New Movement to Demolish Statues of Japanese Collaborators

Proving that nothing is exempt from Korea’s continuing quest to purge the influence of colonial Japan, civic groups are now demanding that statues to Koreans who collaborated with the Japanese be destroyed. In multiple cases, local governments have erected statues to Korean military heroes or national icons, only to find out that the individuals immortalized in bronze also supported the colonial authorities.

Statue of Kim Hwal-lan, the founder of Ewha Women's University, covered in messages demanding its removal for his role in mobilizing female students for the war effort

Statue of Kim Hwal-lan, the founder of Ewha Women’s University, covered in messages demanding its removal for his role in mobilizing female students for the war effort

The statues continue the list of symbols tainted by bitterness over Japan’s treatment of Korea during the forty-year occupation, including Buddhist statues, bathrobes, and, of course, islands.

Online reaction linked the continued failure to punish collaborators to the legacy of former President Park Chung-Hee, who served in the Japanese colonial military and whose daughter is now the president of South Korea.

Article from SBS:

Controversy over the Removal of Statues to Pro-Japanese Koreans

By Kwon Ji-yoon
As time has passed, it has come out that many Koreans who were honored with a statue for their service to their country were also collaborators with the Japanese. In a new chapter in the controversy, groups are demanding that these statues be removed from public places, while others argue that they should stay as reminders.

A statue, located to one side of the Geoje POW Camp Historic Park, was erected to praise General Kim Baek-il(1917-1951), who commanded the withdrawal action in Heungnam during the Korean War, an action which saved the lives of 100,000 civilians.

(Local resident): “I guess he was great, and he did a good job during the Korean War.”

However, General Kim was also involved in the establishment of the Gando Special Forces, which took the initiative to suppress Korean independence fighters during the Japanese occupation.  Many have criticized the statue in his honor and demanded that it should be demolished. Although the mayor of Geoje ordered the statue to be removed, the organization which originally erected the statue has started legal action, resulting in a stalemate for the past three years.

This is not the only statue that has become controversial. Kim Hwal-lan(1899-1970) was the president of Ewha Women’s University and a statue in her honor was placed on the campus of the school. Kim was also involved in pro-Japanese activities, including encouraging the militarization of students, actions which have led many students at Ewha to demand the removal of the statue.

kim dong in statue destroy

Similarly, the statues of Kim Sung-soo, founder of Korea University, at the Seoul Grand Park and of Kim Dong-in, pioneer of modern Korean literature, at the Children’s Grand Park, have also attracted controversy, as both men turned out to be pro-Japanese.

According to Professor Park Chan-seung of Hanyang University, “The main controversy over this issue has to do with the people who committed pro-Japanese activities during the Japanese colonial era but who also performed charitable deeds after the liberation from Japanese imperialism in 1945. In this case, I think it would be better to describe the historical fact just as it is.”

At the traditional village “Ara-ri chon” in Jeongseon, Gangwon Province, there was a conflict over the statue of Lee Beom-ik, a pro-Japanese governor during the Japanese colonial era. A stone inscription pointing out his indelible pro-Japanese activity was erected next to the statue praising his achievements. Illustrating both Lee’s good and wrong deeds may prove to be a historical lesson.

Kang Gi-hee, President of Cultural Action in Jeongseon, a historical revision group, said that “the history of pro-Japanese activities will never fade away if the statue is demolished. It would rather be better to make a stone inscription to remember every single act of collaboration with Japan.”

It is hard to say that this is a perfect solution for the controversy, but many argue that it would be better than a consuming debate over the removal of the statue.

Comments from Daum:


While those who sacrificed their lives for their country were treated like dirt, why do we have a statue for crazy guys loyal to Japanese imperialism? What a wonderful country!


In Daegu, Gyeong-buk, there is also a statue of a traitor, a former pro-Japanese general. Please demolish it! We will never be able to order Japan to apologize for the past without a removal of the statue.


Why do I have to pay a tax for the establishment of a memorial hall to Park Chung-hee, a former president of Korea? There were only 1,000 pro-Japanese people officially identified. That is precious few compared to the population of 20 million at that time. However, it is true that it is not easy to punish them. But leniency suggests that those thousand have enough power to ignore over 50 million people now. Needless to say, we must know who they are.


高木正雄(Dakaki Masao-a Japanese name of Park Chung-hee). Was he buried in the Seoul National Cemetery?


The top priority here is to get rid of the traces of Dakaki Masao.


Sadly, it looks like I live in a country where they erect statues of traitors.


It’s obvious that tolerating these opportunists once will lead to them taking advantage of us again and again. The pro-Japanese group should be tracked down and noted in our history so as to alert people to the dangers of traitors. Plus, it should prevent people from getting involved in the South Korean Labor Party.


It doesn’t make sense that the people who voted for the daughter of the pro-Japanese former president are now trying to punish pro-Japanese collaborators. Don’t pretend to be against Japan.


This is the history of Gyeongsang Province. The Huns found this region named “Silla.” After it conquered the region of the Goguryeo, it was sold by the Chinese, which led to a miserable history under them. In the Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592 for seven years, the people in this area bore Japanese babies. The riot of the bbalgaeng-i happened in Dae-gu. They always cast all votes for Grand National Party (Hannara-dang) after IMF, after the impeachment of Roh Moo-hyun, a former president, and after the general election on April 11, 2012. Still, they do the same thing for Park Geun-hye. This is Gyeonsang Provinces, home ground for Chun Doo-hwan and Il-be. They will hinder Korean unification, which will lead to the jang-gae taking over the territory of North Korea. I am confident to say that Korea will go under due to the Gyeongsang people, the Huns, and the pro-Japanese collaborators.


This is why Japan looks down on Korea.


Martyrs for our country such as Ahn Jung-geun and You Gwan-sun, we can’t find them anymore. It seems like if you want to succeed and enrich your descendants, selling out your country is the way to go.  Let me say to the Korean people: “Be happy and live longer, betray your homeland.”


