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. It has never been republished or translated before, to the best of my knowledge. Ever since someone dumped these old newspaper issues onto the Internet Archive last October, I have been slowly translating and posting select articles at various subreddits to share my findings with the wider community.
This article is meant to be a feel-good story about a Japanese flower shop owner in central Seoul who ‘adopts’ an unemployed 18-year-old Korean orphan to live with him for four years, employing him at his store. Afterwards, the Korean orphan moves to Japan and eventually settles in Okayama to start his own upscale Japanese restaurant, marries a local Japanese woman, and has three daughters. He later has a tearful reunion with his adoptive Japanese parents when he returns to Seoul to set up a family register for his daughter. His adoptive Japanese parents reciprocate by visiting their adoptive son’s family in Okayama.
Unlike the other ‘model Korean families’ featured in other propaganda articles, which praise Korean families for speaking only Japanese at home and identifying themselves as Imperial Japanese, this featured family stood out from the others because it was an ethnically mixed family, where the husband was ethnic Korean and the wife was ethnic Japanese. The ethnically mixed daughter had to set up her family register in Korea, because under the Japanese koseki (family registration) system, every citizen had to register at their father’s family domicile.
Gyeongseong Ilbo (Keijo Nippo) November 13, 1943
An angel without a home moves up in society with warm humanity
A flower of Japanese-Korean Unification blossoms at a crossroads
Fourteen years have passed since a Korean boy with no relatives was rescued, and now he has grown up and established his own respectable family in mainland Japan. After managing to reunite with his former master through chance circumstances, his former master visited him, traveling a long distance to encourage him, and they vowed to each other, “Let us both fulfill our duties as Imperial subjects on the home front”. The following is a beautiful story of Japanese-Korean Unification.
Mr. Shōichi Yoshida (32) and his Japanese wife Atsue (27). To the left of Mr. Yoshida is his eldest daughter Masako (8). Atsue is carrying their youngest daughter, and to her right is their middle daughter. Top right insert is Mr. Yoshida’s adoptive Japanese father, Mr. Einosuke Furusawa (59)
The subject of this story is Mr. Einosuke Furusawa (59), owner of Musumeya Flower Arrangement Shop, located at 2-2 Honmachi Avenue in central Seoul, whose innate chivalrous spirit led him to save a Korean boy who was struggling on the roadside 14 years ago. The boy who worked for him for four years and then went to Japan is Mr. Shōichi Yoshida (32), who is now involved in running all aspects of a restaurant called “White Fox” at 75 Nishi-Nakasange, Okayama City. He and his wife Atsue (27), whom he married in mainland Japan, have three daughters, including their eldest daughter Masako (8), and are now living happily ever after. With the help of Judge Shirakawa at the Seoul Oversight Court, they set up a family register for his eldest daughter to complete her school enrollment paperwork, and it was then that the story of his former master Mr. Furusawa’s chivalry and deep compassion came to light. Here we look back at their story.
In the early spring of 1928, Mr. Furusawa took in and cared for a poor orphan boy who was wandering around the Meiji-machi neighborhood every day. He got along unusually well with customers, beloved by everyone who came and went, and he spent four years at Mr. Furusawa’s home. This boy was Shōichi, who had long wanted to work in mainland Japan. He subsequently moved there, and after ten years of hard work in the Osaka and Okayama areas, he became so successful that he opened his own high-class kappō Japanese restaurant.
He married a mainland Japanese woman and had three daughters, but when his eldest daughter entered school, he was troubled by the issue of her family registration. This spring, Shōichi came to Seoul and visited the family of his former masters, Mr. and Mrs. Furusawa. When he met Mrs. Jitsuno Furusawa (52) at the storefront, he greeted her saying “Mother, you are just as healthy as you were in the past”. She was stunned by the suddenness of his greeting, but when she recognized Shōichi’s appearance, noticing how he had moved up in society, she said with tears in her eyes, “Well, you’ve grown up so fine…” Mr. and Mrs. Furusawa were as happy as if they were welcoming their own child. With the help of Mr. and Mrs. Furusawa, his daughter with no family register was granted the privilege of creating a family register, which is considered a groundbreaking system on the Korean peninsula along with the Sōshi-Kaimei system under which Koreans adopt Japanese names. Then they went home in high spirits.
Mr. Furusawa visited Okayama City on November 8th, and spent the night with Mr. Yoshida and his family, parting with a vow to “make sure to protect each other on the home front as a national people at war”. Judge Shirakawa, who worked hard to create the family register, praised Mr. Furusawa’s chivalry. [Photo: Mr. Furusawa with Mr. Yoshida and his family]
(End of Translation)
Unfortunately, I could not find any trace of Mr. Yoshida’s “White Fox” restaurant anywhere in Japan today. However, I looked up Mr. Furusawa’s old store location in Seoul on a 1933 map and on Google Maps in an area just to the west of Myeongdong Cathedral, and it is still a lively, busy apparel retail district, just as it was in the colonial era. The local Russian Tatar community also likely had its clothing businesses in this area.
Mr. Furusawa’s flower arrangement shop, Musumeya, in 1933 Seoul.
The former location of Mr. Furusawa’s store in 2022 Seoul today (Google Maps).
Link to 1933 Map of Seoul: https://www.reddit.com/r/korea/comments/ta395c/seoul_1933_versus_seoul_2022_map_comparisons/