[Reminiscences]Chapter 24 6. Across the Korea Strait > 회고록 《세기와 더불어》

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회고록 《세기와 더불어》

[Reminiscences]Chapter 24 6. Across the Korea Strait

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작성자 편집국 작성일20-10-10 16:36 댓글0건

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[Reminiscences]Chapter 24 6. Across the Korea Strait

 

      


 

6. Across the Korea Strait 

 

 In the first half of the 1940s, when we were speeding up preparations to meet the great event of national liberation on our own initiative, we worked hard to build up a powerful force for national resistance in the homeland on the one hand,\and on the other paid special attention to ensuring that our revolutionary\organizations in Japan proper could play an important role in the resistance movement.


It can be said that we took two courses in our activities in Japan. One was to reinforce the existing ARF\organizations\and various other anti-Japanese\organizations there so that they could join in the final offensive operations of the KPRA\and form new\organizations. The other was to infiltrate special operatives of the KPRA deep into the citadel of Japanese imperialism to collect military information to ensure victory in the military operations against Japan.


We sent political operatives to Japan in real earnest rom the latter half of the 1930s, when the main force of the KPRA had advanced to Mt. Paektu\and West Jiandao,\and built up the subordinate\organizations of the ARF. At the outset of the armed struggle, we Korean communists raised the motto, “Let us build a fortress of revolution in the heart of the enemy.”


Needless to say, the political operatives had to be ready to risk their lives in\order to infiltrate Japan. They knew that prisons\and even the gallows were in store for them. Worse still, sea routes were the only way to enter Japan in those days. These routes were crawling with policemen–both uniformed\and in plain clothes–detectives\and secret agents. It was no easy job for the operatives to penetrate Japan this way. Nevertheless, we had to persist in our thrust into Japan.


The following document issued by the security police bureau of the Ministry of the Interior of Japan clearly shows how active the KPRA’s military intelligence activities were in Japan proper:


“On Kim Il Sung’s dispatching a special agent to Korea\and Japan:


“The group of Kim Il Sung, an insurgent Korean in Manchuria ... is active in Japan. The latest information rom the special mission in Korea of the ministry calls for stringent measures to deal with the situation.


“Prefectural\and municipal authorities should pay special attention to security in seaports\and place mobile police on trains.


“1. The purpose of the dispatch:


“The communist bandits, especially rom the Soviet\union, send spies for intelligence service in Korea\and Japan.


“2. Destinations:


“All the key military points along the Tumen-Jiamusi\and Fengtian-Jilin railway lines, major ports in Korea (Chongjin, Rajin, Pusan, Mokpho, Wonsan, Kunsan\and Sinuiju),\and Shimonoseki\and Tsuruga in Japan.


“3. Age, clothing\and kit of the man dispatched:


“Age: 20- to 25-year old man of Manchurian-Korean\origin.


“Clothing: single-breasted khaki suit\and laced boots.


“Kit: various kinds of magazines on politics, the economy,\and art\and literature,\and toilet articles in a suitcase.


“Other things are not clear, but the typical secret agent speaks Japanese fluently. He may have been a teacher\or a policeman previously\and can pass for a Japanese in his speech\and manners.” (Security Police Bureau, Ministry of the Interior, November 8, Showa 16 (1941).)


We considered Japan important because it was the citadel\and the operations centre of Japanese colonial rule. A thrust into the centre would deal a telling blow to the heart of the enemy\and be very effective in destroying their colonial rule.


Awakening to political awareness the Koreans in Japan, particularly the large number of young Koreans who had been drafted for labour there,\and\organizing them were necessary for collecting military\and political information for the impending operations against Japan. It was also necessary for saving them rom being made cannon fodder\and wresting them rom the evil grip of Japanese fascism,\and for winning them over to the side of the revolution en masse.


The anti-Japanese forces in Japan proper, together with the anti-Japanese patriotic forces in Korea\and abroad, were considered formidable, in that they could join the KPRA in the final operations to destroy the Japanese imperialists.


The names of the eras of the successive emperors of Japan make an impression that they were willing to offer themselves to others. Meiji, Taisho\and Showa are all nice-sounding. However, in the era of Showa, Japan turned its neighbouring countries into slaughter-houses of humanity\and appeared as an international human butcher, inflicting misery\and disaster upon hundreds of millions of people. Emperor Meiji, whose name literally means “clean politics”, instigated his warriors to swallow up Korea, the East\and if possible even the world. It was in the Meiji era that they extorted many concessions through wars against China\and Russia. In this period they swallowed up our country by force of arms. In the era of Taisho, Japan committed a host of evils.


