Imperial Japanese penal officials brag about brainwashing Korean ‘ideological criminals’ (a.k.a. independence activists) in ‘Yamato cram schools’ and converting them into enthusiastic collaborators willing to die shouting ‘Banzai to the Emperor!’ (Seoul 1943)

These are very interesting articles describing Korean ‘ideological criminals’, many of whom had upper class Yangban backgrounds, and how they were dealt with in the Imperial Japanese penal system in Korea during the colonial period. By ‘ideological criminals’, I suppose they mean Korean independence activists, who had to operate clandestinely and furtively inside Korea while trying to avoid getting caught by the ubiquitous Kenpeitai secret police. Many lived double lives, perhaps teaching Imperialist ideology as teachers during the day, but secretly supporting the resistance movement when no one was looking (see my previous post, which was entitled ‘Japanese teacher in Japan-colonized Korea punished her Korean students for speaking Korean and imposed Imperial Way ideology on them during WWII…‘). So, many Koreans were actually able to say the right words and do the right things to satisfy the Imperial Japanese colonial officials who monitored them to convince them that they were ‘true Imperial Japanese people’, when in fact it was all just an act and they were actually actively resisting the regime.

These articles mention the Korean Federation of National Power (国民総力朝鮮連盟, 국민총력조선연맹), which functioned as the one and only political party that you could belong to in totalitarian Japan-colonized Korea, spreading the regime’s Imperial Way ideology across Korea and reinforcing Imperial rule over Korea.

The second article describes the Seongam Academy, which was an abusive orphanage that was actually kept open through the Park Chung-hee and Chun Doo-hwan periods until 1982. 


Gyeongseong Ilbo (Keijo Nippo) September 10, 1943

Talking about Judicial Protection

Roundtable discussion organized by the head office of Keijo Nippo newspaper – Part 1

Training begins with the family

Lots of ideological criminals in the Yangban class

Speakers (in no particular order)

  • Mr. Fukuzō Hayata, Director of the Legal Affairs Bureau of the Governor-General’s Office
  • Mr. Michiyoshi Masuda, President of Seoul Law School
  • Major Nishida, Director of Seoul Naval War Office
  • Mr. Norimitsu Ohno, Director of the Seoul Court of Inquiry
  • Mr. Yūzō Nagasaki, Director of Seoul Probation Office
  • Mr. Utarō Sakafuji, Administrative Officer of the Legal Affairs Bureau’s Criminal Affairs Division
  • Mr. Yasunori Miyazaki, Secretary of the Criminal Affairs Division, Bureau of Justice
  • Mr. Shizuo Kojima, Director, Ideology Division, Korean Federation of National Power
  • Mr. Shōichi Fujii, Seongam Academy
  • Mr. Masataka Ōkubo, Director of Yasaka Youth Dōjō
  • Keijo Nippo: Mr. Akio, Director of Editorial Department, [illegible] Director of Social Affairs Department

To carry out the great will of Emperor Meiji who has long said, “If I have sin, reprove me, for the divine people of Amatsu are my own flesh and blood”, and with determination not to let a single person fail in our 100 million strong force, a ‘judicial protection campaign’ has been launched in all of Korea on the 2nd of this month, and a “Judicial Protection Day” will be celebrated on the 13th. In anticipation of this day, the head office of this newspaper held a “Judicial Protection Roundtable Discussion” at the former Dutch consulate in Takezoe-chō (present-day Chungjeong-ro), Seoul on the second day of the month.

If society frowns on someone who has committed a crime in the past but makes a vow to be rehabilitated and re-enter society, what will happen to that person’s resolve? That is not good. Let us give them a warm hand and encourage them mentally and materially, guiding and assisting them so that they will not commit crimes again, and they will be able to further progress to become useful members of the nation. We will also secure human resources and stabilize the lives of the people while waging decisive battles. The following is the voice of the leadership, who are deeply involved in the judicial protection project. Photo: Roundtable discussion

Mr. Akio, Director of Editorial Department: On September 13th and 14th, a ‘judicial protection campaign’ will be held in all of Korea under the auspices of the Korean Federation of National Power and the Korean Association for Judicial Protection. Today, we would like to hear your opinions on this campaign for the protection of justice. We would like to contribute to the advancement of the judicial protection services, which play an important role in strengthening human resources in wartime and ensuring public safety on the home front.

