In 1944, the Japanese govt built internment camps in Korea to intensively train young Korean school girls in Japanese ways and turn them into assimilated mothers and wives of Japanese soldiers (top photo: Ewha students in training; bottom photo: Sookmyung students teaching Japanese to local women)


TL;DR: In February 1944, the Japanese fascist government announced their plans to build internment camps all over Korea to intensively brainwash young Koreans girls of marriageable age and turn them into “good imperial Japanese mothers and spouses” of returning Japanese soldiers, so that they would make good imperial Japanese babies and help thoroughly assimilate Korea into Japan. It’s not clear from my reading how much of this plan they actually managed to accomplish, but apparently they had already started with the poor students from Ewha and Sookmyung Girls High Schools in Seoul.

Now, it will be noted that the baby making was presumably to begin after Japan beat everyone in the war, so that the victorious Japanese soldiers could then return to Korea to start families with the assimilated Korean girls who were thoroughly Japanized in those internment camps. But as we all know, Japan lost the war, so this grand plan could not be fully carried out.

(my translation)

February 10, 1944 Gyeongseong Ilbo (Keijo Nippo)

Photo: (Top) students training at Ewha Girls Specialized School (Bottom) students at Sookmyung Girls Specialized School teaching a Japanese language class

To be a good mother and a good wife

A gate of training for women of the right age

April 1st

The long-awaited conscription system on the peninsula of 25 million will be implemented this year to conduct the first round of conscription, and some of the peninsula’s young men will have the honor of going to the front lines. In two years, national compulsory school education will be implemented. However, compared to these men who are growing fast, what is the current status of women on the peninsula? Are they qualified to be good mothers and spouses to the men who are discharged from the Imperial military? For this reason, the Governor-General’s Office of Korea took temporary emergency measures to set up “Women’s Youth Training Centers” in each of the provinces, eups, and myeons of Korea from April 1st of this year, and to provide educational training to improve the quality of Japanese imperial women.

Established at last

The Governor-General’s Office has made it the ultimate ideal that “there should be no uneducated households in any eup, and no uneducated people in any household”. Interned in these Women’s Youth Training Centers are young women of marriageable age who are burning with the desire to learn, as well as those who have been delinquent with their learning at national schools in the past. The main focus of the program is to provide them with the day-to-day knowledge of the Japanese language necessary for Japanese imperial women, to clarify the concept of Japanese national identity, and to give them the ability and understanding of agricultural work and other occupations. From the standpoint of strengthening the war effort, it is clear that, when sending husbands and children to the industrial front, if mothers and housewives are not filled with a sense of Japanese national consciousness, they will face obstacles in fulfilling a decisive production line. In the old Man’yoshu literature, it is said that there is sin on the lips of certain women, and there is a woman behind every crime. Thus, as it is said that women generally cause men to make mistakes, we cannot afford to have such things happen at war in the face of gunfire. The training and development of women is now an urgent matter. Those who may enter the Women’s Youth Training Centers are 16 years and younger, and have not yet completed the primary level of national school. However, if there is room in the training center, those over 16 years old can also enter. The training centers placed in the provinces, eups, and myeons will be in public and national schools, but setting up training centers at private schools will also be permitted. They will be managed by a director and full-time or part-time instructors, and will have capacity for about 50 people.

The training will start in April every year, and the duration of the training will be about one year, with more than 600 hours of training. Thes tuition will be 50 sen per month. The subjects of training will include training in Japanese traditional customs, Japanese language, household work, professional work, as well as agricultural work, which will impart knowledge and expertise required to increase productivity.

Intense Training at Ewha and Sookmyung Girls Specialized Schools

In view of the promulgation of the regulations of the Korean Women’s Youth Training Centers, the Women’s Youth Training Centers will finally be inaugurated on April 1st in all regions of Korea, to be fully implemented by the year after next. In conjunction with the implementation of compulsory education, this measure to address the lack of Japanese national education for women and girls on the peninsula will lead to a dramatic improvement in the culture and industry of the peninsula in the future, and even if the training period is only one year, the results should be worth waiting for. On the other hand, at the newly established centers at Ewha and Sookmyung Women’s Specialized Schools, the training center instructors themselves are training hard with a pioneering spirit before graduating in March. They have given up the faint dreams that they had when they first entered the schools, and they are striving to improve their qualities to eventually become leaders of the training schools. We will now take a peek into both schools.

