of Japanese families has become intolerable and mothers fought back, forming a group called “Himawari (meaning sunflower in Japanese) Japan,” and worked to fight misunderstanding and prejudice against Japanese people. (Readers may find out more on the extent of bullying by searching “Himawari Japan” on the Internet.

The latest comfort woman monument in the U.S. was built in Fort Lee, New Jersey. In a report from a member of a group who attended the dedication ceremony of the monument:

The dedication ceremony started with a speech by Mayor Sokolich of Fort Lee, followed by a recitation of the poem inscribed on the comfort woman monument by a Korean-American student from Fort Lee High School and then a speech by a female Filipino-American lawyer. In her speech, the lawyer stated that she studied the comfort women issue five years ago and found out that fourteen and seventeen year-old girls were repeatedly raped, and claimed Japanese military involvement and used the term “sex slaves.” Her speech was a huge affront to Japan. [Omitted] The sponsor of the ceremony put up banners with the national flags of China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, to suggest that Japan committed crimes in every part of Asia, including Korea.

Originally, a Japanese-American, who was a veteran and an honorary citizen of Fort Lee was scheduled to make a speech, emphasizing community unity, not division. However, the Koreans demanded that the speaker fully embrace Korean assertions and contribute to the registration fee, which obliged him to decline from making his speech.

In the city of Fort Lee, more than 30% of the entire population are Koreans and they have tremendous influence in terms of funding and organizations, totally overwhelming the Japanese in this respect. We fear that the behaviors displayed in Fort Lee will spread all over America, along with dissemination of a false history fabricated by Koreans. Already, in American schools, history fabricated by Koreans is being taught to American children as “true history”. Desiring that our Japanese children living in America will be able to live with pride in American society as Japanese people, we, of “Himawari Japan”, provide books and other sources of information on the comfort women issue, both in English and Japanese, so that not only Japanese parents, but also Japanese children themselves obtain a true understanding of Japanese history. We distribute these materials to after-school Japanese schools and local American schools. We give them out to anyone who asks, at any time, free of charge.

We sincerely wish for your continued support and cooperation. Thank you.

At the end of this ceremony, it is reported that an old Korean man stood up and shouted in broken English, “Japanese–100% guilty!!”

I have already mentioned that behind the fanatic, overseas actions on the part of Koreans, building comfort woman statues and monuments, there is a clear psychological motivation–of seeking “revenge” against Japan by totally smearing Japan. In doing so, it is their goal and intention for Japanese-Americans and Japanese people to be despised and bullied in America, which, as part of their revenge, will continue for eternity. In this light, there is no room for reconciliation.

This situation is war, in that the future of the people is to be decided. Japanese mothers in various American states are desperately fighting on their own, with no one to help them. The primary obligation of any country is to protect its people’s life and property, and equally importantly, their honor and pride. Thus, the Japanese Government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Diet should immediately and entirely support their individual struggles. There is no time to waste, such as making a fuss over the trivial “Mori/Kake” issue.

Newly begun installation of mobilized worker statues

As a male version of the comfort woman statues, Koreans recently began to install statues of a mobilized worker. On August 12, 2017, two such statues were installed, in front of Yongsan Station, a station in Seoul, and in a park in Inchon. On the day of dedication, in front of Yongsan Station, a celebratory ceremony was held, and numerous members from the two major Korean labor unions, the General Federation of National Democratic Labor Union (Democratic Labor Union Federation) and the General Federation of Korean Labor Unions (Korean Labor Union Federation) attended the ceremony. National Assembly member and former Majority Leader Woo Won-shik of the “Democratic Party of Korea”, the ruling party headed by President Moon Jae-in, gave a speech during the ceremony.

He said, “It is extremely meaningful to establish this statue. We should continue to build these statues all over the world so that people of the entire world remember agony of forcibly mobilized workers under the Imperial Japanese occupation.” His speech was really a declaration of Korean intent to continue installing mobilized worker statues, along with comfort woman statues, all over the world.

The author visited the statue in front of Yongsan Station. The mobilized worker statue is not alone, as it is surrounded by multiple monuments. The following words are inscribed on the largest monument there:

Under forced Imperial Japanese occupation [meaning the period of Japan’s rule], many workers were forcibly brought here to Yongsan Station. Those who had been brought here were then sent to coal mines, munition factories and civil engineering sites in not only Japan proper, but also Sakhalin, the South Sea Islands and the Kuril Islands, where they were exploited in extremely poor conditions, beyond human imagination. Here, at Yongsan Station, from which they left their homeland for the last time, we establish the “statue of a forcibly mobilized worker” to remember our painful history. Korean workers became victims amidst frustration and vexation. We wish to soften those Korean workers’ grudge by our own hearts and hands. [Author’s notation.]

Around this monument, there are many monuments of piled-up blocks, and on each of the blocks are written such things as “We shall never forget. We will act,” and “Japan shall admit the history of forced mobilization and officially apologize.”

On one of the monuments is depicted an old woman holding a picture of her deceased husband and a letter in her hands. The explanation reads: “An old woman in Gwangju was robbed of her husband by mobilization and lived a vengeful life, left with a picture and a letter.”

As I mentioned earlier, there is a relief of a picture depicting “an abused mobilized Korean worker.” The picture was, in fact, taken at a coal mine elsewhere during Meiji Period (1868-1912). Every day, tens of thousands of men and women of all ages pass by these monuments, glancing sideways at the monuments. Every day, hatred against the Japanese people and vengeance accumulate in their minds.

A statue of a mobilized worker was also installed on December 7, 2017 in front of the passengers’ terminal in Jeju City. Moreover, the National Federation of Victims under Imperial Japanese Occupation (Hereinafter, the Federation) announced its plan to build a mobilized worker statue right next to the comfort woman statue in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. The Federation is a group of alleged former mobilized workers who were forced to work for Japanese companies and their bereaved families. Secretary-General of the Federation Chan Dok-hwan explains the aim of the statute installation :

The reason why we build a statue of a mobilized worker here in front of the Japanese Embassy is that leading Japanese diplomats see the statues of a comfort woman and a mobilized worker before their eyes and constantly become aware of Japan’s past error and learn from it.

In May 2018, there was confusion when some Koreans tried to install a statue of a mobilized worker next to the comfort woman statue in front of the Japanese Consulate in Busan. At that time, the riot police prevented this installation. However, those behind the installation of the mobilized worker statue will not so easily give up. They think it not right that there is a comfort woman statue but no mobilized worker statue. From now on, I fear that these troubles over the installation of statues will be repeated endlessly in Seoul and Busan.

People act in a grotesque, self-important manner

Looking back upon the postwar Japanese-Korean relationship, we learn that when Korea brought up the past and intimidated Japan to a certain extent, Japan would simply apologize, saying, “Sorry, that was entirely our fault,” without ever fighting back, and immediately agreed to pay compensation.

Following past practice, in which Japan always put consideration of Korea before anything else and swallowed whatever demands Korea made, without argument, it seems that Korean diplomatic skills and even the general population’s sense of justice became paralyzed.

Comfort Girl Statue in front of Japanese Embassy, Seoul

Comfort Girl Statue in front of Japanese Consulate, Busan

On August 14, 2017, a replica of a comfort woman statue sat on the seat of a public bus circulating around Seoul. In the bus, a lamentable girl’s screaming, about to be taken away from her village, played loudly. A photo of the Mayor of Seoul, Park Won Soon, sitting next to the replica in the bus was disseminated worldwide.

The Japanese Government did nothing against this Korean act of insolence and took a humble attitude to Korea, which raised Korea’s self-confidence, wrongly thinking that it doesn’t matter how hard Korea beat Japan the weakling. The harder Korea hits Japan, the more sympathy Korea receives from countries all over the world.

They can no longer control themselves when it comes to dealing with Japan and they fail to realize how grotesquely conceited and how far from global common sense their actions are.

They have built comfort woman statues all over the world and yet they don’t see how the rest of the world is inwardly dumbfounded at their actions, wondering why Koreans did not try to protect their own women in the first place. On top of that, they even built statues of a mobilized worker, which will only increase overseas antipathy, “What a helpless, pitiful people Koreans are!”

Chapter 12: Korean judiciary intent on hurting Japanese companies

The Supreme Court ruled that individual claims are valid

On August 2011, the Korean Constitutional Court ruled that it is against the Constitution for the Korean Government not to make any efforts to concretely resolve the issue of claims of compensation for the Japanese military comfort women. The issue of compensation between Japan and Korea was completely and finally resolved by the “Agreement concerning the Settlement of Problems in regard of Property and Claims between Japan and Korea and Economic Cooperation,” following the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea, which was concluded in 1965. Until 2011, the Korean Government acted in accord with the Agreement. However, the Korean Government is obliged to follow decisions made by the Constitutional Court. After the judicial ruling, Korea took a hard attitude toward Japan over the comfort women issue. The Judiciary practically ordered the Korean Government to wage diplomatic war against Japan with its verdict.

Encouraged and stimulated by such a political movement, self-described former mobilized workers and their bereaved families entered one lawsuit after another against Japanese companies, demanding compensation.

Prior to these actions, similar lawsuits were entered in Japan and the Japanese Supreme Court ruled that based on the “Agreement concerning the Settlement of Problems in regard of Property and Claims between Japan and Korea and Economic Cooperation,” each claim was not valid. However, in a lawsuit against Shin-Nittetsu (currently Shin-Nittetsu Sumikin) and Mitsubishi Jukogyo (Heavy Industries) held on May 2012, the Korean Supreme Court ruled that “individual claims are valid,” and nullified the previous decision in which the plaintiff lost, and returned the case to the High Court. The Korean Supreme Court stated on this occasion:

On the premise that Japan’s colonial control was legal, the Japanese court ruled that the National Mobilization Act duly applies to the plaintiff. However, it is clearly against the sense of values held by the Korean Constitution that regards Japanese control of Korea as merely an illegal occupation and, therefore, the forced mobilization of Koreans is against the law.

What a self-serving argument this is! As I explained earlier, “Japan’s Annexation of Korea” was entirely legal. Above all, the Korean Constitution, which was created after Japan’s annexation of Korea, cannot rule on matters which took place during Japanese rule.

They say that the Japanese court ruling is against the sense of values of the Korean Constitution, which was promulgated in 1948 and was revised nine times since then.

If the Korean Supreme Court’s logic is right, then Korea can easily reject treaties and demand compensation of other countries, either by making a new constitution or revising the current one, stating that the issue is against the Korean Constitution’s sense of values. Does Korea believe that such thinking can possibly exist in a modern society?

One after another, Japanese companies are ordered to pay compensation

In the verdict returned by the High Court following the Supreme Court’s decision, both the Seoul High Court and the Busan High Court ordered the previously mentioned Japanese companies to pay compensation to wartime mobilized workers in July 2013. Following these verdicts, in November of the same year, the Gwangju District Court ordered Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to pay compensation to former members of the Women’s Volunteers Corps. Thus, the Korean judiciary directly attacked Japanese companies.

After these events, lawsuits against Japanese companies drastically increased and as of August 18, 2017, fourteen lawsuits have been filed, twelve of which the plaintiffs won and the cases are now in before the Supreme Court. For readers’ information, recent major verdicts are shown in the following table.

Lawsuits concerning compensation against wartime Japanese companies and returned verdicts in Korea

Date Court Defendants Plaintiff Compensation ordered
October 2014 Seoul Central District Court Fujietsu 13 members of former Women’s Volunteers Corps and 18 bereaved family members 80 to 100 million won
June 2015 Gwangju High Court Mitsubishi Jukogyo 1 allegedly mobilized Korean woman and 5 bereaved family members 562.08 million won in total
November 2015 Seoul Central District Court Shin-Nittetsu Sumikin 7 former mobilized workers 100 million won per person
November 2016 Seoul Central District Court Fujietsu 5 former members of the Women’s Volunteers Corps 100 million won per person

August 2017 Gwangju High Court Mitsubishi Jukogyo 3 former Women’s Volunteers Corps members, 1 bereaved family member 470 million won in total
August 2017 Gwangju High Court Mitsubishi Jukogyo 1 former Women’s Volunteers Corps member, 1 bereaved family member 123.25 million won in total

President Moon Jae-in proposes a collaborative investigation into the issue of mobilized workers by North and South Korea

On August 15, 2017, during commemoration of Korea’s independence from Japan, President Moon Jae-in referred to the issue of mobilized workers and said, “Pains of forced mobilization still live with us. The whole scale of damages has not yet been made clear. The Government and the civil sector must cooperate to resolve the problem. From now on, if the relationship between South and North Korea improves, hopefully we plan to jointly investigate the issue and find out the truth.” In addition, regarding the issues of comfort women and mobilized workers, he further stated, “To solve them, we must consider universal human values and international rule that requires, based on the people’s consensus, the recovery of victims’ honor and payment of compensation, as well as search for the truth and a promise not to repeat the error. It is urgently necessary for the Japanese leader to act with courage.”

As I previously mentioned, the issue of compensation between Japan and Korea was resolved, following the Agreement concerning the Settlement of Problems in regard of Property and Claims between Japan and Korea and Economic Cooperation. However, President Moon Jae-in proposed to revive the issue and work with North Korea in bashing Japan.