Down through history, the Japanese imperialists stopped at nothing to bleed the Koreans white.


From the moment they were taken away to Japan, Koreans were treated as beasts. No other country equalled Japan in treating human beings as dogs, pigs\and cattle.


Koreans went to Japan not because they wanted to but because they were press-ganged by Japanese soldiers\and policemen. Some were even dragged out of bed in the middle of the night.

These victims of Japan’s forced-labour policy were dragooned\and guarded to make sure they did not escape.


The Japanese in Korea used to say that they considered Koreans “the same as Japanese”. But these were no more than honeyed words. If that was true, why did the Japanese treat the Koreans who were taken to Japan like cattle?

 

In literary works which describe old Japan you may come across the word takobeya, which means an “octopus room”\or “octopus house”. Octopuses live in cracks in rocks. The Korean construction workers in Hokkaido called their lodgings takobeya,\and likened them to narrow jars for growing bean sprouts. It was dangerous for them to call them “prisons”, so they called them “octopus rooms”\or “octopus houses”.


The shacks\where Koreans lodged in Japan were also called “peninsula rooms”, which meant rooms\where the people rom the peninsula lived. These were worse than takobeya. They were locked at night,\and guard dogs made sure the Korean workers stayed inside.


When the workers spoke Korean, they were mercilessly pricked with something like a bamboo knife\or beaten with pickaxe handles. Those who tried to run away were dragged around with strings through their noses. Worse still, Japanese contractors\and employers did not hesitate to torture Korean workers with knives\and hot lead. Some were even beaten to death\and their corpses thrown into rivers\or cement mixers.


In these circumstances, the Koreans, with a strong sense of national pride, could not bear such maltreatment\and insults. Koreans are tender-hearted\and simple, but they are full of courage.

The nearly two million Koreans who were coned for labour in Japan were all prepared to rise up\and fall upon the Japanese when the anti-Japanese guerrillas pushed into Korea.


It was not only the workers who had such a secret dream; the more than 10,000 Korean students in Japan had the same dream.


It always cut me to the quick to hear about the miserable plight of the Koreans in Japan. As for the Koreans living in Manchuria, it can be said that they were more\or less under our protection. The Koreans in Japan, however, had no protection. That was why we showed more sympathy for them.


Still, sympathy could not save them. Anybody can sympathize with fellow human beings, but\organization is the greatest present that can be bestowed upon the exploited\and oppressed masses by the communists.\organization alone was able to save the people rom their wretched plight.


There were many\organizations formed by the Koreans in Japan– communist, nationalist, “enlightenment”, students’\and so on.


The students played an important role in the anti-Japanese movement in Japan. They formed the Association of Korean Students in Tokyo\and drafted a declaration of independence on the eve of the March First Popular Uprising. A copy of the declaration was smuggled into the homeland\and had a strong impact on the independence campaigners.


When Japan annexed Korea by force of arms, a considerable number of Korean students in Tokyo\and Kyoto returned home en masse in protest. This fact is enough to show how strong the spirit of resistance of the Korean students was.


The student movement that developed along nationalist lines opposed the enemy only by passive means such as petitions\and demonstrations. Yet it exercised a considerable influence upon our compatriots.

Pak Ryol, a noted anarchist, was at one time a student in Japan. He was sentenced to penal servitude for life on a charge of conspiring to murder the Emperor of Japan. He was imprisoned for over 20 years,\and only released after liberation.


Many of those who founded the Korean Communist Party in 1925 had studied in Japan. When Marxism spread to Japan they formed various ideological groups\and\organizations,\and buckled down to studying\and disseminating this new trend of thought.


Already in the early 1930s, the communist groups formed by Koreans in Japan numbered more than 30, with thousands of members. An\organization of Korean communists existed as a branch of the Japanese Communist Party.

Influenced by the new trend of thought, the labour movement also developed among the Koreans in Japan. There was a Korean business group named the Tong-A\union in Osaka. In addition, Koreans formed many religious\organizations in Japan,\where there was also a branch of the Singan Association.


As you can see, there was a wide network of\organizations among the Koreans in Japan. Needless to say, these\organizations differed rom each other in their doctrines, opinions\and modes of activity. One\organization confined its activities to benevolent work.