As the war becomes more serious and severe, the public tends to forget about the humble work of judicial protection services. There is an urgent need to increase production, which has human resources as its basic element. The importance of the judicial protection services, which contribute to the enhancement of human resources, is not yet well understood by the general public.

I have heard that the number of released prisoners on the Korean peninsula is increasing year by year. If these people are not accepted by society because they have served sentences, or if they commit crimes again because society gives them a cold treatment, their productivity will be hampered. If these people are warmly embraced, properly guided, rehabilitated, and allowed to fully demonstrate their abilities, we will not only see an upsurge in righteousness, but we will also be able to help strengthen our productive capacity.

Keijo Nippo Reporter: Mr. Akio the Editorial Director just mentioned this, but I would like to ask your opinion on this campaign in terms of so-called human resource development for the judicial protection service, securing public safety, and various other aspects.

Mr. Yūzō Nagasaki, Director of Seoul Probation Office: Human resources are the most fundamental factor in increasing our military strength. It is said that a person must be 18 years old before he can be useful, but most of the people who are eligible for judicial protection are young men who just need to have their crookedness corrected, so I believe that judicial protection is necessary especially in times of war because of its usefulness in terms of human resources.

Secondly, if police officers were to follow each and every ideological criminal during this war to secure public safety, 30,000 police officers would be needed, since there are 30,000 ideologically involved people in all of Korea. I think it would be a great job to judicially protect them and prevent even one of them from being pulled in by the police.

Thirdly, we should use these people for production. Since these ideological criminals (especially Korean ideological criminals) are all talk and no action, we at the probation office, through the Yamato Cram Schools, have been focusing our efforts in the area of supervised work programs, telling them that they should do whatever the state requires, without asking any reasons as to why.

Speaking of the results of putting the ideologically involved people in judicial protection and what the circumstances were like, it was in December 1936 that the probation office was set up. Up to that time, however, 10 to 20 percent of the ideologically involved people were re-offending after being released. But after the probation office was established, not even one out of every 50 people who were taken into custody had re-offended. Whereas previously the released offenders were taking passive stances in agreeing not to engage in ideological movements, now they have taken more active stances in not only agreeing not to engage in ideological movements, but also actively serving the state as Japanese people. I believe this is a victory for judicial protection.

Furthermore, in Korea, they have been promoting the Japanese language through the Yamato Cram Schools as the spearhead of Japanese-Korean unification. I confidently believe that they will surely go on to die shouting “Banzai to the Emperor!”

Keijo Nippo Reporter: So that means the people who are ideologically active are in the young age ranges.

Mr. Nagasaki: Well, from around the third year of junior high school. More than 60% of them are in the 20-years-old to 30-years-old age group.

Keijo Nippo Reporter: The question is how to guide these young people in the right direction, or in other words, how to make them into Imperial people…

Mr. Nagasaki: I think the key is first of all in the training of Korean families. For example, I have researched those who were involved in nationalist movements during their student days in Korea, and found that many of them were children of the old Joseon dynasty’s Yangban class coming from substantial family backgrounds. They complain to their families that they could have had happier lives if had lived under the old Joseon dynasty. They hear these complaints and start to engage in these kinds of movements without even realizing it. The reason why the young people are involved in these kinds of movements is that they do not know the past and present of Korea and how they were oppressed by the rulers of the old Joseon dynasty. The other thing is to give hope to these Koreans by showing them what the situation of the world was like back then. Then, in my opinion, those who do well are to be really adored and pulled along. On the other hand, I think that those who do not do well will have to be thoroughly suppressed.

