Tai-young Lee Made Hiistoric Stride For Women In South Korea


Tai-young Lee was the first female lawyer in the history of South Korea. She was also later to become the first female judge in South Korea. She was born in North Korea in 1914. She passed away in 1998 at the age of 84. She was also known as Yi T’ai Yǒng,


Her achievements in the legal profession, especially in those days for a woman in Korea, are impressive to say the least. Tai-young Lee took the bar exam in 1952. She passed what was considered an extremely tough task for a male in Korea back in those days. It is no doubt considered to be highly unlikely for a female to ever even be a candidate to take the test.


Throughout her career and her adult life, she was an activist for women’s rights. A legal aid center started to aid women in need of legal services was also a first in Korea. It was founded in Seoul by Tai-young Lee. It was after her second attempt that she became a judge, having been denied the first time. The initial denial was reportedly due to political reasons. She is said to have frequently spoke that,”No society can or will prosper without the cooperation of women.”


She attended Chung Eui Girls’ High School, located in Pyongyang. She also attended Ewha Womans University in Seoul. She graduated from the university with a degree in Home Economics. Later Tai-young Lee went on to attend Seoul National University, from which she graduated having achieved a law degree. These were turbulant years for the people of Korea in the 1950’s, set amidst the war torn years of the Korean War. Tai-young Lee started her law practice in 1957, after the war had ended.


Her father and her mother were Methodists, and it was her grandfather who founded the Methodist Church in their town. Tai-young Lee married a Methodist minister with whom she had four children. During the 1940’s, she had to take on several different jobs when her husband was incarcerated for sedition. For many years, she taught school, she sang on radio, and she also took on jobs sewing and washing clothes. She was a dedicated wife and mother, and she did all she could to support herself and her children.


Decades later in the mid 1970’s, she and her husband took part in the Myongdong Declaration for the cause of civil liberties rights for the Korean people. Because of her political views and activism, she was arrested. She was disbarred for 10 years, and she received a 3 year suspended sentence. Tai-young Lee also suffered the loss of her own civil liberties. She then continued her work in her organization known as the Korea Legal Aid Center for Family Relations. It was well received and serves many thousands of clients per year.


She has achieved a great deal of recognition in her life. Tai-young Lee received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership. This renowned award is also named the Korean Peace Prize. She also was a recipient of an award from the International Legal Aid Society. Additionally, Drew University of New Jersey bestowed the distinctive honor of an Honorary Doctorate in Law upon Tai-young Lee. Another of her achievements was received in the form of the Conference Award from the World Peace Though Law Conference.

History of Family Law Revision in South Korea


On July 17, 1948, Article 9, Paragraph 1 of the South Korean Constitution read as follows: “All citizens shall be equal before the law and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic, social or cultural life on account of sex, religion, or social status.”


As forward-thinking as that was at the time, the reality for most Korean women was very different. Many of the cultural influences that poured into Korea over the next five decades would serve to prevent women from being free to function in their world without some type of male representation. The “traditional” gender roles were enforced then in much the same way as they are now, through family, education, religious beliefs and organizations, and the media at large.


The cult of female chastity that grew out of the ideal social states taught by Confucianism added to the problem of what is now termed “gender equality.” Confucius taught that a woman’s prime virtue was obedience, especially to men. Even into the 1990s, Korean women’s fight for equality was raging.


Two larger elements of Korean family law were even more damaging than the idea of a prime virtue: that of the legal family “head” system and the inability to marry a person with the same last name.


Surnames were once held to high importance because they showed, at a glance, the world at large where the family came from. This was more important during the Feudal Age (from the 1300’s) than they are today. Women are now permitted to chose whether they will take their husband’s last name or keep their maiden name. The new system allows women to pass their maiden names onto their children, should they choose. Children are permitted to accept their step-father’s last name should their mothers remarry. This is more inline with Western cultural thinking than older ideals. Adopted children may now be named with the surname of their adopted parent(s), allowing ties to their biological families to be legally broken.


Women were not allowed to remarry until six months after losing a spouse, regardless of the reason for the loss. In the case of remarriage, only the father of any children was permitted any rights regarding the children and their choices of which parent with whom they preferred to reside.


