[Reminiscences]Chapter 5 2. The September 18 Incident > 회고록 《세기와 더불어》

본문 바로가기
회고록 《세기와 더불어》

[Reminiscences]Chapter 5 2. The September 18 Incident

페이지 정보

작성자 편집국 작성일20-06-07 18:08 댓글0건



[Reminiscences]Chapter 5 2. The September 18 Incident




2. The September 18 Incident 


When the revolutionary\organizations in Antu became active, I went out to the local\organizations in the Helong, Yanji\and Wangqing areas in the summer\and early autumn of 1931\and rallied the masses who had dispersed following the May 30 Uprising.

The September 18 incident occurred when I was conducting brisk activities based in Dunhua, establishing contact with the comrades in Antu, Longjing, Helong, Liushuhe, Dadianzi\and Mingyuegou. At the time I was working with activists rom the Young Communist League in a rural village near Dunhua.

Early on the morning of the 19th of September Chen Han-zhang arrived suddenly in the village\where I was staying\and told me that the Kwantung Army had attacked Fengtian.

“It’s war! The Japanese have at last started the war.” Groaning, he plumped down on the earthen verandah like a

man with a heavy burden. The word war that came rom his lips sounded pathetic.

The incident had been foreseen long before\and its date virtually coincided with our guess, but I was shocked when I thought of the calamity it would bring to hundreds of millions of Chinese people, as well as to the Korean people,\and of the great change that would affect my fate.

Later we learned what had happened rom various sources. On the night of the 18th of September 1931 the railways of Japan’s Manchurian Railway Company were blown up in Liutiaogou west of Beidaying in Shenyang. The Japanese imperialists then launched a surprise attack on the absurd excuse that Zhang Xue-liang’s army had blown up the railways\and attacked the Japanese garrison,\and they occupied Beidaying\and seized the airport in Fengtian on the morning of the 19th.

After Shenyang, Dandong, Yingkou, Changchun, Fengcheng, Jilin, Dunhua\and other big cities in the northeast of China were occupied in succession by the Kwantung Army\and the army stationed in Korea which had crossed the River Amnok. The Japanese aggressor army occupied almost all of Liaoning\and Jilin Provinces in less than five days\and surged towards Jinzhou, extending the front. They were advancing at lightning speed.

The Japanese imperialists shifted the responsibility to China, distorting the truth of the incident, but no one in the world believed their version, for people knew only too well the nature of the crafty Japanese. As those who concocted the incident later admitted, it was the secret service of the Kwantung Army that blew up the railways of the Manchurian Railway Company\and touched off the incident. In an article published in those days we disclosed that the Liutiaogou incident was caused by the Japanese imperialists as part of this scheme to swallow up Manchuria.

On the morning of the 18th of September 1931 when the Kwantung Army was on standby prior to the Manchurian incident one of the plotters, Colonel Dohihara Kenji (chief of the secret service in Shenyang), unexpectedly appeared in Seoul. During a call on Kanda Masatane, senior officer of the staff of the Japanese army stationed in Korea, he gave a roundabout account of the aim of his visit to Korea, saying that he was visiting him because of his annoyance at the press. What he meant was that he had come to Korea to avoid the harassment to which he would be subjected by the press when the Manchurian incident broke out.

At the same time General Watanabe Jotaro, commander of the Japanese air force, is said to have visited General Hayashi Senjuro, commander of the Japanese army in Korea in Seoul to take a rest, hosting a banquet at the Paegunjang restaurant. Their trip was very peaceful\and leisurely.

When I read this historical account, I was reminded of the fact that Truman had stayed at his villa without any particular reason at the time of the outbreak of the Korean war. We find common features in the September 18 incident\and the Korean war not only in the fact that these two wars began without any declaration of war, but also in that those who provoked the two wars displayed the craftiness\and impudence that are incidental to imperialists\and their disposition to invade\and dominate other countries.

Some say that history is a sequence of non-repetitive events, but we cannot entirely ignore the similarity\and common trends existing in different events.

