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1948-Women Gain Their Rights

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Korean women participated in their independence movement in 1945 during the Japanese colonial rule. Unfortunately, Korea failed to acknowledge a woman’s contribution.

Well, that was not a surprise because Korean society followed Confucian philosophy which limited women participation in politics. In 1948 laws were changed and Korea’s gave women more political rights.

These laws allowed women to vote. Over the years, the Korean government champion women’s political participation. They also passed several laws and rules to champion gender-based quality in politics.

Despite lots of legal provisions to ensure women participation in politics, only a few women were participants. In other words, there was such a low number. For instance, in the first national assembly in 1948 they were no women members although they were only 18 women candidates.

The first female won a sub-election in Korea. If you compare women representation in politics in Korea and other countries, You will find that their participation was low.

Fortunately, a new era started when the first female was appointed as a prime minister. Her appointment brought hope in the Korean political arena. It meant that now women had a chance to participate in politics and other areas in society.

Japan ruled Korea for 35 years. Their constitution had to be revised at least six times in 1948 up to 1988 because of political instability.

Unlike other countries that had the struggle to fight for women’s suffrage. Koreans women never fought for woman suffrage. Based on the current Korean constitution there are no disparities on the gender.

 

“My War Crime”-Seiji Yoshida

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Japanese woman

Seiji Yoshida was a Japanese woman who published a book entitled, “My War Crime- Forcing Transportation of the Korean.” in 1983.

The book was about his confessions that he ” transported 205 Korean women forcibly to make them comfort Japanese soldiers under the command of the Japanese Military.

Asahi Shimbun a local anti-Japanese newspaper took up the stories and spread the news about the “comfort women.” That was how the story of the “Comfort Women” got into the mainstream. Initially, there were no stories from neither Korea nor Japan.

Later on, it emerged that Yoshida’s story was a big lie. Her main aim to publish the story was to make money out of it. He admitted everything was a lie.

But things didn’t stop there.

In 1989, Korean translated Yoshida’s book into their language. At the Island of Jeju where Korean people lived, they doubted the story.

The Jeju newspaper did an investigation about Yoshida’s claim and wrote a story claiming that it was a lie.

Teju newspaper was not the only one that did the investigation. A Japanese historian by the name Ikohiko Harta also proved the fact that Yoshida’s story was a fat lie.

When Yoshida was asked why he lied, she never apologizes but stated that “so-what.” Then she said, “it gives no profit to write the truth in a book. Newspaper do the same thing every day, don’t they”.

The main reason Yoshida did that was that she was a  Japanese communist and she did it to portray Japan as a communist country. Most communist countries love to describe themselves as evil. For that reason, she didn’t think that it was wrong to tell a lie.

One fact that remains clear is:

There were comfort women who served at the pleasure of the Japanese Military. Their main aim was to do business and earn money.

Likewise, there were also Korean traders who played a role of mediation between military and women.

Soviet Invasion of Manchuria

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Soviet Invasion of Manchuria

The Soviet invasion of Manchuria is also known as the Manchurian Strategic offensive operation. The Operation was started on 9 August 1945 when the Soviet Union invaded the Japanese Puppet state of Manchukuo.

The invasion was the last war campaign of the Second World War and was the largest Soviet-Japanese war. The war resumed hostility between the Soviet Union and the empire of Japan after 6 years of peace between the two countries.

When the war erupted, the Soviet Union gained cities like Manchukuo, Mengjiang, and Northern Korea. The Soviet Union defeat of the Kwantung Army made the Japanese government surrender, as it sends a strong message that the union had no intention of negotiation.

 

The Japanese army was the Kwantung Army. General Otozo Yamada led the army.

After the war, the Soviet Union occupied Manchuria. Later they transferred the city to local communities. When China took control of the Manuchario region backed by the Soviet Union, it triggered a second war called the Korean War.

Thousands of Japanese who inhibited and colonized Manchuria and Inner Mongolia remained behind. The majority of them were women who had children from Chinese men. These women  who stayed behind and had children with Chinese men were known as “Stranded wives.”

Japanese women were never allowed to return home because they had children from Chinese women. Well, that was because Japanese customary law insisted on giving citizenship to Children from Japanese fathers.

