Koreans in imperial japanese service

Foreign volunteers, collaboration and Axis Allies 1939-1945.

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Michael N. Ryan
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Koreans in imperial japanese service

Post by Michael N. Ryan » Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:26 am

My father faught in the Korean war. Out of curiosity, I did a bit of reading on the internet about that conflict and found most of the South Korean militery leadership were former officers of the Imperial Japanese army. I then found the US executed a two star japanese general for war crimes in the Philipeans who was Korean. I even found an article which listed Eighteen koreans who flew as Kamikaze pilots.

Does anyone know the extent of Korean officers in both Imperial Japanese navy and army and to the extent to their service during WWII as well as to what level Koreans served in the Japanese armed forces?

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fridgeman
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Re: Koreans in imperial japanese service

Post by fridgeman » Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:49 am

Hey Michael!

From 1904 on the japanese had a garrison army at corea, the Chōsen army.
Bit until the pacific war started in 1941, most japanese generals were against
the recruitment of corean nationals. Only a very few collaborants served for
japanese armed forces and reached a higher level of command at that time.

Their opinion changed in 1942, when it was decided to recruit corean people in big numbers.
The decision was mostly made because japan saw it would need more soldiers than their homeland could deliver.

So in 1942 it was decided to recruit coreans aswell, and started to sort out
young fitting coreans, to teach them japanese language and first combat
skills. In 1944 the recruitment finally started, and at least 130.000 coreans
were recruited in this year and joined the japanese forces. Still, the japanese were
very frightened that the coreans, now partially armed, could rebel against them.
Actually this plans for a rebel were made, young corean students and soldiers planned a rebel
against the japanese occupiers in 1944, but were arrested.

Even more coreans, and from an earlier point on - 1938, were forced to join japanese
industry. They worked especially in mines and weapon factories, but in food production aswell.

Just another small addition, japanese had soldiers from other asian areas aswell, such as
Taiwan, Hong Kong and Philipines.

AHK
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Re: Koreans in imperial japanese service

Post by AHK » Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:43 am

On last week"s CSPAN Q&A, Antony Beevor discussed the photo of the Korean soldier in his new book on WWII. He explained that the man was captured by the Soviets fighting the Japanese in Mongolia, and later released from prison camp to join the Red Army. After his capture by the Germans, he was sent to an Ost Battalion in Normandy. Here he was captured by US Army and died in Illinois in the 1990s after settling in the USA.
AHK

panzermahn
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Re: Koreans in imperial japanese service

Post by panzermahn » Sat Sep 21, 2013 7:53 am

This book would be an interesting start

http://www.amazon.com/Fighting-Enemy-Ko ... 0295992581

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Shadwell_army
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Re: Koreans in imperial japanese service

Post by Shadwell_army » Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:47 am

AHK wrote:On last week"s CSPAN Q&A, Antony Beevor discussed the photo of the Korean soldier in his new book on WWII. He explained that the man was captured by the Soviets fighting the Japanese in Mongolia, and later released from prison camp to join the Red Army. After his capture by the Germans, he was sent to an Ost Battalion in Normandy. Here he was captured by US Army and died in Illinois in the 1990s after settling in the USA.
AHK
Sounds like the plot of a Korean film called "My Way", maybe not 100% accurate but worth to watch.

Cheers, Mads

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