Behind the Accounts of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923
BY MAI DENAWA
The Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 shocked the nation. The magnitude of its destruction was almost beyond imagining. Disaster struck at 11:58 on September 1st, 1923, just as families were gathering around the table for lunch. Most workers went home after a short day at work and for students it was their first day back at school after a long summer break. Although the quake itself measured 8.2 on the Richter scale, the fires that resulted from the overturned cooking stoves in many homes, coupled with high winds caused most of the destruction. The epicenter of the quake was located near Oshima Island in Sagama Bay (south of Tokyo). The tremors most heavily affected the imperial capital, Tokyo, and left the port metropolis Yokohama in ruins. In total, both the quake and fires that followed claimed the lives of nearly 130,000 people. In Yokohama, 90 percent of all homes were damaged or destroyed while 350,000 homes met the same fate in Tokyo, leaving 60 percent of the city's population homeless.
Differing Narratives about the Quake
Narratives varied that emerged both soon after the quake and years later varied widely, reflecting the many variables of what the survivor was doing when the quake hit, how he/she survived, and what life was like afterwards. Although the first newspaper after the quake was not distributed in Tokyo until eleven days after the quake (the September 12 edition of the Asahi Shimbun), survivor accounts from that point on frequently had common themes of pain, escape, and destruction. For many, the traumatic experiences associated with the Great Kanto Earthquake would be hard to forget. The earthquake and the memories associated with it signified different things for each survivor.
In interviews conducted in 1990 nearly seventy years later Osamu Hiroi, a renowned researcher of Japanese earthquakes, survivors shared the destruction and trauma experienced as a firestorm caused mass casualties in what was a defunct Army clothing depot (Hihukusho) located in Tokyo's Honjo district. Nearly 44,030 Tokyo-area refugees died when fires quickly swept through as carts of people's possessions caught fire, trapping those inside, many of whom burned to death. In other narratives, survivors brought to light the greatness of humankind sighting various examples of self-sacrifice. Such narratives included the servant who sacrificed his life to save his master's infant son, or the stranger who offered to help carry another's crippled grandmother to refuge when most worried about their own lives to reach safety before fires destroyed districts. In contrast, some will never forget the desperateness of human nature as people looted personal belongings from the dead or sacrificed another's life for their own survival. In addition, some survivors praised the government's quick relief efforts after the quake while others were frustrated by shortages in medical supplies, housing, and food. In an event such as the Great Kanto Earthquake that had influenced so many lives, it is inevitable to encompass all aspects of the quake. Unlimited to the Kanto Earthquake, certain events signify different things to each individual based on the things witnessed, heard, and experienced.
Personal narratives emerging from the earthquake can be categorized into two main types: those stories edited by the government, and those that lacked government editing. As an example of each, this paper will closely examine earthquake accounts in the government-edited Taisho shinsai giseki and the non-government edited 1990 interviews conducted by Osamu Hiroi. Understanding why the government created such publications will become clearer as the key differences in these two types of narratives are examined. All narratives, whether government-edited or not, inevitably become external to an event. The government-edited narratives, however, were re-constructed to emphasize those emerging themes they saw fit, and then distributed these ideas to the public. Each narrative will be investigated for what the survivor chose to include in its recount, as well as what was left out. Exploring both sources may perhaps bring the audience today a closer understanding of the true sentiments of the survivors.
The Taisho Shinsai Giseki
The Taisho shinsai giseki (Taisho era Collection of Heartwarming Stories) was published by the Tokyo Municipal government in order to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Kanto Earthquake. The Japanese government compiled nearly 100 stories after asking for submissions of personal narratives recounting the earthquake.
There are no conflicting answers to questions of whether people were morally well-behaved or whether the government was helpful after the quake struck in the government-edited Taisho shinsai giseki. The government-edited personal accounts stress central themes depicting heroic rescues and selfless mutual assistance. The narratives carefully chosen and distributed by the Japanese government portray a positive image of both the Japanese government and populace. The messages behind these narratives are that: the Japanese people behaved courageously and admirably through acts of self-sacrifice, and the Japanese government successfully supported its citizens in time of emergency.
