February 18, 1928 Gyeongseong Ilbo (Keijo Nippo)
Students of Japan proper who are ignorant about the situation in Korea
Mr. Mitsui the engineer recounts discussing the Korean problem at Kyoto University
Mr. Mitsui, an engineer with the Colonial Production Bureau of the Government General of Korea, traveled on business to Kyoto to give a lecture at Kyoto University on the history of agricultural policies in Korea. After he returned to his post in Korea on the 17th, he recounted the following regarding the ignorance of academics and researchers in Japan proper about the situation in Korea.
“The attendees who came to listen to my lecture were mostly students and professors from the economics department, and I spent over thirty minutes talking about the history of the agricultural policies of the Government General of Korea. Apparently, the people in Japan proper seem to be ignorant about the situation in Korea. With their ignorant minds, university professors discuss the rural problems of Korea in their writings. Then the students apparently read these writings, and something that is far separated from the actual reality of Korea is imprinted onto their minds. Topics such as the purpose of rice production and rice breeding plans, issues related to Japanese settlers migrating into Korea, and issues related to Koreans migrating into Manchuria are all very erroneously represented. The audience argued that it was unnatural for Koreans to eat chestnuts from Manchuria, and then ship off the rice that they themselves produced to Japan proper. As a counterattack, I asked if it was really unnatural to export silk thread produced in Japan proper to the United States, and for the Japanese to wear cotton cloth from India, and I asked whether or not this was really sacrificing the Japanese for American flappers. I argued that Koreans were not sacrificing themselves in favor of the Japanese people by shipping off Korean rice to Japan proper and eating chestnuts from Manchuria, but that this arrangement was for making life convenient for the Koreans themselves. The issues related to migration are talked about as if the migration of Japanese settlers were actually oppressing the Korean peasants, but it is actually more the case that, generally, the migration of Japanese settlers into Korea has enriched the Korean peasants. Because these things are not widely known, I talked about the history of agricultural policies in Korea and the reality of the rural communities in Korea, and the audience listened to my lecture very attentively.”
(my transcription into modern Japanese orthography, with punctuation marks added for clarity)
Reddit Link: In a 1928 news editorial, a colonial government official describes getting into an argument with students and professors opposed to Japan’s colonial policies in Korea during a lecture at Kyoto University : korea (reddit.com)