However, we believed that each of them could serve as part of the groundwork on which to build up strong forces for national resistance. It was no problem to encourage the purely educational groups to join the practical revolutionary struggle. Since all these\organizations were against the Japanese, their political transformation depended on our efforts.


All these\organizations of our compatriots who were drafted to work in Japan were as good as time bombs laid in the heart of the Japanese imperialists. We were entrusted with the mission of exploding these bombs.


So we paid special attention to Japan proper,\where there were hundreds of thousands of Koreans working, most of whom were opposed to Japanese imperialism.

To dispatch operatives to Japan was an urgent matter in view of the need to link the anti-Japanese Koreans’ movement with the armed struggle against Japan, ensure unified leadership over the spontaneous\and uncoordinated mass movement of the Koreans in all parts of Japan\and develop this movement qualitatively in keeping with the requirements of the developing situation.


Operatives were sent to Japan mainly by the Pusan-Shimonoseki\and Chongjin-Tsuruga ferry routes. Important political operatives who were to stay there for a long time took a long roundabout way via ports in third countries.

Students could travel to\and rom Japan with relative ease. In fact, rich people would often send their children to Japan to study,\and these students would take lots of luggage with them.

I gave Pak Tal\and Kim Jong Suk an assignment to look for promising students who could work as our operatives.


Kim Jong Suk discovered that self-supporting students rom Phungsan had their own\organization in Tokyo.


If we could transform this\organization into a revolutionary one in the enemy’s capital, we could open up a way to train Koreans as revolutionaries in the heart of Japan.

 

It was in the Tokyo-Yokohama area, an industrial centre with a dense population, that most of the Korean students\and workers in Japan lived.


Giving Kim Jong Suk copies of the Ten-Point Programme of the ARF, I told her to make contact with the students rom Phungsan\and bring their\organization in Tokyo under our influence.


Kim Jong Suk discussed this with Ju Pyong Pho.


It is said that Ju Pyong Pho picked Ri In Mo to be dispatched to Japan. The students’\organization was actually a friendship society of the


self-supporting students rom Phungsan in Tokyo. The members used to gather to discuss topical matters, including their problems,\and exchange opinions on books of interest. It sometimes helped unemployed members to find jobs. It was purely a benevolent society,\and its only political involvement consisted of denouncing the Japanese for claiming that “Korea\and Japan are one,” “Japanese\and Koreans are of the same descent”\and “Koreans are the same people as the Japanese.”


In Tokyo Ri In Mo brought the influence of Mt. Paektu into this\organization.


The members of this friendship society were greatly influenced by the Ten-Point Programme of the ARF\and its Inaugural Declaration. The friendship society, which had simply writhed in agony without any definite goal\or direction, was thus transformed into a patriotic anti-Japanese society.


In those days the Koreans studying in Japanese universities made every effort to give support to\and join hands with us who were fighting on Mt. Paektu.


A considerable number of anti-Japanese underground\organizations were formed in high schools, middle schools\and colleges.


The nationalist group of Korean students in Kanazawa, which was detected by the Japanese police in the first half of 1944, was also a resistance\organization formed by political operatives rom our main force.


Ri Chol Su, a political operative of the KPRA, informed us of the activities of the Korean students who were studying at Kanazawa Middle School.

 

When he was doing political work in the guise of a student in Chongjin on a special mission, he planted an operative among the students who were going to Kanazawa Middle School to study.

The operative who crossed to Kanazawa got the students rom Korea together\and formed an unnamed\organization in the school. It was not named in\order to evade possible suppression by the enemy. The ultimate objective of this\organization was to rise in armed revolt at the decisive moment in active response to the People’s Revolutionary Army’s thrust into the homeland.


According to a Japanese police source, members of this\organization intended to go to Mt. Paektu to join the independence movement. Mt. Paektu was the base\where Kim Il Sung, “an independence campaigner hailing rom northern Korea,” had\organized a guerrilla army\and was fighting to win back the independence of Korea by training many excellent Korean compatriots.


There were many anti-Japanese resistance\organizations in Japan, but only a few of them openly announced that they were determined to go to Mt. Paektu to join our struggle. Most of the resistance\organizations were encouraged by the news of our struggle,\and fought in high spirits to join our final offensive operations. But, taking into consideration Japanese police pressure, they did not openly disclose their objective of struggle.


In Osaka there was a loyalty association which was composed of self-supporting students.


There were many self-supporting students\and workers rom Jeju Island\and Kyongsang Province.


