Henry Chung.

The case of Korea; a collection of evidence on the Japanese domination of Korea, and on the development of the Korean inependence movement online

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that "about dawn the whole party (Japanese assas-
sins) entered the palace through the Kwang-hwa gate,
and at once proceeded to the inner chambers. Not-
withstanding these facts, there is no sufficient evidence
to prove that any of the accused actually committed the
crime originally meditated by them." ^ Thus the case
was dismissed. And Count Miura and his fellow-as-
* Appendix I.


sassins were heralded throughout the Japanese Empire
as national heroes.

The same thing is taking place now. Japanese can
no longer deny the wanton massacres carried on by
their soldiers under the instruction of Hasegawa and
Yamagata, the two chief culprits in the Korean crime.
So the two men resigned from their posts in Korea to
save the face of Japan, They should have been tried
and punished according to their crimes. Instead,
Premier Hara says in commenting on the resignation
of these two men: " I regret to announce the resigna-
tion of Marshal Hasegawa, Governor-General, and
Mr. Yamagata, Director-General of Administration,
both of whom have rendered eminent service to the
State at the Important posts which they have occupied
for several years." ^

In case of gendarmes and soldiers, who did the ac-
tual killing, they not only still remain in Korea to carry
on their rule of terror under a different name, but they
have been awarded honoraria by the Japanese Govern-
ment of 150 yen to 400 yen according to rank and
service rendered to the cause of Greater Japan by their
heroism in killing defenseless men, women and chil-

It is said by those who have Interviewed Baron Salto
that the new Governor-General Is sincere In his desire
to better conditions in Korea, although he has not as
yet given any signs of his good intentions. Even if
he has good Intentions, he can do nothing unless given

* Premier Hara's ofificial announcement given to the press by
the Japanese Embassy at Washington, August 20,.I9I9.


a free hand from above and cooperation from below.
He has neither at present. When the Tokyo Govern-
ment appointed him the civil Governor of Korea, they
withdrew him from retirement and put him on the
active list of the navy. This, in effect, makes the civil
administration of Korea a part of the Japanese mili-
tary regime as it has been in the past, and the civil
Governor is under the thumbscrew of Japanese milita-
rists. Baron Saito has no alternative but to continue
the Japanese policy of assimilation or annihilation
forced upon the Koreans by his predecessors, Terauchi
and Hasegawa, under the instruction of official Tokyo.
The second obstacle standing in the path of Baron
Saito is the system of Japanese colonial bureaucracy
that has existed in Korea ever since the annexation.
However good the Governor-General's intentions may
be to better conditions in Korea, no change of any kind
can be brought about without a complete sweep-out of
the present officials, from highest to lowest. It is be-
yond question that these officials will never be any
better than they have been, even under orders. Al-
ready it is evident that some of the good orders that
have been issued by Baron Saito have been quietly
pigeonholed by the men lower down. A Japanese of-
ficer in Korea, no matter how humble his station may
be, is an autocrat in his sphere. He has little knowledge
of administration and cares less. He believes in his
superiority and struts along with rattling sabre, bully-
ing and robbing, on the slightest pretext, every Korean
who crosses his path. A grain of common sense or a
knowledge of human nature is an unknown quantity


among the Japanese officialdom in Korea. If Baron
Saito attempts genuine reforms in Korea, depending
on the support of these officials, one may waste a little
pity on him.

Above and beneath all the high-sounding official
declarations and beautiful promises of reforms, what
are the facts and where are the reforms? They are
the proof of Japanese pudding of Civil Administration
in Korea. I quote the following from an American
eye-witness which gives a vivid picture of Japan's al-
leged reforms in Korea:

What are the facts? To the impartial observer it is
difficult to see wherein the outlook of the officialdom as
a whole is changed. Tortures, as I have said before,
have not ceased. The Japanese deny this, but the evi-
dence is there for whoever seeks it. Every day innocent
men are being arrested, in Seoul, in Taiku, in Shen Chen,
in Pyeng Yang, in Chemulpo, in scores of other cities;
every day they are being arrested on the vaguest sus-
picion, tortured to make them " confess," held for several
days or weeks and then, if nothing is found against them,
released without explanation or apology — just turned out.
There is no denying this. I have talked to a score of such
men myself. I sat in my room in one city and had them
come to me one at a time and tell me their stories. Bet-
ter yet, I have seen the marks on their bodies, the
wrenched arms, the torn flesh where ropes had been
bound tight, the rotted flesh where they had been flogged
ninety strokes with three bamboo rods tied together with
rough cord. Word of mouth may be deceptive, those
marks are not; they are not self-inflicted just for the
purpose of deceiving one newspaperman.

