In the immediate aftermath of the devastating 1923 Kantō earthquake, hundreds—perhaps thousands—of Korean residents in Japan were massacred. Animosity toward Koreans was fueled by rumors of Korean wrongdoing after the quake. Some non-Koreans were murdered as well, but the details of the incident show that Koreans were the specific targets because of their distinct Korean identity, rather than simply because they were not Japanese. The Japanese colonial occupation of Korea provided the backdrop to this extreme example of the explosion of racial prejudice into violence, based on a history of antagonism. To be a Korean in 1923 Japan was to be not only despised, but also threatened and potentially killed.