In June 1944, the Japanese military gave their Burmese visitors a VIP tour of Seoul, including the local schools that were Japanizing Korean children. But I doubt that the Susong School in this photo was an internment camp for specifically Japanizing Korean girls into wives of Japanese soldiers, since there were apparently also boys at the school. But I can’t rule it out with the Seoul Women’s Normal School, which the Burmese delegation also visited.
Notes: The article pejoratively calls the Korean students 第二国民, literally “Number-two national people” or second-tier imperial subjects, where first-tier imperial subjects are the Japanese. But at the same time, the Burmese guests were also told that, in Japanese mythology, Japan and Korea were one and the same. This may refer to the mythological stories of Empress Jingu invading and conquering parts of southern Korea.
Hakko Ichiu refers to the grandiose expansionist idea that the Japanese emperor has the divine mandate to extend his “benevolent” rule over the whole world.
While the leader of the Burmese delegation, Dr. Ba Han, is a relatively obscure legal scholar, his younger brother Ba Maw is more famous and is well known as the collaborationist leader of Burma during World War II.
In 2019, a Sankei News reporter interviewed a 90 year old Korean man who actually attended Susong School. According to him, there were both Japanese and Korean teachers, the student body was roughly half Japanese and half Korean, and it was forbidden to speak Korean there.
June 27, 1944 Gyeongseong Ilbo (Keijo Nippo)
Eyes of Wonder at the “Imperialization” Process
Burmese Study Mission Studies Educational Conditions on the Peninsula
On the 25th, the Burmese delegation inspected Seoul and, observing the similarity of the ancient culture and lifestyle of the peninsula to those of their native Burma, felt a great affinity with the peninsula. On the 26th, they inspected the conditions under which healthy civilians and strong soldiers were fostered on the peninsula.
At 9:30 a.m., accompanied by interpreter Oda, they watched the films “Sup’ung Dam” and “Advancing Korea” in the Governor-General’s Film Room and marveled at the great power of the industrial peninsula. At 11:00, they visited Seoul Susong National School and were welcomed by Principal Habu. They toured each classroom, narrowing their eyes as they studied how the teaching and learning process of “imperialization” was moving forward. As they looked at the photos on the walls of the hallway introducing the situation in the south, they stopped in their tracks and paid special attention to the Burma section of the photos, as though they were recalling how their homeland was filled with gun smoke.
Next, they watched sixth grade boys jumping on vaulting boxes in the playground, and then spent about an hour watching them do martial arts and drills, immersing themselves in the atmosphere of the growing strength of the children on the peninsula. At noon, they attended an invitational lunch party with Provincial General Furuichi at the White Cloud Villa. At 2:10 p.m., they were driven to Seoul Women’s Normal School, where Principal Yasuoka guided them on a tour, and they carefully observed the Army Separation March that shook the earth’s axis, the sharp Naginata blade that could cut fissures, and the chorus singing the song “Aoniyoshi”, all training activities meant to spark fireworks in educating the second-tier subjects. In addition, they visited the First Military Reserve Training Center, where they were amazed at the training sessions led by Director Kaita. Starting with the “Loyalty” lecture, they exhaustively studied the actual polishing of the fighting spirit of the soldiers as well as the facilities. Embracing absolute confidence in their allies, who were the young men polishing their fighting spirit forged in molten metal, at 4:30 p.m., they returned to the Korea hotel, where they met with reporters, and at 6:00 p.m., they were given a welcome dinner by Commander Itagaki of the Korea Army, at which they congenially discussed the future of emerging Burma until late at night. Photo: The Burmese study mission at Susong National School
Gratitude for Warm Hospitality
Dr. Ba Han talks to reporters
Dr. Ba Han and his Burmese delegation have been extremely busy with their daily visits to various places and socializing. Dr. Ba Han met with the reporters from the Government-General of Korea at the Korea Hotel for about 20 minutes starting at 4:50 p.m. “Everywhere I went, I received such warm and heartfelt hospitality that I didn’t feel like I was in a foreign land”, he said and continued as follows.
“Coming to Japan this time, I felt two things in particular. The first was the beautiful unity of Japan centered on the Imperial Family. The second was that the spirit of Hakko Ichiu is manifested in reality here. The feeling of warmth towards the Burmese people was evident even among the maids at the lodgings. I was invited by the Provincial General to have dinner at the White Cloud Villa, and the girls welcomed me with such warm hearts that I felt as if I had met someone that I had not seen for a long time. We were also shown important factories in Japan proper. I was amazed at the progress in Japanese technology that I had heard about before. I was told that all the manufacturing tools can be made in Japan. There are also machines that are being built based on patents that have been transferred from countries like Germany. I am not an expert in the field of agriculture, so I don’t know much about it, but there were two things that struck me yesterday when I was shown the Suwon Agricultural Experiment Station. One is that Burma does not have enough scientific fertilizers as you do here. But in Japan proper and Korea, they make their own fertilizers. Burma does not yet use compost fertilizer, so I would like to study this when I return. The second thing is the culvert drainage pipe facilities. There is a lot of bamboo in Burma, so I am thinking of using these instead of clay pipes. As for the situation in Korea, His Excellency the Governor-General told me that according to Japanese mythology, Japan and Korea used to be one and the same, and I was very happy to see that the peoples of Korea and Japan today are truly living as one in every respect.
Reddit Link: In June 1944, the Japanese military gave a Burmese delegation a VIP tour of Seoul, including the local schools Japanizing Korean children (photo: Susong School in Jongno-gu, Seoul) : korea (reddit.com)
(my transcription into modern Japanese orthography, with punctuation marks added or modified for clarity)