The legal family head system, or hojuje, was introduced into Korea through Japan in the late 1890s. This method of record keeping only permitted men to head families and affected how children inherited their surnames. Even more, however, this system discriminated against women in a larger way by ignoring the plain language guaranteeing that all Koreans are equal under the law.


By consistently defining a family as one headed by a man, women were stripped of their identity as rational adults. Starting in the 1960s, women called for changes to their country’s laws and began fighting for what was finally accepted in February 2005: a full revision of the Civil Code that eliminated many elements that forced women to be viewed by the culture at large as lower class citizens.


In conclusion, women in South Korea have waged a long uphill battle to gain the rights laid out in their own country’s constitution. Throughout the modern era, women around the world have fought this same battle: to be recognized as human beings in their own right and not children with no other abilities than to obey the patriarchy.

The Life of Emperor Sunjong of Korea

Emperor Sunjong second from the left.

In 1897, the Korean Empire was established. This resulted from the Donghak Peasant Revolution that lasted from 1894 to 1895. It was part of the Gabo Reforms. These reforms were put in place across Korea from 1894 to 1896, A member of the Korean royal family named King Gojong went to Deoksugung, Korea and proclaimed the creation of the Great Korean Empire. This ended Korea’s ties with China that had been in place since 1636. King Gojong became Emperor, and the head of state for the new Korean Empire. According to the Treaty of Shimonoseki signed in 1895, Korea had full and complete independence. Emperor Gojong was deposed in 1907 because of coercion from Japan. A member of the Korean family named Sunjong was then made Korea’s emperor.


Three Years Rule

Emperor Sunjong was only in power for three years. During his time as emperor, the Japanese government increased its military intervention in Korea. This intervention forced Emperor Sunjong to enter into the Japan-Korea Treaty of 1907. It was a treaty designed to permit the government of Japan to intervene and directly administer its governance of Korea. It permitted the appointment of ministers from Japan within the Korean government.


Japanese Control

During the time Korea was under Japanese supervision the Korean army was dismantled. The reason given was insufficient public funding regulations necessary to maintain a military. In 1909, implementation of the Japan-Korea Protocol was completed. This removed Korea’s judicial power over its own people. Certain key Korean politicians, such as Lee Wan-Yong and Song Byung-jun, defected to Japan. This was used to produce the false belief that Korea was willing to create the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty. It was signed on August 29, 1910.


Emperor Sunjong Rule Ends

After the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty was signed, the reign of Emperor Sunjong over the Korean Empire only existed on paper. Sunjong had no power over his country after ruling it for three years. The Korean Empire was officially abolished after having existed for over hundreds of years.


Post Abdication

The ousted Emperor Sunjong and his wife Empress Sunjeong lived like prisoners. Both of them were imprisoned in the Changdeokgung Palace located in Seoul. Emperor Sunjeong was unable to perform any duties associated with being an emperor. The Korean government at this time only had politicians who were pro-Japanese. With the ending of the Korean Empire, Emperor Sunjong was demoted. He went from being an emperor to only being a king. The Japanese did permit Sunjong to have the title of King Yi of Changdeok Palace. They also made it possible for this title to be inherited.


Empress Sunjeong

She became the wife of Emperor Sunjeong in 1904. Prior to her marriage, she was known as Lady Yun. She was born in 1893 and was 10 years old when married to Emperor Sunjong. When Korea was freed from the Japanese after World War II, Empress Sunjeong was barred from Changdeok Palace by Syngman Rhee Barred. He was the president of Korea. Empress Sunjeong was forced to live in a little cottage located on the grounds of the palace. Five years prior to her death, she was permitted to return to Changdeok Palace. She died there in 1966 at the age of 71.


Death Of Emperor Sunjong

On April 24, 1926, Emperor Sunjong died in Changdeokgung. It is believed he was the victim of poisoning. Emperor Sunjong is buried at the Imperial Tomb of Yureung. This is located in the city of Namyangju. Emperor Sunjong was given a state funeral for his burial on June 10, 1926.


