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Korea as a Colony of Japan

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Natalia Domínguez González


Perspectiva Internacional


Korea as a Colony of Japan

Question: Using the example of German payments to the Jews and their descendants who suffered under the Nazi regime, should the UN make Japan pay the Koreans and their descendants for the suffering under Japanese Imperial occupation of Korea?

Nowadays, there still is an animosity between Japan and Korea. This can be traced back to 1895. Japan’s imperialistic ideology lead to what is known as the Asian Holocaust. This nation executed war crimes throughout Asia, but mostly in its so called colony of Korea, which was occupied by the imperial army from 1910 to 1945. Korea was crushed spiritually, mentally and physically. Japan usurped Korea’s sovereignty; had military control over Korea, exploited its resources, abolished education, and dehumanized koreans, which were tortured, raped and massacred for 35 years. To this day, Japan has not made a trustworthy apology. The United Nations must make Japan pay the koreans and their descendants for making them suffer under the Japanese Imperial occupation of Korea. Therefore, the best payment is to recognize and fully accept the japanese imperial crimes in their history, describing the atrocities committed on the textbooks.

In the XIX century Japan was the most industrialized Asian country, it had defeated China and Russia and had started developing prestige within the  Western countries. In the meantime, an imperialist ideology had emerged in Japan and was gaining force. Generals soon realized that Korea was a primitive country that needed industrialization and at the same time, it could be used as protective perimeter from the West. In 1910 Japan formally annexed to Korea, as a colony. During this period, the japanese imperial army focussed on destroying Korea's identity, while transforming it into a new Japan;  Koreans were treated as slaves, forced to work in labour camps with inhuman conditions. It also expanded its influence to education “Schools were closed and children were denied the opportunity to learn, leaving 90% of the youth uneducated and illiterate.  Between 1910 and 1922, the number of private schools was reduced from 2,000 to about 600” (Park, 2003).

Another important issue is the so called comfort women, who were korean, chinese and filipina women used as sex slaves. “It is estimated that 200,000 Korean women were forced into sexual servitude for the Japanese military” (Park, 2003). Nevertheless, only a quarter of them survived, and the rest died because of venereal diseases. These women were tortured, famished and raped every night for years. In 2017 there still are 37 comfort women who survived and now claim for justice, “the issue has become the symbol of Korea’s humiliation at the hands of imperial Japan, and by way of that most taboo of subjects: women and sex.” (Sala, 2017). There are also claims that Japan’s imperialistic rule, suppressed with a lot of violence, iron handed, independence peaceful protests. In 1919, the March 1st Movement, took place and was extinguished with military support. “In the end, 7,500 Koreans were killed and 16,000 were wounded” (Park, 2003). Rebellions were seen as a crime and many political leaders were tortured.



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