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TheOppressive Japanese Practices in Korea
The Lost Names: Scenes from a Korean Boyhood, a book byRichard Kim presents the Japanese rule over the Koreans. Kim uses thebook to present the oppression and discrimination that the Koreansunderwent as the Japanese established their authority over theirland. It was a devastating scenario since they were threatened byarrests making them remain silent and comply with everything that theJapanese government wanted. The book Lost Names: Scenes from aKorean Boyhood shows how the Japanese rule used arrests,detention camps and change of names as a way to squash the resistancemovements and create loyalty so that they could rule for a longerperiod.
The Japanese used force to control their Korean subjects and nevergave them the freedom they used to enjoy earlier. Some of the Koreanswere arrested and even the narrator’s father was arrested becausethe Japanese government believed that he was engaging in someresistance movement activities (Kim, 5). The Japanese government alsohired Korean detectives that investigated and reported any suspiciousactivities among the Korean nationals that showed motives of creatingresistant movements as well. At times, they even used extreme forcewhen they lashed the narrator’s maternal grandfather and took hisfather to the detention camp where life was unbearable. Besides that,they even used scaring tactics where they bought land belonging tothe Koreans at a low price through the use coercion and threats (Kim,17). As a result, some of the Koreans escaped to other nations sincethey were afraid of the threats. All these tactics were a way toscare the Koreans and make them honor and respect the Japanesegovernment instead.
The Japanese forced the Koreans to adopt the Japanese culture in abid to cultivate loyalty in the Koreans. In fact, the Korean schoolshad the Japanese flags to make the Korean children respect theJapanese government and honor them as well. In the school, the Koreanchildren were also not taught their language or even their historysince they wanted them to honor the Japanese culture alone (Kim, 72).The school management even forced the students to bow while facingthe East, which is the direction of the Japanese imperial palace thathouses their Emperor. They were even forced to change their names andadopt the Japanese ones as a way of cultivating loyalty in the end.Evidently, the Japanese believed with the Koreans being loyal totheir culture, they would have ruled for a longer period (Masalski,2). They cultivated loyalty in a way that even irritated the Koreans.
The Japanese rule had a negative impact on the individual Koreanssine they did not have the freedom to choose what they want. Forinstance, the change their names symbolized one aspect that theJapanese disregarded their culture. In fact, they were ashamed of thechange in the names since it showed disrespect to their Koreanancestors that connected to the living people through the names (Kim,110). They even made the Korean children feel inferior since theschools separated the Korean and Japanese children while treating theJapanese ones way better than the Koreans. The establishment of thedetention camps led to the deterioration of their personal health asone of the boys that came out of the camp had dysentery andmalnutrition too. Such scenarios prove how inhumane the Japanese wereas they never considered the health or the rights that the Koreanspossessed.
The book also reflects the deterioration of the socio-economic inKorea. First, the Japanese rule led to the deterioration of theKorean economy since they were not given the freedom to engage inwhat they thought was best for their society. For instance, theJapanese forced the Korean farmers not to grow any foods because theJapanese were requisitioning all their food (Kim, 95). Such aspectsled to the deterioration of the Korean economy since they did nothave any other clear source to get income or food. The rule alsocontaminated the Korean children in a manner that they even forgotabout their culture since they were forced to observe the Japaneseculture. The change of the Korean names to the Japanese namessymbolized the fall of the Korean culture. In this case, the Japaneseshowed how they despised the Korean culture and could do anything toundermine it just like they did.
In conclusion, the Japanese rule in Korea was characterized by forceand discrimination since the Koreans did not have any freedom. TheJapanese ended up being inhumane based on the arrests and detentioncamps that were created to silence and squash any motives of creatingresistance movements. The scenario was inhumane and devastating sincethey were even forced to avoid their culture and ignore theirs. Alook at the schools reveals how the Korean children were even forcedto bow facing the East that was the direction to the imperial palacethat was located in Tokyo. Evidently, all these practices reveal howthe Japanese were focused on undermining the Korean culture as wellas their freedom.
Kim, R. Lost Names: Scenes from a Korean Boyhood. Berkeley:University of California Press, 1988.
Masalski, Kathleen Woods. "History As Literature, Literature asHistory: An Interview with Lost Names Author Richard E. Kim."Education about Asia 4.2 (1999).