In January 1943, the CEO of a telephone company talks frankly about the problems associated with hiring Koreans in Japan-occupied Korea


Gyeongseong Ilbo (Keijo Nippo) January 13, 1943

The Growing Response to the “Employment of Koreans in the Workplace”

The call to promote Koreans in the workplace, which arose from the idea of giving Koreans workplaces and bringing the fruits of imperial training to the workplace, has attracted deep interest from various quarters as an issue of human resources for the nation’s total power posture during wartime. Photo: Hozumi, President of Kyoden Corporation

It’s a matter of training first.
Don’t pursue ideals only
Kyoden President Hozumi speaks

As is clear from the Imperial Rescript on the annexation of Japan and Korea, it was an annexation, not a union. Therefore, the Koreans have become Japanese since that time, and it is natural that there should be no discrimination against Koreans in employment issues. However, this is of course an ideal, and it is not possible for an ideal to be implemented 100% immediately. To make the ideal into reality, I think that things should proceed gradually in incremental steps.

However, in the case of the problem of employment, there is a vast difference in sentiment between hiring after dealing with all the problems that the Koreans tend to have, and hiring first and then correcting the problems afterwards.

Of course, you have to take the fundamental stance of correcting the problem after hiring. It is not a good idea to take an attitude of avoidance from the very beginning by simply pointing out faults. If you think about it, it has already been more than thirty years since the annexation of Japan and Korea. Compared to this long period of time, don’t you think that the Koreans have been too slow to become true imperial subjects? The Koreans should reflect on this point more carefully.

So how can we improve the situation after hiring them? In order to do this, I think that we need to train the Koreans more and more, both mentally and practically, as everyone says. At the same time, since we are lacking in this area, we should not just focus on their shortcomings and, as a result, fail to give them appropriate jobs or delay their promotion.

At the same time, however, it is also wrong to be so caught up in the ideals of the immediate future that we blindly give the Koreans positions or promotions when they have no ability. In the end, this is impractical. If we indulge the Koreans, we will never be able to develop them into useful workers, and we will end up with people who are too high-minded to take care of things. Therefore, it is fine to hire and promote as many Koreans as possible in the workplace, and after hiring them, train them. However, I believe that we must do this slowly and steadily, and not hastily.

(Transcription into modern Japanese orthography)

京城日報 昭和十八年一月十三日