In Japan-colonized Korea, everyone was required to perform the daily 7 am and 12 noon prayers. These 7 am and 12 noon prayers were mandatory in Korea, but not so in mainland Japan. There were usually loud sirens marking those two times of the day, and you had to immediately stop what you were doing and perform the prayers. As the following articles indicate, starting on August 12, 1943, even if you were driving a car or operating a train, you were required to immediately stop in the middle of the road or the tracks at 7 am and 12 noon sharp to perform the prayers.
The 7 am Kyūjō Yōhai ritual (宮城遥拝) involved deeply bowing several times in the direction of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo while standing, vowing loyalty to the Emperor. The noon prayer was a moment of silence in honor of the Imperial Japanese soldiers.
Enforcement of this rule was performed by the Korean Federation of National Power (国民総力朝鮮連盟, 국민총력조선연맹), which functioned as the one and only political party of Korea, the patriotic groups (JP: aikoku-han, KR: aeguk-ban, 愛國班), which were the local level neighborhood cells of the political party, and the police.
Gyeongseong Ilbo (Keijo Nippo) August 12, 1943
All vehicles must be stopped for the morning prayer and for the moment of silence at noon, effective today
Effective today, August 12, all vehicles must be stopped for the morning prayer and for the moment of silence at noon. At a regular press conference on August 11, Governor-General Koiso said, “Neither cars nor trains are stopping, even though they may have heard the sirens at noon,” and called for the transportation authorities to look into this. The Governor-General’s words were heard by the Gyeonggi Provincial Police Department, and he immediately ordered all trains, cars, rickshaws, and other vehicles to always stop for the Kyūjō Yōhai morning prayer and for the moment of silence at noon, just as ordinary pedestrians do, and he also instructed all police stations to ensure that drivers and others offer respectful prayers and moments of silence, so that his orders would be definitely executed.
Until now, government officials, merchants, farmers, and everyone else, whether at home or on foot, have always offered prayers and moments of silence. Once visitors set foot on the Korean peninsula, they voice their admiration seeing such a beautiful scene of people offering their prayers. Nevertheless, trains, cars, carts, and other vehicles have not stopped, but instead have sped along in clouds of dust past people offering their moments of silence. This unpleasant phenomenon was also lamented by the collective voices of the Korean Federation of National Power. On August 10th, the “Iron Rules for Life Fighting Decisive Battles” was issued by the Seoul Branch of the Korean Federation of National Power as a set of practical measures for the patriotic groups to follow, calling for all vehicles to be stopped to perform the morning prayer and the moment of silence. Starting today, all vehicles must stop immediately for the morning prayer and the moment of silence.
It is not too late!
Don’t cause traffic accidents
Message from Mr. Isaka, Chief of the Provincial Safety Division
The chief of the Gyeonggi Provincial Security Division, Mr. Isaka, urged all drivers to be careful when stopping their vehicles for the morning prayer and for the moment of silence at noon:
All vehicles should have already stopped to observe the morning prayer and moment of silence by now. However, it is not too late if we do it thoroughly even today. It was unpleasant to see just the cars not stopping while everyone else was stopping for prayers.
We will strictly admonish drivers who do not do this in the future. Cars, trains, and other vehicles must pay attention to their surroundings when stopping in order to prevent traffic accidents if the vehicles all stop at the same time.
For example, if five or six cars are traveling in a row when the car in front stops suddenly, and the car behind carelessly forgets to stop at the same time, there is a possibility of a rear-end collision. All vehicles should pay attention to these points to avoid traffic accidents.
Gyeongseong Ilbo (Keijo Nippo) August 13, 1943
Moment of Silence in the Train
The train conductor will remind you when the train is stopped
From August 12, all trains, cars, carts, and other vehicles are to stop for the Kyūjō Yōhai morning prayers and at noon for moment of silence, just as ordinary pedestrians do, and drivers are to offer morning prayers and moments of silence to pray for military victory and for the long life of the Imperial Japanese Military, as well as to encourage the spirit of respect for the gods and the ancestors. The director of the Transportation Department, Mr. Sakamoto, who is in charge of transportation for the one million inhabitants of Seoul, was asked about what measures he has taken for stopping the trains in Seoul.
“We immediately gathered all the employees together and urged them to thoroughly enforce the stopping of the trains. I believe that it is a necessary act for the national people on the home front to stop their cars for the morning prayer and for the moment of silence at noon to offer heartfelt thanksgiving. However, for various reasons, it is impossible for trains to stop exactly on time with the sirens, and there is also the fear that a sudden stop could result in a traffic accident. Therefore, when the sirens sound, we stop the train as soon as possible, and the train conductor informs the passengers that it is time for the morning prayer or the moment of silence. This is technically difficult, but I believe things will gradually improve through training.”