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“Joseon People Wanted to Change Names to Japanese”

Posted June. 01, 2003 22:32,   


A powerful politician of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in Japan made a reckless remark that during the colonial period, Joseon people wanted to change their names to Japanese ones. Taro Aso, chairman of the LDP Policy Research Council, said of the change of Joseon people’s names that was forced as part of colonization at a lecture session in Tokyo University on May 31. He argued, “It was the Joseon people who asked us to give them Japanese surnames.”

“At that time, Joseon people had Korean names on Japanese passports. And it was hard for them to work because Manchurian people were not favorable to Joseon people,” he said while answering questions on Japan’s historical view. “That`s why they asked for Japanese surnames,”

“We Japanese taught them Hangul, started the mandatory education system, and established colleges,” he said regarding colonial rule. “It is right to accept the right thing as a historical fact,” he added.

Ryutaro Hashimoto, former prime minister, once apologized for the change in names at a Korean-Japanese summit in June 1996, saying that it had broken the Joseon people’s hearts. The recent absurd remarks by Japanese politicians over historical views are in line with the rightist tendency of Japanese society. After the summit that the two countries decided to establish a future-oriented relationship, such remarks subsided for some time. Chairman Aso ran for the post of LDP leader against Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi two years ago. Even now, he is still talked of being nominated as the next prime minister albeit with a low possibility.