The Osamu Hiroi Interviews
In contrast, the narratives gathered through interviews conducted by Osamu Hiroi depict a breadth of opinions that emerged after the quake. Yes, they too included examples of heroic rescues but these narratives also incorporated opinions criticizing the behavior of the nation's government and people. This the government-edited narratives never did. Thus, by recognizing these underlying differences between the two sources and identifying what and why things were told in the government-edited stories of the Taisho shinsai giseki, it becomes apparent that the Japanese government had a specific objective in mind when distributing these stories to the people. These government publications reflect the government's attempt to cover-up an event that revealed morally-unjust acts committed by both ordinary citizens and leaders of Japan soon after the quake- the Korean Massacre. One story from each source has been selected to provide specific examples to depict these differences. The two stories are: "The Mayor who Sheltered the Koreans" (from the Taisho shinsai giseki) and "My friend in the hihukusho" (from the 1990 interviews).
Differences between the Two Sources of Narratives
The government-edited stories can be distinguished from non-government edited stories in that they contain two key differences in their underlying messages. First, as mentioned earlier, the central theme in Taisho shinsai giseki was heroism. Victimization was emphasized in the 1990 interview accounts. Second, while the government-edited stories of the Taisho shinsai giseki emphasize the government's effectiveness in providing aid to survivors of the quake, the interview accounts highlight government insufficiencies in providing aid. Before furthering the argument however, it will be beneficial to provide supplementary background on the event itself.
The Korean Massacre
In what came to be known as the Korean Massacre, 6,000 Koreans living in Japan and several hundred Chinese and Japanese mistaken for Koreans, were indiscriminately murdered by the Japanese. The massacres were due at least in part to false rumors that the Koreans were planning an uprising. False rumors that the Koreans were: setting fires, poisoning wells, raping and looting, and mobilizing an army first emerged in the Yokohama and Kawasaki areas. When and why did such rumors begin to circulate? It is said that the rumors started mid-afternoon of September 1, spreading across the nation by September 4, reaching even the northernmost island of Hokkaido. The people's panic manifested itself through gradual belief in these false rumors. Psychiatrists have suggested that the minority Koreans became the target for feelings of anger the Japanese felt against the injustice of fate and being victims of the earthquake and fires. Moreover, prejudice and hostility the Japanese populace had toward Koreans, especially since Japan's colonization of Korea in 1910, could only explain such extreme measures taken during the massacre though the Japanese government did not want to admit it. In order to guard against "possible attack," local vigilante groups, jikeidan, with the support of the government, police, and military stationed themselves in neighborhoods and refugee camps, killing "lawless Koreans" on the spot with Japanese swords and bamboo poles. The frenzy subsided September 4, when the police distributed 30,000 leaflets that told vigilante groups that due to "vigorous vigilance" there was no longer any need to "oppress them (the Koreans) unlawfully or to inflict any violence upon them." Only two days earlier, however, the same police headed by, Goto Fumio, Chief of the Bureau of Police affairs, sent a note to every Prefectural Governor to "take firm measures in dealing with the activities of Koreans." Thus the police indirectly allowed vigilante groups to kill the Koreans giving jikeidan groups the justification that they were protecting the rest of the community.
The Japanese government felt that it needed to take additional actions to somehow minimize the damage the Korean Massacre would have on Japan's image. The reality was this: extreme measures taken by the Japanese population, most likely due to anti-Korean sentiments, resulted in the murder of thousands of Koreans. The state hoped to limit domestic and international criticism, and needed to prevent the harboring of anti-Japanese sentiment in its own colonized country Korea as a result of the Korean Massacre. These concerns were addressed in a meeting held at the Police Department of the Emergency Earthquake Relief Bureau on September 5. Representatives of the Army, Navy, Home Ministry, Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, and the Martial Law Command, discussed possible solutions. For instance, the Japanese officials in both Japan and Korea prohibited Korean refugees from returning to Korea to prevent them from spreading rumors there about the massacre. Even newspapers were censored and articles related to the massacre of Koreans were prohibited. Underlying messages within the Taisho shinsai giseki reflect the Japanese government's solutions to these concerns by "re-writing history" in a subtle manner through its distribution of narratives reflecting the government's own version of history.