Emperor Sunjong was the fourth son of Empress Myeongseong and Emperor Gojong. At the age of two, he was proclaimed to be a crown prince. He married his first wife in 1882. Her name was Princess Min Crown who became Empress Summyeonghyo. She was assassinated by the Japanese in 1895. The former Emperor Sunjong and his two wives are buried together at Imperial Tomb of Yureung.

The Status Of Women’s Rights In North Korea


Prior to 1945, women in North Korea had few rights. The expectations were to assure the family line continued with male heirs. Opportunities to participate in political, economic or social society were few. An academic education was considered unimportant for women. The Christian missionaries created schools for girls during the 19th century enabling Korean females to acquire an education. The exceptions were the female shamans who drove away evil spirits to cure illnesses, performed fortune telling and divination and prayed for rain in a drought.


The social status changed after 1945. A SEX Equality Law was passed by the thirty-eighth parallel authorities on July 30th of 1946. The 1972 constitution provided women with rights and social status equal to men. The 1990 constitution created conditions to enable women to advance in society. Women began participating in the labor force and gaining educations but were still considered inferior to men. Girls and boys were separated in elementary and middle schools. Economics was emphasized for girls and physical education for boys. By the fourth year in a university, women majored in literature, biology, foreign languages and medicine.


North Korea is a patriarchal society. The role of women has changed from the conclusion of World War II until today. Women helped rebuild the country after the war but the improvement in the economy placed women in more traditional roles. Most families survived on state rations until the famine of the 1990’s. They looked for financial support elsewhere because they were not paid for mandatory government jobs. The government is reliant on free labor from the males. Men are required to pay twenty to thirty times their salary to be free from work to find a profitable job. If the payment is not made, the men go to jail. Women in the informal sector are exposed to exploitation, sexual violence and sexual harassment and bribes from the government officials.


North Korea is well known for political prison camps. The deaths due to starvation were between 450,000 and 2 million people. A U.N. Commission of Inquiry found the government of North Korea guilty of crimes against humanity including murder, extermination, religious, gender, and racial persecution, enslavement, sexual violence, torture, causing prolonged starvation, forced abortions, rape and imprisonment. The women of Korea lower in the songbun system were forced into prostitution due to poverty. Medical care and drugs were unavailable causing some to use opium in the impossible hope of preventing sexually transmitted diseases. Thousands of women escaped to China and became the pawns of traffickers.


The North Korean prison camps were especially cruel to women. They feared being assigned to the mines during the night shift because they were raped by the guards in Political Prison Camp No. 18. These guards targeted teenage girls and the female inmates were sexually abused by one of the senior officials while visiting the camp. Once the women were raped, they were killed. Once raped by officials, several of the women disappeared. Women are also sexually assaulted and beaten in public. The officials are corrupt and use violence and sexual abuse as punishment and penalties. The dire food and economic situation has left many women responsible for feeding their families. This places them in public places to transport and sell goods. Acts of sexual assault are becoming more frequent by inspectors aboard trains and police in the marketplace. There are severe punishments for raping a minor but raping an adult is not a crime.


The most famous North Korean woman is Ri Chun-hee. She has been seen on television across the globe when the nation becomes interested in boasting about current achievements. She was believed to have retired but reappeared as a veteran news anchor for Kim Jung Un, the dictator of the country. She state the hydrogen bomb tests by North Korea had been executed.

Gender inequality in the history of South Korea

Equality between men and women, a conceptual image of the status of female rights with a man drawing a seesaw on a virtual interface balancing the two concepts on opposite ends in equilibrium.

The traditional South Korean society had their women as subordinates who did not have formal education at all. The roles of the women to stay at homes as good mothers and homemakers. The primary duties were to ensure there was harmony in the family by avoiding any conflict. Additional, after a woman was married, she was supposed to move and stay with the husband at the husband’s home. While at the husband’s place, she was expected to take care of the whole family as well as the parents-in-law. The traditional Korean society preferred male child to a girl. A woman who did not bore a male child was not worthy in the society. Women in the traditional Korean society did not have a voice and were not allowed to participate in any activity in the community as men. The society expected them to give support to their husband.