The people of Jeju Island have a strong sense of independence, I heard. According to the officials of Chongryon, the young men rom Jeju Island who were living in the slum quarter of Osaka\and attending evening classes at a university all had a strong nationalistic spirit.\where there is a strong nationalistic spirit, there will be an\organization,\and many revolutionaries will be produced.


Students rom Jeju Island opened a fellowship night school with young workers rom Jeju Island\and formed an anti-Japanese friendship association.

 

After they received the Ten-Point Programme of the ARF rom our operatives, they formed a new loyalty association with the members of the anti-Japanese friendship association\and the students attending the evening course.


The programme\and fighting task of this association were admirable.


To understand the character of this association, it is sufficient to examine its objective–that of immediately returning to Korea at the outbreak of war between the Soviet\union\and Japan to lead the young compatriots to oppose Japan\and unfold the independence movement\and resolutely rise up in concert with Kim Il Sung’s all-out campaign against Japan.


When the association was suppressed by the Japanese imperialists, those involved returned to Seoul\and continued their revolutionary activities together with our operatives in the homeland. After liberation they devoted themselves to the struggle for the country’s reunification in south Korea\and Japan. They were even in touch with the guerrillas on Jeju Island.


Anti-Japanese underground\organizations of Korean students were also formed in seminaries in Japan. A typical example was the nationalist group of the Korean students of the central seminary in Kobe.


What was remarkable about their struggle was that they nurtured national consciousness,\and the spirit of independence\and patriotism, praising me who was fighting on Mt. Paektu as a worthy independence campaigner.

The friendship association of Korean students\organized at Okayama High School No. 6 was reorganized into a body subordinate to the ARF by Min Tok Won, who was studying at a university in Tokyo at that time.


Min Tok Won said that the restoration of Korea was the supreme task of the Korean compatriots, that the ARF appealed to all the patriotic forces of the nation to unite in the great war to liberate the motherland\and that the students should enlighten\and awaken the downtrodden Korean compatriots who had been dragged to Japan\and unite them around the anti-Japanese\organization so that they could rise up as soon as confusion was created in the interior of Japan\and win independence. In those days operatives gave wide publicity to that strategy.

 

I heard that he assigned to Ryo Un Chang, Kim Jae Ho\and other\organization members the tasks they had to carry out during vacations. The\organization members went to their native places on vacations\and conducted enlightenment work among their families, relatives, friends\and fellow students.


Enlightenment work at that time laid emphasis on giving publicity to the fighting achievements of the anti-Japanese guerrilla army. In addition, they explained the Ten-Point Programme of the ARF,\and urged their listeners to rise up in the great war for national liberation if they truly wanted the independence of Korea. In this way they formed groups of near relatives\and intimate friends who understood each other\and extended their\organizations.


There are many interesting anecdotes connected with Okayama High School No. 6. One interesting fact is that the\organization members there advised their younger brothers\and the friends of their younger brothers to go to Kim Il Sung’s unit, when they were going to join the Children’s Air Corps, deceived by the propaganda of the Japanese. In response to their appeal, several young men left for Manchuria in search of us, but failed to do so.


Some members of the Okayama branch of the ARF devoted themselves to the country’s reunification after liberation,\and others waged guerrilla struggles with Ri Hyon Sang on Mt. Jiri.

There were many anti-Japanese resistance\organizations among the workers in those places\where Koreans were concentrated–in the industrial centres like the Tokyo-Yokohama area, the Osaka-Kobe area, Hokkaido, Niigata,\and so on.


What is remarkable among the\organizations in the Tokyo-Yokohama area was the United Association that was formed in Tokyo. It was an anti-Japanese\organization made up mainly of workers\and some self-supporting students. The\organization denied the\orthodoxy of the Emperor of Japan, opposed factionalism\and highly praised the activities of the Korean patriots\and the struggle of the KPRA.


The\organization gave wide publicity to us among the workers\and self-supporting students.

 

An official Japanese source reported about the information service rendered by the\organization members as follows:

“Kim Il Sung ... in northern Manchuria is our fellow countryman who has such great influence that even the Japanese army is very worried. He sometimes moves into Korea\and it is truly worth respecting that he never hits the houses of the Korean compatriots but attacks the Japanese\and their houses.” (Monthly Report by the Special Political Police, p. 202, Security Police Bureau, Ministry of the Interior, March Showa 17 (1942).)


The strategy of the\organization was to receive military training, availing themselves of the volunteer system of the enemy\and level their guns at the Japanese imperialists when the opportunity arose. The\organization asserted that Korea’s independence could only be achieved through the communist movement.