Thereafter, on August 17, there was a press conference on the occasion of President Moon Jae-in’s one hundred days in office, and he stated again, “Although there was an agreement between the two countries, it is the Supreme Court’s decision that the civil right of forcibly mobilized individuals still remains, to enter lawsuit against Japanese companies like Mitsubishi.” Even former President Roh Moo-hyun, who was the dyed-in-the wool anti-Japanese activist, regarded the issue of mobilized workers as resolved. President Moon Jae-in, who audaciously claimed that there “civil rights” still operate, is pro-North Korea and anti-Japan to the core.

Later, the Yon-hap News reported, from sources within the Presidential Cabinet, that President Moon Jae-in explained to Prime Minister Abe, during a telephone conference held on August 25, regarding his statement that “individual claims are valid,” which was made during the press conference on the 17th: “This is not an issue between the countries, and what I meant to say about the ruling made by the Supreme Court is that the Agreement does not cover individual claims that are still valid between the victims and companies.”

Then, he reportedly added; “This issue will not become shackles to future development of our relations.” On hearing this, the Japanese mass media reported that: “President Moon Jae-in revised his statement,” which relieved Japanese politicians.

On closer examination, however, the President’s statement was far from a revision. He just mentioned that “victims have the right to individual claims against companies.” Moreover, if the President truly wished to get along with Japan, he should have said, “I will not make the issue a shackle towards the development of good relationships.” His true intention was to revive the issue of mobilized workers and he used ambiguous language to obscure his true intentions.

In fact, President Moon Jae-in has not changed in his position to “respect the Supreme Court’s decision,” and using his Executive power, he appointed Kim Myeong-soo, former chief of Chuncheon District Court, the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, which was approved by the National Assembly on September 21, 2017. It is crystal clear what the appointment of this Chief Justice means.

A state governed by emotion, preferring emotion over law

What, on earth, makes Korea think that it can easily upset officially agreed upon matters between countries?

The truth is that in Korea there exists a “law of national emotion,” which is totally alien to law-abiding states. Of course, it is not a written law. The leading Korean newspaper, JoongAng Ilbo, explains this as a “law that is made concrete by certain civil groups and scholars and if the media support it, the law is “enacted.”” And this law reigns over the Constitution. Moreover, a university professor openly states this on TV, saying, “The judiciary should not only strictly interpret the law, but also consider national emotion.” That is to say, Korea thinks that national emotion goes before the Constitution and law.

Traditionally, in Korea, the dominant thought is that, free of rules and regulations, people should cope with things in a flexible manner, as necessity rises. Those who insist on following laws are often criticized as ruthless. Their lack of a law abiding sense may seem merely self-indulgent to us Japanese, but to Koreans, people of “emotion,” emotion is more important than the law itself.

Under these circumstances, the legislative body, considering public opinions, easily enacts laws that are retroactive, which is unthinkable in modern law-abiding states. As for the Korean judiciary circle, totally disregarding international laws and treaties, even the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court prefer Korean “national emotion” over legally binding treaties concluded between countries.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, during a press conference with the foreign media, commented on the lawsuits filed by former mobilized workers against Japanese companies: “It is clear that we must respect the decision made by the Supreme Court as a law-abiding state.” This, I should say, is a sick joke.

How can we keep promises made with other countries? How is it possible to keep a stable relationship with a country that is so affected by “national emotion”, which changes over time? At the very least, we can only hope that “national emotion law” will become written law.

Should the plaintiff win, Japanese companies’ assets will be “seized”

As I previously mentioned, in Korean District Courts and High Courts, Japanese companies lost, one after another, and are now waiting for the final judgement of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court seemingly recognizes the importance of the matter and, for more than four years, has yet to make a final decision. However, according to the Yomiuri Newspaper, morning edition of July 28, 2018, the Supreme Court session on this issue resumed.

In 2012, the Supreme Court previously ruled that “individual claims are valid,” cancelling the original verdict against the plaintiffs and returned the case to the High Court. The incumbent Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is a pro-human rights activist, appointed by President Moon Jae-in. Moreover, “national emotion” overwhelmingly backs the plaintiffs. The final judgement by the Supreme Court will be most likely to be against the Japanese companies. If it is certain that the Japanese side loses,
then all 266 companies listed at the National Memorial Museum under Japanese Occupation will become targets of lawsuits, and should that happen, the total amount of money involved in court actions is estimated to reach 2 trillion.

If an order to pay compensation is issued and the defendants decline, then Japanese companies’ assets in Korea will be seized. In addition, among the plaintiffs’ lawyers is an American lawyer who was involved with postwar compensation lawsuits against German companies. It has been stated if the plaintiffs win the case in Korea, the American lawyer will proceed to seize the assets of the defendants’ U.S. subsidiaries as well.

It does not stop there. If the verdict is that Japan’s rule of Korea itself was an “illegal occupation,” aside from the comfort women and mobilized workers, then everything related to Japanese rule will become the target of lawsuits. Should that happen, the relationship between Japan and Korea will totally collapse and panic will strike the entire Japanese Archipelagoes.

Thus, this is the real dread of the lawsuits over mobilized workers. As I will explain later, the Japanese Government should be well prepared for the worst-case scenario.

Part IV Phantom of Forced Abduction

History fabricated by Korea continues to grow, gaining more and more credibility in Korea while we Japanese fail to pay much attention to what is going on, and “hatred” toward the Japanese increases almost automatically. Should we leave things as they are, their anti-Japanese sentiment growing out of control and relations between Japan and Korea becoming unrepairable? “Lies” will settle in as facts in the international community and the Japanese people’s honor and prestige will be lost for eternity.

Part IV points out how distorted and fabricated Korean assertions are and presents true history. By doing so, I would like to point out the only way possible to reach true reconciliation between Japan and Korea, both of which are deeply at odds with each other over historical issues.

Chapter 13: Mobilized workers were not “forcibly abducted”

The fictitiously coined phrase, “forced abduction of Koreans”, first appeared in an essay written by critic Fujishima Udai in the September 1960 issue of the magazine Sekai (World). Later, it was used in a very limited circle of researchers. However, in 1965, Park Kyon-sik, then professor of Korea University (in Japan) published a book titled The Record of Forced Abduction of Koreans and the phrase, “forced abduction of Koreans”, became popularized.

Japan and Korea resumed diplomatic relations, following the “Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea”, which was concluded in June 1965. The book was published in April 1965, immediately before the conclusion of the Treaty. The introduction of the book reads:

The present situation in Asia, especially the one surrounding Korea and Japan, is very serious. The meeting between Japan and Korea now forcibly underway at the behest of American imperialism reminds us of the situation ninety to sixty years ago, where Imperial Japan forcibly invaded and seized Korea. Now, Japan’s monopolized capital is fiercely rushing upon southern Korea, like a flood about to break a dam, backed by American capitalism.

As this introduction shows, the contents of this book were merely North Korean propaganda, intending to obstruct negotiations then being held between the Japanese Government and the Park Chung-hee Administration.

In the book, it was stated that Japan “forcibly abducted” Koreans and abused them, making them engage in hard labor at Japanese coal mines and elsewhere. Anti-Japanese Japanese, like leftwing journalists, were strongly captured by these words. Later, newspapers like the Asahi Newspaper, which are sympathetic to South and North Korea, began to widely use the term “forced abduction of Koreans.” Thus, although the words “forced abduction of Koreans” are completely fictious, they came to be used as if they were true.

During Japan’s rule, Korean people were favorably treated

During Japan’s rule, Koreans were Japanese citizens and as such they were protected by Japanese law and at the same time, they had the same obligation to follow the law. Then, is it true that the law forced Korean people to bear more obligations than the Japanese people did?

No, this is not at all true. The truth was the opposite. Korean people were exempt from income tax for ten years after the Annexation. As for the cost for elementary school education, following a decree on Korean schools, Japanese living in Korea were required to pay nearly eight times more than Koreans did .

The National Conscription Act did not apply to Koreans for a long period of time. The conscription was introduced to the Korean Peninsula in April 1944, when the Greater East Asian War was drawing to an end, and it was in September 1944 that conscription was implemented.

Moreover, Korean soldiers who were conscripted in September were still in training and did not go to the actual battlefield in person when the War ended. The Japanese Government remained reluctant to send Korean people to the front to the very end. This was strikingly different from that of the British. Great Britain organized the Colonial Indian Army at the early stage of the Greater East Asian War and had Indian soldiers fight against the Japanese Army.

It was the same with the “National Mobilization Act.” In 1939, following Article 4 of the National Mobilization Act,a national mobilization decree was issued. However, it was in September 1944 that a similar decree was issued within the Korean Peninsula. Moreover, a decree to mobilize females was never issued within the Korean Peninsula. Some single female Koreans participated in the Women’s Volunteers Corps and worked in factories, entirely of their own volition.

In legal terms, though they were Japanese citizens, clearly Koreans were less bound than the Japanese in the mainland to their obligations.

The Japanese Government restricted influx of laborers from the Korean Peninsula

For a certain duration of time prior to the War, pure-minded Korean peasants who were under-educated and with only a poor command of the Japanese language rushed to mainland Japan seeking higher wages, where the struggle for survival was extremely tough. The influx caused friction in various aspects within Japanese society. Koreans were eager to work for lower wages, robbing Japanese workers of their jobs. Many troubles over labor management and public safety frequently occurred.

To cope with this situation, the Japanese Government restricted as much as possible the influx of Koreans who had no prospect of employment and living in Japan. Submission of a certificate of employment and census registration was needed in order to enter Japan. At ports of departure, such as Busan, the Japanese Government even implemented “a system to persuade Koreans to give up the voyage to Japan” for those Koreans who had no guarantee of employment or money to cover the expense of traveling to Japan.

Consequently, from 1933 to 1937, out of 1,088,000 Koreans (hereinafter numbers are rounded) who applied to enter Japan, 652,000 Koreans (about 60%) were persuaded to give up.

Recruiting of workers was legally conducted

Mr. Park Kyon-sik writes in his book The Record of Forcibly Abducted Koreans:

From the time of “recruiting” in 1939, “forced abduction was implemented as planned and most of Koreans were abducted without ever being informed of the destination under “mighty-powered restraint.” The more forcible abduction policy than “recruiting” was “official good offices,” followed further by “mobilization,” which was “forced abduction to Japan.”

However, “recruiting,” “official good offices,” and “mobilization” were done legally, following Japanese law. Now, let us examine how these methods were practically conducted.

As for the real circumstance and related figures concerning Korean workers, I have referred to books entitled Study of Colonized Korea by Mr. Sugimoto Mikio (Akashi Shoten) and The Myth of Korean Residents in Japan and Forced Abduction by Mr. Chung Daekyun (Bungeishunju), as well as essays Fiction of Forced Abduction of Koreans by

Mr. Nishioka Tsutomu in the August to December 2000 issues of Getsuyo Hyoron
[Monday Criticism].

“Free recruiting” made it possible to directly recruit Korean workers in the Korean Peninsula

Ever since the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out in 1937, many healthy Japanese males were called up and sent to the battlefield, which caused serious shortages of manpower in domestic factories, mines and construction sites. To counter this shortfall, the National Mobilization Act was enacted in 1938 and based on this Act, a national mobilization decree was issued in 1939. As already mentioned, however, at this point, the decree was not implemented within the Korean Peninsula. Instead, to quickly import workers from Korea to Japan, “free recruiting” was introduced.

The “free recruiting” system started in September 1939, and its main goal was to exempt individuals from the conventional, complicated application process regarding travel to mainland Japan. Through this system, the process for traveling to Japan was entirely dealt with by the employer, freeing individuals from the complex application process.

Through this system, employers in Japan proper, accredited by the Ministry of Welfare and the Korean Governor-General’s Office, sent their recruiters to the Korean Peninsula and recruited their quota of workers in the area designated by the Korean Governor-General’s Office. Those recruited Koreans went to Japan en mass, led by personnel from their employer’s company.

This situation was almost the same as during the period of hyper-growth from 1955 to 1964 in Japan, when due to a shortage of workers, employers went to remote prefectures to recruit “golden eggs” (prospective workers) and a mass of recruited Japanese went to Tokyo and Osaka on “recruit trains.”

However, companies using the “free recruiting system” were mainly coalmines and many applicants showed up from drought-stricken Gyeongsang Province while there were only a small number of applicants from other Provinces, because they were peasants and had no experience in coal mining. As a result, the free recruiting was not very successful in collecting Koreans needed to solve the shortage of workers. Over three years, from 1939 to 1941, against a planned mobilization of 255,000 Koreans, only 147,000 Koreans came to Japan under the system of “free recruiting” (numbers from the Ministry of Welfare) and the rate of success was a mere 58%.

In addition, among recruited Koreans, there were many free-loaders who simply took advantage of traveling to Japan on company expense. They had no intention of working at coal mines from the beginning, applying under free recruiting by a coal mining company as a means of working in Japan, having the cost of travel to Japan being paid by the company. Many Koreans came to Japan under free recruiting, worked for a short time and then quit to change work. It is estimated that 60% of the recruited Koreans by coal mining companies merely made a convenience of the company-paid voyage to Japan .

“Official good offices” were not binding

Replacing “free recruiting,” Japanese companies introduced “official good offices” in 1942. Under this system, Japanese employers applied to the Korean Governor-General’s Office for permission to recruit needed workers. A quota allowed by the Governor-General’s Office was then distributed through counties and cities to towns and villages. In short, recruiting of workers were made through administration.

Koreans assert that “free recruiting” and “official good offices” were basically coercive. Specifically, regarding “official good offices, the Korean Governor-General’s Office decided on a quota, and at the other end of the system, the mayors of villages exerted powerful pressure which could indeed be considered forced.