Feminism, women rights movement

Feminism or women rights movement originated and has its history from South Korea. Article 11 of the national constitution in 1948 talked about the women suffrage in South Korea. According to the constitution, the law recognizes citizen as equal, and no discrimination shall be there in social, Political, economic and cultural life. The law states the no person should be discriminated against based on the sex, social status or religion. The South Korean women rights or feminism movement is pretty recent as compared to the Western World’s first and second wave of feminism. Industrialization and globalization have brought so many changes that have been implemented in the economy and workplaces in so many places and so has been the case in South Korea. The rapid economic growth through globalization has seen the role of men and women changing in the South Korean society. With the introduction of capitalism and democracy, women started working in public places as well as participating in political events. In 1948, according to the constitution, the women suffrage became legal, and thus they started gaining opportunities to continue to higher education including colleges and universities.

Amidst all the advancement taking place in the world and South Korea, women discrimination existed behind the scene. Even though the social perspective does not externally exclude women from taking part in economic activities, low wage, poor working environments compared to male workers, there is a lot of sexual harassment taking place at workplaces which is seen to discourage women. Besides, people do not discuss such cases openly as they feel they are not essential matters as compared to others.

Minjung Undong or mass people’s movement of South Korea

There were many women’s rights groups established even before the Second World War in South Korea. However, these groups did not solely discuss the issues that were affecting women until the mid-1980s. The current feminist movement in South Korea has its history traced back to the mass people’s movement of South Korea or Minjung Undong. The attention of women rights increased as minjung movement developed. Minjung movement decided to focus on the rights of women after women labor was exploited within factories in South Korea. Women’s movement gained more momentum in the mid-1980s after women got involved in student and labor movements as there were a lot of reforms taking place in South Korea by this time.

Current feminism activities in South Korea

Presently, there are two kinds of women movements in South Korea, reformist and radical. The reformist female movement focuses on changing the role of women in the society. They use such methods as drafting legislation, lobbying, as well as influencing decision makers. The group supports the government of South Korea. The radical movement concentrates on general human rights issues. The group tackles problems such as the torture of prisoners and the reunification with North Korea.

The roles of women during the Korean war


The Korean War, lasting from 1950-1953, had many participants, including women. Women from both sides of conflict had essential noncombat roles. These ranged from nurses to supply clerks, as well as intelligence analysts and communications technicians.


South Korean women became refugees during the war, but many of them ended up becoming active participants as well. They served a diverse array of roles, from nurses to dentists to even surgeons. The war effort caused a labor shortage, and women were a practical solution to fill the gap.


Under U.S. military command women from the United States, Canada, Britain and Australia filled a variety of subordinate roles. They were healthcare providers or worked in logistical or administrative positions. In sharp contrast to their Western and South Korean counterparts, women in North Korea were active military participants, serving in units alongside males. They also served military support roles as well.


Before the end of World War II the Korean Peninsula had been occupied by Japan. After the occupation had ended women in Korea were able to make gains in education and began entering the workforce in increasing numbers. The 1948 constitution actually gave women the same equality as men. The Korean War served to further change the status of women. Not only did women receive medical training in the army medical field school, but they were also employed in war industries, making guns, ammunition, and bombs.


The need for servicewomen increased as the war went on, and the women of South Korea responded by enlisting. Female recruits were given basic military training, the same as the men, and afterwards assigned to units as needed. Some women even received office training as well. As the war continued women also received specialized training and became attached to specialized units.


For non-Korean servicewomen, the most in-demand role by far was nursing. Between 500 and 600 female U.S. Army Nurse Corp members served in the war zone during combat. Several thousand more worked in hospitals under the Far East Command. By the war’s end, over 120,000 women were assigned to active duty. They served as administrative aids, translators and stenographers. Non-American women also participated in the war effort. Women from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Great Britain, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Turkey and Thailand served during the Korean war. The majority of these, like their American counterparts, served noncombat roles as nurses in hospitals.


Women in North Korea found themselves in a similar, but different, scenario. After taking control and consolidating his power, Premier Kim Il Sung promoted gender equality, incorporating equal rights into the North Korean constitution. Women in North Korea were able to join organizations along with men, such as the Worker-and-Peasant Red Guard. There were also political organizations solely for women.