The following decision made by a workers’\organization member in Tokyo clearly shows how ardently the Korean workers in the Tokyo-Yokohama area revered the great leader\and how high their anti-Japanese spirit was.


“1. Kim Il Sung has\organized the Korean Independence Corps in Manchukuo\and is fighting. He will be the President of Korea in the future. We shall follow him.


“2. It is useless to serve in the Japanese army as cons\and die in battle for Japan. We shall go to Kim Il Sung\and work for Korea.” (Monthly Report by the Special Political Police, p. 75, Security Police Bureau, Ministry of the Interior, March Showa 19 (1944).)


In the 1920s, the General Federation of Korean Trade\unions in Japan was\organized in the Tokyo-Yokohama area. The federation was disbanded long ago, but the labour movement, though insignificant, continued its tradition. When the Mt. Paektu wind blew into the area, the existing\organizations were reorganized on revolutionary lines\and new ones were formed.


We sent many operatives to Hokkaido. Among the operatives dispatched to the area there was a man who worked under the assumed name of Kim Thae Hyon. His destination was Hokkaido, but he did not go directly there. He went to the construction site of the military base in the Kuril Islands\and formed secret\organizations, giving wide publicity to the Ten-Point Programme of the ARF. In the course of this he was arrested. However, he escaped on the way to the prison\and went underground. He was in hiding for some time\and then went to Hokkaido to start his work. He rallied around anti-Japanese\organizations the Korean workers who had been forced to work in coal mines, mines, airports\and at hydroelectric power station sites. I heard that his political work was a success.


He said to the workers: “Do you know what is meant by motherland? Because you are deprived of your motherland, you are forced to cross the sea\and here in Hokkaido you undergo indescribable hardships. All the people in the motherland are fighting at the cost of blood to win back the country. In the forests of Mt. Paektu many people have taken up arms\and are fighting against the Japanese army at the cost of their lives. We can live only when we have our motherland. We must fight together with Kim Il Sung’s army\and liberate the country as soon as possible. To this end, we must form\organizations\and unite the people around us.” Then he explained, item by item, the Ten-Point Programme of the ARF.


He formed\organization with those who supported the programme. The workers who were won over in this way stood in the forefront of strikes in several backbreaking workplaces in Hokkaido. The miners’ revolt in the Yubari coal mine was\organized by this operative.


The book Forcible Drafting of Koreans, Records of Forced Labour published in Japan gives a relatively detailed account of the real state of the\organizations\and their anti-Japanese\and anti-war struggles conducted in Hokkaido, southern Sakhalin, the Kuril Islands\and other parts of Japan. This book was edited by the Commission of Investigation into the Forcible Drafting of Koreans. Fujishima Udai, the vice-chairman of the commission, is a famous critic. He visited our country on several occasions. He was the first Japanese to visit the revolutionary battle sites in our country.


The book describes how our operative who infiltrated one of the construction sites in Hokkaido gave publicity to the activities of the KPRA among the Korean workers\and inspired them to join the anti-Japanese struggle. He often\organized sabotage of the production of war supplies\and instigated the Koreans to run away.


The runaways set fire to other work sites.


In those days the Japanese imperialists, with their defeat near at hand, desperately sped up the production of munitions under the slogan “Produce, supply\and win!” The communists\and anti-war forces in Japan fought under the slogan “Cannot produce, cannot supply\and cannot win!”


It greatly facilitated the defeat of Japan\and the liberation of Korea that our operatives slowed down munitions production, enlisting anti-Japanese forces to this end.

I heard that our operative who infiltrated Sapporo in Hokkaido formed an underground\organization among the Korean workers drafted by force to the construction site of the military base there. He gradually expanded the\organization\and even hastened the preparations for an armed revolt.


Our operatives were also active in schools at different levels, including the university in Hokkaido. Under their influence, Japanese workers\and progressive youth\and students also joined in the anti-imperialist\and anti-war struggle.


The Osaka-Kobe area, a major industrial centre in Japan, was also greatly influenced by our operatives.


What was striking among the\organizations in this area was the Special Youth Concord Training Force Association, which was formed by the Korean workers drafted into a factory in Hyogo Prefecture. The operative who infiltrated there was educated\and trained by our political worker. His name is recorded as Ko Yong Sok in a secret Japanese document. It seems to be an alias, since I don’t remember such a name.


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