Need for Renewal and the Underlying Messages
"The Mayor who Sheltered the Koreans"
The government-edited Taisho shinsai giseki emphasizes the tremendous heroism displayed both during and after the earthquake in addition to the government presence in aiding the survivors of the earthquake. Both underlying messages are attempts to re-write the history of the event. The emphasis on heroes depicts the idea that the massacre was caused by the irrational actions taken by a select few individuals, rather than the mass involvement of the population. The government portrays itself as having a helpful role in aiding the survivors, specifically the Korean refugee population. This reflects the government wishes to dispel beliefs that anti-Korean sentiments were the source of the widespread nature of the massacre. The government's attempt to cover-up certain aspects of the Korean Massacre become clearer as the 1990 interviews reveals another aspect of what the survivor remembered as reality in his version of experiences surrounding the earthquake. The 1990 interviews not only emphasize the traumatic experience of the quake but also the failures of the Japanese government in providing aid.
One of the most significant differences between the two sources of stories is the absence of a hero in the online interviews. In contrast, the theme of heroism is strongly emphasized in almost all stories in the Taisho shinsai giseki. The Taisho shinsai giseki is even organized into the sections: rescue, fire prevention, responsibility, and love, with heroes clearly defined in each one. Such titles include, "With wit, he saves 300 lives," "Sacrificing one's own life to save thirty others," and "An individual's strength." By contrasting the violence of the jikeidan with the courage of both ordinary citizens and leaders who stood up for the Koreans, the government offered the idea that the cause of the massacre was only due to a few radical Japanese. In addition, with the heroes' overwhelming portrayal of values such as loyalty to the Emperor, sacrifice, and courage, the government hoped to overshadow the violence created by a morally-degraded people. The heroism depicted in "The Mayor who Sheltered the Koreans" from the Taisho shinsai giseki will be examined.
"The Mayor who Sheltered the Koreans" is about a Tokyo Meguro mayor, Soda Tetsuo, who not only defended his six Koreans employees (gardeners and construction workers) but later organized a refuge to protect nearly 1,000 Koreans at a horse-track stadium. The story begins with his refusal to comply with the jikeidan's demands to "bring out the Koreans." With the start of the rumors they had targeted Soda's house knowing that Soda housed Korean employees. Despite awareness that he was risking his own life through failure to acquiesce to demands, Soda tries to reason with the jikeidan that not all Koreans are taking part in the uprising, and that not all are bad people. He tries to reason with the jikeidan that he could not understand why they would suddenly turn their back on the Koreans when they were all part of an intimate community: these Koreans always bought rice from one member of the jikeidan, or shared the same bath house as some of the other members. Soda claims that he knows them well and that if he left them on the street, it would be like "a cat chasing a mouse" in that they would be instantly killed by other jikeidan groups. In response to the jikeidan's question of whether Soda would take full responsibility if the Korean employees did set fires, Soda agreed automatically. In addition, Soda later went to Kamimeguro Hyuga (located in Tokyo) to save 23 more Koreans, and also 13 Korean students in Nakameguro Tamichi (also near Tokyo). On September 11th with the help of the Setagaya Chief of Police, Soda organized a refuge to protect nearly 1,000 Koreans bringing firewood, rice, somen noodles, towels, and medical supplies. His benevolence and dedication inspires the townspeople to act similarly, and they too begin to bring money and vegetables to help the Korean community. Sympathy, rather than hatred and anxiety manifested itself as the townspeople themselves saw the Koreans' "peaceful, quiet faces," tired from injuries and sickness. Concluding the story, a thank-you letter from one of the nearly 1,000 Korean refugees sent to Soda, is enclosed.
The government used the theme of the hero to convey the idea that the majority of the Japanese population did in fact, act similarly as heroes such as Soda. The story suggests that most Japanese citizens tried to protect the Korean community just as Soda had. The government wished to give the impression that these courageous citizens reflected the majority of the Japanese involved in the Korean massacre and that the violent individuals were the minority. This was one way the government attempted to reduce the scope of people involved. These heroes were contrasted with a smaller Japanese population, members of the jikeidan, whom the government eventually placed blame on for the massacre. The depiction of Soda's rationality illustrated by his reasoning with the jikeidan is significant as well. It portrays the idea that most Japanese like Soda maintained rationality even in the state of panic and fear. Thus, it suggests that the massacre was neither the result of anti-Korean sentiments nor of people simply believing unconfirmed rumors.
