Fighting for the Enemy
Koreans in Japan's War, 1937-1945
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Washington Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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I have finally come to the end of this journey. I know that my friends and family feel it is about time. My debt to my friends, family, colleagues, and mentors who have contributed to Fighting for the Enemy is enormous. This project would not have come to fruition without the generosity of Dr. Kim Do-hyŏng (of the Independence Hall of Korea), who sent me research...
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On June 22, 1939, a Japanese brigade captured Wanshan, a small village in Shanxi in northern China. By nightfall, however, Chinese nationalist forces regrouped and launched a series of counterattacks that drove the Japanese from their positions. One of the Japanese casualties in this battle, private Yi In-sŏk, an ethnic Korean, was fatally wounded by a hand grenade. In the...
1. Korea’s Mobilization in Context
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Japan’s wartime mobilization of Korea during the Asia-Pacific War (1937–1945) was an unprecedented event in Korean history that affected every aspect of its society and economy: Hundreds of thousands of Koreans were uprooted and sent overseas to work and fight in foreign countries, Japanese and Korean industries proliferated throughout the peninsula, and...
2. The Korean Volunteer Soldier Systems
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The Korean Special Volunteer Soldier System (J: Chōsenjin Tokubetsu Shiganhei Seido) began in 1938, the year after war erupted between Japan and China. Between 1938 and 1943 the Japanese army received more than 800,000 applications for military service, and enlisted 17,664 Korean volunteer soldiers; 6,203 students applied for the Korean Student Special Volunteer...
3. The Korean Conscription System
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In the months following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese military invaded and occupied territories in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. These conquests added large numbers of fatalities to the tens of thousands of soldiers already lost in the Sino-Japanese War that began in July 1937. Japan’s human resources were stretched thin across thousands of miles of...
4. Mobilization of Colonial Labor
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The Korean people’s most significant contribution to Japan’s war effort was their labor in Korea, Japan proper, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific. Korean wartime labor is best understood as an intensification of existing labor trends that began after the colonization of Korea. After 1931, when Japan became deeply embroiled in Manchuria, Japanese industries expanded...
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Japan’s imperial endeavor in Korea is a subject of extraordinary sensitivity and controversy, so one must approach it with respect for the pain of the Korean nation as well as for historical veracity. Japan’s dominion over Korea brought both exploitation and modernization in a mixture that is hotly debated. Until recently, most academic accounts of Korea’s colonial past...
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Page Count: 252
Publication Year: 2013