Thousands of youths, both boys and girls, are still in
prison in the freezing cold of Korea for having done no


more than shout Mansei. There is no word of ampesty,
no hint of mitigation of sentences ; instead, there is mis-
treatment in foul prisons.

In one city a girls' society made a large number of
straw shoes which it asked permission to send to the,
women in one prison. Permission was refused. The
women are still walking the icy stone prison floors in
their hare feet night and day.

Detectives and spies are paid so much per person for
arrests, irrespective of guilt or innocence. And it is
openly charged that the procedure of the Conspiracy Case
is being repeated. On the pretext of political charges
men are being put into prison whom it is wanted to get
out of the way for other reasons ; leaders in business and
possible competitors, scholars, Christian pastors. These
men may or may not have any connection with the inde-
pendence movement; the object is to prevent the growth
of a Korean leadership even for non-political purposes.*

The Japanese rule in Korea, ever since the annexa-
tion, has been a continual series of deceits, intimida-
tions, cajoleries, oppressions and treacheries. The
Korean well understands the nature of the Japanese,
and therefore, he does not expect any reforms. It has
been the history of Japanese domination in Korea that
whenever there was any criticism In the West of their
misrule, the criticism was met by announcement of
reforms. There were to be reforms In 1905 after the
protectorate was established; reforms In 1907 when
Prince Ito took over the administration; reforms in
1910 when the country was formally annexed ; reforms
after the Infamous Conspiracy trials of 1912-13. Now

^ Nathaniel Pefifer, " A Japanese Idea of Reform," China Press,
December i6, 1919.


once again there are to be reforms. Calculating and
relentless, the ruling caste of Japan will not introduce
any genuine reforms in Korea unless they are forced
to do so, either by foreign pressure or internal revo-
lution. At present, there are signs of neither. What
little liberalism in Japan we hear of in America is
manufactured for export purposes, especially to
America, not for home consumption. Indeed, Senator
Henry Cabot Lodge hit the bull's eye of the promises
of Japanese statesmen when he said in his speech on
the Shantung question in the Senate: "Whatever
promises she (Japan) has made were all marked by
one vital omission — time." Premier Hara said that
the reforms in Korea will be initiated " eventually "
and will be carried into effect " when time is considered
opportune." This loose phrase is capable of many in-
terpretations according to the wishes and conveniences
of the Japanese Government. Baron Saito, the Civil
Governor of Korea, reflected the opinion of the Pre-
mier when he said in his report on the Korean situa-
tion to the Japanese Diet on February 23, 1921, nearly
two years after the reforms and Civil Administration
went into effect, that the " extension of the Japanese
electoral law to Korea must await the time when the
people of that country are capable of exercising the
duties of citizenship." ^

Bishop Warren A. Candler, President Emeritus of
Emory College, expresses the opinion of the best in-
formed on the oft-repeated reform announcements in
the Japanese Government in Korea, when he says in
* New York Times, February 25, 1921.


an article, " The Hun of the Orient in the Belgium of
the East."

The recent proclamation of Japan, in which the mis-
deeds of the militarists in Korea are confessed and a
better order of things under civilians is promised, should
deceive no intelligent and informed man. The change
of men will have no effect to change measures. Japan's
promises with reference to Korea have never been kept.
Her treaty, guaranteeing the independence of Korea, was
shamelessly broken in less than three years after it was
signed. Germany did not prove faithless to Belgium so
quickly, nor so disgracefully. Japan cannot be trusted to
treat Korea with justice and humanity.

In 1906 I visited both Japan and Korea, and there I
saw such oppression of Koreans by the Japanese that the
atrocities perpetrated during the present year do not sur-
prise me.''