When are you going to stop admiring the guys who sold out their country?


If they refuse to remove the statues, men should use them as a public toilet.


Do you know the reasons why the Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations failed? It’s because they didn’t eliminate the legacy of pro-Japanese traitors. Who can?? It won’t be easy, but we should have gotten rid of all of them. If we don’t, there will be no future for our country. We should not allow history to be distorted.


Why does Ddongsang-do (an insult for Gyeonsang Province) have lots of pro-Japanese guys? It can be traced back to a Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592. They are all from the same blood.


I feel sorry that my father and grandfather never betrayed their country, had they done so, I would be a full, successful man.


This shows how much the stink of colonialism and betrayal still hangs on this country.

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  • John Snow

    Selling out? I would sell out too if the price is right. I guess that is the mentality for a person in tough times? After the war wasnt South Korea re-built by the mafia? I might be wrong on this. Regardless if someone could explain to me the reason for the korea hating japan and japan hating korea?

    • Isaac


      • John Snow

        Ok please explain. As by stating “Wrong” [sic] is not all constructive. I still dont get why there is so much hate.

        Germany occupied many european countries and now they are the best of friends. Germany killed over 20 million russians during the WWs yet they get along.

        I think Japan should really hate the USA more seeing that they dropped 2 nuclear bombs on the country. Japan even surrendered before the second bomb was dropped. But Uncle Sam wanted to know the experimental results of nuclear bombs on people.

        The result is devastating. As most of you know. Not to mention the prolonged genetic mutation on the Japanese people (Japanese people have a very unique sets of teeth. Which emerged in the generation after the bomb.)

        But you know. Japan and America are like best friends.

    • Alice S

      I think Koreans hate Japs but Japs don’t hate Koreans.

      • ChuckRamone

        There are anti-Korean rallies in Japan from time to time, especially in Shin-Okubo where a lot of ethnic Koreans live. There was one last week where people were spitting on each other and fistfights broke out.

      • mr.wiener

        Japanese hate[despise] Koreans. Hate is too mild a word to describe how the Koreans feel about the Japanese.

  • mr.wiener

    All very well for people living after the event to degrade those who had to work and try to help their own people under a harsh colonial master. I wonder if this generation [or even people in their 70’s now] would have done any differently.

    • Syn

      There are tons of Korean ppl died and tortured severely to get independence from Japan. You can’t say that. You can kill and torture your countryman for only living well by yourself? At least there were many patriots who laid down their life for their country in Korea. Only few ppl betrayed their country.

      • mr.wiener

        And did all of the people being accused of collaborating kill and torture their own countrymen?
        Some where involved in the arny and security forces, but it was these institutions run by Koreans than took over the country after the Japanese left and managed to stave off the communists.

      • Yu Bum Suk

        The largest group of Koreans who died for independence were the Korean labourers in Nagasaki on 9 August, 1945, who suffered the misfortune of Kokura being clouded over.

      • mandubang

        I hate to point this out, but Korea didn’t get independence from Japan. You might remember there were some nuclear bombs dropped on Japan and they had to surrender all their conquered territories as a condition of their defeat. So if you’re suggesting that Korea had anything to do with ending the occupation, I’d like to point out that it did not. Most of the presidents you’ve had since gaining independence have been horrible and have also taken advantage of Koreans for their own personal gain, but people hang their pictures up in bars and continue to believe they were just doing what was best for the country. There are plenty of traitors to Korea who take advantage of the country, but they’re ignored.

    • Leon

      Point is, Korea has always been a slave to a more powerful nation. Chinese troops can cross Korean border with relative ease, especially without military support of U.S, Russia or Japan. The future of S.Korea?

      Korean girls are on sale in China

      Who really holds the power in China? Western faces in Chinese Government.

      • Leon

        S Korea is closely tied to Chinese policy, economy and geography. In fact, Chinese oligarchs believe that the S.Korea already belongs to China. Racism/Xenophobia in South Korea, hostilitiees against the DPRK, Japan and foreigners, all of this strengthens China.

        • Leon

          grammar correction: military support from

          This fucking smartphone is the ultimate piece of shit. Made in China. also english is not my native language.

          • steve his58

            umiru bolno..

          • Kochigachi

            Leon don’t bother with Japanese trolls.

        • Isaac

          Okinawa belongs to China.

          Japan belongs to China.

          Tibet belongs to China.

          When will this ever end?

          • Butsu

            No, no, no. You got it all backwards. This is how it’s suppoused to look.

          • Isaac

            That would be in the future.

            >Reunified Korea

            >Invades Japan and the Pacific

            >Invades Manchuria

            China can have their ‘China proper’.

          • Kochigachi

            The map was made by Japanese fyi.

      • KCdude

        All I know is that the Chinese Politburo will lead the Korean reunification sooner or later. I’m an ethnic Korean and I think it’s better for China to control the Korean Peninsula. It had always been like this for generations in the past.

        • Isaac

          I’d much rather throw myself out the window than become one of you filthy jjangkaes.

          Quit pretending to be someone you’re not.

          • Sillian

            What’s with your language?

          • KCdude

            Why? Our traditional Korean culture doesn’t deal well with pride. Pride kills us. It is pride that harms Koreans and their identity the most. If you’re a upright Korean, stop being prideful.

        • Sillian

          “I’m an ethnic Korean but” has become your mantra. That doesn’t cringe yourself?

          • KCdude

            Nope. It’s a good way to express my opposition of South Korea, a very dangerous country to the world.

          • Sillian

            Oh sure =]

          • NINJA

            lemme guess, north kor?

          • Kochigachi

            Stop being dumb, we know you’re another Japanese troll.

          • KCdude

            증거라도 있습니까? 증거 없으면 패스.

        • Kochigachi

          Oh yes, another Japanese troll. Anyone in Japan is practically all ethnic Koreans.

          • KCdude

            Thank you for your kind words.