We had always known that Japan was going to swallow up Manchuria by provoking the like of the September 18 incident. We foresaw it when the Japanese imperialists had Zhang Zuo-lin assassinated by a bomb, when the Wanbaoshan incident took place with the result that the Korean\and Chinese peoples were pitted against each other\and when they created the incident in which Captain Nakamura, who was serving with the staff of the Kwantung Army\and was spying in the guise of an agronomist, “disappeared.”

I was particularly shocked by the Wanbaoshan incident. Wanbaoshan is a small rural village about 20 miles northwest of Changchun. The Wanbaoshan incident was a dispute over the irrigation canal in the village between the Korean immigrants\and the Chinese natives. The Korean immigrants had dug the canal to draw water rom the River Yitong with a view to turning the dry fields into paddies, but the canal encroached upon the fields of the Chinese natives. Also the damming of the river might cause floods in the rainy season. So the natives were against the project.

The Japanese egged the Korean peasants on to complete the project,\and thus extended the dispute into Korea, causing casualties\and damage to property. Thus they deftly used a local dispute, common in the rural villages, to cause discord between nations.

If the Japanese had not sown discord,\and if farsighted men rom among the Korean\and Chinese peoples had followed the dictates of reason, the dispute would have been a brief quarrel\and would not have developed into a fight. The incident sowed great misunderstanding, mistrust\and antagonism between the Korean\and Chinese peoples.

I considered the matter all night without sleeping. Why should the peoples of the two countries who were suffering similar misfortune because of the Japanese imperialists fight a bloody battle with their fists? What a shame it was to be feuding with each other because of a canal when the two nations should fight the common anti-Japanese war! Why did the misfortune arise\and who caused it? Whom did it benefit\and whom did it harm?

It suddenly struck me that the incident was a prearranged farce, a prelude to something terrible. Above all it roused my suspicion that the Japanese consul in Changchun was out to “protect” the interests\and rights of the Koreans, while meddling in a casual conflict between peasants. It was in fact a political farce that should have been exposed to public ridicule that those who had taken away the farmland of Korea through the predatory “Land Survey Act”\and pursued a murderous agricultural policy were suddenly out to “defend” the Korean peasants in the guise of protectors. I was suspicious of the fact that the branch office of the newspaper Kyongsong Ilbo had hastily reported the dispute in Wanbaoshan to its head office\and that an extra issue was hastily put out\and distributed in the homeland. Did this not mean that the best brains of Japanese imperialism had thought up a terrible trick, deftly using a small local dispute,\and that it had worked? What was the purpose of it?

The Japanese imperialists were evidently making hasty preparations for something while we were putting in\order the revolutionary\organizations in the mountain recess of Jiandao.

The “disappearance” of Captain Nakamura in the summer of that year when the aftermath of the Wanbaoshan incident was still evident brought Sino-Japanese relations to the brink of war. Simultaneously with this incident alarming events were taking place in Japan proper. Some young officers in Tokyo got together\and held a memorial service for Nakamura at the Yasukuni Shrine, drew a Japanese flag with their blood\and put it up on top of the shrine to fan the war fever of the nation. Various\organizations with interests in Manchuria held a joint meeting to discuss the problems of Manchuria\and Mongolia\and told people that the use of force was the only way to settle the problems there.

At that time I judged that the invasion of Manchuria was only a matter of time. I had ample grounds for this.

As was mentioned in Tanaka’s Memorial to the Throne, it was basic Japanese policy to swallow up Korea, Manchuria, Mongolia\and then China so as to dominate Asia. Militarist Japan, ambitious to become the leader of Asia, was advancing steadily in accordance with her national policy.


The Japanese imperialists massed the Kwantung Army in Shenyang\and completed their arrangements for an attack, using as an excuse the “disappearance” of Captain Nakamura.