The Korean, on the other hand, will not be satisfied
even if genuine reforms are introduced in Korea. His
cry is complete independence. He has been aroused
from his long sleep by the sound of clashing arms, the
cry of a murdered queen, the tramp of armed men.
He is proud of the accomplishments of his forefathers,
and is willing to make himself a worthy heir of his
past glory. He sees the privileges of political inde-
pendence and is ready to shoulder the responsibilities
accompanying it. Besides this spirit of national con-
sciousness for freedom, the Korean entertains bitter
hatred towards the Japanese, and feels that the less
he has to do with his Island neighbour, the better off
he will be.

* The Atlanta Journal, September 7, 1919.



" X"^' OREA at the present time would be a fertile
■^ field for another Bryce investigating com-

-■- ^- mission," writes a close observer of the trend
of events in that far-off land. But Korea presents
more than a land of tragedy ; it is a scene of constantly
changing drama of sublime pathos and inspiring hero-
ism. The inter-play of the innermost human passions
and subtle racial psychology, which forms the back-
ground of the play, is never lost to view. Aside from
the question of forced assimilation, which is an inter-
esting study in itself, the fundamental difference be-
tween the Koreans and the Japanese, and how each
people look at the same problem from an entirely dif-
ferent point of view, is a study well worth research.

The Koreans always worshipped Hananim, a name
that conveys the idea of one Supreme Ruler over the
universe. This monotheism in Korea is, undoubtedly,
one of the reasons for the amazing success of the
Christian missionary among the Korean people. To
the Korean, moral courage, rather than physical cour-
age, is by far the superior type, and unity of mind and
consciousness of one's duty to a great cause is power.



Once a girl " rebel " was asked by the judge in a trial
court, "What is independence?" "Independence?"
said the girl, and her eyes looked beyond the stuffy
court, " what is independence ? Ah ! independence is
a happy thought ! " This spiritual understanding of
one's consecration to a great cause enabled the Korean
boys and girls, to say nothing of the grown-ups, to
meet the police and soldiers with the cry: " You may
kill my body, but you will never kill the spirit that
makes me shout Mansei."

Mrs. Robertson Scott, an English novelist, who was
in Korea during the Independence Movement of 1919,
in her analysis of the " warring mentalities " in Korea,
records the following incident as a typical trend of the
Korean mind:

A clergyman in Seoul — such a young man as may be
met any day at a Cambridge tea-party — said with deep
conviction, " The Koreans are so brave that the Japanese
do not understand it. The Koreans, I believe, are the
only people on earth who are really ' meek ' in the scrip-
tural sense. The Japanese think their meekness is
cowardice, whereas it is moral strength." *

To the Japanese the only power is material might,
which has one embodiment — the army and navy.
Such a thing as noblesse oblige in governing a weaker
people is unknown among Japanese officials, both civil
and military. In its place, they have false dignity and
self-conceit, which is always coupled with a tendency

*" Warring Mentalities in the Far East," by Mrs. Robertson
Scott, Asia, August, 1920, pp. 693-701.


to be cringing before the strong and overbearing
towards the weak. Hence, they show their smirk and
smile to the Westerners, but to those weaker than they
in the East, their fiendish nature of calculating treach-
ery and relentless brutality is revealed. Professor
Inazo Nitobe, the eloquent interpreter of the Japanese
Bushido to the Western world, says with regard to
Korea: " I do believe it is the right of every people to
do as they will, regardless of consequences to their
neighbours." ^ Professor Nitobe must have two sets
of interpretations of the Bushido — the beautiful, self-
denying and chivalrous interpretation for the West,
and the interpretation based on the doctrine that might
makes right for the East.

It is Japanese political philosophy that individual
citizens exist for the sake of the State, and not the
State for the welfare of its citizens. Hence, morality,
conscience, humanity, frank statement — everything is
sacrificed for the cause Of Greater Japan. In the most
cruel periods of Japanese tyranny of Korea, and dur-
ing the worst of the reign of terror, March and April,
1919, there was not a single Japanese citizen or civilian
official to protest, much less to criticize, to their Gov-
ernment with a view of stopping the atrocities. When
foreigners began to protest in the name of humanity,
then a number of citizens and civil officials, as a face-
saving device, start to criticize the military officials for
their " harshness," thus using the soldiers and police as
the scapegoat.