Certainly, there may have been some Korean officials who acted with force to fulfill a given quota through the “official good offices.” However, it was possible for Korean workers who came to Japan through “free recruiting” or “official good offices,” to quit from the work he was assigned. If he didn’t like the work, he was able to freely quit, after having paid for food and obtaining his share of unpaid wages, and get a better job at another company. When a Korean worker left the job or stayed after the period of contract (one to two years in most cases) expired, he could still remain in mainland Japan, with guarantees of food rations and civil rights (including suffrage) as a Japanese citizen .

As I will later explain, at that time, many immigrant Korean workers came to Japan from the Korean Peninsula of their own volition. Koreans who came to Japan under “free recruiting” and “official good offices” lived almost in the same conditions as Koreans did who came over of their own free will.

An original source of the fiction that “they came aboard a truck and abducted Koreans”

In the previously mentioned book for children, Hell Island Gunkanjima, there was the phrase “they came aboard a truck and abducted Koreas,” which is pure fiction. The original source of this fiction was a paragraph in the book entitled New Story of Korea, written in 1950 by a Japanese named Kamada Sawaichiro, who was a policy adviser to the sixth Korean Governor-General Ugaki Kazushige (in office from 1930 to 1936 ):

If applying for employment was to be done after obtaining the applicant’s consent, it was difficult to secure the designated number of applicants. Thus, those in charge of labor management administration at the county or village level burst into houses with male members at midnight or before dawn while the entire family was fast asleep, or they came aboard a truck to the fields where men were working and put farmers aboard a truck using various excuses. After men were collected in these manners, they were sent to coal mines in Hokkaido and Kyushu in mainland Japan. In this manner, Korean officials and officers resorted to violent measures to fulfill their quota. Although the Governor-General himself did not order them to take such violent measures, Korean officials and local officers at the other end of the administration were very sensitive to what their superiors wanted and eagerly carried out the tough work. (Underlined by the author.)

It is said that Kamada held a grudge against the succeeding 7th Governor-General, Minami Jiro (in office 1936-1942), who nullified the policy that was implemented during Ugaki’s administration, and after the War, Kamada may have written such a statement to demonstrate “a terrible case” under Minami’s administration out of spite . It was most likely that Kamada wrote what he did based on rumors and without confirming the credibility. That is why he went to the trouble of adding “…however, it was not that the Governor-General ordered forcibly recruiting Koreans to that extent.”

Many anti-Japanese Japanese have often quoted this statement, describing an incident which happened somewhere and at some time, without any proof whatsoever, but the true circumstance, the “forced abduction of Koreans by Japanese,” is intentionally avoided, as the most important part was that “Korean officials and officers perpetrated the dirty work.”

In the past, similar statements have appeared in Japanese textbooks. For example, a junior high school history textbook published by Kyoiku Shuppan in 1999 claims: “A Korean man was suddenly presented with a warrant of mobilization by a local policeman and a village officer while he was sleeping, was handcuffed and immediately taken away.”

Also, this statement appeared in another junior high school history textbook published by Osaka Shoseki in 2000: “Strong and useful looking Koreans working in town or in the fields were randomly put aboard a truck and carried away to a port where they were sent to Japan. It was more like kidnapping than mobilization.” Since Japanese school history textbooks carry such claims, it is no wonder that Koreans believe these outrageous stories to be true.

“Mobilization” was the people’s obligation

The “official good offices” changed to “mobilization” in September 1944. As previously mentioned, the mobilization decree was issued in 1939 in Japan and it was five years later that the decree came into effect within the Korean Peninsula. As the War became fiercer, the shortage of labor in mainland Japan became worse. Accordingly, male Koreans who had been exempt from mobilization were required to comply with “mobilization” as Japanese citizens.

In applying the mobilization decree to people in the Korean Peninsula, the 8th Governor-General, Koiso Kuniaki, and the succeeding 9th Governor-General, Abe Nobuaki, sincerely hoped that Koreans working in Japan as mobilized workers would enable them to obtain work skills and to use them for future development of their country. Thus, the Governors led the mobilization effort from the forefront, seeing to it that mobilization would perfectly function for the sake of those mobilized.

Mobilized Koreans were strictly allocated to companies with eligible labor management, their wages were officially decided by law and workers’ families back home in Korea were to be compensated for their decreased income. These details are clearly stated in the Historical Review on Japanese Activities Overseas, Volume V, Korea 4, which was published after the War by the Ministry of the Treasury, Administration Agency and supervised by Kobayashi Hideo (Yumani Shobo):

As soon as Governor-General Abe took office, he was very much aware of the importance of the labor issue and set up a labor department within the mining industry division and introduced a second section to support mobilization to systematically carry out the task. At the same time, Governor-General Abe created a society to support Korean laborers–to support them and their families in Korea. To fully implement these measures, he added up the necessary costs as Treasury subsidies. At the same time, he made Japanese employers bear part of the cost. Money was then sent to families in Korea as subsidies for wage differences, family separation fee and so on and supported their well being. Moreover, families in Korea were given priority in the distribution of various goods and the patriotic activities of friendly neighbors were also promoted to perfect family support. On sending laborers to industries in urgent need of workers in mainland for fiscal year 1944, companies were made to completely agree that “while paying further attention to labor management, it is necessary to protect female members of families at home in Korea and to support this effort employers will provide certain amount of money to help them settle and comfort them.

As the above document shows, in mobilizing Koreans, Japan was extremely careful and discreet so as not to touch a nerve. It is totally unthinkable that “Japan abducted Koreans at random and abused them, putting them to hard labor.”

“Mobilization” was essentially a legal obligation that every Japanese citizen bore equally. Once a citizen was mobilized, he had to go wherever he was sent. It was perfectly natural for the mobilization to be applied to male Koreans who were Japanese citizens and no problem at all in the light of international law of the time. If you call mobilization “forced abduction”, then Japanese who were mobilized in mainland Japan were all victims of “forced abduction”.

Although mobilization was perfectly legal, Japan did not want to harshly punish Koreans who did not follow the mobilization order. Under the circumstances, Koreans, one after another, declined to be mobilized, not wanting to work in coal mines. Consequently, between September 1944 and June 1945, when the mobilization decree was in effect, only 79% of the originally planned number of workers was sent to Japan proper.

Chapter 14: A note of a mobilized Korean worker

Now, let us see how mobilized workers lived at the time.

At National Memorial Museum of Forced Mobilization under Japanese Occupation (refer to page , Chapter 10) there are cards showing the family backgrounds of mobilized workers from the Korean Peninsula, filed by Toyo Kogyo Industries (currently Mazda). At the Museum, the company is listed as one of the “war criminals”.

As a matter of fact, a Korean named Chung Jung-he wrote a book, A Note of A Mobilized Korean Worker, translated by Inoshita Haruko (published by Kawai Shuppan). At the time, this Korean worked at Toyo Kogyo in Hiroshima. He wrote in detail about living conditions and of his work. I will quote a part of this book and with this, readers will clearly see how mobilized Korean workers worked and lived at the time.

Food and living left nothing to be desired
A Note of A Mobilized Korean Worker
First, he describes his food and life:

[On arrival at his dormitory], we found a new wooden building. That was the dormitory where we were to live. We were told that it was the second dormitory, newly constructed, to accommodate us mobilized Korean workers. [Omitted] Our new dormitory and the surrounding area were fine. [Omitted] A 20 tatami-floored room was for ten workers to share, with a bulky futon mat and bedding, which felt like silk, for each worker, specially made for us. With these, we hoped we could live comfortably on the tatami floor without feeling cold. The company seemed to have taken much care in receiving us workers from the Korean Peninsula.

In a light-filled canteen, there were rows of big tables. They, too, looked brand new. In the kitchen in front of the canteen, young women wearing white aprons were busy preparing meals. When we sat at the table, meals were instantly served before each of us. There were two bowls, one for cooked rice and the other for side dishes, on the table. Cooked rice and side dishes were much better than anticipated and they tasted good.

Living with many people together here, I found that tastes were different from person to person. Some liked mandarin and navel oranges and others appreciated sea cucumber and abalone. Even, some asked for sake and had a party after evening supper. These were precious things and the only comforts for Koreans who had come all the way from home.

Rice cooked with oysters, which was sometimes served at the canteen, was truly delicious. At ebb tide, we were able to gather sea cucumbers and asari clams in volume on the beach in the back of the canteen. [Omitted] It was a lot of fun to gather them after the day’s work and it was the greatest fun to drink, barbecue and cook these catches.

At the end of 1944, mobilized Korean workers ate “what they liked” to their fill, drank alcohol and slept soundly covered with silk-like bed clothes and mats.

Mobilized Korean workers were friendly with Japanese

According to the note, on New Year’s Day, entertainment was held, promoting mutual understanding and friendship between Japanese and Koreans.

Everyone was excited [about upcoming planned entertainment]. [Omitted] We decided to invite Japanese people in the neighborhood to the entertainment to enjoy the occasion together. So, we posted invitations at several places where company houses were.

“We will host entertainment at the second dormitory from 7:30 p.m. on January 1st. Please come and enjoy the entertainment with us. From: the mobilized workers from the Korean Peninsula.”

Though it was entertainment for our own sake, we are now in Japan and we are to perform in front of a Japanese audience. So, it was run smoothly and enjoyable. The responsibility rested with all two hundred of us. It is no exaggeration to say, it was a matter of showing the level of cultural of the entire Korean Peninsula. Now, the entertainment seems to be not just between us, but an international project.

Mr. Chang Hun topped the entertainment with his fluent Japanese and amazed the Japanese audience. Yu Gwang-hun sang so beautifully that he was encored over and over. Skit, magic, and comic chat were performed, one after another, amid a lot of applause. It was also fun to watch Japanese women perform singing and dancing at intervals.

The event was kind of improvisation, but it was successful. Japanese people who came to see it said in unison, “The entertainment was so wonderful, and we enjoyed it so much!”

The chief in charge of our dormitory and others from the office were especially satisfied and pleased as if their own sons and family members had been praised by others.

A pleasant workplace surrounded with female factory workers

How about the workplace situation? Mr. Chung Jung-he stated, “The first month was dull. As job training, we spent a day running in the field which was totally nonsense, like child’s-play.” Then he wrote about the actual work when he finally entered the factory.

Most of factory workers were women. [Omitted] Looking around the factories, people said, “The 9th factory looks like fun,” or “I prefer the 5th factory.” Some said they liked the 11th factory where they lathed gun barrels. I hear that it took an hour to lathe a gun barrel after setting a gun barrel on the turning lathe. During that time, wouldn’t it be so much fun to chat with the girls working there?

[At the assigned factory,] there were around fifty female workers and several males. The chief gave an introductory speech addressing to the female workers, “I want you to kindly teach these Korean newcomers how to operate the machines. Just as you used to be, they are beginners and not at all good at operating machines. I do hope you will bear this in mind and instruct them kindly.” Most of the female workers were around twenty years old and listened to the chief, smiling all the while.

Looking around us, it was clear that the number of machines far outnumbered workers to operate them. [Omitted] It seems that there used to be enough workers before, but as the War went on, as the male workers went to war, one after another, there was a serious shortage of workers. Since it was impossible to substitute them with more males, Japanese women were mobilized. Still, there were not enough workers and, finally, we were mobilized to cover the shortage.

When we entered the factory, female workers already in the factory came running toward us and greeted us. They were so kind to us. Above all, Murakami-san, very skilled worker, was my instructor in such a wonderful manner. Only two days after we first met, she treated me as if we were old acquaintances. [Omitted] When it was time to start working, Murakami-san said to me, “We shall start work now,” switching the motor on and setting the machine in operation, showing me again what I had learned to do the day before. My hands were not dexterous, and I was timidly touching the object on the machine. Murakami-san said to me, “That’s O.K. Try to repeat the operation even if you are not good at first,” or “Take your time. No need to rush. Do it slowly and you’ll get used to it very soon. We were just like you at first.” She was so kind and considerate.

After two weeks at work, I became used to the factory routine and became more competent, enjoying the work. We never got bored, working among young female workers.

Holiday sightseeing

Mr. Chung Jung-he received special training for nearly a month early in March 1945 in Nara to become a leader among mobilized Korean workers. Here, the training was so hard that he lost a lot of weight. However, on a holiday, there was a sightseeing tour around the city of Nara. He recollects the occasion:

Light-footed, we walked toward the city. We were happy like little school children visiting a nearby park led by their teacher.

Here at Kasuga Shrine, souvenir shops sold goods made from deer horns. Speaking of deer horns, we think of Rokujo, which is made into expensive Chinese medicine. Even Rokujo made of a fallen horn looked valuable to us emotionally. Every one of us eagerly bought these souvenirs. I, too, bought some items for my colleagues at home in Korea.

If workers became physically weak, special leave was allowed

After completion of the special training session in Nara, Mr. Chung Jung-he worked on lifting a sunken ship in Osaka and then went back to Hiroshima. During the special training he was poorly fed, and his physical strength remarkably diminished. Alarmed at his poor physical condition, the company allowed him ten-day special leave to recuperate back to health, feeding him to his stomach’s content. He writes about the time:

It is not easy to eat one’s fill, having nothing else to do. For more than a week, I ate and ate, doing nothing and I got really bored. I recovered physically, to a certain extent. Though my cheeks were still a little bony, I hope I will look as strong as before in due time.