Yet, government-edited accounts such as "The Mayor who sheltered the Koreans" and other similar accounts of the Korean massacre fail to reflect the reality of the situation. None of the government-edited narratives mention the involvement of the Japanese police and army in the massacre. In fact, at the time, the government intentionally made efforts to criminalize the local vigilantes, the jikeidan, as the sole perpetrators of the massacre during prosecution trials of the murderers. However, the public was well aware that members of the jikeidan were not the only ones responsible for the killings, and responses to these government attempts to free itself of blame initiated some protests from the public including right-wing leaders such as Ryohei Uchida. The Japanese populace had already witnessed the police force encourage the massacre. Police officers directed people to "kill wild, violent Koreans," and hundreds of armed soldiers arrived in Tokyo declaring that "the enemy means Koreans." One boy, Shimizu Ikutaro listened to Japanese soldiers joke about the Koreans they killed as they cleaned the blood from their bayonets and sword. The government-edited accounts published in the Taisho shinsai giseki a year later seem to confirm the Japanese government's attempt to deny police and army participation in the massacre as none of the stories mention any hint of their involvement. The public became suspicious of the government's involvement in the massacre, believing that the widespread dispersion of unconfirmed rumors by Japanese officials at the national, prefecture, county, and village was an indirect, yet significant involvement causing the event. Police never substantiated reports, encouraging discrimination by putting posters up and distributing leaflets warning the public about the "violent behavior by bands of Korean malcontents." On September 3rd, the Police Affairs Bureau finally notified newspapers that previously reported incidents claiming acts of sedition by the Koreans had just been rumors. By this time, hundreds of Koreans had already been killed after jikeidan were assigned by the Metropolitan Police Department to protect their community. There was growing unrest as various prosecutions of members of the jikeidan were taking place while similar crimes committed by the police and army were disregarded. Some Japanese believed that the Japanese government attempted to solve the "Korean problem" by starting the rumors in the first place. It was well-known that the Japanese government feared Korean nationalism within the colony and the presence of Korean left-wing radicalism.
At the time, people had neither composure nor rationality. Although Somekawa Ransen recalls having initial doubts about rumors concerning the uprising of Koreans, soon after witnessing the Japanese attacking a man, "he immediately assumed that the man was a Korean and got angry... even thought of knocking the man (the assumed Korean) with his thick walking stick." Prejudice the Japanese had toward Koreans played a role in the Japanese people's belief of false rumors. In fact, I believe the widespread nature of the massacre and the Japanese people's willingness to so easily accept rumors as true and submissiveness to follow such police orders to kill a fellow citizen can equally be blamed as the Japanese government's efforts to instigate the massacre. Although many Japanese were angered as they later saw not only government association with the massacre, but its denial in participating, it is important that they realize that many did not even think twice about the absurdity of the government's direction and proceeded to kill many fellow citizens with their own hands.
In addition, the government efforts to help Korean refugees were not as widespread as the story seems to suggest. The example of Soda helping the Koreans was a rare account that the government wished to publicize to further objectives of covering up the fact that anti-Korean sentiments played a role in the indiscriminate killings. For example, in a similar incident, two Koreans living with a labor contractor in the village of Shinozaki were not as fortunate as those housed and protected by Soda. After they were handed over to the Divisional Headquarters for questioning, they were shot to death along the way because they "became a threat to the officers' safety," in that they allegedly began to throw rocks at the officers. Another incident involved nine Koreans who were seized by police and turned over to the Kameido police station, where they were killed by police or soldiers who were instructed by the government to "maintain public order in the area." The government later admitted that most Koreans were harmless and that the rumors were untrue.
Also, it is important to note that even if the Japanese government denied involvement with the Korean massacre, the Korean massacre still revealed serious insufficiencies in the Japanese government. The government was unable to either stop or control the violence of its own people, with the result that nearly 6,000 people were brutally murdered. Further, it failed to protect the lives of its minority, but nonetheless a citizenry that deserves the full rights and protections that the rest of the nation was guaranteed, the Korean population of Japan.