*From an article by Inazo Nitobe in Japan Magazine, April,


All through the fires of political persecution during
the Independence Movement, the fundamental differ-
ence between the Korean and Japanese characters were
brought out in bold relief. The Japanese looked upon
the Koreans as possessing no power. The Korean, in
his turn, not only hated, but despised, the Japanese.
The Japanese thought they could stamp out the fires
of Korean patriotism with their iron heel, whereas
they only fanned the smouldering flame with their
schrecklichkeit. The action and reaction of the two
different mentalities, Korean and Japanese, on the
same question, is a fascinating study, even though
connected with grim tragedy.

Of the wide survey that I have made of current
literature and the mass of unpublished manuscripts on
the topic, I find none that presents with greater force
and precision the contrast between the Korean and
Japanese mentalities and their respective views on the
Korean situation than the two anonymous articles
which I subjoin. One on " The Korean's Courage "
is from an unpublished manuscript, and the other on
" Japan's Problem " appeared in the Japan Advertiser,
July 11, 1919, under the nom de plume of " Spectator."
The author of these two articles is a Britisher, who has
resided in the Orient for over thirty years, and who is
a profound scholar of Oriental history and politics.

The Korean's Courage

It was thought by those who knew the Korean best
that he was a man lacking courage. He possessed a
kind of frenzy, under high pressure, that would go to


the bitter end. But for cool courage that could smile
down any menace that might threaten, he has never been
given the credit. In these days of his new birth as a na-
tion, however, he has displayed characteristics that have
caused the onlooking foreigners to stand in wonder. He
may be a timid man before small dangers, like Queen
Elizabeth, who, though ready to climb onto the table at
the sight of a mouse in the room, could say, with the
Armada sailing up the Channel, " I have only the body
of a weak, feeble woman, but I have the heart and
stomach of a king; and of a king of England, too." This
heart and stomach is Korea's, for, during these last two
memorable months, not a fear has been hers. Quiet, cool,
calculated courage has she shown, much as any admiral
moving into action might well be eager for.

Korea has learned through the years gone by that the
machine that benevolently governs her is of the order of
the Hun. It makes laws ; it fixes and regulates everything
under the sun, almost to a man's breath, verboten this
and verboten that ; it keeps tab on your every motion ; it
has spies and police and gendarmes and soldiers at its
beck and call. Rats listen back of the wall at night and
birds catch your thoughts during the day and convey
them to the chief of police or gendarmerie. Your house
is searched at any hour by barbarians, who walk over the
inner mats with their boots on, and then wash their dirty
hands in your drinking water at the door. If you get in
their way, they drive their scabbard into your stomach
or promptly give you the gun-butt back of the ear in a
way to make you see stars. They wear hobnails ready to
kick or trample any man, woman, or child, who falls foul
of them. They have back of them an inferno little better
than Tartarus, fitted with prison bars and torture cham-
bers that might well daunt the stoutest patriot. Korea
knows this. She has not lived ten years without sensing
the kind of ogre who has her in his grip, and what it


means for any man to rise and say, " I'll have none of

In the face of this, it took courage on March i for the
thirty-three leaders, here and there throughout the land,
to come boldly out. Not a weapon did they have. Bel-
gium was brave when she threw her army into the breach
and defied the German millions, but Korea was braver
still when she said, " I have no arms, no power to fight,
no one to whom to appeal but God, no redress. Even
my body is not mine — only my soul. My soul only, but
bend it never will." They spoke the word. They set the
movement going. They gave their benediction to all
around, with smiling faces, and then walked quietly to
arrest, and unresistingly let themselves be taken. The
prison doors clanged hard behind them, with no word
since. We hear reports of pain and mortal agony, but
even the wife at home keeps a cheerful face and says,
" Never mind, it's for the Cause."

Those who are on the spot, like the writer, know that
this is courage of the first order. The martyrs, who went
to the stake in the sixteenth century, were not braver;
not even those who died in the days of Nero.