Boarding homes were happy and noisy with drinking and gambling

Mr. Chung resumed working at the Toyo Kogyo factory on April 20. He writes about the atmosphere of the factory at the time:

Men working at the factory did not care a bit about producing weapons, but their minds seemed to be totally occupied by the thought of love with women. The atmosphere within the factory was vulgar beyond words. I don’t remember which one it was, but at a factory, a man named Paek, while operating the press, was so preoccupied with chatting with a female coworker that he cut off his thumb by a press. This Paek was the first to lose a thumb for love.

Mobilized workers from Korea were adored by Japanese women due to the scarcity of men.

In due time, in May, fierce battles to the death for honor were being fought in Okinawa, and day after day, Kamikaze fighters took off, never to return. At such a crucial time, he wrote how mobilized workers at Toyo Kogyo lived:

Within our dormitory, it was always gay. [Omitted] Fetching whatever available, we cooked and barbecued it. We had parties, drinking and eating oranges all the time–things which could hardly be done while a war was going on were somehow being done in the dormitory. People would go somewhere and fetch rare goods. Wherever people got together, gambling started. Here and there, workers were absorbed in gambling with hanafuda cards. Not a few men complained about having lost two to three month’s salary gambling.

At Toyo Kogyo, which Korea now condemns as a “war criminal,” mobilized Korean workers ate, drank and even gambled all the time.

Finally, on their way home, bidding farewell to their Japanese friends

And finally, Japan met the end of the War. He writes about the time:

Our dormitory supervisor Mr. Noguchi told us Koreans what he felt then:

“We have just heard Emperor’s words over the radio that Japan unconditionally surrendered to the Allied Forces. Now, the merciless, hideous war is over. From now on, you are free citizens of an independent country. You have toiled for Japan for a long time, but Japan lost the War. This is our destiny. All I can wish now is that you will return home as soon as possible and work hard to restore your home country.”

He spoke in a sobbing voice.

In the evening an official statement came from the head of the company.

“For the state and the people of Japan, we were obliged to accept unconditional surrender. All things, including the operation of our factories, ceased to function at this point of time. We will see to it that all Koreans of the second dormitory go home to Korea promptly.”

This was happy news for us. They also told us that the company would take all necessary measures for us Koreans to go home safely, but until the day of departure from Japan, except providing food, the company would not at all interfere in our lives, which we were to determine ourselves.

On leaving Japan for Korea, farewell parties were held before the departure of the homebound ship. Dormitory supervisor Noguchi made a farewell speech with tears in his eyes, and Mr. Chung Jung-he, in return, thanked supervisor Noguchi and other office staff on behalf of the departing Koreans. Each of the departing Koreans ran to their Japanese friends and neighbors and exchanged hearty farewells.

At the time there was genuine friendship between Japanese and Koreans and it is easily imagined that such scenes of bidding farewell took place everywhere across Japan. It was the same in Hashima.

According to Mr. Chung Jung-he’s notes, his monthly salary was 140. At the end of 1944 to early 1945, when everything was scarce, the company paid Korean workers high wages, provided a new and clean dormitory and good meals so that Koreans could not complain about their living and working conditions. Koreans who became invalid received nutritious meals and special leave in order to return to good health.

Japanese companies took utmost care of mobilized Korean workers. The aforementioned request from the Korean Governor-General’s Office to companies employing Korean workers, to “take every possible measure”, was realized at Toyo Kogyo.

Chapter 15: Koreans came over to Japan of their own accord

A great number of Koreans came looking for jobs

It is clear that so-called “forced abductions” are a fallacy based on the simple fact that a great number of immigrant workers from Korea came to Japan before and during the War.

As previously noted, Koreans immigration to mainland Japan was in fact officially restricted. Nevertheless, after Japan’s Annexation of Korea, the Korean population in mainland Japan grew. Their population was about 3,000 in 1912 and it increased to 39,000 at the end of 1921. Moreover, they dramatically increased after 1921, to 165,000 at the end of 1927 and to 800,000 at the end of 1938.

“Free recruiting” in the Korean Peninsula started in 1939, and at that time, nearly 800,000 Koreans lived in Japan. Although immigration to Japan was restricted, Koreans at that time were Japanese citizens and following due process, immigrant Korean workers were permitted to stay in Japan. To young, prime Korean men living in farming villages in southern Korea in particular, the “Mainland” was a “dream country” that would provide them with opportunities for success and many of them came to Japan pursing their dream.

Testimonies of those who yearned for Japan

What was in their minds when they came over to Japan? Here are their stories [all from the book Life Stories of a Million People published by Toho Publishers].

A girl named Geun Son-he, who was born in Cheju in 1929, recounts:

When I returned home in Cheju, my father’s younger brother had come back from Japan. My uncle had gone to Japan several years before and we heard nothing from him since then. After such a long absence, he came home, looking fine and we were so happy to see him back. What he told us about Japan was totally fascinating. Above all, I was so much impressed with the fact that he ate cooked white rice at every meal every day. To me, it was like a dream. [Omitted] “Take me to Japan with you!” I shouted, excited and beside myself. I begged and begged, clinging to him. [Omitted] I was so insistent that he finally gave in and said, “Oh, well, I will take you with me next time I go to Japan.” I was so overjoyed that I couldn’t sit still, and I ran up to the nearby hill and shouted at the top of my voice, “I’m going to Japan! I’m really going!” [Omitted] Hearing my story, everyone said with envy, “How wonderful! I wish I could go to Japan, too!”

When she turned fifteen, she went to Japan just as she wanted so much and lived with his uncle in Japan.

Next, a young man named Pae U-son from Yangsan, South Gyeongsang Province, states what made him decide to go to Japan:

A friend of mine casually said to me, “Won’t you go to Japan? I hear Japan is a good place,” and I instantly decided to go to Japan. I have long yearned for Japan. If you go to Japan, you can make a lot of money. In just a few months in Japan, you can get a year’s income in Korea.

Another Korean named Lee Doo-hwan from Ulsan, South Gyeongsang Province, who received “official good offices” in October 1942, states:

I was summoned by the city office and told to go to Japan. I could hardly afford to say “No”. To be honest, I was glad to hear this. It is not at all easy to go to Japan, even if you tried. There were few jobs in Korea–just peasant jobs. It was not just me, but there were many Koreans who really wanted to go to Japan.

Readers may now well understand that immigration to Japan was a coveted dream among Koreans throughout the time before and during the War.

Sixty percent of wartime immigrants in Japan were not mobilized workers

Outside of “free recruiting,” “official good offices,” and “mobilization,” a great number of Koreans immigrated in Japan for jobs. During the three years of “free recruiting” from 1939 to 1941, there were 1.07 million Koreans who immigrated to mainland Japan. Of this, the number of Koreans who came to Japan under “free recruiting” was merely 147, 000 (Koreans who went back and forth from Korea to Japan are included in this number), as previously pointed out. As a matter of fact, immigrants arriving through “free recruiting” accounted for only 16% of the total number of immigrants.

This trend was evident throughout the period when “official good offices” and “mobilization” were implemented. The number of mobilized Koreans between January 1942 and May 1945 was 520,000. On the other hand, the total number of immigrants from the Korean Peninsula during the same period was 1,307,000. This means that during the Greater East Asian War, nearly 60% of the immigrants in mainland Japan came to Japan other than through “mobilization.” And most of them came to work in the mainland of their own accord.

Seventy-eight percent of Korean residents in Japan from the Korean Peninsula at the end of War had voluntarily come to Japan

Through these methods of immigration and settlement, it is estimated that roughly two million Koreans lived in mainland Japan. This amounts to an increase of nearly 1.2 million Koreans from 1939 to 1945. At the end of the War, there were about 323,000 mobilized Koreans working at Japanese companies (statistics from the Ministry of Welfare) and 113,000 military personnel and employees (survey by the Agency to Support Returnees). This would be 436,000 in total, or only 22% of the entire Korean population in Japan at the end of the War. The remaining 78% were those who had come with their families to Japan voluntarily, mobilized workers who left their company midway and those who decided to remain in Japan and earn money after their contract expired.

During the War, a great number of Koreans volunteered to immigrate and earned money in mainland Japan, where there was a dire shortage of workers.

These figures clearly indicate the real circumstances of the time, which was far from the false image of “forced abduction,” that claims that reluctant Koreans were forcibly brought to Japan, abducted, and made to engage in hard labor.

A great number of people entered Japan illegally from the Korean Peninsula

Thus, since Japan’s Annexation of Korea, many Koreans longed to emigrate to mainland Japan. And those disqualified for immigration tried to sneak into Japan, thereby violating the law.

Among illegal immigrants, there were many who came to work at coal mines. An article appeared in the Chosun JoongAng Ilbo [Korean Central Daily] of August 24, 1934, with the headline “Drastic increase of illegal Korean immigrants, targeting the Chikuho coal mines.” The article described illegal Korean immigration and the authorities’ concerns. (From Mr. Choi S. Young’s Webpage: “So many evidences to indicate that the film Gunkanjima is faked.

According to the Ministry of the Interior’s statistics, there were nearly 40,000 illegals The actual number could have been several times larger. Moreover, the number of illegal immigrants rapidly increased in 1939, when “free recruiting” started, and thereafter.

The Chosun JoongAng Ilbo of August 24, 1934
If Japanese officials engaged in “forced abduction”, then aboard the same ship, were abductees, lawfully qualified and happy immigrants, and desperate illegals hiding in the ship’s hold. This is too ridiculous to even consider.

What became of the illegals who were caught? Again, if “forced abduction” had occurred, all officials had to do was arrest them and send them to coal mines, where miners were urgently needed. However, the fact was that some of arrested illegals were lucky enough to have jobs introduced to them by official mediation, but the majority was sent back to the Korean Peninsula in accordance with the law.

Between 1939 and 1942, 19,200 Koreans were forcibly returned to Korea. This was, indeed, “forced abduction.” Incidentally, as for illegals who were lucky enough to evade capture and get job in a Japanese company, they were not sent back to Korea once they started living in Japan, even if the fact that they were illegal immigrants. Koreans were Japanese citizens at the time, and they had the right to reside in mainland Japan.

Koreans stated that there was no discrimination

A Korean named Park Su-ryon, who was born in South Gyeongsang Province in 1904, came to Japan at the age of eighteen and worked at Ishii Iron Factory in Tokyo. Amid the chaos caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake, he temporarily returned home to Korea. A year later, he moved to Japan again. During the War, as a boss of fifteen or so Korean workers, he worked at Mitsubishi Shipbuilder, engaged in riveting and other kinds of work. Being asked whether there was discrimination before and during the War, he answered:

“Discrimination? No. At the time there were no Japanese who could do the kind of work we did. So, there was no discrimination. Our work was very poorly paid, and I don’t think any Japanese wanted to do such low paying work.”

And Pae U-son, previously introduced, stated:

I felt discriminated against one time. That was when they didn’t let me join the town society. At that time, I was the only Korean. They would not accept me. I did not know that there was a special support notebook for the victims of the atomic bombing. After I somehow joined in the town society, a neighbor told me about the notebook and I immediately applied for the notebook. They said to me, “Why didn’t you tell us before?” But I did not know about it before.

How do you interpret their statements? Their statements completely contradict the alleged claim that Koreans living in Japan were discriminated against all the time and that they were abused by the Japanese.

Column (2) It took a lot of effort to dissuade Koreans from immigrating to Japan.

An article appeared in the Busan Ilbo [Daily] of March 27, 1929 with the headline, “A lot of effort required to dissuade Koreans who yearn to emigrate to the Mainland.”

The article reported that concerned authorities desperately tried to prevent Koreans from emigrating to Japan, but due to the scarcity of officials, their efforts were often in vain. (From Mr. Che S Young’s Webpage: “So many evidences to indicate that the film Gunkanjima is faked”)

Chapter 16: Korean workers earned a lot of money

Supposedly, all Korean workers did not benefit from the good environment that Mr. Chung Jung-he describes, as we have already seen. There were many Koreans who engaged in hard labor at coal and other kinds of mines and at construction sites. However, they were not forced to work for nothing. On the contrary, many Koreans earned a lot of money.

Monthly salary of 300 for labor at coal mines

Especially at dangerous work places like coal mines, workers’ wages were extremely high. For example, wages paid at coal mines in Kyushu (southwestern part of mainland Japan) were 150 to 180 per month, including various allowances and 200~300 for those with good work records. A salary of 300 was comparable to that of a Japanese Army colonel.

The computation of salaries at coal mines at the time was calculated strictly on the basis of work ability and coal output, and there was no differentiation in wages between Japanese and Koreans. For that matter, it is said that within the same work category, mobilized Korean workers were paid more than their Japanese counterparts.

At the time, mobilized Korean workers were young and robust, while Japanese miners were mostly old-aged. Naturally, physically stronger Korean workers were paid more than older Japanese workers.

Families back home in Korea became yangban (member of the wealthy class) due to money regularly sent by Korean workers in Japan

Some of the money earned by workers was sent to Korea. A person in charge of human resources of a coal mining company at the time testifies:

The company forcibly obliged Korean workers to send a part of their earnings to Korea. This amounted to 50 to 80 at the time. Fifty yen per month could buy a calf every month. Then, calves were rented to poor farmers by the month. Having twenty calves, you can be “yangban,” a rich man.

This person also stated, “The company did not differentiate Koreans from Japanese in terms of wages,” and added, “Amid scarcity of time and everything else, for the sole aim of winning the War, all toiled hard, not just by forcing Koreans to work hard.”