Chen Han -zhang was very worried at this. He said, “The Japanese army is going to invade Manchuria, yet we are as good as empty-handed. What should we do?” He had put some hope in the Zhang Xue-liang-led warlords of the Kuomintang. They were irresolute so far, but once the sovereignty of the nation was violated, they would have to resist in the face of the pressure of hundreds of millions of Chinese people, even if only to save their face, he thought. I said to Chen Han- zhang, “It is absurd to expect that the warlords of the Kuomintang will resist. Remember Zhang Zuo-lin’s assassination in a bombing17. Clearly it was the work of the Kwantung Army\and they obtained convincing proof of the fact, but the warlords of the Northeast Army made no inquiries into the matter\and did not call the Kwantung Army to account. They even received the Japanese who went to offer their condolences\and pay their respects to the departed. How can this be attributed only to their prudence, weakness\and irresolution? The Kuomintang is throwing an army of hundreds of thousands of men into the central soviet region in Jiangxi Province in an attempt to destroy the communist party\and launch ‘punitive operations’ against the Worker-Peasant Red Army. The ulterior motive of the Kuomintang is to annihilate the communist party\and the Worker -Peasant Red Army even if it means yielding part of the territory to the Japanese imperialists. It is the line of the Kuomintang to eliminate the communist forces\and control the political situation in the country before beating back the foreign enemy. Zhang Xue-liang, who began leaning towards the Kuomintang after his father’s death, is blindly following its cursed line. Therefore, he will not resist the Japanese\and it is absurd to pin your hopes on him.”

He listened to me attentively but did not express any support for my view. Nor did he relinquish his hope in the warlords,\and he said, “Even if Zhang Xue-liang follows the line of the Kuomintang, surely he will resist the aggressors, since he is likely to lose northeast China, the political, military\and economic base of his army.”

Then the September 18 incident broke out\and the hundreds of thousands of men of Zhang Xue-liang’s army surrendered Shenyang without offering any resistance. That was why Chen Han -zhang had come running to me, his face pale\and shaking his fist.

“Comrade Song Ju, I was naive\and an idle dreamer.”

His whole body was shaking. He reproached himself in excitement, saying, “I was foolish enough to think that Zhang Xue-liang would defend northeast China. He is a coward\and a beaten general who did not resist Japan, thus breaking faith with the Chinese nation. When I went to Shenyang before, the whole city was swarming with his troops. Every street was alive with troops shouldering new rifles. To think that an army of such strength retreated without firing a shot! How lamentable! I can’t understand it.”

That morning Chen Han-zhang, who was normally cool\and mild, could not keep his feelings under control\and was shouting. Later Zhang Xue-liang came to support resistance to Japan\and contributed to collaboration between the Kuomintang\and the Chinese Communist Party, but his failure to act at the time of the Manchurian incident lost him popularity.

I showed Chen Han-zhang into my room\and said quietly, “Comrade Chen, don’t get excited. We expected the Japanese army to invade Manchuria, didn’t we? Why then are you making such a fuss? rom now on we must closely watch developments in the situation\and prepare ourselves to counter them.”

“Of course we must. How annoying! I seem to have pinned too great a hope on Zhang Xue-liang. I could not sleep all night,\and this morning came straight here.

“Comrade Song Ju, do you know how strong is the Northeast Army under the command of Zhang Xue-liang? It is 300,000 men strong. I say, 300,000! It is a huge army. To think that a 300,000-strong army gave up Shenyang in a night without firing a shot. Is our Chinese nation so inferior\and powerless? Is the homeland of Confucius, Zhu-ge Liang\and Du Fu\and Sun Yat-sen in such decline?”

Thus Chen Han-zhang lamented, beating his chest. Tears trickled rom his eyes. It was natural that he should lament the tragic fate of his nation. He was lamenting out of the pure feeling of someone who loves his country. His lamenting was his inalienable right.

I once wept secretly in a pine grove in the homeland, thinking of the homeland that had been trodden underfoot by the Japanese. It was on Mangyong Hill on the evening of one Sunday when I had been in a gloomy mood all day, unable to calm my anger on returning rom the walled city of Pyongyang\where I had seen an old man, his body covered in bruises, writhing in agony as he was kicked by the Japanese police.

That day I was in a rage like Chen Han-zhang, thinking: How was it that our country with its proud history of 5,000 years should suffer the disgrace of being ruined in a day? How could we wipe away the disgrace?

In this light Chen Han-zhang\and I suffered the same disgrace. Formerly common ideas had brought us closer. rom then on the same status promoted our friendship. In adversity people become more intimate with one another\and their friendship\and affection deepen. In the past the Korean\and Chinese peoples\and communists had fraternized easily with each other because they shared a similar status, goal\and cause. Imperialists form temporary alliances for profit,\whereas communists forge firm internationalist unity for the liberation\and welfare of humanity, the goal of their common struggle. I regarded Chen Han-zhang’s sorrow as mine\and the sufferings of the Chinese people as ours.