When the Korean war began women were immediately integrated into the ranks of North Korea’s military. Women did logistical tasks such as transporting supplies and materials to the front lines. However female soldiers were not limited to only support roles. They also served as front line troops along with their male counterparts. They also served as spies and saboteurs, posing as refugees to infiltrate behind enemy lines, either to gather intelligence or carry out surprise attacks on unsuspecting enemy troops. Women also served and fought with guerilla units, using hit-and-run attacks as well as acts of sabotage.


Women were not solely victims and refugees during the Korean War. May were active participants, putting their time, effort, and sometimes even their lives into supporting the war effort. While not flashy or glamorous, their roles were necessary and essential to the war, and their sacrifices were no less vital than the men they served alongside.

The Traditional Role of Women in South Korea


Within the historical Korean community, the women’s responsibility was to be restrained in the home. In early stages, women were educated on the ethics of relegation and the ability to organize their forthcoming responsibilities as a spouse and mother. Furthermore, they were not enabled to partake within the community as the men did and their portrayal was mainly focused on household concerns.


As the nineteen era approached, things began to eventually shift, with the perforation of the nation’s connection to the exterior world. Around this period, specifically westbound Christian pastors developed upscale schools. Furthermore, a majority of these schools was established particularly with the objective of cultivating women.


This process enabled the women to partake in a host of activities, such as creative crafts, educating others, sacred holy morals and the gifts and abilities to provide other women with hope and courage. Along with this, the women also participated in essential revolutions in opposition to the oriental traditions and demonstrated forceful strength, believes and devotion than what the men had brought forth.


By 1948, the development of the commonwealth of Korea had approached and the women had then accomplished lawful entitlement for equivalent responsibilities to participate in schooling, careers and personal living per their preference. This movement certainly benefited the women, as it formulated advanced lucrative growth, which helped other women to follow other influential women by joining them in the work force platform.


Over the years, the Korean industry consistently enhanced and perfected its livelihood. Moreover, the women’s educational and workforce status also continued to expand. By 1966, many women had successfully completed their elementary training, leaving only thirty-three percent of youthful females who pursued their schooling in middle school.


Along with this, twenty percent consistently pursued their education through high school and colleges. By 1998, this figure had substantially increased to more than ninety-seven and over sixty-percent for high school and university attendance. In addition, by 1999, the work force involvement of women had increased to over forty-seven percent.


With all respect and acknowledgments to the Christian pastors who passed down these extraordinary gifts and abilities to these women. All of which, consisted of hard work, courage and devotion. By 1987, the number of women who partaked in professional careers had significantly increased and the “Equal Employment Act” was initialized to eliminate further prejudicial treatments towards women. This act applied to all women in all circumstances in personal living and within their working environments.


With the approach of the re-modified legislation in 1998, the constitutional embassy introduced the Women’s affairs to work through further concerns particularly for women. This strategy was enhanced and heightened to develop into the Ministry of Gender Equality by 2001. The new reformed spiritual leadership initiated and organized more than seventeen essential assignments to be accomplished within six original segments.


The segments included the reorganizing and development of legislation’s that focused on prejudicial in any form. The legislation also consisted of, the advancement and support for women, the acceleration on women’s careers and deliverance of ongoing support for women who were employed and were seeking higher learning. Along with this, the segments included public assistance and resources to enable women to become more aggressive in the work force and to bring forth additional work and volunteer resources.


In today’s society, the Korean women are rapidly and effectively committed and bound to a host of different beneficial activities that include learning, tutoring, crafts, lawful legislation’s, historical content and many more intriguing gifts available to them. Moreover, these women today, take their gifts and abilities to give back to their communities for the continuance of free living and hope for other women.

The Korean Legend of Dangun


The national founder of Korea is Dangun. A grand ritual is observed to celebrate the Legend of Dangun. This event is called Eocheonjeol and observes the day Dangun went to heaven. According to the lunar calendar, this is March 15th. The legend says Dangun came to the earth from heaven. After opening the nation, Dangun went back to heaven. Dangun came to earth with the belief that if the world were ruled with humanitarian principles, it would create a utopia. This ceremony has been held throughout the history of Korea. This includes both the Jeoseon and Goryo dynasties. Imperial Japan stopped the Eocheonjeol ceremony from 1910 until 1935 when they colonized the Korean Peninsula.