Generous condolence money for those who died at work

It was certainly tough to be mobilized and work at a coal mine. However, Japanese men fighting in merciless battlefields far away from home, defending their homeland, had far more difficulties. They endured the enemy’s overwhelmingly fierce fire
and bombardments, shot back to the last bullet, sacrificed themselves as human weapons and fell.

The Osaka Asahi Newspaper,
South Edition, Dated May 28,
1940: Korean coal miners’
remarkable earnings—
Praised at Onga Coal

The Osaka Asahi Newspaper, Central Edition, dated April 21, 1940: Special favor for Korean miners, almost like staying at an inn, Korean miners relaxing in a grand bath.

Sources: The Truth of “Japan’s Annexation of Korea”
Reported by the Asahi Newspaper by Mizuma Masanori (Tokuma Shoten).

On the other hand, the conscription of Koreans started in 1944, but the War ended while Korean conscripts were still in training. Therefore, as mentioned before, no conscripted Koreans fought on the battlefield. In the preface of to the book, The Record of Forced Abduction of Koreans, Park Kyon-sik writes: “Visiting coal mines and civil engineering sites, I found ashes of deceased Koreans deserted everywhere….” But how was it possible to tell Korean ashes from Japanese ones? In the first place, these sites are not battlefields. Ashes would never have been deserted. On the contrary, when Korean workers happened to die at work, funeral services were cordially performed, and generous condolence money was paid as stipulated by the company. The previously mentioned personnel affairs staff stated: For miners who died at work 2500 to 3000 yen was paid to the bereaved families . At that time, a thousand yen would buy a handsome house in the Korean Peninsula.

As long as they remained in Japan, it was possible to earn bountifully at bunkhouses

Koreans who came to Japan under “free recruiting” and “official good offices,” were freed to change jobs, as I already mentioned. Korean workers who came to Japan under mobilization also quit work and “ran away” if they didn’t like their work. There were many cases of missing Korean workers.

How, then, did these run-away Koreans manage to live in Japan? A report dated September 18, 1945 was submitted by the police chief of Nagano Town, Minami-Kawachi County, Osaka Prefecture, to the Chief of Osaka Prefectural Police, regarding “various patterns of actions of runaways among the group-mobilized workers from the Korean Peninsula.” In the report, there was a statement of a Korean named Kanayama Shoen, of how he lived after he ran away from his job.

He was one of the forty-one mobilized Korean workers who were assigned to Yodoshi Malleable Cast Iron Factory in March 1945. After he had a violent fight with the squad chief named Jinno Dairitsu, he ran away with a companion on July 28. He reportedly possessed 250 at the time of running away.

After having obtained a train ticket through an illegal channel, he came to Tachikawa, Tokyo and took refuge at a Korean bunkhouse at Okochi Village, West Tama County. The boss was a Korean named Arai from the South Gyeongsang Province and he immediately hired the runaway, hearing the latter’s explanation that he was in an air-raid and barely escaped. He began working on August 2 and he engaged in simple transportation work until eleven in the morning. He received 15 for his work and spent the rest of the day loafing.

On the next day, August 3, he had a small transporting job at a plane factory inside a tunnel and was paid 15. On the 4th, he went sightseeing in downtown Tokyo and he happened to get off the train at Bubai-Gawara on his way back. There was another Korean bunkhouse and thinking that he didn’t like his bunkhouse way back in the mountains, he quit the old bunkhouse and moved to this one. On the 7th, he performed easy survey work and received 20.

The new bunkhouse had 300 Korean workers. Since there was supposed to be 1,500 in the bunkhouse, as inflated by the owner, they were given ample food. There, he was amazed that cooks diverted distributed rice to the black market, earning 100,000 in two months. Moreover, they secretly bought cows, 25,000 per head, slaughtered them and sold beef at very expensive prices. Those at the bunkhouse had much money and bought whatever food they wanted at whatever price it might cost and ate it. Thus, cooks made such easy gains. Cowhides sold at 1,000.

At the bunkhouse, gambling was very popular. Kanayama won 180 at one time, only to eventually lose against professional gamblers.

The War ended on August 15 and there was no work any longer. So, he visited a man named Kanaya who had run away to Miyazu [Kyoto Prefecture], ahead of him. There, they thought of Mr. Kitai, their former dormitory supervisor at Yodoshi Malleable Cast Iron Factory, who was very nice to them. They decided to go back to the dormitory at Nagano Town and apologize to him.

Kanaya, had also been bullied by Jinno Dairitsu and he had run away on July 13, and fled to a remotely related Kanemura living in Miyazu for shelter. There, he was introduced to a bunkhouse and he earned 150 in half a month and then, surprisingly, 200 for just a few days’ work. But the work was very tough and laborious, and he remembered his days at Nagano Town [Osaka Prefecture]. Then, suddenly, Kanayama arrived from Tokyo. They both missed their dormitory supervisor Kitai and thought that they certainly owed Mr. Kitai an apology. So, they went back to the dormitory on September 9.

Even during the War, Korean workers were able to earn a lot of money, living at bunkhouses. Nevertheless, Koreans Kanayama and Kanaya missed their Japanese dormitory supervisor of the factory where they were first assigned as mobilized workers and came back to apologize to him for their irresponsible deeds. This kind of thing would have never taken place if Koreans had been forcibly abducted and abused by the Japanese. The truth is that Japanese companies treated Korean workers most caringly.

Column (3): Workers continued to earn money after expiration of their contract.

In Testimonies of Forced Abduction of Koreans, compiled and written by Kim Chang-Jong (published by Shin Jinbutsu Orai-sha), there is the following of parties concerned about coal mining industry.

Far from forced abduction, they came to earn money:

Even with workers accompanied by their families, when their term of contract expired, a group of twelve to fifteen households went home to Korea, accompanied by a few company staff. Then, it sometimes happened that husbands went missing on the way home, somewhere around Osaka or Kyoto. While the company staff worried about the situation, the missing workers’ wives and children seemed the least concerned, saying that it was all a premeditated act and that the company has nothing to worry about. After they received their full travel expense for the trip back to Korea, only the husbands disappeared along the way, as the wives went home to Korea as planned. Sending wives and children back home, husbands remained in Japan and earned more money working around Osaka or elsewhere. It was all prearranged within the family.

Chapter 17: The fiction of “the forced abduction of comfort women”

Let us look into the sordid nonsense of the “forced abduction of comfort women”. My books, There Was No Forced Abduction of “Comfort Women” [published by Meisei-sha] and Thus Fabricated One Thousand Years’ Korean Grudge [published by WAC] clearly explain the circumstances in detail. Here, I will just highlight a few salient points.

Where is documentation of resistance or disobedience in response to “forced abductions”?

Two hundred thousand unmarried Korean women were forcibly abducted and forced to be sex slaves of the Japanese military and political officials!

Koreans firmly believe this, but just stop and think for a moment!

According to the “Result of Population Survey as of May 1, 1944,” issued by the Governor-General’s Office of Korea, there were 220,000 18 year-old female Koreans, 210,000 19 year-old female Koreans and 200,000 20 year-old female Koreans; no more and no less. In Korea at the time, females between 18 to 20 were of marriageable age. Thus, many Korean women were already married. Given the facts, for there to be 200,000 Korean “sex slaves”, numerous Korean women must have been kidnapped, one after another. Would Koreans have allowed such a heinous act? Surely, had this had occurred, the parents, brothers and relatives of abducted females would have surely rose up against this atrocity, putting the entire Korean Peninsula into chaotic carnage.

However, there is no record of resistance: at all. This is evidence demonstrating that “forced abduction” is a merely a lie.

If detractors insist that forced abductions took place, then this only demonstrates that Korean men willingly allowed their daughters, sisters and girlfriends to be “sex slaves”. Crying that Korean women were victims of “forced abduction” is in fact defamation of one’s own ancestors, calling ones’ male ancestors un-masculine.

The story of “forced abduction of comfort women” was thus created

As far as I have seen, the alleged “forced abduction of comfort women” first appeared suddenly and without documentation in The Record of Forced Abduction of Koreans written by Park Kyon-sik:

Young Korean women were taken under the pretext of “women’s volunteers’ corps” or “war front comfort squad” and were victimized as comfort women in executing the ongoing War.

Korean women were taken to warfront in China, the south and even Okinawa. The total number of victims supposedly amounted to fifty to sixty thousand.

Ten years later, in 1975, non-fiction writer Kim Chang-jon, who graduated from Korea University (in Tokyo), wrote Testimonies of Forced Abduction of Koreans, in which he doubled the number of victims of “forced abduction,” “although not actually confirmed”:

In August 1944, “the decree of women’s voluntary work” was issued. By the decree with the mighty power of the state, several hundred thousand Korean women were “mobilized” as work force at munitions factories and as military personnel. Many of them, without knowing what was about it, were sent to the Chinese Continent and the southern front to serve as “military comfort women.” The total number of them has not been clarified to this day. It was estimated at around a hundred thousand.

Through a series of anti-Japanese propaganda created by pro-North Korean writers and their self-hating Japanese sympathizers, the bizarre “forced abduction of Korean women” image formed within Japan–a Japanese named Yoshida Seiji took advantage of this trend.

At a public rally on September 1, 1982 in Osaka, he made his “bombshell” statement, that in Jeju Island, he and nine of his men abducted young Korean women, put them in a truck and sent them to the battle zone. In July 1983, Yoshida wrote My War Crime—Forced Abduction of Koreans, in which he “confessed” to “having forcibly abducted about two hundred Korean women in Jeju Island and made them comfort women.”

Manipulation of information on the part of the Asahi Newspaper

The Asahi Newspaper gobbled up Yoshida’s story and disseminated it as the truth both domestically and internationally.

On the front page of the Asahi, dated January 11, 1992, the military involvement in the process of recruiting comfort women was reported. The article claimed that 80,000 to 200,000 Korean women were forcibly abducted under the pretext of being members of the voluntary corps. The newspaper, apparently on its own, decided to increase the number of victims to 200,000.

At that time, the Asahi Newspaper presented its evidence indicating military involvement was a “notification” addressed to the dispatch army by the Department of War, titled “Regarding Recruiting of Female Employees at the Military Comfort Stations.”

In brief, this order showed that military and civil police cooperated to ensure that unscrupulous pimps, and others, were not using deception to recruiting women and not out-right kidnapping women. In fact, this showed that the Japanese military “were involved” in protecting women against unscrupulous pimps who tried to con naïve Korean women.

The Asahi Newspaper, without even bothering to view the evidence, just jumped at the inflammatory title and parroted the line, without serious thought, that “the military was involved.” The newspaper manipulated information.

South Korea instantly responded to this report. The Dong-a Ilbo [East Asia Daily] Newspaper, dated January 15 of the same year (1992), stated: “Even twelve-year old elementary school girls were mobilized and sexually abused in the battle zone. We cannot help but feel utterly indignant at the fact.” Korean people read the article and became furious, thinking, “How could such a brutal act have been committed?” Then Japanese Prime Minister Miyazawa Kiichi, who happened to visit South Korea immediately after this incident, apologized eight times during his stay, not knowing exactly for what he was apologizing. With Prime Minister Miyazawa’s thoughtless and indulgent attitude, the Dong-a Ilbo Newspaper’s article became the “truth” within South Korea and paved the way for the “comfort women” to become a big issue.

Anti-Japanese Japanese lawyer who ran about badgering former comfort women

Besides the Asahi Newspaper’s manipulation of information, maneuvers on the part of Japanese lawyers exerted tremendous influence. Vice-Cabinet Secretary Mr. Ishihara Nobuo, under Cabinet Secretary Kono, stated at a meeting of the “Society to Think about Future and History Education of Japan” on April 9, 1997:

Very regrettably, a certain lawyer went to the scene in Korea, persuaded women to publicly press the issue and make such-and-such a statement. He worked so passionately to bring the issue to light that those who did not know what to do at first gradually came out as victims of forced abduction. Thus, the Japanese lawyer dug up this issue in Korea and made it into a big one. In response to the lawyer’s action, the issue was discussed in the Japanese Diet. The Korean Government was hesitant to make this a big issue at first, but after movement in Japan, they could no longer ignore it.

After all, the Japanese mass media ignited the entire affair, then an anti-Japanese Japanese lawyer went to South Korea and persuaded reluctant, former comfort women to “confess” their past, thereby inflating the issue and shoving it over the point of no return. The Japanese lawyer, a fanatic anti-Japanese ideologue, supposedly did not care one bit about the overall circumstance and feelings of the women who were to be exposed to the harsh, abusive stares of Koreans for having once been comfort women (or Japanese military prostitutes). I cannot help but sympathize with those poor Korean women who were utilized as political tools.

Yoshida Seiji’s “forced abduction of comfort women” fabrication

Ms. Ho Yong-son, reporter for the Jeju Newspaper, had some doubt about the Asahi Newspaper’s report and went to Jeju Island, the scene of an alleged “hunt for comfort women”. She interviewed those concerned at the time, in detail, on the alleged “forced abduction of comfort women” and none of the interviewees knew anything about this, or even saw anything. They were unanimous: “That is sheer nonsense! How could anyone have allowed such a thing to happen?”

She wrote up the results of her investigation in the August 14, 1989 issue of the Jeju Newspaper.