      • Monkeekong

        it’s the jews

      • Kochigachi

        Oh I can smell you’re Japanese troll.

  • Paul M

    It may seem just and noble calling on people to demolish and remove all trace or evidence of Japanese occupation. However it is a part of Korean history whether you like it or not. My only concern is that in a few generation’s time we’re going to have one group of people pissed off and angry at another group of people without understanding exactly why they are angry. Sure, they’ll have all read about it in their school textbooks but nothing beats going out and coming face to face with history.

  • commander

    The rignited controversy over calls for bringing down statutes for renowed Koreans during the 35 year Japanese colonial rule that are found to have collaborated with Japanese occupiers should shift its focus to the conspicuous absense of memorials for still under-appreciated numberous independece Korean activists.

    Disturbingly, descendants from those obscure activists still live in financial straites and received poor education, suffer collateral damage that what should been great rewards for their forebear’s laudable sacrifices for this country.

    This grim picture comes strinkingly against opportunistic collaborators’ continuned well off that allows its offspring to hold remarkably better social positions with excellent education buttressed by abundant finances.

    The flared up tension over how to assess Korea’s gloomy period when many take advantage of the Japanese occupation for their personal advantage should be defused in a way that lays bare all records involved with historical figures give added sportlight to heretofore under recognized activists.

    The debate should not end up an onetime campaign calling for a dismantlement of undeserving Koreans’ statutes.

    Putting things back to what they should be is the task that future generations expect us to do.

  • lonetrey / Dan

    My initial reaction was “What the hell, why would they put up statues of war collaborators??”

    But then I thought about it a bit, and I feel like I don’t know enough about them as well as what good they’ve done, in order to say something like that.

    I guess my thoughts jumped to Nazi collaborators.

    • commander

      The essential problem with calls for the breaking down of statutes is that those whose stautes have been set up have ambivalent achievement during the 35 year tumultuous colonialization period.

      For one thing, one literary intellectual has been revered for his top notch literary works, a great contribution to making inroads into the advent of modern Korean literature.

      But the downside in his otherwise compendable career as writer is to lend his writing ability to Japanese colonizers by wrting articles aimed at encounraging Koreans in pain under Japanese cruel oppression to be cooperative with Japan.

      This is especially problematic when he wrote a piece prodding young Korean students to voluntarily serve in the Japanese army in wars that spanned continential China, ones to quench Tokyo’s territorially expansive thrist.

      This conflicting accomplishments by many leading figures in times of the Janpanese colonial rule leave the South Korean public divided over whether statues honoring people with polarizing life trajectory should be disintegrated or not.

      The intensity of the heated debate reveals the complexity of assessing colonial legacy in South Korea and viewing the failures to appropriately deal with pro Japanese figures after liberation from the Japaneae occupation.

      Maybe we may live to learn how to live with uncomfortable past, which has been unsucessfully addressed.

  • Writer451

    Putting up statues for these traitors who also did good deeds later on would be like putting up a statue to honor Jerry Sandusky. “Oh sure, he did some awful things, but the charity he founded helped many others.” You trivialize the victims when you place more importance on the good their victimizers did.

    The reason for erecting statues is to honor people who stood up. These traitors never stood up for anything in their life. They saw which way the wind was blowing and they did what was best for themselves. Since when do we honor selfish cowards like that?

    • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

      Well they need to be remembered in some way, if only to preserve the history.

      Like that Petain guy who was in charge of France during the nazi occupation. Yeah he basically gave France to Germany, imposed censorship and was indirectly responsible for the death of many, but he did it to preserve France and keep historical sites like the Louvre from being demolished, even so much as stopping his own soldiers from blowing it up when they were forced out.

      I think those ‘traitors’ should be viewed much in the same light: they’re actions may have appeared cowardly, but maybe they did it to preserve their country, or at least hoping it would.

  • Dror Pekard

    Lets complicate things: in the eyes of North Korean all South Koreans are traitors. Conclusion: this sort of vengeful nationalism is bad for Koreans! Where does it stop? What about breaking windows of shops selling Japanese products? Harassing Koreans who visit Japan? What about President Park, an officer in the Japanese colonial army? Isnt Eiwa unibersity one of the better university for women in Korea? Let historians do their work and keep ugly nationalism away.

    • Sillian

      “What about breaking windows of shops selling Japanese products? Harassing Koreans who visit Japan?”

      That’s out of nowhere. They are talking about how to deal with the legacy of collaborators. Then you create some imaginary anti anything Japanese mob to make the actual debate look foolish with that leaping ‘why stop there’ argument. That doesn’t sound very sharp. Why is debating this even ‘ugly nationalism’ in your book?

      • chucky3176

        They do tend to lump the way the Chinese have behaved/and are still behaving towards the Japanese, with the Koreans, for obvious convenient reasons.

      • john freyan

        In short, a slippery slope fallacy – a term that people somehow thinks is a valid form of argument as opposed to, you know, a fallacy.

    • chucky3176

      That kind of hate only happens in Japan, to Koreans. Go over and have a look at now and see for yourself. That kind of violence toward individual Japanese rarely happen in Korea. For sure there are ghosts in Korea towards the colonization period, and territorial/historical issues with Japan, but that rarely translates to violence towards individual Japanese people in Korea who are largely well respected and well treated and welcomed as visitors.

      • Rutim

        > That kind of violence toward individual Japanese rarely happen in Korea.

        You forgot to mention how many Japanese is living in Korea…

        • General Tojo

          Maybe they wouldn’t be in Japan if they weren’t brought over there to work and die in the mines and WWII factories beaten and starved to death for the Japanese war machine.

          • Rutim

            It couldn’t be so bad as 1/3 of them still wanted to work in Japanese factories…

          • nitrostat

            you mean after they were starved in their own country by the imperialists ?

      • Paul M

        Nope, happens in Korea too. I remember being in Seoul during the madness that was the US beef protests and being cornered by a group of angry guys spoiling for a fight. I had one guy holding on to my arm and another guy screaming in my face. I only managed to get away because I showed them my alien registration card.