"My Friend in the Hihukusho"
Masao's earthquake experiences depicted in "My friend in the hihukusho" differs from the "Mayor who Sheltered the Koreans" in many ways. This narrative is an example of a non-government edited description from the 1990 interviews. The University of Tokyo professor, Osamu Hiroi conducted twenty interviews through the format of casual conversation with survivors who ranged in ages six to twenty at the time. Hiroi researches Japanese earthquakes and the behaviors of people during and after these natural disasters. He published a book entitled Ryugen to dema no shakaigaku (The Sociology of False Reports and Rumors), in which he describes the importance of supplying all facts for the prevention of false rumors. He identifies two types of rumors: the eruptive type, or those that spread quickly such as the malicious rumors about Koreans during the Kanto Earthquake, and the permeating type, or those that spread slowly with time such as those about the "slit-mouth woman" circulating among students since 1979. Thus, perhaps Hiroi decided to write the effects of such rumors after hearing so many accounts about the Korean massacre that were never revealed in such detail in government-edited publications such as the Taisho shinsai giseki and Japanese school textbooks. For many such as Masao, hearing the jikeidan harass passing people, then being stopped by the jikeidan himself, who demanded that Masao and others read a Japanese text on the spot, was a far more terrifying experience than the earthquake itself. Many survivors of the quake whom Hiroi interviewed were young at the time and were shocked and terrified that fellow neighbors could be capable of inflicting violence infused with such aggression against innocent Koreans.
The first major difference from the "The Mayor who Sheltered the Koreans" is that Masao focuses a great deal on the story of escape and survival from the earthquake. As he retraces his route of escape moving from one refuge location to another as fires threatened evacuation sites, he describes his many encounters with death. In the already narrow streets crowded with people fleeing with their unwieldy personal possessions, he would realize that he was stepping over the bodies of those trampled to death. Masao and his friend were watching a movie in the Nihonkan movie theater in Asakusa, the Tokyo entertainment district, when they saw people falling from the third floor of the theater with the magnitude of the initial tremors. He heard the jikeidan stopping Koreans and killing them on the spot outside his uncle's home in Matsugawa where Masao sought refuge after the quake. What was most traumatizing for Masao was witnessing his friend's death that he went to see the movies with that morning. It was a horrific death in which Masao heard a strange noise and realized that a flying iron sheet had decapitated his friend in the hihukusho, where many sought refuge as evacuation sites became scarce. Masao was fourteen at the time, fighting for survival alone after he had lost his friend. Even after the initial panic of the quake when an army medic advised him to go to a relative's house he recalls not being able to sleep with the jikeidan committing acts of violence outside his window. Masao recalls how his bandaged face aroused the suspicion of the jikeidan members and his uncle would have to intervene with the jikeidan because they would harass Masao thinking he was Korean.
In contrast to the positive portrayal of the government's efforts in aiding survivors of the earthquake, Masao's story addresses some insufficiencies he saw in the government's response to the people's needs. At the Kamedo Daichi Elementary School, where he was brought for his burn injuries, he points out that there were only one or two army medics for the 2,000 or 3,000 people there. The casualties from the quake were too large and injured people "overflowing from the classrooms and hallways were dying 'one by one'." For nearly two days there was no water or food, and Masao describes to Hiroi that the medics "did nothing because there was nothing." Medics quickly developed an idea that if the burned areas blistered with fluid, the victim would survive. Thus, Masao was simply told in his worn and burned clothes, that he should go home to a relative's house if he had one because he would live, without receiving any medical care from the medic. Luckily as he wandered to Matsugawa where an uncle lived, he received more adequate care.
He seemed to question the government's claims of successes in attaining modernization within Tokyo. He criticized the narrow roads of the "supposedly modernized city of Tokyo," where the road leading to the Hihukusho which would have normally taken five minutes, took an hour, also due in part to the mass chaos of the roads. He noted that the modernized-buildings such as the jyunikai (located in the Asakusa), known to withstand any sort of natural catastrophe, burnt to ashes just as the old-traditional buildings of the city.
Why then, were educators at the time such as Tomoeda Takahiko so caught up on the spiritual recovery of citizens, caring for the issue of morals more than the physical needs victims required after a catastrophe such as the Kanto earthquake? Why did the government feel that it needed to "renew" the moral values of all Japanese citizens rather than simply helping survivors in their recovery to psychological normalcy after a traumatizing event? The government needed to renew the citizens of Japan in terms of the ideals embodied by Japan as a nation. The ideals that were embodied by Japanese citizens through the recent event of the Korean Massacre were problematic. This renewal was possible through the reinforcement of positive morals of the earthquake exemplified by individuals, or heroes, in the stories. They served to cover up the degraded values which made people capable of committing such atrocities.
