Propaganda ‘feel good story’ praises Korean grandfather for finally accepting his grandson’s voluntary enlistment in the Imperial Japanese air force, as it was ‘not easy to persuade’ him due to his ‘having lived through half a century of complicated historical changes’ (Dongdaemun Seoul, 1943)

This is my translation and transcription of a news article from Keijo Nippo, a propaganda newspaper and mouthpiece of the government of Japan-colonized Korea. This has never been republished or translated before, to the best of my knowledge.

This is a propaganda story of a Korean grandfather who finally approves of his grandson voluntarily enlisting in the Imperial Japanese air force. The aviator’s family members in this story all appear to have Japanese names except his mother Aji. We could surmise that their Korean surname was Kim, as their Japanese surname Kaneda contains the Hanja for Kim. 

As we have seen in other articles, this story plays on the stereotype that Koreans have excessive filial piety, often described as ‘Korean Confucianism’, which supposedly prevents them from serving in the armed forces for the good of the whole country.


Gyeongseong Ilbo (Keijo Nippo) September 18, 1943

His grandfather is now a big supporter

Kaneda’s parents cheer on their aviator child

The family was waiting for Mr. Kaneda Mitsunaga, who was flying in, embraced by his two shining wings, on a sunny visit to his hometown at 72-132 Sungin-dong, Dongdaemun District. His father Kichihei (48), his mother Aji (아지/阿只) (47), his older brother Morinaga (25), his older sister Masako (married off), and aunt Masuko imagined Mitsunaga magnificently appearing in the clear autumn sky as they shouted, ‘My son! My brother!’ Talking to each other about this joyous day, they were gathered at the edge of the yard around his nephew Nobutake (4), who was holding a model airplane in his hand and excitedly shouting “Airplane! Airplane!”

The Kaneda family gathered around four-year-old Nobutake who is holding a model airplane.

Just three months after Mitsunaga left Kyungbock Middle School having attended only three years, and shrugging off the reluctance of some of his relatives, he was in his military uniform with his military cap and collar insignia of a youth airman, calling out “Follow me, junior soldiers”. This sunny flight for a hometown visit was a dream come true.

It was not easy to persuade Mitsunaga’s grandfather about his voluntary enlistment, since his grandfather had lived through half a century of complicated historical changes. Mitsunaga said that he would atone for his temporary lack of filial piety to his grandfather by making up for it with his determination and loyalty to his ancestral land in a time of crisis.

I believe that it was ultimately his mother’s words of understanding that gave strong encouragement to her son’s passion for the sky. When his grandfather beheld Mitsunaga’s dignified and energetic appearance during his visit this summer, his grandfather gave his full approval. The family was very happy to welcome Mitsunaga on board the plane. [Photo: Mr. Kaneda’s joyous family at his home]

Airplane Donation Campaign

Aviation Memorial Day

Launched at Shimonoseki

[Shimonoseki Telephone Report] On the 20th, for Aviation Memorial Day, lecture meetings were held at five Soldier Training Centers in Shimonoseki starting at 7:00 p.m. Amid a series of extremely harsh air battles, we hardened our resolve to send as many airplanes and people as possible to the front line and take to the skies to fight decisive battles, and an explosive movement was launched for the donation of airplanes.



京城日報 1943年9月18日