Koiso Kuniaki

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Koiso Kuniaki

Koiso Kuniaki was born in April 1, 1880 in small city called Utsunomiya Japan. He was a Japanese army general and prime minister during World War ll

Here’s a little bit about his history

In 1990, he graduated from the Army Academy at the top of his class.

Koiso went on to become Chief of Bureau of Military Affairs, and in 1932 he became vice-minister of war.

Later on, he took over and became commander of the 5th division and Chief of Staff Kantor Gun.

Kanto Gun was a military operation in China.

From 1935 to 1938, he was a commander in Chief. His role as a commander involved directing military operations in Korea.

In 1939 and 1940, he served as a minister to oversee affairs in Hiranume and Yanal respectively.

At the beginning of World War II, Koiso returned to Korea where he took over the role of governor-general.

In 1944, when the fall of Tojo cabinet happened, he was entrusted with the country’s prime minister position to pursue his war effort.

In April 1945, he resigned when the US troops landed in Okinawa. He was sentenced to life in prison because of his association with war crimes.

Nobuyuki Abe

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Nobuyuki Abe

Nobuyuki Abe was born in Kanazawa cityIshikawa Prefecture where he attended Tokyo Metropolitan Hibiya High School. In his student life, Abe voluntarily served in the military during the First Sino-Japanese War.

It’s after graduating from the Imperial Japanese Army Academy when he was appointed as a second lieutenant and later became lieutenant colonel. He became the military service affairs’ director in the Ministry of Army and later was endorsed to become the lieutenant general. On 10th August 1928, he served as Military Affairs Bureau’s chief and as the Army’s Vice Minister.

It was on January 1932, when he became the commander of the Japanese Taiwan Army. Later he became the general.  On 30th of August 1939, he became the Prime Minister who reigned for four months. At the same time he held the Foreign Minister’s portfolio. Due to Abe’s lack of support from both the political parties and the military, Mitsumasa Yonai successfully replaced him in January 1940.

Abe later was sent to China to give the Japanese-supported regime advice as a special diplomat. When he returned to Japan, he agreed to take the Imperial Rule Assistance Political Association’s presidential position. In 1944 and 1945 is when he became the 10th Korea’s Governor-General.

Emperor Showa

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emperor showa

Emperor Showa, also known as Hirohito, was born on April 29, 1901, in Japan.

He started his reign on December 25, 1926. He was the 124th Emperor of Japan. He got his name, Showa in 1990 after his death.

Emperors of Japan were renamed after their death. He became an Emperor after his father died in 1921 which is in accordance with Japan’s order of succession.

Hirohito was the emperor during the Second-Sino-Japan war. He was to be an absolute monarch, but Prime Minister Hideki Tojo and military held most of the powers in Japan.

After Japan’s defeat in the Second Sino-Japanese War, the emperor became a symbol of status/national unity.

Out of all the emperors in Japan, he was the first emperor to travel to Europe in 1971 and the United States of America in 1975.

In other words, he was the first emperor of Japan to travel outside his country.

Emperor show died in 1989 of small intestine cancer, and his son Akihito took over from him.

His state funeral got worldwide attention and was attended by World leaders. Prominent World leaders that attended his funeral included U.S President George H. W Bush, French President Francois Mitterrand, and the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Goryeo Dynasty

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Goryeo dynasty

If you have been following Korean history very well, you will notice that the Goryeo Dynasty is the last Buddhist Dynasty.

The Goryeo Dynasty established in 918 ruled Korea until the invasion of the Joseon Dynasty in 1932. The name Goryeo” came from ” Goguryeo.”

Internal Wars and Invasion

Like any dynasty, Goryeo faced internal disorders and invasion which threatened its existence.

For instance, in 993, the Khitan waged war with Goryeo in the Northwest border. The fight only came to an end when Goryeo agreed to terminate its alliance with Song China, and Khitan ceded the territory in the East of River Yale.

But things did not end there.

The  Mongol Yuan Dynasty also invaded Goryeo when Gongmin took power.

Later in the mid-fourteenth century, The Mongol Yuan Dynasty began to collapse in 1368. Gongmin who was the ruler by then tried to reform the Gorgeo government.

