In 1938, an Imperial Japanese ideologue took over Chungshin Girls’ High School in Seoul and replaced prayers with moments of silence for the Imperial military, replaced bible readings with Imperial vows, and scrubbed foreigners from school portraits

Chungshin (정신) Girls’ High School is a private school in Seoul that was founded by Dr. Horace Underwood, an American missionary who also founded Yeonhui College, the predecessor of Yonsei University. In 1938, the American principal of the school was removed and replaced with an Imperial Japanese ideologue, who proceeded to dechristianize the school, replacing morning prayers with moments of silence for the Imperial Japanese military, and replacing bible readings with Imperial Japanese vows. In 1942, he also removed the American principals and teachers from the school portraits.

The Imperial Japanese vow (皇国臣民ノ誓詞), which the high school girls were forced to recite instead of the usual bible readings, was promulgated throughout Korea on October 2, 1937. It was actually drafted by a Korean collaborator named Lee Gag-jong (李覺鐘), and then finalized by then Governor of occupied Korea, Minami Jiro. The vow is as follows. 

  • 私共は、大日本帝国の臣民であります。
  • 私共は、心を合わせて天皇陛下に忠義を尽します。
  • 私共は、忍苦鍛錬して立派な強い国民となります。
  • 我等は皇国臣民なり、忠誠以て君国に報ぜん。
  • 我等皇国臣民は互に信愛協力し、以て団結を固くせん。
  • 我等皇国臣民は忍苦鍛錬力を養い以て皇道を宣揚せん。
  • We are subjects of the Great Empire of Japan.
  • We are united in our hearts in our loyalty to His Majesty the Emperor.
  • We will persevere and train ourselves to become a fine and strong people.
  • We are subjects of the Imperial State, and we will repay the sovereign nation with loyalty.
  • We, the subjects of the Imperial State, shall love and cooperate with each other, and thus solidify our unity.
  • We, the subjects of the Imperial State, shall cultivate the power of endurance and discipline, and thereby proclaim the Imperial Way.


Gyeongseong Ilbo (Keijo Nippo) February 5, 1942

Changing bible readings into Imperial Japanese vows

Seoul Chungshin Girls’ School to remove US influences

Principal Igaki says “Focus on education for Imperial Japanese subjects”

Seoul Chungshin Girls’ School in Hyehwa-dong, which used to be an American school having a history of 54 years since being established in the peninsula, had become a tool of the vicious Anglo-American religious invasion into East Asia, feeding off of the young people of the peninsula for many years as a girls’ school founded by the American missionary Underwood, the protagonist whose statue has already been removed from the garden of Yeonhui Specialized School.
This had been the concern of the school’s principal, Mr. Igaki Hao, ever since he followed in the footsteps of the previous principal, M.L. Smith, in 1938. The removal of the foreign teachers in the commemorative photos of the graduates displayed in the school is now finally underway.
In order to change the heavy religious atmosphere of the school which he encountered upon taking office, Principal Igaki replaced the morning prayers with moments of silence for the Imperial Japanese Military, and changed the bible readings into vows of Imperial Japanese subjects, so that Christianity could be deprived of its place, and so that he could reboot the school and switch all educational methods into those for raising up Imperial Japanese subjects. 
For four years since then, he has been steadily building up on his accomplishments. As one of his last remaining tasks, Principal Igaki said that, given the current school culture, it would not be interesting to leave the arrogant appearance of the former principal Smith and other foreign teachers in the commemorative photos of the school’s graduates, as if they were a testament to the power of the past. With the progress of the Greater East Asia War and the spectacular fall of Singapore just around the corner, he decided to remove them from the commemorative photos.
In regards to this, the school principal acknowledged that, when graduates visited the school not so long ago, the fact that their former teachers had disappeared from their dear commemorative photos did not fail to evoke a certain sense of sentimentality among them. However, he emphasized that the US and Britain were now the great enemies of East Asia, and even though the teachers were once their benefactors, they were already people to be considered their enemies. For three days, with love and compassion and tears in his eyes, he called upon all of the graduates to deeply reflect upon the fact that these former teachers were no longer mentally necessary for them. He asked them to set aside the past in its entirety and understand the true meaning of their alma mater, which is based on the education of the Imperial Japanese people, and that he hopes that they will work together to guide younger generations of students.
(Transcription into modern Japanese orthography)
京城日報 1942年2月5日