  • Ruaraidh

    Koreans seem strangely happy to assign collective guilt to the Japanese, but not to themselves. This is surprising since the worst historical oppressors of Korean people have themselves been Korean people. Look at the old Korean monarchy, or even the new monarchy of Pyongyang. What Japanese person ever treated Koreans worse than any of the Kim dynasty do?

    • Joseph Lopez

      I’ve been saying this for years to any Korean and Chinese person who hates the Japanese because of the past

      The worst oppressors to their people have been themselves.

      I especially laugh when the Chinese complain about Japanese whitewashing history when the Chinese do it themselves. Any mention of the man made famine that killed 20-70 million Chinese is blocked and the Tiananman Square massacre of 1989 is also blocked

      North Korea distorts history also. In their history books, they say the US and south Korea started the Korean war….

      • ChuckRamone

        I think the people of Korea and China like to deal with international problems AND domestic ones. The two are not mutually exclusive. Why is there so much of this rudimentary thinking on these sites? It really gets tiresome reading these kinds of simplistic comments. People basically come here to cheerlead for one country over the others, and they argue their points like fifth graders.

        • Ruaraidh

          No one is saying you can’t be concerned with both domestic and international issues at the same time. Only that the standards to which a great deal of Korean, and Chinese, people hold themselves to, are much more lenient than those of which they judge the Japanese by.

          Maybe it’s the reader which is simplistic in this case, and not the comments.

          • ChuckRamone

            What country doesn’t do that to a degree? Most do it to a huge degree.

            Also, what the person above did is to conflate China, North Korea, and South Korea as all being the same thing. Tiananmen Square, Mao, North Korea, and Kim are not the same as South Korea. South Korea has a pretty long history of criticizing its leaders – the country started out under a military dictatorship.

            It doesn’t make much sense to say a reader is simplistic. You might say their thinking is simplistic.

          • Sillian

            How to view those KOREAN collaborators or opportunists is the subject here. South Koreans are lenient about their own country? There is so much more bad blood in domestic politics. Funny you mention North Korea. Do you imply North Korea is not bashed enough in South Korea?

          • john freyan

            Really. You’re saying that in a thread attached to an article about South Koreans going after other Koreans who collaborated during the Occupation? Interesting, Shogun-Samurai-Goku-san of the Tenno Heika Banzai-gaijin squad.

            Just so you know, there is a striking resemblance between what you’re saying and what the Stormfront folks are saying about Africans enslaving other Africans before slavery in America. Then again, I don’t really see too much of a difference between the Stormfront folks and the Tenno Heika Banzai-Gaijin squad, so maybe it shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

          • Ruaraidh

            You’re totally missing the point, @disqus_OJpFMI0mRW:disqus too. The point isn’t that Koreans ignore all crimes committed by their own people, it’s that they don’t conflate those crimes with the Korean people as a whole. On the other hand, the prevailing attitude towards the Japanese seems to be that they are all collectively guilty for what some Japanese did in the past.

            The fact that people are saying ‘North Korea and South Korea aren’t the same’ proves my point, none of you are saying ‘past Japan and present Japan aren’t the same’, your thinking is biased. You lot are having such problems even understanding the point I’m trying to make, it makes me think that you really believe Japanese people should be burdened with a sort of collective racial guilt, whilst Koreans should not.

            Anyone who’s been reading my comments on this site for a while will be well aware that one of my main hates is the idea of inherited/racial/collective guilt. It’s a stupid idea that can only make sense to people with serious mental compartmentalisation.

          • john freyan

            Who’s talking about assigning collective guilt for the actual crimes of the Imperial Japan? The guilt assigned to the Modern Japan is the modern defense of the crimes of the Imperial Japan by the modern Japanese – notably modern Japan’s democratically elected officials, including the Head of State.

            Consider a hypothetical Southern Republican senator who states “Slavery was amazing for black people, so they really should be thanking us white people. It’s not like they didn’t love being our slaves back then. They’re just in it for the reparation money.” in a press conference, and then gets repeatedly re-elected into the office by the people of that state. What you’re doing is “So what? Slavery was hundreds of years ago. Why should the people of that state get the blame for it?” to the others who are outraged.

          • Ruaraidh

            I’m presuming you’re American, because you keep using American analogies. By your own logic, you’re guilty of drone strikes, illegal detention and torture. Also I think you’ll find that a lot of the translated posts on this site genuinely bear a grudge over the historical actions of Japan at least as much as, if not more than, the current misadventures of certain Japanese politicians.

          • john freyan

            Obama is constantly being attacked (by his own base, no less) for his drone strikes, illegal detention and torture. One of the most popular t-shirts during the Bush Jr. era was “Not My President”. There was and still is a tangible, sizable, active dissent against the wrongdoings of the government.

            In Japan, you know what I see? Japan Restoration Party’s political stock skyrocketing like Apple’s after iPhone. Shintaro Ishihara showing off his absolute political and social invulnerability. Nutbag Right-wingers successfully including “Comfort Women were whores” and “America invaded peaceful Japan” into kids’ textbooks. Toru Hashimoto making a statement that really would have gotten him fired in other countries (arrested in Germany, by the way), and getting political flaks NOT because what he said was terrible, but because what he said ‘shamed Japan’. 25% of the national legislature going to a shrine/museum that Hermann Goering would’ve been impressed by.

            Maybe you can play the “America does that too” card when 25% of the Senate or the House (I’ll be generous – it can be either one) got a group trip together to “pay tribute” to Nathan Bedford Forrest’s tomb or something.

            Vast majority of those grudges and misgivings would not be present if the Japanese politicians haven’t been playing “Where’s the line, and how far can I push – oh, screw that. TENNO HEIKA BANZAI!” game for over half a century instead of even pretending to follow Germany’s fine example in owing up to its horrific past.