Gongmin was defeated in war by General Yi in 1392. The loss of the Gongmin made General Yi establish the commonly known Joseon Dynasty in the story. That was how the Goryeo fell apart.

Bottom Line About the Goryeo Dynasty

If you have wanted to know more about how the Goryeo Dynasty fell apart, I hope this article has enlightened you so much.

How North And South Korea Came Into Existence

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How North And South Korea Came Into Existence

Following the end of the colonial rule by the Japanese Empire, Korea split into two; the North and the South.  This was after the conclusion of World War II in 1945.  At the time, the US and the Soviet Union occupied a section of the island. The border of these zones was located along the 38Th parallel.

 

How North And South Korea Came Into Existence

However, the US and the Soviet Union were unable to reach an agreement over unifying the North and the South. This was mainly due to the looming Cold War between the two superpowers. In 194, South Korea, which was occupied by the US, conducted its first post-war elections. The elections were overseen by the United Nations. Syngman Rhee, an outspoken anti-communist, emerged victorious in the polls. On the other hand, Joseph Stalin, the then ruler of the Soviet Union, appointed Kim Il-sung as the leader of North Korea.

The appointment of the two leaders for the North and South resulted in the formation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea, respectively. The South was backed by the US, while the North was supported by the Soviet Union. Both governments claimed the authority over the entire Korean peninsula. As a result, the Korean War started, lasting for three years until 1953.  Due to the absence of an outright winner, the two countries established the Korean Demilitarized Zone which acts as the boundary between them. This zone exists to date.

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Korean Generals During Japanese Colonization

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Korean Generals During Japanese Colonization

Japan ruled over Korea for almost four decades. The colonization began after the collapse of the Korean empire in 1910 and ended after the conclusion of the Second World War in 1945. During this period, Japan did not draft native Koreans into its armed forces. This, however, changed in 1944. The Japanese troops were overwhelmed in war, forcing them to enlist ethnic Koreans.

Korean Generals During Japanese Colonization

Although the Japanese did not draft locals, they occasionally recruited Korean volunteers into their military. The procedure and requirements for admission were stringent, meaning that only a few applicants were successful. Despite the bias, seven Koreans managed to become generals. Moreover, several others rose through the ranks and became colonels, lieutenants, sergeants, majors, and other ranking posts.

The first Korean to become a general was Lieutenant General and Crown Prince Yi Un. Yi is also the most famous of the seven Koreans who attained the post of general in the Japanese military. The remaining six attained their military education from the Imperial Japanese Army Academy.

The role given to Yi Un was to serve as an instructor to the horsemen at the military academy. Due to his impressive work, Yi was promoted to the rank of Major in 1940. Three years later, he became a Lieutenant-Colonel.  His illustrious military career culminated with him attaining the rank of Colonel at the end of World War II in 1945.

 

 

The Assassination of Empress Myeongseong

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The Assassination of Empress Myeongseong

Empress Myeongseong, popularly known as ‘Queen Min,’ was assassinated by Japanese agents on October 8, 1895.  Myeongseong was 43 years old at the time of her demise. The plot to kill the empress was masterminded by Miura Goro, the then Japanese minister to Korea. The Russian ministry of foreign affairs kept the records on the assassin and revealed them publicly in 2001.

The Assassination of Empress Myeongseong

The records included a testimony provided by King Gojong, as well as several accounts given by witnesses to the killing. Also, the documents comprised of a report sent to Lobanov-Rostovsky by Karl Ivanovich Weber. Back then, Lobanov-Rostovsky was the foreign minister of Russia, while Karl was a diplomat at the Russian embassy in Seoul.  According to the account of Seredin-Sabatin, a Russian eyewitness, several Japanese agents and servicemen from the Hullyeondae army went into the royal palace and killed Queen Min. Afterwards, the assassins defiled the corpse in the north wing of the palace. The witness was an employee of the King of Korea.

After the killing of the Empress, the father of King Gojong, Daewongun, returned to the palace. Later on, King Gojong abandoned the Gyeongbokgung palace for the Russian consulate on Seoul. The king governed the Korean empire form the Russian embassy for almost a year. This period is referred to as the Korean royal refuge at the Russian legation.

 

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