A Korean father spent 8 years looking for the right prospective husband who only spoke Japanese and was a “true Imperial subject” to marry his eldest daughter, who was the only child who could speak Korean, while her 3 younger sisters spoke only Japanese (Yeongdeungpo, 1942)


Notes: Back row left-to-right: father Manjirō (~42), mother Taeko (~35), daughter Hatsuko (~14). Front row left-to-right: daughters Sadako (~5), Sadae (~9), Yoshiko (~2) assuming this photo was taken around 1930.

More “Model Korean Families” are featured in Keijo Nippo at this link: https://exposingimperialjapan.com/search/label/Model%20Korean%20Family


Gyeongseong Ilbo (Keijo Nippo) May 19, 1942

The Unification of Japan and Korea starts with the Japanese Language

The “regular use of the Japanese language” is a family rule

More active guidance is needed
Mr. Hiranuma Manjirō tells his story

Yeongdeungpo, the capital of industry, boasts the best of the Korean peninsula. The movement for the complete understanding of the Japanese language, which was stirred up in the rhythm of the construction project for Greater East Asia, is still ongoing today. When we visited Hiranuma Manjirō (54) at 46-Yeongdeungpo, where a “household dedicated to the Japanese language” was beautifully blooming in the shadows of this movement, we found his wife Taeko (47), second daughter Sadae (21), third daughter Sadako (17), and fourth daughter Yoshiko (14) surrounding his eldest daughter Hatsuko (26) and looking extremely happy. That’s no wonder. Hatsuko’s arranged marriage had been finalized. The reporter immediately turned to Mr. Hiranuma, the head of the household, to offer his congratulations, but Mr. Hiranuma shot back, “Congratulations are great, but our good fortune is little bit different this time”. Mr. Hiranuma continued,

“You cannot be a true Imperial subject without knowing the Japanese language. This is my belief. I had been secretly praying for the people of the Korean peninsula to be actively trained in the regular use of the Japanese language, when the movement for the complete understanding of the Japanese language started surging like a flood, which was followed by the excitement of the century! It took me eight years to finally find a son-in-law for my eldest daughter, Hatsuko, from a family that also regularly used the Japanese language, aiming for someone who would serve the nation as an Imperial subject. I was as happy as if we were celebrating the Obon Lantern Festival and New Year’s Day together, just like when it was decided to implement the conscription system in Korea”. His dark round face broke into a smile with joy that was too much to contain. He continued,

“Eighteen years ago, in the fall of 1924, when Hatsuko was eight and Sadako was three, our family of four traveled to Japan proper and lived in Osaka, Yokohama, and Sendai for eleven years. Since then, our family lifestyle has become Japanese, and we came to regularly use the Japanese language. In particular, our second daughter Sadae went to Japan proper before learning Korean, and our third daughter Sadako and fourth daughter Yoshiko were born in Japan proper. So, not only do they not know Korean at all, but they also speak Japanese very beautifully and correctly, so much so that they always teach us what is wrong with our accents. By the time we returned to Korea in 1935, the Japanese language had already been well developed in Korea, so there was not much of a problem. However, since the Japanese language was not yet widely spoken in general, our children who did not understand Korean at all encountered a lot of trouble, and we came to use a lot of Korean whenever we went out. As a result, our Japanese language skills became progressively worse. Every time our Japanese became worse, we wondered to our disappointment why our Korean compatriots, who were technically Japanese people, were not being actively encouraged to learn the Japanese language. However, time has solved that problem, as the movement for the regular use of the Japanese language has been launched, and there is nothing happier than this.”

This praise-worthy household is a love nest that thrives on the excitement of the century that was established in the rhythm of love for the Japanese language. [Photo: Mr. Hiranuma’s family]

(End Translation)

Source: https://www.archive.org/details/kjnp-1942-05-19

Notes: The article says that Sadako was three years old in 1924, but that would make her 21 years old in 1942. I think they meant Sadae, not Sadako, was three years old in 1924.

The father says that the Koreans were technically Japanese people. This refers to the prevalent theory at the time that, when Korea was annexed into Imperial Japan in 1910, the Koreans in Korea automatically became Japanese people in theory, and it was up to the government to make the Koreans become Japanese people in practice. Quoting a Japanese CEO of Kyoden Corporation in an article in 1943:

As is clear from the Imperial Rescript on the annexation of Japan and Korea, it was an annexation, not a union. Therefore, the Koreans have become Japanese since that time, and it is natural that there should be no discrimination against Koreans in employment issues. However, this is of course an ideal, and it is not possible for an ideal to be implemented 100% immediately. To make the ideal into reality, I think that things should proceed gradually in incremental steps.

Yeongdeungpo was a small satellite town on the outskirts of Seoul across from the Han river, but rapidly becoming an industrial hub in the 1940’s. It is now just another neighborhood of Seoul. This old map of Greater Seoul from 1927 shows its location back then, which I annotated for clarity.


京城日報 1942年5月19日