Kuniaki Koiso was the Governor of Japan-occupied Korea from June 1942 to July 1944. He was arguably the most fanatical, hardline governor that Korea ever had under Japanese occupation. He intensified assimilation campaigns against Koreans and was responsible for starting conscription for young Koreans. His particular obsession with young Korean girls led to him to release an edict explicitly prioritizing them in assimilation campaigns (I will transcribe and translate his statements to this effect later), and he constructed internment camps specifically designed to assimilate them to become wives of Imperial Japanese soldiers. When Koreans recount the worst experiences that they ever had under Japanese occupation, chances are that they may be referring to life under his reign. Under his watch, the Keijo Nippo newspaper expanded fawning coverage of Hitler and admiration for German Nazi ideology (I will transcribe and translate the editorial article later). Personally, I think everyone should learn the name “Koiso” and associate it with pure, unadulterated evil, much like the names “Hitler”, “Stalin”, etc.
And yet, Koiso is enshrined and still worshiped at Yasukuni Shrine today. So when Japanese politicians pay respects or donate religious offerings to Yasukuni, like the current Prime Minister of Japan, Kishida, just did last month, they directly endorse the words and actions of Koiso. Think about that. This is just my personal opinion, but I really think that the South Korean government should mention Koiso prominently when they protest Japanese politicians’ visits to Yasukuni. My Google search does not show any statements made by South Korea mentioning Koiso in any protest about the Yasukuni Shrine. Can my fellow Redditors at this subreddit confirm whether Koiso was ever brought up in discussions between the South Korean and Japanese governments?
Reddit Link: In March 1944 in Seoul, an angry speech by Governor Koiso of Japan-occupied Korea called for the “Anglo-Saxon utilitarian worldview” to be shattered and Hakko Ichiu thought to be spread across the world; his rally celebrated the war path of martyrdom and “Banzai to Holy War” : korea (reddit.com)
March 22, 1944 Gyeongseong Ilbo (Keijo Nippo)
40,000 merchants unite for Imperial commerce
Cutting off all selfishness
Seoul Commercial Service Corps Formation Ceremony
The Seoul Federation of National People’s Power has united 40,000 merchants in Seoul to form the Seoul Commercial Service Corps and the Commercial Volunteer Corps, in order to put to rest commercial notions of personal gain, recognize the mission and character of the national organization for the distribution of commodities, and exalt and practice the Imperial Way of Commerce. The ceremony was held at the South Garden of the Chosun Jingu Shrine at 2:00 p.m. on the 21st. [Photo: Formation ceremony of the Seoul Commercial Service Corps and reading of the pledge by Mr. Iizuka, a representative of the volunteer corps]
Deputy Secretary Mr. Kan’gyu from the Korea Confederation, Director of Practical Application Mr. Shigematsu, President of the Seoul Federation Mr. Furuichi, over 30 other official representatives, 10,000 representatives of 40,000 merchants in Seoul, and 400 people selected to be volunteers from trade unions wore military leggings and military hats as they entered the stage. After the national ceremonies, Mr. Furuichi, President of the Seoul Federation, gave a speech. Then Deputy Secretary Mr. Kan’gyu read a speech from the President of the Korea Federation Koiso entitled, “To clean up the Anglo-Saxon spirit of enterprise and its materialistic concept of work of the age of liberal economics, to promote the spirit of service unique to the Imperial State, which is based on the true meaning of the national polity, and to make it the basis of all economic activities, so as to establish a strong moral economic system”. Then Mr. Usui, Vice President of the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry, read the congratulatory message from the President on behalf of the Chamber.
Next, Choi Jae-gwon, the representative of the service members, and Iizuka Toshimi, the representative of the volunteer corps, loudly read out the pledge, ‘We will strive to ensure the proper and smooth distribution of goods, to be kind and fair, to treat the public with kindness, to cultivate a spirit of cheerfulness and friendship, and to do our best to meet the expectations of the nation’, and everyone bit their lips tightly. The ceremony was concluded at 3:00 p.m. with the chanting of the Commercial Service Corps Charter by the leader of the Sanwa Nishidaimon District and the chanting of “Banzai to Holy War” by the President of the Seoul Federation Mr. Furuichi.
March 21, 1944
President of the Korean Federation of People’s Power
Governor Kuniaki Koiso
The Governor’s Address: “Making the Righteous Peninsula Complete”
At a time when the Korean Confederation of the People’s Power has been expounding the Imperial Nation’s original view of business and labor, and forming service corps in important factories and mines, the results of which are gradually becoming remarkable, I have again urged the formation of commercial service corps in all Korean provinces, counties, and islands, and it is my pleasure to announce the start of such corps today.