The Great Religion includes four festivals. One of these is Eocheonjeol. The day Hanbegeom went to heaven is celebrated on March 15 by the lunar calendar. It was the year of sangwongapja when Hanbegeom came to earth. Hanbegeom taught and opened the city of God. Later on, Hanbegeom became the king and governed. He provided the virtues of education and creation while governing in the Trinity for 217 years. Hanbegeom is celebrated by the grand religion as he ascended to heaven. Each temple holds both the gyeonghasik and the seoneuisik.


The legendary founder of Gojoseon was Dangun Wanggeom. This was Korea’s first kingdom. In Liaoning of the current day, this is the Korean and Manchuria peninsula. According to the legend, Dangun Wanggeom is the God of heaven’s grandson. The year was 2333 BCE when he founded the kingdom. The term Dangun is a reference to the founder. There are some people who believe this term was a title all the rulers of Gojoseon used. They believe the correct name for the founder was Wanggeom.


The ancestry of Dangun starts with Hwanin, his grandfather. This term appears in the texts of the Indian Buddhists and is referred to as Lord of Heaven. The name of Hwanin’s son was Hwanung. He wanted to live on the earth in the mountains and the valleys. Hwanin gave his permission for Hwanung and 3000 of his followers to descend into the Baekdu Mountain. These were called the Taebaek mountains at this time. This was where Hwanung found the City of God or the Sinsi. He taught humans different agriculture, medicine and arts and instituted moral and law codes with his ministers of wind, rain and clouds.


A bear and a tiger prayed to Hwanung because they wanted to become human. When Hwanung heard their prayers, he gave them a bundle of mugwort and twenty cloves of garlic. He ordered them to stay out of the sun for 100 days and eat nothing but this sacred food. After roughly twenty days, the tiger gave up and left the cave. The bear stayed in the cave and was transformed into a woman.


The bear woman made offerings to Hwanung out of gratitude. She became sad because she did not have a husband. She prayed under the Divine Betula or Shindansu tree to receive the blessing of a child. Her prayers moved Hwanung and he took the bear woman for his wife. She gave birth to a son and named him Dangun Wanggeom.


Dangun eventually ascended to the throne and was responsible for the construction of the walled city of Pyongyang. This city is now known as North Korea’s capital and is referred to as the kingdom Joseon. Dangun moved the capital Asadal on Mount Gunghol or Mount Baegak. After fifteen hundred years had passed, in the year Kimyo, the capital was moved to Jangdangyeong by Dangun. He was now age 1,908 and became a mountain God after his return to Asadal.



With the second World War looming every country was busy preparing for it. This fueled political, economic and social changes at various levels. The buildup to the war involved competition and governments were starting to come up with mechanisms of gaining an advantage over other. In some instances, the governments through the legislature had to come up with laws that would promote strengthening the army. The Empire of Japan also resorted to these reforms to restructure their system to favor military advancement.


The beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese saw the Japanese legislature, the Diet of Japan, make reforms to the law. The laws were set up to gain some control over civilians and to benefit the Japanese army. There was resistance opposing the formulation of the law at the start of 1938. This pressure, however, was subdued by the military. By May the same year, the bill was put into effect. The fifty clauses created by the legislature were collectively termed as the National Mobilization Law.

The National Mobilization Law had placed the government in a position where its activities favored military operations. The government was given the authority to impose unlimited subsidies on the production of military-related goods. The actions of the labor unions were curtailed thereby reducing private opinion over government matters. Industries that were deemed crucial by the government were nationalized. This increased government control in the economy. Price controls were set up by the government on various products, rationing of the goods was also used. Majority of what was in the media was government controlled. The press was nationalized.


Articles one up to three interpreted the Mobilization Law and its relation to the industries. Article thirteen gave the government powers to control what was happening in the private sector. The government had aims of providing an environment that would favor armament and increase of military strength. The government would then have the ability to confiscate, hire and manage private business entities. The law explained in article twenty-one that the government might appoint civilians if the government sees it fit. It was a requirement for some industries to keep in hand a certain number of goods if a directive was made. There were policies under which firms and organizations would create plans to conduct research and do experiments that may advance the military. In return, the government would provide subsidies to these organizations.

