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lexico
17-01-05, 18:51
A Day in the Life of a Stateless Wanderer, Peter Hyun
reprinted with permission from author
originally printed December 7, 1995, The Asian Wall Street Journal
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I met with a Mr. Hyun, a family friend, over the weekend to say good bye before his departure. When I noticed a distinct scar on his right middle finger and asked him how he got it, he said his school teacher had struck him with a kendo, the Japanese bamboo sword for speaking Korean. When I asked him how that could be, he handed me a copy of a newpaper article about December 7, 1941. --lexico
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I was a 13-year old schoolboy in Hamhung, a large industrial city on the northeastern coast of Korea, when Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor at dawn on Dec. 7, 1941. Because of the time difference between Honolulu and Korea, we heard the news the following morning on the Japanese-controlled
Keiji Radio as my sister and I were getting ready for school.
We were stunned. We just stood there with our mouths open, but my mother was surprisingly calm. How could she, a widow-and an activist in the resistance movement against Japanese colonial rule of Korea-be so serene at a time like this?
"With their heavy military commitments in China," she explained, "Japan will never be able to defeat the world's mightiest nation, America."
She spoke with such an authoritative conviction that I knew she was right. I asked her, "Do you mean we'll soon be free?"
"Not too soon," she replied. "Meanwhile, life will be very hard for all of us."
When I reached my school, I was surprised to see a dozen straw dummies dressed as American soldiers and tied to wooden poles in front of the building. The school military instructor and several senior class boys were standing near by, each holding a shiny army rifle with a boyonet sticking out menacingly.
We stood at attention in front of captain Watanabe and gave him a military salute. He barked, "Today, we celebrate our first victory in the Pacific War. From now on, every morning when you come to school, you must pick up a rifle and bayonet the heart of the Yankee enemy! You must perform this patriotic duty with all your might and with all your hatred against the enemy! Now, go and kill the enemy!"
We did our patriotic duty, reluctantly, with misgivings, because the last thing we wanted to do was to kill our future liberators. As I held a big heavy rifle, I made Chaplinesque attempt to stab the straw man, with eyes closed, and pretended that I was a Japanese soldier. I noticed a little smirk on my classmate Kim's face, and knew that he felt the same way.
We were quiet in the classroom. We knew that there were informers among our classmates who reported on anyone using anti-Japanese words. We had to be on guard at all times. At nine o'clock, our teacher appeared at the door and announced that there would be no lessons today. Instead, there would be all-day activities in celebration of Japan's victorious attack on Pearl Harbor.
Nearly 600 students and 20 teachers were assembled in the auditorium. The front wall of the cold hall was decorated with a huge banner: "Long live the devine emperor! Long live our victory in the Pacific war!" As custom, everyone stood straight in military fashion with hands flat against their thighs. We sang the Japanese national anthem, and the headmaster began to speak in his shrill voice, extolling the devine virtues of Emperor Hirohito and explaining why Japan was forced to attack Pearl Harbor.
He proclaimed, "On this great occasion-in the name of the Greater Asia Prosperity Sphere-Japan has the sacred duty to free our colonized Asian neighbors from the beastly white colonialists. The colonized Asian countries, like the Philipines, Burma, Malaya and Indonesia, must be liberated from the U.S. and other Western colonial powers."
When the ceremony ended, the teachers gave us small Japanese flags and we were instructed to hold them tightly and to wave as we marched through the streets to the nearest Shinto shrine. The Japanese governor and his retinue on horseback trotted by us. When the deputy governor, who was a hated Korean collaborator, rode by and his horse relieved itself, a piece of the warm dung hit the top of my nose. Right there and then, I swore that someday I would make him pay for this insufferable insult. (Instead, a few decades later, I married one of his granddaughters.)
The Japanese governor soon mounted the makeshift platform erected in the middle of the square and declared in a booming voice: "In the name of His Imperial Majesty we must do our utmost-and, if necessary, lay down our lives-to help expedite Japan's final victory. Japanese and Koreans must work hand in hand, pulling all our resources together. . . ."
"As part of the war effort," he continued, "the governor general of Korea (the head of the Japanese colonial administration in Seoul) decided to take urgent measures." Henceforth, the use of the Korean language would be strictly forbidden. Koreans must adopt Japanese names. Every Korean must carry an identification card at all times. Korean males over 18 must perform compulsory military service. All essential food items would be rationed.
We were devastated by the announcement. The worst aspect of the "urgent measures" was the prohibition of the use of our native tongue. As I watched the sunset over the western horizon on my way home that evening, the elation that intoxicated me at the beginning of the day turned to dread. --Peter Hyun
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Mr. hyun is a senior editor at Doubleday publishers in New York. --editor, The Asian Wall Street Journal

Zauriel
05-05-05, 18:16
.
He proclaimed, "On this great occasion-in the name of the Greater Asia Prosperity Sphere-Japan has the sacred duty to free our colonized Asian neighbors from the beastly white colonialists. The colonized Asian countries, like the Philipines, Burma, Malaya and Indonesia, must be liberated from the U.S. and other Western colonial powers."



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Mr. hyun is a senior editor at Doubleday publishers in New York. --editor, The Asian Wall Street Journal

Japanese Imperials were among the most hypocritical people in the history. When Japanese occupied Philippines, they claimed to have "liberated" us. But instead they gave us lies about liberty, freedom and independence and a puppet government under their control.

A5573A
09-05-05, 01:37
When Japanese occupied Philippines, they claimed to have "liberated" us. But instead they gave us lies about liberty, freedom and independence and a puppet government under their control.

Some of them still support this argument today ><'''

lexico
31-08-05, 12:25
Thanks for sharing. Let us all hope to work for a better world where these kind of things never happen again. Europeans did it only after two great wars; hope to do it with one that caused all the pain.