If Jiang Jie-shi, Zhang Xue-liang\and other heads of the political\and military circles who had command of several million men had had such patriotism\and insight as this youth rom Dunhua had, the situation would have developed otherwise. If they had put the fate of the nation ahead of their interests\and the interests of their groups\and collaborated with the communists instead of opposing them,\and roused the whole nation\and the entire army to a war of resistance, they would have frustrated the invasion of the Japanese imperialists at the start\and defended the country\and people with credit.

But they gave no thought to the homeland\and nation. Prior to Japan’s invasion of Manchuria, Jiang Jie-shi restricted the army’s potential resistance by issuing to Zhang Xue-liang’s Northeast Army a written command to the effect that “In the case of a challenge by the Japanese troops prudence should be exercised to avoid conflict,” which later roused the resentment of hundreds of millions of Chinese people.

Even after the outbreak of the September 18 incident Jiang Jie-shi’s government in Nanjing issued a capitulationist statement to the effect that the Chinese people\and army should maintain their composure\and exercise patience instead of resisting the Japanese troops,\and this dampened the morale of the army\and nation. The fate of Manchuria was as good as decided before the September 18 incident. The government in Nanjing even sent delegates to Tokyo\and held secret negotiation with the Japanese government in which the Japanese were told that Jiang Jie-shi did not scruple to commit such a treacherous act as agreeing to yield to Japan the border area between the Soviet\union\and China on the condition that Japan would not seize other regions of China.

Jiang Jie-shi did not hesitate to commit the reckless act of sharing out to the Japanese a large piece of territory, abandoning his self-respect as the Head of State with a population of hundreds of millions\and an area of several million square kilometres, because he feared the struggle of the people against the landlords, comprador capitalists\and Kuomintang bureaucrats more than a Japanese attack.

The 300,000-strong Northeast Army fled, abandoning the whole of vast Manchuria with its inexhaustible natural resources, in the face of the Kwantung Army whose strength was less than one-25th of its own.

I said to Chen Han-zhang, who was so indignant at the nation’s ruin, “Now it is impossible to believe in any party, military clique\or political force. We must believe only in ourselves\and our strength. The situation requires that we arm the masses\and come out in an anti-Japanese war. The only way out is to take up arms.”

Chen Han-zhang grasped my hands firmly without saying a word.

I passed the whole of that day with him to divert him. I suffered the sorrow of a ruined nation more than Chen Han-zhang. He had lost part of his country,\whereas I was deprived of the whole of mine.


He invited me to his house, so the next day I left for Dunhua with him.

The September 18 incident shook not only Korea\and China but also the rest of the world. The world, which had been alarmed at the annexation of Korea by Japan, raised a cry of protest at the September 18 incident. Mankind thought of the incident as a prelude to another world war.

Japan described it as an unexpected local incident which could be settled through negotiations between China\and Japan, but the world’s people did not believe her version. Public opinion in the world denounced Japan’s attack on Manchuria as a violent act of aggression against a sovereign state\and called for the withdrawal of the Japanese troops rom the occupied area.

But the imperialists, headed by the US imperialists, assumed a sympathetic attitude towards the aggressive act of Japan, secretly hoping that Japan would turn her spearhead to the Soviet\union. The League of Nations sent the Lytton-led fact-finding commission to Manchuria, but it failed to discriminate clearly between right\and wrong, adopting an ambiguous attitude,\and did not even call Japan the aggressor.

The incident shook the continent, the large army of Zhang Xue-liang’s military clique was routed in a day by the sweeping attack of the Japanese troops,\and the morale of hundreds of millions of people was destroyed. The myth of the “invincible Japanese army” born of its victory in the Sino- Japanese War\and Russo -Japanese War became the reality. Waves of rage\and horror swept not only Korea\and Manchuria but also the rest of Asia. In the face of this terror all the armed forces, political forces, revolutionary\organizations, public-spirited men\and distinguished figures of different hues began to show their true colours.


