Whats going on with Korea this whole time? Were there significant pro and anti Japan movements and where were various famous Koreans during the war(up to this point)

Howdy Indy(and team)

Was hoping to show yall around Hawaii and pearl harbor had COVID not intervened. That said my career brought me to Korea. Which begs the question what was happening with Koreans during this time. We know there were comfort woman,forced laborers, and forced cultural assimilation. But was that all? This may be a shotgun of questions but can be generalized as just what was going in Korea from the beginning of the war till now. Was there an active and violent resistance? Was there an army forming in China hopes of liberating Korea? Were there people and forces that would eventually create the DRPK and ROK in motion at this time?(such as Kim Il-Sung) how prominate were Koreans in the Japanese armed forces?

Thanks for your time. Since i couldn’t give timeghost a tour of Hawaii or the 25th Museum, if yall come to Korea i know a few good bars and KBBQ places.

-Thanks and Gig 'em


Korea had been annexed by the Japanese in 1910, and they ruled it until 1945. The Japanese (literally) moved in, and told the Koreans what to do - most notably to not to try to become independent. Koreans also were moved to Japan when the war broke out to work - since so many Japanese were
in the military. (This was declared as “conscription”, since Korea was technically part of the Japanese Empire.)

Koreans also were in the Japanese military (since there wasn’t a “Korean military”) - until 1943 as volunteers (of which there were less than 20,000, according to the Japanese), but then began being drafted in 1944, when the Japanese started running out of men. The only full year (1944) of conscription saw 200,000 Korean men drawn into the Japanese Army. Even so, they were not trusted with major combat by the Japanese.

Koreans were also sent as forced labor to various islands to build installations for the Japanese.

And, of course the forced prostitution of up to 200,000 Korean women (about half of the total, most of the others being Chinese).

Kim Il-Sung was a partisan against the Japanese in the 1930s, before he was sent by the Soviets to the Soviet Union for ‘education and indoctrination’ as a communist. In WWII, he was part of the Red Army, rising to the rank of Major.

Syngman Rhee was jailed by the Japanese for anti-Japanese agitation (the Japanese were already running Korea, just not officially) for six years 1898-1904; upon release he went to Princeton University, and earned a doctorate (first Korean to do so.). He got back to Korea just in time for it to be annexed by the Japanese; he fled to Hawaii, and spent the next 30 years speaking out against the Japanese and trying unsuccessfully to interest the US or anybody else in helping the Koreans free themselves. He was also president of a Provisional Korean government for 20 years.

When WWII broke out, Rhee moved to Washington, DC to advocate for a free Korea after the war (as we know, he was only half-successful, as Korea became - again - the plaything of foreigners.


There were Korean resistance movements against the Japanese, the channel “The Front” did a good video over them. But the Japanese also had Korean units led by Japanese officers that were basically treated like penal battalions and cannon fodder. Sure Koreans who assimilated to Japanese culture might have a better chance, but overall the Korean situation in the Japanese military was horrible.

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