Monday, July 14, 2014

Korean Officers and Soldiers in the Imperial Japanese Army

Japan Killed Koreans?  No Way!

My previous post titled "Portrayals of Koreans in Unbroken" mentioned that there were Korean officers and solders in the Japanese Army during WWII.  Today I would like to introduce some Korean officers and soldiers.  

The first reason is that I want to challenge Hillenbrand's view toward Koreans.  The story of massacre in Tinian is hardly unlikely.  

The second reason is that nowadays I find some people misunderstand that Korea and China fought against Japan during WWII.

For example, this is the video of the Shangri-La Dialogue, where Japan's PM Abe addresses his keynote speech.  After the speech, a Chinese officer asks a question,

 "...Yasukuni Shrine, ...Millions of Millions of peoples of China and Koreans ... have been killed by the Japanese Army..."  

The question starts around 35:00.

Japan killed millions of Koreans?  No way!  Actually Japanese and Koreans fought against Chinese!  (but not against the Chinese Communist Party, they were hiding in the mountains.)

I find this misunderstanding in western media and other media, even Iranian media.  What is going on?  Have Chinese and Koreans started another propaganda campaign?

Korean Officers and Soldiers in the Imperial Japanese Army

Korean Officers

Lieutenant General, Prince Imperial Yeong, or Prince Yi Un, with his Japanese wife Princess Yi Bang-ja (nee Princess Masako of Nashimoto).  He spent almost all his life in Japan.  Fearing Prince might take over his position, the first president of Rep. of Korea did not allow him to return to Korea. 

Colonel, Prince Yi Wu, who was killed by the atomic bomb blast in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.

Lieutenant General Hong Sa-ik, who was executed in Manila as a war criminal by the Allied after WWII.

He was Korean in the highest rank in the Imperial Japanese Army.  Here is a Korean news article in 1920, proudly reporting that he joined the Army College.
 See,  Koreans could use Hangul during the annexation period!

Major General Kim Suk-won, who commanded about 2,000 servicemen in Sino-Japanese War. After independence of Republic of Korea, he served the Korean Army, where his rank was Brigadier General.

Korean Soldiers

Almost all Korean soldiers were volunteers. Conscription was introduced in the Korean peninsula only in 1944.  But Japan had surrendered when Korean draftees were still under training.

This is a video about Korean volunteers in the Imperial Japanese Army, showing people celebrating the departure of Korean volunteers in the peninsula, their physical exam, and stats. At 2:18, an old veteran appears.  He says, in Korean, that he fought for Japan, risking his life, and starts singing Japanese songs.  He still remembers Japanese!

Impressive are the stats.  In 1938, out of 2,946 applicants, 406 volunteers were admitted.  In 1940, out of 84,443 applicants, 3,060 were admitted.  In 1942, out of 254,272 applicants, 4,077 were admitted.  The number of applicants kept increasing.

Do you think miserable Koreans were forced to volunteer?  If they didn't want to join, they didn't have to.  The selection was quite competitive.  They had to risk their lives in the battle field.

Korean Kamikaze

There were around twenty Korean Kamikaze pilots.  Among them is Captain Tak Kyung-hyun or Fumihiro Mitsuyama in his Japanese name.

 Just like many other Kamikaze pilots, he was trained in Chiran, Kagoshima Prefecture.  His famous episode was that the night before leaving for his mission, he sang Arilang, or a Korean folk song to Tome Torihama. 
Tome Torihama is remembered as mother of Kamikaze pilots.  Running a small restaurant in Chiran, she took a good care of Kamikaze's.

Tome Torihama with six Kamikaze pilots.

President Park Chung-hee!

And we shouldn't forget this guy.  Former Korean President, and the father of the current President Park Geun-hye.
Park Chung-hee graduated from Changchun Military Academy of the Manchukuo Imperial Army as the top of his class and then joined the Imperial Japanese Army Academy, where he graduated as the his class.  He was a lieutenant in Japan's Kwangtung Army at the end of WWII.
As Korean President, he brought a remarkable economic growth to his country.

With many Korean officers and tons of Korean soldiers, could the Japanese Army kill Korean workers in Tinian?  Hillenbrand's view is quite biased.


  1. Are you crazy? Of course Japanese killed Koreans. Thousands of them too! And guess what, i'm a korean too so i know that the Japanese soldiers mass executed Korean people. They burned down houses, if koreans didn't pay taxes, they executed them, and also forced Koreans to join the Japanese army! the high ranking officers were forced to do since their families life was at stake. And most of the news are like north korean fake news.

    1. Population in Korea during Japanese rule.
      1920 17,264,119
      1930 21,058,305
      1933 20,160,000
      1940 24,326,327
      1944 25,120,000

      "Japanese mass executed Korean people!!" Really, the population grew instead. And this is during the time when the world was having the biggest war in the history. Please study the facts instead of accepting the propaganda.

    2. Since the start of the Japanese rule in 1910, the population in Korea almost doubled from 13,130,000 to 25,120,000 in 1944.

      In a meantime, according to people like you, Japanese mass executed Koreans, burnt down their houses, kidnapped hundreds and thousands of women and sent them to brothels overseas, sent men to concentration camps in Japan and overseas for forced labor.

      In reality, the Korean population and economy blossomed instead. Just look at these numbers. You can also look at the economic figures as well. These are the facts.