Thursday, November 22, 2012

Japan textbook mentions massacre of Koreans after 1923 quake

Japan textbook mentions massacre of Koreans after 1923 quake

JUNE 27, 2012 00:42
A supplementary textbook for middle schools in Yokohama, Japan, published this year includes a sentence suggesting that after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, Japanese soldiers and police massacred Koreans. This event had been described in an ambiguous way in previous textbooks.
According to the Mindan Shinmun, a newspaper published by the Korean Residents Union in Japan, or Mindan, Monday, the 2012 supplementary textbook “Wakaru Yokohama (Easy-to-understand Yokohama)” published by the Yokohama education office mentioned the 1923 earthquake, saying, “Self-defense groups formed based on the military, police, retired veterans’ associations and youth clubs, oppressed and massacred Koreans, and also killed Chinese.”

“The self-defense clubs were formed in many parts of the Yokohama region, and amid a bizarre state of tension, they massacred Koreas and Chinese.”

Wakaru Yokohama is a supplementary textbook that includes information on the history, culture and nature of Yokohama. It has been distributed to 27,000 students at 149 schools this year.

The data that the Japanese military and police were involved in the massacre of Koreans at the time and that Chinese were also among the victims was not included in supplementary textbooks published until last year. Last year`s supplementary textbook included the passage, “The government imposed martial law and deployed the military to Yokohama. They were dispatched because members of self-defense groups went as far as killing Koreans. A number of victims were reported in Yokohama alone.”

The information was thus described as if the mobilization of the military was meant to prevent the killing of Koreans.

This year’s supplementary textbook also newly includes a photo of a memorial stone for Koreans "who were sacrificed in a national disaster.” The stone was erected in 1974 at Kuboyama Cemetery in Yokohama to atone for the massacre of Koreans by a Japanese national who reportedly witnessed the mass killing.

The content of the supplementary textbook was changed this year because a retired Japanese teacher at Yokohama Public Middle School has raised the issue of the killing since one year ago.

The Sankei Shimbun, a right-wing Japanese newspaper, criticized the textbook, saying, “There are several theories about Koreans who were killed after the Great Kanto Earthquake, and the revised information reflects a unilateral view,” adding, “Problems have surfaced surrounding the supplementary textbook, which was not reviewed by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry.”

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