Thereafter, Professor Hata Ikuhiko of Nihon University revealed Mr. Yoshida’s lie through his own research. Mr. Yoshida himself admitted that he lied in order to sell his book. The Asahi Newspaper had long regarded Mr. Yoshida as hero, but eventually confessed that Mr. Yoshida’s statements were false and retracted every article related to him. The newspaper also published an apology to its readers on August 5, 2014.

Japan became a “sex-slave state” after the Kono Statement

However, the Asahi Newspaper’s correction and apology arrived much too late. In 1993, then Cabinet Secretary Kono announced his so-called “Kono Statement” at a press conference. Cabinet Secretary Kono blandly stated that there was “forced recruitment” without presenting any evidence whatsoever. The rest of the world took his statement as acknowledging Japanese “forced abduction” of so-called comfort women. Japan’s over-consideration for South Korea totally backfired.

Korea, moving with the spirit of the times, teamed up with anti-Japanese Japanese lawyers and castigated Japan at the United Nations. Their lobbying activities turned to be very effective. As I mentioned previously, Ms. Coomaraswamy, who was appointed “Special U.N. Rapporteur regarding violence against women” by the United Nations Human Rights Committee, called the “comfort women” “sex slaves.” She submitted her “Coomaraswamy Report” to the Human Rights Committee, in which she demanded that Japan punish those responsible, compensate victims and promote education to prevent such brutality from ever happening again. As a result, Japan was put in a very bad position, being scorned by the rest of the world. National assemblies all around the world, including the United States and Canada, adopted resolutions demanding Japan apologize and compensate “comfort women”. The “Kono Statement” was not the end, but just the beginning of a protracted condemnation of Japan.

For that matter, an anti-Japanese Japanese lawyer boasted, “Since I used the term “sex slaves,” the United Nations took up the comfort women issue as a global issue.” Japanese as he is, he seems to thoroughly enjoy debasing Japan’s international status. This author can hardly comprehend his mental status.

The “Coomaraswamy Report” is malicious to Japan

Ms. Coomaraswamy is a Sri Lankan and as previously mentioned, she personally investigated the so-called comfort women as “Special UN Rapporteur”, submitting her report to the UN Human Rights Committee in January 1996.

However, the contents of the “Coomaraswamy Report” are merely repetitions of previous South Korean and North Korean “assertions”, even referring to Yoshida Seiji’s fabrications—the report is outrageous, irresponsible, predictable and prejudiced. It is not too much to say that the report is entirely false, full of prejudice and maliciousness against Japan.

In the Report there is the following from an associate investigator, who was sent to North Korea, from a seventy-year old woman named Chon Okusun:

A Japanese company commander Yamamoto ordered them to hit this girl with a sword. While we were watching, they stripped the girl of her clothes, tied her hands and legs and rolled her over a board with sharp nails sticking out of it until the nails were covered with her blood and flesh. At the end, they beheaded her. Another Japanese Yamamoto said, “It’s cinch to kill all of you. It’s even easier than to kill a dog.” He also said, “Since these Korean girls are crying for food, why don’t you cook this flesh and feed them?”

It is likely that the interviewed woman parroted what the North Korean Government ordered her to say. Clearly, this kind of statements went much further than what leftist Japanese are used to.

The Report’s only reference to English sources is Sex Slaves—Military Comfort Women, written by Australian journalist George Hicks. Mr. Fujii Mitsuhiko, representing the “Refutation Project,” found out that this English language book is based on Emperor’s Army and Military Comfort Women, written by someone named Kim Il-myon. What is more, Kim Il-myon’s books are based on sensual novels and cartoons and weird stories that appear in tabloid Japanese weekly magazines such as the Weekly Taishu [Masses] and the Weekly Jitsuwa [True Story] .

Of course, the Japanese Government examined the “Coomaraswamy Report” and immediately submitted its findings, refuting it in a perfectly logical and rational manner, the accompanying Document Number I, in their comment on the “Report of the Special Rappourteur on Violence against Women”. However, for whatever bizarre reason, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs rescinded its statement and, consequently, the “Coomaraswamy Report” is regarded as “factual” to this day. Thus, in the film Gunkanjima, a comfort woman is brutally killed by being pushing down over a hill of sharp-tipped nails. This cinematic nonsense is the direct result of the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

The “Kono Statement” was “Kono Collusion”

The Sankei Newspaper of October 16, 2013 reported that it is clear that the interview of sixteen former so-called comfort women, which formed the basis of the Kono Statement, was incompetently performed. The date of birth of half of the sixteen women were entirely unreliable and the place of birth of twelve women were unknown. Furthermore, six women claimed that they had worked in areas where, in fact, there were no military comfort stations.

Moreover, a front page scoop in the Sankei Newspaper, January 1, 2014, showed that the Kono Statement was created with Korean collaboration. Based on this article, during a House of Representatives budget committee meeting held on January 20 of the same year, Representative Yamada Hiroshi demanded that the Government reveal the truth about the “Kono Statement.” The Japanese Government, very reluctantly, decided to examine the process by which the Kono Statement was made. The investigatory team, consisting of governmental experts, was formed and the result of its examination was announced on June 20 of the same year. The main points were:

1) Confirmation regarding the interviews was not conducted.

2) The Korean Government strongly requested that the statement be acceptable to the Korean people.

3) The Korean Government demanded that “unless the Japanese Government agrees to certain amendments, the Korean Government will not positively support it.” Moreover, Korea stated to Japan, over and over again, that it is Korean policy not to demand monetary compensation from Japan.

4) It was Japan’s understanding, through its investigation, that Japan could not confirm whether there was any “forced abduction.” On demand from Korea, to clearly state forcibly recruiting comfort women, Japan made an adjustment and used the wording, “on the whole, against their will.”

5) The draft was presented for confirmation to President Kim Young-sam and a final agreement was reached.

In summary, Japan was forced to admit to “forced abduction,” which never took place, was made to issue a statement of self-reflection and was further instructed on how to write this statement. Out of consideration for Korea, Japan did not confirm the validity of the statements of the former comfort women, which alone supposedly constituted evidence of “forced abduction.” The investigation also found that South Korea clearly stated, “If Japan admits that there was forcibility, South Korea will not ask monetary compensation,” during the negotiation.

Consequently, the statement was a “composition” based on lies, which are a far cry from the truth–and both sides agreed to this. Kono Yohei himself admitted that there was nothing to add to or subtract from the report about the results of the investigation. Once the behind-the-scene exchanges were revealed, the “Kono Statement” was degraded to a “Kono Collusion” and any authenticity to it evaporated.

There is no evidence to prove “forced abduction”

The key point of the comfort women issue is whether there was “forced abduction” by the Japanese military or not. The Japanese Government thoroughly conducted an investigation to get to the bottom of the situation. In addition to collecting all related materials kept at individual Ministries, Agencies, the National Diet Library, and the US National Archives, interviews were held, far and wide, with former comfort women, former military personnel, those concerned with the former Korean Governor-General’s Office, former owners of comfort stations, inhabitants in the neighborhood of comfort stations and historians, from November 1991 to August 1993.

The Japanese Government examined a volume of materials and all the statements thus collected. However, no evidence was found to support the contention of systematic abuse of comfort women by the Japanese military or officials, let alone of forced abduction.

Following the result of the investigation, on March 16, 2007, the Japanese Government officially made a cabinet decision to state that nothing was found among the materials the Government collected to directly support the allegation of forced abduction by the military and officials in response to the question raised at the Diet. In addition, among materials later discovered, there is nothing that changes the Government statement.

For that matter, the comfort women system at the time was nothing extraordinary in terms of international law. It is totally unbelievable that the Japanese Army killed comfort women in order to “destroy evidence” when Japan lost the War. On the contrary, rumor has it that to make provision for them after they return home to Korea, Japan sent them home, providing them with certification as a “military nurse.”

“Abductors” were Korean pimps

In the Korean Peninsula before and during the War, unscrupulous Korean traders called “human Editorial titled “Rampant Kidnappers” in
trafficking merchants” and “kidnapping squads” the Dong-a Ilbo Newspaper, March 29, 1937.
were rampant and they trafficked young Korean
women to “human trafficking markets” in Manchuria, Shanghai and Korea. In the Dong-a Ilbo Newspaper of March 29, 1939, an editorial stated: “Deplorably, Korean society itself became a hotbed inviting crimes by kidnappers, reducing our cultural level to a very low one.”

Pictures drawn by former comfort women who claimed that they were forcibly made to become comfort women, depicting “how they were abducted” (one of them is engraved at the “Place to Remember”), indications of their memories of the time when they were kidnapped by those unscrupulous Korean traders.

Japanese officials and police worked hard to rescue these vulnerable women. At the time, under Japanese rule, Koreans were “Japanese citizens” and Koreans were protected by Japanese law as Japanese citizens. However, in Korea, this fact was been all but bent 180 degrees so that “Japanese officials abducted Koreans.”

The total number of comfort women, including Koreans, was around five thousand

Non-fiction writer Mr. Nagao Hidemi published a report, Presentation of Facts Regarding the Numbers of Comfort Stations and of Comfort Women, in April 2018 and estimated the number of comfort stations at a little less than five hundred and the number of comfort women, including Koreans, at a little over five thousand in total.

These numbers were clearly confirmed after Mr. Nagao carefully examined the following materials; the basis of calculation is also clearly shown:

 Collection of Related Materials of the Japanese Military “Comfort Women,” book 1 and book 2, compiled by Suzuki Yuuko, Yamashita Hidenori, Sotomura Dai (Akashi Shoten).

 Collection of Related Materials of Governmental Investigation about Military Comfort Women, (1)~(5) Asian People’s Peace Fund for Women (Ryukei Shosha).

 Testimonies Memories toward Future, Asia Comfort Women, Testimonies I, II North and South Korea and Korean Residents in Japan, Active Museum, Women’s War and Peace Museum, Editors-in-chief Nishino Rumiko and Kin Tomiko (Akashi Shoten).

 Testimonies—Forcibly Abducted Korean Military Comfort Women (Akashi Shoten).

 Sakuma Tetsu, Nippon Reportk, Investigate Military Comfort Women, Experiences of Military Comfort Women, Memos 1~7, and 9~12 (

In addition, according to Mr. Nagao’s report, the 15th Division of the Japanese Army conducted physical check-ups of special comfort women in Nanjing in January 1943, and the total number of examinees were: 1,007 Japanese, 113 Koreans and 513 Chinese.

Although the ratio of Koreans at each comfort station might vary, supposing that two hundred thousand Korean women had been forcibly taken to China and Southeast Asia, the total number of comfort women would have been well over five hundred thousand. If the Korean assertion that “comfort women were made to serve more than ten men per day” was true, Japanese military soldiers visited comfort stations twice a day. They would have been busy dealing with comfort women instead of engaging in combat.

Comfort women were not sex slaves

An autobiography, entitled I Was A Comfort Woman for TATE Division of the Burmese Front, was published in Japan by publisher Nashinoki-sha. The author is a woman named Moon Oku-chu, the third Korean woman to come out as former comfort woman in Korea.

She came to be known in Japan as the woman who demanded her savings deposit (of 2,645 at the time) at a Japanese Post Office collected when she worked at a comfort station.

In the autobiography, she recounts her days as a comfort woman in Burma (presently Myanmar):

I deposited five hundred yen. When I received a savings passbook bearing my own name, the deposit was correctly written as five hundred yen. It was my first savings deposit ever. In Taegu, I worked very hard, babysitting and vending since I was a little girl. I worked and worked but I was never able to get out of poverty. It is just unbelievable now that I can save this much. A thousand yen can buy me a small house in Taegu. I can make my mother’s life a bit easier and happier. The idea made me so happy and proud. The savings passbook became my treasure.

I never forgot the time when I went shopping at a market in Rangoon (currently Yangon). There was a jewelry store. As Burma produced a lot of precious stones, rubies and jades were sold very cheap. My friend collected many jewels. Wanting to have one myself, I ventured to buy a diamond. [Omitted] I also went to see Japanese movies or KABUKI plays which came to perform from the mainland. In KABUKI plays, a male actor wearing heavy costumes played a female and I thought it was a kind of strange.

When I was at a hospital in Ayutthaya, I sent money to my mother. [Omitted] Drawing from my deposit, I sent five thousand yen to her.

When I got permission to return home, I had to go home. That was an order. If I didn’t want to go home, there was nothing I could do, save run away.

She bought a diamond and sent five thousand yen to her mother in Korea. With this amount of cash at the time in Korea, she would have been able to build five homes. Even though she received permission to return home to Korea, she ran away, going back to Rangoon, on her way home to Korea, and continued working there. This was the real circumstance of a former “comfort woman”. Of course, they underwent hardships. However, it is clear from just this one accountying that the comfort women were not at all “sex slaves” who were property of the Japanese Army.

Condemn today’s violation of women’s rights

Those lamenting over Japan’s “comfort women issue” claim that “the very existence of the Japanese military comfort women” is itself a violation of the rights of women. However, we need to remember that the Japanese Army was not the only military that used “comfort women”: every military in the world used (or still uses) “comfort women”, as a “necessary evil.” Critics must squarely address this fact.