The creation of the supervisory commission also fulfilled the government need for control. The commission was responsible for overlooking sectors of the economy that were deemed “crucial.” The law, at first was only to be applied during emergency situations. It was, however, invoked and was made to include cases like the conflict with China. The National Service Draft Ordinance was also created to supplement National Mobilization Law. The Ministry of Welfare was in charge of recruiting workers to serve industries that promoted supplies to the war. At its peak, the ministry had hired 1.6 million people, another 4.5 million people had been reassigned from their previous jobs.


The National Mobilization Law had a social impact on the Japanese people. The women in the Japanese society were more like caretakers of their homes. According to custom, they were required to stay at home doing household duties. The advent of the Second Sino-Japanese war pushed the government to recruit women thereby changing their roles. As the war continued, the labor force required was insatiable. This situation prompted the recruitment of children to work in factories. The standards of living had also deteriorated. More hours were spent to increase military oriented production leaving other sectors deprived.

The Anti-Chinese riots of 1931


Wanpaoshan used to be a small village located north of Changchun, Manchuria. The town was marshy and alongside Itung river. Japanese Empire had at the time taken power over Koreans. Some Koreans decided to lease a large piece of land from a Chinese broker with the intention of irrigation practices. In preparation for the irrigation, they dug a ditch some kilometers along but extended from the Itung River to a piece of land that was exclusive of what they had leased and was at the time occupied by the local Chinese farmers. On seeing this, local Chinese farmers protested by reporting the activity to the Wanpaoshan local authorities. At this time, a considerable length of the ditch had already been dug which called for action to be taken. Police were dispatched, and the Koreans were ordered to terminate the project and leave the area immediately. On the other hand, the Imperial Japanese Consul from Changchun also sent Japanese consular police for the Koreans protection. The collision between the Japanese and Chinese authorities based in the city called for an agreement point that the matter needed joint investigation.


Wanpaoshan Incident- Joint investigation needed time to lunch and complete and the Chinese farmers got impatient. Four hundred local Chinese farmers who were whose lands were cut by the ditch decided to take matters in their own hands, armed with pikes and agricultural tools. Their main aim was to drive the Koreans away however they also filled the most substantial part of the ditch. As the incident took place, Japanese consular police tried to disperse the group while protecting the Koreans farmers by firing rifles. Luckily, no casualties were recorded, and Chinese farmers withdrew. Japanese police had to guard the project until the Koreans farmers were able to finalize on digging the ditch and dam along the Itung River.


Anti-Chinese riots in Korea incident- the incident happened in Pyongyang, Korea as a result of the Wanpaoshan Incident. Anti-Chinese riots were severe as opposed to the Wanpaoshan Incident and even had to be published in both Japanese and Korean newspapers. The riots started at Incheon on July 3 and spread all over Korea cities. Chinese authorities claimed that one hundred and forty-six lives were lost, five hundred and forty-six wounded and properties of great value destroyed with July 5 as a day that worst rioting happened in Pyongyang. The Chinese authorities also lamented that the authorities in Japanese did not take precautions to protect Chinese lives and properties and also failed to prohibit the publishing of inflammatory accounts. In defense, Japanese authorities claimed that the riots were random outbursts that were settled as soon as they could and also gave compensation to the families that were bereaved.


Anti-Korean sentiment in China incident- in response to the Anti-Chinese riots, riots by Chinese against Koreans erupted in China. The hatred and ethnicity among Koreans and Chinese grew dramatically. According to an article published by the New York Times, in Jilin alone, ten thousand Koreans were brutally killed by the Chinese ethnic groups. Several Korean houses were also burnt down and looted in the province. In Supingkai, anti-Korean riot claimed three hundred lives. May 1931, Chinese boycotted Japanese-made products as a way of resistance.


Results- the situation was worse and called for Japanese and Chinese authorities to come up with ways to resolve the situation. On the one hand, Chinese felt that Koreans broke the law by leasing land outside of Gando District according to Gando Convention. On the other hand, maintained that since Koreans were Japanese subjects, they had the right to lease land all over South Manchuria and that the Koreans were in good faith apart from the Chinese broker. Koreans farmers remained.

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