Mr. Satō, Director of Judicial Protection Division: According to the statistics from two to three days ago, the worst offenders in the preventive detention centers in Korea are between 30 and 40 years old, and two-thirds of them are in that age group. I guess that means they are the worst in terms of ideology.

Mr. Hayata, Director of the Legal Affairs Bureau: I recently heard that an offspring of an upper class family in Korea is now in prison for an ideological crime, but that man is actually not so bad. But, according to what he says, he says that he had to become like them because all the people who came in and out of his family home were all ideologically strange. Once you start getting interested in such things, you naturally get led into such a situation. That is why family is so important.

Keijo Nippo Reporter: What kinds of people gather at Yasaka Youth Dōjō?

Mr. Masataka Ōkubo: Recently, we have received about 10 juvenile offenders from the Juvenile Court, and before that, we had about 10 poor children in the Dōjō, but I have decided to give them a thorough patriotic nationalist education. From May, we have especially been encouraging morning visits to the Shinto shrine, and in the evenings, we have them worshiping their ancestors and reading the Heart Sutra, which they are also listening to in translation, and they seem to be getting better. Unfortunately, Korean children are very materialistic compared to Japanese children. There are currently two Japanese children mixed in with the Korean children. The Japanese children simply do their best to do as they are told. On the other hand, the Korean children seem to calculate how much money they can earn if they work outside for how long.

Keijo Nippo Reporter: Are there ideological criminals among them as well?

Mr. Ōkubo: At present, there are none, although they all have such tendencies.


Gyeongseong Ilbo (Keijo Nippo) September 11, 1943

Talking about Judicial Protection

Roundtable discussion organized by the head office of Keijo Nippo newspaper – Part 2

Give “light” to the way forward!

The age range when ideologies easily develop

Keijo Nippo Reporter: The children Seongam Island are not so much in the ideological phase, but rather in a pre-ideological phase.

Mr. Shōichi Fujii: Those children do not have such a will. They just want to eat as much as they can.

Keijo Nippo Reporter: I think that the operations on Seongam Island demonstrate that even those in the early stages of ideological development would be in trouble if they were left to their own devices.

Mr. Fujii: That’s right. There are currently 250 children on Seongam Island. Of these, only about 60 were enrolled in elementary school, and the rest do not attend school. Therefore, since we have recently been working toward the regular use of the Japanese language, around 100 out of the 250 children can now understand the Japanese language, so now anyone who comes and speaks to them can at least be understood. Since they are all vagrant children, the entire staff was anxious and also curious about the nature of the children, but they were surprised to find that the quality of the children was very good. So out of the 250 children, up to 200 were normal children, and they were definitely not abnormal children. We could see that with proper guidance, they would be able to make a certain amount of progress. Most of them are normal children. Since these normal children have become this way because of their environment, we believe that these children will improve considerably if they are educated.

However, as I mentioned earlier, it is necessary to give them a guiding light. The children are anxious about how long they will be kept on the island and where they will be taken when they are taken away, and this may cause them to run away from the island.

Recently, one company has approached me to negotiate for a continuous supply of students. Recently, I have been thinking of continuously sending children to that company. When I told the children about this, they were very happy and said, “Teacher, we won’t run away anymore”.

Keijo Nippo Reporter: How much of the Greater East Asia War do these children have in their minds?

Mr. Fujii: We put up maps in each dormitory and explain the war using the newspaper almost every morning and evening.

Keijo Nippo Reporter: Mr. Masuda, could you tell us about the issue of teaching young students during their most important period of ideological development?

Mr. Masuda: According to a survey conducted by Mr. Itō, a prosecutor at the Prosecutor’s Office, 40% of those with criminal records re-offend in a year. In other words, they are doing it again before six months have passed. Therefore, rather than just putting criminals in judicial protection, it is better to take a closer look at those who have just gotten out of prison. It would be more effective to take a closer look at those who have received probation. Still more effective would be to take a closer look at those who have received suspended indictments. This is what is said in general about those who receive judicial protection, and I think it is true. Speaking of prosecutions and trial sentences, in Korea, I think they should take this one step further and give greater recognition to the importance of judicial protection or public safety.

