In 1942, pro-Imperial Japanese Korean parents boasted that their six children born and raised in Korea could not understand a word of Korean, because they ‘bit to death’ any Korean words which might accidentally slip out of their mouths, for which they were laughed at by other Koreans


Mr. Minami, who is mentioned in this article as the Governor and the Father of the Korean peninsula, refers to Minami Jiro (Wikipedia:, the prime architect of Imperial Japan’s aggressive assimilation campaign to erase the Korean people’s language, culture, and identity. He ruled Japan-colonized Korea from 1936 to 1942, and he was succeeded by Governor Koiso (Wikipedia:, who escalated Minami’s policies.

In the photo, the parents are in the top bubbles while the rest of the family is seated or standing. There are four daughters (ages 9, 15, 18, 22) and two sons (ages 2 and 12). I’m guessing that the youngest son is not in the photo, and the man to the left is the husband of the oldest daughter.

This article is a piece of propaganda with unbelievable statements in this article, like the children not being able to speak a word of Korean. Really? Not even ‘thank you’? Parts of their stories were probably exaggerated to please the Japanese audience.

(My Translation)

Gyeongseong Ilbo (Keijo Nippo) May 13, 1942

Unity between Japan and Korea starts with the Japanese language (1)

Everything is done Japanese-style

Family started the regular use of the Japanese language 20 years ago
The family of Mr. Tadashiro Matsuyama

The movement for the regular use of the Japanese language by true Imperial subjects, which was initiated in all of Korea by the advocacy of Governor Minami, is based on the belief that the Japanese language is inseparable from the national spirit, and that it is the great duty of the Korean people to become proficient in the Japanese language, since they are to play a part as leaders of the Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere. At the same time, it is not possible to become true Imperial subjects and leaders without understanding the Japanese language. It is only by learning the Japanese language that one can grasp the noble Japanese spirit. In order to spur the movement for the complete understanding of the Japanese language, the Governor-General’s Office decided to give awards to the families who regularly use the Japanese language. Let’s visit some of these families who have been awarded full points, and hear their stories.

The Father of the Korean peninsula, Mr. Minami, advocated that the first step in raising children to become true Imperial subjects is to start teaching them the Japanese language when they are babies. One family has already been putting Mr. Minami’s words into practice for twenty years. They persist in using only the Japanese language, and their entire lifestyle is indistinguishable from the Japanese people. Nowadays, their bright, properly-raised children, born and raised in Korea, do not understand a word of Korean. We took a peek into this cheerful family which regularly uses the Japanese language as Imperial subjects in body and soul.

“That’s right. It was twenty years ago, since it’s been twenty years since our eldest daughter Keiko was born”.

The mother who spoke up in crisp Japanese was Emiko (39), who lives at 41-6, Oshima-cho, Seoul. Her husband Mr. Tadashiro Matsuyama (47) does not live there, as he is currently working at the construction division of the railroad bureau in Gangwon-do, Gangneung. For the sake of her children and out of parental love for them, the mother stayed in Seoul. She continued to talk cheerfully while holding in her lap her beloved child, who just turned two this year. It has been twenty-three years since Emiko married Tadashiro, and the year after their marriage, they had their first daughter, Keiko (22), who graduated from Seoul No. 2 Girls’ High School and currently works at the railroad bureau. Their regular use of the Japanese language as a family started when Keiko was born.

“My husband was working for the South Korean Railways at the time, and because we lived in the dormitory, most of our friends were from Japan proper, so we naturally had many opportunities to become familiar with Japanese language…”

This mother of children unable to speak Korean continued,

“When Keiko, our eldest daughter, was born, my husband said to me, ‘In order for our children to have a bright spirit and be useful as true Imperial subjects in the future, they really must know the Japanese language. No matter what other people think, we want to raise them by speaking Japanese'”.

Since then, they have been persisting for 20 years using only the Japanese language, biting to death the Korean language which might accidentally slip out of their mouths at the slightest opportunity. For this reason, they sent their children to elementary schools and girls’ schools that Japanese children attend. Their second oldest daughter Junko (18) is a fifth-year student at the Seoul No. 2 Girls’ High School, and Toyoko (15) is a second-year student at Maizuru (Muhak) Girls’ High School. By enrolling in schools that Japanese children attend, they adopted lifestyles that did not differ in any way from the Japanese children, and they were raised to become true Japanese people.

“In the beginning, we were laughed at a lot by the Koreans, but looking back now, I am really glad that we did this,” she said. 

The mother closed her eyes as if she were remembering her twenty years of hardship, clearly expressing her heartfelt joy and relief. Her youngest child Hideo (2), whom she held in her lap, sometimes reached for her hair, and Emiko narrowed her eyes and nursed him saying, “Here, here is my breast”. In this family, the Korean language is not used at all. Even their clothing is mostly Japanese-style or Western-style.

This is why their children do not understand a word of Korean. After Toyoko was born, Masao (12) and Nobuko (9) were born, both of whom are currently enrolled in Motomachi Elementary School (OP note: present-day Namjeong Elementary School). On the day the military draft was announced, they had a big party all night and were very happy.

At the end of the interview, the mother looked completely satisfied with the development of her children, who had become Japanese from the bottom of their hearts.

“In recent days, I’ve been wearing Korean clothes, so my daughters often ask me to change my clothes. But if I do that, I’ll become completely indistinguishable from the Japanese people, hahaha! That’s what I think…” [Photo: Right circle is Mr. Tadashiro Matsuyama, left circle is his wife Emiko, and below is the family.]


Reddit Link: In 1942, pro-Imperial Japan Korean parents boasted that their six children born and raised in Korea could not understand a word of Korean, because they ‘bit to death’ any Korean words which were about to slip out of their mouths, and they were laughed at by other Koreans : korea (

(My Transcription into modern Japanese orthography)

京城日報 1942年5月13日