            Now go on then. What other excuses and distractions can you provide to hide the fact that Japan as a country, government and society has been woefully inadequate in owing up to its past, and now they’re just trying to play the ‘statute of limitations’ card on a moral issue.

          • Sillian

            What do you think ‘guilty’ means in the context of this discussion?

            A. as in ‘convicted guilty’ personally
            B. collectively responsible for pressuring the government and leaders

          • YellowMagic

            We don’t even have to imagine, it happens all the time.



            Should america as a nation have to be labeled as all racists? Should all Americans be blamed for the conservative politicians?

            Another thing you should know is the Japan’s liberal democratic party is a very conservative party much like the republican party in the US. There are only two instances in the post war period, in 1995, and 2009 ,where politicians outside the liberal democratic party have been elected as prime minister. They are conservative, but they also very effective and have much more experience in governing. The popularity of Abe now comes from the contrast to the failure of governance of the democratic party of Japan(2009-2012), It is not because of their conservative stance. The democratic party of Japan is seen as the liberal of the two major parties but they have failed in the handling of the fukushima incident and the financial crisis.
            They are democratically elected because they really have no better options. Their views might be conservative but they get the work done, which is more important for the Japanese people now.

          • Sillian

            You are making it sound as if Koreans would go after random Japanese individuals and blame them. If anything, that’s what happens in Japan with the extremists against Koreans in real life but you will take an issue with Koreans anyway. Millions of Japanese people visit Korea every year and they are generally welcomed by Koreans. That’s what’s up in real life. What you keep talking about is the prevalent obtuse language and trolling on the net. Modern Japan as a political body makes some weird moves regarding WWII. That’s what’s officially being criticized. It’s not that WWII Japan equals modern Japan. This is so basic. To a degree, Japanese people are responsible for the Japanese government just as much as Korean people are responsible for the Korean government.

          • chris

            “You are making it sound as if Koreans would go after
            random Japanese individuals and blame them.”

            ironically, there are people who do just that over the internet like Chucky, and those who constantly trolls JC.

            “To a degree, Japanese people are responsible for the Japanese government”

            thats a pretty bold statement. to what degree are we talking about?

          • Sillian

            I meant in real life. Random ppl on the streets for ex. And what is even ‘bold’ about that statement and why did you even cut the sentence in half? Care to explain? You mean citizens bear zero responsibility for their government in a democracy?

            Btw I agree that chucky should calm down and stop generalizing the entire Japanese ppl.

          • chucky3176

            That’s pretty bold statement to accuse someone of going after random individuals based on nationality.

          • takasar1

            as long as you remember that there are only a few (yet highly vocal) korean people who place blame upon the japanese of today

          • takasar1

            you mis-understand, no one is condoning anything, slavery as well as hostile occupation, is a crime regardless yet we are merely pointing out the hypocrisy in some k-nettizens’ arguments.

          • takasar1

            “you can forgive your brother for stealing a diamond watch much more easily than you can forgive your neighbor for stealing a loaf of bread” saqib 4:12. lol. anyhow, jokes aside, this is the power of nationalism and can be seen all over the world

          • Ruaraidh

            I like that, but I see it more as this: If your neighbour steals your cattle you might cut him down, but if it was someone from the next glen along across, you may just raze his whole village.

        • hun

          The problem with that is most of us here(maybe) would like these countries to focus more domestically than internationally, having a government that handpicks news and censor other material will only create/stir more xenophobia and racism, especially issues regarding China/North Korea.

          Sorry that a lot of us are so simple and not intellectually on par with you, if i knew more bigger words i would use it, my lord.

          • ChuckRamone

            Big words are not a requirement. Comments should just be expressed clearly and show a deeper level of thought than “Koreans and Chinese criticize Japan only and not themselves.”

          • Sillian

            I have to ask how many of these foreign commentators have a good grasp on what is going on in domestic politics in Korea. First of all, don’t keep lumping Korea with another country. That is the first giveaway sign of weak understanding. I have seen some awkward Korea critics who didn’t even know very basic things outside their immediate expat bubble and blogsphere that just picks what interests them. The biggest portion of political energy is spent on Koreans against Koreans issues. This is very evident but sometimes surprisingly missing in some people’s mind.

      • KCdude

        In some way, it is true that South Korea provoked North Korea right before the Korean War mostly in the form of South Korea’s long term political instability. Then again, South Korea isn’t a democratic country in practice. It’s a very authoritarian country that often stand against the whole idea of liberal democracy. As my South Korean friend said, “SOUTH Korea is better understood as a watered down East German-ish socialist country under the shield of a foreign power and the influential South Korean political elites are better understood as members of an Marxist style Politburo”. And he did NOT talk about North Korea. I now understand why former minister of culture 유인촌 said how Pres. Myung-Bak Lee had a far left wing attitude.

      • Kochigachi

        Japan also distorts their own history, they say no war even taken place.

        • GermanTiger

          Every country glorifies and distorts its history to some degree.
          It’s easy understandable. Who would like to hawk with his or her mistakes?

    • commander

      Your comments seem to fail to distinguish starking differences between pre modern internal conflicts and modern intetnational masscare. The inside political oppression during premodern period is universal.

      The cruel suppression of any uprising against a nation’s ruler continued until the human rights made into people’s mind and were introduced around World War I.

      The international invading wars walked on a different trajectory. In particular Japan’s colonizing war is troubling because its ripple effects are still remarkably felt in Tokyo’s repeated brazen refusal to acknowledge its wartime wrongdoings on numerous peoples.

      On Pyongyang’s new ruler Kim Jong-un continuing its brutal march where its starving residents are insulated from outside humanitarian assisstance in the regime’s systematic indoctrination , South Korea, and its allies, has worked to stem North Korea’s nuclrea and missile threats from materializing and draw the hermetic country into outside world by dangling some carrots in front of its increasingly sullen communist country. Many believe denuclearization and ensuing economic assisstance to be a ultimate resoultion to the humanitarian issues of unreported countless deaths by famine in tye impoverished nation, though the recent repatriation of young North Korean defectos to China by the Latian governement is tragic, and needs international measures to ensure fleeing defectors should not be returned against their wills.