Still, the men on that first day did not know what
fully awaited them, and so may have gone forth unwit-
tingly. Ere night fell crowds had been cut down with
swords, beaten with fire-hooks, hammered with blud-
geons, shot, trampled, ridden over, till peace was re-

The demon of order that rules Korea doubtless said,
" I've taught these fools a lesson. They'll think twice
before they venture again to run counter to the might of

Little did he know. It has not ceased till this day.
Here and there by day, by night, crowds gather like
armies of the unseen, suddenly flashed visible. " Long
live Korea ! Independence forever ! "


No word has been heard of " Down with Japan," no
resentment shown. Had Korea desired, on that second
day, seeing her bleeding, trampled sons, and knowing how
the foul fiend would treat them in prison, she could
have armed herself with clubs and stones and killed every
Japanese in the outlying country and burned every house
in Seoul, with probably less punishment than she took
for simply calling Freedom. But this was not her order
of the day. " Hurt no one. Do no violence. Let our
Cause be known. It is just."

Doubtless Japan has kind hearts in many places, and
she must not all be condemned, but kind hearts are not
evident in the machine that governs Korea, and to the
Korean this machine is Japan and all Japan. It
thought that a few rounds of this kind would surely end
the mad craze that possessed the Korean and deliver the
Government from the trouble on hand, but no such re-
sult followed.

When one group was put down by sword, gun and iron
bar, others stepped into their places to take up the call.
Like the fiery cross of ancient Scotland, it flits from hand
to hand, till the whole land is caught by its spirit and the
only thought is to pass it on.

One of the striking features of courage is that shown
by the young women. Right well they know what tor-
tures await them if they are caught, and yet they have
been as fearless as the men. Some of those taken March
5, when on their way to wave the flag, tell their story.
Kicked, beaten and flung into the police station, there to
undergo such torture as would daunt the bravest !

Girls brought up in tender surroundings just as care-
fully as regards their persons as any young woman in
the Western world, are subjected to this agony, and yet
they take it with smiling faces. A few days ago I met
one of them, whom the police are close after, and said
to her, " Have a care. Keep out of it." She smiled in


an easy, unsuppressed way, said her gentle thanks and
was gone.

Kim Maria, a young woman of about twenty-five years
of age, whom I have known from a child, is now locked
up in the inner prison. She is a beautiful type of
Oriental with dreamy eyes and dark lashes, such as only
the hidden vistas of Asia ever see. For some years she
has lived in Japan and speaks her language like a native
tongue. What is her sin? The same as that which sent
Madame Breshkovsky to the salt mines of Siberia. She
is a patriot and would give her life to see Korea free.
Maria knew what others suffered before she went, but
that must not interfere with her contribution to the Cause.
She chose Tennyson's line, " the thumbscrew and the
stake for the glory of the Lord."

Another mark of Korea's courage is seen in the plain
men of the country, the small farmer, who has had little
chance to know the larger questions of life. In his quiet
soul many of Confucius' maxims reside. He is no Bol-
shevik, not he, for the Five Rules that hold society to-
gether in East Asia hold him firm. He has awakened,
however, to the fact that all men are born somehow with
certain inherent rights, the right to think, the right to
speak, the right to pray. He joins the vast throng of
Koreans, now numbering millions, who are on the march
shouting the Battle Cry of Freedom. He knows, as the
Daily News to-day announces, that any man calling Free-
dom will get ninety blows of the bastinado. What is
left of him will be but a poor rag to start ploughing for
the summer season. Still, he is undaunted and goes
forth. The gendarmes and soldiers, half beside them-
selves, and not knowing what to do, fire pointblank into
these defenseless crusaders with ball cartridges, thinking
to stamp them out, but not a bit of It.

I asked a former provincial Governor, who called on
me yesterday, what is in the mind of the Korean country


folk that they take this kind of punishment and yet keep
on. " A definite conviction," says he, " has mysteriously
come to possess our whole people that their Cause is
right and that the right will win. They have no hatred of
their oppressors, no desire for revenge. If we had, we
could soon exercise it and kill every Japanese in sight as
we did in 1884, but that's not it." The com/iction among
Christians and non-Christians alike is that God is on the
side of right, and that He will move their Cause to win.
So the farmer dies with no resentment in his soul against

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Online LibraryHenry ChungThe case of Korea; a collection of evidence on the Japanese domination of Korea, and on the development of the Korean inependence movement → online text (page 19 of 25)