Angry Koreans filed numerous complaints against local Imperial Japanese party officials for abuse of power, only to be told publicly by General Secretary Hada to stop complaining and obey their patriotic group leaders with harmony and gratitude for their leaders’ hard work (Chungcheongnam-do, 1943)

This is my translation and transcription of a news article from Keijo Nippo, a propaganda newspaper and mouthpiece of the government of Japan-colonized Korea. This has never been republished or translated before, to the best of my knowledge.

I found this article very interesting, since it is very rare to find a Keijo Nippo article which says anything negative about the leaders of the single ruling party of Japan-colonized Korea: the Korean Federation of National Power (国民総力朝鮮連盟, 국민총력조선연맹). 

Yet here was General Secretary Hada of the party mentioning that many complaints were filed against town-level party leaders, presumably for too much dining and entertainment. This would have been extremely tone-deaf and inappropriate in 1943 amid total war against the US as food shortages were becoming severe. The fact that Hada had to address this issue publicly in the national newspaper suggests to me that the complaints were becoming too loud for him to ignore, and public discontent against colonial rule in Korea was bubbling to the surface. 

This article mentions Fuyo Shrine, which was a Shinto shrine that was still under construction in Chungcheongnam-do by the time World War II ended in 1945, and was eventually torn down.


Gyeongseong Ilbo (Keijo Nippo) September 14, 1943

Don’t say any complaints or grievances!

Get through the war with collective mutual aid

Interview with General Secretary Hada

[Photo: Federation General Secretary Hada]

General Secretary Hada of the Korean Federation of National Power met with Federation reporters at 10:30 a.m. on the 13th in his office. He spoke for an hour about the spirit of work under the war and his attitude toward labor service at the Fuyo Shrine construction site, and also encouraged the leaders of the patriotic groups.

He said, “I recently returned from the northern Korean regions via Gangwon-do and Gyeonggi-do, and when I looked at the rice crop along these routes, I found that the areas with good harvests were much better, while the areas around the Gyeongwon line were very bad. The strange thing was that in the areas where the rice production was good, the farmers worked hard and did not put in even a single blade of grass.

On the other hand, in the bad areas, it was hard to tell the rice stalks apart from the grass. This was exactly the opposite situation from the areas where the rice production was good. If the rice is not yet dead, but the farmers have the spirit of agriculture, they must be willing to harvest even one extra grain of rice. This is partly the responsibility of the leaders, but looking at the war, we shouldn’t easily shift from joy when the war is going well to disappointment in tumultuous times.

Even when the war is temporarily disadvantageous for us, we must redouble our fighting spirit and rush to the final victory. Look at the example of poor Italy. Even though they are so weak, it was wrong for them to give up. We must fight and fight to the end and win. The agricultural spirit must also have this kind of fighting spirit burning within.

◇… There are many people who constantly go to the Fuyo Shrine construction site to serve, and some of them are very serious and efficient, but others do not know why they are there or do not know whether they have come to do some sightseeing. Among these unsatisfactory service groups are the patriotic groups and students from secondary schools, especially girls’ schools. This is extremely regrettable. Proper guidance and attitudes of the leaders are especially desired.

◇… It is difficult for me to say this, but recently I have received an increasing number of letters of complaint against the town-level leaders of the patriotic groups of the Federation. The complaints are not entirely true. It could be that they are being needlessly criticized and spoken ill of as supplies become tighter, and the complainers have no mental preparedness to overcome this situation. If the patriotic group members are not in harmony during decisive battles, then the activities of the Federation will be in trouble. Even if they have complaints or grievances, they should at least be grateful to the leader of the patriotic group for his hard work while he is busy. Unlike the Army or government offices, the Federation does not have a strict chain of command, but we must obey each other wholeheartedly with gratitude and harmony. There needs to be a manifestation of true kindness in the midst of war in which people yield to one another. On the other hand, it is not good if the town-level leader of the patriotic group of the Federation tries to take advantage of his privileges or position of power. Japan will be strong only if we can overcome the current situation by collective mutual aid.

◇… The Federation Secretariat has decided to absolutely forbid the use of meals or invitations to entertain others in accordance with the Practical Guidelines for Decisive Battle Lifestyle that we have already put into practice. If it is necessary and unavoidable, we have set an internal rule not to use alcoholic beverages. I hope this will be of some help to the general public.”

Guardian deity for continental warriors

Guidelines for establishing shrines for Korean settler communities

The Korean Settlers’ Organization in Manchuria has often applied for permission to dedicate a shrine to the group’s guardian deity, and although this type of permission is not explicitly stated in the Shrine Regulations of Manchuria, the requests for this type of permission have grown so strong that the Embassy’s Department of Education in Manchuria, the competent authority, has decided on new shrine establishment guidelines for the Korean Settlers’ Organization, with the aim of fostering a sense of reverence for the gods and spiritual unity among the settlers.

The guidelines state that only pioneer settlements with more than 500 houses and safe farming villages would be allowed to establish shrines. However, the deity to be worshiped shall be generally Amaterasu (Goddess of the Sun). The sacred spirit must be received with a Jingu Taima (exorcism stick), separately from the Jingu Jinmusho (Shrine of Emperor Jinmu). The temple shall have an area of at least 1 tsubo (1.5 square meters), and the facilities shall at least have a temple, torii gate, and tamagaki (fence surrounding the shrine). The hall of offerings, hall of worship, and other facilities shall be constructed in accordance with the development of the settlers’ group. A standardized construction style shall be determined in accordance with the Education Department of Manchuria. 



京城日報 1943年9月14日