      • Ruaraidh

        You’ve missed my point entirely. Let me try to rephrase it.

        When Kim Jong Il commits an atrocity, Korean netizens say ‘Kim Jong Il and his supporters are bad people.’

        When Hideki Tojo commits an atrocity, Korean netizens say ‘All Japanese are monkeys and bad people.’

        If it’s still not clear enough… The attitude here often seems to be; Korean criminals are guilty of the crimes committed by Korean criminals, whereas all japanese people are guilty of crimes committed by Japanese criminals.

        • Sillian

          You are talking about trash talking and trolling on the net rather than real life politics. We all know many netizens don’t bother with specific and refined language when they bash something. In that regard, Japanese internet isn’t any better but I don’t see you take an issue with it. That’s not something strangely unique or original.

          • Ruaraidh

            This isn’t the place for me to take an issue with the Japanese internet, I do that over on japanCRUSH. If you think I’ve got an issue with Korea you’re wrong, actually in this regard I think Japan and Korea are basically the same, and if they could both just get over themselves rather than feeding each others anger, they’d both be better off.

        • commander

          You are off the point about my argument.

          There is the fumdamental divergence between fellow South Koreans’ supposed silence on long standing North Korean maltreatment of its residents and Korean visible resentment over Japanese stubborn rebuttal of its wartime atrocities.

          That difference is that South Koreans are at a loss to how to yield a breakthrough in interKorean stalemate. They are well aware that confrontational policy toward the North, aimed at stopping anti humanitarian acts committed in Pyongyang, will spark a grave tension on the Korean Peninsula that could ignite a second Korean War, a last thing all neighboring countries want.

          This liene of reasoning has been behind of the reengagement North Korea policy dating from the Kim Dae-Joong presidency.

          But you need to note that the South Korean public has always wished an immediate end to unbearable pain North Koreans have been suffering, and have been very sorry over the lack of effective leverage to induce changes in the communist nation.

          In a stark contrast, Japan has been presented a surprisingly different views on the repeated calls on Tokyo to admit its wartime wrongdoings and pay compensations to victims from its military imperialism.

          Some ultra right wing politicians have reiterated controversial contention, for example, that their forcible sex enslavement of women in neighboring countries was based on voluntary willingness of those “prostitutes”.

          Now you can see the biggest difference between two cases. That is the existence of acknowledgement of its atrocities.

          Not a single South Korean denies grave cruelties in the Stalin country, rather they want North Koreans to be saved from those grim circumstances.

          But Japan has repeatedly denied ita past war crimes that are obvious to other countries.

          This denial is cearly illustrated by its revision of school history books excluding what the island country deem as blemishes in its misguided past historical perception.

          Another example of Japanese repudiations is that senior Japanese politicians have paid visits to the Yascuni shrine honoring war dead including Class A war criminals that brought to a war tribunal in the wake of World War II.

          Are you saying South Koreans have been irrationally too hard on Japan on past historical issues when Japan have sought to cover up its contentiously shameful past track in school text books for its future generations, reject compensation calls and call female wartime sexslaves voluntarily willing?

          If your answer is yes, you and the South Koreans are poles apart in distingushing right from wrong–too wider gulf to be bridged. Then we can agree to disagree.

          • Ruaraidh

            We’re still on different pages. I know what you’re saying and mostly agree, however I still don’t think you understand what I’ve been trying to say. Actually I’m coming to the conclusion that for East Asians, whose cultures and languages have a less individualistic focus than their European counterparts, it may just be a particularly difficult concept to grasp.

          • commander

            Different collective mindsets beteeen community-valuing East Asians and individual freedom-focusing westerners might bring out differing reactions to Korean infuriation at, in victimized nations’ view, Japanese preposterous claims in resonse to compensations calls , and South Korean deafening silence on Pyongyang’s alleged crimes against humanity for its people.

            But thr point is that all Asian countries involved in what appears to remain permanantly unresolved have made their cases with typical Asian mindset.

            This means you need to change your western perspective to get to the bottom of the ongoing clashes of historical identites, national prides that are being forged on differing views at this time.

    • you are dumb

      oh you are fucking stupid. go search some korean history.

  • death_by_ivory

    This is the history of Gyeongsang Province. The Huns found this region named “Silla.” I am confident to say that Korea will go under due to the Gyeongsang people, the Huns, and the pro-Japanese collaborators.

    Lol what????As a Hungarian I will just claim my long lost territory and claim Samsung as mine.Crazy.

    • Sillian

      What the translator tried to mean is Xiongnu.

      • death_by_ivory

        Thanks that was super informative.

    • KCdude

      The Gyeongsang Province is a very unique part of Korea because there’s a lot of ancient Scythian and some Celtic artifacts underneath the ground. Btw, The traditional tombs of Korea from the past to present look too similar to proto-European tombs.

  • anon,_Seoul

    Does anyone remember how they demolished the General Government building despite how it was where the start of the Republic of Korea was marked because of how it symbolized Japanese occupation as well? Isn’t it pretty much the same issue except with statues instead of buildings this time? I think they should get rid of those statues, at the very least for consistency’s sake

  • Marcus Muller

    “Do you know the reasons why the Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyunadministrations failed? It’s because they didn’t eliminate the legacy of pro-Japanese traitors.”
    Talk about simplified economic theory!

  • Jake`

    Who can say what options were truly available to any of these “collaborators”? Perhaps they made the best decisions they could to save the lives of those they were responsible for, as distasteful as those decisions may seem in retrospect – Kim Hwal-lan was responsible for his students; Kim Baek-Il was responsible for the citizens he governed. If they hadn’t collaborated, what would have become of these people whose lives they were responsible for? Would it not have been correct to do what was necessary to save these peoples’ lives, rather than to think of one’s own legacy, or the nebulous concept of duty to one’s country? I’d think that duty to those one is responsible for comes first. I don’t know any more about the issue than what is presented in this article, so maybe some of these individuals truly did sell their countrymen down the Han, but we should know as much as we can before we insult the legacy of complicated people who lived and made decisions during complicated times.