The September 18 incident drove most of the remaining, disintegrated troops of the Independence Army into the mountains\and pushed those who advocated the cultivation of strength into the embrace of the Japanese imperialists. Soldiers rom the Independence Army, dejected, returned home, burying their rifles in the ground, while the national reformists advocated collaboration with Japan. The public-spirited men who had clamoured for a war of resistance for the salvation of the nation\and had made a declaration of independence, went into exile abroad, singing the Nostalgia. Some independence champions fled to Jinzhou, Changsha\or Xian, following Zhang Xue-liang’s retreating army\and abandoning the former base of their activities.

The complicated process of the break-up between patriotism\and betrayal of the nation, resistance to Japan\and collaboration with her,\and self-sacrifice\and self-preservation proceeded rapidly within the nation after September 18. Each person attached himself to the positive\or negative pole according to his view on life. The Manchurian incident acted as a touchstone revealing the tendency\and true intention of each member of the nation.

I continued my discussion with Chen Han-zhang on the September 18 incident in Dunhua for a few days. At first I, too, was extremely alarmed. I judged that the time had come for us to take up arms, but I did not know what to do\and how to act, with the Japanese troops surging in en masse. But I soon recovered my composure\and coolly watched the situation develop.

At that time I thought a great deal about the influence Japan’s invasion of Manchuria would have on the Korean revolution.

With the sending of Japanese troops to Manchuria\and its occupation we had the enemy at our side. The Japanese police authorities intensified their crackdown on the Korean independence champions\and communists, getting help rom the Chinese reactionary warlords on the strength of the “Mitsuya agreement,” but the instances were few in which the army\and police rom Korea entered Manchuria across the border. The agreement with China did not allow the Japanese army\and police to cross the border.

It was generally the police of the Japanese consulate in Manchuria who searched for\and arrested the Korean revolutionaries there.

Before the Manchurian incident the Japanese army in Korea was not allowed to enter Manchuria. When withdrawing rom Siberia during the Russian civil war, two companies of the Korea occupation army were stationed in Hunchun on the agreement of the Chinese side. These were the only troops occupying Korea that were stationed in northeast China.

However, with the September 18 incident Manchuria swarmed with Japanese troops. Tens of thousands of soldiers surged into Manchuria rom Korea, Shanghai\and Japan. Manchuria became the front\where friend fought foe. The border between Korea\and Manchuria was as good as removed with the invasion of the Japanese troops.

The occupation of Manchuria by the Japanese troops caused great difficulties to us in our struggle, which we were waging with Manchuria as our base. We felt threatened by the Japanese army\and police authorities in our activities, since one of the aims of Japan’s invasion of Manchuria was to suppress the mounting national liberation struggle of the Korean people there\and promote the maintenance of peace in Korea.

I realized that the iron club of the “new public peace maintenance act” enforced in Korea would fall on the heads of the Koreans in Manchuria.


If Japan established a puppet state in Manchuria, it would present a great obstacle to us. In fact, “Manchukuo,” which was set up by Japan later, became a great hindrance to us in our activities. Japan’s occupation of Manchuria would reduce the hundreds of thousands of Korean people, who lived there with a fence around them, to misery.

So an end was to be put to the freedom of the Korean immigrants who lived out of the reach of the government-general administration in a place that had been free of Japanese. Leaving their home towns to seek a living in a foreign country was to become pointless for Koreans.

But we did not consider only the unfavourable aspects of the September 18 incident. If we had resigned ourselves to pessimism\and merely lamented, considering only the unfavourable aspects of it, we would have remained dejected\and failed to rise.

I was reminded of a Korean saying “If one wants to catch a tiger, one must enter the tiger’s den.” The philosophy of life our ancestors had grasped\and formulated over several thousand years told me the profound truth.

I thought: Manchuria is a tiger’s den; in this den we must capture the tiger called Japanese imperialism; now is the time to take up arms\and fight; if we do not fight to a finish at a time like this, we shall never prove our worth.

With this thought I made a firm resolve to rise, without losing the opportunity.

For victory in the future war the Japanese imperialists will intensify their colonial rule in Korea\and become hell-bent on economic plunder to supply their war needs. National\and class conflicts will grow extremely acute\and the anti- Japanese feelings of the Korean people will mount. So if we form armed ranks\and begin the anti-Japanese war, the people will actively aid\and support us materially\and morally.