In the history of our rule over Korea, the Governor-General has always said that public safety comes first, even at meetings of the police chiefs. Recently, it seems to me that the government has gone so far as to put industry first. I think that while public safety and industry are important, I would like to see a little more serious consideration given to education, and they should cooperate with us more in this regard. Society’s intellectuals criticize education and disparage educators. However, I would like them to think about the importance of education and be kind to educators.

Recently, all of us principals of specialized schools from Korea attended a meeting of principals of specialized schools in mainland Japan, and it was reported that only about 2% of the students in mainland Japan are Korean. However, the percentage of the total number of ideological criminal incidents in mainland Japan in which Korean students are involved is said to be over 50 percent, even though the number of Korean students in mainland Japan is very small. And when we look at who uses the Korean language, we find that those who have gone to school in mainland Japan tend to use the Korean language more. What we need to consider is that young people are innocent, perceptive, and have a strong sense of justice, and that we might be able to help them with our guidance. Up until now, we have been policing with a public safety first policy, but I think that society in general needs to ensure that education is truly thorough. I also think about the following:

When we were young, the concept of the rise and fall of a nation did not resonate in our minds as strongly as it does today. In this respect, today’s youth are blessed. Therefore, I think that it is not good for educators to think in the old-fashioned way, but rather, they must work together with their students, taking one step or even a thousand steps forward, with the intention of leading their students. Training is fine, but I think the most important part of training is education. The more the young people put in the effort when they are young, the more they will become great.

Those who commit ideological crimes among the youth due to ideological problems are rounded up, tried, put in jail, and placed on probation when they get out. The bad ones who are not agreeable are placed in preventive detention centers. This is fine, but why don’t we put more effort into educating young people?

Keijo Nippo Reporter: We have just talked about the spirit of determination in battle or enthusiasm of the students and the youth. Mr. Kojima, what are your thoughts about ideological problems in general?

Mr. Kojima, Director, Ideology Division, Korean Federation of National Power: First of all, we believe that the purpose of judicial protection is to prevent the creation of ideological criminals in the first place. Therefore, the national movement focuses on the purification of society or the establishment of a direct and positive national faith. In dealing with ideologies, we have not been able to extend our reach into the realm of morality. Therefore, we must establish a faith that penetrates more deeply into our daily lives, and of course, we must establish a national faith centering on Shinto shrines that is thoroughly grounded in the true meaning of the national identity. The most important way for the national movement to respond to the demands of the times is to direct the so-called joyous power that gushes out from the soul of the individual to the most efficient means of increasing the war potential and, in particular, production.

In this regard, while there is a need to improve the labor system, the fundamental emphasis is on the establishment of a view of Imperial labor. In other words, the current situation is that we are trying to establish our ideology from two aspects: the establishment of national consciousness and the establishment of this view of Imperial labor. We hope to create a better social environment from these two aspects, just as the pure flow of water has the power to purify.


(End of Translation)

Korean-language article about the abuses at Seongam Academy, which apparently continued operating until 1982:

Japanese-language article about the abuses at Seongam Academy:

This center memorializes the victims of Seongam Academy:


京城日報 1943年9月10日


語る人 (順序不同)
  • 総督府法務局長 早田福蔵氏
  • 京城法学専門校長 増田道義氏
  • 京城海軍武官府 西田少佐
  • 京城覆審法院部長 大野憲光氏
  • 京城保護観察所長 長崎祐三氏
  • 法務局行刑課事務官 坂藤宇太郎氏
  • 同刑事課事務官 宮崎保典氏
  • 朝鮮聯盟思想課長 小島倭夫氏
  • 仙甘学園 藤井祥一氏
  • 弥栄青少年道場長 大久保真敬氏
  • 本社側: 秋尾編輯局長 ?社会部長





















京城日報 1943年9月11日