    • chucky3176

      You Nailed it.

      There may have been a few who went above the call of duty. They indeed were traitors and should be treated as one. But the vast majority just tried to look after themselves within the only system that was available. The Japanese ran the government, they ran the schools and education, owned the post offices, owned all the factories, and ran the public transports. I mean, if you, a Korean in 1930 Korea, wanted to survive and eat, how could you not be part of this system? The only alternative was to flee Korea, away from Japanese control. And many Koreans did just that, when millions fled to China, and the temporary Korean government was stationed in Shanghai.

      • Rutim

        > And many Koreans did just that, when millions fled to China, and the temporary Korean government was stationed in Shanghai.

        lol, they’re in North, not the South Korea now ;)

        • chucky3176

          lol, tells you what you know, which is very little. The provisional government of Korea in Shanghai later became the South Korean government of Syngman Rhee. And seven hundred thousand descendents of those who fled to China now live in South Korea, with many taking South Korean citizenship. They are called Joseonjoks.

  • holdingrabbits

    Next thing you know, Korea will try to go back to being illiterate. The occupation was horrible for Korea’s national pride, but a lot of things that Korea takes for granted was a result of the occupation. I’m not saying it justifies the occupation, but how far are we taking this thing? Stop eating ramen? Oh, I’m sorry, “ramyeon.” From an outsider’s perspective, it’s petty as fuck. Jews don’t care about Germans anymore but generations of indoctrination from birth have made sure that the Japanese occupation is still fresh on everyone’s minds.

    • Sillian

      I think this ‘why-stop-there’ argument is being misused. The main point is whether it is okay to close the chapter with the historical lesson that collaborators lived happily ever after and some of them are even honored for what they did after liberation. Collaborators don’t just mean every average Kim who conformed to the colonial rule. They were people who were voluntarily involved in exploitation of other Koreans and ideologically supported Japanese imperialism.

      There was no wave like that in Korea. It is a legitimate question whether it is right to honor colonial collaborators. What’s so ‘petty as fuck’ about it? I don’t think you are sharply on point. I mean there are petty things but not this one.

      • John Snow

        the Ramen and Ramyeon is what he is referring to “petty as fuck” [sic]

        People only take sides when they think they will get something out of it. It is simple as that. If Korea pays me money to promote Korea culture etc. I would so do it. I wouldnt give a second thought to those who thinks I am selling out my own country. Its just things we do to get a head in life.

        However, I would never sell my country’s land/property to foreign national to own. That would be like Iraq selling part of their oil rich land to the USA. Which is dumb and something I would never do.

        Promoting a new way to run a country in this case is ok. Because the end results might be more than one would expect.

      • holdingrabbits

        Of course, I don’t mean they should honor collaborators, but it took people this long to get mad about some statues? No…this probably has more to do with current events and the fact that people are always looking for reasons to hate the Japanese. When I say it’s “petty as fuck” I just mean that Koreans have held a serious grudge about the occupation, more than Jewish people or Europeans in general have held against the Germans. These days, people are like “yeah those Germans sure like beer” not “We should kill those nazi sons of bitches!” It’s just kept alive because people want to keep blaming things on Japan. It’s like a crutch so that people don’t ever really have to take responsibility for the country. People can just keep blaming Japan for everything.

        • chucky3176

          How did this issue turn into “hating on the Japanese’, and ‘keep blaming Japan for everything’. ?? Really dude? I don’t think Japanese have anything to do with this internal Korean issue.

          No matter which side of this issue you’re with, this is about bringing final closure to an embarrassing part of Korean history, where none of the collaborators were punished after Korea was liberated. This was due to the lines were so blurred due to the country’s needs to balance the use of these people (who were the only ones trained and experienced) to rebuild Korea, or bringing them down for punishment (in which case there would have been very few capable people to rebuild the nation). But of course, some Japanese idiot + their supporters will take my words and twist it around to say that this is proof that Japan helped Korea. That’s not what I’m saying at all.

          • holdingrabbits

            They don’t have anything directly to do with it, sure. My concern is that Korea is still finding ways to find closure 68 years after the Japanese left and were crippled as a nation for decades. I think that the ever-existing hatred for Japan has more to do with frustration and needing a scapegoat.

          • chucky3176

            It looks like Abe’s government has just been caught hiding evidence that
            the Japanese government were responsible for forcing the comfort women.
            One Japanese officer was executed, seven Japanese officers and four
            Japanese soldiers indicted and imprisoned for instituting of comfort women of
            Dutch women in Indonesia, after the war, by the allied tribunals. See
            this is what kills me.. the American-European allied powers who were the
            victors, tried Japanese war criminals who were guilty against white
            people, yet they did nothing to bring justice to Asian victims. It’s no wonder why there are closures. We still have many victims who are surviving, never got justice, and want one.

            You’re right, today’s Japanese had nothing to do with what happened over 70 years ago. But they can at least stop lying about it and denying they happened, and blaming the victims. Nobody asked the Japanese government to keep bringing up this issue and keeping it alive through provocative declarations when they had supposedly apologized many times in the past. And this is one of the reasons why this is why Korea is trying to find closure after all these decades – Japan keeps this issue burning.

          • holdingrabbits

            You have to differentiate between the “Japanese government” and a few right wing crazy people, because guess what, Korea has right wing crazy people too that say stupid shit.

        • Sillian

          This topic isn’t even about criticizing Japan. There was no seek-n-destroy collaborator purging in Korea unlike in post-war Europe. Many things were buried or ignored only to be found much later in Korea. In Japan today some of the prominent politicians are descendants of the prominent politicians during WWII. You like to compare Asia to Europe but do they stand on the equal level of political circumstances? I agree that there is some unnecessary bad blood between Asian countries. What is the right amount of criticism? You don’t think Koreans should not criticize anything related to Japan, do you? Then what is the adequate level of criticism that would not offend your sensitivity?