There were numerous comfort women servicing US troops in Korea during the Korean War. After the truce, US military comfort women were officially managed by the Korean government. In the January 31, 1961 edition of the Dong-a Ilbo Newspaper, an
Dong-a Ilbo Newspaper, dated January 31, 1961: At 10 a.m. on January 27, at Donggkwang Theater in Itan (Gyeonggi Province), a cultural training session for over 800 comfort women was held, sponsored by the Itan Branch Office. Many were present at the session, including the military police commander of the U.S. Army 7th Division, civilian service personnel and other U.S. and Korean military personnel. At the session, the control venereal disease was emphasized. After the session, a variety show, song and dance by the comfort women, attracted much audience attention.

article reporting that the Korean police assembled 800 U.S. military comfort women and held a “cultural training session for comfort women.” In attendance was the American commander of the US Army 7th Division military police.

The Korean Army used “comfort women”, or “special comfort squads” during the Korean War and they were called “the fifth-level of supplies” within the Korean Army. In addition, the Korean Army used many “comfort women” during their stay in Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

The Soviet Army declined the use of government sanctioned “comfort women”, based on their communist concept of equality. Instead, they engaged in mass rape within territory they occupied. When the War ended, on the Asian continent and in Sakhalin, countless Japanese women were raped by Soviet soldiers. In Germany, more than two million women suffered sexual by the Soviet Army.

To prevent young, naive soldiers from allowing their sex drives from taking over and to quash venereal diseases, militaries the world over must appropriate measures.

In the case of the Japanese military, the military managed lawfully defined comfort stations for its soldiers: respecting the rights of women who worked there and scrutinizing the health of all comfort women.

To the Japanese military, these were appropriate measures and comfort stations were regulated such that they were not in violation of either the domestic or international law of the time, clearly affirmed by the Japanese Government in its rebuttal of the Coomaraswamy Report.

Throughout history, women have sold themselves in order to survive. In Japan, during the Edo Period, in the Yoshiwara entertainment district, prostitutes were readily obtained. Such was the sad circumstance—which has been much alleviated by the Japanese people’s tireless efforts and global thinking in general.

Is there really any point in condemning the Japanese wartime system of “comfort women”, when, in the past, prostitution was legal everywhere, and to object to a violation of one persons’ “human rights” in the light of today’s very fluid and nebulous values?

All of us should acknowledge that women are trafficked today as commodities and women are forced to engage in prostitution by organized criminal elements. Women are kidnapped by extremist militants, raped and forced into being suicide terrorist. Any discussion of the rights of women needs to address their absolute safety and security—there are women who are in need of the UN’s protection, right now, yet the UN chooses to engage in meaning historical banter. Who is really interested in “women’s rights”?

Chapter 18: Compensation has been resolved

“The Agreement Concerning the Settlement of Problems in Regard of Property and Claims between Japan and Korea and Economic Cooperation” was settled

Outstanding issues between Japan and South Korea were entirety settled, for once and for all, by the “Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea,” singed by both parties in 1965. A number of agreements accompanied this Treaty, which really should be read by detractors. With respect to the issue of “compensation”, reflecting the intentions of both South Korea and Japan, the “Agreement Between Japan and the Republic of Korea Concerning the Settlement of Problems in Regard to Property and Claims and Economic Cooperation” was signed by both parties. Article 2 of the Agreement:

Both Parties confirm that problems regarding property, rights and profits of the Parties and their citizens (including corporations) and claims between the Parties and their citizens were completely and finally settled, including those regulated in Article 4 (a) of the Peace Treaty with Japan signed in San Francisco on September 8, 1951. [emphasis by the author].

There is more! In the agreed to agenda, which were publicly announced so that there would be no weaseling out of a legal agreement :

Problems regarding property, rights and profits of the citizens, which are to be completely and finally settled, include all claims within the range of “the summary of claims against Japan” (so-called Eight Items), which was presented by Korea. Therefore, it was confirmed that regarding the summary of claims against Japan, no claim is to be made.

The aforementioned “so-called Eight Items” refer to a list of compensation and claims Syngman Rhee demanded of Japan. The fifth item was an “accounts receivable of mobilized Korean workers,” “compensation for damages of mobilized workers caused by the War” and “Koreans’ claims against Japanese or corporations.” Both the South Korean and Japanese governments clearly confirmed that the issue of claims were resolved.

Nonetheless, as we have already seen, the South Korean Supreme Court, out of consideration for Korean public opinion, ruled that individual claims were valid. The lower courts, following the Supreme Court’s decision, returned one verdict after another, ordering Japanese companies to pay compensation. To be sure, South Korea deserves to characterized as a psychotic state.

However, a state that breaks international treaties at will is not functional, liberal democracy. If South Korea continues to behave in this manner, sooner or later, South Korea will lose international credibility.

To prevent South Korea from further idiocy, the Japanese Government needs to state, without wavering, that “The issue of postwar claims has been settled through an international, inter-governmental agreement and that Japan will not compromise. Should an unfavorable verdict against Japanese companies be returned by an inconsiderate Korean court, Japan will seek intervention by the International Court of Justice.”

If any of the Japanese companies now in dispute with Korea’s nonsense, capitulate and pay ransom, Japan will have zero credibility. The Japanese Government must work with the accused, lest they decide to individually compromise., and in case of damages incurred by Korean court decision of asset freeze, Japan’s policy of compensating from the national treasury should be clearly announced.

Japanese assets abandoned following the Agreement amounted to 16 trillion

According to the findings of the private asset management agency Allied Countries General Headquarters, private Japanese assets in Korea at the end of the War amounted to a total of 16 trillion, at present valuation. Moreover, from this total, 4.9 trillion were individual assets.

Until the end of the War, Korea was a part of Japan. Thus, according to international law, private property that belonged to individual Japanese at the end of the war belonged to Japanese citizens.

During the postwar negotiations between Japan and Korea, Japan maintained that
private assets belong to the people of Japan, a legally sound claim. However, Syngman Rhee, ignoring due process and logic, set up the infamous “Syngman Rhee Line” and abducted Japanese fishermen on the high seas, brutalizing the detainees. In negotiating with Japan, South Korea had the mendacity to force Japan to abandon its assets in Korea, while holding Japanese fishermen as hostages

The Sankei Newspaper, morning edition of February 24, 2003, Headline: Private assets left behind in the Korean Peninsula– 4.9 trillion

Similar tactics were employed during the Park Chung-hee dictatorship.

At the time. Japan’s priority was to rescue Japanese fishermen and Japan caved in and agreed to “abandon Japanese assets,” dishing out $300 million in aid. As I mentioned before, private Japanese assets in the southern part of the Korean Peninsula totaled 8 trillion, in present value.

If South Korea makes any more demands of Japan, disregarding the Agreement, then the Agreement will be nullified and South Korea will need to pay back $300 million aid to Japan, at present value, with interest, and to pay, at the very least, 8 trillion, at current value, property left behind in the south, out of 16 trillion left behind in the entire Korean Peninsula. This is a fair settlement—a bargain, do you not think so?

[Column (4): The Syngman Rhee Line]

On January 18, 1952, President Syngman Rhee unilaterally declared “maritime sovereignty” and demarcated his “Syngman Rhee Line” on the high seas, monopolizing fishery resources and making Takeshima Island Korean territory.

The “Syngman Rhee Line” was never validated by international law. However, Japan, bound by Article 9 (2) of the Japanese Constitution, sat on its hands.

Captured Japanese fishermen were tortured and fed substandard meals. Some died from hunger. Families back home in Japan awaited in mental and physical agony. Desperate wives became insane and killed themselves. Japanese fishermen and their families bore their hardship for fourteen years.

During this period, as many as 328 fishing boats were seized and 3029 fishermen were detained. Twenty-nine men were shot to death, eighty-four men became disabled due to torture and other abuses. The total material loss was 9 billion, value at the time. Despite their perfidy, South Korea has yet to express a word of regret or even pay one yen of compensation to this day.

Compensation was paid to the Koreas, including compensation to North Korea

Article 3 of the “Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea” stated: “The Government of the Republic of Korea is recognized as the sole legitimate government in Korea, which is clearly stated in No. 195 (III) Resolution of the United Nations General Assembly.” Moreover, Article 3 of the Korean Constitution prescribes that “the territory of the Republic of Korea is the Korean Peninsula and its accompanying islands.”

If so, then the Agreement regarding claims and economic cooperation Japan concluded with Korea covers the entire Korean Peninsula. In the case that Japan resumes diplomatic relationship with North Korea, obligations to North Korea do not rest with Japan: the Republic of Korea is entirely responsible for “North Korea” (DPRK). If “South Korea” refuses to acknowledge its responsibly, then South Korea is left to address compensation due to North Korea.

On the other hand, if North Korea maintains that “the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea” and the Agreement concerning claims between Japan and Korea and economic cooperation only apply to South Korea, then, in that case, Japan’s claims remain valid regarding private Japanese assets left in what is now North Korea (worth 8 trillion at present value).

It is indisputable, that after the war, North Korean industries boomed due to the Yunfeng Dam built on the Yarlung River and the chemical industrial complex at Hungnam, both of which were built by the Japanese. If North Korea ever demands that Japan shell out more money, then North Korea should be made to return 8 trillion to Japan, Japan’s previous contributions to the development of northern Korea. After this, there will be plenty of room for discussion!

In addition, after the War, in the early half of the 1970s, Japanese trading companies and manufacturers exported machinery and plant facilities to North Korea. North Korea refused to pay, oddly using their adverse circumstance to their advantage when North Korea was entirely isolated from the international community as their role was observed behind terrorist bombings in 1983 in Rangoon (presently Yangon). North Korea has yet to pay a total of 40 billion, in capital alone. With interest and arrears, the total is estimated at 220 billion. Japanese companies continue to send the bill to North Korea in June and December, every year, but North Korea has yet to respond. If Japan is to send any economic aid, this amount, naturally, needs to be deducted.

And the most important issue remains outstanding—North Korean abduction of Japanese citizens. Japan should not give a penny to North Korea until all abductees are returned and North Korea apologizes for their gross inhumanity.

Japan must make its fundamental and totally justifiable principles perfectly clear and make both South and North Korea understand its position.

It is feared that the conflict between Japan and Korea may lead to unwanted results on both sides

In the first place, Japan’s rule over Korea was entirely legitimate, following international and domestic laws at the time. Expenditures during the period was largely due to Japan footing the bill. Japan did not go to war against South Korea and North Korea– Japan owes absolutely nothing to South Korea and North Korea.

However, exceptionally naive Japan continued to take care of Korea after the War, in the form of “economic aid” and not “compensation.” After every domestic economic crisis, Japan bailed South Korea out. By doing so, Japan naively hoped that “if South Korea became a rich country through Japan’s economic aid, there will be no anti-Japanese sentiment among the Koreans.”

However, quite contrary to Japan’s optimistic expectation, the official Korean view is that “Japan’s rule was an illegal occupation,” ever since Syngman Rhee’s distortion of history. However eagerly Japan helps South Korea with its finances, South Korea never thanked Japan, instead stating, “Japan’s aid is nothing compared with the grave crime it committed in the Korean Peninsula.” Rather than gratitude, fueled by extreme anti-Japanese propaganda, Korean anti-Japanese sentiment took on a life of its own and Korean wariness and spite rose to a religious level. Perceiving Korean hate, some Japanese say in resignation, “There is nothing that Japan can do towards Korea that would be of any help,” and an atmosphere of “leaving Asia” is now permeating discussion.

Is the present circumstance good for both countries?

Today, South Korea has the mistaken, hate-filled notion that Japan is the enemy, moving more and more towards North Korea and China. South Korea does not appear to see a North Korean “red unification” plot looming in the distance.

If the conflict between Japan and South Korea becomes heated over the “mobilized workers” lawsuits, the Japanese Government will refuse to allow the U.S. to use its military bases in Japan in case of an emergency in the Korean Peninsula. The Japanese Government will be no longer be able to subdue the disgust of the Japanese people: “Why do we have to be involved in Korea’s war?” If U.S. forces cannot use its Japanese bases, it will be impossible to stop a North Korean invasion and the turning of South Korea red under North Korea.

Even if there is no war, if conflict between Japan and South Korea runs to extremes, there is a possibility of red unification being realized in one swoop, with South Korea being prodded by North Korea’s appeal to Korean nationalism, “Now is the time for South and North to get together and compete with Japan.” However economically dominant South Korea may feel over North Korea, it may not be beyond the impossible that North Korea, through political manipulation, could totally swallow up Korea.

In fact, negotiations now under way between South and North Korea are going at North Korea’s pace and it makes us uneasy that Kim Jong-un’s popularity is rapidly rising in Korea. The worst-case scenario is the emergence of an Korean anti-Japanese communist state with nuclear weapons.

Should South Korea become red, “north of the 38th parallel” will drop down south to the Tsushima Straits and Japan will be directly threatened by China and a unified anti-Japanese Korea. Under the present circumstance, in which American military strength is gradually weakening, with a Japanese Constitution that does not recognize the state’s right to ‘belligerency’ and without firm resolve to defend the homeland, Japan will have no alternative but to be totally controlled by red anti-Japanese Korea and China. If Korea becomes red, Japan will lose its sovereignty. The on-going conflict between Japan and South Korea is exactly what China and North Korea want, which is something that is undesirable for both Japan and Korea.

Let’s remember the time when Japan and Korea fought together

It is urgent that South Korea recognize their true enemy. To do so, it is indispensable for the peoples of Japan and South Korea to revive and recognize true history. If both nations can share their valuable experience in the Greater East Asian War, in which both sides fought together, hard feelings between the two countries will instantly melt.