It is my pleasure to announce that the war has created an opportunity for the creation of a new world culture, and that the ideology and culture of world leadership will be guided by the victorious people. The current war, which is being fought by the brave and powerful people of the world, is aimed at shattering the Anglo-Saxon utilitarian worldview that has dominated the culture of the past century, and to spread a moral worldview throughout the four corners of the world based on the principles of Hakko Ichiu and “coexistence and co-prosperity”. This intention, which has already been made public, is now being put into concrete form in the Declaration of Greater East Asia.
Nevertheless, in order to spread this moral world view throughout the world and to save mankind, it is a prerequisite that it should first be fully realized in our domestic situation and that the living conditions of the people of Japan should be completely adjusted to this system. In other words, the Anglo-Saxon spirit of enterprise and the materialistic concept of work of the free economy era must be cleaned up, and the unique spirit of service of the Imperial State, which is based on the true meaning of the national polity, must be restored to set the tone for all economic activities, and a strong moral economic system must be established. While the production business of the military sector, which is responding to the fierce and decisive war situation, has already strengthened its readiness to serve in both spirit and reality under the national conscription system, the commercial sector is still in the process of changing its essential traditional concepts and customs.
In this transitional period, there is no reason why this should not be done. In the meantime, the need to perfect the economic control based on the measures to lower prices and rationalize the distribution of goods and to strengthen the winning stance of the people’s lives has never been greater than it is today, and we must clearly recognize the seriousness of the mission of this department.
Those in the commercial sector of the Department should be aware of the fact that the commercial concept of personal gain of the past is being abandoned and is being returned to the character and mission of a national organization for the distribution of goods, and should be prepared to contribute to the strengthening of the nation’s decisive battle system by striving to elevate and practice the ideals of Imperial commerce.
In this way, the production and distribution departments will be in harmony with each other, and the spirit of service will be fully realized. Not only should we respect that the strengthening of the nation’s forces must become an inevitability, but we should also not doubt that there are many possibilities to advance into the realm of completing the foundation for constructing a Righteous Korea in this way. I hope that the operation of this organization will be carried out with the ardent spirit and unfailing cooperation of all concerned, and that it will have the effect of establishing a giant road in the process of developing the total power movement.
Today’s Send-off Party for Young Volunteer Soldiers
Ruddy Faces, Reflections of Enthusiasm
On the early spring day of the 22nd, the Seoul Prefectural Government held the grand “Send-off Party for Young Volunteer Soldiers” at the Seoul Sports Grounds starting at 9:30 a.m. to encourage and inspire ten million emotions and the fierce war spirit of the youth of the National High School, Youth Cadets, and Youth Corps in Seoul, who embarked upon a glorious and valorous war path of martyrdom, so that their childlike spirit of enthusiasm would spring to life in the land of the enemy. On this fine sunny day, the scent of young cherry blossoms filled the air as 10,000 people, including students from the schools in Seoul, parents and guardians, gathered around the 500 ruddy-faced volunteers, who could smell the young cherry blossoms. The young volunteer soldiers showed off their vigorous fighting spirit as they dared to go into the field of Holy War. When national ceremony commenced in the sports grounds, the President of the Seoul Federation Mr. Furuichi gave an enthusiastic speech congratulating their shining departure. Then the representative of the current students gave a speech of encouragement, saying “I swear that we will follow the encouragement of our seniors”. In response, the representative of the volunteers gave a powerful and inspiring speech, in which he gave a powerful and inspiring reply breathing fire into the young hearts: “I will surely become a splendid young Imperial soldier set out on the great path of eternity, and meet the expectations of my countrymen”.
At the end of the speech, the participants sang the “Song for Sending Off the Young Soldiers” (YouTube link: https://youtu.be/fnSSXXOBatE) in chorus, singing at the top of their lungs such that they could split the earth and the heavens could hear, “Oh young cherry tree of holy Japan, how glorious is life which is the falling petals of the cherry blossom,” praising their healthy determination and encouraging their meaningful journey, and the party came to a close after 10:00 a.m. At 10:30 a.m., all the participants departed from the Seoul Sports Grounds, a dignified and heroic brass band leading a bold military march through the city. They arrived at the Chosun Shrine to the cheers of the local people, where they made a firm pledge with determination as youth with fighting spirits that soared before the gods, and then they were dismissed.
This event was broadcast live to all of Korea to stir up the passionate spirit of the boys of the peninsula.
（my transcription into modern Japanese orthography with punctuation marks added and modified for clarity)