          • holdingrabbits

            I think you’re right in a lot of ways. I’m not saying that people can’t or shouldn’t criticize Japan, but at what point should you stop blaming current Japanese people for things that happened before they were born? I have students who refused to write pen pal letters to Japanese elementary school students because of Dokdo. The kids in Japan have no idea this is even an issue, but I have a group of kids who are basically raised to hate another country’s children for things that they have nothing to do with. The children are ignorant, but the parents who taught them this garbage shouldn’t be. It’s about time people started expecting more from Korean society instead of pretending Asia is like the retarded step-brother of the world because it raises its children to be horrible racists. We shouldn’t accept it and neither should Koreans as it mocks your intelligence.

          • Sillian

            Average adults in Korea would think what you think stupid in your story is stupid. Kids these days don’t necessarily pick up ideas from their parents. When they do, they add their own flesh or interpretation. Internet was the main source of weird ideas for me when I was younger. I grew out of it as I got older and learned how the real world works. Being reasonably and realistically critical in a fair manner takes some mastery. This certainly needs constant effort and reflection.

          • holdingrabbits


            I mean, look at this. This is a real thing. Though it’s been uploaded by a Japanese person, it was reported in Korean media as well. Honestly, I don’t think kids think of these kinds of things naturally. I think it’s obvious that someone taught them to be this hateful. Some adult had them make these and some other adults were like “let’s hang these up in the station.” If this was simply a product of students being hateful on their own, then certainly a responsible adult would intervene and tell the kids that it’s wrong to wish death upon an entire race of people…but no one did. So maybe some people grow out of it, but I’m not still unsure of how many people do.

          • Sillian

            You know that has been rehashed for almost a decade…That’s when ppl were very upset right after the day of takeshima was declared in Japan. Some ppl even thought a war might happen. Do you know the KTU? They went in full force to use the opportunity. The government later standardized lessons about dokdo in all schools, prohibiting aggressive factors.

          • Mruk

            Glad to know that kids were pissed off at Japan for some kind of celebration. Tells how sick the entire society is.

    • Isaac

      Yes. Everything Korea takes for granted was a result of the occupation. Such as the reason behind why Korea is divided today. Am I right?

      • holdingrabbits

        “Everything” and “a lot of things” are nearly the same! They both have letters that spell “thing” in their respective incarnations. Excellent job on ferreting out my true meaning.

  • KCdude

    The best way for Korea (and Japan and also China) to solve this issue is to rebuild the country from scratch with a new civic identity in a peaceful way. The best way to do this is to reform the whole political system from A to Z.

  • KCdude

    What is ironic is that the political elites in South Korea want to keep maintaining the hate and aggression against Japan for their own benefits. And this is despite a significant part of them has a very pro-Japanese past. I’m a Korean-Canadian and I have to shamefully admit that ethnic Koreans absolutely love to abuse power in the worst way from national politics to households. It’s the part of the rude Korean heritage and this is very sad.

    • Isaac

      I’m Korean-Canadian too.

      My opinions matter and these are the truth.

    • Sillian

      Why don’t you stop trying to inject some sort of authority by highlighting that you are Korean-Canadian every time? I’m sorry that your family life isn’t happy but you don’t have to project it. Just speak for yourself.

      • KCdude

        If you don’t like it, I can always say thank you.

        • Sillian

          You are welcome.

  • KCdude

    As discussed before I think there’s an appropriate conclusion. Most of Korea’s social problems and diplomatic problems originate from the serious problem that Koreans as a whole are too collectively prideful, in the worst way obviously. Koreans will attain inner peace when they learn that pride is seriously a bad thing. Let’s hope Koreans will guide themselves on the right track. Pity the Koreans.

  • Mr. Bojangles

    Leave the statues up because of the contributions they made to their country, or take them down because of their collaboration with the Japanese. Hmm…

    In the end, they did collaborate with the Japanese, whether they did it to save themselves, or because they believed in it. I think those statues deserve to come down.

  • totoybrown

    people should learn from the past not live with it. we have a human brain to think and understand why do they need to act like people without proper education. the world would be a better place if only dipshits and assholes would die instantly.

  • Joshua Cuyos

    If only we can also do this in the Philippines……

    Yyyyup, our current president’s grandfather was a Japanese collaborator too…….

  • GermanTiger

    Have somebody already thought about that these pro-japanese Koreans acted – be it only in their own view or in that of the then-korean public – as reformers, maybe even patriots?
    Without Japan, Korea would have probably become a colony of Russia or would have been annexed by China. It was the long isolationists politics of the Yoseon Dynasty that doomed 19th-century Korea.
    Becoming a colony or junior-partner of Japan was then probably seen as the best amongst many bad solutions.
    It’s of course easy to blame Japan especially for some of its later colonial politics, but as a colonial power you can very easily do things wrong.

  • Kochigachi

    I’m surprised they taken this long. yes, any collaborators should have been trialed and put to death penalty.

  • Dave Baxter

    It is outrageous that Korean politicians visit the national cemetery, in Seoul, every year where Korean war criminals from the Vietnam war are buried and honored there.
    South Korea has never made even one apology to Vietnam but Korean politicians honor these criminals at the nation cemetery every year.
    Diên Niên – Phước Bình massacre,
    Binh An village massacre,
    Binh Hoa village massacre,
    Binh Tai village massacre,
    Tay Vinh village massacre,
    etc… etc…

    South Korea has also never apologised for it’s peoples role in WWII war crimes. Over 100 Koreans were sentenced in the Tokyo war crimes tribuneral but South Korea has refused to apologise. Remember, it was decided during Nuremberg and at the Tokyo trials that taking orders was no excuse for the crime. South Koreans were often used as concentration camp guards in the Japanese army and were often directly responsible for the mistreatment of POW’s.

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