Before the outbreak of the Greater East Asian War, most Asian countries were under White colonial rule. America, in keeping with European colonialism, aimed for Manchuria and brought upon Japan, an obstacle against American ambition, an irresolvable predicament. Furthermore, when World War II broke out in Europe, Roosevelt forced an embargo upon Japan. Japan was finally forced to go to war with the U.S. presenting its demands in the “Hull note,” which were totally unacceptable to Japan.

Finally, Japan stood up. The only way possible for Japan to survive as a country was to move into East Asia, defeat White colonial rule and free captive nations, thereby initiating prosperity in a united Asia.

The goal of the Greater East Asian War was Asian self-defense and self-determination. This ideal was declared to the world at the Greater East Asian Conference held in Tokyo in 1943. In attendance were leaders from seven Asian countries.

The Korean people, too, enthusiastically supported the Greater East Asian War and many Korean youths volunteered to fight in the Japanese Army with Japanese people to realize a free Asia. In 1942, there were sixty-two times Korean applicants wanting to join the Army for available places..

Volunteers were not limited to the military. To support this “holy war,” many Korean men labored in mines and factories as “mobilized applicants” and women also volunteered for the Women’s Volunteers’ Corps, working diligently and aspiring to rival mainland Japanese women in work output.

Though Japan was defeated in the War, Asia was liberated from White colonial rule and a racially harmonious free world was realized. The Japanese and Korean people greatly advanced human progress by fighting together in the Greater East Asian War: this is real history. Korean people should not devalue themselves, as a “forcibly abducted and abused people.” Instead, they should have pride as a people who are successors to their great ancestors who fought for Asia.

The Japanese people should awaken from the self-depreciating view of history, sown after the War by outsiders, and deeply reflect on the fact that by repeating unnecessary apologies, Japan has bewildered and confused the Korean people.

If the peoples of Japan and Korea can share true history and have gratitude to their ancestors for having fought against White domination, both can talk about the issue of mobilized workers in terms of past hardship. A day will surely arrive, when Korean spite towards Japan will evaporate and the peoples of both countries, hand in hand, will lead Asia.

Column 5: Of those mobilized from Korea, merely 245 Koreans remained in Japan after the repatriation program was completed after the war.

The total number of Koreans who remained in Japan at the end of the War is estimated to have been about two million. By 1946, most of them returned home to Korea aboard ships provided by the Japanese Government and companies. About 300,000 Koreans who had been mobilized to work in Japan during the War and those who remained were to be sent home. According to a statement from the Foreign Ministry, as reported in the July 13, 1959 edition of The Asahi Newspaper, the number of registered Korean residents in Japan was 610,000 and among them merely 245 Korean were former mobilized workers. In addition, the Foreign Ministry clearly stated, “Except for criminals, Koreans now staying in Japan do so out of their own volition.”

Some argue that Korean residents in Japan from South and North Korea are former forcibly mobilized workers and their descendants and that, therefore, “they should be given the right to vote,” which is clearly wrong.


The blood running in our veins is from our ancestors. Depending on one’s blood, descendants may be greatly self-confident or keep a low-profile.

The United States, after having won over Japan in the Greater East Asian War, schemed to totally destroy the traditional Japanese spirit so that Japan may not rise again. For one, Japanese history was rewritten, and children were taught at school that “your ancestors invaded other countries and inflicted tremendous damages upon them,” thus robbing Japanese youths of their self-confidence and pride as Japanese. And now, as a result, the majority of Japanese people no longer possess either pride or love for their own country, let alone a determination to defend their own homeland.

In addition, as time goes by, Japanese self-flagellation is self-destructive. Professed liberals, claiming that “so long as Japan does not wage war, there will be peace in Asia,” totally rebuke attempts at self-defense and refuse to clearly inscribe a self-defense force in the Constitution. They repeatedly make baseless statements, like calling for the immediate abandonment of nuclear power, and work to weaken Japan’s national strength as they surely have latent a “desire for destroying their own country.” the liberal concept is that in today’s world, an aggressive country like Japan must be dismantled. The American “revisionist history” did much to weaken Japan and bore far more “fruit” than anyone expected.

Just look at the current international situation. China’s militaristic expansion threatens the global peace and the global economy. Nationalistic thinking is dominant worldwide. It is not too much to say that the world is now regressing to a state of “survival of the fittest”, or the law of the jungle, in which countries use force in the name of “national interest”. Japan can hardly afford to be the sole dreamer for a peaceful world. We need to look directly at reality make efforts to defend Japan, or the Japanese people will end up losing their sovereignty, being a nation of slaves to other countries.

I cannot help but wonder if the current historical distortion imposed on Japan is causing increasing numbers of young people to choose withdrawal socially, shutting themselves off from the rest of the world and giving up their careers as “useless” at an early stage of their lives.

How can children have confidence in themselves and live a bold life if they are taught with textbooks that state that they are descendants of murderers and must be careful not to repeat their murderous past. We have seen many boys and girls who are unable to cope with society’s ups and downs, becoming recluses at home, indulge in instant gratification, and unwillingly head toward self-destruction.

However, they, too, will surely recover if they learn that our Japanese ancestors were the first nonwhite people to modernize and prevented, at the last possible moment, White global domination and brought about today’s world of racial equality and non-discrimination.

They will be proud of the Japanese blood running in their veins and overcome obstacles that life throws at them with firm determination—they will feel proud they are Japanese boys and girls. They will in fact be spirited: “We will defend our country.”

That is why it is so important to learn from history. Just learning Japanese history as it is, and people will naturally feel gratitude to our ancestors and joy that we were lucky to be born Japanese.

However, such important Japanese history is now threatened by Korea and China. The threat is not comparable to American historical revision. Korea’s and China’s revision is backed by a conspiracy to disgrace and subjugate the Japanese people for eternity. And what’s more, in the conspiracy is ensconced a strong Korean sense of revenge. If we do nothing about this, our offspring will be destined to be humiliated and ruled by other countries.

I believe that the greatest responsibility of our generation living now is to resolutely cope with Korea’s and China’s historical distortion and fabrication, to faithfully keep our true history intact and regain our honor and pride as Japanese.

Reference and Bibliography


Record of My Gunkanjima, written by Kachi Hideo (Nagasaki Bunken-sha)
Testimonies of Forced Abduction of Koreans, written and compiled by Kim Chan-jong (Shin Jinbutsu Orai-sha)
The Record of Forced Abduction of Koreans, written by Park Kyon-sik (Mirai-sha)
Listen to Gunkanjima—A Record of Forcibly Abducted Koreans and Chinese in Hashima, published by the Society to Vindicate the Human Rights of Korean Residents in Nagasaki (Shakai Hyoron-sha)
Gunkanjima, Miraculous Industrial Assets, written by Kurosawa Naganori (Jitsugyo no Nihon-sha)
Introduction to Gunkanjima, written by Kurosawa Naganori (Jitsugyo no Nihon-sha)
The Heritage of Gunkanjima, co-written by Goto Keinosuke and Sakamoto Michinori (Nagasaki Newspaper Co.)
Burning Lone Island, written by Uchida Yoshiyuki (Bungei-sha)
Gunkanjima in My Memory, written by Ayai Ken (Libre Shuppan)
Gunkanjima I, written by Han Sui-seng (Sakuhin-sha)
Gunkanjima II, written by Han Sui-seng (Sakuhin-sha)
Gunkanjima—Shameful UNESCO World Heritage, written by Lee Munyon (Uri Education)
Hell Island Gunkanjima, written by Kim Yon-suk (Pullbit Publisher)
Photo Documentation—Chikuho, Gunkanjima, Forced Abduction of Koreans and Later Years, written by Hayashi Eidai (Gen Shobo)
Chikuho Seen through Walking All Over There—The Record of Korean Coal Miners, written by Kim Gwang-lie (Akashi Shoten)
A State of Extortion, written by Nishioka Tsutomu (WAC)
Comfort Women and Sex in the Battle Zone, written by Hata Ikuhiko (Shincho-Sensho)
The Army and Sex Violence—the 20th Century of the Korean Peninsula, compiled and written by So Rengyoku and Kim Ei (Gendai Shiryo Shuppan)
Gunkanjima and Combined Fleet, written by Kozato Gakushi (Bungei-sha)
Nagasaki Study 4, compiled by Nagasaki Bunken-sha, supervised by Society to Study Gunkanjima (Nagasaki Bunken-sha)
New History of Nagasaki City, Volume III, Modern Edition, compiled by Compilation Committee of History of Nagasaki City
Korea Fabricates History, written by Nakagawa Yatsuhiro (Tokuma Shoten)
Seodaemun Prison Historical Museum Booklet for Low Elementary School Grades (Seodaemun Prison Historical Museum)
Seodaemun Prison Historical Museum Booklet for Upper Elementary School Grades
(Seodaemun Prison Historical Museum)
Seodaemun Prison Historical Museum Booklet for Youths, (Seodaemun Prison Historical Museum)
Figures Tell History of Korean Residents in Japan, written by Morita Yoshio (Akashi Shoten)
The Collection of Materials Related to Korean Residents in Japan, Volume V, written by Park Kyon-sik (Sanichi Shobo)
Study of Colonized Korea, written by Sugimoto Mikio (Tenden-sha)
Hashima (Gunkanjima), compiled and published by Takashima Town, Nagasaki City

[Articles and Papers]
History of Coal Mines, Chronicle of Coal Mining in Nagasaki Prefecture, compiled by Maekawa Masao
Hyoron, September 2000 issue, “Fiction of the Alleged Forced Abduction of Koreans”, by Nishiokaa Tsutomu
Hanada, October 2017 issue, “Great Korean film Gunkanjima –lies of mobilized workers,” by Nishioka Tsutomu
Hanada, November 2017 issue, “Were mobilized workers unhappy? 1) Gunkanjima,” by Chung Dae-kyun
Hanada, December 2017 issue, “Were Korans unhappy? (2) Wartime mobilization,” by Chung Dae-kyun
Choice Toward Tomorrow, November 2002 issue, “What is Korean ‘forced abduction’ issue?”
SAPIO, October 2017 issue, “How to deal with Korea that fabricates history as national strategy,” by Sakurai Yoshiko
SAPIO, October 2017 issue, “Direct interviews with Mr. and Mrs. Kim, who made and spread statues of a comfort woman and a mobilized worker all over the world,” by Takenaka Akihiro
SAPIO, October 2017 issue, “The film Gunkanjima is the worst faked cinema in history.”
SAPIO, March-April 2018 issue, “A pack of lies of Koreans”
The Yomiuri Newspaper, morning edition of July 28, 2013, “’Law of emotion’ that distorts Korean diplomacy”
The Sankei Newspaper, dated February 8, 2017, “War of History”
The Sankei Newspaper, dated February 11, 2017, From Readers Service Room
The Sankei Newspaper, dated April 12, 2017, “War of History”
The Sankei Newspaper, dated June 7, 2017, “War of History—Anti-Japanese Network”
The Sankei Newspaper, dated December 4, 2017, “To the beautiful and strong country” by Sakurai Yoshiko
The Sankei Newspaper, dated December 24, 2017, “War of History”
Evening Fuji, January 30, 2017, “Special contribution from Mr. Hosoya Kiyoshi”
JAPANISM, 2016, Volume 32, “Never make Gunkanjima anti-Japanese propaganda!” by Ogawa Shigeki
Seiron, September 2017 issue, “Save world heritage ‘Gunkanjima’ from the Korean film’s fabrication” by Sugita Mio
Seiron, October 2017 issue, “Korean film Gunkanjima ‘s astounding anti-Japanese appeal” by Kuroda Katsuhiro
Seiron, January 2018 issue, “Mobilized workers made a modern Korean steel manufacturer” by Abe Nangyu
Rekishi-tsu, April 2017 issue, “Korea—Numerous lies of the ‘National Memorial Museum of Forced Mobilization under Japanese Occupation’” by Miwa Munehiro
Mr. Che SYoung’s Webpage: “So many evidences to indicate that the film Gunkanjima is faked.”
Hearing and on-the-Spot Survey in Hashima (Gunkanjima), written by Goto Keinosuke, Mori Toshio, Sakamoto Michinori and Kojima Takayuki (Nagasaki University, Faculty of Engineering report Vol.35, published in March 2005)
Nagasaki Junshin Catholic University, Faculty of Comparative Culture, Academic Society Report No. 5: “Notes for Gunkanjima” by Nagano Hideki

Profile: Matsuki Kunitoshi

Mr. Matsuki was born in 1950 in Yatsushiro City, Kumamoto Prefecture. He graduated from the Faculty of Law, Department of Political Science, Keiogijuku University in 1973.

He joined Toyota Trading Company in 1973 and worked for the company’s Seoul office from 1980 to 1984. He left Toyota Trading Company after rising to Deputy Chief Secretary and Deputy Chief of the Machinery Division.

He founded Matsuki Trading Company in 2004 and is now the company’s CEO. Currently, he is the head of the Institute to Study Modern and Contemporary History of Korea. He is also deputy chief of the Chofu branch of the Japan Conference and deputy chief of the Santama branch of The Society for Textbook Reform.

His books include Military Comfort Women—There was no forced abduction (Meisei-sha), The Truth is “Japan’s Annexation of Korea” Saved Korea (WAC), Thus Fabricated Korean “One Thousand Years’ Grudge” (WAC), Korea, Take Heed Not to Mistake Your True Enemy (WAC), The Truth Is Korean History Was Wonderful (Heart Publisher) and he also supervised the drafting of Now Is the Time to Apologize to Korea written by Hyakuta Naoki (Asuka Shin-sho).