This photo is from a page in the Keijo Nippo newspaper that I stumbled upon during my visit to the National Library of Korea a few months ago. Taken on September 11, 1945, just days after the U.S. military arrived in Korea on September 8th, it shows U.S. soldiers guarding the entrance to the Gyeongseong Ilbo (Keijo Nippo) newspaper office. Keijo Nippo was the propaganda organ of the Imperial Japanese colonial regime which ruled Korea from 1905 to 1945. It is rather ironic that a newspaper that called for the destruction of the U.S. so many times during the war is being guarded by the very forces whose destruction it called for in its publications.
In the Keijo Nippo newspaper, the arrival of the U.S. military occupation of southern Korea was marked by the following curfew notice which was issued by the outgoing Japanese colonial governor Ikeda on September 8th, 1945 on behalf of the U.S. military authorities. On September 9th, 1945, the Japanese colonial government issued its last directive before handing over power to the U.S. military occupation: the prohibition of raising the Japanese flag after 4:00 p.m.
From 8:00 PM to 5:00 AM
Effective from September 8th onwards, in both the districts of Keijō (Seoul) and Incheon, under the directive of Major General Hodge of the U.S. 24th Army Corps, from the evening of September 8th onwards, in Seoul and Incheon, passage is prohibited for anyone except those listed below from 8:00 PM until 5:00 AM the following day.
Those who violate this will be strictly punished.
- Police officers, fire brigade members, civil defense members, and other night watchmen.
- Visiting doctors.
- Those who need to travel for work during the prohibited hours. In this case, government officials must have a certificate issued by their office, and others must have a certificate stating this fact from their employer and authenticated by the local police station chief.
- Persons with an outing permit issued by the U.S. Army authorities.
Dated: September 8, 1945
Gyeonggi Province Governor, Kiyosaburo Ikeda
Prohibition of Raising the Japanese Flag
A directive was issued by the Governor-General of Korea on the evening of September 8th as follows: From 4:00 PM on September 9th, 1945, the national flag of Japan shall not be raised. Any Japanese national flags or symbols that are currently visible to the public should be immediately lowered after the same time. This order is to be strictly enforced and applies to areas south of latitude 38 degrees North.
[Transcription from the September 10th, 1945 issue of Gyeongseong Ilbo (Keijo Nippo)]
Shortly thereafter on September 11, 1945, Keijo Nippo published the following pages reproducing Proclamation No. 1 of Commander-in-Chief Douglas MacArthur, along with Proclamations No. 2 and 3, as well as the official surrender document which was signed on September 9, 1945 during the official Surrender Ceremony. The official English copies of Proclamations Nos. 1-3 were published in the second page. The photo of the U.S. soldiers in front of the Keijo Nippo newspaper office was published the following day on September 12, 1945.
More historical photos of the Surrender of Imperial Japan in Korea (National Museum of the U.S. Navy): link