Between the two types of narratives surrounding the earthquake, I believe that the narratives uninfluenced by the Japanese government, the 1990 Hiroi interviews, more accurately and extensively cover the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. Due to varying experiences of the earthquake by each survivor, differing sentiments surrounding the incident inevitably emerged. For some such as Masao, the earthquake highlighted the inability of the government to provide aid for the people in times of emergency. For others, the earthquake demonstrated the bravery of government leaders to calmly protect and direct the people to safety. Some will never forget encounters with strangers who had cared to help, while others will remember the desperateness of survival they witnessed as it would signify the Kanto earthquake. In times of emergency and disaster, especially, the values depicted by people are not limited to ideal morals such as kindness, generosity, and heroism. Rather, times of destruction and intense fear instigate more "ugly acts" such as blaming others and selfishness. The narratives presented in the 1990 Hiroi interviews offer multiple views and voices of these experiences of the earthquake rather than the uniformity of one voice as created by those stories collected, edited, and distributed by the government. One aspect of an event cannot be remembered through the sacrifice of forgetting everything else. It is important to recognize these narratives that depict and maintain these multiple views surrounding such historical events. These narratives that offer multiple aspects of an event reveal the hypocrisy of a government which failed to fairly acknowledge these crimes of injustice yet at the same time glorified the Japanese citizens through tales of heroism. The tales of heroism that only represented a minority of the population were used to overshadow the malicious acts that involved a much larger populace. The Japanese government attempted to cover up the atrocities committed by the Japanese people through the application of heroic acts to the entire population.
Although this paper examined the Japanese government's purpose behind the publication of such government-edited collections of narratives such as the Taisho shinsai giseki distributed a year after the quake, I believe that these publications alone were not effective in the government's efforts to reshape its image as a nation and its role in the Korean massacre. Rather, the unchanging and continued prejudice that the Japanese government has toward the Korean population continues to promote similar sentiments of prejudice and feelings of superiority over the Koreans that were the root of the massacre during the earthquake.
For example, in the context of the earthquake, even after putting a stop to the violence by condemning the acts of the jikeidan, the Japanese government failed to protect the Koreans by transporting the Koreans to refugee locations. Not only did government describe the transportation of Koreans to refugee locations known as senjin no hogokensoku (with senjin being a derogatory term and kensoku meaning apprehension) imply discrimination, many Koreans continued to be attacked or killed even under supposed police or army surveillance as Koreans were transported. In addition, trials prosecuting participants of the massacre failed to grant justice to its victims. The government let many murderers go, paroling those who were convicted after a couple years, while many were not even put on trial. Even today, the Japanese textbook controversy and its failure to print past Japanese atrocities to its entirety include events such as the Korean massacre. Many Koreans are angry that the Japanese textbooks' description that the massacre involved the killing of socialists, Koreans, and Chinese attempt to "downplay" the murder of Koreans who were the majority killed. Racial slurs publicly made by government officials such as Tokyo governor Ishihara Shintaro in May 2000 seem to reflect unchanging government attitudes as well. Even though Ishihara represents just one Japanese government official, the Japanese government never took any action to represent intolerance to such racial slurs to this day. Alex Kerr, the author of Dogs and Demons Tales from the Dark Side of Japan, similarly points out that the lack of foreigners in Japan is due to unchanging laws and social frameworks created by the Japanese governments which are keeping foreigners out of the country. His book suggests that because the Japanese government is not changing its ideas concerning for example, its unwelcome attitude toward foreigners in Japan, it will be up to the Japanese populace to initiate change. I strongly agree with Kerr. The fight for change, even if it requires the renouncing of the government, must be initiated by the people. In the case of the Korean massacre, the 1990 interviews seemed to reveal some doubts the people had against absurd rumors against Koreans that the government failed to declare untrue. However, no effective counter movements against the massacre were observed. He attacked Chinese, Taiwanese, and Koreans illegally entering Japan as the source of blame for the increase in crime in Japan, even referring to the events of 1923 stating, "We can expect them to riot in an earthquake." Mr. Ishihara clearly does not know his history for the opposite occurred in which the Japanese were the ones to kill the non-Japanese people. Despite the racist remarks made by governor Ishihara, he remained more popular than ever among Tokyo citizens. For me, Ishihara's remarks and the public response to it signify a repeat of history of the horrific and brutal Korean massacre that occurred over eighty years ago amidst the Kanto Earthquake of 1923.
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Written in partial fulfillment of requirements for HI0156: The Social History of Modern Japan (Professor Kerry Smith -- Fall 2005)