Becoming a Strong and Resilient Woman

Ewha Girls Specialized School, a school of learning that advances towards practical application

[Ewha Women’s Youth Training Center Instructor Training Course]

Of the initial 450 students, 340 students were admitted to the school, excluding those who were unable to make it due to unavoidable family reasons. All of them were settled in the dormitory and began their training. The only things that reminded them of their former sentimental life as female students were their school uniforms, but even those were now replaced by monpe trousers as women’s work uniforms. The whole school was filled with the spirit of fostering “mothers of a strong militarized peninsula”. The dormitory used to accommodate two people per room, but now it accommodates four people per room. They wake up at 6:00 a.m., have breakfast at 7:30 a.m., and start their morning training at 9:00 a.m. They do physical training for about 30 minutes. Then three hours of training in the morning and three hours of training in the afternoon, after lectures end at 5:00 p.m., dinner at 6:00 p.m., night training at the dormitory from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., reflection time to fill out diaries, etc., and going to bed at 10:00 p.m. to complete the day’s activities.

The seven subjects are moral education (three hours), Japanese language (three hours), home economics (six hours), practical work (nine hours), national defense (six hours), physical training (three hours), and performing arts (three hours), for a total of thirty-six hours of lecture per week. Aside from these subjects, discretionary authority is given to the instructors to give lectures on topics outside of school, adapting to circumstances as necessary. In addition to this, etiquette and manners are taught in the dormitory room, and music, drawing, and other performing arts are taught in a way that is in line with practical application. Women from the farming villages have become familiar with the piano keys struck by students enraptured by Chopin’s music, the music flowing happily from the quiet school changing into some soft popular music. Although the school building is still the same as in the past, the spirit of the students is much stronger, and with the growing peninsula on their backs, the music of the “Kenmin Kenbei” (healthy people and healthy soldiers) is now ringing out in the forest of Yanxi.

Focus on Japanese Language Education

Practical training for women on the peninsula, Sookmyung Girls Specialized School

[Sookmyung Women’s Youth Training Center Instructor Training Course]

The school, which has been reborn to strengthen its war potential, has given up all past education in favor of a 100-million-strong fighting force. 180 students are currently working together under the leadership of Principal Oda to devote their hearts and souls to the education of the Training and Development Department, excited by the great hope and responsibility of training instructors to nurture the mothers of all soldiers. At 9:00 a.m., the principal, staff, and all students gather in the schoolyard for the morning assembly. This morning assembly is different from past morning assemblies, for it is a time of rigorous training to ensure that the core words of the training instructor are followed. After worshipping at Miyagi Shrine and Ise Shrine, the national rituals are performed. After the rituals, everyone valiantly recites the “Oath of the Training Instructor”. The vow is as follows. “With words of the three thoughts of reflection, I will return to my true form as a woman of the Japanese Empire, and in my awakened state, I firmly vow to use that true form to mold uneducated young women of the peninsula into wise mothers of strong soldiers”.

After the morning assembly, they move on to physical training and then immediately enter into academic studies, for which students are divided into groups of fifty. The seven subjects are moral education, Japanese language, home economics, practical work, national defense, physical training, and performing arts. The teachers are the current professors at the school. Among these subjects, special emphasis is placed on Japanese language. In order to apply the students’ Japanese language education not only in the classroom but also in the real world, about 40 women from the town council near the school who have no understanding of the Japanese language are gathered at the school, where the students assume the role of teachers every day from 1 to 3 p.m. to give practical instruction to these women on the Japanese language, sharpening their skills as instructors.

Day-care Centers also in the Fight

Commendation for excellent day-care centers on the occasion of Japanese Empire Day.

A command has been issued to conduct a “full frontal attack at work”, calling upon women to move into the workplace in industrial departments. In response to this, the nursery takes care of the children of women industrial warriors who devote themselves to the enhancement of production, and allows them to work in peace, boosting their labor power and playing an important role in the protection and fostering young Japanese people who will bear the responsibility of the next generation of Japan. The National Federation of Korean Industries awards the following commendations to the following day-care centers in Gyeonggi-do with excellent performance on the occasion of Japanese Empire Day.

(my transcription into modern Japanese orthography, with punctuation marks added or modified for clarity)

昭和十九年二月十日 京城日報

【写真=(上)梨花女専生徒の錬成ぶり (下)淑明女専の国語講習会】
















半島婦人に実習 淑明女専







Source: 京城日報 1944-02-10 : 京城日報社 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

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