Hundreds of millions of Chinese people will also rise in a nationwide anti-Japanese war of resistance.

The invasion of Manchuria will be escalated into aggression in China proper\and China will be enveloped in the flames of an all-out war. It goes without saying that the Chinese people, who have a strong sense of independence, will not look with folded arms on the danger facing their homeland. By us stand numerous Chinese communists\and patriots who are burning with the desire to frustrate the imperialists’ aggression\and defend their national sovereignty,\and hundreds of millions of Chinese brothers who love freedom\and independence. Those who sympathize with us Koreans as stateless people will become reliable allies\and fight our enemy in the same trench with us. The Chinese people, a great ally with an allied army, will always stand by us.

If Japan extends the war into China proper, she will come into head-on collision with the interests of the Western powers, which will lead to another war. If the Sino-Japanese War becomes protracted\and Japan becomes involved in another world war, she will suffer difficulties due to shortages of manpower\and material resources.

That Japan has swallowed up Manchuria means a further extension of the area controlled by her. The extension of the area she controls will inevitably weaken her ability to rule. Japan will not be able to maintain the rigidity of her colonial rule.

The whole world will denounce imperialist Japan as an aggressor\and Japan will inevitably be isolated in the world.

All this will be strategically favourable for our revolution.

This is what I thought.


With the general retreat of Zhang Xue- liang’s army\and the sweeping attack of the Japanese aggressor army, a marvellous opportunity was created for us. The officials of the government\and administration offices\and security police stopped work\and fled in all directions. The local offices of the rule of the warlords had all shut their doors within a few days.

With the flight of Zhang Xue-liang’s army the ruling system of the warlords was paralysed.

The Japanese aggressor army failed to direct its efforts to the maintenance of public peace, being bent on following up its success in the war. As a result, chaos prevailed for some time in Manchuria. We decided that the situation would persist for a while until the Japanese imperialists established their new ruling system on the continent. This void afforded us a golden opportunity to form armed ranks without anxiety. The opportunity was not to be lost.

The revolution was approaching a fresh turning point.

The time had come for each person to decide what he should do to carry out the duties devolving on the Korean revolution\and to devote himself to fulfilling them.

The September 18 incident was aggression against the Chinese people\and, at the same time, an attack against the Korean people\and communists in Manchuria. So we Korean communists had to counter it.

I decided to speed up the formation of armed ranks.



[이 게시물은 편집국님에 의해 2020-06-07 18:09:33 새 소식에서 복사 됨]
추천 0


등록된 댓글이 없습니다.

[사진으로 보는 노동신문] 6월 16일(목)
[사진으로 보는 노동신문] 6월 9일(목) ​
[사진으로 보는 노동신문] 6월 12일(일)
[동영상] [혁명활동소식] 조선로동당 중앙위원회 제8기 제5차전원회의 확대회의에 관한 보도
[사진으로 보는 노동신문] 6월 10일(금)
인민을 어떻게 받들어야 하는가를 다시금 새겨준 의의깊은 회의
미제는 조선전쟁의 도발자
[사설]도전과 시련이 겹쌓일수록 천백배로 강해지는 주체조선의 불가항력을 힘있게 과시하자
명당자리에 깃든 위대한사랑
외무성 국제기구국장 우리를 부당하게 걸고든 G7수뇌자회의를 규탄
모략재단조작놀음에 숨겨진 흉심을 발가본다
경애하는총비서동지의고귀한 가르치심 일군들은 혁명적군중관을 가져야 한다
군사적지원에 탕진되는 미국민들의 혈세
KCTV 조선중앙텔레비죤 보도(7월 2일, 7월 1일)
천추만대를 두고 결산해야 할 미제의 살륙만행(5)
미국은 서산락일의 운명에서 벗어날수 없다
칼물고 뜀뛰기를 해볼 심산인가
[사진으로 보는 노동신문] 7월 2일(토)
민족어발전을 조국의 통일을 위한 중요한 문제로 보시고
Copyright ⓒ 2000-2022 KANCC(Korean American National Coordinating Council). All rights reserved.
E-mail:  :  webmaster@kancc.org